Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow – Another DCC Disaster

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

Sour and opaque, a major disappointment. You can do worse but you would really have to work at it.

Our Hot Stamper Commentary from 2008

It’s An Uphill Battle Every Time

This album is an exceedingly difficult nut to crack — no matter how many copies we have, no matter how much information we have to work with. Play the typical copy and you’ll likely run for cover — we heard played copies that were aggressive, shrill, lifeless, dull, thick, veiled, bass-shy — you name it, we heard it. Not only that, but as a rule these early pressings are BEAT TO DEATH. Finding a copy that sounds any good and plays Mint Minus Minus or better is a real challenge.

But we didn’t give up. We knew that the best pressings of this album have tubey magic in spades. Undaunted, we kept up the search and eventually found some OUT OF THIS WORLD Hot Stamper copies.

Almost every pressing you’ll ever find suffers from at least a bit of harmonic distortion — some MUCH worse than others. We were convinced at one point that it was on the tapes, but after playing these super clean copies, we now know better.

The overall sound is rich, warm, and sweet, with all the tubey magic you could hope for. The clarity and transparency goes far beyond what you’d hear on an average copy, and the highs are extended and silky sweet. After playing a stack of copies that were full of compressor distortion, we couldn’t believe how clean this one was cut.

The bass is deep and well-defined with a meaty quality that helps the music really rock. Plastic Fantastic Lover sounds UNBELIEVABLY GOOD with breathy vocals and lots of extension up top.

No Other Game In Town

If you love this album as much as we do, you’ll understand why we went to all this trouble to find great pressings. There is NO OTHER GAME IN TOWN for this album — the Sundazed Mono pressing can’t handle the rock songs, and I’ve never been a fan of the DCC.