A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.
This Sheffield Direct to Disc pressing has AMAZING SOUND! Out of the six copies we played, this was the White Hot Stamper WINNER of our shootout with the kind of life and musical energy simply not to be found on the average Sheffield copy.
The typical direct to disc pressing of Discovered Again leaves much to be desired. Two areas are especially lacking as a rule: the top end tends to be rolled off, and there is a noticeable lack of presence, which can easily be heard in the drum sound: the snare sounds like it’s covered with a towel on most copies of this album. Wha’ happen?
Who knows? Even though the mastering is fixed at the live event, there are many other variables which no doubt affect the sound. The album is cut on two different lathes — M (Master) and S (Slave), and pressed in two different countries: Japan and Germany. Many mothers were pulled from the acetate and many, many stampers made from those mothers. (I saw one marked stamper number 15!)
Bottom line? You got to play ’em, just like any other pressing. If no two records sound the same, it follows that no two audiophile records sound the same, a fact that became clear early on in the listening. Of course not many audiophiles are in a position to shootout six copies of Discovered Again, and I’m not sure most people would want to. Here at Better Records we have a whole system set up to do exactly that, so we waited until we had a pile of them, got them all cleaned up, and off to the races we went.
Reversed Absolute Phase, Or Is It?
According to the liner notes, this album is reversed absolute phase. They tell you straight out to reverse the positive and negative at the speaker for the best “transient response and spatial clarity.”
That out of phase quality is as plain as the nose on your face when you know what to listen for. There’s an unpleasant hardness and hollowness to the midrange, a lack of depth, and an off-putting opaque quality to the sound.
With our new EAR 324p phono stage, the click of a button reverses phase. I can’t tell you how handy it is to have such a tool at your disposal. Checking the phase for Discovered Again couldn’t have been easier.
An Amazing Discovery
But get this: most side ones are NOT reversed phase. How about them apples! We could not have been more shocked. Here is the most famous out of phase audiophile recording in the history of the world, and it turns out most copies are not out of phase on side one at all! (All the side twos we played were however.)
This copy has the phase reversed on side one. If you have no easy way to reverse your phase, this is not the copy for you. We should have other copies on the site with correct phase and would recommend one of those to you. (Let us get you a EAR 324p; then you can play everything.)
This Copy Is Killer
Listen to the harmonics around the cymbals and bells on Git Along Little Dogies — you can really hear the transients of the cymbals and percussion, so important to the sound of those instruments. The stand-up acoustic bass is amazingly welll recorded on this album; it’s so rich and full-bodied. You will have a hard time finding a string bass that sounds better. Track after track, the sound is surprisingly open and airy. Dave’s keyboards throughout have wonderful presence; they really jump out of the speakers.
Side One had the best bass ever — extending all the way into WHOMP land. This pressing has loads of presence and the most natural sounding echo and ambience of any copy in our shootout.
This Is Good Music
We are on record as being big fans of this album. Unlike most Direct to Disc recordings, Discovered Again actually contains real music worth listening to. During our all-day shootout, the more we played the record, the more we appreciated it. These are top quality players totally in the groove on this material. When it’s played well, and the sound is as good as it is here, there’s nothing dated about this kind of jazz. Hey, what can we say — it works.