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The Who: The Ultimate Collection Extra tracks, Limited Edition, Original recording remastered
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MP3 Music, December 21, 2009
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9. The inferior 2-CD "Hooligans" compilation is out of print.
8. It has informative liner notes, listing the date each song was recorded.
7. The booklet includes pictures of all the Who album covers, and has some great photos of the band in action.
6. The remastered songs sound great, even on a moderately priced stereo system.
5. The song selection is superb, without a single weak track.
4. The recently deceased John Entwistle plays the greatest bass guitar licks of all time on "My Generation." This has never sounded clearer than the version on this compilation.
3. Roger Daltrey's vocals and Pete Townshend's songwriting are perfectly showcased on this great collection.
2. The first CD clocks in around 67 minutes. The second CD clocks in at nearly 69 minutes. Add in the bonus disc, and you have nearly two and a half hours of great Who music!
1. The bonus disc of 4 songs feature noticeably different versions of well known Who songs. Particularly outstanding is the acoustic version of "Happy Jack." Because it's a limited edition, you shouldn't wait too long to buy the aptly named Ultimate Collection.
But the sound is really bad here. This is not because they used the original mixes. Actually, they used the original mixes on "Who's Better Who's Best" and "Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy", two Best-Of CDs from the 1980s, and those sound great. (Get those two instead of this!)
The reasons for the harsh, bright, one-dimensional, distorted, lifeless sound is an unhealthy combination of noise reduction, compression and volume maximization. Noise reduction is supposed to take away the tape hiss, but it also affects the music, the vocals sound shrill, the drums tinny, the bass artificial, the lead guitar unreal, and the whole sound image flat and dull. The breath of life is sucked out of the music. Compression is used to make the low passages louder and to make it more "in-your-face" sounder, but if overused, tape defects are brought up to the front and the dynamic range of the recording is destroyed. Volume maximization will cause digital clipping on the loud passages and therefore also reduce the dynamic range.
In addition, Happy Jack and Call Me Lightning are presented in fake stereo here, probably the worst CD versions of these songs ever.
The problem is that they are bright and edgy without enough of the lower sounds to balance it. So the snare drums go "splat" and Roger's voice sounds shrill and, worst of all, the basic bass drum is hardly audible. What you have is a very crisp, hard-edged sound that just doesn't sound like previous releases.
I'm NOT talking about vinyl, I'm talking about the remasters that came out in the mid-1990s. When I first listened to "Won't Get Fooled Again" on "Ultimate" I went running for the "Who's Next" CD to make sure I wasn't making this up. Immediately you hear a smoother high end and Daltrey's voice sounding natural and the drums sounding like Keith Moon.
Sorry to be a party-pooper, but I rushed back to see if I could retrieve the "Very Best of" that I'd sold back. Fortunately, I can buy it back. For those of you who haven't plunked down the money yet, if you care about the difference in sound I'm describing, be sure you can give "The Ultimate" a listen before you buy it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Five stars. Of course for someone who is already a The Who fan, what would you expect?Published 2 months ago by Scot Conway
Horribly mastered CD. I mean really, really bad. Bright and tinny with no dynamic range whatsoever. I would highly recommend steering clear of this and picking up many of the great... Read morePublished 2 months ago by White Chicken
Another replacement CD of one that has disappeared over the years from my collection. Love these guys.Published 3 months ago by Margaret Anne Bunn
These guys put on a better show and sound better than the Stones.Published 3 months ago by John Greg McAninch