- Unbelievable Shootout Winning Demo Disc quality sound on side one – this Triple Plus (A+++) side had more energy and snap than practically any we played
- Side two was not especially good, but that’s really not a problem since side one has by far the better music – it’s where the most exciting, most percussive movements can be found
- To be honest, the copy I owned for years still had a pristine side two, mostly because I never bothered to play it much
- When you come to the end of side one you will not be wanting more – you will have heard everything that’s good about this remarkable composition
- This gloriously exciting and fun music belongs in any audiophile’s collection
- An outstanding early British pressing, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
- Rich, spacious and lively, with an open, extended top end – this is the sound you want from Tears for Fears
- More great songs than practically anything from the ’80s – Shout, Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Head Over Heels, just to name a few
- 4 1/2 stars: “It is not only a commercial triumph, it is an artistic tour de force. And in the loping, percolating “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Tears for Fears perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the mid-’80s while impossibly managing to also create a dreamy, timeless pop classic. Songs From the Big Chair is one of the finest statements of the decade.”
- With outstanding Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish you will not believe how BIG and BOLD this copy is
- Birdland on this pressing has some of the most dynamic, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling jam-packed sound ever committed to vinyl
- Joe Zawinul and Jaco Pastorius are both here and at the absolute peak of their creative powers – this is a work of GENIUS
- Allmusic 5 Stars: ”Birdland’ is a remarkable bit of record-making, a unified, ever-developing piece of music that evokes, without in any way imitating, a joyous evening on 52nd St. with a big band.”
The hottest of the hot stamper pressings demonstrate that this is a truly amazing recording, with some of the most dynamic, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling jam-packed sound ever committed to vinyl. The grit, grain and grunge of most pressings is nowhere to be found on these killer sides, and that alone puts them in a very special league indeed.
What To Listen For (WTLF)
We’ve discovered that the key to the hottest sounding pressings is a fairly simple one: the copies with high frequency extension and the tremendous rhythmic energy that results from it are consistently the best sounding.
You may have read elsewhere on the site that what separates many of the best Columbia LPs from their competition is an open, extended top end. For some reason, Columbia, seemingly more than any other label, had a bad habit of making slightly dull records. Slightly dull does not work for this album.
My notes on Palladium in the Track Listing sum it up: when the highs on the record are right, it almost always comes together. Unfortunately, most copies don’t have those highs. There’s more to it of course: some copies lack bass, some sound a bit grainy and gritty — the normal problems associated with vinyl records are all here.
But when you have good highs, you are way more than halfway hom; you are about 80 to 85% of the way toward a Hot Stamper. Just fill in the last few details (bass, dynamics, etc.) and the sound will more than likely blow your mind. (more…)
If you have a copy or two laying around, there is a very good chance that side two will be noticeably thinner and brighter than side one. That has been our experience anyway, and we’ve been playing batches of this album for well over a decade. To find a copy with a rich side two is rare indeed.
Most copies lack the top end extension that makes the sound sweet, opens it up and puts air around every instrument. It makes the high hat silky, not spitty or gritty. It lets you hear all the harmonics of the guitars and mandolins that feature so prominently in the mixes.
If you’re looking for a big production pop record that jumps out of your speakers, is full of TUBEY MAGIC, and has consistently good music, look no further.
Until I picked up one of these nice originals I had no idea how amazing the record could sound. For an early ’70s multi-track pop recording it’s about as good as it gets. It’s rich, sweet, open, natural, smooth most of the time — in short, it’s got all the stuff audiophiles like you and me LOVE. (more…)
Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.
What to listen for you ask? Top end, plain and simple. It’s the RARE copy that really has the incredible extension of the side two we heard recently. The space, the clarity, the harmonic complexity — perhaps one out of ten copies will show you a side two like that.
The highs are so good on this record you can use it as a setup tool. Adjust your VTA, tracking weight and the like for the most natural and clear top end, then check for all the other qualities you want to hear and you may just find yourself operating on a higher plane than before.
This kind of explains why all the Lyras sound the way they do. It’s the same thing with Clear Audio. You buy them to get that “sound.”
Sure, they do some great things. Speed often comes with a rising top end, and there’s no dip in the lower highs, which I like.
This kind of response works wonders on old Living Stereo Chet Atkins and Mancini LPs. They’re soft on top!
Don’t play your old Heifetz LPs with one of these.
Acoustic Sounds had Stan Ricker remaster this record a number of years ago, and of course they (he) ruined it. A twinkly top end and flabby bass were just two of the major shortcomings of their version.
Nothing surprising there, as Stan Ricker is famous for his “smile” curve, boosting both ends of the audio spectrum whether they need boosting or not.
And half-speed mastered bass is almost always bloated and ill-defined.
If you add too much top end to a guitar record and ruin the sound of the guitar, how can anyone take you seriously?
Please note that not a single title from the Analog Revival series is any good, to the best of my knowledge, and all should be avoided. The same is true for all the 180 gram jazz titles on Analogue Productions mastered by Doug Sax, as you may have read elsewhere on the site.
Those records received rave reviews in the audiophile press when they came out, but you won’t find too many audiophile reviewers sticking up for them now, as they are, without exception, murky, compressed disasters of the worst kind.
I guess these reviewers eventually acquired equipment accurate enough to notice how bad those pressings are, which I guess goes to show there is hope for practically anyone!
A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.
Unbelievable Shootout Winning Demo Disc quality sound throughout — QUADRUPLE PLUS (A++++) on the first side and Triple Plus (A+++) on the second. Side one has by far the better music – it’s where the most exciting, most percussive movements can be found – and this pressing, with Beyond White Hot sound for that side, is guaranteed to be bigger and more lively than you ever imagined (because that’s how we felt about it, hence the fourth plus).
Please note: we award the Four Plus (A++++) grade so rarely that we don’t have a graphic for it in our system to use in the grading scale shown above. We rarely find records with this kind of sound, just a few times a year at most — this is the only one on the site at this time.
Both sides show up on the chart as A+++, but when you hear this copy you will know why we gave side one that fourth plus!
This Angle Melodiya pressing of Bizet’s Carmen, rearranged by Soviet composer Rodion Shchedrin for strings and 47 percussion instruments, has two incredible sides. Demo Quality Sound barely begins to do it justice. If you have the system to play it, this copy is a KNOCKOUT.
But boy is it a difficult record to reproduce. You better have everything working right when you play this one — it’s guaranteed to bring practically any audiophile system to its knees. Speed, resolving power and freedom from distortion are what this record needs to sound its best. Is your system up to it? There’s only one way to find out.
And if you have any peaky audiophile wire or equipment in your system, the kind that is full of detail but calls attention to itself, you are in big trouble with a record like this. More than anything this is a record that rewards your system’s neutrality. (more…)
What’s especially interesting about this copy is that we went crazy for it even though it did not have the best bass of the copies we played, which, as you will see below, clearly contradicts what we had previously written. We thought that the copies with the best bass had the best everything else too, but that was not what we heard this time around.
THIS copy got the music to work its magic, and it did it with most, but not all, of the bass of the best. Not sure how to explain it. Rules were made to be broken maybe? (more…)
A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.
TWO AMAZING SIDES ON QUIET VINYL, including an A+++ side one! The sound was positively jumping out of the speakers and dynamic as all get out. The grit, grain and grunge of the typical pressing was nowhere to be found on EITHER side of this copy, and that alone puts it in a very special league. Drop the needle on either side and get ready for some of the most dynamic, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling jam-packed sound ever committed to vinyl.
As we noted on previous Hot Stamper listings of Heavy Weather, we’ve discovered that the key to the hot sounding pressings is a fairly simple one: the copies with high frequency extension and the tremendous energy that results from it are consistently the best sounding. You may have read elsewhere on the site that what separates many of the best Columbia LPs from their competition is an open, extended top end. For some reason, Columbia, more than any other label, seems to have a bad habit of making slightly dull records. Slightly dull does not work on this album. (more…)