The Rolling Stones: Let it Bleed

The Rolling Stones: Let it Bleed

Universal (Japan)  UIGY-9710/1 (2 discs)

Stereo Hybrid


The Rolling Stones

(2 versions: 1 stereo, 1 mono)

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3 of 3 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Analogue recording
Comments (3)

Comment by Downunderman - March 8, 2020 (1 of 3)

As Mark has already highlighted in his comments under the + Vinyl entry for this title we are looking at a new remaster here, with a different intent.

The quote from Bob Ludwig tells the story - "When we did the first Let It Bleed remaster in 2002, our intention was to pay homage to the original work,” said Ludwig, who is no stranger to the Stones catalogue, having mastered or remastered many of their classic albums over the past four decades. “When we did this new version, the purpose was to make it as great as it could possibly sound. If you listen on a good set of speakers or good headphones, you’ll hear subtle things in the background that are now much more clear that were somewhat hidden before.”

As Mark has also highlighted, the Mono version is simply a fold down from the stereo version - not a dedicated mono mix from the multi tracks.

If I were to describe this remaster in one word, then gentrified would be the word I would use. Compared to the 2002 Sacd it sounds clearer, cleaner and more polite. losing in the process some of the surly menace and edge that was previously present. Given Bob's comments it is also somewhat ironic that the Midnight Rambler tape bleed through is now not so noticeable.

Additionally, the DR has now dropped to 9 compared to 10 for the 2002 Sacd. Not really a big deal is this case though.

But. Having said all that it sounds very good. It's just harder for me to make the same emotional connection when listening to it.

The slip case package itself is top notch, beyond the odd problem with incorrect dates.....

The one thing missing is the single of Honky Tonk Women. They have a replica of the sleeve for the single in the package, but no audio! Pity they did not include it as an 'Easter egg' on one of the discs. That would have been pretty neat.

So a qualified recommendation on my part. Very good in its way, but I will also be hanging onto my 2002 Sacd.

Comment by Mark Werlin - March 10, 2020 (2 of 3)

Excellent review, Downunderman. Stones fans and audiophiles alike can be grateful that the tapes were properly archived and the transfers engineered by Bob Ludwig. I think the new transfer was aimed at the growing numbers of listeners who have hi-res DAC/headphone systems, which has outpaced the SACD market, except, perhaps in Japan!

I also agree with your conclusion. If you've got a copy of the 2002 Abkco SACD or Japanese SHM-SACD, hold onto it.

Comment by Downunderman - March 11, 2020 (3 of 3)

Thanks Mark. It was a bit of a wrestle to get the balance close to right.

There does seem to be a diversity of views on the remaster. And, as you suggest, these may be system dependent, at least in part.

The puzzle for me is whether the processes used to improve low level detail also results in the loss of very low level detail. If so, for some albums this could be a net positive, but for others not so much.