Top Artists – Kansas

Kansas – Leftoverture – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This copy of Kansas’ most consistent album, their masterpiece I might venture to say, has an OFF THE CHARTS A+++ side two! This is the ROCK album they recorded; the average copy of Leftoverture only hints at the power of the band.  

Side two just KILLED from start to finish, with the deepest, punchiest bass, moving up the frequency ladder to the clearest sweetest mids, and following it all the way to the top with the most extended grain-free, silky highs.

Most copies, like so many rock records from the era, are veiled and smeary. Often they lack extension at one or both ends of the frequency spectrum, more often than not up top, which results in harshness and shrillness, not the sound you want on a Kansas record! (more…)

Kansas – Point of Know Return – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO STUNNING SIDES, both clocking in at or just shy of our top grade of A+++! It takes a special pressing to do this music justice, and this one really nails it. Rich, full and tonally balanced from top to bottom, it’s hard to imagine how this music could sound any better. The bass is solid and textured, the vocals are full and clear and there’s tons of space around all the instruments! From the grungy guitars of the title track to the delicate acoustics of “Dust in the Wind”, this one gets it right.

The sound is big and bold and dynamic, all in a way that no other copy you have ever heard will be (or your money back of course). Just listen to those cymbal crashes — this copy is cut super clean, with almost no smear or veiling to speak of. (more…)

Kansas – Point of Know Return & Leftoverture – CBS Half-Speeds Debunked

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More Point of Know Return & Leftoverture

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Sonic Grade: F

Two Hall of Shame pressings and two more Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressings Debunked.

Both this album and Leftoverture are way too bright and thin. What were the engineers thinking — brighter equals better? In the case of these two titles it most definitely is not.It’s the sound that most audiophiles are fooled by to this day! Brighter and more detailed is rarely better. Most of the time it’s just brighter. Not many half-speed mastered audiophile records are dull. They’re bright because the audiophiles who bought them preferred that sound. I did too, a couple of decades ago. Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson by now, expensive and embarrassing as such lessons often turn out to be.  (more…)

Kansas – Leftoverture – CBS Half-Speed Debunked

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More Leftoverture

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Audiophile Record debunked.

Way too bright and thin. What were they thinking?

It’s the sound that most audiophiles are fooled by to this day! Brighter and more detailed is rarely better. Most of the time it’s just brighter. Not many half-speed mastered audiophile records are dull. They’re bright because the audiophiles who bought them preferred that sound. I did. Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson, expensive and painful as it may have been. 

The average copy of this record is so bright, thin, aggressive and transistory it will peel the paint in your living room and leave your ears bleeding.

Unmusicality

The best copies get rid of a problem that quickly becomes irritating as you play track after track: a certain “squaky, pinched” sound to the guitars. Bad copies of the album have that sound through and through, along with excessive amounts of grain and grunge. The guitars are very prominent in the mix on practically every song here, so when the guitars sound sour, the track as a whole does too.

These mastering and pressing problems make the overall sound simply UNMUSICAL. The way we found that out was simple. We cleaned and played lots of copies, and every once in a while we heard one that allowed the music to breathe, open up, sound balanced, make sense even.

Those copies showed us a Leftoverture we didn’t know existed and gave us a goal to shoot for with all the other copies we played. After hearing such a truly killer copy we often go back and downgrade the ratings for the copies we thought were the best. Such is the way with these shootouts. (more…)