Top Artists – The Cars

Letter of the Week – The Cars

The Cars

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

Hey Tom,  

I really wanted to thank you for The Cars. What a sweet-sounding record! Everything about that one is so right; the guitars, the bass, the drums, the vocals, everything sounds completely natural.  

I have a good friend whose favourite band are The Cars. He has an expensive high-end system, but doesn’t want the “hassle” of vinyl. Swears blind that nothing beats the DCC gold CD of ‘The Cars’, so I invited him round at the week-end and asked him to bring his DCC CD with him to compare on my relatively modest system. After we had heard his CD, the look on his face when I dropped the needle on my record was absolutely priceless! A big thank you for the heads-up on that one.

Owais M.

Letter of the Week – Wild Planet, Greatest Hits, The Cars and Emerson, Lake & Palmer

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

Hey Tom, 

Yesterday, I attended an audio event at Audio Connection, in Verona, NJ (where I purchased my stereo).

I played the B-52s, Wild Planet, “Party Out Of Bounds”, on their cost-no-object flagship system.
It was spectacular!  

I played other titles that were also spectacular, such as Sly And The Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music” and The Cars’ “Good Times Roll” (all purchased from your store).

A couple of other pressings were very good, but not as impressive (Cat Stevens’ WHS, for example). And my WHS of ELP’s “Take A Pebble” had a fair amount of sibilance (a song I had not previously played). But overall, a wonderfully musical experience.

Great job unearthing / identifying these gems! (more…)

The Cars – The Cars – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More The Cars

More The Cars – The Cars

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

As you may remember from our last go around with The Cars’ debut, we proclaimed that new White Hot Stampers had been discovered, and indeed they had. These, dear reader, are the very ones of which we spoke, and let me assure you, they are every bit as good. They just plain blow the doors off our previous favorites, which is both shocking and wonderful. The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

Talk about jumping out of the speakers, the energy level of this copy is completely OFF THE CHARTS. You’ve probably heard these songs a million times, but you’ve NEVER heard them sound like this. Both sides have FREAKISHLY GOOD SOUND — dynamic, spacious and ALIVE! (more…)

Letter of the Week – The Cars

The Cars

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

Hey Tom,   

Just got done listening to The Cars Hot Stamper. Even on my modest system its AWESOME!. I never heard The Cars sound like that before! I’d like to upgrade this copy when a better one comes along. I’m now convinced and the decision is made, I’m getting an audiophile turntable and moving into vinyl! Thanks for your help. 

Mike Z.

The Cars – Candy-O – Our Shootout Winner from 2006

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More Candy-O

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

This Minty Elektra LP has two OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD sides! TRIPLE PLUS/TRIPLE PLUS! As far as we know, this is the only New Wave rock record with DEMO DISC sound ever made. We’re talking huge amounts of dynamic energy, tons of bass, a luscious midrange, all topped with a sweetly extended high end. I always knew there were superb sounding copies of this album, but I honestly had no idea they any could sound like this. There is only one copy that earned our coveted Triple Plus designation for both sides, and this is it. As Good As It Gets.

One other copy received a Triple Plus on side one, but this copy was still a step up from it. We hold the line at three pluses but three doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. This record is really just plain off the charts. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Clear Spot and Candy-O

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

Hey Tom, 

I went to a ‘listening party” at a local high end audio retailer. People were invited to bring a record, have it professionally cleaned, and played back on as many as three different systems ranging from about $3,000 to over six figures for the complete system.

I brought my Hot Stamper of Clear Spot by Captain Beefheart that I got from you.

I know. That’s like cheating, right?

As usual, the record blew all listeners away.

I had one person tell me that, while the style of music wasn’t his cup of tea, it sounded so compelling he wanted more.

So I put on my Nautilus SuperDiscs (Listen To The Difference) pressing of The Cars Candy-O.

Sounds okay. But this is supposed to be a “SuperDisc”. Okay does not cut it.

So I put on my Better Records A+++ copy of the same title. Voila! The sound became magical. (more…)

The Cars – Here’s the Big Rock Sound We Love

More The Cars

More We Love Dynamic Choruses, and These Are Amazing!

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The first two Cars albums were both in The Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 at one time, with good reason: they’re superb recordings. The Cars have been in “heavy rotation” on my system since their albums came out in the late ’70s. We started doing shootouts for both right around 2006 or 2007, and they continue to be a regular feature of our Rock Hot Stamper section, not to mention some of the most fun shootouts we do in any given week.  

Before then had you ever read a word in any audiophile or record collecting publication about how amazing the originals can sound? Of course not. Most of the audiophile types writing for the stereo rags wouldn’t know a good record from a hole in the ground.

If anything the typical audiophile probably has one or both of the disastrous Nautilus half-speed mastered versions, and, having played them, would not be inclined to think highly of the sound. We knew better than to waste our time with that muck. Recently Mobile Fidelity has taken upon itself to remaster a selection of the band’s titles with the same flawed half-speed mastering approach. We haven’t played any of them and don’t intend to. We know that sound and we don’t like it.

Our point, other than to bash a record we have never played, is simply this: if you have any of those MoFi versions we would love to send you a copy of the album so that you can hear for yourself what it’s really supposed to sound like.

If you have Big Dynamic Speakers and like to rock, you can’t go wrong with a Hot Stamper Cars album. Neil Young albums have the Big Rock sound, and if you’re more of a Classic Rock kind of listener, that’s a good way to go. We’re behind you all the way, just check out the commentary for Zuma linked above.

For a band with thin ties, leather jackets, jangly guitars, synths and monstrously huge floor toms that fly back and forth across the soundstage, Cars albums are going to be the ones for you.



Further Reading

…along these lines can be found below.

Some of the most important advice on our site can be found under the heading of The Four Pillars of Success.

Here you can find more entries in our ongoing Shootout Advice series.

Record shootouts are the fastest and easiest way to hone your listening skills, a subject we discuss often on the site and directly address in this commentary from way back in 2005.

The Cars Candy-O Is Yet Another Awful Nautilus Remaster

More The Cars

More Candy-O

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

This Nautilus Half-Speed Mastered LP, like The Cars first album they did, is pure compressed muck. Another one of the worst half-speeds of all time. For those who are interested we’ve reprinted a customer’s letter below as well. 

So I put on my Nautilus SuperDiscs (Listen To The Difference) pressing of The Cars Candy-O.

Sounds okay. But this is supposed to be a “SuperDisc”. Okay does not cut it.

So I put on my Better Records A+++ copy of the same title. Voila! The sound became magical.

Maybe some Nautilus pressings are very good? Maybe my copy is a lemon?

Thanks, again, for making my stereo perform at its best!

Craig D.

The Cars – Candy-O – Listening in Depth

More The Cars

More Candy-O

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of The Cars’ second album.

This is one of our favorite recordings — a former member of our Top 100 — for one very simple reason: it’s got Big Rock Sound in spades! Drop the needle on Let’s Go and check out the sound of the big floor tom. When the drummer bangs on that thing, you will FEEL it! It’s similar to the effect of being in the room with live musicians — the difference between just hearing music and also feeling it. That’s what you get from a Hot Stamper copy.

What other New Wave band ever recorded an album with this kind of DEMONSTRATION QUALITY sound? It positively JUMPS out of the speakers. No album by Blondie, Television, The Pretenders or ANY of their comtemporaries can begin to compete with this kind of sound, with the exception of the Talking Heads’ Little Creatures. The Cars very own first album is excellent, but it doesn’t have this kind of LIFE and ENERGY. No way, no how.   (more…)

The Cars on Nautilus – Ouch!

More of The Cars

 

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

This Nautilus Half-Speed Mastered LP is pure mud — compressed; thick and congested, a disaster on every level, much like their atrocious remastering of Candy-O. If you own this Audiophile BS pressing (NR-14) and you can’t hear what’s wrong with it, you seriously need to consider rethinking your playback system.