The Who’s, Quadrophenia in 5.1 Surround Sound
Forty years after its initial release, the 5.1 Surround Sound Blue-ray audio re-master of The Who’s, Quadrophenia, may well be considered the definitive final version of this rock classic. After giving this disc a listen you will conclude that it is un-improvable.
By the end of the first track, as the sound of the sea swirls around the room carrying hints of the album’s brilliant tunes with it as if from the depths of our memory, it is obvious that the 5.1 surround sound re-mix on Blue-ray is well worth buying.
On track 2, the lead guitar is isolated on the left front with the sustained notes of the piano keys coming from the rear. You get a sense of space and a feeling of being in the studio with the Who as they play this masterpiece for the first time.
The dynamic range of the 96kHz/24-bit presentation is far beyond the resolution of anything available before this. Detail like the sound of the drumstick hitting the symbol and the extension of sound coming from each stroke on the piano is all there to be heard for the first time.
By the time you get to the last track, Love Reign O’er Me, you will be swept away by the sound effects engulfing the room and the dynamic range of this recording. Even the most die hard vinyl enthusiasts will want to hear Quadrophenia in 5.1 Surround Sound Blu-ray.
The Who’s, Quadrophenia: 5.1 Remix(CAT # 3780813) was completed by Bob Pridden and Richard Whittaker at FX Rentals and mastered by Jon Astley at Close to the Edge. It features high-resolution 24bit/96k audiophile sound. In addition to the 5.1 surround sound remix, the two-disc set also includes the original 1973 stereo mix.
The set up menu contains a choice of three formats for the 2014 re-mix: DTS-HD Master Audio; Dolby TrueHD, and PCM Stereo. As you listen to each of the 17 tracks on the disc, it is easy to switch among these formats and compare the sound. The DTS-HD Master Audio is my personal favorite.
Quadrophenia was firstreleased in the United Kingdom by Track Record, an independent label established in 1967 by The Who’s managers (CAT # 2657013). MCA Records released the album in cassette version in both the UK and the United States (CAT # MCAC 2-6895, MCC 26895).
Since 1973, Quadrophenia has been re-released more than fifty times across the globe. The first CD in the U.S. came in 1985 (MCAD2-6895). Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (UDCD 2-550) improved upon the 1985 MCA release in 1991 and up until now it has been considered to be the best CD sound available.
The album was remixed again in 1996; and, most recently in 2011. The Director’s Cut box set of 2011 provided a small selection of Quadrophenia tracks in 5.1 (Polydor, Universal # 2777840). The teaser left audiophiles wanting more, and the 2014 pressing certainly delivers.
The rock opera tells the coming of age story of a young mod living in the mid-1960s, but continues to be a relevant reflection of teenage angst and disaffection. According to Pete Townsend, it is the album he is most proud of. “Quadrophenia tells a universal story.’Mod’ is a shorter word for ‘young, beautiful and stupid’ – we’ve all been there,” he has said.