One quality that we had no trouble recognizing on the better copies was TRANSPARENCY. The more transparent copies made it possible to hear through the mix to Carole’s piano, which is usually placed toward the back of the mix. There it serves to underpin the music, playing more of a supporting role than a leading one, very unlike the piano on a Joni Mitchell album for example.
The best copies let you easily follow Carole’s playing all the way through every song, from start to finish, no matter how quiet her part or how far back in the mix she may be placed.
If the pressing has a thinner sound obviously it becomes easier to pick up on the percussive nature of the instrument and “see” it more clearly. However, a thin piano tone on this album is the kiss of death. The best copies allow you to hear the full range of notes — including those played with the left hand — and for that you need both richness and transparency.
This is a tricky balancing act; rarely in our experience do any two copies find precisely the same balance throughout an entire side.
Tough Sledding with Tapestry
There’s a reason you don’t see Tapestry Hot Stampers on the site very often. Folks, take it from us, even in Mint Minus Minus condition it ain’t that easy to find them. People loved Tapestry — it was Number One on the Billboard 200 for fifteen straight weeks, which is still the record for a female solo artist, and charted for more than 300 (!).
It’s a classic and it got played to death. Furthermore the Ode vinyl the originals were pressed on was not all that quiet to begin with. We probably look at twenty or thirty for every one we find that’s not scratched or worn out. So Mint Minus Minus with no scratches that play and no groove damage to speak of is about the best that we are going to be able to do surface-wise. Sound-wise our copies will trounce any copy you’ve ever heard, or your money back.
…along these lines can be found below.
Transparency, the other side of the Tubey Magical Richness coin, is key to the better pressings of this album as well as many of our other favorite demo discs.
Here are more records that will help you avoid listening for phony detail when evaluating equipment or tweaking your system.
The most important advice on the site can be found under the heading The Four Pillars of Success.
Record shootouts are the fastest and easiest way to hone your listening skills, a subject we discuss often on the site and directly address in this commentary from way back in 2005.
Here are more entries in our ongoing Shootout Advice series.