Features

Saturday Deluxe / 17 Dec 2016

aha-acoustic

a-ha plan ahead

a-ha (don’t say they’re back together!) have announced plays for a series of acoustic dates that will culminate in a live album/concert film release in late 2017.

These ‘intimate’ performances will take place between 26 and 30 June next year (venue/location not confirmed) and the live album/concert film will be issued in November 2017. Early the following year (don’t say they don’t give you advance warning) this acoustic show will go on the road, with January 2018 dates confirmed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Other dates will follow, although “the full scope of the acoustic tour is not yet finalised” (sort it out!). You can read more about this on a-ha’s website.


img_20161217_113213

OPPO comes to SDE

If you recall on Saturday Deluxe a few weeks back I said that Alison Moyet broke my CD player. Not personally, of course (that would be weird), but I still blame the reissue of Alf. That CD didn’t work in any CD player including the one in my car. Hmm. Anyway, this resulted in me reaching out to you for suggestions for a possible replacement. I already had the idea of maybe getting an OPPO and I’m delighted to say that OPPO have been in touch to offer SDE a BDP-105D for a long-term test!

It turned up a few days ago and I’ll be reporting back in the coming months on the performance of the machine. Thus far, I can tell you that all I’ve done is play disc one of Kate Bush‘s Before The Dawn, but I’m already impressed. Lots of features to check out of course, including blu-ray audio/SACD playback and hi-res playback via USB or across a network (after six years I can finally try playing my McCartney hi-res downloads).


Lloyd Cole In New York / Collected Recordings 1988-1996

Lloyd Cole and controlling the news…

I had an interesting ‘conversation’ with Lloyd Cole on twitter this week.

This all stemmed from the fact that Amazon had listed his forthcoming box set for pre-order, something which I considered ‘news’ in the SDE community, so I posted about it.

I tagged him in the twitter post and he wasn’t overly happy that it was already up for pre-order and I was mentioning it.  Apparently, Universal aren’t planning to officially announce until early January. His words were that it was best not to ‘confuse things’ after I had made the point that labels have a bit of a cheek to get annoyed just because you might not be totally aligned with their timeline. You are, at the end of the day, still giving their products the oxygen of publicity and connecting with the audience they desire.

Anyway, it was all very polite! I think Lloyd could understand my point of view but he was frustrated because Amazon had not listed the title correctly (“it’s not news, it’s wrong”). To his credit he provided the right title – Lloyd Cole in New York – and then subsequently posted some additional information on his Facebook page. What’s disappointing is that the Amazon UK pre-order page for this box has now been taken down (the Amazon Italy one is still there – with track listing). As if some early pre-orders from hardcore fans is going to see the marketing campaign collapse like a house of cards…

The whole thing touches on issues of ‘control’ and how record labels and PR companies seem to be working in the dark ages, if think they can have total control over news and announcements. I made the point to Lloyd, that the days of ‘the big reveal’ are largely over. In the age of the internet, social media, online forums, and sites like SDE – as well as online retailers like Amazon, who need information in advance – it’s nigh on impossible to properly contain ‘news’ of releases. It’s a fruitless task and the solution surely isn’t to turn the likes of SDE into the ‘enemy’.

Here’s a good example. A PR company sends me a press release telling me something I’m already aware well aware of. The attached document says “strictly embargoed until XXX”. Why should I be controlled by their embargo date? I don’t work for them. Yes, I’ll probably make more friends in the PR industry and get invited to more ‘events’ if I do,  but ultimately, my loyalty is towards the SDE audience – YOU – not record labels and not PR companies. It’s an ongoing conundrum, if I’m honest.

Read more about the Lloyd Cole box set here.

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52 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 17 Dec 2016

  1. Brian says:

    Interesting. I preordered the LC box set via Amazon. Will the order be honoured or cancelled do you think?

  2. DaveM says:

    Really interested to see how you get on with the OPPO over the coming months as thinking of maybe getting one myself. Hopefully by then my ten month old Grandson will understand the word NO as he’s currently into everything and my HIFI is in a vulnerable position..

    • Paul Trotman says:

      Mine is great – especially for Blurays.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      I imagine you’ll get many fingerprints at best. Toddlers appear drawn to electronics so I’d advise you keep a really good eye out or move it or find some kind of protection. I’ve lost two stylii to intrigued boys. One stylus had the cantilever bent (and lost suspension either then or during my attempt to repair) and the other stylus had the cantilever removed! I don’t think it was even three months old.

  3. John says:

    Too much sarcasm in my head about an a-ha acoustic tour. Brain on overload. Must make it stop….

  4. Michael says:

    Enjoy the Oppo! I’ve been using a 105 (bought it before the “D” model was released) for several years now and love it. It has never failed to play any type of disc I’ve thrown at it – CD, HDCD (note that the default is for the onboard HDCD encoding to be off; you’ll have to enable it yourself in the settings), SACD, blu-ray audio, DVD-A, etc. as well as any type of computer file. It does beautiful upsampling of video material too. Hope that your experience is equally or more positive.

    • Daran says:

      D vs EU model: D has Darbee video processing chip instead of Qdeo upscaling processor, not an upgrade more a change of emphasis in video processing. Controversial as Darbee proceesing does seem very artificial to many people’s eyes and often gets switched off or down to a low level. No loss if you have a EU model as Qdeo upscaling is stunning. But Paul’s D model does also handle higher bit rate audio files as the only other change between the two models, which is a plus if you are into hi-res music downloads.

      Either way, all Oppo’s are stella petformers!

  5. Andrew Mogford says:

    Hey OPPO – I’m happy to test one for you if you want too ;)

    • gwynogue says:

      Me too! I think it’s important they get tested and reviewed by more than one person.

      We should make the most of this OPPO-rtunity! (I can’t help the bad puns, sorry! :))

  6. Leemer says:

    Oh my! The only thing about the OPPO BDP-105D that I can afford is a replacement remote!

  7. Mark Carroll says:

    Oppo… WONDERFUL PLAYERS….I’ve a 95, IT’S FAB…built like a tank…

  8. gwynogue says:

    Regarding the Lloyd Cole ‘commotion’ (sorry, too good to let pass!) my opinion is: if something is already available to order/pre-order, then it’s public news. If he’s not happy about it, he should take it up with his company or whoever got in touch with Amazon. Don’t take it out on our Paul S and his wonderful SDE!

  9. RJSWinchester says:

    Yes, I agree, Cole and his label appear to be living in the past. An official announcement is hardly going to “break the internet”. What’s the problem and how can it be confusing things? I bet quite a few pre-orders were placed with Amazon after the announcement on this site.

  10. Thomas says:

    Hallo Paul
    The oppo 105d is The best in My opinion.
    The extra Audio section is superb. And The best you can listen to all Media DVD, DVD-A, CD, SACD and Blu-Ray. The Oppo will give you a lot of fun to listen to your Music.
    Nice Weekend for you
    PS: The T-Shirt arrived about a week or so and i wear it well

  11. Guy Incognito says:

    It’s not about making friends in the industry or getting invited to more events. If you can’t be trusted to honor an embargo request on a press release you probably won’t be getting any more press releases. In the long term, that harms SDE readers more than some early news helps them.

    On the other hand, if you find the info from somewhere else (Amazon) and not the press release, it’s probably fair game. (But the sender of the release might not see things that way.)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I would of course honour an embargo, if the information wasn’t available anywhere else. Your second paragraph is really the situation I was referring to. With Lloyd Cole he’s been talking about this box for nearly a year. But suddenly it’s a big secret until Jan 2017. That’s the kind of thing I have an issue with.

  12. Daran says:

    Interesting about A-ha after Morten hinted in an interview for his autobiography this year that he really was finished with A-ha once and for good after the last concert in Bergen for Cast in Steel tour….. I guess he changed his mind again!

  13. Emili Lafarga says:

    I’d be happy to test and retest the new OPPO-203 UHD Universal player.

  14. Leemer says:

    Yes I as well will be happy to test an Oppo player as well.

    I did some research and they look to be super nice players. Region free and multi-volt 110 to 220 converters built in. PAL to NTSC. During my initial search I saw that the OPPO BDP-105D was listed at $1400 to $2000 and the list from OPPO is $1,299. If that’s Hong Kong Dollars, I’m somewhat OK with it (1USD = 7.75HKD). Otherwise, it is quite out of my league. I noted that some of the OPPO players can be had for about $700 US.

  15. AnthonyC says:

    I saw the A-ha announcement this week and almost fell off my chair – I can’t wait! Great news!

    Does anyone know if the tour from this year will be released? I thought this Christmas would have been a perfect opportunity as it would have marked the end of the two year reunion contract.

    :-)

  16. Simon F says:

    re Lloyd Cole: I remember a similar situation involving the late John Peel. He was sent a copy of the then latest White Stripes album upfront (can’t remember which one though) and of course started playing it on the radio, because that was his job, only to receive a ‘cease and desist’ notice (ie stop playing this album cos you’re upsetting the marketing boys play time) from their record label, although I think it might have been XL’s parent company Virgin. Peel was very upset about this, but had his revenge by refusing to play anything else that Virgin sent him for the rest of his life!

    • Chris Brown says:

      Think that might be a conflation of two stories (XL isn’t actually related to Virgin and Peel was a personal friend of Jack White). I do remember that for one of the White Stripes albums they sent out promos on vinyl instead of CD which was supposed to be some sort of anti-piracy measure or something.

      I do remember when Steve Lamacq was given a preview track from Be Here Now and was told to play lots of jingles over it to discourage home taping. He was supposed to get another one to play the next night but Sony didn’t think he’d played enough jingles so they refused. In response, he told this story during his handover to Peel’s show and kept interrupting it with jingles.

  17. Tim says:

    Re; LLoyd, I’m interested to see the Amazon.it track listing in relation to ‘Cleaning Out The Ashtrays’…what’s new, what’s replicated…what the point was apart from an unreleased album…

  18. Malcolm says:

    Oppo are fantastic have had a Oppo 93 for many years. Their premium prices are definitely worth it, miles higher quality than the mainstream players.

    However anyone considering buying Oppo should note their new 4K UHD player has just gone on sale in US. Hopefully will be released in UK and Europe in early 2017, but no date yet.

  19. DJ Boji says:

    The reunion of the reunion of the reunion. I really love a-ha and saw them live at The farewell tour back in 2010, but to be honest they should work more on their credibility next time

    • AnthonyC says:

      …A-ha are credible. Their albums are always critically acclaimed and they sell out stadiums around the world and still have the record for the largest outside crowd to attended a concert. The problem is that most people who don’t know them judge them on a couple of well known pop songs but that were 30 years ago. People need to move on just like the band have in developing their sound.

      :-)

  20. Charles K. says:

    Man, I’m really looking forward to the a-ha show, just take my money already. While some didn’t warm to the recent Simple Minds acoustic set I certainly did. I hope this trend continues with other artists/bands who have yet to do it, PSP next anyone?

    I agree completely on your stance with PR machine Paul. Thanks for being our advocate, you’ve corrected or changed things many times in the past via the growing influence of this great site. Either way, the first Cole box covering the Commotions was phenomenal, really feeling confident this one will be as well.

  21. Eric says:

    I am wrong, or did SDE and Lloyd Cole have a minor (polite!) misunderstanding a while back, maybe over the Commotions set? I’m sure Lloyd was miffed about something similar that happened with the coverage given to that on here.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Haha yes! I posted the packshot because the uDiscover store had used it. Lloyd was a little bit miffed, but more at Universal than me, to be honest.

      • Eric says:

        Thought so! I suppose it’s hard for acts to adapt their ways after being so popular in the 80s and 90s, and living through success in the industry and media as it was then…and to accept so much has changed. The outsider’s view would be…surely he’s glad of any interest, and indeed a LOT of fan interest, in his work after all this time, but then we’re not looking at it from his perspective or with his experiences.

  22. Eric says:

    MAYBE am I wrong…

  23. RJSWinchester says:

    Talking of freebies, I got a nice pair of Bang & Olufsen’s new H9 headphones last week!

  24. Billy Dojcak says:

    Years ago I ordered an OPPO. When it got here and my wife saw the price it was back in the box to Amazon. Shame cause I ordered the region havk kit as well..

  25. Fat Old Bloke says:

    I don’t get the love for bands like A Ha
    Reminds me of all those 80s bands I’d rather forget.
    Now…..Big Country
    They were something else

    • Daran says:

      They are nothing like those 80’s bands you would rather forget! They stopped being an 80’s sounding band in the 80’s funnily enough! Whilst I too like a bit of Big Country and Stuart Adamson’s Skids era stuff, I would think it most unlikely people would lump his songwriting ability up there with Pal, Morten and Magne. History shows their catalogue of songs put them in a different league, sorry.

  26. Mattusa says:

    Thanks for the heads up on Oppo, Paul. Would anyone like to suggest pair of speakers for use with the latest Oppo. Just a pair for now. 5.1 maybe later. Not looking to spend too much but want to do the new player justice. Thanks in advance.

    • Daran says:

      Stereo from the analogue outs Mattusa? Including an amp or active speakers? Well it depends on the sort of sound you are looking for – warm or analytical? Lean or bass heavy? AVI DM5’s are raved about for small actives. I have passive all Rega amp /speaker setup which I love. You could get a thousand different recommendations online at the hifi forums! Best toddle off to shop and audition some stuff with the player! Let your ears decide for you.

  27. Jon says:

    A-ha is one of the best underappreciated bands. Instead of “not getting” the “love” for A-ha how about: try listening to more of their material or two: move on. I wish they’d stop with the “never” crap. There will be more albums, I guarantee that and probably more tours in the future. They’ve been saying this since Analogue.

    • Daran says:

      Agreed Jon. I wish they would stop with the ‘contracted to reform for 1 album’ stuff… It sounds like they are a business deal 1st and muso’s 2nd.

  28. Scott G says:

    OPPO players are exceptionally good Universal players for the money. I have had 3 so far and currently have the BDP-105 (not Darby though).
    OPPO have just released the UDP-203 (Ultra HD player) the replacement for the BDP-103.
    The UHD-105 (obvious replacement for the BDP-105) is due in January. It is deemed the audiophile device of these 2 new players.
    Paul try and find out if OPPO will lend you the UDP-105.
    Sadly the new UHD players do not have Netflix built in. :(

  29. HS says:

    Great news about A-ha. Really looking forward to the live album and the concert film.

  30. synth80s says:

    Just throwing in one more thumbs up vote for the Oppo BDP-105. After years of futzing around with a couple audiophile CD players, a dedicated SACD player, a dedicated DVD-A player, a DAC, and a headphone amp, I replaced the whole lot with a BDP-105. I now use it as my PC playback device for my digital music collection (everything from 320kb/s MP3s to 96K/24-bit FLAC file from HDTracks.com), and for all manner of audio (CDs, DVD-A, SACD, and Blu-Ray Audio). The sound quality is fantastic, noticeably improved from my dedicated midrange DAC. Similarly, the headphone amp has no problem driving high-impedance phones (Sennheiser HD-650s) as well as my previous midrange headphone amp. I paired the Oppo up with my analog Sony ES 5.1 receiver and a 5.1 setup of Martin Logan satellites+center+sub, and it’s a very nice setup without shelling out an unseemly amount of dough. In fact, I bought everything on sale at one time or another! :)

    The Oppo BDP-105 is not cheap — I bought the non-Darbee edition because I don’t use it for video — but as a single, do everything audio device, it really can’t be beat. Best of all, it allows audio geeks, especially 5.1 fans, to dig back into every niche (failed?) hi-def and surround format from the last 15 years and make use of them in a simple, modern setup. Universal players really make the most sense, especially given that — brave prediction — Blu-Ray Audio is likely to be the last physical format. And with Oppo’s constant updates, it’s as future-proofed as any hardware device can reasonably be these days.

    Definitely recommend!

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