One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:
Hey, I think you guys made a mistake! The card states A+, but I think you gave me an A++++ ! I was never a huge Billy Joel fan, but to get that Hot Stamper for 50 bucks; well I had to go for it. I was not disappointed: tremendous power especially in the bass, but his voice came through like he was standing there. It’s just so damn musical. Oh, and dead quiet too! This is my new “demo disk”.
This is the first Super Hot Stamper copy of Billy Joel’s classic Piano Man to ever hit the site! We’ve been trying to find great copies of this one for ages, but it is TOUGH. This copy gets you much better sound than most of them out there — it’s cleaner, clearer and more open with the kind of vocal presence needed to make the title track come to life. So many copies we played were thin, dry and grainy — sonic issues that really gets in the way of enjoying this music.
The vocals are full-bodied and breathy, the bottom end is clean and punchy, and there’s more richness than we heard on practically any of the other copies we played. The overall sound is very lively – you’ll have a very hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good.(more…)
You know how you can tell when you have a Hot Stamper? It’s the side you play through to the end. When the sound is right you want to hear more. Since the opening track of this record is one of the keys to knowing whether it’s mastered and pressed properly, once you get past the sibilance hurdle on track one, the next step is to find out how the challenges presented by the rest of the tracks are handled on any given LP. Some advice follows. (more…)
DEMO DISC LIVE ROCK CONCERT SOUND, Baby! This one has it ALL. The sound has so many wonderful ANALOG qualities when you get a good copy — the hash and hardness of the typical pressing just disappears, leaving surprisingly transparent and sweet sound on virtually every track. The WHOMP FACTOR here is off the scale. There are few studio recordings that have these kinds of dynamics. We forget how compressed most of them are. It takes a record like this to show you how much LIFE there is in LIVE MUSIC.(more…)
Both of these copies have one killer A+++ side and one that just didn’t impress us, so we’ve paired them up to give you the best sound we possibly can for the entire album! This is in our opinion the Best Sounding Billy Joel Album, and when you hear this pressing you’ll understand exactly why. Super open and transparent with real detail and texture, they just don’t get any better than this.(more…)
Two big and solid Triple Plus sides, the best we’ve heard in years. Los Angelenos and The Entertainer both sound wonderful on this copy. Most copies won’t come close in terms of energy, transparency, punch or presence.
The best copy to hit the site in many years! The sound here is clean and clear with a punchy bottom end. There’s lots of energy here and the piano sounds correct. This copy will show you what this music can sound like when mastered and pressed correctly.(more…)
On side two Prelude/Angry Young Man were key test tracks. The biggest, richest copies with the most space consistently brought out the best in the songs and individual performances of the players.
Summer, Highland Falls is a great test — listen for breathy vocals, a full piano, a clear snare drum once it comes in and, most importantly, an energetic performance. You will need all four to score well in one of our shootouts. (more…)
You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this copy of Joel’s ninth studio album
Dynamic and open, with driving rhythmic energy – this early pressing brings this great batch of songs to life
Jam packed with hits: An Innocent Man, The Longest Time, Tell Her About It, Uptown Girl, Leave a Tender Moment Alone, and more – seven singles in all
“Joel has rarely sounded so carefree either in performance or writing, possibly due to “Christie Lee” Brinkley, a supermodel who became his new love prior to An Innocent Man.” — Allmusic
Both of these sides have the huge soundstage and startling clarity and immediacy that characterizes this album, but they also add an ingredient missing from most we heard — a full, rich, musical midrange!
On many pressings, the vocals can get hard and harsh on the uptempo tracks (“Uptown Girl” is a notable offender, and never sounds quite as good as the rest of the album), but this copy manages to fix that problem (mostly) without sacrificing transparency or top end.(more…)
The newImpex(Cisco) 180 gram remastering of 52nd Street was cut by Kevin Gray, under the direction of Robert Pincus (aka Mr Record), at the now defunct AcousTech Mastering in Camarillo. We noted in a recent review for a much superior (how could it not be?) Hot Stamper pressing:
Side one is a joke (zero ambience, resolution, energy, etc.) but side two is actually quite good. Side two fixes the biggest problem with the album: hard, honky vocals.
In his review appearing in The Absolute Sound, Neil Gader plucks two songs out of the album’s nine as especially meritorious. Oddly enough they’re both on side two. I wonder why. (more…)
It’s the side you play through to the end. When the sound is right you want to hear more. Since the opening track of this record is one of the keys to knowing whether it’s mastered and pressed properly, once you get past the sibilance hurdle on track one, the next step is to find out how the challenges presented by the rest of the tracks are handled on any given LP. Some advice follows.
Actually, what you really want to know is how good each song can sound — what it sounds like when it’s right. Once the quality of the mastering has been established, the fun part is to play the rest of the album, to hear it really come alive! (more…)