Alabama Shakes

Recently purchased Alabama Shakes first album, Boys and Girls. I purchased this on iTunes right after it came out and just loved it. Gave me hope for the moribund state of rock and roll.

Now that I have an actual hi-fi system I'm buying CDs of my favorite music to replace the iTunes versions.

I'm researching the older music and getting the best CD recordings I can find. This has been VERY gratifying. So much good stuff out there. But with newer music there isn't much choice in terms of CDs recordings. Usually just one.

And I have to say this CD is a real disappointment. The SQ just isn't there. Very tinny. Her voice is way too out front of the music. Grates on my nerves. Volume is too high.....I guess its a loudness issue. At about 1/3 volume on my line stage it is as loud (decibel-wise) as my older (and better) CDs are at 1/2 volume....and nothing is gained by going higher.

This makes me wonder about Sound and Color, their second album. I do not like it as much as the first album but at least on iTunes it sounds like a very well produced album. I wonder if that CD is as bad is this one.

I know CDs are a dying if not dead media. I get that they don't account for much in the way of sales. So my question is this: Are CDs being produced for new music all low quality? Is anyone making high quality CD recordings of new music? 

Sound & Color (Deluxe Edition" is the most dramatic example I have encountered of an LP sounding freaking amazing... just so good... while the streaming version (Qobuz 24/44.1) sounds quite disappointing. It is such a difference, it affects the enjoyability of the album. 

Another such example is Abel Selaocoe album "Where is Home": beautiful SQ on LP, not as good on streaming.

This is certainly not always the case, in my eperience: I have compared a number of albums where I have both the LP and CD, or LP vs streaming, and IMO, it is unpredictable which is going to sound better. (I have some albums, both streaming and ripped CDs, that sound flipping amazing on my digital streamer + DAC... so when it sound poor, I know I am hearing a deficiency in a particular digital release.)

Maybe it reflects how the music was originally recorded (analog or digital)?

Or maybe the mastering process is so different for analog vs digital that you can't count on both results being of equal quality. 🤷‍♂️

Come on guys, sopranos theme is A3. The original, longer version is a sonic treat. Breaks into a little hip hop mid stream. 
Good call David. Great show and opening credit tune. I didn't realize that was Alabama Shakes.

Sons of Anarchy had some great tunes also. Maybe that would be a good thread......favorite songs from tv and movies. 
As an aside, am I the only person  whose first thoughts when I hear the name Alabama Shakes, is the opening credits of the Sopranos. Not only one of the greatest TV shows, but the best ever opening credits.
uberwaltz, don't dismiss the vinyl on my account. The info I have relates only to DR, which doesn't entirely account for SQ

slaw, do you have Sound and Color on vinyl and if so what is your impression?
slaw, I’d still like to hear about it. It might not move me to get heavily into vinyl but I’d like to know if newer artists are recording _anything_ in quality fashion.

I mention this because I just purchased Neko Case’s album "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" on CD. Good music. Bad recording. Super loud, just like "Boys and Girls". Fatiguing to listen to. So I went to the dynamic range database...the CD rates simply awful. Among the worst I’ve seen on that site. The HDTracks version is only slightly better. There were no tests results on the vinyl. But multiple reviews of the vinyl complain of low quality pressings with clicks and pops right out of the sleeve.

tdimler, That is truly a shame about Sound and Color because it is the type of album that demands high SQ to make the high level of musicianship stand out. It staggers the imagination that the band would allow an album like that...superb writing, arranging, performing and singing and leave out that last critical piece of the formula...especially on an album that was never going to achieve huge popular success anyway.

And the sad thing about this is bands like Steely Dan recorded high quality CDs in the midst of these Loudness we know it can be done.

Edit: Just checked the DR for the Sound and Color CD. Worse than Fox Confessor with an average DR of 5. (The scale is 0-14+ with 11 and up considered good). The vinyl rates slightly better but still in the unacceptable range.


Is it a good pressing?

The Tidal MQA stream is pretty darn impressive.

Mind Brittany Howard is a formidable musician!

Sound and colour that is.....
Sound and Color on CD has very poor sound quality too......and it is LOUD. Sorry!

I was going to respond with my assessment of "Sound & Color" on vinyl but given your last post, I'll decline.
Oh, as for vinyl....I just can't get into it. So I guess I'm not an old enough fart. ;-)
I guess I'm just an old fart stuck in a bygone time. I'm fairly tech savvy, especially when it comes to digital photography and high end image editing and its not that I'm a Luddite...I just prefer to own my stuff...and for the most part I want that stuff to be real.

When I want to read I buy books. If it is a good book I get it in hard back. When I take a digital image I make an archival print. I'd like my music to be the same. Silly I guess.

There is always HD Tracks but again, that's just 1s and 0s too. 

Oh well. 
An unfortunate result of the "loudness wars" that is endemic to modern CD.

There are better CD recordings to be had of newer material but not sure how much choice you really get. There are some here with much more knowledge on that score than myself.

Of late I rarely have purchased any newer CD and the last one I did suffered exactly as you describe and was suitable for in car play only.

I stick to older vinyl, cassette and streaming mostly nowadays.
Post removed