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Wham! SACD Impressions


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31 replies to this topic

#1 of 32 Brian-W

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Posted January 28 2002 - 04:57 AM

My friend picked this up for me in Japan last week, and I threw it in for a quick listen (detailed review coming later).

The initial red-book disc simply sounds muddy, and the audio levels on the disc are too low (resulting in turning volume way up, and then when listening to another disc/song, turning volume way down). Sound seemed to be mostly mid-range muddled sound, with very little in the way of hi/low frequency detail.

The SACD sounds better than the red-book disc, but not night and day better. Initial listening (Everything She Wants) reveals a cleaner sound with more in the upper range, but still wanting in low frequencys.

An improvement over the red-book release, but not enough to run out and buy it.
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#2 of 32 Lee Scoggins

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Posted January 28 2002 - 07:55 AM

Brian,

What CD are you talking about?

I'm surprised you are not noticing a big improvement on the SACD - it could be the mastering or original tape source.

Lee
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#3 of 32 McPaul

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Posted January 28 2002 - 08:35 AM

Perhaps he's talking about the group called Wham!?? Early 80's pop.

"Wake me up before you go-go!"

Posted Image

#4 of 32 KeithH

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Posted January 28 2002 - 10:07 AM

Brian, opinions vary, and in that vein, I feel the WHAM! Make it Big SACD from Japan is much, much better than any CD version I have heard. I have the US, European, and Japanese CDs, and none of them come close to the SACD. I just posted here a few days ago that my girlfriend and I were astounded by "Careless Whisper" on the SACD when we first heard it. Prior to hearing the SACD, she and I thought the US CD sounded great on my SCD-777ES. The SACD left us speechless.
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#5 of 32 John Tillman

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Posted January 28 2002 - 11:09 AM

Is it likely a US SACD will be released?
__
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#6 of 32 KeithH

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Posted January 28 2002 - 01:30 PM

John asked:

Quote:
Is it likely a US SACD will be released?


I've been wondering that myself. Unfortunately, I doubt it. At least, I wouldn't expect to see it for awhile. The JSACD has been out for quite awhile now, so I thought a US version would have come out by now. On the other hand, Sony is slow at times to release JSACDs domestically. Maybe Sony will release a multi-channel version in the US. That would be really cool. The funny thing is that Make it Big is one of the few pop titles that I am aware of that Sony has only released in Japan. Maybe they will bring it to the US.

I ordered my copy from www.hmv.co.jp for $43. The disc was $25, but FedEx shipping was $18. Ironically, it took the FedEx driver longer to get it to my house than it did for the package to get from Japan to the US. The driver carried it on his route for three days because he couldn't read the address number at first. Posted Image

It's apropos that as I type, I am listening to "If You Were There" on The Isley Brothers 3 + 3 SACD. The Isley Brothers version is great, but I prefer WHAM!'s version.
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#7 of 32 Brian-W

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Posted January 28 2002 - 03:49 PM

Keith,

I don't deny that your impression may be better than mine. It just didn't blow me away like the Top Gun or Cyndi Lauper SACD discs I have. I haven't listened to Careless Whisper yet but the few songs I did listen too (while hooking up a D-VHS deck) didn't strike me as much better.

Maybe if I sit down and really pay attention, I'll notice a difference. It does sound better, but just didn't have that edge I was expecting. Hmmm.....

-brian

P.S. European, U.S, and Japanese versions of the CD? You're a bigger George michael fan than I am !
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#8 of 32 KeithH

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Posted January 28 2002 - 10:49 PM

Brian, if you give the WHAM! SACD an extended listen, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts. I bought the European and Japanese Make it Big CDs after buying the SACD to see if these CDs stacked up better to the SACD than the US CD. None of the CDs comes close to the SACD. I haven't compared the three CDs in detail to say that there is a major difference among them. For what it's worth, I bought the Japanese CD at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square in New York City last spring and the European CD when I was in the UK on business last summer.

I also have the Top Gun and Cyndi Lauper SACDs. They are great too. Definitely better than the CDs. The Top Gun SACD gets a bad rap on Audio Asylum, but I don't know if many of the people there have the remastered CD for comparison. I have the remastered CD (as well as the original version), and the SACD sounds noticeably better. It's not the best-sounding SACD I have, but it beats the CD.
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#9 of 32 Brian-W

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Posted January 29 2002 - 05:13 AM

Keith,

I gave an extended listen last night.....

First, it does sound better than the redbook disc. I did listen to Careless Whisper, and it is superior to the redbook version. But "All She Wants" while sounding better didn't floor me like I had hoped. Go figure? But all in all after a careful listen, it did sound better, and more alive than my initial test.

Top Gun I had low expectations for, but was really floored. One of the better sounding discs (I have both old and remastered). Otis Reddings tune just floors me ever time.

So yes, I like the Wham disc, and I'm sure the more I listen the better it will get.

-Brian
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#10 of 32 KeithH

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Posted January 29 2002 - 09:59 AM

Brian, most everyone who has commented on the Top Gun SACD on the Hi-Rez Highway board on Audio Asylum has commented favorably on the Otis Redding track, but unfavorably about the rest of it. I think the SACD beats the remastered CD in all respects, but some tracks are lackluster on the SACD relative to others.

As for the WHAM! SACD, I find the whole disc to sound noticeably better than my CDs, but "Careless Whisper" is the standout.
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#11 of 32 Brian-W

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Posted January 29 2002 - 11:12 AM

Quote:
I find the whole disc to sound noticeably better than my CDs, but "Careless Whisper" is the standout


Isn't that the case with a lot of SACD's? There is one or two standout tracks and the rest are just good.
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#12 of 32 KeithH

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Posted January 29 2002 - 01:25 PM

I don't know, Brian. It depends on whether or not all songs on an album were recorded at the same location using the same equipment, and therefore, were derived from the same master. On a compilation disc such as Top Gun, one might expect some tracks to sound better than others. However, part of the perception of one song sounding better than others could be a result of one's mere preference for that song. As I said, I find the entire Make it Big SACD to sound much better than the three CDs I have, but "Careless Whisper" is always the track that I feel shows off the format best on that album. It is also true that "Careless Whisper" is my favorite song on the album, so that could also explain my glee.
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#13 of 32 Lee Scoggins

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Posted January 29 2002 - 02:49 PM

Brian,

I just realized that I completely missed the whole Wham! reference in the title. As Homer would say...Doh!

Many apologies - I am quite familiar with this group. Well..maybe not that familiar..Posted Image

I thought the Wham! somehow referred the extra slammin' bass you get with SACD.

Too many audiophile journals perhaps?

Lee
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#14 of 32 Ted Lee

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Posted January 30 2002 - 09:51 AM

"Wham! Bam! I am a man..."

yes, i even had a t-shirt that said "Choose Life" :b
 

#15 of 32 KeithH

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Posted January 30 2002 - 10:58 PM

Ted, that's funny. Did you wear it with white pants and loafers with no socks? Posted Image
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#16 of 32 Ted Lee

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Posted January 31 2002 - 02:45 AM

keith -

now that's just scary...

white pants = generra
loafers = bass shoes

so there ya go! Posted Image
 

#17 of 32 KeithH

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Posted January 31 2002 - 11:00 AM

Ted, for the white pants, I was thinking Merona Sport. Remember that label from the '80s? For the loafers, I would go with Cole-Haan. Posted Image
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#18 of 32 Ted Lee

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Posted February 01 2002 - 02:37 AM

comedy!

merona sounds familiar...i don't think i had enough money to buy cole-haan's Posted Image
 

#19 of 32 KeithH

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Posted February 01 2002 - 05:15 AM

Ted, Merona Sport was a popular clothing label in the '80s. I lived in Southern California from '81 to '85, and Merona Sport clothing was popular there in those days. They made a lot of summery, lightweight apparel. For example, I remember very well a teal green and white striped cotton Merona Sport sweater I had back then. I also had a pair of Merona Sport white pants. :b

Cole-Haan shoes are a bit pricey, but they are well-made. I moved to California when I was 11 and moved from there when I was 15, so I didn't wear Cole-Haans back in the '80s. I knew a lot of older people back then that did though.
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#20 of 32 Edward Schatz

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Posted February 15 2006 - 05:47 AM

This is an OLD topic but I recently discovered the Make it Big SACD. I ordered it from hmv.co.jp so it should be here soon (along with a few other discs). If any of the original posters in this thread are still around, were you comparing the SACD to the US redbook pressing of the disc (which was a horrible first gen CD) along with the remastered European release? Most people don't realize that Wham!'s catalogue was remastered in Europe (Fantastic, Make it Big, and The Final (Gold CD to boot)). Amazon doesn't make it terribly clear the import editions are remastered. Furthermore, they charge 70 dollars for the SACD. ha!
Edward





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