Grant Green’s Green Street on Heavy Vinyl – Music Matters, But Apparently Sound Does Not

Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and a Heavy Vinyl Disaster if there ever was one (and oh yes, there are plenty).

After discovering Hot Stampers and the mind-blowing sound they deliver, a new customer generously sent me a few of his favorite Heavy Vinyl pressings to audition, records that he considered the best of the modern reissues that he owns.

He admitted that most of what he has on Heavy Vinyl is not very good, and now that he can clearly hear what he has been missing, having heard some of our best Hot Stamper jazz pressings, he is going to be putting them up on Ebay and selling them to anyone foolish enough to throw their money away on this kind of vinyl junk.

We say more power to him.  That money can be used to buy records that actually are good sounding, not just supposed to be good sounding because they were custom manufactured with the utmost care and marketed at high prices to soi-disant audiophiles.

Audiophile records are a scam. They always have been and always will be.

I haven’t listened to a copy of this album in a very long time, but I know a good sounding jazz record when I hear one, having critically auditioned more than a thousand over the course of the 33 years I have been in business selling good sounding records.

I knew pretty early on in the session that this was not a good sounding jazz record.  Five minutes was all it took, but I probably wasted another ten making sure the sound was as hopeless as it originally seemed.

For those of you who might have trouble reading my handwriting, my notes say:

Bass is sloppy and fat.

The bass is boosted and badly lacks definition. It constantly calls attention to itself. It is the kind of sloppy bass that cannot be found on any RVG recording, none that I have ever heard anyway, and I’ve heard them by the hundreds.

You no doubt know about the phony boosted bass on the remastered Beatles albums. It’s that sound. Irritating in the extreme, and just plain wrong.

Reserved. Playing through a curtain.

Very few Heavy Vinyl records these days do not sound veiled and reserved in the midrange.

To get a better sense of the effect, throw a medium weight blanket over your speakers. Voila!

No space.

Typical of Heavy Vinyl. The studio space and ambience found on the better vintage pressings, the kind we play all day long, is GONE.

RTI pressings are serial offenders in this regard.  We find them uniformly insufferable.

No transients.

Not the sound of the instruments that RVG is famous for.  No leading edges to anything.

Somebody screwed them up in the mastering. Bad cutting equipment? Bad EQ? Both? What else could it be?

Boring.

Of course it is. Nothing sounds right and it’s all just so dead. I would be very surprised if the CD was not dramatically better sounding in practically every way, and far more fun to listen to.

Snare is hot when played loud like OJC

We’ve auditioned close to a hundred OJC titles over the years. We sell quite a few of them, but only the ones that sound good of course. And some of them are hard to beat.

But lots of them have a phony, boosted top end, easily heard as sizzly, gritty, phony cymbals and too-hot snare drums.

This record has that phony sound.

We would never sell any record that sounds this bad. It is a complete and utter disgrace and an affront to vinyl loving audiophiles around the world.

If this record sounds right to you, one thing I can say without fear of contradiction: you have a lot of work to do on your stereo system.

What to avoid:

Credits

Notes

Recorded on April 1, 1961.

Mastered and cut from the original stereo master tapes. Features a laminated gatefold sleeve with original session photos. Limited to 3500 copies.

Track B2 on the disc label is misprinted as “Where Are You”

Publishing and Rights Society Credits:
Track A1, A3, B1: Groove Music – BMI

Originally released 1961 on Blue Note Records. © 2015 Blue Note Records. Distributed by Music Matters Ltd. Manufactured by Universal Music Enterprises, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.