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We had a handful of copies of this famous TAS List title in the backroom, so we decided it was high time to get a shootout going. We pulled all the pressings of the music (both Billy the Kid and Rodeo) we had on hand on every label and proceeded to needle-drop them in preparation for a big Copland shootout.
Much to our chagrin, without exception all the copies of LSC 2195 were awful. The sound was completely hopeless. Our notes read:
- Smeary — (more records with smeary sound can be found here),
- Dry — (more records with dry sound can be found here),
- Bright — (more records with bright sound can be found here),
- Flat — (more records with flat sound can be found here),
Those records weren’t cheap. That was a lot of money down the drain. Not only can’t we sell records that sound as bad as this Living Stereo — our customers simply would not buy them — but we would never even try. Unlike other record dealers, we actually know what our records sound like. We don’t care about the reputations of the records we sell. We only care about their sound.
Some of the records on the TAS List seem better suited to the old school audio systems of the 60s, 70s and 80s than the modern systems of today.
Many of them used to sound good on those older systems, and I should know, I had an Old School stereo. Some of the records I used to think sounded good back in the day don’t sound too good to me anymore. For a more complete list of those records, not just the ones on the TAS List, click here.
What Pressings Did They Have
Whatever pressings they were playing over there at The Absolute Sound — they almost never say, which is something that has bothered me since I first started paying much attention to the list in the early-90s — I hope they were better than the Shaded Dogs we auditioned.
Who knows? Better yet, who cares? Who cares what Harry put on his TAS List all those years ago?
There are a lot of records I used to like and don’t anymore, why should he be any different? The fact that he is no longer around to change his mind is unfortunate and casts a shadow on all the records from the list that he was responsible for, a very large number.
Not that the new additions are any better. Once the Classic Records titles were added, I surmised that whaever standards had been in place back in the day had been lowered in order to accommodate the advertisers’ wishes that newly remastered pressings be recognized as Super Discs too, even the worst of them.
Live and Learn
LSC 2195 has been on the TAS List for a very long time, and we raved about a copy of the album back in 2011, but it now seems pretty clear that we were wrong.
The sound of the RCA originals was much too unpleasant to be played on high quality modern equipment. There are quite a number of others that we’ve run into over the years with similar shortcomings.
An old school stereo is perfect for all your bad sounding golden age recordings.
You can also get that sound by powering your modern system with the Mac 30s you see pictured. They are very good at hiding the faults of old records, and plenty of new ones too. Just the thing for you Heavy Vinyl fans, but the opposite of what you should use if you want to know what your records sound like.
You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with others that — in our opinion — are best avoided by audiophiles looking for hi-fidelity sound. Some of these records may have passable sonics, but the music is weak. These are also titles you can safely avoid.
We also have an Audiophile Hall of Shame for records that were marketed to audiophiles with claims of superior sound. If you’ve spent much time on this blog, you know that these records are some of the worst sounding pressings we have ever had the misfortune to play.
We routinely put them in our Hot Stamper shootouts, head to head with the vintage records we offer. We are often more than a little surprised at just how bad an “audiophile record” can sound and still be considered an “audiophile record.”
If you own any of these so-called audiophile pressings, let us send you one of our Hot Stamper LPs so that you can hear it for yourself in your own home, on your own system. Every one of our records is guaranteed to be the best sounding copy of the album you have ever heard or you get your money back.