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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010


though as several people point out, the Sundazed vinyl has the best sound...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that for sure about the Sundazed LPs? I've been tempted by the new set but would love to be able to save £70 and leave well alone.


5:54 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

I hope other people will chime in here. I'm no sound engineer: I'm just relaying what I hear said. And I suppose I'm culturally primed to feel that vinyl promises more than CDs and that a specialist company strives more conscientiously than Sony BMG World Conquest Records Inc. Pending others' views, you should at least google for reviews of the Sundazed before deciding.

11:17 pm  
Anonymous Kieran said...

I got the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas, performed by Alfred Brendel, for less than 25 euro the other day, in the same store they're selling Bob's latest folly for 85 euros.

Switch the two prices and the Beethoven is still cheap and I wouldn't buy Bob's.

I have them on vinyl, tape and CD. They been remixed, remastered and now they're un-mastered and "restored" to the way he intended, apparently. If, in fact, he ever intends anything.

I agree the Sundazed sounds great, but this is all part of the imbuilt nostalgia that rock music encourages. It's a faulty package and no subsitutute for creativity.

In fact, it's the exact opposite to that. Bob has an extensive back catalogue - and he has maybe double that in re-releases, greatest hits, essential things, etc. It's all a bit demeaning to his legacy, and confusing too...

8:38 am  
Anonymous John Carvill said...

Vinyl definitely sounds better than CDs. Or, at least, old vinyl does. However, I read that the last Bootleg Series release (Tell Tale Signs) was mastered from relatively low bit rate digital files. Digital vinyl: what's the point?

The recent Beatles CD remasters, the mono ones anyway, sound so good that they can almost compete with the sound of original mono vinyl versions.

I have heard mixed reports about the Sundazed Dylan vinyls, some people love them, others say they make their ears hurt. Obviously original vinyl will always sound better, but this can be prohibitively expensive, particularly for mono. I bought a stereo copy of 'Blonde on Blonde' a while back, in very nice condition, for £10. But a mono copy, in excellent condition, can cost around £100 on ebay.

The trouble with the Sundazed is that you are always going to be potentially prone to worrying that proper, original vinyl would sound better. Whereas, if the new Sony/Columbia mono vinyls have been done right, then they should be the next best thing to original 60s vinyls. But I haven't seen any reports from hard-core audiophiles yet.

11:48 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thanks for these comments. See new post (Slightly Clunky Part 2).

2:25 pm  
Anonymous Kieran said...

Just reading back, I wonder what we mean when we say vinyl sounds "better". Is vinyl the more natural sound for this music - given it was originally recorded for vinyl - or does anyone think that the crackle and hiss you get with vinyl lends the music an authentic, ancient feel that adds more to the listening experience?

I listen to H61 on CD and don't mind it. I have it on tape too and the difference is negligible. Same with the vinyl, though none of these are mono recordings.

The only thing I won't buy is the dreadful remasters, though I tried one - Street Legal - and whoever was culpable for this travesty ought to be hung upside-down outside Sony and made listen to "Ugliest Girl in the World". I only heard "Changing of the Guards" and I was incensed.

But surely there's a reason why mono went the way of the dodo? And does having it in mono - or stereo - change the actual substance of the music? I don't think it does, so why all the re-issues and so forth?

Genuine question! I'm not taking potshots at it - again - but just curious...

2:38 pm  
Anonymous John Carvill said...

What I mean by 'better' is really an umbrella term for a number of difficult-to-quantify aspects of the sound you get from vinyl. Terms such as 'warmer', 'organic', and 'more alive' spring to mind. Of course nothing is simple: there is vinyl and then there is vinyl.

Yes, clicks and hiss can add atmosphere, and give you a blast of nostalgia, but they don't form a part of what I mean when I say I prefer the sound of vinyl.

As for the CDs, I was very pleased with the remastered 'Blonde on Blonde', by which I mean the single CD version of the audio layer of the SACD version. However I'm still not sure about 'Blood on the Tracks', that remaster sounded somehow 'wrong' to me. But then I also have a perfectly good vinyl copy of that album.

With the recent Beatles remasters, I find an original stereo (or even 1970s) vinyl beats the remastered CD hands down, but the mono CD remasters are harder to distinguish from their original 60s mono counterparts. But that Beatles mono remasters box set is very nice (if a tad expensive) and collecting every Beatles album on pristine original tube cut 60s vinyl would require a second mortgage.

10:48 am  

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