Sonic Grade: F
As bad as the MoFi is, the DCC is even worse. Murky and bloated, to my ear it does almost nothing right, not on vinyl anyway. The DCC Gold CD is better, and it’s certainly nothing to write home about.
Our Hot Stamper commentary below sorts out the DCC, the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl pressing and the MoFi Half-Speed Mastered LP, as well as British and domestic originals.
We love this album and we’ve played every kind of pressing we could get our hands on. The winner? Read on!
Over the course of the last 25 years we was wrong three ways from Sunday about our down-and-out friend Aqualung here. We originally liked the MoFi.
When the DCC 180g came along we liked that one better, and a few years back I was somewhat enamored with some original British imports.
Our first big shootout disabused us of any notion that the British originals were properly mastered. As we noted in our Hot Stamper commentary, “The original Brits we played were pretty hopeless too: Tubey Magical but midrangy, bass-shy and compressed.”
The same is true for Thick As A Brick; the best domestic copies are much more energetic and tonally correct.
Below you will find our reviews of the more than 200 Heavy Vinyl pressings we’ve played over the years. Feel free to pick your poison.
Even as recently as the early 2000s, we were still impressed with many of the better Heavy Vinyl pressings. If we’d never made the progress we’ve worked so hard to make over the course of the last twenty or more years, perhaps we would find more merit in the Heavy Vinyl reissues so many audiophiles seem impressed by.
We’ll never know of course; that’s a bell that can be unrung. We did the work, we can’t undo it, and the system that resulted from it is merciless in revealing the truth — that these newer pressings are second-rate at best and much more often than not third-rate and even worse.
Some audiophile records sound so bad, I was pissed off enough to create a special list for them.
Setting higher standards — no, being able to set higher standards — in our minds is a clear mark of progress. Judging by the hundreds of letters we’ve received, especially the ones comparing our records to their Heavy Vinyl and Half-Speed Mastered counterparts, we know that our customers see things the same way.