Top Artists – Superrtramp

Letter of the Week – Breakfast In America and Led Zeppelin IV

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

Hey Tom,  

You don’t need any more adulation; you know I am a fan. I just had to send you a note to share an audio phenomena I am experiencing. I recently got Supertramp Breakfast In America 3+ / 3+ and now Zeppelin IV 2.5+ / 3+. These were albums that were always average for me and I previously got copies just to have in the collection. The White Hot Stampers, however, opened up a completely different listening experience. Holy smokes, these albums are really, really good; until I got the WHS’s I just could not hear them. Probably, more accurately, lesser albums were harsh and not engaging. Once you hear copies like these anything less becomes unlistenable. These albums really rock, long live White Hot Stampers! (more…)

Supertramp – Crisis? What Crisis? – An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

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CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? is an album we admit to being obsessed with — just look at the number of commentaries we’ve written about it. 

We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands — maybe a bit too much time on your hands — please feel free to check out our commentaries.

This link will take you to our other SUPERTRAMP albums. 

This album ticks off a number of boxes that are important to understanding records and their reproduction. (more…)

Supertramp Crime of the Century on MoFi – We Was Wrong, It Can Sound Great

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This MoFi Crime of the Century has two superb sounding sides. I have to admit I was DEAD WRONG about MoFi’s Crime of the Century — on this pressing, anyway. But I can tell you that this is one of the few I have ever played that sounded right to me.

It’s not that MoFi couldn’t cut a record that’s tonally correct. It’s just that most of they time they didn’t. This time they did. 

I’ve been telling people for years that the MOoFi was junk, and that they should get rid of their copy and replace it with a tonally correct version, easily done since there is a very good sounding Speakers Corner 180g reissue currently in print which does not suffer from the ridiculously boosted top end and bloated bass that characterizes the typical MoFi COTC pressing. (more…)

Supertramp – Breakfast In America – An A&M Disaster

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Sonic Grade: F

So washed out, brittle, thin and compressed it practically defies understanding that anyone with two working ears ever considered calling this piece of crap an “audiophile” record. If you don’t think the major labels had anything but contempt for us audiophiles, play this pressing and see for yourself the kind of garbage they were happy to pawn off on an unsuspecting audiophile “community” (if there ever was such a thing. There is now of course, Hoffman’s being the most popular. Wonder what they have to say about this crap).  

Supertramp – Breakfast In America – MoFi Debunked

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Sonic Grade: C-

The MoFi Standard Operating Procedure of boosting the top end does this album no favors; it’s positively ruinous in fact. How dull does a system have to be to make this record sound right? Pretty damn dull. And the bad bass definition just adds to the phoniness. The average domestic copy is not that great either, so let’s give the MoFi a somewhat forgiving grade of C minus.  

Supertramp – Even In The Quietest Moments… – Sweet Thunder Debunked

Even In The Quietest Moments…

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.  

We’re big fans of this album here at Better Records and consider it to be one of Supertramp’s best. That said, this half-speed is a disgrace. There is absolutely no presence to the sound of the copy we played. The guitars, which on some cuts are double tracked, each coming directly out of the speaker hard right and hard left, are so dull it sounds like the speaker is facing the back wall!  

I think I know why — there is quite a bit of processing distortion and grit on the vocals. The Audiophile Masterminds at Sweet Thunder thought the best way to deal with it was to suck the hell out of the presence region (3 to 6k) which takes off some of the edge on the vocals but throws a thick blanket over the acoustic guitars. On the opening track of side one, the big hit off the album, it takes all the energy out of the one element that really drives the music — the guitars.

This is truly one of the worst half-speed mastered records we have ever had the displeasure of hearing. Shame on you, Sweet Thunder. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Supertramp and The Final Cut

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

Hey Tom, 

Just received by delivery this afternoon. I am just about beginning to realize what a good pressing really means…

I have only been able to listen to Supertramp and The Final Cut until now. While Supertramp is excellent, the Final Cut is simply astounding!! I really am at a loss of words so I will just say that I really am listening to completely new music. I can’t come to terms with the fact that there is so much information buried in those grooves that I am listening to, honest to God, for the very first time… And the Final Cut is my favorite Floyd!

I couldn’t be happier. I confess I am a little emotional now. By no means, is this a casual purchase but boy… I think this is worth its weight in gold!

I’ll be back for more!!

Sujay

 

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Supertramp – Crime of the Century on MoFi – What to Listen For

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your MoFi copy of COTC.

Listen to the vocals at the end of Dreamer. If they are bright, the bells at the end of the song sound super-extended and harmonically rich. But at what price? The vocals are TOO BRIGHT. Which is more important, good vocals or good bells? There has to be a balance. This is something audiophiles and audiophile labels, who should obviously know better, often have trouble understanding.

We get these MoFis in on a regular basis, and they usually sound as phony and wrong as can be. They’re the perfect example of a hyped-up audiophile record that appeals to people with lifeless stereos, the kind that need amped-up records to get them going.

I’ve been telling people for years that the MoFi was junk, and that they should get rid of their copy and replace it with a tonally correct version, easily done since there is a very good sounding Speakers Corner 180g reissue currently in print which does not suffer from the ridiculously boosted top end and bloated bass that characterizes the typical MoFi COTC pressing. (more…)

Crisis? What Crisis? The Exception that Probes the Rule

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[This is an old commentary from about ten years ago so take it with a grain of salt. The best domestic pressings kill this audiophile record. That said, the better half-speed copies are actually surprisingly good.

This Hot Stamper A&M Half Speed of Supertramp – Crisis? What Crisis? today joins a VERY ELITE GROUP: Half-Speeds that hold their own in a head to head shootout against some of the BEST Hot Stamper Non-Audiophile pressings we can find. There are presently a total of three titles that fit the description: Dark Side of the Moon on MoFi, Crime of the Century on MoFi, and this title on A&M.

Most half-speed mastered records we throw on our table have us scratching our heads and asking, What the hell were they thinking? They SUCK! Tubby bass, recessed mids, phony highs, compression — the list of bad qualities they almost all have in common is a long one. Playing these kinds of records on a properly set-up modern system is positively painful.
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Making Progress in Audio with Supertramp

Even in the Quietest Moments

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The story behind this record is what real Progress in Audio is all about.

We wrote up this album in 2005 as a Hot Stamper Stalled listing; we just couldn’t find anything that really sounded right to us. The imports were a smeary mess, the half-speed was and is a complete joke (we used to like it but that just goes to show how wrong you can be), and the domestic copies were so grainy and phony-sounding we knew there was no way to make the case that this was some sort of audiophile recording.

Could it be that when Geoff Emerick took over the recording duties from his friend Ken Scott, who had engineered the two previous albums, both of which are stunning — Crime of the Century and Crisis? What Crisis? — he had simply dropped the ball and done a bad job? How could that be possible? (more…)