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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > Blues > Soul > Counterculture > Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed: 50th Anniversary Limited Deluxe Edition (1969/ABKCO Records Super Audio CD/SA-CD/SACD Hybrid (CD-compatible) set w/12-inch & 7-inch vinyl, lithographs, book & poster)

Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed: 50th Anniversary Limited Deluxe Edition (1969/ABKCO Records Super Audio CD/SA-CD/SACD Hybrid (CD-compatible) set w/12-inch & 7-inch vinyl, lithographs, book & poster)

DSD Sound: A- CD Sound: B+ Extras: A Album: A-

An excellent wave of Rolling Stones concerts, films and albums keep hitting the market and we have been able to cover many of them, now adding an elaborate reissue of their classic Let It Bleed (1969) album. If anything, the album has grown in importance, influence and sounds better than ever. This new set includes the album twice in both stereo and monophonic versions.

Back in later 2002, ABKCO issued all the pre-Rolling Stones Records albums by the band in the Super Audio CD format that was a early rollout of any major catalog in a higher-definition format than CD and the results were stunning. We covered a few of the albums from that group including Let it Bleed and you can read all about it at this link:


That was a stereo version, so besides the heavy audiophile vinyl versions of the album in stereo and mono, a new monophonic-only Super Audio CD (also with a CD layers that will play on almost any CD player worldwide) also debuts in this set and diehard fans of that version will be thrilled. It sounds amazing, though lacking what I prefer in the stereo edition. After 17 years, that stereo SA-CD holds up tremendously well like most of the great SA-CDs. You have to have a player to play the ultra high definition Direct Stream Digital (DSD) SA-CD tracks, but it is worth having a player that delivers that.

Besides a Japanese SA-CD of the album that we have not covered/received, but has had mixed reviews for its quality, it is a single disc like the older U.S. edition we originally covered and is included in this superior box set.

The other hard copy disc (unreviewed) that we do have a few tracks to compare to are the three sets of sound options for ''You Can't Always Get What You Want'' and ''Gimme Shelter'' that appeared on yet another limited edition Rolling Stones release, the audio-only Pure Audio Blu-ray of the band's greatest hits entitled Grrr! Issued in 2012 for the band's 50th Anniversary, it featured 50 of their biggest and best known hits, including the debut of many later hits from the current Rolling Stones Records era.

Only in stereo like all the SA-CDs that have been issued to date, three 96kHz/24Bit lossless sound options were offered: PCM 2.0 Stereo, Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo, the DTS of which I liked the best. So I compared the Stereo SA-CD's versions of the two tracks to the tracks here and got interesting results.

The Blu-ray had the advantage of being transferred ten years after the Super Audio CD version and I could hear a little slight detail in a few instruments I could not hear on the Super Audio CD, but you can hear a ceiling and sonic limits on the Blu-ray's versions of the tracks the SA-CD does not have, proving once again how superior the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) format (oversampled 2.8 Million times!) is to the other ones (I don't expect those tracks would have been much better at 192/24 either) on the Blu-ray, so the SA-CD re-included here more than holds its own. As compared to the mono SA-CD vs. the Blu-ray, it is more a matter of preference, but the mono disc also has no ceiling and stereo can only do so much to compensate for that when it has a ceiling.

Of course, that begs the question, will any of the classic Stones albums ever come out in any kind of multi-channel versions down the line? Late 1960s albums by The Beatles and Yes have already had 5.1 editions issued and the Blu-ray from the Abbey Road box set offered stunning 12-track Dolby Atmos versions of their entire album. I would love to hear and think Stones albums and singles at least going back to tracks like ''Paint It Black'' and maybe even back to ''(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'' could qualify. Obviously, vinyl fans could care less ands that is why they in particular should get this set while they can. I was impressed by how well all the reproduction parts of this box were done. Also, the cover is one of the greatest in music history with a great back cover to match.

Extras and features included in this Limited Edition Numbered Box Sets again has 2 180 gram LPs in Stereo and Mono with restored original album art 2 SACDs in Stereo and Mono housed in custom 12" sleeve 7" single of "Honky Tonk Women"/ "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in Mono with original picture sleeve 80 page hardcover book with essay by David Fricke and never before seen photos by Ethan Russell Three 12" x 12" hand-numbered, replica-signed lithographs printed on embossed archival paper, housed in foil-stamped envelope.

If you love music and The Stones, you'll want to get this stunning box of Let It Bleed while supplies last. It is one of the best box sets devoted to any classic album we've seen and heard to date, including all the great Beatles release in the last few years. It is just amazing!

- Nicholas Sheffo


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