Question Of Balance - The Moody Blues
It was very interesting auditioning my original vinyl and 1997 CD remastered versions of The Moody Blues 1970 album "Question Of Balance", in particular having just done a similar review between vinyl and a late 80's vintage CD release of "Days Of Future Passed" here on Audiogon.
DOFP is unique in the Moody's catalog in that it was conceived from the outset as an audio showpiece, and the CD copy in particular in fact delivered a true knockout performance.
Unfortunately, I have no sonic revelations of equal magnitude to report in revisiting Question Of Balance. Both vinyl and CD recordings were very serviceable, but different, each in a manner generally consistent with the traditional strengths of each medium.
The vinyl copy (which admittedly has seen considerable use over the years but is still in pretty good shape) had the touch of analog warmth combined with a smooth and rhythmic presentation and perhaps a bit more overall impact in the bass and percussion which helped carry things nicely.
But I felt in both cases the low end was the biggest weakness in both recordings of QOB.
The vinyl copy had perhaps a more involving flow to the rhythm and persussion lines.
The CD copy presented a sharper more detailed focus on the low end that was perhaps more revealing and accurate, but perhaps abit less satisfying musically.
In this case the CD copy was remastered and the differences from vinyl were quite distinct as a result. The remastering really did bring things more into focus and provided a more detailed and revealing presentation overall. I could really hear this with the CD in particular after listening to the vinyl, more so than when initially listening to CD prior.
This may be the kind of album that lends itself to digital remastering to new, high quality vinyl. The warmth and analog flow of vinyl + the crisp and clear detail of a good digital remastering? Now, together, that might be really be the best of both worlds!
I think there may be some new remasterings of the Moodies classic 7 albums on the near horizon that could be worth keeping an eye on in this case.
Otherwise, for now, I'd say if you have original vinyl of Question of Balance that is still in good shape and a good system to play it on, and you are a vinyl affectionado, probably no reason to change.
But if you are the type that is always interested to see what fruits the latest and greatest digital mastering technology applied properly can yield, definitely check out the newer digital remasterings.
I would say the nature of the way most of the classic 7 Moody's albums were produced makes them a unique challenge to get totally "right".
Both copies of QOB I auditioned were enjoyable, but I don't think I've heard the best possible version yet. We'll see.....
I'm thinking I will do at least one more similar review for the album "Seventh Sojourn", which is one of my all time personal favorites. I have both vinyl and Mobile Fidelity CD versions (maybe one other version as well) that I can try. Stay tuned....
The rhythm sections have considerable weight and flow that provide the foundation for the unique and rather dense sonic tapestry of sound that characterizes several Moodies albums from this period.