- A KILLER copy with DEMO DISC Shootout Winning QUADRUPLE Plus (A++++) sound on the second side and Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first
- This Limited Edition Sheffield Lab Direct Disc recording has some of the best sound we have ever heard for this title
- It doesn’t get any better than this, with CLARITY and that JUMP OUT OF THE SPEAKERS quality we desire from a Hot Stamper
- Many copies of this album tend to sound a bit thin and somewhat bright; on this copy, the sound is rich, full, and tonally correct from top to bottom and the horns sound especially wonderful
Please note: we award the Four Plus A++++ grade so rarely that we don’t have a graphic for it in our system to use in the grading scale shown above. So the side two here shows up on the chart as A+++, but when you hear this copy you will know why we gave it a fourth plus!
What do Hot Stampers give you for this album? It’s very simple. Most copies of this album are slightly thin and slightly bright. They give the impression of being very clear and clean, but some of the louder brass passages start to get strained and blarey. This copy is rich and full. The sound is balanced from top to bottom. You can play it all the way through without fatigue.
Trumpets, trombones, tubas, tamborines, big bass, drums — everything has the true tonality and the vibrancy of the real thing. The reason this record was such a big hit in its day because the recording engineers were able to capture that sound better than anybody else around. That’s also the reason this is a Must Own record today — the sound holds up!
Just listen to that amazing brass choir on Oh Lord, I’m On My Way. It just doesn’t get any better than that. If ever there was a Demo Disc, this is one!
Records We’ve Played Vs. Records We’ve Heard – What’s the Difference?
Please note that we should, but often don’t, make a vitally important distinction between two words we tend to use interchangeably on the site. There is a difference between the sound of records that we’ve played and the sound that we’ve heard.
The stereo, the listening room, our cleaning technologies and who knows what else are all undergoing constant changes. This means that we may have played a better pressing in the past but couldn’t hear it sound as good as it does now. The regular improvements we make in all areas of playback make sonic comparisons over time all but meaningless.
What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1974
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
But Most Copies Don’t Sound Like This!
The typical pressing of this album leaves much to be desired; take our word for it — we found out the hard way. After playing quite a few copies, we discovered that it was the exceptional LP that had the sound we imagined this record should have, and not the average one.
What We’re Listening For on Volume III
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Good Music On An Audiophile LP, How About That?!
Side One has all of the texture and transients you could ever want to hear from this title. The bass is big and full-bodied and the drums have all of the energy and presence we love. Again, the CLARITY and clean sound of all the instruments is OFF THE CHARTS! The beggining of That Certain Feeling is so warm and smooth it makes the hard, typical copy sound like crap.
When we dropped the needle on You Are The Sunshine Of My Life we knew we had a Side Two that was something special. Immediately, we heard more LIFE and ENERGY than we had never heard before. It was so spacious and transparent we felt as if we were in the studio; which is the point of listening to recording like this. Isn’t it? The bass is PUNCHY and full. The saxophone solo on ‘Sunshine’ is so breathy and textured and you can hear the keys clacking as he does his trills. If you have another copy listen for different sax solo performances to see if you have a different take.
A Round Of Applause For Sheffield
As I’m sure you’ve read on the site, time has not been good to the sound of the typical Mobile Fidelity record. We may have been impressed back in the day, but now it’s clear their mastering approach was disastrous for most of the titles they did.
Sheffield, in this period anyway, turns out to have made some truly amazing sounding records, this one in particular, as well as the other two Mayorga titles. The Grusin has a few problems, and after that their catalog is hit and miss. But the early days at Sheffield produced some wonderful, wonderful albums.