Vinyl and DVDA Review: Diana Krall – When I Look in Your Eyes


Vinyl and DVDA Review: Diana Krall – When I Look in Your Eyes

Vinyl and DVDA Review: Diana Krall - When I Look in Your Eyes

Vinyl – Diana Krall – When I Look in Your Eyes – 2009

Vinyl

Surface noise: 4+ (not pops & clicks)

Dynamic Range: 4

Stereo Imaging: 4+

Image depth/perspective: 4

Overall frequency response: 4+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vinyl and DVDA Review: Diana Krall - When I Look in Your Eyes

DVDA – Diana Krall – When I Look in Your Eyes – 2003

Plastic – DVDA

Surface noise: N/A

Dynamic Range: 4 (stereo), 4+ (5.1 mix)

Stereo Imaging: 4+

Image depth/perspective: 4

Overall frequency response: 4+

 

 

 

 

 

Side One

  1. Let’s Face The Music And Dance
  2. Devil May Care
  3. Let’s Fall In Love

Side Two

  1. When I Look In Your Eyes
  2. Popsicle Toes
  3. I’ve Got You Under My Skin

Side Three

  1. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
  2. I’ll String Along With You
  3. East of The Sun (West Of The Moon)

Side Four

  1. Pick Yourself Up
  2. The Best Thing For You
  3. Do It Again
  4. Why Should I Care (Only on the stereo layer of the DVDA)

I’ve owned the DVDA version of this album for several years, released by Verve Records in 2003 (CAT#B0001286-19). When I saw the vinyl 180 gram double album version going for a steal of a price ($9.00 still sealed), I couldn’t resist the temptation to see how the vinyl pressing held up against the DVDA.

Since its original release in 1999, this album has been re-pressed numerous times by Verve Records. The 180 gram double LP versions, being released in 2009 by ORG (CAT#035), (the only 45RPM version), and again in 2016, by Verve Records, the latter of which I now own, (CAT#602547377043). The ORG version is considered by many audiophiles to be the better version of this recording .

This 180 gram double album only contains three tracks per side, with plenty of space to spare. Which at least, in theory, gives the cutting engineer all the space needed to capture the full dynamic range of the original recording. Did it? The DVDA supports the original stereo mix and a remixed 5.1 surround sound version, both are recorded at 96KHz and 24bit LPCM.  A Dolby Digital surround sound mix is also provided.

So which did I prefer? Read on.


The Vinyl

In my haste to hear the album, and agianst my better judgement, I played both discs without first cleaning them with my Nitty Gritty – sacrilege. I have to say that despite this, the vinyl surface noise was commendably low and there were very few pops or clicks.

Having only three tracks on each side there seemed to be no restrictions to the dynamic range on Diana’s voice. However, I did feel that instruments, and the kit in particular, were less dyamic than I would have expected. Amanda’s voice sat there right at the front center stage of the mix, with plenty of presence. It was very detailed, exhibited no mid-range hardness, her breathy sibilance occasionally catching my cartridge out. The piano, guitar and bass solos were tight and clean with no obvious colorations. The kit however, while being detailed and well imaged, lacked sparkle and presence and I felt it really needed to be brought forward in the mix a little; maybe this was exactly how they wanted the  mix to sound.

Musicianship and vocal performance were first rate providing a tight, enjoyable and entertaining musical performance. Stereo imaging was rock solid with just a touch a reverb being added to Amanda’s voice that you occasionally heard tail out. Most tracks have instrumental solos for the piano, guitar and double bass and all were excellent. Depth of image was reasonable with the orchestra and kit sitting well behind Diana, the guitar recessed just off to her LHS,  and the piano to her RHS.

Recommended tracks? Well not really as they are all very well recorded with most tracks having piano, guitar and double bass solos. If you like double bass solos, like me, try S1T3, S3T3 & S4T3 and there is a good guitar solo on S1T2.

The Plastic (DVDA) – Stereo

I have listened to the DVDA of this album many times but only in 5.1. The 5.1 version gives me an opportunity to exercise my rear 1038 Genelec’s, something that I never do with vinyl as I do not like the final product of stereo processed to five channels. For the comparison to vinyl, I stayed with the stereo 96KHz/24bit recording. A first time playing.

As always the lack of surface noise is the first thing that hits me after listening to vinyl. This seemed to make the tracks a little more ‘open’, even though I was not aware of any intrusive noise when listening to any vinyl track. However, in this case the non-existent background noise didn’t seem to improve the recordings dynamic range, with the imaging and depth of this transfer being identical to the vinyl. What was immediately obvious, the moment Diana started to sing, was that her upper mid range was notably ‘harder’ than what I heard on the vinyl, and surprisingly, her breathy sibilance was also virtually identical to what I heard on the vinyl. Also apparent was a cleaner, more detailed and crisper top end compared to the vinyl, with the orchestral instruments being slightly more prominent and pushing the kit a little more forward in the mix.

The double bass solos mentioned above also seemed just a little more forward and transparent than the vinyl, but nothing to distract you from their enjoyment.

Track 13, Why Should I Care, is only to be found on the stereo recording. It was mixed, I assume at a later date, and sounded different to all the other tracks. The hardness in Diana’s voice wasn’t there and it immediately reminded me of the vinyl recording. The orchestra and strings were very open and full, being set slightly more forward in the mix and the sax solo was outstanding.

I quickly moved on to listening to several of the tracks from the 5.1 mix to see how the vocals and instrumentals held up in these mixes compared to the original stereo  DVDA and Vinyl mix.

The Plastic (DVDA) – 5.1

It took about 10 seconds before I realized that the 5.1 mix was what it was all about. Diana’s voice was detailed, intimate and lacked the hard edges and excessive sibilance from the stereo mixes, and all the instruments had a lot more presence being panned to various locations around the 360 degree 5.1 sound stage. Bass was more solid and extended but a little thicker. The whole sound stage was a lot more open and smooth with significantly more ambience, with the kit far more prominent in the mix. The entire frequency range was wide open and detailed with all instruments and orchestra exhibiting a much greater clarity than from either stereo mix. The reverb tail out from Diana’s voice was again very apparent and she commanded an immediate presence in the room.

The whole recording was more dynamic and alive than either of the stereo mixes warrantying at least a 4+ rating. Now I know why I never listened to the stereo mix until now, and have still have not listened to the Dolby Digital mix, nor will I……..ever.

Pity, but no track 13 in the 5.1 mix.


There are obviously significant differences to the signal chains between analog Vinyl and Digital DVDA. Both of which I am sure impart their own ‘sound’ to the signal. The good news was that the dynamics of both stereo recordings was identical, with the digital DVDA recording having the edge over the vinyl for brighter and more detailed upper registers.

Each medium has its strengths, weaknesses and trade offs, but overall for stereo, the vinyl won out. Why? I much preferred Diana’s voice on the vinyl. It was warmer and more natural. The ideal combination being the vinyl vocals with the DVDA instrumentals. However, I am sure that with a little EQ and/or a different cartridge, you could get the vinyls upper registers to be similar to those of the DVDA, getting the best of both worlds.

For day to day listening you just cannot beat the 5.1 remix, it has all the benefits and none of the disadvantages mentioned above that the stereo recordings exhibited. I realize that some audiophile purists only listen to stereo. Sorry, but you are really missing out with this one in 5.1


Both stereo versions are good examples of a well recorded performance and given the choice I would have to go with the vinyl recording.

However, without a moments hesitation the 5.1 mix is the one for me. It just envelops you like a warm cosy blanket!

If you are a Dian Krall fan the you won’t be disappointed with either of the stereo recordings. If you are a fan of 5.1, then you definitely need the DVDA, and of course you get the original stereo version and Dolby Digital thrown in.

Purchase vinyl and DVDA from Discogs.

See my other vinyl reviews here.

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