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Eric Clapton: 461 Ocean Boulevard

Eric Clapton: 461 Ocean Boulevard

Universal (Japan)  UIGY-15039

Stereo Single Layer

Pop/Rock


Eric Clapton

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Comment by Downunderman - July 12, 2021 (1 of 3)

This version was issued 26 May 2021 and is based on : "DSD flat transferred from US original analogue master tapes by Brett Zorn at Iron Mountain Digital Studios, PA in 2018. Edited in DSD by Terukazu Kawashita at Universal at Universal Music Studios, Tokyo, in 2018."

Sounds very good, but the previous versions based on the Japanese analogue (dub) master tape sound a hair better. Of potential interest is that the total running time of both versions is exactly the same at 39min 16sec. The average DR is also exactly the same at 12.

The US tapes are more degraded/worn and as a consequence the extra detail on offer is only occasionaly able to poke through. The Japanese dub tape is smoother, with better controlled bass and it provides a better overall listening experience as a result.

So if you aleady have one of the previous SACD versions based on the Japanese tape there is nothing to be gained from stumping up for this one.

However, if you don't, then this version is still very good and well worth the coin, especially since the Japanese dub tape alternatives are OOP.

Comment by Downunderman - March 31, 2022 (2 of 3)

It's a cruel world.....

*** This SHM-SACD was FIRST released on 26 May 2021. However Universal in Japan admitted on 28 August 2021 (https://www.universal-music.co.jp/eric-clapton/news/2021-08-20/) that the source of the disc was *not* the "US original analog tape" and "2018 DSD Master" as stated in the booklet and OBI. They offered replacement/refund to the Japanese buyers.

This matter was corrected in October 2021 (the correct disc has a "2" in the matrix code) and the SHM-SACDs now carry the 2018 DSD Master from the "US original analog tapes", and NOT from the "2010 DSD Master" sourced from Japanese copies of the master tapes as does the SHM-SACD issued in 2010.

Comment by Downunderman - June 29, 2022 (3 of 3)

Well, it turns out that the corrected US master tape version of this release is quite different to the versions using (incorrectly, or otherwise) the 2010 SACD mastering from Japanese master tape.

Listened to side by side the differences are substantial and serve to highlight the degree of tweaking applied to the Japanese master tape versions.

The Japanese versions are louder, seem to have a tipped up top end, slightly more bass and have had a degree of 'noise' reduction applied. The end result being a cleaner sounding listen, with more space between the various elements in the mix. Producing a more caffeinated (energetic) and immediate listening experience.

The US master tape version by comparison sounds to be pretty close to a flat transfer from the tape. Sounding very analogue, with a bit of tape fog present and needing to have the volume turned up much more to get the best out the disk.

Both presentations have their merits, but the US master tape is the one that provides a truer to the source listening experience and I recommend it on that basis.