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Abba Voyage Sound Quality

Alisterkoran

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Anyone else bought the new Abba Album? I didn't have high hopes to be honest and as such am not disappointed, I doubt it'll become a classic.

Anyway I bought the Amazon Orange Transparent LP (Matrix A3/B3). Good grief it sounds dire! Although I make sure my stylus is clean (using a 10x magnification hand lens) before I play a record, after the first track I was convinced the stylus was massively dirty. I checked it, nope, clean. Checked my turntable connections etc. I honestly thought the problem was at my end. But no. The music sounds dull, robbed of any high frequency info and transients. Cymbals etc can only just be heard if one listens carefully. Vocals and instrumental layers just a muddled mess.

So, I then checked the 24/96 download version (genuine 24/96 not up-sampled). The frequency balance is better, high frequency details are now higher, but not perfect. Album DR is 8 which matches most other Abba albums, so ok. But oh dear, as soon as multiple layers of instruments are used in the more complicated tracks, the vocals aren't forward enough in the mix so get lost and It's difficult to understand what is being sung. Also, the multiple layers just end up muddling the sound. One should be able to distinguish the different layers of instruments, but not here. Checking previous Abba albums during song parts with multiple layers, much much clearer, with obvious space between the layered instruments.

Taking one relatively simple track as an example, "Keep an Eye on Dan" (DR:8) The sound overall is dull, there's no 'sparkle', the drums have been compressed too much, Old Abba tracks with a DR of 8 have sparkle, the drums have a forcefulness. And then, as with the rest of this album, the vocals are too far back in them mix. I realise the singers voices have deepened with age and I'm trying to take this into account, but still. Presently listening to "No Doubt About It" Classic Abba type track. It's a horrible mess.

I wasn't expecting anything amazing from this album, but I was at least expecting the usual recording, mixing and mastering quality, the Abba 'sound' of old.

I'd be interested in what others think of the sound quality of this new Abba album.

Thanks,
Ali.

P.s. after the Voyage album, the next album in my queue happens to be Ac/Dc's "Power Up". Good grief, someone's just turned up the treble control from -3 to 11 ! From a dull album straight to an overly bright one. Crazy!
 
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EMIS

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Not an ABBA fan myself, but I bought Voyage for my wife on yellow vinyl. I must agree with Alisterkoren, I feel his comments describe the sound precisely. Bandwidth of an AM radio station, way too much bass, way too much odd sounding compression, and a tad distorted to boot. Played an original Super Trouper 1980 LP this morning for comparison, the 1980 cut sounds balanced, clear and undistorted right up to the centre. The songs on Voyage are OK, they do grow a bit, but anyone expecting the bouncy pop tunes of of the seventies will be disappointed. I wouldn't cast derision on the artists on account of age, we will all be that age soon enough. The songs are a little dull, and the mastering is duller, but that said under the recorded mist the performances are actually fine.

Cheers

Bri
 

sarumbear

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Not an ABBA fan myself, but I bought Voyage for my wife on yellow vinyl. I must agree with Alisterkoren, I feel his comments describe the sound precisely. Bandwidth of an AM radio station, way too much bass, way too much odd sounding compression, and a tad distorted to boot. Played an original Super Trouper 1980 LP this morning for comparison, the 1980 cut sounds balanced, clear and undistorted right up to the centre. The songs on Voyage are OK, they do grow a bit, but anyone expecting the bouncy pop tunes of of the seventies will be disappointed. I wouldn't cast derision on the artists on account of age, we will all be that age soon enough. The songs are a little dull, and the mastering is duller, but that said under the recorded mist the performances are actually fine.

Cheers

Bri
Not only music is dead but recording engineering is dead too. :mad:
 

sarumbear

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Mostly before. He overlapped with Lawrence Welk, and Frank Chacksfield among others. Then of course there's Martin Denny. ;)
I was hinting that Donald Fagan recordings are very good hence recording quality died much later.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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And of course there were those London Phase 4 albums by the likes of Stanley Black and Roland Shaw (Themes For Secret Agents). I have that one on 7 1/2 ips open reel. Leopold Stokowski embraced Phase 4 with his "Scherazade" and others. :p
 

Robin L

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And of course there were those London Phase 4 albums by the likes of Stanley Black and Roland Shaw (Themes For Secret Agents). I have that one on 7 1/2 ips open reel. Leopold Stokowski embraced Phase 4 with his "Scherazade" and others. :p
The Stokowski/LSO Phase 4 recording of Beethoven's 9th is one of the best, albeit not among the best recorded. The first three movements have a fairly "normal" recording job for the time, there's plenty of sonic manipulation in the finale. Still, one of the best traditional performances of the 9th.
 

restorer-john

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I beg to differ. Donal Fagan, The Nightfly is one the best recorded pop albums.

It is very good, apart from Fagan's vocals. If they'd recorded him without adding that "splatter effect", the album would have been 1000% better.

And I have several copies, including the original Japanese pressed 2nd run after the initial "faulty" batch where they supposedly used an analogue 30ips tape as a master for CD. I've never heard or seen one of the "faulty" ones, but I'd like to, maybe it's not worse, but better!
 

MakeMineVinyl

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The Stokowski/LSO Phase 4 recording of Beethoven's 9th is one of the best, albeit not among the best recorded. The first three movements have a fairly "normal" recording job for the time, there's plenty of sonic manipulation in the finale. Still, one of the best traditional performances of the 9th.
I agree. I have that record. Stokowski is always been one of my favorite conductors.
Phase 4 was not my favorite however. They tended to pump everything up to within an inch of its life.
 

fordiebianco

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