Labels We Love – Sire

Talking Heads / More Songs About Buildings and Food – What to Listen For

xxxxx

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

With Our Love turned out to be one of our favorite tests for side one. The picking of the rhythmic guitar in the intro told us just about everything we needed to know about smear, veiling and resolution. On most copies the instrument is simply blurry, the notes mashed together. When you’ve got a copy with its transients intact, resolving properly and clearly right there in front of you, you have the makings of a Hot Stamper side one.

My other test track for side one was Warning Signs. This is a great track for evaluating transparency and bass. On the average copy you’d never know how much ambience exists around the drums. Hint: it’s a lot.

Our favorite copies have a fair amount of WHOMP down low, giving the bass guitar that rich, beefy sound that we’re simply crazy for here at Better Records. Once you’ve heard a copy with well-defined, note-like bass, nothing less will do.

Artists Only

A great test track for side two is Artists Only. The guitars in the intro section are almost unbearable to listen to on most copies. I recognize that I am somewhat sensitive to harsh high frequencies, but I’m literally in pain when I listen to an overly compressed, overly midrangy copy. There’s got to be a better way! (more…)

Talking Heads – Little Creatures – I Ask You: What Album from 1985 Has Better Sound?

More Talking Heads

More Little Creatures

xxxxx

We’re huge fans of Little Creatures here at Better Records and we think when you hear one of our Hot Stamper copies you’ll know exactly what we love about it. Not many records from this era sound as amazingly rich as this one, not in our experience anyway. (As I write this there are four Hot Stamper pressings from 1985 on the site, and one of them is Brothers in Arms, hardly anyone’s idea of audiophile quality sound I venture to say.)

The recording is simply outstanding — punchy, smooth & so ANALOG, with an especially beefy bottom end, the kind a good Big Beat Pop Album record needs. (For a mental reference think Get The Knack or Parallel Lines.)

The best copies boast the kind of tight, punchy, surprisingly deep note-like bass that absolutely makes or breaks the sound on Little Creatures. Without the proper bass foundation this funky beat-crazy Talking Heads album can’t BEGIN to do what it’s trying to do: get your feet tappin’ and your body rockin’ to the music. (more…)

Talking Heads – The Name of this Band is Talking Heads

More Talking Heads

More The Name of this Band is Talking Heads

xxxxx

  • This superb double album boasts Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all four sides  
  • Excellent sound for one of the best live bands of the era
  • This copy plays bout as quiet as we can find them — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • ” The excitement of this material is palpable, and the muscular band rips into these tunes with more power than the originals in most cases… arguably one of their finest releases.” – All Music

We recently had a big shootout for this live double album and were very impressed with how good some of this material can sound, particularly on the first side which was recorded before the band got huge and started playing bigger venues. A lot of copies we played were too thick and compressed to break through the challenges that live recordings face, but this one really nailed it. (more…)

The Pretenders’ Debut Album

More The Pretenders

xxxxx

  • Insanely good sound throughout — Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side, Double Plus (A++) on the first – we rarely have copies that rock the way this one does
  • This is one of engineer Bill Price’s better efforts behind the boards, and Chris Thomas’s production is State of the Art
  • Relatively quiet vinyl throughout this early UK pressing – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • Five Stars: “Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders’ eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude.”

What really separated this copy from the pack was the lack of edge on the vocals. It’s not duller — it’s bigger and clearer yet less distorted and cut cleaner than most of the other sides we played. (more…)