Rating the DCC LP
Sonic Grade: B-
Keep in mind that the only way you can never be wrong about your records is simply to avoid playing them. If you have better equipment than you did, say, five years ago, try playing some of your MoFi’s, 180 gram LPs, Japanese pressings, 45 RPM remasters and the like. You might be in for quite a shock.
Read the commentary below to see why we think we were wrong about the DCC pressing of Waiting For The Sun.
Of course the question on everyone’s mind is, “How does this Hot Stamper copy stack up to the famous DCC pressing?” After all, it’s the one we were touting all through the ’90s as The One To Beat.
Well, to be honest, the DCC is a nice record, but a really special original copy like this one throws a pretty strong light on its faults, which are numerous and frankly quite bothersome. The top end on the copy I played was a touch boosted, causing a number of problems.
For one, the cymbals sounded slightly tizzy compared to the real thing, which had a fairly natural, though not especially extended, top end.
But the real problem was in the midrange. Morrison sounded thinner and brighter, more like a tenor and less like a baritone, with a somewhat hi-fi-ish quality added to the top of his voice. Folks, I hate to say it, but if someone had told me that the record playing was half-speed mastered, I probably would have believed it. I detest that sound, and the DCC pressing bugged the hell out of me in that respect.
Morrison has one of the richest and most distinctive voices in the history of rock. When it doesn’t sound like the guy I’ve been listening to for close to forty years, something ain’t right.
The bottom end was also a tad boosted — not in the deep bass, but more in that area around 100-200 cycles, causing the sound to be overly rich. None of the originals we played had anything like it, so I’m pretty sure that’s a bit of added EQ Hoffman introduced for reasons known best to him.
Not So Fast There, O Hot Stamper Guru
But wait a minute — don’t all records sound different? Is it really fair to paint his version with such a broad brush on the basis of having played only one copy?
Of course not. Perhaps other copies sound better. (Maybe they sound worse. Think about that.) So here’s our offer to you, dear customer: We absolutely guarantee our Hot Stamper copies will handily beat the DCC pressing or your money back. We’ll even pay the return domestic shipping if for some reason you are not 100% satisfied with the sound of our Hot Stamper. Now there’s an offer you can’t refuse, for those of you who love this album and have a bunch of money burning a hole in your pocket.
We Love This Music
My favorite of the first three Doors album, this one is imbued with more mystery and lyricism than any previous effort. The album shows them maturing as a band, smoking large amounts of pot and preparing for the wild ride of their next opus, the ambitious Soft Parade. Actually, as I listen to this album it reminds me more and more of that one. Now that it sounds as good as The Soft Parade (a record I have an amazing Magic Stamper pressing of, brown label don’t you know) I find I’ve gained a new respect for Waiting.
The Doors on Vinyl – A Brief History
I started listening to these albums on my 8-track tape player when I was in high school. When I got seriously into audio sometime in the ’70s I tried every kind of record I could get my hands on — Brits, Germans, Japanese, originals, reissues — but no matter what I did, I couldn’t find good sounding pressings of The Doors albums. They sounded terrible for the most part and I just assumed the band — like so many ’60s artists — had been poorly recorded.
Then in the early ’80s the MoFi of the first album came out. It sounded amazing to me at the time. Ten or so years later the DCC pressing came along and murdered it. Now we’ve come full circle — back to the originals. With all the revolutions in audio of the last ten years, the tables have turned. Watch for more Doors records shootouts in the months to come. We love to do them.