192KHZ/24-BIT ALAC/FLAC/WAV, Rhino/Elektra (supplied by www.hdtracks.com)
To hear ‘Turn Of The Century’ and ‘Awaken’ at 24-bit/192kHz was a near pant-wetting prospect for this reviewer who once fought daily with a sibling for possession of this seminal 1977 album by the Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White line-up. But the high-res files deliver the lesson that more bits don’t fix a mix. The less busy the better here – so the title track emerged somewhat peaky, while the quieter beauty of ‘Turn Of The Century’ allowed the mix to open up. The soundstage of ‘Wonderous Stories’ was a wide wall of cascading keyboards, ping-pong guitars and cymbals, but with little front-to-back depth. Simpler, slower sections of ‘Awaken’ emerged wide and open; denser sections had us nudging down to a level where peaks delivered less pain. Any excuse for a listen, but worn as our vinyl is, a comparison came out favourably for the black stuff. JF
Sound Quality: 75%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
The title track is as compressed as it sounds but even those not pushed to the limit – including ‘Wonderous Stories’ illustrated above – have spurious tones in their spectrum (here at 15.6kHz). The 192kHz rendering is, frankly, overkill. PM
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