Labels We Love – Geffen

Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (Security) – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Our first Hot Stamper shootout for Security is finally here, and man does this album sound better than I remember it from back in the ’70s when I first played a copy. Stereos have come a long way since then, along with a host of other things that help records sound better, such as cleaning fluids, room treatments and all the rest. 

Now you can really hear INTO the soundfield in a way that simply was never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of PG’s multi-tracked choruses.

For all you PG fans it’s been a long time coming. We’ve wanted to do this album for years but kept running into a roadblock we could not find our way around: the fact that most copies are thick, opaque, turgid, veiled — pick your favorite adjective for mud, most copies fit the profile. Nice clean copies would come in, sound murky and get filed away, as if aging them would bring out the transparency we were hoping to find but never could. Until now. Now we can clean them and play them better, and like we always say, if you clean and play enough copies, something good will come of it. (more…)

Joni Mitchell – Wild Things Run Fast

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  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, this copy has Joni rockin’ like you will not believe
  • Her last great record – fortunately for us audiophiles it’s spacious, open and powerful with present vocals and solid bass
  • Relatively quiet, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout – they don’t come any quieter in our experience
  • “On her first new studio album of original material in five years, Joni Mitchell achieved more of a balance between her pop abilities and her jazz aspirations, meanwhile rediscovering a more direct, emotional lyric approach. The result was her best album since the mid-’70s.”

One of our favorite Joni Mitchell albums and one of the few good reasons to listen to new music in the ’80s. (more…)

Listening in Depth to Peter Gabriel – So

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Listening in Depth

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of So. 

With a digital recording such as this, the margin for mastering error is very slim. Most copies just aren’t worth the vinyl they’re pressed on. They can sound harsh, gritty, grainy, edgy, and thin. We love this music and we know there are great copies out there, so we keep picking these up. More often than not, we’re left cold.

This is a digital recording, and most of the time it is BRIGHT, SPITTY and GRAINY like a typical digital recording, which plays right into our prejudices. After hearing a bad copy, what audiophile wouldn’t conclude that all copies will have these bad qualities? After all, it’s digital. It can’t be fixed simply by putting it on vinyl.

Ah, but that’s where the logic breaks down. Proper mastering can ameliorate many if not most of a recording’s sins. When we say Hot Stampers, we are talking about high quality mastering doing exactly that. (more…)