Come Away With Me, the debut album by Norah Jones has been released in an audiophile vinyl reissue by Analogue Productions. Our review shows whether it really sounds better?
Which versions of Come Away With Me by Norah Jones do we compare?
Come Away With Me, Norah Jones’ debut album, was released on Blue Note Records on 26 February 2002. The older of our comparative sexpels was also released on Blue Note, but two years later, in 2004.
Our album is in a simple single sleeve and received no other additions. It was pressed on 166g vinyl and does not show any waves or streaks. But unfortunately some noise escaped the quality control, which could not be removed even by repeated intensive cleaning with different record washing machines.
On the Analogue Productions, on the other hand, there are no pressing faults to be found, either visually or acoustically. It was carefully pressed onto a decent lump of vinyl in 2019. Weighed in at a proud 226g.
Analogue Productions from 2019 has been given a gatefold cover made of strong cardboard in MoFi style as well as a high-quality inner sleeve. The lyrics are printed on the inside of the gatefold. Exactly as one would wish. However, the cover photo is a bit grainy, on the Blue Note the photo on the single sleeve was even sharper.
A little background on Come Away With Me
What else can be said about this Grammy-winning album, which has been awarded 4 gold and 62 platinum awards worldwide? Geethali Norah Jones Shankar is the daughter of Ravi Shankar, better known to Beatles fans as George Harrison’s sitar teacher (Shankar was also one of the most important figures in traditional Indian music).
Come Away With Me is considered one of the best-selling albums of all time. And as the Blue Note album that is “least jazz”. But the well-known mixture of pop, country, soul and jazz was recorded by jazz musicians.
How good do the two pressings sound in direct comparison?
In the listening test, Analogue Productions impressed with really great dynamics and low background noise. The Blue Note also pleases with a dynamic sound. But the vocals distort in some loud passages (such as Cold Cold Heart). This is colossally annoying and tarnishes the review. In 2004, vinyl records were unfortunately a niche product at best, the focus was on CD production. Quality control was probably not that important
How do the levels and dynamics differ between Blue Note and Analogue Productions?
The waveform for Cold Cold Heart shows only slight differences. The Bue Note has a slightly higher level. But in principle, the waves show that both pressings have considerable dynamics and were hardly processed with compressor or limiter during mastering.
The waveform for Come Away With Me also shows no glaring differences. However, the Blue Note worked on the loudness with a compressor, especially in the first half of the piece. This is recognisable by the larger deflections in the area of the arrows.
Feeling The Same Way is flawless pop and was mastered as such by Blue Note. Many more transients reach the stop of the threshold in the upper diagram, creating an image as if drawn with a ruler. Presumably, the Analogue Productions wave is an image of the mix without further compression. A limiter is not even needed – so the transients create an irregular image. You may not hear this difference, but you experience it as a somewhat more natural, because more uneven sound.
How does the loudness measurement of the Blue Note and Analogue Productions pressings show?
The loudness measurement with the Youlean Loudness Meter showed a loudness of -21.8 LUFS integrated (Loudness Units relative to Full Scale) for side 1 of the Blue Note pressing.
Side 1 of the Analogue Productions pressing comes to a loudness of -22.8 LUFS integrated. The Youlean Loudness Meter is also used by mastering engineers and measures the average loudness and dynamic range of adios signals. For side 1 of the Analogue Productions we see a -0.3 dB lower loudness here. But this is all within the bounds and does not yet represent a sign of quality.
The loudness measurement for side 2 showed the same value of -22.3 LUFS integrated for both pressings. However, differences can be detected in tracks 4 and 4, i.e. Painter Song and One Flight Dawn, where the Analogue Productions diagram shows noticeably more green areas. Green areas represent quieter passages, for example the empty grooves between the songs. But within the songs, green passages show that here, too, there is a release from the gas.
How do the frequency spectra differ between Blue Note and Analogue Productions?
The frequency spectrogram for Cold Cold Heart shows significantly longer upward deflections for the Analogue Productions pressing. While Blue Note stops after about 18 kHz, Analogue Productions plays right up to the edge of the diagram. Very few people can consciously hear these frequencies. But psychoacousticians are quite sure that these frequencies are felt subconsciously.
While the spectrogram with the linear scaling shows especially the differences in the high frequencies, a logarithmic scaling shows differences in the bass well. However, only if there are any. In this case, the violet areas in both diagrams for Cold Cold Heart (as well as for the other pieces) are very similar and confirm the auditory impression: in the bass, there are no noteworthy differences between the pressings.
Auch in Come Away With Me lassen sich die höheren Ausschläge im Diagramm der Analogue Productions ablesen. Wer ganz genau hinsieht, wird die Ausschläge auch bei der Blue Note finden, allerdings blasser – also weniger laut.
Feeling The Same Way is louder overall on the Blue Note and optimised for loudness by compressor and limiter. Therefore, the chart shows higher values for the Blue Note across the entire frequency spectrum.
Which pressing of Norah Jones – Come Away With Me is better?
The difference between the album on Blue Note and the audiophile edition from Analogue-Productions is not that big at first glance. Only those who listen closely and look carefully will recognise many small differences. On Blue Note, for example, much more work was done with compressor and limiter, while on Analogue Productions the full dynamics of the master tape and thus a more lively reproduction was preserved. It has the nicer gatefold cover anyway.
|Title||Come Away With Me|
|Label||Analogue Productions||Blue Note|
|Catalogue number||509996-38779-1-5||BTE 32088 7 243-5-32088-1-3|
|Revolutions/minute||33 1/3||33 1/3|
|Mastered by||Kevin Gray||Sterling Sound,Ted Jensen|
|Pressing plant||QualityRecordPressings.com||Not specified|
|Matrix-Runout||50999 63877915-A/B APP-042 KG @ME@CA||BTE-32088-1A REI S-64484 THFM J.Y. BTE-32088-1B REI S-64484 THFM J.Y.|
|Country of manufacture||USA||USA|