Sonic Grade: D
Flat as a pancake and dead as a doornail, like most Sundazed records. Sundazed is clearly one of the worst record labels of all time.
None of the mono pressings of The Byrds’ albums that we’ve played in shootouts over the course of the last ten years or so has ever impressed us much, none that I can recall anyway.
Congested and compressed, with no real top, who in his right mind could possibly tolerate that kind of sound on modern equipment?
Although, to be fair, we’ve stopped buying them, so there may actually be a good copy or two out there in used record land that we haven’t heard. In our defense, who really has the time to play records with so little potential for good sound?
How about the Sundazed mono pressings?
The best Columbia stereo copies are rich, sweet and Tubey Magical — three areas in which the Sundazed reissues are seriously lacking.
Does anyone still care? We simply cannot be bothered with these bad Heavy Vinyl pressings. If you’re looking for mediocre sound just play the CD. I’m sure it’s just as terrible.
Sonic Grade: D
The best stereo copies are rich, sweet and Tubey Magical — three areas in which the Sundazed reissues are seriously lacking. (If anyone still cares; we can’t be bothered with mediocrities such as this.)
And none of the Columbia monos we’ve played did much for us either. Congested and compressed, with no real top, who in his right mind could possibly prefer that sound? (more…)
Sonic Grade: F
Although it’s been many years since I last played it, I’m fairly confidant that the Sundazed only hints at the real sound of the best copies. Most Sundazed records would end up in our Hall of Shame if we ever bothered to audition them.
Being in the “record business,” such as it is, I’ve played my share and more of awful sounding Heavy Vinyl.
Even back in the (embarrassing) days when we were selling them we carried only about one out of ten that were in print. A big portion of the nine we didn’t stock were just awful as I recall. (more…)
In 2010 MF reviewed both the Sundazed and Speakers Corner Heavy Vinyl pressings of the album. I think his review is mistaken on a number of counts, and mostly unhelpful. The commentary below will discuss his errors in detail, in the hopes that you, dear reader, will not make the same mistakes yourself.
He talks about his history with the album for a while, and then notes:
Anyway, the original “360 Sound” edition of this record sounds fantastic. It’s a high quality Columbia studio recording, with vivid harmonics, impressive transparency and dynamics, shimmering highs and tight extended bass. The soundstage is expansive and the images tightly presented. I’m not sure it can get much better than the original given how well-pressed Columbia records were in those days, especially if you have a clean original.
We, however, seem to hold precisely the opposite view. I quote from our review:
“Why did it take us so long [to do a Hot Stamper shootout]? Let me ask you this: have you ever played this album? The average copy of this record is a sonic MESS. Even the best copies have problems.”
We then go on to discuss in detail what most copies do wrong and what to listen for in order to find a copy that gets it right. (More on that later.) (more…)
Sonic Grade: D
I don’t think mono works for this album, so we never carried this pressing nor recommended it.
Here are some other records that we don’t think sound very good in MONO.
Here are some we think can sound amazing in MONO.
Sonic Grade: C
Commenting about the first Hot Stamper pressing of this album ever to come our way, we noted:
This original Stax LP has AMAZING sound. You could not make this record sound any better. We really liked the Sundazed copy of this record until we heard this bad boy. It MURDERS their pressing! It has far more life, energy and presence than the Heavy Vinyl pressing. We always suspected that a good original would be better but we had no way of knowing since all the copies we saw were beat to death.