I have all my original Moody Blues vinyl (in very good shape, too) and I have the MoFi Gold CD of "Days of Future Past".
The CD and all the vinyl are disappointing to me. Meaning not sonically spectacular as I remember them back in the day. Perhaps it was my occaisionally altered state? My system is much better now of course, but some of the old albums (like any of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, or Simon and Garfunkle) are still amazing sonically, and some (like any of the Doors, and some of Neil Young) just sound flat to me.
I've never been able to figure that one out, but I can imagine that giving the dissapointing ones the SACD treatment (or even the XRCD treatment) might breath new life into them.
I'm going to A-B the vinyl/CD Days of Future Past again this afternoon, and see if I still underwhelmed.
The SACD of "Balance" has an instantly noticable fullness compared to the CD.
I will eagerly await your response to find out if the vinal gives that same very noticeable difference.
PS> I too have a MUCH better system then when I originally listened to the record; and often in an altered state, which as we know can make everything sound fabulous.
I posted this in another thread but since you asked......
I have original first release US pressings of all the vinyl on the Deram and Threshold labels. I also have Days of Future Passed through Seventh Sojourn on MOFI CD and first release compact disc. The MOFI compact discs are marginally better than the regular compact discs but both pale in comparison to the vinyl IMO.
I've not heard the SACD and have no plans to purchase as I feel in my case it is money better spent elsewhere.
The MoFi vinyl pressing is inarguably better than the original US, UK and especially Japanese LP's. The original tapes are clearly of mediocre fidelity (Lodge and Hayward have long ago said such, also) and there's little that could be done, but MoFi did the best job with its Anadisc 2000 issue.
The SACD is wonderful sounding reworking, giving the very believable and acceptable illusion that the original recording was pretty good. Even as a purist I am very happy with the results.
So - the SACD ain't the original, but it's a much better option than anything on vinyl except the MoFi vinyl issue. I think that it would be virtually impossible to pick the MoFi over the SACD and vice-versa.
aside from the original pressings on Deram, the japanese mini lp cd is the best.
I have the original British and German vinyl pressings and the SACD versions are much better.
Could you be more specific as to the differences?
One thing about "Question", the song, not the album - the only true original version is the original pressing LP. In post production, as I have heard it, the boys added some mellotron stabs and high vocals, and mixed them in on the fly. In all subsequent verions of the song on reissues and remasters, different masters were used, and those "add ons" are missing. You can easily hear the difference if you have the original vinyl.
I have NOT yet received my "QOB" SACD (just purchased Friday from Amazon.com), but it will be interesting to see which version is on there.
There are other MB songs that are this way - "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Evening" original LP has high vocals and harmonies added, as does "Isn't Life Strange" from 7th Sojourn.
To my ears, the old original vinyl sounds very thin and bass shy compared to the SACDs of Threshold and Days. However, I do like the MOFI vinyl A LOT - these were my "go to" versions when I really wanted to listen. Now it's a toss up between the SACDs and the MoFI vinyl.
Hope this helps!
Drrdiamond, Bigger soundstage-music spreads out way past my speakers and some even comes from the sides of the room without the use of a surround system. This is especially true with Days of Future Past.
I am interested in which of the formats that I have is closest to "correct".
I'm not sure what "correct" means. I would say "what sounds the best to you". In my case, the Mofi cd sounds much better than the SACD. The SACD, although sounding more expansive, also has more noise and distortion in both the 5.1 and 2 channel. I provided a demo for a sales rep at a local hi-end store, who insisted that SACD was the best. After listening, he had to agree that the Mofi sounded better.
Which MoFi are you talking about? I have several and none sound that good. I have compared them to the vinyl and the vinyl is much better. Not so with the SACDs I have. I have not listened to them in surround.
It's very unfortunate that great bands like the Moody Blues and Yes could not get the recording productions they really deserved.
Tolerate equipment and recordings, enjoy the music!
I would agree with you on the Moody Blues but the copies of The Yes Album and Fragile are excellent and rival the best in my collection.
OTOH, although the 5 different copies of Close to the Edge in my collection don't approach sonics of The Yes Album or Fragile the Japanese version on Atlantic is quite nice; better than the MOFI by a wide margin. Interestingly both TYA and Fragile are nothing more than standard US Atlantic first releases. My copies of Tales, Tormato, and Relayer are all very good but not great.
I'll have to keep an eye out for the Japanese version of CTTE. I've got the MoFi as well and it does sound pretty good. I tried to get a UK original Fragile but got burned. It plays well enough that I get an idea of how good a clean copy must be.
I have all Moody Blues major albums on original vinyl and on CD. I have all the US remaster version CDs, the MFSL version of Seventh Sojourn and had the original CD issue versions before.
I also have many solo Moodies efforts on either vinyl or CD, depending on title.
Also have seen them live in concert 5-6 times over the years, including several times within the last 3-5 years.
I have listened mostly to the CDs of late, but plan to revisit the vinyl again soon for comparison at which time I can offer some comment if anyone is still interested.
Overall, the re-masters were a nice improvement over the original CD releases. I find the recording quality to be satisfactory as a whole, occasionally very good. I could probably offer more meaningful comment on specific albums if desired. I can't really say that any one album offers categorically better sound than another. "Keys to the Kingdom" from the early 90's is probably the sloppiest, most variable or inconsistent from song to song, but it still sounds good.
The MFSL copy of Seventh Sojourn is very enjoyable, one of my favs, but I cannot say that I think it really sounds categorically better in any meaningful way.
Live, they are exceptional, true professionals, and sound better than ever, having refined their sound and arrangements over the years.
Their discography is not recorded to the nth degree of excellence, still I am never disappointed going back to the recordings after a live performance nonetheless.
I would say the arrangements on Question of Balance are the simplest and most conventional of the classic 7 albums. As such, this album will probably sound good on more systems of various quality than the other 6. The CD remaster of this particular album is quite good, I would say.
There are other Moody albums where the arrangements and mixing seem much busier and more of a challenge to discern audio details with, I would say. Lost CHord and Children's Children come to mind.
Regarding sound stage, I can proudly say that 80% of any stereo recording I play, regardless of source, including all Moodies recordings, has a sound stage from wall to wall, about 20' across with my Ohm 5's, even though the speaks are positioned only about 5' apart from center to center. I attribute this to the omni-directional nature of the Ohms combined with good clean amplification.
For the other 20%, the recordings are generally miked with a stronger center bias, so the sound stage is variably more limited in width, depending on specifics of the recording.
Have you heard the SACD of "Question"?
No. Unfortunately I do not have a SACD player.
I think I noticed on Amazon though yesterday that there is yet another new series of Moody classic 7 remasters with bonus material available for pre-order and coming out soon? I'll be curious to hear what these sound like.
I had a chance to listen yesterday and I added a separate review comparing my CD and vinyl copies of Days Of Future Passed.
I'll try to do "Question of Balance" next when I have a chance.
I posted my Question of Balance audio review a while back and also posted Seventh Sojourn audio review including the MFSL Ultradisc recording just today, if still interested.
Several comments on the Moody Blues' albums in general:
Having attended is some 30 plus concerts including venues like DAR Constitutional Hall and Lisner in the DC area, the Wang center in Boston, etc. I can say the albums in any of the formats pale in comparison. I have had the vinyl copies (original US), CDs (German imports from from early 80's (the original cd?), the MFSL cds, SACDs and dts cds of DOFP and Seventh Sojourn, but to me the most exciting format was the Quadrophinic releases (except ISOTLC was not recorded in quad) in the early seventies on reel to reel!!! Unfortunately, my reel to reels got ripped off while in storage. The 8-track quads while a little noisy but had excellent sonics. But back to the current formats, I find all the MOFI CDs to be pleasing more so than vinyl, the SACDs to me have more distortion and the song "Question" is horroribly mixed. For DOFP and Seventh Sojourn, I like the dts versions the best. For clarification, I much prefer surround sound over stereo when mixed properly. It's like being at a studio concert. Anyway, as a big time Moodies fan, it's my 2 cents.
I 've seen them 6 times, 1st in 1978 (Octave Tour), 3 times in this millenium. I agree the recordings all pale in comparison to the Moodies live today. THey have really honed their repertoire to perfection live on most any decent night. Like fine wine, they've actually improved live considerably over the years, despite age.
I could see where quad and surround would lend themselves well to the Moodies classic 7 recordings.
"Hall of Fame" is a good more recent live DVD to get a sample. I hear the more recent "Lovely To See You" DVD is even better.
I saw them live on the tour LTSY was recorded on (sans Ray Thomas, who recently retired). IT was an exceptional performance of an exceptional set of tunes.
Justin Hayward is one of the most talented singer/songwriter//guitarists in the business and is highly underrated as a guitar player in particular IMHO. His performances live with the Moodies is something to treasure.
I saw them this summer in Atlanta. They were good but I feel they are not what they once were. I really like Ray Thomas' replacemnt but still miss him being in the band. Legend of Mind is a fav.
I'm a big Ray Thomas fan but I was OK with him retiring. I've heard LEgend of a Mind on many occasion and was happy to see them fit in some other less recently heard tunes like The Actor and Are You Sitting Comfortably.
Would love to hear stuff from Seventh Sojourn like "You and Me" and "Land Of Make Believe".
Hooking back up with Michael Pinder would be interesting but I doubt it will ever happen if it hasn't already.
M. Pinder has released some of his own stuff as well as his son. I haven't heard any of it.
I agree that Justin is a fantastic songwriter, vocalist and has one of the sweetest guitar sounds ever. I was fortunate to catch Justin doing his solo tour (in 1996, I believe) at the Birchmere in Arlington, Va. He did the classic Moodies stuff along with solo efforts including several cuts from The View From the Hill album. I enjoyed the older Moodies concerts more than the more recent ones. They miss a lot without Pinder and Thomas vocals. Also the synthesizers are just not a as mellow as the mellotron /chamberlain. Pinder was the master, as he also worked for the company in his early years. Although he has not done anything lately, his albums "The Promise" and "Among the Stars" are nice. Again with the early Moodies, it was the vocals and Pinder & Thomas were as important as Hayward and Lodge. Unfortunately these days, Lodge's vocal are very erratic and in a couple of concerts attended, just plain bad. Solo efforts from Hayward, (Songwriter, Moving Mountains, and The View from the Hill) and Hayward - Lodges (Blue Jays) are also great.
I have "The Promise" on vinyl. Pinder/Moodies fans would like it. Very "astral" with some nice melodies and flourishes. The recording is nice as well.
Also have both Ray THomas albums on vinyl (From Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes and Dreams). THey lie somewhere between older and newer Moodies albums in nature. There are a lot of very good songs performed and produced immaculately with Ray' voice in prime vibrato form. These songs are very MOR in design overall but will make you feel good if you listen carefully. There is a piece with calliope on HWAD that is very interesting from an audiophile perspective.
I also like Graeme Edge's solo works, "Kick Off Your Muddy Boots" and "Paradise Ballroom" very much each. These have a more rock/blues orientation than the typical Moodies solo album. He teamed with guitarist Adrian Gurvitz on these. Gurvitz is a very talented guitarist and there are many very excellent guitar riffs on these albums that few have ever heard. The albums suffer a bit with Gurvitz's vocals perhaps but the playing is so good you may not care.
Lodge's "Natural Avenue" is a very nice listen from start to end. Lodge never had the best voice for leads, but he does the job here and most every song is quite good. ALso excellent sound and production on this one.
I'm familiar with Hayward's "Songwriter" and "Night Flight" solo works. These are OK but, a bit too poppish and MOR overall. I tend to miss more in Justin's solo works I've heard compared to his work with the Moodies. Many like "View From A Hill" and consider that his best, but I have not heard it (its on my "buy" list though).
Of course then there is Hayward and Lodge's solo effort "Blue Jays" which many consider to be on par with the best of the Moodies works, and holds a very distinctive place in the adult-oriented, classic pop/rock archives. It is a most wonderful artistic work with immaculate production and sound with orchestral and vocal harmony flourishes that help round out the sound nicely on a good system. Highly recommended.
I am and have been a large Moody Blues fan since the late 60s. My first concert was at the LSU assembly center early 70s and the last was just a few months ago at the intimate venue of Beau Rivage in Biloxi. By far the best of the number of shows i've seen was at Audubon Park in New Orleans during the early 90s a full 3 plus hours of Moodys magic music at a super out door show.
My preference lyes with vinyl but i have heard the Moodys in all formats. For me vinyl has the best music delivery, sound and feel. IMO
What was mentioned above is so true enjoy the Moody Blues any way you can. They please me as much now then the first time i heard them many years ago. I love them Moodys and by this thread so do most of you so drop the needle or press the button and enjoy some of the best classic rock music ever recorded.
Well put. I echo your comments, BUT do yourself a favour.GET Justin's "Moving Mountains", "View fron the Hill", "Classic Blue" (he does covers of others great work like "stairway to Heaven", "Blackbird",etc.) and his DVD "Live in San Juan Capistrano" You won't be disappointed!!!