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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, June 3, 2014
|Audio CD, Box set, Deluxe Edition, June 3, 2014||
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In 2014 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Soundgarden's massive album Superunknown which to date has sold 9 million albums worldwide and is certified five times platinum by the RIAA in the US. Both a critical and commercial success, in 1994 Superunknown debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and earned the band two Grammys® for the singles 'Black Hole Sun' and 'Spoonman' in 1995. As relevant today as they were in 1994, the multi-platinum-selling Soundgarden continues to be in the Top 10 most played artists on Active Rock radio and the band's top 4 most played radio songs - accumulating over 1 million in total airplay and 4 billion in total audience to date - are all from this very beloved album: 'Black Hole Sun', 'Fell on Black Days', 'Spoonman' and 'The Day I Tried To Live'. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked the album as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and the 100 Greatest Albums of the Nineties.
- Packaging: 8.5' x 12' hardbound book with approx. 70-80 pages + lenticular cover animating a solar flaring eclipse around the original cover art
- 5k+ word liner notes by David Fricke
- Completely new artwork by Josh Graham
- CD1: remastered album - 16 tracks (including international album bonus track 'She Likes Surprises')
- CD2: 14 B-sides and 2 Unreleased Alternative Mixes
- CD3: 9 Unreleased Demos
- CD4: 16 Unreleased Rehearsals from June '93 (1 month prior to start of July recording session)
- Blu-ray: New 96/24 5.1 Surround Mix of all 16 album tracks, 96/24 High Res Stereo, Lyrics pages animated into video to go with each song
- Includes free download card of the DTS Headphone: X app to experience the original 16-track album in 11.1 surround sound using normal stereo headphones
Top customer reviews
Again, none of the tracks are bad. This album is quite a bit more varied and melodic than 'Badmotorfinger', though they certainly aren't afraid to sludge it up now and then. The biggest difference is that Chris Cornell has now really come into his own as a vocalist. He was always good, but now he's got the screeching and the melodies down pat. One of the best singers in rock of all-time, period. Also, though his lyrics don't necessarily add up too much in particular all the time, they do tend to be interesting, at least.
The biggest standout track comes in the very middle, 'Spoonman'. Best song Soundgarden ever wrote, with a great stomping-groove main riff like no other. This is one of those tracks that is, as far as I'm concerned, perfect. Not saying it's the greatest song ever, though it's on the big list, if I had one, but it accomplishes it's apparent intentions flawlessly. Other stand outs include the crushing dirge 'Mailman' and the monstrously slow and doomy '4th of July'. 'Black Hole Sun' was horrendously overplayed, yes, but it's still a fun, hypnotic track, and one of the more immediately memorable things here. (Great Vox too.) I also particularly like the relatively energetic title track and the dense, moody 'Head Down' which has great interplay between electric and acoustic guitars. Beyond this you've got the two openers, 'Let Me Drown' and 'My Wave', two of their faster, catchier songs. The album does have a few pacing problems, in that it's only got a few (relatively) up tempo songs, and they're placed too close to the front. (Personally, I think either 'My Wave' or 'Let Me Drown' should be placed towards the very end of the album to balance things out a bit more.) But when you get done to discussing the track order on the album, you know you've only got some really piddling complaints. Again, all those tracks that I didn't mention are still very good.
Brilliant album, this.
Well after 8 weeks of asking we finally got the details of this release a few days ago in terms of the technical specs, they did go back to the original analogue multitracks to create the 5.1 mix and they did go back to the original analogue stereo master to create the vinyl, although they archived it to 24/192 and then mastered in the digital domain. Adam Kasper who produced Down on the Upside and King Animal was going to do the 5.1 mix, he has no 5.1 credits to his name so that was a bit concerning but at least he was using the multitracks so we knew we could hope for a fully discrete mix.
Now as we begin to listen we realize it was all for nought, despite all the care taken or seemingly being taken to go back to the original source material we have a release that's been slammed in true loudness wars fashion. One might have expected the regular CDs and lossy digital download files to be victims, but this is also available on Blu-ray Audio in 24-bit/96kHz stereo AND on another audiophile website (name removed in case it's against review policies) as a 24-bit/192kHz download. These are both equally as dynamically challenged as the CD! It makes no sense. People buy 24-bit to listen to on superior equipment. Dynamically lifeless music is only bearable on the cheapest in ear buds while busy commuting or working out when you're not really paying attention to the music.
Why Soundgarden? Why? Why doesn't the sonic integrity of your music mean more to you? Why Adam Kasper? Why? You're listening to this on studio monitors, you know what the original tape sounds like! We have gotten close to it with the original CD. This is so frustrating it's hard to put into words. Please, let the tipping point be nigh. Let's push this review to the top so people know not to waste their hard-earned money supporting mediocre releases.
Here's the dynamic range log of the 24/192 download.
Analyzed: Soundgarden / Superunknown (Deluxe Edition)
DR Peak RMS Duration Track
DR5 0.00 dB -6.46 dB 3:53 01-Let Me Drown
DR6 0.00 dB -7.69 dB 5:13 02-My Wave
DR7 0.00 dB -8.02 dB 4:43 03-Fell On Black Days
DR6 0.00 dB -6.45 dB 4:26 04-Mailman
DR6 0.00 dB -6.62 dB 5:07 05-Superunknown
DR6 0.00 dB -7.76 dB 6:10 06-Head Down
DR6 0.00 dB -8.12 dB 5:19 07-Black Hole Sun
DR6 0.00 dB -6.68 dB 4:07 08-Spoonman
DR6 0.00 dB -7.23 dB 5:48 09-Limo Wreck
DR7 0.00 dB -8.25 dB 5:20 10-The Day I Tried To Live
DR6 0.00 dB -6.90 dB 1:34 11-Kickstand
DR7 0.00 dB -7.88 dB 4:17 12-Fresh Tendrils
DR6 0.00 dB -7.05 dB 5:09 13-4th Of July
DR8 0.00 dB -10.42 dB 2:15 14-Half
DR6 0.00 dB -7.86 dB 7:04 15-Like Suicide
DR6 -0.24 dB -7.55 dB 3:18 16-She Likes Surprises
DR6 -0.54 dB -8.05 dB 5:27 30-The Day I Tried To Live (Alternate Mix)
DR6 -0.20 dB -8.12 dB 5:13 31-4th Of July (Instrumental)
DR6 -0.20 dB -7.55 dB 5:09 32-Superunknown (Instrumental)
Number of tracks: 19
Official DR value: DR6
Samplerate: 192000 Hz
Bits per sample: 24
Bitrate: 7813 kbps
Stop the madness. Vote with your wallet. When these guys stop selling records they will ask why, they will read social media, they will see that people are tired of being fooled by the "loudness is better" approach that idiots in suits at record labels are telling you we want. We don't want that. We have NEVER signed petitions begging for more loudness wars releases. We have never pined for dynamically lifeless music.
Dear Lord PLEASE let them not muck up the Bob Marley release.
Adam Kasper, executives at Universal responsible for this release, Soundgarden; please all give yourselves a good kick in the backside for ruining this incredible album.
Good people out there who love music, stick to your original 1994 CDs of Superunknown, the experience is much, much better. And if you are looking for the superior analogue experience then save up your coin (you won't need a lot more than the list price of this Super Deluxe set anyway) and find the German pressing that Willem Makee cut around 2004. It was from a tape copy of the analogue stereo master and is the only all analogue cut of Superunknown available. The new vinyl may be pressed very well at QRP but the mastering is the same as the CD if the downloadable vinyl rip files are any indication.
Link to original superior 1994 CD release on Amazon is right here - Superunknown
What a shame this project wasn't done with someone like Barry Diament from Soundkeeper Recordings. I just came across a great interview (search for "Audiostream Barry Diament" for the url) with Barry Diament talking about his illustrious career path and this bit really made me smile:
"By the mid-1990's I realized that many clients were starting to evaluate my work using the level meters instead of the loudspeakers. At this point, I had to stop and ask myself just what I sought to accomplish as an audio engineer. Now, I enjoy loudness when it is appropriate but in my experience, if you want to shake the walls with AC/DC (or with Mahler), the best way to achieve this is with the playback volume control. Any other way, such as arbitrarily increasing the level on the recording itself involves a host of sonic trade-offs. First among them, is the sense of Life that comes from musical dynamics. Since my goals as an engineer are sourced in my love of music, I didn't want to participate in the ongoing Loudness Wars. All the truly great sounding records and CDs in my collection had much lower average levels than what the majors were releasing. I wanted to preserve all the musical Life in every source I mastered too and never used compression myself. While some say it increases "punch", the sonic evidence tells a quite different story. Besides, how does one increase punch by reducing dynamics, where the punch "lives"? So, I started accepting only those jobs where the client's prime interest was the musical presentation and the preservation of musical dynamics."