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Profile for Stephen Bieth > Reviews

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Content by Stephen Bieth
Top Reviewer Ranking: 37
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Reviews Written by
Stephen Bieth (Mississauga/ Canada)

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Skies of America
Skies of America
Price: CDN$ 57.69
10 used & new from CDN$ 57.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!! (SACD version), July 23 2016
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This review is from: Skies of America (Audio CD)
This SACD is brilliant! Ornette Coleman with an orchestra has to be heard to be believed. I have to admit I have not been introduce to a lot of orchestral music. I only own 8 or 9 classical SACD's and most of the orchestral music I have heard acompanies Rock or Pop music so I am far from an expert but the arrangements here are intriguing and has totally changed my view on what you can do with an orchestra. If you are a fan of Coleman's and you are familure with his style just picture an entire orchestra playing that way. Don't get me wrong where I think this album is brilliant I am sure a lot of people will find its not for them. There is really no middle ground with Coleman, people seem to love his music or hate it. Then there are the people that don't like it but respect what his trying to do but I have never met a passive fan.
As for the SACD (stereo) it is fuller sounding then the Red book version but it does share the lack of bass that the CD had. But, again, I am not overly familure with orchestral work so this could be the norm. I would not suggest paying the insain price of the SACD with out checking the album out first. If you are a fan of the record and have an SACD set up you will notice where your money went when you hear it!

Interplay: Limited
Interplay: Limited
Price: CDN$ 58.72
13 used & new from CDN$ 52.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Evans Masterpeice (Japanese SACD version)!, July 22 2016
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This review is from: Interplay: Limited (Audio CD)
Fastly becoming one of my favourite Bill Evans albums this album departs the Trio formate and add's some horns. It also has a little more song structure (not saying that makes it better just a different. I could listen to Bill Evans play chopsticks all day long). This SACD has beautiful sound and everyone is playing at the top of their game. I took a real leap of faith buying this pricy SACD but I am very glad I did. It's been in heavy rotation ever since I received it.
If you are new to Bill Evans and have already heard his playing on Miles Davis's "Kind Of Blue" pick up "Waltz For Debbie" . If you already have that and like it check this release out!

Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 35.25
5 used & new from CDN$ 35.25

5.0 out of 5 stars New MoFi SACD Sounds Great! (SACD 2016 release), July 21 2016
This review is from: Abraxas (Audio CD)
Finally an excellent version of this awesome album. In my opinion this is easily one of the top 100 rock albums of all times. Unfortunately all the digital releases have been average to pretty bad up to date. Well MoFi took their time (this was listed for release two years ago) but it was worth the wait! In the past I have always found this album kind of muddy (including the vinyl I played back in high school) but this sounds great. Very nice separation while maintaining that warm sound with out the wash of bass over everything.
If you are a fan pick this up. Even if you don't have an SACD player this also plays back as a CD and that layer sounds great to. Couldn't be happier! Well a 5.1 mix would be nice but there is a charm to this stereo mix and along with the mastering that makes it a 10!

Fat Albert Rotunda
Fat Albert Rotunda
Price: CDN$ 27.02
8 used & new from CDN$ 23.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album But Not An SACD!, July 13 2016
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This review is from: Fat Albert Rotunda (Audio CD)
This is an excellent Hancock record! being one of his Jazz-Rock-Fusion albums he did after working with Miles Davis so if you are familiar withthose records this is in a similar style.You can get this CD cheaper by buying the "Warner Brother Years" which consists of all three records he did for the label. If you are a fan all three CD's are worth owning! If you love or even like Rock-Jazz fusion music I would think you would be happy with this album.
The reason it's only getting 4 stars is due to the formate issue. THIS IS NOT AN SACD IT S A SHM-CD, can SHM CD's be used as SACD '? Yes but they are SACD only, they will not play on CD players and SHM CD's can not be layered so there is no such thing as a SHM-SACD hybrid. This is very clearly marked SHM - CD. and, at this time, there is no SACD version of the album!

Rust Never Sleeps (Blu-Ray)
Rust Never Sleeps (Blu-Ray)
DVD ~ Neil Young
Price: CDN$ 19.98
24 used & new from CDN$ 19.91

4.0 out of 5 stars BLU RAY IS REGION FREE!, June 30 2016
This is my all time favourite concert film so I was pumped to see the Blu Ray coming out. According to Amazon's listing it as region 2 which it is not. I contacted Neil Young's website and they informed me they are region free. So I bought mine at a local record store and sure enough it is REGION FREE.
The film it's self is Neil at his best! The set list contains some of Neil's best "Like A Hurrican", "powder Finger", "Comes a Time", actually the whole show is kind of a Neil Young greatest hits.
The Blu Ray defiantly has better audio (192/24 DTS HD 5.1 and 192/24 PCM stereo) then the last release and the picture is from a new transfer of the original film but it was shot on 16mm film so it is grainy and the improved video of Blu Ray does make it more noticeable. That is the reason I took one star off.
If you are a Neil Young fan, or just a fan of classic rock, this is for you!

A Moon Shaped Pool
A Moon Shaped Pool
Price: CDN$ 13.97
31 used & new from CDN$ 13.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent New CD From Radiohead!, June 24 2016
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This review is from: A Moon Shaped Pool (Audio CD)
This is excellent new release! Once again Radiohead pushes their boundaries to come up with a new sound that still sounds like Radiohead. It does not have the singles that OK computer and the Bends had I would say it's closer to Kid A as far as sound go. They have used strings on this album but it still has it's edge. This is an excellent late night trippy CD that would be great to help you unwind after a night out.
I don't see this being the huge hit record OK computer was but if you like your music a little more challenging this should be for. Even tho Radiohead hate the label this is modern day Progressive rock!

Chicago Quadio Box (9 Disc Blu-Ray Audio)
Chicago Quadio Box (9 Disc Blu-Ray Audio)
Price: CDN$ 204.25
18 used & new from CDN$ 120.66

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 9 Blu Ray Audio Only Release, June 21 2016
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First off the music here is top notch and the mastering is excellent but it does have its draw backs. These quad mixes were made for the long time discontinued quad stereo's and 8 tracks that never took off. This quad mixes are good but were designed for different formate. The sound is nice and full and nice placements of speakers. I will not get into the music since if you are cosidering this set you must know it to folk over $155 and you will you monies worth but beware there are so magor drawbacks. The main one is using a analog source that has sat around for the at lease 35 years so it's limited in dianamics.
My biggest complaint is the quad mixes. As mention these were originally 4 track master from 35 years ago. Suprisinglty they are in good shape. But I do not care for the quad mixes to much. Ideally you should have four full range speakers which most home setups do not have. Most rear speakers are set so the sub handles the bass and due to this the horns coming out of the back speakers sound very thin. When I switched my speakers to full range there was a very noticeable improvement in sound. I think this was the cheapest way off putting this out. A 5.1 track would give much better sound but that would mean remastering all the albums again. All the quad sound good but there is not an isolated bass track which means you are getting bass form your speakers (when using sub it's transferred).
I really love this box set, issue aside. And when you think about it Chicago music it was totally made for 5.1's down the road let's hope they get out
Not slagging this products I was just hoping for more. But if you love Chicago and have surround you should take the chance to pick it up. The music I s top notch but they could have giving us a bass track!
Still very glad i picked the set
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2016 5:46 PM PDT

Ultimate Collection
Ultimate Collection
Price: CDN$ 58.04
9 used & new from CDN$ 41.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection, Horrible Audio! SACD VERSION IN NOT GOOD, June 21 2016
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This review is from: Ultimate Collection (Audio CD)
I was so pumped when I saw this was coming out. I had picked up the Roxy SACD's and was not impressed with the sound at all. So I was hoping that this would be an improvement, I was wrong the quality of the audio changes from track to track. Some sound thin, others nice and full so it's defiantly a mastering issue. I know these compilation are taken from many different sources (different albums) and Roxy's production improved over the years but they could have done better with this. Some songs like Dance Away sound really good where others like Tokyo Joe have boarded line distortion and then there are some that just completely thin out.
This is a good collection of songs (not all of them his best) but I can't get over the sound. I don't think I will buy anymore of these Hong Kong releases again. I read a review somebody wrote for the SACD of Santana's greatest hits he had the exact problem with track quality changing song to song.
Seriously avoid this like the plague, it's a train wreak. If you look at my other reviews you will see overwhelmingly that I like the SACD format but there is too much to forgive here. Biggest was of $60 ever!
It's getting to the point now where ther only certain labels I buy from MoFi but out nice warm sounding SACD's and APO (Analog Productions) who put out excellent SACD 's be it most of it jazz. But you do get the odd rock release. The more I get into SACD I am starting to realize it's not the best format for all types of music. classical , a Jazz, Folk and more open acoustic records . They all sound great. But the more rock music I pick the less I like the way the sound (just personal opinion. I am only one person and this based on opinion not any facts. Like what you like) were some groups like genesis the SACD 5.1 sound brilliant (they do have a little too much compression on them but sound good).
Like I said I am stop buying most rock (still buying the the new Santana's (Abraxas and 3)thou) in this formate and focus more on Jazz. Still love my Rock music but maybe it time for a change. But keep the SACD's coming because most are great.

Pet Sounds - 50th Anniversary (Collector's Edition) [4CD + Blu-ray Audio]
Pet Sounds - 50th Anniversary (Collector's Edition) [4CD + Blu-ray Audio]
Price: CDN$ 88.85
17 used & new from CDN$ 79.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Beach Boy Record Gets Another Box Set, June 13 2016
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50 years after its release this album is still great! Not a bad track on the whole album which says a lot since I am not really a Beach Boys fan. I was first made aware of this record via Paul MacCartney who said it was the inspiration behind Sgt. Pepper's... (It was 1987 which was the 20th Anniversary of Sgt. pepper's). Since then I have owned a few versions of this classic including the 5.1 (actually 4.0 since the genius that mixed it did not use the center channel or sub woofer track) from its 40th Anniversary . The first 5.1 was good but not great. I was not a fan of that mix. So here we are ten years later and a new 5.1 mix. This time they used the sub channel but still did not make use of the center channel, again! But it is a nicer mix.
There are some audio issues, not defects but limitations of the day. For example this was recorded on 4 and 8 tracks machines when making the record so they had to double up on the tracks ( record more then one instrument per track) and why this is an issues is do to the fact that it causes audio drop out on certain tracks. Best example is the bass (The best thing about 5.1 is it physically separated instruments by having them come out of separate speakers). What happens when you double up is the bass will sound nice and full coming out of your sub then when other instruments kick in the bass thins out. That is because the tape it's recorded on is trying to accommodate everything that's going so it has to compromise. Find neutral ground for everything it's trying to reproduce. That happens a lot on these recordings. It can also sound thin at times because of what equipment they used at the time of recording plus this was originally a mono album (first proper stereo mix did not come out until the 80's) so everything was coming out of the one speaker (usually two speakers with the same thing coming out of both) so again a greater compromise).i don't want to make the recording sound bad, it doesn't. But it is 50 years old and recording technology is much better now a days.
The rest of the package is great, 4 CD's of out takes alternate tracks and different mixes (mono, stereo, instrumental you name it it's here) the CD's are not overly compressed which is nice now a days. It comes in a hard cover book case with good liner notes and excellent art work.
This is a very nice box set and I could not be happier with the product I am only taking the one star off due to, again, limitations of the sound quality of the time.

The Complete Columbia Album Collection
The Complete Columbia Album Collection
Price: CDN$ 143.99
26 used & new from CDN$ 96.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Hancock Box Set, A Dream For Fans!, June 8 2016
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Excellent box set! Besides his work with Miles Davis and his hit single in the '80's "Rocket" I had heard very little if any of his solo work. I picked up the 5.1 of his "Headhunters" album a few months ago and loved it. Then I picked up the Quad mix SACD of "Thrust" and loved it! So I was ready to check out more of his work when I came across this box set. I paid $109 for it from an seller (works out to about $3 per disc) and have listen to very little else since picking this up. Not every records great but most are and the mastering is excellent. You also get 8 albums that are being released in North America for the first time (only available in Japan up until now). With 32 discs there is a lot to listen to but it's quit the journey. From Jazz and Funk to piano jazz it's all here.
I know this is a sizeable collection but if you like his work it's a great deal!

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