Labels With Shortcomings – Music Matters

Letter of the Week – “After a quick listen through them it was immediately obvious that they were dead…”

More Letters from Customers about Heavy Vinyl

Reviews of Records on Music Matters

“and they’ve been sitting in their heavy vinyl glory on my shelf for most of the past year unplayed.”

One of our good customers asked us about a Heavy Vinyl remastering label recently:

Also curious your thoughts on these guys: Music Matters

I replied:

Every label with a checkered history gets put into our Record Labels with Shortcomings Section (scroll down to the bottom to see the list), and in there toward the bottom you will find the two awful Music Matters records we have reviewed to date.

Really bad. And the guy that let me borrow them said that of all the heavy vinyl he owned by these idiots, he thought these were two of the best!

Until these records sound wrong to you in the ways I describe, you have work to do on the stereo. The better your stereo gets, the more wrong these records should sound.

They sound very wrong to me, and no mastering engineer in the history of the world made records that sound the way these do until sometime in the 90s when some audiophile labels started producing this crap.

That should tell you something.

Seems he knew all along how bad they were:

For the record, an audiophile friend of mine turned me on to the Music Matters Blue Note stuff, and I got excited and bought something like five records in the first batch. I bought into the hype. After a quick listen through them it was immediately obvious that they were dead, and they’ve been sitting in their heavy vinyl glory on my shelf for most of the past year unplayed. So yes, I can clearly hear what you’re talking about and had experienced it long before encountering hot stampers. (more…)

Grant Green / Green Street on Music Matters – Tizzy Cymbals and a Bright Snare Drum, That’s Your Sound?

Hot Stamper Jazz Recordings Featuring the Guitar

Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and a Heavy Vinyl Disaster if there ever was one (and oh yes, the audiophile world is drowning in them).

After discovering Hot Stampers and the mind-blowing sound they deliver, a new customer generously sent me a few of his favorite Heavy Vinyl pressings to audition, records that he considered the best of the modern reissues that he owns.

He admitted that most of what he has on Heavy Vinyl is not very good, and now that he can clearly hear what he has been missing, having heard some of our best Hot Stamper jazz pressings, he is going to be putting them up on Ebay and selling them to anyone foolish enough to throw their money away on this kind of vinyl junk.

We say more power to him.  That money can be used to buy records that actually are good sounding, not just supposed to be good sounding because they were custom manufactured with the utmost care and marketed at high prices to soi-disant audiophiles.

Audiophile records are a scam. They always have been and always will be.

I haven’t listened to a copy of this album in a very long time, but I know a good sounding jazz record when I hear one, having critically auditioned more than a thousand over the course of the 33 years I have been in business (however, selling verified good sounding records only for about the last fifteen of those).

I knew pretty early on in the session that this was not a good sounding jazz record.  Five minutes was all it took, but I probably wasted another ten making sure the sound was as hopeless as it originally seemed.

For those of you who might have trouble reading my handwriting, my notes say:

Bass is sloppy and fat.

The bass is boosted and badly lacks definition. It constantly calls attention to itself. It is the kind of sloppy bass that cannot be found on any RVG recording, none that I have ever heard anyway, and I’ve heard them by the hundreds.

You no doubt know about the phony boosted bass on the remastered Beatles albums. It’s that sound. Irritating in the extreme, and just plain wrong.

Reserved. Playing through a curtain.

Very few Heavy Vinyl records these days do not sound veiled and reserved in the midrange.

To get a better sense of the effect, throw a medium weight blanket over your speakers. Voila!

No space.

Typical of Heavy Vinyl. The studio space and ambience found on the better vintage pressings, the kind we play all day long, is GONE.

RTI pressings are serial offenders in this regard.  We find them uniformly insufferable.

No transients.

Not the sound of the instruments that RVG is famous for.  No leading edges to anything.

Somebody screwed them up in the mastering. Bad cutting equipment? Bad EQ? Both? What else could it be?

Boring.

Of course it is. Nothing sounds right and it’s all just so dead. I would be very surprised if the CD was not dramatically better sounding in practically every way, and far more fun to listen to.

Snare is hot when played loud like OJC

We’ve auditioned close to a hundred OJC titles over the years. We sell quite a few of them, but just the ones that sound good, of course. And some of them are hard to beat.

But lots of them have a phony, boosted top end, easily heard as tizzy, sizzly, gritty, phony cymbals and too-hot snare drums.

This record has that phony sound.

We would never sell any record that sounds this bad. It is a complete and utter disgrace and an affront to vinyl loving audiophiles around the world.

If this record sounds right to you, one thing I can say without fear of contradiction: you have a lot of work to do on your stereo system.

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The Not-So-Magnificent Thad Jones – More Dreck on Heavy Vinyl

After discovering Hot Stampers and the mind-blowing sound they deliver, a new customer generously sent me a few of his favorite Heavy Vinyl pressings to audition, records that he considered the best of the modern reissues that he owns.  He admitted that most of what he has on Heavy Vinyl is not very good, and now that he can clearly hear what he has been missing, having played some of our best Hot Stamper jazz pressings, he is going to be putting them up on Ebay and selling them to anyone foolish enough to throw their money away on this kind of junk vinyl.

We say more power to him.  That money can be used to buy records that actually are good sounding, not just supposed to be good sounding because they were custom manufactured with the utmost care and marketed at high prices to soi-disant audiophiles.

Audiophile records are a scam. They always have been and always will be.

The three of us who do the critical listening here at Better Records dropped the needle on the first disc in this set and, once the VTA was properly adjusted, gave it a chance to show us just what expert remastering from vintage mono tapes, at 45 RPM, on two slabs of luscious, thick vinyl, could do for the sound of Thad Jones’s trumpet, circa 1956.

None of us had ever heard the album on any media, vinyl or otherwise, but we know a good sounding jazz record when we hear one, and we knew pretty early on in the session that this was not a good sounding jazz record.  Two minutes was all it took, but we wasted another ten making sure it was as bad as we thought.

For those of you who might have trouble reading my handwriting, my notes read:

CD sound.

To my ear this disc does not sound much like the wonderful vintage analog recordings we play every day.  It might make a passable CD, but I have hundreds of CDs that sound better than this album, so even setting the bar that low, I would say it’s unlikely I would want to have this set in my collection.

Who can find the time to play a mediocrity such as this. And who needs the bother of flipping it over three times for less than ten minutes a side?  Buy the CD. It plays all the way through and costs a whole lot less.

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