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  1. #1

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    Default MFSL "Quadrophenia" CD

    Does anyone else think this disc sounds quite muddy? I've always been disappointed with the tonality, even though I love the songs and the concept and worship Townshend and the boys.

    It does sound better at high volumes.
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    Probably others know much more about this album than I do, but I remember buying it on vinyl when it was new.

    I saw my one and only quadrophonic sound setup in a hi-fi store in Monterey, Calif. It was an early attempt at surround sound with two front and two rear speakers. Just never caught on and I don't think many quadrophonic records were ever produced.

    I always loved The Who and liked this album but I only ever had a stereo setup back then and never even attempted to actually hear it played on 4 speakers, other than the brief listen I got at the stereo store (I think it was called Stereo West). I remember not thinking it was worth the cost of two more speakers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stretchl View Post
    Does anyone else think this disc sounds quite muddy? I've always been disappointed with the tonality, even though I love the songs and the concept and worship Townshend and the boys.

    It does sound better at high volumes.
    That seems to be the case with a lot of 'classic 70s' on SACD (whether MFSL or SHM or others).

    I remember getting the SHM-SACD of Who's Next thinking I'd be blown away, but was rather disappointed at its 'dullness'.

    I got the SHM-SACD of Quadrophenia - same thing.

    I tried the ABKCO SACD for the Stones Let it Bleed - extremely dull.

    The original mastering/mixing is really what will determine how good a re-issue will sound(regardless of media).

    Remastering/mixing will only get you so far.... a fully tricked out Pinto is still a Pinto...

    I've read on the internet (so it must be true) that the Stones purposely went for the trashy thick muddy sound - so you'll never hear a pristine layered and spacious sound from their catalog.

    Oh well.....
    Last edited by Erik Tracy; 11-02-2012 at 11:36 AM.

    H9: If you don't trust what you are hearing, then maybe you need to be less invested in a hobby which all the pleasure comes from listening to music.

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    Erik, I don't find those you mentioned dull at all. IMO, Who's Next never sounded better, but you do have put some volume into it because it's not compressed like a lot of stuff is. Same with the others, including MoFi's Quadrophenia.

    It may also be possible that it's got something to do with your SACD player.
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    The Steve Hoffman mastered, midline Canadian Who's Next CD sounds very good (given that, IMO, it is not a great sounding recording - which is very unfortunate); on the order of an early US Decca LP pressing. I've never owned a UK pressing of it :-(

    Quadrophenia had nothing to do with quadraphonic sound, although it shared the same Latinate prefix. My purchased-new MCA copy actually sounds decent but hardly spectacular, and it is a bit of a messy mix (as Townshend himself has complained, at points). The movie soundtrack (mixed, if memory serves, by John Entwistle) has a bright crisp sound that's quite different to the original. The orginal album does sound best when played loud. :-)



    I have a backup archival copy :-) of the CD layer from the hybrid SACD/CD of Let it Bleed and the sound is just superb. I never thought the Stones "machine" was capable of such high quality recording and mixdown.
    Last edited by mhardy6647; 11-03-2012 at 06:57 AM.
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    mhardy, my memory of hearing quadrophonic sound for the first time is 40 years old. You are undoubtedly correct that it wasn't Quadrophenia. The album was released very close to the first time (and possibly only time) I heard quad sound and over the years I must have associated the two more than they should be. I do think it influenced the name of the album though.

    I remember when I saw the 4 speakers with the chair set up in the middle of them, that I thought it would be hard to set up a room with speakers behind me. Now of course, with surround sound, we do it all the time, but it's still not always easy, depending on the size and shape of the room.
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    Quadrophenia refers to the main character in the movie having psychological problems, 4 personalities. At least that's what I read way back when (1974?).

    IMHO it's a much better album than Tommy. "The Real Me" is one of my all time favorite Who songs.

    I have a regular old redbook copy, and it sounds muffled at normal volumes. Much better when played louder.
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    I agree, much better than Tommy; a grittier and somewhat less goofy storyline - and better music (and performance) overall. Keith Moon particularly was at the top of his game on Quadrophenia (i.e., whatever mixture of booze and drugs he was on were all the right ones for those sessions). Side three of the original LP is about as good as the Who gets (which is to say as good as rock and roll gets, I'd further opine).

    The film soundtrack LP is an interesting artifact and worth seeking out - I don't know if it is easy or hard to find in any particular format. The Quadrophenia film is also surprisingly good; including essentially a cameo appearance by Gordon "Sting" Sumner as the Ace Face in what I believe was his film debut.

    Finally, in the interest of It was the 1970s-style disclosure :-) My very first copy of Quadrophenia was an eight-track.
    Last edited by mhardy6647; 11-07-2012 at 10:38 AM. Reason: whatever mixture of booze and drugs I'm on appears to have interfered with my typing skills...
    all the best,
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    I agree, much better than Tommy; a grittier and somewhat less goofy storyline - and better music (and performance) overall. Keith Moon particularly was at the top of his game on Quadrophenia (i.e., whatever mixture of booze and drugs he was on were all the right ones for those sessions). Side three of the original LP is about as good as the Who gets (which is to say as good as rock and roll gets, I'd further opine).

    The film soundtrack LP is an interesting artifact and worth seeking out - I don't know if it is easy or hard to find in any particular format. The Quadrophenia film is also surprisingly good; including essentially a cameo appearance by Gordon "Sting" Sumner as the Ace Face in what I believe was his film debut.

    Finally, in the interest of It was the 1970s-style disclosure :-) My very first copy of Quadrophenia was an eight-track.
    Can't remember what's on side three, but the whole album is strong. I agree about the movie. I saw it at a theater after it's initial run and was genuinely surprised at how good it is. Sting was really good in his role - this was a good 4-5 years before the Police gained fame. Still remember the scene for which Bellboy was the soundtrack - Sting as a bellhop! - and when the main character discovered that someone he idolized in the club scene was doing menial labor.

    Keith's performance was particularly stunning. The first time I heard "The Real Me", his drumming along with John Entwistle's bass just blew my mind. And then Pete's rhythm guitar embellishes the horn section with syncopated chord accents.

    I read Keith's biography several years ago, and one of the points made is that he never practiced on his own. He only played when the Who were in the studio or on tour. I HATE guys like that! ! ! !
    Last edited by drumminman; 11-07-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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    Side Three:

    5:15
    Sea and Sand
    Drowned
    Bell Boy
    all the best,
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Erik, I don't find those you mentioned dull at all. IMO, Who's Next never sounded better, but you do have put some volume into it because it's not compressed like a lot of stuff is. Same with the others, including MoFi's Quadrophenia.

    It may also be possible that it's got something to do with your SACD player.
    Hey Jesse,
    I get what you are saying.

    I sat down today to give Who's Next another spin and would agree that you need to put some volume into this.

    It does sound really good with some 'oomph' behind it.

    And the SHM-SACD is better than the redbook CD I have and better than the original LP release I have (although - that old vinyl did clean up nicely and sure sounds good).

    But, relatively speaking, it still sounds dull compared to some other SACDs on my rig.

    Now - I've got some B&W bookies - and I know that you don't care for B&W - but I think you can agree with me that they are the antithesis of being laid back or dull. But overall, the rest of my rig kinda balances out to some nice synergy and I admit to being a dynamic/detail freak.

    I did compare the SHM-SACD of Who's Next with the SHM-SACD of Steely Dan's Aja, and Dire Straits Brothers in Arms.

    Relatively speaking from a pure sonics comparison, Who's Next was dull.

    I have not heard the MFSL version, but I've read that the SHM-SACD of Who's Next is 'better' and THE definitive version - so that's what I plonked some major coin for.

    Is the MFSL better? If so, I may opt for that and give that a spin.

    H9: If you don't trust what you are hearing, then maybe you need to be less invested in a hobby which all the pleasure comes from listening to music.

  12. #12

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    Is the MFSL better?
    Of Who's Next? No, it's horrible.
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