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Smiths Complete Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Vinyl, Box set, October 24, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Remastered 8 x 180g vinyl box. Includes five single albums and three doubles. Rhino UK. 2011.

Product Details

  • Vinyl (October 24, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 8
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Rhino Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,912 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a very welcome release by Rhino that collects together all of the albums released by The Smiths during (or just after) their relatively short life span. Containing the four studio albums, three compilations and a live album, the music, for most people, needs little or no introduction. This box set really does remind the listener how timeless their music was and how totally unique and original the Morrissey & Marr songwriting partnership was. Also, they were that rarest of bands that released stunning albums and equally stunning singles. And their fanbase never had to wait too long for new music - they were forever releasing non-album singles between albums and this is partly why the 'Hatful of Hollow' and 'The World Won't Listen' compilations were released while the band were still active.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
Just a short review to state that sonically, this CD box set is amazing. I own the original Rough Trade releases and this box set is far, far superior. Cymbals are crisp, bass is tight and Morrisseys voice is just right. Thumbs up to Johnny Marr!

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
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I didn't buy this box set right away since I already own all the albums (multiple versions), but after reading the interviews with Johnny Marr, and the reviews on this site, I decided to spend the money.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD box set is a thing of beauty. It was lovingly put together and the mini-LP replica style packaging looks gorgeous and stylish.

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.
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