I recently purchased this cd (Back to Black) and agree with the reviews - its a superb work. Ive said that about only a handful of albums in the last few years, and I truly mean it. The only downside to me is the forced vocal distortion present in the recording (especially in 'Rehab', 'Back to Black', and 'Tears Dry On Their Own'). I realize digital artifacts and filters were used during production to make the recording seem 'vintage,' but its quite annoying through a high-end stereo system. Ive invested alot of money into my audio setups, and I cringe whenever I hear a poorly engineered cd (for those not so tech-savy, distortion basically ruins your speakers). The whole situation is tragic. An internet search found other users complaining about this issue. Be forewarned audiophiles! I sincerely hope Universal issues an 'uncolored' and remastered version of this album soon.
C. Lopez, I should have read your comment before I ordered this CD. You are correct, the sound quality is horrible. It makes you wonder what type of equipment the recording engineers were using for playback, possibly a Bose Wave Radio?
The record album is the same way. The music was recorded and mixed that way on purpose. Some instruments and samples are deliberately given a distorted maxed-out punch. The horns sound they come from vintage mono tapes. It's the effect they were going for. I admit it does give some of the sounds a very stressed-out aspect and it may detract from the overall effect. Turning Amy Winehouse into an audiophile favorite would take a complete re-record of the songs, with an all-live band...no sampling, no overall compression and direct to two track. It might be great but no re-master is going to fix this.
Although I like most of the songs, which remind me of Motown alot, the quality if poor, like a rushed demo. Whomever the engineer was should be ashamed. Even a hobbyist could do better. No reflection on Amy, however. It would be really great if she would just sing some standards, or maybe get a great writer to compose one just for her.
I want to reiterate that the vinyl is NOT better sounding than the cd. Truly awful sounding album. It actually hurts my ears, all the distortion. I love the music dearly, but seldom play the record because of the idiotic decision to give the album a faux vintage sound - which sounds like garbage.
You are so correct!...but that's the sound effect they wanted. However, this problem is not uniform across the album (CD). The tracks produced by Mark Ronson sound much more mono-fied than those produced by Salaam Remi. The difference is distinct and the Remi tracks sound clearer.
I agree about the sound quality! This album is absolutely fantastic from an artistic standpoint, but the production of the album is very weak!
I listen to music with a set of high-quality headphones, using a dedicated headphone amp & DAC and this album just sounds terribly muddy and poorly put together. A true shame, because the songs are fantastic.
I guess you guys don't listen to old recordings. Ever try "Lady Day: the Best of Billie Holiday" - a collection of her best tunes on the Columbia label? They're great - but you'd probably just say the recording sucks.
John, there is a difference between a recording of poor quality that results from necessity -- poor recording equipment being the only thing available at that time, or being the best equipment available on a shoe-string budget in some cases -- and going out of the way to make an album sound horrible to achieve a 'retro' sound when other options are available to achieve this goal. As an example, I like the work of Robert Johnson and other Delta blues musicians that was recorded in the '20 and '30s, but that does not mean that modern blues musicians should attempt to imitate the horrible quality of those recordings just to try to achieve a similar atmosphere.
I thought it was just me. The first few songs on the deluxe album have a muddy quiet sound about them, compared to the remastered bonus songs. It is probably intentional, or like Thomas mentions, the only equipment avaliable at the time to work on.
I don't mind because the song still sounds good. Similar to how songs from the 50's/60's sound great in mono. I wouldn't ask for them in stereo because they sound amazing the way they are.
I downloaded this as flac and burned a CD - I thought some joker had used some low quality mp3's to create the flacs - lucky it was free. Hope there are some good quality masters otherwise it would be ironic - lost forever in more ways than one, just like Ella
If you listen to Ronnie Specter's newly released version of Back To Black...which I love BTW...there are inserted clicks and pops, I suppose, to instill the imperfections of days gone by when vinyl was the only material for music. But I think that it's kind of cool! LOL
The problem with the quality on Amazon Prime Music is the level of compression that has been chosen. I don't know why this was done, being that Pandora, even on their lower quality setting, which I use on my Samsung Galaxy S5, is much much better. Basically, and I don't know why, Amazon has chosen to suck the life out of the music making everything sound like a wet noodle being slapped on concrete. All it takes is to lay off the compression just a bit. Yes, the songs will be larger in size on disk, but does amazon really have a problem with disk space?