Letter of the Week – “After a quick listen through them it was immediately obvious that they were dead, and they’ve been sitting in their heavy vinyl glory on my shelf for most of the past year unplayed.”

One of our good customers asked us about a Heavy Vinyl remastering label recently:

Also curious your thoughts on these guys: Music Matters

I replied:

Every label with a checkered history gets put into our Record Labels with Shortcomings Section (scroll down to the bottom to see the list), and in there toward the bottom you will find the two awful Music Matters records we have reviewed to date.

Really bad. And the guy that let me borrow them said that of all the heavy vinyl he owned by these idiots, he thought these were two of the best!

Until these records sound wrong to you in the ways I describe, you have work to do on the stereo. The better your stereo gets, the more wrong these records should sound.

They sound very wrong to me, and no mastering engineer in the history of the world made records that sound the way these do until sometime in the 90s when some audiophile labels started producing this crap.

That should tell you something.

Seems he knew all along how bad they were:

For the record, an audiophile friend of mine turned me on to the Music Matters Blue Note stuff, and I got excited and bought something like five records in the first batch. I bought into the hype. After a quick listen through them it was immediately obvious that they were dead, and they’ve been sitting in their heavy vinyl glory on my shelf for most of the past year unplayed. So yes, I can clearly hear what you’re talking about and had experienced it long before encountering hot stampers.

I think changes to my system have made them more palatable however, the Shunyata Everest power conditioner primarily. Played loud with this fueling it all, you can see deeper into the recordings and they are not as dead, even bordering on enjoyable, albeit in a way that is clearly nothing like a hot stamper and nothing like a good pre-90s pressing.

I don’t think these guys are even competing with ‘tubey magic’, they’re competing with streaming digital. From that perspective, their creations have some limited appeal, and many people don’t have the kind of digital frontend you’d need to get similar results (i.e. a great renderer etc., let alone DAC).

Same goes for Analogue Productions; they think they’re fueling a vinyl renaissance IN RESPONSE TO DIGITAL, not as stewards of what once was. A shame, but explains somewhat where they’re coming from in terms of the sound they aim for. They just have nothing in common with the kind of vinyl sound you (and I) prize, but for me at least, as long as you’re aware of this, they remain interesting, at least since the Everest became part of my system, or at least for now; may be a phase I’m going through and I’ll disown this perspective in a couple of months : )

Let’s hope it’s a phase. I think all these records are just plain awful and not worth the vinyl they are pressed on.

More Letters


FURTHER READING

Record Labels with Shortcomings – The List So Far

Labels With Shortcomings – Analogue Productions (20)

Labels With Shortcomings – Angel (6)

Labels With Shortcomings – Athena & Chesky (6)

Labels with Shortcomings – CBS Half-Speeds (12)

Labels With Shortcomings – Century Records (4)

Labels With Shortcomings – Cisco/Boxstar (27)

Labels With Shortcomings – Classic Records – Classical (26)

Labels With Shortcomings – Classic Records – Jazz (10)

Labels With Shortcomings – Classic Records – Rock and Pop (46)

Labels With Shortcomings – Concord (2)

Labels with Shortcomings – Crystal Clear (7)

Labels With Shortcomings – DCC/S&P/Audio Fidelity (27)

Labels with Shortcomings – Direct Disk Labs (8)

Labels With Shortcomings – Four Men with Beards (2)

Labels with Shortcomings – Klavier (4)

Labels with Shortcomings – M&K (7)

Labels with Shortcomings – MCA Half-Speeds (3)

Labels With Shortcomings – Mobile Fidelity (110)

Labels With Shortcomings – Music Matters (2)

Labels With Shortcomings – Nautilus (17)

Labels with Shortcomings – Reference (2)

Labels With Shortcomings – Rhino / Warners (22)

Labels With Shortcomings – Simply Vinyl (16)

Labels With Shortcomings – Speakers Corner – Classical (28)

Labels With Shortcomings – Speakers Corner – Jazz (8)

Labels With Shortcomings – Speakers Corner – Rock & Pop (10)

Labels With Shortcomings – Sundazed (14)

Labels With Shortcomings – Sweet Thunder (1)

Labels With Shortcomings – Telarc (2)

Labels With Shortcomings – Whitehall (1)

Labels With Shortcomings – ECM (1)