Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crosby, Stills & Nash: Audio Fidelity Gold Cd Review and Giveaway!






















Audio Fidelity has just released their gold cd remastering of the classic, self-titled 1969 debut release from Crosby, Stills & Nash. While I normally review vinyl, this particular compact disc release deserves coverage--as it rivals the best vinyl releases this fantastic title has seen over the years.

Crosby, Stills & Nash, was originally released during the 1841 Broadway era of Atlantic Records, and one would expect that original pressings from that era would sound best. In this particular situation, however, the later Seventies-era Warner Communications masterings by George Piros actually sound much better--with much fuller bass, and less harshness to the top end than the originals. 

It was only two years ago, that Rhino released their own 180 gram audiophile vinyl reissue of this title, mastered by Bernie Grundman--and at that time, I thought it sounded very good, as it addressed the shy bass and tamed the top-end harshness of the original. The Audio Fidelity gold cd reviewed today, was mastered by Steve Hoffman at Stephen Marsh Mastering.

The Sound 
As soon as you spin this gold cd, you'll hear what has come to be the hallmark of Hoffman's masterings--a magic midband that adds body and complexity to the vocals, brings them forward in the mix--and in this particular recording, allows you to better distinguish each vocalist in the three-part harmonies featured throughout the album. On a recording where vocals are so important, this alone might be enough to convince fans of the album to pick it up.  But there's more . . .

Though the Rhino 180 gram reissue had much more bass than the original 1841 Broadway pressing, it comes off as a bit boomy and flabby compared to this Hoffman mastering, which tightens up the bass substantially. And unlike some of Hoffman's masterings where the lower-mid and bass authority come at the expense of the upper-mids and highs, this gold cd mastering actually has a more extended top end than Rhino vinyl, where it was a bit rolled-off.

(Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, David Crosby--1969)












Over the past several weeks, I've listened to this disc on my main reference system, work system, in the car, and on headphones--and enjoyed it every time. And what's made it such a compelling listen, is that I've found myself drawn not only to my favorite cuts--which tend to be penned by Stills, but also to some of those I've routinely skipped. Graham Nash's vocal on Lady of the Island, for example, sounds so pure and real, that I can't skip past it. The only possible criticism of this disc I can think of, is that some might find the vocals too forward in the mix--something that I actually found to make for a more engaging listen with this title.

This gold cd release from Audio Fidelity easily bests both the original 1841 Broadway and Rhino vinyl--and gives the George Piros-mastered Seventies-era vinyl a run for its money. Perhaps, only the out-of-print and uber-expensive 45 RPM Classic, with its utterly grain-free vocals and eerie room acoustics, is clearly better.


Highly Recommended

**TO WIN A SEALED COPY OF THIS GOLD CD, SIMPLY POST A COMMENT BELOW OR ON THE FACEBOOK PAGE VIA THE LINK TO THE RIGHT.



 *Winner will be chosen at random. Prize can only be sent to U.S. addresses, sorry. No substitutions or cash value.

25 comments:

MJConroy said...

Did you get a chance to compare it to other cd versions?

Anonymous said...

I was never a great fan of this album but your review has whetted my appetite to hear the gold CD.

Hurple said...

Great review! It captures the "magic" of this CD release perfectly.

D. said...

Love to hear this. Thanks for the review!

Thom Osburn said...

This album is an old favorite. I would love it if Steve got to do a new mastering for Nash's 'Songs For Beginners' - one of my 20 or so favorite pop albums of all time.

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Gary Ortleib said...

Will have to get my hands on this one!

Victor Bisio said...

It is quite amazing!

Ed Hughes said...

Great review.You nailed it exactly.A great listen.Now my go to copy.

GabeL said...

Perfect review...I've been doing some comparisons as well, but you knew how to write my thoughts.

Velvet Swine said...

Great Review!

sonnysin168 said...

Very good review, hit it right on the spot!

Lee Horton, Ph.D. said...

A well-recorded album made a great sounding album.

Kyle Hojem said...

Neat review! Glad you like the disc!

J.A.W. said...

Interesting review.

Joeri said...

wow, curious to hear this one!

John DeAngelis said...

Glad to hear that this album has gotten the Hoffman treatment.

IkoX2 said...

great album
would love to hear Steve's touch on this one.

Anonymous said...

yep makes me want a copy even more now !

4dcadaac-40c4-11e1-bc56-000bcdcb5194 said...

Great review sounds like a must have CD.

4dcadaac-40c4-11e1-bc56-000bcdcb5194 said...

Great review want me to get the CD.

John from the SH forum said...

Hi Ted- Nice review of this latest title done by Steve Hoffman. I specifically like the comparisons to the various vinyl versions. Enter me in the giveaway. Ive been looking for a good sounding CD version of this.

Regards
John

Stefan said...

Would love to give this a spin!

ejnwow said...

Great review! I own an original 1841 Atlantic LP, and now I look forward to listening to this new Steve Hoffman-produced CD...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theron Day said...

Excellent Review! Looking to get a copy on CD!!

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