They just plain ROCK HARDER than the other copies we play. Yes, they’re bigger. Yes, they have more weight and whomp down low. Yes, they are smoother and more natural up top.
But what really sets them apart is their tremendous ENERGY. The music explodes out of the speakers and comes to life on the best copies of Quadrophenia like few records you have ever heard. When we find more of that kind of power and energy on a record than the others in our shootout, all other things being equal, we have a name for them: White Hot Stampers.
It’s what you’re paying for — and what you get — for the kind of money we charge.
Dynamics and Energy
The sine qua non of rock records is that they rock. The rock records that earn the highest grades here at Better Records are usually the ones that have the most energy and power.
Transparency, Presence, Clarity, Tubey Magic, Sweetness and other favorites of those of us in the audiophile community are very important qualities in a record, but all of them pale in comparison to raw power when it comes to rock and roll.
For us, a transparent, sweet, lifeless record is just no fun, hence our disdain for Heavy Vinyl, which in our experience almost always lacks energy, along with lots of other things of course.
We like the Big Speaker sound.
This means the sound must be dynamic, immediate and full-range. Small speakers, screens and their ilk can do some nice things, but they can’t move air very well, so for us they fail to convey the true sense of the power, the “liveness,” of a recording the way dynamic drivers can (assuming of course the drivers are big enough and you have enough of them).
Room treatments play a vitally important role here of course. Untreated or poorly treated listening rooms constantly fight the speakers’ efforts to play louder without distortion. The room is the bottleneck, yet because the problem is often not correctly identified, nothing is done to solve it. (I was heavily into audio for twenty years before I figured this out.)
Some of us have done our homework and take pride in what we’ve managed to accomplish. We’ve been challenging ourselves and our systems with records like Zep II and Aqualung and Quadrophenia for thirty years. We know how good those records can sound on systems that have what it takes to play them at good loud levels.
If you’re not going to play this Hard Rockin’ Record good and loud, better to save your money for the kinds of records that sound fine at moderate levels. This is not one of them.
RECORDS THAT ARE GOOD FOR TESTING