More of the Music of Supertramp
Reviews and Commentaries for Crime of the Century
[This commentary is well over ten years old, so take it with a grain or two of salt.]
AMAZING White Hot Stampers for the greatest Ken Scott production in history. This is his (and the band’s) MASTERPIECE, and now we have a pressing that allows us to revel in the GLORY that is Crime of the Century!
We played a KILLER MoFi pressing many years ago. (Yes, we admit it. As much as we dislike most of their records, the truth is the truth. Some can actually sound good. You can count them on the fingers of one hand, but they do exist.) This bit of commentary from the Hot Stamper MoFi shootout we had done previously discusses some of its characteristic traits:
How About the Brit Copies?
If one were to pick some nits, one could say that it’s still a tiny bit hot around 6k. The reason I know that is because the early British pressings have a smoother midrange compared to practically anything else out there. You may have noticed that good British copies never make it to the site, and there’s a simple explanation for that. Most early British copies (and later ones too) just do not sound good. On top of that, they are rarely quiet enough to play and enjoy. I can’t tell you how many British COTC pressings I’ve heard in the last 5 years that didn’t sound good or were noisy and groove damaged. But it’s a lot.
We get these MOFIs in on a regular basis, and they usually sound as phony and wrong as can be. They’re the perfect example of a hyped-up audiophile record that appeals to people with lifeless stereos, the kind that need amped-up records to get them going.
Listen to the vocals at the end of Dreamer. If they are bright, the bells at the end of the song sound super-extended and harmonically rich. But at what price? The vocals are TOO BRIGHT. Which is more important: good vocals or good bells? There has to be a BALANCE. This is something audiophiles and audiophile labels — even worse, they should know better — often have trouble understanding.
Things Have Changed
As we never tire of saying, in audio, if you’re doing it right, things change. With better cleaning technologies, better playback, better all the other stuff we talk about on the site, records that used to be practically impossible to get to sound right can suddenly — if a year or two of hard work and experimentation can be considered “sudden” — start to come alive and show us the MAGIC that’s been locked away for all this time inside their grooves.
To Quote The Rutles, Let’s Be Natural
Case in point: The vocals here sound AMAZING — natural and correct with lots of texture. Even the best MoFi copies are going to sound a bit phony when played against a killer copy such as this. Of course it’s a high-definition, high-resolution sound cut with super low distortion; it has to be to sound this good. Folks, this is the copy that lets you appreciate every last detail of the recording without hitting you over the head with “sonic effects”. It’s musical in a way that no audiophile pressing ever seems to be.
And of course the bass is AWESOME. Loud levels and big woofers will have your house quaking. Add to that the kind of ENERGY that the best pressings have in their grooves and you have an album that is guaranteed to bring the average audiophile system to its knees, begging for mercy. This is The Audio Challenge before you. If you don’t have a system designed to play records with this kind of SONIC POWER, steer clear of Crime of the Century. It wants to rock your world, and that’s exactly what Hot Stamper pressings like this one are here to do.
It’s ALIVE! It has BIG, PUNCHY sound that will fill up your living room and then some. It’s exceptionally transparent with superb clarity and lots of extension on the top end. (The typical Brit copy is dull, and that quality just takes all the magic out of the recording. The three dimensional space and clarity of the recording rely heavily on the quality of the top end. The MoFi, on the best copies, shows you what is missing from the typical Brit, domestic or other import LP. This is what impressed me back in the ’70s when I bought my MoFi. It was only years later that I realized what was missing and what was wrong.)
Last time around the best copies were British. That was NOT the case this time except on side two, where one British copy was competitive, but not better than, our best domestic pressing.