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Smiths Complete Box set
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If the truth be told, there isn't too much discernible difference between these remasters and the CD re-issues of the 1990s that I own. But it is an improvement, particularly on their eponymous debut, and there is generally (but not always) more space and definition between the instruments. Overall the frequency range is higher but sound quality is in no way compromised to favour a loud mix as can sometimes be the case with remasters.
All eight CD covers are exact mini replicas of the original vinyl releases, right down to the stickers and the inlay sleeves. Four of them have gatefold sleeves just like the originals and even the artwork on the CDs themselves is identical to that found on the original vinyl LPs. Housed in a sturdy cardboard case and accompanied by a booklet (albeit very brief for a career encompassing collection), the attention to detail is exceptional.Read more ›
Also, fyi, Amazon.co.uk sells this for 30.47 pounds. The VAT tax (approximately 17%) will be deducted for shipments to North America. So final cost is approximately $41 plus shipping. I always scope amazon.co.uk before purchasing as prices are frequently much cheaper, even having to pay for shipping
For about $5 per disc, this is a bargain
So, I own; the original Rough Trade pressings; the original US Sire pressings; the mid 2000 Rhino reissues; and, now these new Johnny Marr remasters (Why someone needs 4+ copies of the same record is a different story...). I purchased the vinyl box set, and sat down to really compare these pressings.
Equipment: Rega P3 table w/ Ortofon Bronze cartridge; Moon 340i Integrated Amplifier; B&W DM604 S3 Loudspeakers; and, a pair of Sennheiser HD800 headphones. For this test, I utilized both the headphones and loudspeakers, and had the same results.
For the sake of keeping this simple, I'm going to lump this into three separate categories: Original 80's presses; Mid 2000's Repress; and Current Remaster. The original Rough Trade press sounds better than the Sire, so I am just going to really focus on the Original Rough Trade press as my 80's original.
First up: The Queen is Dead - "Frankly Mr Shankly". I chose this song because Andy Rourke's bass tone is simply incredible, and the song does have a bit of variety. On the Original Rough Trade and mid-2000's Rhino repress, his bass tone sounds identical across presses; it's clean, crisp and has that warm sound that is prevalent throughout this album. The guitar work, drums and vocals sound pretty much identical as well across presses. This is the version of the album I grew up on. Now, on to the new remaster. The first thing I noticed was the Rourke's bass tone has changed. It has lost a bit of that "edge" it had in the earlier mixes, and is slightly less pronounced than before.Read more ›
But how is the sound? A lot of attention was put into making these remasters sound as natural, clear, and detailed as possible and the results are, for the most part, riveting. While these remasters are a bit louder, they're not excessively so: they're definitely not brickwalled, distorted, or victims of over-compression.
The debut: of the 8 remasters included here, this one offers the most audibly noticeable improvement. The debut has long suffered from timid, brittle, gutless sound, which dragged down an otherwise incredible album. This remaster has remedied that. The sound of this album will always be on the bright side (that's just how it was recorded), but this remaster improves the sound in a very noticeable way. It now sounds fuller, livelier, punchier, and much more detailed. This remaster is now my go-to version. Purists may cry foul at the inclusion of "This Charming Man" (replicating the US tracking order, as opposed to the original UK), but who cares, it's a great song. What's important is that we're finally hearing this album the way it was intended to be heard, and this one sounds better than all the other versions out there.
Hatful of Hollow: the original UK/Rough Trade pressing of this album already sounded perfect, and in this case, the remaster misses the mark. The BBC recordings are the most aversely affected by this, suffering from excessive low frequency boost, giving the songs a bassy, throbbing, rumbly sound that detracts from Johnny Marr's detailed guitar work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pure inspiration for the young and shy. The wanna be extroverts who lack confidence but will one day fully blossom when they see their own kindness and sensitivity as strength, not... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Rob Falgiano
I can't find the words to describe how absolutely perfect this collection is. If you are a Smiths fan, you've got to get this immediately! Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I don't give five stars, because they could have done a better packaging....now, the music and the remastering are excellent.Published 21 months ago by Charly1970
Bought this as a gift. Won't be opened till Christmas, but it's The Smiths. Could only be 5 stars.Published 21 months ago by LMA1011