Sonic Grade: D
The Direct Disk Labs half-speed here is thick, compressed and lifeless, though fairly rich tonally, a key quality the best UK pressings always have. The good UK pressings — on the original tan label, avoid the blue label reissues, they suck — are full of luscious Tubey Magic.
This is in fact the only Peter Gabriel recording that has that vintage Tubey Magical Analog sound. The worst recording of his first five, So, has the least amount. It is digital, and it sounds like it’s digital, but that is not the kiss of death if you can find a good pressing of it and clean it right.
You could do worse I suppose, but too much of the life of the music will be lost when playing this poorly remastered pressing. Did they have a good British tape to work with? It doesn’t sound like it.
Is it better than the average domestic pressing, the ones that are clearly made from dubbed sub-generation tapes? Maybe, in some ways, but both this half-speed and the domestic pressings should be avoided by audiophiles looking for top quality sound.
We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.
You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (On some records in the Hall of Shame the sound is passable but the music is bad. These are also records you can safely avoid.)
Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.
When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good record, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much more inexcusable.
FURTHER READING on Half-Speed Mastered Records
The best place to start is here:
To learn more about records that sound dramatically better than any Half-Speed ever made (with one rare exception, John Klemmer’s Touch), please consult our FAQ
Below you will find our breakdown of the best and worst Half-Speed mastered records we’ve auditioned over the years.