Gino Vannelli – Storm At Sunup – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

This White Hot Stamper side one was CLEARLY the best sound we heard in our ENTIRE shootout. No other copy had any side that sounded as BIG and BOLD as this. It’s richer and fuller, and that’s a big deal on Storm at Sunup, which is almost always pure midrange — no bottom, no top, just midrange. Until we played this copy I wasn’t sure there was EVER going to be any bass or top end. Thank goodness this side one came along, otherwise we would have been tempted to junk the whole project.

Side One

A+++ White Hot Stamper sound. So lively and HUGE. Listen to the sax on the first track — it sounds right for once, not pinched or squaky.

Side Two

A big big step down, but still better than most of what we played. We call it A+. It’s full-bodied, but dark and the transients are smeared. Not edgy and midrangy at least.

My Story

Storm at Sunup [used to be] my all time favorite Gino Vannelli album. I played it all the time back in the ’70s. It was one of a handful of recordings that made me want to pursue audiophile equipment in the hopes that higher quality equipment would be able to make it sound even bigger and more exciting.

Right around that very same time, I got my first audiophile tube preamp, the Audio Research SP3A-1, which replaced a Crown IC-150. As you can no doubt imagine, especially if you know the IC-150 at all well, playing this album through that state-of-the-art tube preamp was a revelation. From then on there was no looking back. I started spending all my money on better and better equipment and more and more records. That was forty plus years ago and I haven’t stopped yet.

This is also the kind of recording that caused me to pursue Big Stereo Systems driving Big Speakers. You need a lot of piston area to bring the dynamics of this recording to life, and to get the size of all the instruments you hear to match their real life counterparts. For that you need big speakers in big cabinets, the kind I’ve been listening to for more than forty years. (My last small speaker was given the boot around 1974 or so.) To tell you the truth, the Big Sound is the only sound that I can stand. Anything less is just not for me.

AMG Review

In the mid-’70s, Vannelli automatically got to the forefront of R&B due to his soulful vocals and the melodic musical arrangements… whenever his lyrics hit the right note they were matched by his near-operatic vocals… the best of Storm at Sunup certainly captures Vannelli’s classic mid-’70s sound.