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Reviews: The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed

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Reviews: 11

Review by Tom March 3, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Of the Rolling Stone ABCKO remasters, according to, this is the best selling. In my opinion, this is a "must have" SACD. The sonics fall short of being reference, but are vastly superior to the vinyl and CDs. The performance is The Rolling Stones at their best. I can listen to this SACD over and over.

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Review by Replevin May 9, 2003 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
"I'm a monkey!!!!!!!!" What else do you need to say? I first heard some of the Rolling Stones remastered tracks at Homeexpo '02 in New York at the Sony SACD presentation. Without telling us what we would be hearing, Demery from Sony queued up the XA-777es and played Monkey Man. The system included Egglestone Works Andra II speakers and Manley Monoblocks on Grand Prix Audio stands. I have to say that I've never been so blown away. The music was just so raw! This disc really captures the moment and is my favorite from the Remaster Series. As it says on the inside cover, "this album should be played loud!"

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Review by madisonears October 7, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
Desert island disc, without a doubt. So vastly improved from any version previously available, it makes me mad to think I had to listen to this music a thousand times before hearing it like this. Guitars right in the room with you. Everything is just so "there" that it drives this beautiful music right into your soul. People who don't like stereo stuff or don't care about SACD end up thoroughly impressed by this disc, their bodies twitching in time to the powerful beats. "Can't Always Get..." builds an enveloping crescendo of sound and fury. If the hairs on the back of your neck aren't standing up by the time the women's choir re-enters, you're dead. The recording itself IS a reference for 70's rock.

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Review by nora10040 January 5, 2004 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
If there´s any doubt, just listen to love in vain - this SACD is a must

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Review by vonwegen January 6, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
As with all editions of "Let It Bleed" (except the Mickboy re-mastering), tape hiss is an issue, especially on the quiet parts like the wonderful intro to "Gimme Shelter." If it weren't for that, I'd rate the transfer much higher, especially if there had been any attempt to make a quad or 5.1 multi-channel mix.

Performance? Five stars, easily.

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Review by rsbeck February 13, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
Not as satisfying as many other SACD's. A little disappointed in the sonics. Still, it is better than the regular CD version available. The CD layer is also better than previous CD versions and sounds remarkably similar to the SACD layer.

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Review by Stratman672001 May 11, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the best I have heard this album sound in the digital medium thus far. I think the only thing that would beat it is an original pressing UK Decca. I myself don't mind the hiss. In fact I rather it be there because it would sound far worse with NR applied to it, making the performance sound synthetic. An album this great does not deserve such a fate.

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Review by JW September 30, 2004 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
King of the hill ! This album ranks overall number one on my list of Stones albums, soundwise and for the sheer power of the music. I'd hate to revive an old rivalry, but Beatles eat your hearts out - :-) Blues infested rock of the first order - you can just hear why they were and are the best rock and roll band in the world.

When they first came out I bought 10 of the ABKCO discs but I never got around to write something about them. I'll try and rate them sonically and in comparison to each other. This is early Stones and therefore it bears the hallmark of the times in the way they sound in the studio (or live) and by the nature of the songs. Bluesy, Beatle-like but infused with real rock and attitude initially, to more and more of their signature sound as they progress over the years and hone their craft. Overall these ABCKO series are a tremendous achievement, but they cannot touch many of the modern DSD recorded SACD's or even the sound quality of Living Stereo SACD's or some of the Japanese Miles Davis titles. 'Let it Bleed' and 'Beggars Banguet' come closest. So do you rate them in comparison to other SACD's regardless of age, or do you rate them on their own merits. I guess I have done a little bit of both. There are many more angles with which to review these titles, I fully realise that. I chose this one for these pages.

So here is my list ranked by audio quality: (P=Performance. S=Sonics)
1) Let It Bleed (P5,S4)
2) Beggars Banguet (P5,S4)
3) 12x5 (P3,S3)
4) Out of Our Heads (P3,S3)
4) Aftermath (P4,S3)
5) Between the Buttons (P5,S2)
5) December's Children (P5,S2)
5) Their Satanic Majesties Request (P4,S2)
6) Get Yer Ya-Ya's out (P5,S1)

I also bought Hot Rocks, but that is a compilation which reflects the variety of recordings it was based on, so did not feature it here.

Some listening notes to back this up:
1) One of the most modern sounding recordings of the lot. This one does not have the 'we are playing in an empty oil drum' sound from say a 'Buttons..'. In addition to its desert island disc musical quality, the sound is pretty amazing. Of the you-are-there variety.
2) Close second. Somewhat lower recording level than some of the others. Remarkably wide soundstage on the opening numbers. Sounds come from outside the speakers. None of the others display this.
3) Nice center image with clear left/right seperation. This is one bluesy album.
4) Both display pinched and somewhat hard treble.
5) All of these have this 'barrel' sound. It's not so bad, but it sounds really dated. On DC the live track "Route 66' sounds pretty bad, worse even than the fantastic live album that is Ya-Ya's. Satanic Majesty is a psychedelic album. This is really interesting music and with 21st century ears not as revolutionary and therefore perhaps people can be more appreciative.
6) Great music, great atmosphere, bluesy rock, nice weight to the bass, but there is a huge blanket smothering the sound.

Hopefully we can look forward to more Stones. I would like to complete this collection with their later works.


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Review by wireseverywhere March 12, 2005 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Another good example of really improving an older recording...and it doesn't just sound *different* it is better quality sound without altering the original performance like so many remasters seem to do. The harshness of the standard CD is gone and the tape hiss is diminished (but still there)without muffling the high end. This is one of my favorite SACD's and I'm not a huge Stones fan either. I find I like this older material more and more now that the quality is finally there. CD audio layer sounds very good too. Disappointed that a multichannel was not done.

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Review by putmess June 4, 2006 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I do agree 100% to 'nora1004' and there is nothing more to say: "If there´s any doubt, just listen to love in vain - this SACD is a must". You HAVE to buy it!

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Review by analogue March 6, 2009 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a truly great and well known rock album that has been transferred to dsd. There were some wasted opportunities in the beginning of sacd when it first came out. Some of the rock titles available were dreadful and a waste of money. This might have prevented people from taking the chance with others. Thankfully that cannot be said of this Rolling Stones album. The sound is truly exceptional. Now it does have it's own type of recording quality and this one does have it's own flavour. Some of the stereo imaging is rather unique. But this is not a detraction. It sounds remarkable.
And since it's the Stones here the music has a kind of rawness to it. So don;t expect a symphony orchestra. This is rock and roll from the bad boys of rock and we cant escape their bluesy style. And why would we want to??

There is a sort of realism and presence to this music that I never imagined was present before I bought this sacd. I never felt it on the regular cd that;s for sure. There is a thickness to the songs I never felt before. The drums are deeper and more solid....the vocals crisper......and Richards guitar playing a little meatier. The famous songs on this album that we all know and love are rendered exceptionally well. The moody groove of Let it bleed is more palpable....... the soulfullness of You can't always get what you want.............they sound special and alive. The dsd transfer has made all the difference in the world to this title. And it;'s the little sounds heard that sound remarkably real as the car horn in the beginning of one track. It's uncanny and lifelike.

It's as if for the very first time I finally realize what the Stones wanted to sound like on this album. It more of an event than an album. I also believe that the better the system you might have the better this sacd will sound. Some of the bass work is persistant and deep. There are some dynamics involved with this recording. A good system will better resolve it.

If you own this album already I would implore you to give the sacd a try. You will be highly impressed. I believe you will agree that you have never heard it sound this good before. Certainly not on cd. It also sounds great on headphones.

Highly recommended.

Note: I cant stand the hypocrisy and snobbiness of some reviewers of music in the magazines. While they give the regular cd a lot of accolades they complain about this sacd even though it is miles ahead in terms of quality. I really believe that sacd threatens them and they secretly dont want it to succeed. Dont fall for their lies and nonsense. Let your own ears tell you what sounds good.

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