Top Artists – 10cc

Letter of the Week – “For the next three hours, I spun disc after disc, to their delight.”

Reviews and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin II

Reviews and Commentaries for Deja Vu

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

  Hey Tom, 

Story for you — last Saturday evening, a designer of a new world-famous tonearm, the owner of an elite high-end audio salon in California and I met for dinner with a well-known reviewer for one of the big audiophile rags, then went back to one of their houses to listen to records I had been asked to bring.

About 90% of the two dozen records I had selected were White Hot Stamper versions of classic rock staples.

For the next three hours, I spun disc after disc, to their delight.

Particular faves included Elvis Costello’s “My Aim Is True,” Led Zeppelin II, 10CC’s “The Original Soundtrack,” CSNY’s “Deja Vu,” and Chicago’s first LP.

Bill

Bill,

That sounds like a great way to spend an evening, playing killer copies of world class Demo Disc recordings! Would loved to have been there.

Without exception, these are five of our most beloved records, records we have been obsessed with since we first heard them growing up all those years ago. (The links you see have extensive commentaries for all five.)

And of course we will never read a word about Hot Stampers, from this or any other demonstration, in a big audiophile rag. We are bad for their business. Their record selling advertisers would throw a fit. They know what we have to say about their shoddy products.

I guess there is something attractive about having the best sounding records and keeping it amongst the few music loving audiophiles who are “in the know.”

Thanks for your letter!

TP


Reviews and Commentaries for Chicago Transit Authority

Reviews and Commentaries for The Original Soundtrack

Reviews and Commentaries for My Aim Is True

The Must Own 10cc Classic You May Not Know

More of the Music of 10cc

Reviews and Commentaries for 10cc

We’ve long been huge fans of this album both musically and sonically. It’s the kind of recording where the sound JUMPS out of the speakers. In that way it most reminds me of Crime Of The Century, one of the most amazing recordings in the history of popular music.

It’s also one of the most DYNAMIC popular recordings I know of. If this album doesn’t wake up your system, it’s time to scrap it and start over.

Musically it’s one of my all time favorite albums, a real Desert Island Disc for yours truly.

Incredible Stereo Separation

One of the many elements that combine to push this album well beyond the bounds of most popular recordings is the thought and care that went into the soundstaging. Listen to the stereo separation on any track — the sound of each instrument has been carefully considered within the context of the arrangement and placed in a specific location within the soundfield for a reason — usually that reason is for MAXIMUM EFFECT.

That’s why we LOVE 10cc. Their recordings from this era are an audiophile dream come true. Compare that to some of the stereo mixes for the Beatles albums, where an instrument or vocal seems to panned to one channel or another not because it SHOULD be, but because it COULD be. With 10cc those hard-left, hard-right effects make the songs JUMP. They call attention to themselves precisely because the band is having a blast in the studio, showing off all the tricks they have up their sleeves. They want you to get as big a kick out of hearing them as they did conjuring them up.

Pop Lunatics
This is no recreation of a live musical event, nor is it trying to be one. It’s a pair of pop lunatics let loose in their own multi-track studio doing whatever the hell they damn well please with songs they wrote and on which they play all the instruments (with the exception of some of the drum parts). That’s why this recording has such energy — it’s two guys in their very own candy store havin’ a ball, with no one around to tell them they can’t.


A Demo Disc for Bass

A Demo Disc for Dynamics

A Demo Disc for Energy

Desert Island Discs – The Complete List

10cc – How Dare You!

More 10cc

Reviews and Commentaries for 10cc

 

  • You’ll find solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this outstanding early UK pressing of 10cc’s fourth album, How Dare You! – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This wonderful LP will show you that 10cc’s commitment to Audiophile Recording Quality was – at the time – beyond reproach 
  • Forget the dubby domestic stuff and the no-doubt-awful Heavy Vinyl, this early British pressing is huge, spacious and rich, with prodigious amounts of bass, like no other copy you’ve heard
  • 4 stars: “…a well-crafted album that shows off 10cc’s eccentric humor and pop smarts in equal measure… it remains a solid album of witty pop songs that will satisfy anyone with a yen for 10cc.”
  • If like us you’re a fan of Arty Rock from the ’70s, this is a killer album from 1976 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1976 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

With this superb British pressing, some of you who might consider yourselves more devoted fans of the band will finally be able to hear what a good recording this is. The typical domestic copy is a disaster as are some of the British originals and reissues; we should know, we cleaned them, played them and heard them for ourselves.

If you know anything about this band, you know their recordings are often amazing Demo Discs. We’ve done shootouts for all their most important titles and the sound on the best copies is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, this is definitely one to check out. I don’t know of any other album like it.

Best sound on side one: “Lazy Ways.”

Best track on the album: “Rock ‘N Roll Lullaby.” (more…)

10cc’s Brilliant Second Album – Sheet Music

More 10cc

Yet Another Well Recorded Album that Should Be More Popular with Audiophiles

  • Rich, full and balanced with plenty of deep bass and Arty Rock energy, this is a Truly Amazing Demo Disc
  • Bassist Graham Gouldman calls it “the definitive 10cc album” and he’s probably right about that (although we love The Original Soundtrack that came out a year later)
  • “Three hit singles spun off the record, and most of the other tracks could have followed suit; it says much for Sheet Music’s staying power that, no matter how many times the album is reissued, it has never lost its power to delight, excite, and set alight a lousy day.”

Sheet Music is in our opinion the most consistently well written and produced 10cc album, with every track performed with heart and recorded with exquisite attention to detail. Each song flows into the next and there is simply not a dull moment to be found. Sheet Music is arguably the best record they ever made, although I’m such a fan, I think they’re all great. (The first five albums anyway.) (more…)

10cc / Deceptive Bends – Sibilance Can Be a Bitch (and a Good Test for Table Set-Up Too)

On side two the tonal balance is key. If there is any boost to the top end the vocals on track two will SPIT LIKE CRAZY.

This is also a good test for how well your cartridge and arm are doing their jobs. Sibilance is a bitch. The best pressings, with the most extension up top and the least amount of aggressive grit and grain mixed into the sound, played using the best front ends, will keep it to a minimum. VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate adjustments are critical to reducing the spit in your records.

We discuss the sibilance problems of MoFi records all over the site. Have you ever read Word One about this problem elsewhere? Of course not. Audiophiles and audiophile reviewers just seem to put up with these problems, or ignore them, or — even worse — simply fail to recognize them at all.

Play around with your table setup for a few hours and you will no doubt be able to reduce the sibilance problems on your favorite test and demo discs. All your other records will thank you for it too. (Especially your Beatles records. Many Beatles pressings are spitty, and the MoFi Beatles pressings are REALLY bad.)

(more…)

10cc – The Original Soundtrack

  • An outstanding early pressing, boasting solid Double Plus (A++) Demo Disc sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Superb clarity and energy, solid down low, silky up top, and as HUGE as any recording you’ve ever heard
  • A Top 100 Album and a real sonic blockbuster on a copy that sounds as good as this one does
  • The extended suite that opens side one has ambience, sound effects, and a climax of powerful, multi-tracked vocals that will make your jaw drop
  • “Musically there’s more going on than in ten Yes albums, yet it’s generally as accessible as a straight pop band… 10cc is among the few groups actively engaged in stretching rock’s restrictive boundaries in a constructive and meaningful manner, without falling prey to pretense or excess.”

The recording itself is a Tour De Force, one reason I’ve been demonstrating my stereo with it for more than thirty years. The extended suite that opens side one, One Night in Paris, has ambience, sound effects, and incredibly dynamic multi-tracked vocals at its climax that will make your jaw drop.

(more…)

10cc – Deceptive Bends

More 10cc

Reviews and Commentaries for 10cc

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides, this huge, lively copy of Deceptive Bends will be very hard to beat – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A longstanding member of our Top 100 – it’s one of the most DYNAMIC, ENERGETIC, well recorded pop albums we know of
  • “Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman kept the group alive and turned in a surprisingly solid album with 1977’s Deceptive Bends. It may lack the devil-may-care wackiness that popped up on previous 10cc albums, but it makes up for it by crafting a series of lush, catchy pop songs that are witty in their own right. All in all, Deceptive Bends is the finest achievement of 10cc’s post-Godley and Creme lineup and well worth a spin for anyone who enjoyed Sheet Music or The Original Soundtrack.”
  • A Demo Disc for Bass
  • A Demo Disc for Dynamics
  • A Demo Disc for Energy

This is an AMAZINGLY WELL RECORDED album, a record I would have no problem ranking in the Top Rock Recordings of All Time! We’re tough graders on this album because we know how good it can sound, which is SHOCKINGLY GOOD. (more…)

10cc / The Original Soundtrack – Compare the Gold CD and the Vinyl

More of the Music of 10cc

Reviews and Commentaries for 10cc

As good as the DCC Gold CD is, this record has all the MAGIC of ANALOG vinyl — and then some. It’s the kind of sound you will never hear coming from a CD or digital source of any kind, trust me. If there isn’t a huge difference in sound between the Hoffman DCC gold CD and your LP, I can tell you without fear of contradiction that you either A): Need a better front end (turntable, arm, cart, phono stage — which of course we are happy to help you with) or B): have a bad copy of the vinyl. (C would be a combination of the two, which, if I can say it without sounding too smug or arrogant, is the most likely scenario. I haven’t run into too many audiophiles who own a hot copy of The Original Soundtrack, or have the kind of system that can play a record like it. As I am fond of saying, this is the kind of record that is guaranteed to bring any audiophile stereo to its knees.)

The recording itself is a Tour De Force, one reason I’ve been demonstrating my stereo with it for more than thirty years. The extended suite that opens side one, One Night in Paris, has ambience, sound effects, and incredibly dynamic multi-tracked vocals at its climax that will make your jaw drop.

My Personal Brit Copy

I bought my reference Brit copy at Beanos when I was in England many years ago, for those who have been record shopping there. Not too many of these came across the Atlantic, so British pressings of 10cc are quite rare. It should be noted that most record buyers in England do not take very good care of their records. I found this out the hard way when I got home with suitcases and boxes full of LPs, only to find that many were noisy and full of groove damage. Actually that’s not fair; Americans don’t take very good care of their records either. It’s just that American records are quite common and so we expect them to be treated poorly. By the way, the same guy cut both the Brit copies and the domestics, so don’t expect the country of origin alone tell you what to expect from a given pressing. There are Super Hot copies from both countries and the only way to know how one sounds is to play it. (more…)

Universals’s Reissue of 10cc’s Masterpiece on Heavy Vinyl Gets Panned

More of the Music of 10cc

Reviews and Commentaries for 10cc

Sonic Grade: F

This new Universal Super De Luxe import LP appears to be the regular vinyl version that, for all we know, might actually still be in print in Europe. It appears to have been specially pressed on heavy import vinyl for our domestic market as part of the new Universal Heavy Vinyl series. Either that or it’s being made from the old metalwork for the LP that would have been available most recently in Europe (out of print by now I should think).

Which is a very long-winded way of saying that it is not in any real sense remastered, if such a claim is being made for it or the series. Rather it has simply been repressed on Heavy Vinyl in Europe and imported to the states.

None of which is either here nor there because the record is an absolute DISASTER.

The top end is so boosted, after the cutter head emphasis gets done with it all that’s left is pure DISTORTION. No one with two working ears and even a halfway-decent stereo can fail to notice how awful this pressing sounds. How a record this poorly mastered (or pressed, perhaps it’s a manufacturing defect) could get through the Quality Control department at Universal is beyond me.

Wait a minute.  Who say they even have a quality control department? They, like every other company that produces records these days, could apparently care less whether the records they make are any good or not. There is not an iota of evidence to support the contention that anyone at any of these companies knows what the hell he is doing.

(This is a classic example of a phrase that is widely misused: “begging the question,” which typically refers to assuming something that one should be required to prove. If you assume that any modern record label had a quality control department, you should be required to provide evidence of its existence. I am not aware of any.

Oh, but it’s ANALOG. Folks, take it from me: because it’s on vinyl, heavy or otherwise, doesn’t have a whole lot to do with whether it sounds any good or not. The Hoffman-mastered DCC Gold CD is a million times more analog sounding than this piece of crap. Unlike this LP, the tonality of his CD is right on the money. It’s still a CD, and as we note below the Hot Stamper pressings we sell will trounce it sonically, but it’s worlds better than this Analog Vinyl.

If any record ever deserved a failing grade, it’s this one. After a few minutes you simply will not be able to be in the same room with it.

This link will take you to some other exceptionally bad records that, like this one, were marketed to audiophiles for their putatively superior sound. On today’s modern systems, it should be obvious that they have nothing of the kind and that, in fact, the opposite is true.


A PUBLIC SERVICE

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.

You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (On some Hall of Shame records the sound is passable but the music is bad.  These are also records you can safely avoid.)

Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the all-too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.

When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good pressing, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much less excusable.