America released many hit albums including their fifth studio release which is a favorite among fans. This superbly crafted 1975 classic was produced by legendary Beatles producer George Martin and is a musical treasure filled with great harmonies and hooks!
Achieving significant popularity in the 1970’s, Gerry Beckley, Dan Peek and Dewey Burnell made up the band that became famous for their close vocal harmonies and light acoustic folk sound. With a string of hit singles and albums, often played on pop/soft rock radio stations, Hearts boasts three top selling hits. High Resolution Audio fans can now experience the original quad LP mix on SACD with a stereo layer and includes the #1 hit "Sister Golden Hair," their Top 20 ballad, "Daisy Jane" and "Woman Tonight."
Although Hearts didn’t receive the modern 5.1 mix, it still strongly holds the surround magic embedded on this classic quad version. In fact, the mix is very modern, keeping the rhythm section up front, with lead vocals placed in the center. As is common with current day surround mixes, the back channels sing out the secondary parts, which primarily include guitars, keyboards, strings and backup vocals, along with reflections from instrumentation heard in the front channels. I wouldn’t expect anything less from George Martin.
America was always well recorded, and the overall mix easily shows the expertise of the recording engineers. There is a wonderful openness to the mix, with a very pleasing shimmer and sparkle to the guitars. Vocals sound extremely natural, and the drums really sound lively with a fantastic snap and shine. It simply seems evident to me that the recording process kept improving with each album.
While there was a moderate difference between the surround and stereo mixes for the Homecoming release, that simply isn’t true for Hearts. Given Homecoming was mixed for surround 30 years later, it is understandable there were obvious differences between the two versions. However, Hearts was mixed at Air Studios in London, likely during the same sessions, leading to literally an identical mix, albeit one is quad and the other stereo. The instrument balances and tones seem to mirror each other between the two codecs, thus for listeners of the stereo layer, I imagine this would be one of the best, if not the best transfer available. The album truly sounds wonderful.
Recommended for fans of America, and advised for surround sound and quad collectors. Hearts is an uplifting pop record that is sure to be loved by you.
Hybrid SACD with Quad and Stereo Layers, along with CD layer, remastered from original masters. Also available as 24/192 stereo FLAC download.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.