Sonic Grade: F
Is it the worst version of the album ever made?
That’s hard to say. But it is the worst sounding version of the album we’ve ever played, and that should be all any audiophile contemplating spending money on this kind of trash needs to know.
Compressed, thick, dull, opaque, and almost completely lacking in ambience, this record has all the hallmarks of the Modern Heavy Vinyl Reissue.
Whether made by DCC or any other label, starting at some point in the mid-’90s, many remastered audiophile pressings started to have a tonal shortcoming that we found insufferable from day one: they are just so damn smooth.
Almost any domestic or British original pressing of Fresh Cream will be better in almost every way. Read our Hot Stamper review below for the full story.
[This is an old review. We no longer buy the domestic pressings of Fresh Cream. They are often noisy and don’t sound remotely as good as the right British imports, including some late reissues. But anything beats the DCC LP.]
Our Hot Stamper Commentary from 2008
AN EXCEPTIONAL SIDE ONE BACKED WITH GREAT SIDE ONE, both on surprisingly quiet vinyl! We just finished a shootout for this hard-rockin’ debut album and were delighted to hear how good this music can sound on the right pressing. This copy has the kind of bottom end that this music absolutely demands but is sadly missing in action from most of the pressings we played. If your Cream record can’t rock, remind me, what exactly is the point again?
This is a very quiet, AMAZING SOUNDING Plum and Tan Label original Atco LP that makes the DCC LP (and probably their CD as well) sound like MUD. This copy has the LIFE and ENERGY and OPENNESS and TRANSPARENCY that’s missing from the DCC versions. I discovered how good this album can really sound a year or two ago when I got hold of a superb British Reaction label original with apparently Hot Stampers, which sounds very much like this copy by the way.
Since then I have picked up Reaction copies that don’t sound too good. I also have domestic pressings that are just plain horrible. The reason this is the first Hot Stamper Fresh Cream to make it to the site in ages is because it’s the first one we’ve found that sounds as good as the best Reactions I’ve played before. We don’t have a Hot Reaction copy to offer at this time, but I can assure you this domestic issue has got plenty of that Fresh Cream magic.
Face it: this will never be a demo disc. But after playing this copy and the other ones that came close, this music sounds so much better than I ever thought it could, it’s given me a whole new appreciation for this album. I’ve grown to love it, and consider it one of the all time greats. It’s probably my favorite Cream record now. That’s what a good copy can do.