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VINE VOICEon April 23, 2010
This collection of arias and songs by Luciano Pavarotti has its strengths and weaknesses, but it overall I found it a worthwhile collection. The main strength, of course, is that this is a bargain for 100 well performed, well sung arias and songs by one of the great tenors of the 20th century. The performances are pretty good throughout, and frequently great.

The biggest weakness, as remarked by another reviewer, is the sound. There are only a handful of tracks that have what can be called truly good sound for an MP3 -- maybe 10-15% of the total.

The bit rates vary from track to track, and are typically 238-256 Kbps, but range from a low of 160 Kbps on 6 tracks to a high of 320 Kbps on 9 tracks. There are also strange audio artifacts on some tracks, presumably from MP3 encoding, that come through clearly with headphones and sound like a bubbling coffee percolator, especially during orchestral passages. On a cursory listening I heard these artifacts on about 15-20% of the tracks -- sometimes annoying, sometimes worse.

The low bitrates and encoding artifacts are disturbing, but more important is that these are almost all live recordings, and their quality varies quite a bit. Only in a handful of performances do you get real professional recording quality. Instead, both the orchestras and the singers are generally picked up by house microphones, which capture the sound of the entire hall and frequently give that strange, echoey kind of sound, as if the performance were recorded either in a tunnel or in the 1940s. Indeed, I'd go as far as to speculate that some of these may be bootlegs, or recordings made by opera houses for internal purposes rather than for public release. These kinds of sound problems are major on maybe 10-15% of the tracks, and less of a problem but still noticeable on most of the others.

Starting with track 61, the set is dominated by tenor-and-piano performances, with no orchestra, which are interesting as I hadn't heard many of these from Pavarotti. Some of these are professionally recorded, some less so. A few even sound like they were recorded on a Walkman-type cassette player in someone's living room.

Another drawback is the metadata. Mostly the artist information is limited to "Luciano Pavarotti" -- no orchestras, no opera houses, no recording dates. Sometimes composers are listed, but that doesn't add much value, really. Finally, there is some duplication, with the same pieces repeated, although thankfully in different performances.

A majority of the tracks are OK for me, but I actually listen to recordings from the 1940s and am pretty forgiving of less than perfect sound. If high technical quality is a must for you, you should definitely look elsewhere. I doubt it is worth full price, but as the "Daily Deal" on April 23, 2010 at for $1.99, it was worthwhile for me. I will be able to sift through it and throw out what I find unpleasant. I imagine I'll keep about half of it in my long-term collection.
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on May 3, 2010
I'm so glad I don't pay attention to reviews - I stopped listening to them years ago. And this is just one more reason to discount the usual nay-sayers. This compilation is GLORIOUS.

Many times the albums I've downloaded have turned out to be treasures, particularly the live albums - and many have been discontinued or skyrocketed in price due to scarcity. So take my advice - grab it while you can. Don't wait for it to go up which, more than likely it will.

I downloaded the "75th Birthday Limited Edition" just this morning and am still listening to it. I have some of the cuts already, but many I don't. They are of the very young Pavarotti, and what a find!!! The voice is luscious, full, strong and virile. The "Nessun Dorma" alone is worth - actually MORE than worth - the paltry $1.99 I paid for it. I find it an insult to the Great Maestro that these 100 songs are selling for that little. I would have paid much more for them. "Ah Mes Amis" is also simply spectacular.

If you're looking for a sterile studio production, maybe you won't like this one. Go for "Pavarotti Forever" or one of those, which I also have and are fine albums. But if you're looking for an album that displays the character, the vulnerability, the absolute thrill of this man's voice LIVE, this is the one for you. It's a fairly comprehensive set of his most-loved arias.

For me and other Pavarotti devotees, it's the little gems like this that make loving the music and the man even more thrilling. It's a tiny peek back into the life of the greatest and best-loved tenor of the 20th Century. For me, hearing the footsteps, the breathing, the little noises on the album, comes in 2nd place only to actually hearing and witnessing the most majestic voice to ever grace the great halls of the world.

Listening to Luciano is a rapturous experience and one of the truly divine pleasures in life. I recommend this album highly.
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VINE VOICEon July 2, 2010
Yes, the sound can be a little 'echo-ish' on a lot of the songs. BUT if you like the way the samples sound, and you LOVE Pavarotti, this is such a great deal!!! $3 dollars?? WOW!

I got the download and now can listen to lots of Pavarotti as I am on the computer. He absolutely has (had) the best voice in the entire world. If you are not a huge fan, or are just trying to become one, then don't start with this music. As so many have stated, many of these seem to have been recorded live, from a microphone that was not exactly next to him. Not all, but some. If you are already familiar with his music, then this will really add to your collection!

What I am saying is, don't judge him by this, as the sound is not always perfect, but for $3 it's wayyyyyyy more than a great deal. I love it! Personally I think it's kind of like being at a live, outdoor Pavarotti concert in Italy, which is the closest I will ever get to it.
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on April 23, 2010
I've heard people complaining about quality of sound, but I can guarantee you that it is worthwhile overall. Some tracks seams to have been recorded live and that might explain something about quality. Not always the singer (Pavarotti) is directed to the microphone, as he is walking on stage. But such classics as Nessun Dorma, La Donna è Mobile, O Sole Mio, Torna a Surriento or Ave Maria, you still hear on your knees. For less than 2 cents per track, you will never find such a bargain anywhere else.
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on October 16, 2011
I seldom feel moved to write a review of MP3 downloads because i keep in mind that the quality is never going to equal that of CDs. Having said that however, I was disconcerted by the wavering and at times distant sound of these recordings. Of course Pavarotti's voice is sublime even under these circumstances but I am accustomed to high quality sound reproduction and I place a high value on the consistency of sound in a given recording. this 75th anniversary album is very irregular and inconsistent in the quality of sound.
I wish I had carefully listed to all 100 songs on the recording before purchasing and suggest that anyone contemplating purchasing ought to do that.
Pavarotti is divine, the recording is not.

I finally decided not to download this album to my iTunes; Instead I have it in the amazon cloud player.
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on April 26, 2010
Love the music, and for the price you can't go wrong, but the audio quality on some of files is terrible.
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on April 21, 2010
The audio quality of some arias is downright bad. What can one expect for 3 cents each and from 158 kbps VBR encoding?

Save your $3 for a quality disc from a renowned publisher, like Luciano Pavarotti - The Best.
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on April 25, 2010
Yes, the sound is not the highest fidelity, but most of the tracks are live recordings and nothing is unlistenable. Yes, there is no information on these recordings other than the titles. But it wouldn't take much to use the track lengths to get more details from other sources; I plan to do so. I just want anyone thinking about this incredible deal to know that these are some very impressive performances by Pavarotti. I've spent the afternoon listening and we are talking Pavarotti at his prime here. Have no fear and enjoy. Keep those MP3 deals coming, Amazon!
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on April 23, 2010
Just to confirm what others have said: the quality is not great on more than a few tracks. But if you want a great assortment for a few dollars (I myself am replacing a couple of lost CDs, and adding to them), this is an unbeatable value.
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on May 15, 2012
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw 100 arias by the late and great Pavarotti. While I can appreciate live performances, too many sounded as if they were recorded with a hand held recorder. You can hear the microphones being moved around clearly disrupting the quality of the music. The good thing is I can pick the good recordings and get rid of the bad ones.
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