Heart Greatest Hits (Gold)
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Limited 24kt Gold disc pressing of this collection from the Classic Rock band led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. Focusing on the years 1975-83, this chronological collection features tracks culled from hit albums like Dreamboat Annie, Dog & Butterfly and Bebe Le Strange. Also includes a live cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Rock And Roll' and a 1998 studio track.
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This Audio Fidelity 24K really brings out all of the musical elements and the pacing even seems better. The brightness is gone and the compression has vanished and you can now hear the acoustic guitars and the drums which sound much more well rounded.
The vocals are much more life-like and this whole collection takes on new musical life.
This collection has never sounded as good as it does on this 24K Gold CD.
Way to go Audio Fidelity. IGNORE THE JAMIE TATE review. He is at it again with his personal attacks on Steve Hoffman and Audio Fidelity. This poor guy needs to get a life.
To begin, unlike many "hits" albums, this collection, as advertised, is loaded with hits...the best of Heart's radio successes as well as concert favorites. The 17 solid tracks alone would be worth the price of admission, but what makes this 24K gold CD so impressive is the spectacular sound achievement produced by the talented remastering engineers from the Audio Fidelity record company. This CD clearly has more dynamics than any of the other Heart CDs and this outstanding sound is displayed track-after-track and quite obvious to any non-partial and fair observer.
There's a full and rich clarity in Ann WIlson's mesmerizing rock vocals that I'd argue has not been heard on the
original recordings from which the hits have been taken. It would be difficult to prove that Nancy Wilson is
underrated among rock guitarists, but her playing on these superbly remastered popular recordings leaves little
doubt that she is among the best the rock world has produced - not just "good-for-a-girl," but every tone, strum, pick and lick is especially vividly present in her rhythm and lead which is not to dismiss her perfect vocal harmonies. This band has always rocked - especially on the early records - and this new release is an enhanced gathering of further evidence.
The 24K gold CD is beautifully presented in a unique case that features the original LP cover art. Inside the package is a wonderful and informative full color 16 page booklet containing old and new photos, some Heart memorabilia (such as a back-stage pass) and lyrics to all the songs.
Heart fans may want to own this new "Greatest Hits" release for the hits alone; "Barracuda," "Magic Man,"
"Dreamboat Annie," "Crazy On You," "Straight On," "Heartless," "Tell It Like It Is" and a live version of Led
Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" plus all of the important songs covering about a ten year period beginning in the mid-'70's - but they will come away, blown away by the amazing - and never-before heard - sounds coming out of the speakers. I'm among the Heart fan base and I'm letting all my friends (and associates) know exactly how strongly I feel about this "fan-tastic" release.
Steve Hoffman is very highly regarded and I feel he lived up to his reputation by doing a great remastering job on this. Whether you prefer the shallower, harsher, more in your face sound of the compressed original is a matter of taste but there's no question that these discs sound quite different.
The day I received my copy I first opened it up and ripped it to my computer hard drive. I have a nice Klipsch speaker system connected to the PC and as the disc played it did sound very good. So my first impression was positive. I went back and read all the mixed reviews from "spectacular sound", the "best I've ever heard" to "uneven mastering" and "hoped for better sound". At that point I decided to do a bit more critical listening and a little A-B comparison with some other original Heart CD's that I own.
Here are my impressions: first off, this disc is Not mastered dramatically different from the older standard versions that I have. I've got a 20+ year old copy of Dreamboat Annie, and when checking the levels and sound differences they are slight at best. For those worried about compression, this disc has been conservatively remastered with loads of head-room, similar to the '96 Eric Clapton Polydor remasters. They are a lot like how a vinyl record should sound (without the surface noise and pops and clicks of course...). The only difference with all the other CD versions I have, both old and new, is that the bottom-end has been slightly increased and, at the same time and about the same amount, the High-end has been lowered. The only reason I could think of for this being done would be to avoid excessive analog tape hiss, but Heart's music has never been plagued with that (unlike some other artists). It's not a lot, but it is just enough to be noticeable. In A-B comparisons, the standard discs are brighter. There is more semblance in the vocals and the high-hat, symbols, and acoustic guitars sound much better.
(For the audiophiles out there only, my system is a Denon 100 watt receiver, Denon CD player, Klipsch Heresey's and a Klipsch Synergy 12" powered sub-woofer)
The bottom line is if this is the only Heart disc you owned you would probably be thoroughly satisfied with it. It is loaded with some of the band's best material. If, however, you are very picky about your stereo sound quality and were hoping this might be the "definitive bench mark" in top sound quality of Heart's music...you may well be disappointed.