Labels with Shortcomings – Crystal Clear

Direct to Discs on Crystal Clear – Few Make the Grade, and These Are Three of Their Worst

 

These are just some of the recordings on Crystal Clear that we’ve auditioned over the years and found wanting.

Without going into specifics — who can be bothered to take the time? — we’ll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection.  

Another Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Charlie Byrd – Direct to Disc

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This is a very nice looking Crystal Clear 45 RPM Direct-to-Disc LP pressed on white vinyl. Out of the couple of copies we played this one had the best sound. It had more clarity than the other copy, which sounded veiled and smeary.

I admit I never liked the sound of the record though. It’s dark and unnatural to my ears.  I would avoid it. There are so many other, better Charlie Byrd recordings, why waste your time and money on this one?

Another example of an “audiophile” record with little in the way of audiophile merit.

Taj Mahal – Live & Direct (Direct to Disc)

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This is a Minty looking Crystal Clear Direct-to-Disc LP with Very Little Sign of Play. It’s an EXTREMELY rare title, one of the rarest and best Crystal Clear Direct Discs, with very good sound as I recall. 

“… several outstanding performances by Taj and his International Rhythm Band. Indeed, ‘Little Brown Dog’ catches Taj in one of his transcendental live moments when he gets so down in the groove you never want him to stop.” – AMG Review

Virgil Fox – The Fox Touch Volume 2

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Played against the best Golden Age organ recordings, these Crystal Clear titles are noticeably lacking in ambience. The best pressings, assuming one would do a shootout for them, might be expected to earn a sonic grade of B- or so.

Volume 1 is a TAS List record. But seeing as they were all recorded at the same time, you can be sure this one sounds just as good. By the way, did you know Stan Ricker cut this record live direct to disc? He did a great job too. (more…)

Stoneground Play It Loud – Bad Direct Disc Music & Sound

More Stoneground

More Direct to Disc recordings

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Sonic Grade: F

An awful Direct to Disc recording. The bad sound and pointless music — this is the kind of crap we audiophiles used to put up with back in the ’70s before we had much of a clue — means that it clearly belongs in only one place on our site: the Hall of Shame

Bach / The Fox Touch, Volume 1 – Recorded Direct to Disc

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[This review was written in 2010. Since then I have played copies of these Crystal Clear organ recordings and been much less impressed. The ambience is a fraction of what it should be, and the reason I know that is that the vintage organ recordings I play have dramatically more size and space than these audiophile pressings do. Live and Learn.]

Are we changing our tune about Audiophile records? Not in the least; we love the ones that sound right. The fact that so few of them do is not our fault.  (more…)

Laurindo Almeida Virtuoso Guitar Is — Or Can Be — An Awesome Direct to Disc

More Laurindo Almeida

More Virtuoso Guitar

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Virtuoso Guitar is yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

This White Hot Crystal Clear 45 RPM Direct-to-Disc fulfills the promise of both the direct to disc recording medium AND the 45 RPM cutting speed so much in vogue these days. We had a big pile of these pressings to play through. When we came upon this one halfway through our shootout, it was so big, so clear, so dynamic, so energetic, so extended on the top and bottom, we almost could not believe what we were hearing especially compared to the others copies we played.   (more…)