More of the Music of King Crimson
Hot Stamper Pressings of Progressive Rock Albums Available Now
Sonic Grade: B
The MoFi pressing shown here is surely one of their best.
Unfortunately, these days we have little tolerance for the dynamic compression, overall lifelessness and wonky bass heard on practically every record they ever remastered. Including this one.
One of the reasons your MoFi might not sound wrong to you is that it isn’t really “wrong.” It’s doing most things right, and it will probably beat most of what you can find to throw at it. A quick survey:
If you have the Atlantic pressing, from any era, you have never begun to hear this record at its best.
UK Polydor reissue? Passable, not really worth the labor to put them in a shootout and have them earn mediocre grades.
The same can be said for some of the early UK Pink Label Island pressings. None of them has ever won a shootout and none probably ever will. We don’t buy them as a rule, for two related reasons: one, they are expensive, and two, their sound quality does not justify paying the premium price sellers typically are asking.
We leave them to the record collectors who like to collect originals.
We and our customers are audiophiles. We like to collect records with good sound. If we have our heads on straight, we don’t care what pressing we buy as long as it’s the one with the best sound. (Of course, not everybody agrees with us about that, but enough of you out there do, such that our business is sure to proper in the years to come.
Back to the MoFi
It’s lacking some important qualities, and a listen to one of our Hot Stampers will allow you to hear exactly what you’re not getting when you play an audiophile pressing, any audiophile pressing, even one as good as MoFi’s.
Side by side the comparison will surely be striking. How much energy, size, power and passion is missing from the record you own?
There’s only one way to find out, and it’s by playing a better copy of the album.
Size and Space
Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center of the soundfield.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn’t, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation.
Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded that open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one of two clean British original copies with which to do a shootout? These records are expensive and hard to come by in good shape. Believe us, we know whereof we speak when it comes to getting hold of original British pressings of Classic Rock albums.
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it’s an entirely different – and dare I say unforgettable — listening experience.
Half-Speed Mastered Disasters
Half-Speed Mastered Mediocrities
Half-Speed Mastered Winners
Half-Speed Masters – The Complete List
To learn more about records that sound dramatically better than any Half-Speed ever made (with one rare exception, John Klemmer’s Touch), please consult our FAQs, found here: