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My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet.

Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:30 pm

I think everyone knows I keep it as real as it gets so here it is, the good and the bad.

At first glance of the packaging I felt it resembled the FTD foldout releases.

I do like a nice 7 or 8 inch square product like this, but the problem that is first evident with
this release is that the way the CD's are in a sort of slip case means you can't grasp the cd by the
edges, like you should, but have to actually touch the playing surface to pull it out. This type of design is not good.
I prefer the way FTD does it with the normal circles that fit into the center of the CD.

Not going to spend too much time on the book, but it looks very nice. Let's leave it at that.

On to the DVD.

The documentary is good, but probably will only be viewed a few times.
Nice little surprise was the few seconds of film we get from the opening show on the 9th.
The press conference is as shoppy as hell and it comes in and out of questions and answers, sometimes
you get a question, and no answer from Elvis since it was not there.
This is nearly as bad as a JAT release.
Why couldn't they get the conference from 2 or 3 sources and put together the whole thing?
The picture quality is excellant though.
Why bother including it if you can't get it right?

Now onto the afternoon show video.
This is pretty cool and the best part of the whole package IMO.
Pro-recorded sound onto fan shot footage.
Super 8 film was never intended to be widescreen format, so by including the sprockets and all the side numbers and letters that go by, they have turned Super 8 into widescreen.
This was a HUGE mistake. No reason for it. No one wants to see the sprockets and it is very
distracting to watch.
HELPFUL HINT: My DVD player remote has a Zoom feature which turns widescreen into full screen
without losing information. Do this and the sprockets are gone, and it makes watching the DVD much more enjoyable.
The footage is a bit shoppy, but is very enjoyable. Too bad more wasn't filmed and
it's too bad they didn't try to obtain some film from the evening show, to make this
a really much better package deal. The footage of the evening show that is out there,
seems to be very good too.

OK, onto the CD's.

I will start out with the evening show.
I am always hesitant whenever they want to do modern remixes of older material .
It usually goes bad. Well, there is no improvement here over the original mix.
Sorry, but James' guitar loses some levels and that is plain wrong.
Don't believe me, do an A/B comparsion of the first 4 or 5 songs, especially "That's all right" , to hear
the difference. Elvis' vocals are a tad lower as well.
The bass seems a tad higher. I don't need higher bass levels, because
I have a bass knob on my stereo to raise that if I need it.
The sound has a muddy/cloudy hue to it.

Bottom line is the original is still the goto mix for this show.

Ok, onto the afternoon show.
It sounds about the same as the evening show here.
In this case, it's an improvement, because the sound
on 'afternoon at the garden' release, was not very good.
But, it could have been made to be even better.
At the same time, I am glad it was improved upon.
And somehow the show lost 6 seconds from before.

I really think they should re-think about all these so called re-mixes.
If they can't make a real improvement over the original, then why bother at all is my position.
Just leave it alone.

Bottom line is, maybe it would have been better to just put out the legacy edition with the DVD, and that way
no different mixes on the market to confuse the fans.

Overall a mixed review. The product "looks" nice, but is it really better?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But it could have been even better.
I wouldn't have released it as it is, but that's just me.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:41 pm

ty ekenee for ya review on this release - Loved reading it - ::rocks
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Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:55 pm

Thanks for the commentary, my copy has not arrived yet but the notes about the interview segment are a tad concerning.

My understanding of including the sprockets is that there is some image information there that they wanted to include. Personally from what I have seem I would have maintained the 4:3 aspect ratio and not gone wide into the sprocket hole area.

With regards to the audio, I will reserve judgement until reviewing the set but from the samples released earlier in the year my hopes are not high. I am still keen for peoples comments on the mastering of the MSG Legacy Edition, specifically the remaster of the 1997 mix of the afternoon show.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:05 am

Thanks for your review which echos my thoughts almost exactly.

Only difference I have is that the afternoon show featured on the import CD Operation Big Apple features much better sound in my opinion than this remix. Have you heard It?

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:43 am

Mike S wrote:Thanks for your review which echos my thoughts almost exactly.

Only difference I have is that the afternoon show featured on the import CD Operation Big Apple features much better sound in my opinion than this remix. Have you heard It?


Stunning sound on the Venus AS show release indeed. I consider that one as the original mix so we now have three.
Jerry can't be heard for the most part though.

Don't have PFAP yet but can't wait to sit down and compare.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:46 am

Mike S wrote:Thanks for your review which echos my thoughts almost exactly.

Only difference I have is that the afternoon show featured on the import CD Operation Big Apple features much better sound in my opinion than this remix. Have you heard It?


No, I actually never got around to buying the import versions of those shows.
But I believe you when you say they are better in sound than these remixes.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:50 am

stan from tintane wrote:Interesting fact here is that some of the very same 8mm footage as used in the mini documentary has the sprocket hole 'blacked' out to retain the image information while at the same time removing the open white sprocket view.


Right, and also if you notice that when they used a portion of the press conference, they used a portion
that wasn't presented as 'shoppy'. They used portions to complete the documentary.

I think the reasoning was, the concert film and the full press conference footage was considered raw, and so they just left it as raw when presented on its own.

I think they could and should have even when that extra mile and put out all the footage in a much
better light.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:04 am

ekenee wrote:OK, onto the CD's.
I will start out with the evening show.
I am always hesitant whenever they want to do modern remixes of older material .
It usually goes bad. Well, there is no improvement here over the original mix...
...The sound has a muddy/cloudy hue to it.
Bottom line is the original is still the goto mix for this show.

Couldn't disagree more... the new mix vs. the old is night and day... and the new mix/remastered recording is FAR superior to the original in terms of sound quality and listening pleasure.

ekenee wrote:Overall a mixed review. The product "looks" nice, but is it really better?

Absolutely, without question. At least for the original LP, this was a show begging for a remix and the result is fantastic. :smt023

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:44 am

The problem was that this guy filmed a lot more songs than showen here. 1972 New York Experience DVD has much more albiet in lesser quality. It also has the complete press conference from different sources and exceprts for the other shows some of it pro shot.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:50 am

My set has arrived. I have not yet really scrutinised it but have played through some of the film and interview segments, and briefly listened to some of the audio, particularly focusing on Polk Salad Annie. Initial thoughts:

The way the CDs are housed is terrible - tightly constricted into little slots that you have to man-handle out to gain access. Not good. At the least the centre CD holes should be accessible so they can be pushed out. Beyond this the packaging is very nice, with some great images and presentation similar to the Big Beat set but in a smaller format.
The footage is fun but the lack of instant access to the footage points is frustrating. The frame rate is a little distracting at times but otherwise very cool to watch synced with the audio.
The interview footage is raw and choppy and thus lacks real flow. Constructing the interview from the various film sources would have been preferable, or at the least including the full audio on one of the CDs would have sufficed. Image quality is ok if a little soft.
The audio is heavily compressed.

I hope those comparing the new mixes to the old mixes are volume matching the sources first. There is a LOT more dynamic range in the 1972 mix of the evening show for example compared to the new mix - which has to be significantly reduced in volume to best compare. Here is a quick volume matched sample comparing the chorus from Polk Salad Annie from the evening show:

http://soundcloud.com/user8478287/princ ... ad-compare

The first is from Prince From Another Planet, the second is from the Complete Masters (original 1972 mix). Ignore the graph on SoundCloud as it's not accurate. This is how they actually look:
Polk Salad Annie Prince-MSG.jpg
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Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:00 am

Matthew wrote:My set has arrived. I have not yet really scrutinised it but have played through some of the film and interview segments, and briefly listened to some of the audio, particularly focusing on Polk Salad Annie. Initial thoughts:

The way the CDs are housed is terrible - tightly constricted into little slots that you have to man-handle out to gain access. Not good. At the least the centre CD holes should be accessible so they can be pushed out. Beyond this the packaging is very nice, with some great images and presentation similar to the Big Beat set but in a smaller format.
The footage is fun but the lack of instant access to the footage points is frustrating. The frame rate is a little distracting at times but otherwise very cool to watch synced with the audio.
The interview footage is raw and choppy and thus lacks real flow. Constructing the interview from the various film sources would have been preferable, or at the least including the full audio on one of the CDs would have sufficed. Image quality is ok if a little soft.
The audio is heavily compressed.

I hope those comparing the new mixes to the old mixes are volume matching the sources first. There is a LOT more dynamic range in the 1972 mix of the evening show for example compared to the new mix - which has to be significantly reduced in volume to best compare. Here is a quick volume matched sample comparing the chorus from Polk Salad Annie from the evening show:

http://soundcloud.com/user8478287/princ ... ad-compare

The first is from Prince From Another Planet, the second is from the Complete Masters (original 1972 mix). Ignore the graph on SoundCloud as it's not accurate. This is how they actually look:
Polk Salad Annie Prince-MSG.jpg


So far, we are agreeing on this.

Do the A/B comparison of the evening show and concentrate on Burton's guitar.
On the original it rings out alot more clear.
You will only need 3 or 4 songs to get the idea.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:09 am

Matthew wrote:I hope those comparing the new mixes to the old mixes are volume matching the sources first. There is a LOT more dynamic range in the 1972 mix of the evening show for example compared to the new mix - which has to be significantly reduced in volume to best compare. Here is a quick volume matched sample comparing the chorus from Polk Salad Annie from the evening show:

http://soundcloud.com/user8478287/princ ... ad-compare

The first is from Prince From Another Planet, the second is from the Complete Masters (original 1972 mix). Ignore the graph on SoundCloud as it's not accurate. This is how they actually look:
Polk Salad Annie Prince-MSG.jpg

Matthew, why would this have been done? And what advantage is gained by compressing the audio? Apparently it was done with many of the tracks on ELV1S #1 Hits.
I mean, to me the new mix sounds like it has much more life to it than the original... the original sounds very sterile. Does that "life" come from audio compression? I'm no audio expert so I'm curious why this keeps coming up with new mixes...

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:12 am

elvis-fan wrote:Matthew, why would this have been done? And what advantage is gained by compressing the audio? Apparently it was done with many of the tracks on ELV1S #1 Hits.
I mean, to me the new mix sounds like it has much more life to it than the original... the original sounds very sterile. Does that "life" come from audio compression? I'm no audio expert so I'm curious why this keeps coming up with new mixes...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:59 am

This release sounds great. I wish people would stop being cranky because "compression" was used. None of you really know what you're talking about. You just like to whine and complain. And just because you can dump a .wav file into audacity doesn't mean you know what you're looking at. Give it up, gramps.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:08 am

joeroberts wrote:This release sounds great. I wish people would stop being cranky because "compression" was used. None of you really know what you're talking about. You just like to whine and complain. And just because you can dump a .wav file into audacity doesn't mean you know what you're looking at. Give it up, gramps.



Pretty good suggestion.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:40 am

joeroberts wrote:This release sounds great. I wish people would stop being cranky because "compression" was used. None of you really know what you're talking about. You just like to whine and complain. And just because you can dump a .wav file into audacity doesn't mean you know what you're looking at. Give it up, gramps.

Such arrogance. My ears revealed to me the compression, the graph just confirms it. It's nice you think it sounds great, not everyone agrees.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:04 am

Such arrogance! Ha. I'm not the one bleating endlessly on about things I don't understand. The dynamic range is not even close to revealed in those graphs you posted. You're looking at it from a mile away.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:08 am

And another thing: You say that you have reduced the volume of the new clip to allow a fair comparison but you have reduced it far more than necessary therefore handily demonstrating your lack of knowledge.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:59 am

Nope, the core of the audio is the same. MSG just has a wider dynamic range.

Happy to help!

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:13 am

Okay. I understand where you're at. I think I should leave it there. I would challenge you to learn more about the subject.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:48 am

I can only see one graph which doesn't show a loud mastering at all, but is followed by a link about the loudness war. I'm confused, is that graph Planet or an old MSG CD ?

This is a loudness war type waveform isn't it? Planet isn't that loud, or as ear-splitting as 30 #1 Hits.

Image

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:53 am

His graph is a combination of one sample followed by the other. He has also decreased the volume to make them seem comparable. The fact is the new release has great dynamic range.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:42 am

joeroberts wrote:His graph is a combination of one sample followed by the other. He has also decreased the volume to make them seem comparable. The fact is the new release has great dynamic range.


Right I get it.

I am very pissed off by bad mastering of many kinds, I'm even fussy about Anesini's and do not agree his are the best versions for many many EP songs, but when it comes to something like 40 year old LIVE Elvis material I always just use my ears, thank the lord it isn't a soundboard or audience recording and as long as it isn't an extreme brickwall or noise-reduction disaster, hopefully enjoy it. Live Elvis collecting is hardly a sound quality-centric or consistent pursuit.

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:07 am

In some ways this is really a pointless discussion – but fun all the same. At the end of the day what we each hear or like is subjective regardless of the engineering techniques used. We should just be glad we now have another version of the mix/mastering to go to if we wish. It’s widened our choices. For some including me PFAP will be my go to disk but for others it will be Venus, TCM, Japanese, whatever. Surely, that’s a good thing. To trash this as being crap because it uses compression is wrong. It’s a different take on the concert and I don’t believe you can say it’s wrong or right just different.

The fact that compression is used is no surprise whatsoever. Anybody who checked out Michael Brauer’s website and reviews of his techniques easily available on the internet would have known that this is his art form. I posted a link on this site to a very lengthy article in one of the Sound Recording magazines all about how he applies compression to individual tracks within individual songs using a range of equipment (heavily analogue based), It is clear what he does is highly complex and very skilful. He is after a feel to a song rather than being worreid about the technical nature of it. He doesn’t simply apply compression for compressions sake.

I confess that I don’t get the graphs shown here apart from they are supposed to show a compressed dynamic range – so what? We knew that up front anyway. I always play MSG loud, old or new version, so have quite easily compared the versions and can tell differences.

One thing that surprises me though is that no one has commented on just how great EP’s vocals sound on the new versions. Surely, even those who don’t care for the release can hear the fuller and more natural tone to his voice, particularly, on the Evening Show which previously sounded thin and reedy imo.

One final thought for Matt, stating “it’s nice you think it sounds good” just sounds incredibly patronising to all those who think it does. Hopefully that’s not the sentiment you were trying to convey.

Cheers Jamie

Re: My NO-nonsense mini review of Prince from another Planet

Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:24 am

Yeah Jamie, totally. There's a time for analysis & complaint about sound quality or compression, but PFAP isn't it. It's NOT mastered or mixed in any extreme or provocative way. We even have the old mixes reissued/remastered at the same time, in an age when the CD format (not to mention Elvis' music-buying fanbase) is fizzling out. I'm not advocating indifference, just a bit of perspective and remembrance of the context.

And I agree with you, his vocals sound fantastic :)