Kansas / Point of Know Return – CBS Half-Speed Debunked

More of the Music of Kansas

Hot Stamper Pressings of Prog Rock Albums Available Now

Sonic Grade: F

Both this album and Leftoverture are way too bright and thin.

What were the engineers thinking — that brighter equals better?

In the case of these two titles it most definitely is not. It’s the sound that most audiophiles are fooled by to this day.

Brighter and more detailed is rarely better. Most of the time it’s just brighter. Not many half-speed mastered audiophile records are dull. They’re bright because the audiophiles who bought them preferred that sound. I did too, a couple of decades ago[make that four decades ago].

Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson by now, expensive and embarrassing as such lessons often turn out to be. 

If your system is dull, dull, deadly dull, the way Old School systems tend to be, this record has the hyped-up sound to bring it to life in a hurry.

There are scores of commentaries on the site about the huge improvements in audio available to the discerning (and well-healed) audiophile. It’s the reason Hot Stampers can and do sound dramatically better than their Heavy Vinyl or Audiophile counterparts: because your stereo is good enough to show you the difference.

With an Old School Audio System, you will continue to be fooled by bad records, just as I and all my audio buds were fooled thirty and forty years ago. Audio has improved immensely in that time. If you’re still playing Heavy Vinyl and Audiophile pressings, there’s a world of sound you’re missing.

We discussed the issue in this commentary: Some Stereo Systems Make It Difficult to Find Better Sounding Pressings

My advice is to get better equipment and that will allow you to do a better job of recognizing bad records when you play them.


A PUBLIC SERVICE

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.

You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (On some Hall of Shame records the sound is passable but the music is bad.  These are also records you can safely avoid.)

Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the all-too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.

When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good pressing, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much less excusable.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

Basic Concepts and Realities Explained

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments