Ben S. from LOUISVILLE, KY Reviewed on 2/16/2011...
New and old Who. All of their great songs.
Top Ten Reasons To Buy "The Who: The Ultimate Collection"
Mike King | Taunton, MA United States | 07/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"10. It's more concise than the 4-CD boxed set.
9. The inferior 2-CD "Hooligans" compilation is out of print.
8. It has informative liner notes, listing the date each song was recorded.
7. The booklet includes pictures of all the Who album covers, and has some great photos of the band in action.
6. The remastered songs sound great, even on a moderately priced stereo system.
5. The song selection is superb, without a single weak track.
4. The recently deceased John Entwistle plays the greatest bass guitar licks of all time on "My Generation." This has never sounded clearer than the version on this compilation.
3. Roger Daltrey's vocals and Pete Townshend's songwriting are perfectly showcased on this great collection.
2. The first CD clocks in around 67 minutes. The second CD clocks in at nearly 69 minutes. Add in the bonus disc, and you have nearly two and a half hours of great Who music!
1. The bonus disc of 4 songs feature noticeably different versions of well known Who songs. Particularly outstanding is the acoustic version of "Happy Jack." Because it's a limited edition, you shouldn't wait too long to buy the aptly named Ultimate Collection."
Screwed up the sound, big-time
David Greene | Palo Alto, CA USA | 06/14/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I love The Who. And I traded in "The Very Best of" from 1996 as I bought "The Ultimate Collection," excited that MCA had finally brought most of the best tracks together in one package. Problem is, they remastered these tracks again and, as a long-time listener, I find them unbearable to listen to. The problem is that they are bright and edgy without enough of the lower sounds to balance it. So the snare drums go "splat" and Roger's voice sounds shrill and, worst of all, the basic bass drum is hardly audible. What you have is a very crisp, hard-edged sound that just doesn't sound like previous releases.I'm NOT talking about vinyl, I'm talking about the remasters that came out in the mid-1990s. When I first listened to "Won't Get Fooled Again" on "Ultimate" I went running for the "Who's Next" CD to make sure I wasn't making this up. Immediately you hear a smoother high end and Daltrey's voice sounding natural and the drums sounding like Keith Moon. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but I rushed back to see if I could retrieve the "Very Best of" that I'd sold back. Fortunately, I can buy it back. For those of you who haven't plunked down the money yet, if you care about the difference in sound I'm describing, be sure you can give "The Ultimate" a listen before you buy it!"
The Who By Numbers
Jason Stein | San Diego, CA United States | 07/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd like to start by saying that a best of, or greatest hits compilation, always leaves some fan's favorite song off. A compilation should really be judged by its inclusiveness of all the top 40 hits, as well as key album tracks. A compilation is not procured for fans who have all the artist's cds. It designed to make money and to appeal to window shopping fans who want all the hits, plus a little extra. Does this two disc compilation of The Who satisfy that kind of buyer? Yes. The Who have 16 top 40 hits to their credit, and they're all here except "The Relay" and "Athena". So in that sense, this compilation gets a thumbs up. Does this compilation have many non-top 40 classics? Yes. Too many to just list here, but as a compilation, this is the first to encapsule such a dearth of music from The Who. Unless you want to get The Who's box set. For those who don't want to buy all 10 studio recordings, this two disc pit stop has everything you'd want. It's about time someone realized that The Who deserves a two disc compilation instead of one. "Eminence Front", though not a hit, has been absent from Who compilations until now. All the tracks are digitally remastered, another plus when shopping for a compilation. The liner notes are alright, tracing the band's history, but it doesn't offer an exciting read. In my opinion, aside from The Who's box set, this is the best compilation of The Who thus far. A testament of a great rock and roll band. There's plenty more positive things to say about The Who, but I'll keep my critique to just this compilation."
Good songs - bad mastering
Andreas Martin | 11/06/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big fan of The Who, I have all their albums (twice because of the remasters) and several Best-Ofs and rarities collections. So I love the music here. The track selection on this 2 CD set is quite good and promising. The only hits missing are The Relay and Athena.But the sound is really bad here. This is not because they used the original mixes. Actually, they used the original mixes on "Who's Better Who's Best" and "Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy", two Best-Of CDs from the 1980s, and those sound great. (Get those two instead of this!)The reasons for the harsh, bright, one-dimensional, distorted, lifeless sound is an unhealthy combination of noise reduction, compression and volume maximization. Noise reduction is supposed to take away the tape hiss, but it also affects the music, the vocals sound shrill, the drums tinny, the bass artificial, the lead guitar unreal, and the whole sound image flat and dull. The breath of life is sucked out of the music. Compression is used to make the low passages louder and to make it more "in-your-face" sounder, but if overused, tape defects are brought up to the front and the dynamic range of the recording is destroyed. Volume maximization will cause digital clipping on the loud passages and therefore also reduce the dynamic range.In addition, Happy Jack and Call Me Lightning are presented in fake stereo here, probably the worst CD versions of these songs ever."
Finally!! Unremixed remasters!
Terestai | Littleton, Colorado USA | 06/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Those of us who were unhappy with the "Remix" part of the '90s Who CDs will find The Ultimate Collection to be a real treat. While slightly flawed, this set packs some bona fide gems that haven't been available on CD for years. "I'm A Boy" is the true stereo version with the horn and drum section restored, along with the backing vocal harmony. "Boris The Spider" is also in true stereo. "Join Together" doesn't have the annoying flute at the end. "Eminence Front" has the botched mix in the first chorus restored, as well as the original bassline. Finally, I'd like to applaud the compiler who saw fit to put "Pure And Easy" in it's rightful place alongside The Who's greatest tracks.The biggest flaws are the omission of "Dogs", "Relay" and "When I Was A Boy"... especially considering the inclusion of "Sister Disco", "See Me Feel Me", and "Let's See Action", all unimportant fluff tracks. For some reason, "Call Me Lightning" has been sped up, making Daltrey sound like he's halfway to Chipmunkland. "Happy Jack" is some odd fake stereo version, but since this song was never mixed in true stereo and is readily available in mono on CD, it's an interesting inclusion.The bonus disc is good, but has nothing great to offer if you're a hardcore collector (especially if you have the Instant Party set, which has a breathtakingly clean-sounding version of the US "Substitute" single). I would've liked to have seen some of the most elusive Who tracks get the remaster treatment: the 7 minute "Magic Bus", the version of "Call Me Lightning" without the lead guitar line, "Waspman", or, as a real treat, the UK version of "Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde". But since this is a bonus disc, one can't complain! This only shows how generous The Who are to their fans.Overall, the good far outweighs the bad, making this a very worthwhile collection. To get remastered tracks in their original mixes is a treat to even the most diehard Who collectors.EDITED 6/29/02 - RIP John Entwistle. He was my fav Who songwriter, and will be sorely missed. Thank you, John, for writing the soundtrack of my life."