Most copies have a smeary, veiled, stuck-in-the-speaker quality that makes for some painful listening. Cardboard drums. Non-existent ambience. No energy. (Unless you get one of the hard, edgy, thin ones — we’re not sure which is worse.)
This one is a whole different story, with the kind of big, punchy, full-bodied sound this music absolutely demands.
What’s Bill Szymczyk’s problem anyway, you might ask. Can’t the guy record an album any better than this after being in the studio for all these years?
Yes he can. Don’t make the mistake of judging his work by the typical bad pressing of it, the kind that Elektra was churning out by the millions back in the day.
Believe me, the master tape must be AWESOME if the sound of some of the records we played is any indication (which of course it is).
What We Listen For on The Long Run
Less grit – smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on The Long Run.
A bigger presentation – more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.
More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a pure rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way Bill Szymczyk wanted it to.
Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
Good top-end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.
Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.
Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
The True Test for Side One
Want to know if you have a good side one on your copy? Here’s an easy test. Timothy B Schmit’s vocal on I Can’t Tell You Why rarely sounds right. Most of the time he’s muffled, pretty far back in the soundstage, and the booth he’s in has practically no ambience. On the good copies, he’s not exactly jumping out of the speakers, but he’s clear, focused, and his voice is breathy and full of emotional subtleties that make the song the heartbreaking powerhouse it is.
This is why you need a Hot Stamper. Most copies don’t let you FEEL the song.
And the rest of the band is cookin’ here as well. From the big, full-bodied bass to the fat, punchy snare, this side is doing practically everything we want it to.