The latest Super Audio CD release from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs is the 20th Anniversary Edition of Whites Off Earth Now!! by punk rockers the Cowboy Junkies. The album was the group’s debut album and was originally recorded live at Studio 547 on June 28, 1986 by engineer Peter Moore with a Calrec Ambisonic Microphone.
In addition to the Cowboy Junkies Super Audio CD, Mobile Fidelity has provided an update on their release date for their upcoming SACD by The Pixies. The label has also added another Hybrid SACD to their release schedule.
Whites Off Earth Now!!
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio
(Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDSACD 4010)
Whites Off Earth Now!! is the second time that the Cowboy Junkies have appeared on a Super Audio CD release. The earlier SACD was their album “Open” which appeared on the Zoe/Rounder label a few years ago (Zoe/Rounder ZOE 1020).
For this special 20th Anniversary edition, Mobile Fidelity has packaged the SACD edition in a digipak that includes a 16 page booklet about the making of the album as well as a special sleeve that holds the Hybrid Surround Sound SACD. On the back of the digipak you’ll find the usual SACD, DSD and CD logos found on a Super Audio CD release along with an embossed 5-digit “Special Limited Edition” number.
The band describes the album was
“basically culled down from our live set which was based on blues material. It was really us going through our record collection and building a repertoire. We totally made our own music and melody because we changed those, so it really came down to lyrical content and how that could be reinterpreted on top of the music we were doing. That’s how we chose them, so even back then it was lyric driven, because that gave it another edge.”
When reading the SACD liner notes, we learn that the album was recorded live to a 2 track master tape with a Calrec Ambisonic Microphone. This means that there is no multi-track master to use to create the SACD Surround Sound tracks. Instead, Mobile Fidelity used the “GPS Audio algorithm” to upmix the master tape from 2 Channel to Surround Sound.
The album was mastered by Shawn Britton at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs in Sebastopol, CA. The SACD was made by Sony DADC at their Hybrid SACD replication line in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Kudos go to Mobile Fidelity and their Chief Engineer Shawn Britton for the job they did on this Special Edition SACD. No matter which version of the music you listen to – CD Audio, Super Audio CD Stereo or Super Audio Surround Sound, the album sounds excellent. There is a big step up in quality when you move from the CD Audio to Stereo Super Audio CD tracks. The music becomes much more alive in SACD Stereo.
Surprisingly, the same can be said when moving from the SACD Stereo tracks to the Surround Sound Super Audio tracks. I say that because the Surround Sound SACD version is not made from multi channel master tapes but from only a two channel master tape and an upmix algorithm from GPS Audio.
In the past, I haven’t been very impressed by attempts to upmix music from 2 channel sources to Surround Sound. But this SACD from Mobile Fidelity is an exception. One can quibble about the vocal placement on a couple of the tracks but otherwise the Surround Sound mix is quite enveloping and has excellent sonics and detail that make each song that much more of an experience.
Cowboy Junkie fans and Rock fans in general will want to hear this album – especially in SACD Stereo and SACD Surround Sound. It’s a very impressive anniversary SACD all the way around.
- Alan Anton – Bass
- Margo Timmins – Vocals
- Michael Timmins – Guitar
- Peter Timmins – Drums
- Shining Moon
- State Trooper
- Me And The Devil
- Decoration Day
- Baby Please Don’t Go
- I’ll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive
- Take Me
- Forgive Me
Two More Hybrid Stereo Super Audio CDs Coming
In addition to the new Super Audio CD by the Cowboy Junkies, Mobile Fidelity has two more SACDs on the way. Both will be Hybrid Layer Stereo Super Audio CDs. The first is a remastering of the classic rock album Surfer Rosa by The Pixies. This SACD was announced by Mobile Fidelity in January and has been moved back from its original release date in March to a new in-store date of May 8th.
This will be followed by the release of another classic Jazz album licensed for Super Audio CD release by Mobile Fidelity. In this case, the new Jazz SACD will be the album Invitation by the Milt Jackson Sextet. Licensed from the Riverside division of Concord’s Fantasy/Stax Records, the SACD will feature the original 8 tracks on the album released in 1962 plus alternate takes of the tracks “Ruby, My Dear” and “None Shall Wander”. This SACD is slated for availability in stores on May 22nd.
Upcoming Stereo Super Audio CD from Mobile Fidelity – May 8, 2007
- The Pixies – Surfer Rosa (Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 2032)
Upcoming Stereo Super Audio CD from Mobile Fidelity – May 22, 2007
- Milt Jackson Sextet – Invitation (Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 2031)
The 20th Anniversary Super Audio CD Edition of Whites Off Earth Now!! by the Cowboy Junkies is now available at music stores. It is also available on web sites that carry Super Audio CDs including Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Music Direct, CD Universe and Amazon.Com.