Top Artists – Steely Dan & Donald Fagen Solos

Donald Fagen – The Nightfly – MoFi Debunked

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing.

More phony MoFi EQ on the top and sloppy bass. You can do a whole lot better and you sure won’t have to try very hard to do it.

Yet another Mobile Fidelity Pressing Debunked. Our Audiophile Scorecard has plenty more where this one came from.

Why Own a Turntable if You’re Going to Play Mediocrities Like These?

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This commentary was posted in 2007 and amended later with the statement that we would no longer be ordering new heavy vinyl titles starting in 2010. By 2011 we had eliminated them completely from our site. If you bought any Heavy Vinyl pressing from us, ever, now is the time to get rid of it and hear what a Hot Stamper can do for your musical enjoyment. 


Three of the Top Five sellers this week (8/22/07) at Acoustic Sounds are records we found hard to like: AjaAqualung and Blue. Can you really defend the expense and hassle of analog LP playback with records that sound as mediocre as this Rhino pressing of Blue? 

Why own a turntable if you’re going to play records like these? I have boxes of CDs that sound more musically involving and I don’t even bother to play those. Why would I take the time to throw on some 180 gram record that sounds worse than a good CD? (more…)

Letter of the Week – Pretzel Logic

Pretzel Logic

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,   

Holy Squatsauce, Batman! That is definitely the best-sounding Pretzel Logic I have heard. I don’t remember the black label copy sounding like this one. It clearly eclipses my Pink Probe copy and the difference was not subtle. Lots more life and more dynamic, clearly better highs and bass, voices and instruments stand out from the mix. Makes me wonder what the master tape sounds like and how much the US music-lover is missing on all the pathetic-sounding pressings around. Thanks. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Aja and Pretzel Logic

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

Funny enough, I listened to Pretzel Logic yesterday. Very tubey, we love it. I have an AAB-1006 (RE-3) pressing of Aja that sounds fantastic. (If you have any insight on that pressing I’d love to hear it!)

There are so many stampers for that record, and the same stamper that sounds great on one copy can sound terrible on another, so we just buy them and play them and let the chips fall where they may.

Best, TP (more…)

Steely Dan – Can’t Buy A Thrill – Speakers Corner Debunked

More Steely Dan

More Can’t Buy A Thrill

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing.

This has to be one of the worst sounding versions ever pressed. You think the average ABC or MCA pressing is opaque, flat and lifeless, not to mention compromised at both ends of the frequency spectrum? You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!

As bad as the typical copy of this album is, the Speakers Corner Heavy Vinyl is even worse, with not a single redeeming quality to its credit.

If this is what passes for an Audiophile Record these days, and it is, it’s just one more nail in the coffin for Heavy Vinyl. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Aja

Aja

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,   

I got the shipment today and it was meticulously packed. It all got here in perfect shape.

I could not resist doing a little side-by-side comparison of Aja tonight, as I have several copies. When I realized that different pressings sounded different (before I found your site) I began accumulating multiple copies, but I find it quite difficult to get loads of mint minus copies of anything. [It’s not as easy as it used to be, that’s for sure.]

Anyway, I was totally blown away. The Hot Stamper copy went WAY beyond what I expected in terms of the sonic shortcomings I could hear on the other pressings. Just… amazing… music.

The good news is my record collection should shrink by at least 75% in size as I sell off all the old multiple copies!

Adrian B.

Donald Fagen – The Nightfly

More Donald Fagen

More The Nightfly

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

TWO AMAZING SIDES RATING AT OR NEAR A+++! Super energetic and present, this record is on a completely different level than the typical pressing. We just finished a big shootout for Donald Fagen’s solo effort from 1982 (just two years after Gaucho and the end of Steely Dan) and we gotta tell you, there are a lot of weak sounding copies out there! We should know; we played them. 

We’ve been picking copies up for more than a year in the hopes that we’d have some killer Hot Stamper copies to offer, but most of them left us cold. Flat, edgy and bright, like a bad copy of Graceland, only a fraction had the kind of magic we find on the better Steely Dan albums. (more…)

Steely Dan – The Royal Scam – Turning Aggressive Energy into Pure Excitement

More Steely Dan

The Royal Scam

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Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

We really went overboard with the track commentary for this one. This should make it easy for you to compare what we say about the sound of these songs with what they sound like to you on your system, using the copy you own or, better yet, one of our Hot Stampers. 

If you end up with one of our Hot Stampers, listen carefully for the effects we describe below. This is a very tough record to reproduce — everything has to be working in tip-top form to even begin to get this complicated music sounding the way it should — but if you’ve done your homework and gotten your system really cooking, you are in for the time of your Steely Dan life. (more…)