With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout
These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track — assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one
An amazing 1958 All Tube Live-in-the-Studio Jazz recording by the legendary Roy DuNann
“Tenor saxophonist Bob Cooper’s only Contemporary album is a near-classic and one of his finest recordings … This set is an underrated gem.”
This is a superb sounding Contemporary recording from 1958. Cooper is joined by top West Coast musicians like trombonist Frank Rosolino, vibraphonist Victor Feldman, pianist Lou Levy, bassist Max Bennett, and drummer Mel Lewis. On some parts of the Jazz Theme the group grows to be ten pieces. Normally this might present a problem for a recording engineer, but Roy DuNann is up to the task! If you want to hear the sound of brass recorded properly, Roy is your man.
Both sides are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track — assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one.
What do the better Hot Stampers pressings like this one give you?
Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the horns and drums, not the smear and thickness so common to most LPs.
Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Roy DuNann — would have put them.
Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Based on what I’m hearing my feeling is that most of the natural, full-bodied, smooth, sweet sound of the album is on the master tape, and that all that was needed to get that vintage sound correctly on to disc was simply to thread up that tape on a reasonably good machine and hit play.(more…)
This shootout taught us that track one is not as well recorded as the rest of side one. On copy after copy, and there were well over a dozen, it was the other big track on side one, South Side of the Sky, that had consistently better sound. You really hear it in the choruses, where the voices are so full-bodied, powerful, rich and energetic on that fourth track, and less of all of these qualities on the first.
You really hear it in the choruses, where the voices are so full-bodied, powerful, rich and energetic on that fourth track, and less of all of these qualities on the first. We play both songs, but we play them in reverse order, knowing that the mind-boggling sound is really going to be on South Side, not so much Roundabout.
This record should give any record you own a run for its money. It’s as BIG and as BOLD a statement about raising the bar for rock recordings as any I know. Without a doubt one of the Best Rock Recordings of all time.
One of the better Speakers Corner Deccas. We haven’t played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let’s call it a “B” with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in the ’90s when this record came out, but here it is anyway.
“Superb sound with a great performance to match. A TOP TOP TITLE in every way. This performance has never been equaled and probably never will be (on any format I can stand to listen to!)”
These are just some of the recordings by Linda Ronstadt that we’ve auditioned over the years and found wanting. Without going into specifics we’ll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.
A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.
On the better copies the multi-tracked chorus and background vocals are as breathy, rich, sweet and Tubey Magical as any pop recording we know of. An extended top end opens up the space for the huge, dense production to occupy. There is Midrange Magic To Die For exceeding anything to be found on Thriller.
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
The first single from the album was designed to go to Number One and it certainly met all expectations in that regard.
On the properly mastered and pressed copies the vocals and percussion will be a bit brighter than those on most of the tracks that follow. The percussion is often somewhat brittle on even the best copies; it’s surely on the tape that way.
It should be big, clear and lively right out of the gate.(more…)
Back in 2005 we compared the MFSL pressing of Help to a British Parlophone LP and were — mistakenly, as you may have already surmised — impressed by the MoFi.
Mobile Fidelity did a GREAT JOB with Help!. Help! is a famously dull sounding record. I don’t know of a single original pressing that has the top end mastered properly. Mobile Fidelity restored the highs that are missing from most copies.
The source of the error in our commentary above is in this sentence, see if you can spot it:
I don’t know of a single original pressing that has the top end mastered properly.
Did you figure it out? If you’ve spent much time on our site of course you did. (more…)
It’s the side you play through to the end. When the sound is right you want to hear more. Since the opening track of this record is one of the keys to knowing whether it’s mastered and pressed properly, once you get past the sibilance hurdle on track one, the next step is to find out how the challenges presented by the rest of the tracks are handled on any given LP. Some advice follows.
Actually, what you really want to know is how good each song can sound — what it sounds like when it’s right. Once the quality of the mastering has been established, the fun part is to play the rest of the album, to hear it really come alive! (more…)
With two seriously good Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this UK LP is sure to be one of the best sounding Roxy Music records you’ll ever play
These sides are unbelievably rich and Tubey Magical – Roxy just does not get much better than this!
We’ve been working on this shootout for over ten years – here is one of the better copies we have to show for our effort
AMG 5 Stars: “…another extraordinary record from Roxy Music, one that demonstrates even more clearly than the debut how avant-garde ideas can flourish in a pop setting.”
This album is a MASTERPIECE of Art Rock, Glam Rock and Bent Rock all rolled into one. Spacious, dynamic, present, with HUGE MEATY BASS and tons of energy, the sound is every bit as good as the music. (At least on this copy it is. That’s precisely what Hot Stampers are all about.)(more…)
An outstanding copy of this classic album, rating exceptionally good Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
Honky Chateau contains some of the most Tubey Magical High-Production-Value rock music ever recorded – thanks Ken Scott!
Not the quietest copy we’ve ever played – Mint Minus Minus to EX++ on both sides – but obviously one of the better sounding
5 stars: “The most focused and accomplished set of songs Elton John and Bernie Taupin ever wrote … It’s one of the finest collections of mainstream singer/songwriter pop of the early ’70s.”
If you doubt that Elton John was a kind of Pop Music Genius for much of the ’70s, just play this record. These eleven tracks should easily serve as all the proof you need. There’s not a dog in the bunch. Drop the needle on any track, you simply can’t go wrong.
We go years between shootouts for Honky Chateau. It’s beyond difficult to find clean British copies of this album with the right stampers, let alone copies that have Hot Stamper sound. Few albums are tougher for us to find with great sound and quiet vinyl. Most of the copies we buy from record dealers in England are noisy and only a fraction of them have the kind of sound that serious audiophiles are going to pay good money for.
Superb Music, Amazing Sound
This has to be one of the best sounding rock records of all time — certainly worthy of a prized spot on our Rock and Pop Top 100 List. It’s a shining example of just how good High-Production-Value rock music of the ’70s can be.(more…)