2-23-12 The Who – Audiophile titles
Texas bluesman Johnny Winter born 1944, composer Handel born 1685; Winter.
I have likely been a fan of The Who for close to 44 years of my 53.5 years on this planet. As an AM radio listener, I liked “Happy Jack”, “Magic Bus”… I bought most of their albums in real time from “Tommy” to “It’s Hard” – I like some better than others, somewhat obviously.
Never the best sounding LP’s, I was a bit surprised when I started seeing albums by The Who attaining audiophile status via high-end re-issues. Nobody was more surprised than I to find that “Tommy” (Deluxe edition) double SA-CD had absolutely amazing sound! I think I first heard it on a sampler SA-CD: “Pinball Wizard” – Townshend’s guitar riff at the beginning was just an explosion! So, my butt got kicked from an album that I never thought of as particularly “good-sounding”.
I got some other “Deluxe editions” by The Who – “Live at Leeds” (now a double CD), “The Who Sell Out” (with both mono and stereo versions of the album) – and an SA-CD of the stereo “Deluxe edition” of “My Generation”! “Tommy” was still clearly the winner, in the audiophile sweepstakes.
A series of expensive tightly DSD-mastered SA-CD non-hybrids appear in Japan – and “Who’s Next” is on one of the initial release schedules – oh, heavenly! The Track Record UK LP sounds great, so – I ordered one of those up in a quick hurry. Alas, squashed by Jon Astley – the Japanese SA-CD doesn’t even have as good of sound as the UK LP.
February 2012 – “Live at Leeds” is now being offered as an SA-CD from Japan. Warning lights start to flash – “Mastered by Jon Astley”? No, thanks. Uh, my regular 2CD of “Live at Leeds” sounds just fine, thank you. And it’s a live recording, for goodness’ sake. Don’t think I need an SA-CD of it (@ 79 yen to the US$1.-)
Oh, there’s a $150 “Quadrophenia” boxed set with a 5.1 disc in it? Probably a DVD-A, would be my guess. And it’s not the whole album in 5.1? OK. Guess I’ll have to wait and find a used copy of it somewhere, when I have a credit slip. Never my favorite Who album, in any event.
Another 5.1 note in The Who family of artists: Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane “Rough Mix” was briefly available as a 5.1 disc when it was released as a DualDisc! I checked it, and YES! It has been mixed properly in 5.1!
So, one can be a fan of The Who and have “good sound”, too. It’s up to you as to which ones you spend your money on – but I’d recommend the “Tommy” (Deluxe edition 2CD) that’s somewhat readily available. Even if you can savor the 5.1 goodness, you will still be able to hear tremendous sound on the most excellent ‘clean’ mastering.