Genre – Vocal – ’80s

How Exactly Is This an Audiophile Record?




Linda Ronstadt – What’s New

Not having played this record in more than a decade, it’s interesting to hear this Mobile Fidelity pressing with much better equipment than was previous available to me. The first thing I noticed was the amazing transparency of the recording, no doubt the reason audiophiles have always liked it.

Next on the list, and a bit of a surprise, is the correct tonality — this record is tonally right on the money, something Mobile Fidelity rarely achieves. This MoFi was mastered by Jack Hunt, not Stan Ricker, which may explain why the top end is more correct than usual.

Third and last is George Massenburg’s approach to this recording, which, to be charitable, is not to my liking. Let’s just say he prefers a certain artificiality to his sound that does little for me.

Of course, not all audiophiles will agree with me about this. Some audiophiles actually like this kind of sound. They like the sound of Graceland. They like the sound of The Well. They like the sound of Patricia Barber’s albums. They like a lot of recordings I don’t like. When I speak highly of a recording or pressing, my prejudices and preferences are spelled out for all to see. There should be little doubt that the sound of this album is not to my taste but for those of you who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you will probably like.

See all of our Linda Ronstadt albums in stock

Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston – Our White Hot Shootout Winner

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • This killer copy has surprisingly natural sound for an ’80s release – Triple Plus (A+++) on the first side, Double Plus (A++) on the second
  • Full-bodied, rich and warm, this album has the kind of analog sound we did not expect to find, thank goodness  
  • Consistently strong material: You Give Good Love, Saving All My Love for You, How Will I Know, All at Once, and Greatest Love of All (the last of seven (!) singles released from the album)
  • “…introduced the world to “The Voice,” an octave-spanning, gravity-defying melismatic marvel.”

See all of our Whitney Houston albums in stock

The copies that do well in our shootouts have qualities common to many of the other male and female Hot Stamper vocal pressings we offer. The best copies are big, rich, clear and transparent, with breathy, immediate vocals.

Hardness, thinness, shrillness and the like — the kind of sound you would expect from a 1985 recording* — will be very costly for any copy we play. I’m sure that sound can be found on the CD, and for a lot less money.

Energy and enthusiasm are key as well. You want to get the feeling that Whitney is really putting her all into these songs, and the best copies let you do that. (more…)