Two outstanding sides rating Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) for sound, coming in just behind our shootout winner – quiet vinyl too
This glorious early UK pressing is huge, rich and punchy, with guitar solos that soar like few others you’ve heard
Brilliant engineering by Geoff Emerick at George Martin’s AIR studios – maybe the best sounding album Emerick ever made
Top 100 (soon), AMG: “Guitarist Robin Trower’s watershed sophomore solo disc remains his most stunning, representative, and consistent collection of tunes. Mixing obvious Hendrix influences with blues and psychedelia, then adding the immensely soulful vocals of James Dewar, Trower pushed the often limited boundaries of the power trio concept into refreshing new waters…”
We’ve been wandering around in the dark for more than a decade with Bridge of Sighs — that is, until we found a clean early UK Chrysalis pressing. Now we know just how good this album can sound, and that means astonishingly good. The three-dimensional space is really something else on the better UK copies.(more…)
One of the most surprising things we learned during this shootout was how well recorded the album is. It’s yet another triumph from one of our favorite engineers, KEN SCOTT.
An interesting bit of trivia: most side twos earned a sonic grade that was a full plus higher than any given copy’s grade for side one. Side two most of the time just plain sounds better than side one, so when evaluating your copy be sure to check side two first to hear what is probably going to be the best sound on the album.
The soundstage is absolutely HUGE, while the presence and transparency of this copy go way beyond most pressings. Great rock and roll energy too of course — without that you have nothing on this album.(more…)
The Mapleshade website has a piece of audio advice that caught the eye of one our customers, who sent me the excerpt below.
Like most advice, especially Audio Advice, we find that some of it accords well with our own experience and some of it clearly does not. The relationship of good to bad is hard to determine without making a more careful study, but let’s just say that there is plenty of both and leave it at that. That being the case, we thought it would be of service to our customers to break it down in more detail, separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak.
Harry Pearson brought this record to the attention of audiophiles with his TAS list a long time ago, and rightfully so: it’s an amazing recording.
We happen to love the music too, which makes it one of the most recommendable records we have ever offered. If you can find a better combination of demo disc sound, with music worth the hassle and expense of reproducing it properly, more power to you. We sure can’t.
Because this is a live recording, because it has lots of natural instruments as well as a vocal, because it was recorded in the Golden Age by one of the greatest labels of all time, RCA, by Bob Simpson no less — for this and many other reasons, it has to be considered one of the most amazing recordings in the history of the world.
That said, it is our contention (and the basis of our business model) that the brilliant quality of the recording can only be appreciated if you have the pressing that captured the sound that the engineers recorded. In other words, a Hot Stamper.(more…)
This Columbia Six-Eye LP has TWO STUNNING SIDES, easily the best we heard in our entire shootout! This is a superb recording, and a copy like this is a true Demo Disc. The vocals are perfection, and every instrument sounds correct and REAL here, with the transparency and clarity to put you right there with the players.(more…)
After a lengthy shootout hiatus we proudly present the best side two of this album to hit the site since 2013
Out Of This World sound on side two, where it earned a Four Plus sonic grade for its MINDBLOWING orchestral power
Side one earned a seriously good grade of Double Plus (A++) – it’s rich, clear and dynamic, with weighty brass
A TAS List Super Disc, with a performance by Previn and the LSO that’s as spectacular as the sound
This copy has some condition issues – those of you looking for a quiet copy will have to wait for the next shootout in 2018 or thereabouts
This copy has a side two that is so off the charts we ended up giving it Four Pluses. A Four Plus copy has to meet a standard higher than our regular top grade, and we define that standard as “better than we ever imagined any copy could ever sound.”(more…)
I attended this Dec. 2013 concert; it was a thrill like no other. (Well, maybe The Planets.)
“Guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos’s attention to detail delivers the razzle dazzle and also discovers renewed radiance in ‘Scheherazade.'”
We did a monster shootout for this music in 2014, one we had been planning for more than two years. On hand were quite a few copies of the Reiner on RCA; the Ansermet on London (CS 6212, his second stereo recording, from 1961, not the earlier and noticeably poorer sounding recording from in 1959); the Ormandy on Columbia, and a few others we felt had shown potential.
The only recordings that held up all the way through — the fourth movement being THE Ball Breaker of all time, for both the engineers and musicians — were those by Reiner and Ansermet. This was disappointing considering how much time and money we spent finding, cleaning and playing those ten or so other pressings.(more…)
Recently we played a copy with all the presence, all the richness, all the size and all the energy we ever hoped to hear from a top quality pressing of Dark Side of the Moon. It did it ALL and then some. The raging guitar solos (there are three of them) on Money seemed to somehow expand the system itself, making it bigger and more powerful than I have ever heard. Even our best copies of Blood Sweat and Tears have never managed to create such a huge space with that kind of raw power. This copy broke through all the barriers, taking the system to an entirely new level of sound.
Take the clocks on Time. There are whirring mechanisms that can be heard deep in the soundstage on this copy that I’ve never heard as clearly before. On most copies you can’t even tell they are there. Talk about transparency — I bet you’ve NEVER heard so many chimes so clearly and cleanly, with such little distortion on this track.(more…)