Im also interested in the sound quality of the vinyl. I have the CD, and while the songwriting is mostly excellent, the sound quality leaves alot to be desired. Its really washed out without any seperation at all.
If only all artists released with the same quality as Porcupine Tree. Everytime I pop in a PT CD, it spoils my ears and I have a hard time listening to half my collection.
you think that disc sounds good, try (if you have a sacd player) ian shaw's tribute to joni mitchell "drawn to all things,the songs of joni mitchell" on the linn label, the best sounding disc i've heard yet, and a GREAT performance on all levels
I have the vinyl. I got it a week before the CD came. Problem is, I don't have a record player. I got it as a collector's item and cuz I am a loser fan who was caught up in the pre-release excitement and for some reason just had to have it. But I too was curious to hear the difference that is always referred to between the two (its been a long time since I put a record on, and a longer time since I heard a mint, new one without a bunch of skips and pops, and I've never compared the CD and vinyl version of the same album), but I have to find a place to crank it up at and I don't feel like buying a record player just satisfy my curiosity.
In reply to Mr. Feldman and a few others; seems to me there are two different discussions going on about the "sound" of Bruce's new album. One is Bruce's wall of sound with all the performers kind of playing the same note at the same time. I have no issue with that. As you point out, Born to Run has that and so do many of the songs on Magic.
Second is the actual sound quality of the recording. It is compressed beyond anything I have ever heard and the mixing of the upper midrange through the cymbals, bells, etc. is just plain unlistenable on anything resembling a decent stereo. I honestly do not understand how the album could come out without someone at Columbia/Sony, Bruce himself, one of Bruces friends, bandmates saying something. Brendan is a great producer for Bruce but he should leave the mixing to someone else. These posts are proof that there is an art to mixing an album properly. The good news about all of this is there is now some proof that people do really care about sound quality which is something that many people have been questioning for years now with Ipods and home theaters in a box taking over from traditional stereos. Hopefully Sony and other record companies are paying attention as I am pretty sure these posts and others elsewhere are going to affect sales.
As for should the vinyl sound better, ( as in help with the mixing of the music problem) I do not have the lp so I don't really know. It would depend on whether the album was mixed diffferently for the lp before mastering which I would doubt.
I'm not sure what these complaints are about. My copy of Magic sounds absolutely wonderful. I mean, seriously, bright, lush, almost hypnotic. It sounds great low, it sounds great high. I'm really wondering if there was a bad batch of CDs produced? Or maybe they're bogus pressings? I can't believe all the complaints are from people who don't understand the production quality - although, I do think it is possible that people don't know how to use an equalizer. Anyway, just to add my own .02, I think this may be one of the most intricately produced albums I've heard in a long time and I think it does the E Street Band justice in a way they haven't been done since the River. It really sounds so good it's like candy.
How many are complaining about the sound on their actualCD VS those complaining about the sound of downloaded MP3s. I can't speak for others as to how they will judge the sound on the CD, (obviously opinions on this differ), but if you downloaded some pre-release MP3s, etc, they will sound compressed because MP3s are indeed compressed.
Wow..if it sounds good to you then enjoy it. But as a longtime Bruce and music fan in general and owner of close to a thousand cds and a high end stereo system, I must say this cd is so disappointing sonically. It is way to compressed, overproduced and to me the wall of sound becomes a wall of noise with no separation of instruments.Intricately produced? Not to my ears or those of many others. It's actually kind of astonishing to me that Columbia, Bruce or even OB let this album be released this way. The songs are pretty good not classic Bruce but with such poor production and over compression, I won't be listenting to it very often..unfortunately...the ezmon
My comments about the sub par sound quality are in regards to the actual CD. I wouldnt comment about the quality of mp3's, since their quality depends on a number of encoding factors. Anyway, as I said the quality of the actual CD is subpar. Its over compressed and the high frequencies sound pretty bad. Im talking about when I play the CD through my Harman Kardan receiver and Ascend Acoustics speakers. The Ascends produce amazingly lifelike high frequencies on well mastered CDs, but unfortunately also make it all too easy to pick out the overcompressed ones, which is alot of releases these days. Anyway, Im sure it sounds perfectly passable on an Ipod or a lower end HT system.
If we dont speak up about poorly mastered CDs, the flood of them will never end. In cases like Springsteen's new CD, and the latest White Stripes (which is even more of a travesty), its hard to hide the disappointment anyway.
I'm sure it's possible that the CD you have really does have poor sound quality. I remember when the Rick-Rubin-produced Neil Diamond CD "12 Songs" came out with some bizarre copy protection/privacy invasion software from Sony, everyone was up in arms about how messed up the CD was and were giving Neil 1-star reviews because of a difference with Sony's pressing of the CD. I feel that's really out of place. I'd be on board with a Brendan O'Brien bashing, but I've listened to this album over and over and am continually amazed by what he does to bring the drums or the violin to the fore; how the low ends hold up even at higher volumes; how bright the upper end sounds without sounding the least bit "tinny" or "compressed." The track about Terry at the end sounds remarkably intimate, exactly the way Bruce wanted it to sound. If it's an opinion about wall-of-sound production, that's fine, but there is nothing technically faulty about this mix to my ears. So I'm inclined to think there may have been a bad batch of CDs pressed. You know those Chinese pressing plants... maybe there's too much lead in your CD? Maybe next time download a crispy Dolby AAC file from iTunes. Better yet, maybe pick a song you think "sucks" on your CD and drop $0.99 on the same Dolby AAC file from iTunes and see if you can hear the difference. You already know the AAC file is massively compressed. If it sounds better than your CD then you've solved the problem. But I feel confident that Bruce and Brendan hit the nail on the head with this album, achieving exactly the sound they wanted. Or did you think the stories about Springsteen's perfectionism were just old wives tales?
Interestingly enough, the album has earned unanimous (given the 10 or so reviews I have read from the major music media critics) praise, and even though reviews tend to focus on content like lyrics and musicianship, not one critic - critic, mind you, there job is to evaluate and criticize where they see fit - has said anything negative about the sound. If it is mentioned at all, they seem to compliment the technique. Obviously that doesn't invalidate or change your opinion if you don't like it, but if we are going to start talking about this from an "I know what good music should sound like" stand point, these critics, who I would assume are quite knowledgeable and "get" what is being 'said' and trying to be accomplished with the choice of certain musical styles and production techniques, praise the way the wall of sound is utilized. Maybe they are picking up on something (or perhaps just enjoying something) the rest of you are not. Either way, like I said, it changes nothing, these are opinions, but lets not start with the "anyone with a brain could have told Bruce to master this thing differently before it came out" kind of talk. Brainy people are praising the production. I can see where the criticism are coming from - I hear the examples people are giving when I listen too - but to me it is more interesting to chose such a technique and I like to listen to it for that purpose, rather than something so common sounding in terms of production. I am rather excited at the prospect of a live release with some of these songs just to hear how they sound being rocked out by the band with out the production. Maybe that will be preferred by some of you.
The real question here still ahsn't been answered: Has anybody heard the vinyl and does it sound any different?
you do not seem to have kept up with audiophile world which I don't blame anyone for not following as it is at times quirky at best. Actually record players and vinyl have been increasing in sales for the last several years and are again a major part of the audiophile world which is why Bruce and many others are putting their music out on vinyl again. Also it is not just the audiophiles. Part of the resurgance interestingly enough has been from the twenty something crowd raised on mp3's/Ipods. I regrettably got rid of my turntable and vinyl about ten years ago when it looked dead. Big Mistake.
Anyway, S. Vahey has quality enough speakers that are picking up on the mixing/ compression problem. Again when I listen in my Bose (Bose lied audio died - is a well known audiophile chant) car stereo the cd sounds fine and actually kidding aside the car stereo sounds pretty good. However, on my home stereo which is at a whole nother leval, it is truly unlistenable. Even my wife who does not pay much interest to my stereo asked whats wrong and to turn it off because it sounds horrible. Wait for Stereophile or Absolute Sound, etc. to review and I guarantee most of them will harp on the sound quality as an issue.
Actually, Target, K-Mart and Walmart each have a similar one always on the shelf that is technically more of a desktop stereo system, but it mimics an old-timey console record player - its a box with wood an brass and the stereo face and tuner knobs very prominent in the front, but there is a CD and cassette player on the side and in addition to the visible console speakers there is an option to hook up others. It's a cool item but has always been between 80 and 100 bucks. Just not worth it since I'd essentially be buying it just for the record player (even though it would probably get other use, but I already have a stereo system that is fine) and how often am I really gonna use that? I'd like to borrow one and figure out how to hook it up to my computer and burn a CD with the vinyl's sound. Some people swear by that method. I already spent $18 bucks on an album I probably will never hear (and even if I get to, won't play much after I satisfy my curiosity, I'm sure), but at least I can call that a collector's item.
I came here to see if anyone else thought the sound quality made the album almost unlisten-able. I guess others agree.
Here's an article on the "ear fatigue" problem: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article1878724.ece
I haven't bought the Magic Vinyl version yet but Bob Dylan's Modern Times CD had the same compression problem and the vinyl sounded MUCH better. I'm going to try to find the vinyl tonight and A-B it with the CD.
Great. You can get it at backstreets.com. Then send me copy of the CD, since that's what I've been talking about doing but can't. Honestly, I don't think the mix is that bad (never even occured to me on the Dylan album), but I am just curious to hear the difference (if any) between the vinyl and the CD.
To me, it just sounds loud no matter what volume I play it at. It sounds like, if I were to take a CD of Born To Run (which I think sounds great), turn the volume of my receiver up to a level where anything distorts, then feed that sounds to my computer line in and record it, play what I've recorded at normal listening levels...that's what Magic sounds like. Modern Times had problems with clipping, the loudness factor wasn't as noticeable because for the most part it was a quiet album but sounds reach a high level they clip. If clipping occurs on vinyl the needle will jump out of the groove, thank God for physical limitations!
Thanks for the link. Great simple article. The audio magazines have been complaining about this for years now. That is exactly what I am complaining about only this Bruce album seems worse than any other I have bought and i buy a lot of music. The article does make it seem that it might be possible that the Bruce vinyl might then be less compressed. Also, your point that it sounds distorted at any volume and how you describe how it could sound like that is right to the point.
Forgot to answer your question about adding a turntable. Yes you can but it how depends on your current reciever/amplifier/preamp. Many of the newest home theater recievers are again including a phono input which means it has a seperate phono preamp built in just like most recievers did back in the 50s, 60s and 70s. If you do not have a phono input on your reciever you need to buy a seperate phono preamp that you then plug your turntables rca's(left and right outputs) into. Then you plug the rca outs from the phono preamp into your regular reciever/amp/preamp using an extra set of hopefully currently unused inputs. Pnono preamps can cost as little as $100. to of course like all things high end audio more than a normal person could ever imagine. Hope this helps.