This commentary is about two things — knowing the kind of music you like, and getting the kind of sound you want.
If you believe a word you read on the various sites where audiophiles freely dispense advice about everything under the sun regarding music, recordings and equipment, you are asking for trouble and you are surely going to get it. You will encounter an endless supply of nonsense, more often than not defended tooth and nail by those with more aptitude for typing than for critical listening.
Many if not most audiophiles are still under the misapprehension that Mobile Fidelity, with their strict ’quality control’, managed to eliminate pressing variations of the kind we discuss endlessly on the site.
Such is simply not the case, and it’s child’s play to demonstrate how false this way of thinking is, assuming you have these four things: good cleaning fluids and a machine, multiple copies of the same record, a reasonably revealing stereo, and two working ears. With all four the reality of pressing variations for ALL pressings is both obvious and incontrovertible.
The discussion below of a Hot Stamper Pair of Dark Sides may shed light on some of the issues involved.
This is some of the best High-Production-Value rock music of the ’70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, Yes, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Pink Floyd and too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted. (Of course, as it turns out, recording technology only got worse as the decade wore on, and during the ’80s the sound of most records went off a cliff.)
Big Production British Rock & Roll just doesn’t get much better than A Space in Time.
Sonic Grade: F
A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi Audiophile LP debunked.
You’re looking at one of the worst audiophile disasters in recent memory. Talk about dead as a doornail sound, folks, if you own this pressing, take it from us, you don’t know what you’re missing. Buy the next domestic copy you spot at your local record store for five bucks and find out. No way it can sound as bad as this compressed, lifeless, dull “audiophile” record.
Sonic Grade: D
Another Half Speed debunked.
The Warner Brothers 180g Double LP pictured above was mastered by Stan Ricker at half-speed. Most of the time that means that it will be too bright and the bass will be sloppy. And what do you know, it IS too bright and the bass IS sloppy!
Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.
The British pressings are simply not competitive with the best domestics. No import, from any country, can touch a good Columbia pressing from the states. The most common stampers for the Columbia pressings have never sounded very good to these ears, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some killer copies with different stampers sitting in the bins wearing the generic ’70s Red Columbia label. We’ve heard them. Wish we could find more of them but they are rare and only getting rarer.