Records We Don’t Like for Their Music

Lee Ritenour – Rit – on Disastrous Discovery Heavy Vinyl

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame Pressing and another Heavy Vinyl Rock or Jazz LP debunked.

We played our very good sounding Nautilus pressing against the 180g Discovery reissue that Doug Sax remastered and it SMOKED it. What a muddy piece of trash that Discovery pressing is. 

AMG Review

Lee Ritenour has long been the perfect studio musician, one who can melt into the background without making any impact. While he possesses impressive technique, Ritenour has mostly played instrumental pop throughout his career, sometimes with a Brazilian flavor. His few jazz efforts have found him essentially imitating Wes Montgomery, but despite that he has been consistently popular since the mid-’70s. After touring with Sergio Mendes’ Brasil ’77 in 1973, Ritenour became a very busy studio guitarist in Los Angeles, taking time off for occasional tours with his groups and in the mid-’90s with Bob James in Fourplay. He also recorded many albums as a leader.

 

Deep Purple – Machine Head on Rhino 180 Gram Vinyl

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing. 

I’m guessing that very few people have ever heard this record sound good. The average copy is nothing special, but this one is a boring, lifeless mess so save your money.

Rhino Records has really made a mockery of the analog medium. Rhino touts their releases as being pressed on “180 gram High Performance Vinyl.” However, if they are using performance to refer to sound quality, we have found the performance of their vinyl to be quite low, lower than the average copy one might stumble upon in the used record bins.

 

 

Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Tarkus – The Brits Really Rock

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  • Triple Triple (A+++) – this shockingly good copy had Shootout Winning sound on BOTH SIDES and plays as quietly as any copy ever will
  • Our monster Tarkus shootout produced exactly one amazing sounding British pressing of this quality, this one, guaranteed to rock your world
  • Eddie Offord’s trademark Tubey Magic, energy, resolution, whomp factor and dynamics are all over this phenomenal recording
  • “More accomplished than the trio’s first album, but not quite as polished as Brain Salad Surgery, Tarkus is nevertheless a must-have.” 

This killer copy features some of the more intense prog rock sound to hit our table in quite some time. This is a true Demo Disc LP, one of the most dynamic and powerful rock recordings ever made.

The organ captured here by Eddie Offord (of Yes engineering fame, we’re his biggest fans) and then transferred so well onto our Hot Stamper pressings will rattle the foundation of your house if you’re not careful. This music really needs that kind of megawatt reproduction to make sense. It’s big Bombastic Prog that wants desperately to rock your world. At moderate levels it just sounds overblown and silly. At loud levels it actually does rock your world. (more…)

Roger Waters – The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

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  • An incredible Shootout Winning pressing with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both side – this is absolutely As Good As It Gets
  • Like the recordings of Floyd, the sound is BIG, with lots of energy, excellent presence and real weight down low
  • The first copy to hit the site in years, this is a tough one to come by and few indeed sound the way this one does
  • “The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking continues to showcase Waters’ unprecedented knack of addressing his darkest thoughts and conceptions in a most extraordinary fashion. ” – Allmusic, 4 stars

See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock

Let me tell you, it is no walk in the park to find a copy of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking that sounds as good as this one and plays as quietly. Those of you who like Floyd’s The Final Cut will probably get a lot out of the album. (more…)

ELP – Pictures At An Exhibition – Our White Hot Shootout Winner


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • An incredible copy of this ELP classic with both sides earing a Triple Plus (A+++)
  • Both sides here are super big and full with a massive bottom end and huge amounts of energy
  • Quiet vinyl for this title — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • “A sufficiently bold use of Mussorgsky’s original to stimulate hours of delightful listening.” — Allmusic

See all of our Emerson Lake and Palmer albums in stock

This Island British Import LP has amazing sound! It’s super full-bodied with excellent clarity and transparency. The low end has real weight and heft, so when Emerson really lays into the organ it’ll rattle your walls! (more…)

Tim Buckley – Goodbye And Hello – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • An insanely good sounding Gold Label original with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • The overall sound here is super big, full and dynamic with excellent bass and a nice extended top end
  • Fairly quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • 4 1/2 Stars on All Music: “Often cited as the ultimate Tim Buckley statement, Goodbye and Hello is indeed a fabulous album…”  

See all of our Tim Buckley albums in stock (more…)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Trilogy – A Classic of Tubey Magical British Prog Rock


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • One of the best copies to ever hit the site and boy is it KILLER! Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • An excellent recording that really shines on a good pressing like this; fairly quiet vinyl too!
  • “Every track on this album has been carefully thought, arranged, and performed to perfection…”

More Emerson, Lake and Palmer

It’s not easy to find great copies of this album. This kind of prog rock demands big, bold sound, and not all copies have the size or low end weight to pull it off. Keith Emerson’s organ needs to extend all the way down, or it just doesn’t work. Both sides here have a great bottom end, and some real texture and space up top. (more…)

Billy Joel – Glass Houses – Our Shootout Winner for 2017

 

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017
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  • A superb pressing: Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side, Double Plus (A++) on the first
  • The sound is just right for this album full of rockers — big, rich and punchy with great space and dynamics
  • This title has some of his biggest hits: You May Be Right, Don’t Ask Me Why and It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Instead of turning out to be a fiery rebuttal to his detractors, the album is a remarkable catalog of contemporary pop styles … That’s not a detriment; that’s the album’s strength.”

See all of our Billy Joel albums in stock

A truly stunning copy of one of Billy Joel’s best-loved albums! We recently finished a massive shootout for Billy Joel’s hard-rockin’ 1980 release and most copies were pretty dreadful. Thankfully for us (and the Billy Joel fans out there) we managed to find a few copies that really work! This one absolutely nails it — they just don’t get much better than this, folks.

The Midrange Is Key (As Usual)

Most of the copies we’re played were pinched in the midrange, which gave a hard, unpleasant quality to the vocals. This is probably the most pure rock and roll album Billy Joel ever put out, and it’s a shame to hear these songs fall flat when they run into the problems of the typical pressing. The copies that keep you engaged are Hot Stampers, plain and simple.

Best Practices

If you have five or ten copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what’s right and what’s wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the others do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given pressing reproduces those passages.

The process is simple enough. First you go deep into the sound. There you find something special, something you can’t find on most copies. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

You May Be Right
Sometimes a Fantasy
Don’t Ask Me Why
It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me
All for Leyna

Side Two

I Don’t Want to Be Alone
Sleeping With the Television On
C’Etait Toi (You Were the One)
Close to the Borderline
Through the Long Night

Martin Birch Knows How to Get The Big Rock Sound on Vinyl

Martin Birch Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Martin Birch Engineered Albums We’ve Reviewed

 

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When you get a Hot Stamper presssing like this one, Machine Head is a True Rock and Roll Demo Disc. Since our stereo is all about playing these kinds of records, and playing them at good loud levels as nature — and the artists — intended, we had a helluva time with Machine Head.

It had the kind of presence and energy that puts most copies of this album to shame. It’s also amazingly spacious, the result no doubt of it being recorded practically live in the studio. On the best copies you can really hear the sound bouncing off the studio walls, just as you can on the best Zep, AC/DC and Bad Co. albums. You can just tell they are all playing this one live: it’s so relaxed and natural and REAL sounding.

The vocalist is no doubt in a booth, but everyone else seems to be in a lively studio. With lovely extension up top this was a very sweet copy that cried out to be turned up good and loud. The louder we played it the better it sounded! (more…)