Sonic Grade: C-
Not long ago we pulled out the three copies we had in our leftover stock of DCC vinyl and gave them a spin. They weren’t awful, but they weren’t very good either, sounding, like most Heavy Vinyl, airless, blurry, smeary, two-dimensional, dull and opaque. Not surprisingly (to us anyway) one copy was quite a bit better than the other two. I would say that the sound would plot on a curve from about a D to maybe a C+, so let’s figure the average would be around a C- or so. I’d be surprised if the DCC CD didn’t sound better. More often than not it does.
The no-longer-surprising thing about our Hot Stamper pressings of Pet Sounds is how completely they trounce the DCC LP. Folks, it’s really no contest. Yes, the DCC is tonally balanced and can sound decent enough but it can’t compete with the best “mystery” pressings that we sell. It’s missing too much of the presence, intimacy, immediacy and transparency that we’ve discovered on the better Capitol pressings.
As is the case with practically every record pressed on Heavy Vinyl over the last twenty years, there is a suffocating loss of ambience throughout, a pronounced sterility to the sound. Modern remastered records just do not BREATHE like the real thing. Good EQ or Bad EQ, they all suffer to one degree or another from a bad case of audio enervation. Where is the life of the music? You can try turning up the volume on these remastered LPs all you want; they simply refuse to come to life.