Janis Joplin / Pearl – What Are My Options?

More Janis Joplin

Mobile Fidelity famously attempted to do a version of this album back in the ’80s that (thankfully) never made it past the test pressing phase.

Sells for big money too. Collector Mentality at its worst. And what could be sadder than collecting the awful records of that label? In the ’80s it might have made sense — I used to do it — but at some point we should make some progress in this hobby, and it does not take much audio progress before the shortcomings of the vast majority of those remastered pressings become obvious and intolerable.

There’s a Sony 180 gram reissue from Germany that’s godawful, and the later Columbia versions are a mess as well.

Stick with the early domestic pressings. If you clean and play enough of them, you most likely will find a good one.

We consider this Janis Joplin record her Masterpiece. It’s a recording that should be part of any serious popular Music Collection.

Others that belong in that category can be found here.

What We’re Listening For on Pearl

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • 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.


Side One

Move Over
Cry Baby
A Woman Left Lonely
Half Moon
Buried Alive in the Blues

Side Two

My Baby
Me and Bobby McGee
Mercedes Benz
Trust Me
Get It While You Can

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