Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.
The better copies reproduce clearly what to our minds are the three most important elements in the recording — strings, rhythm, and vocal — and, more importantly, the are reproduced properly balanced with one another.
The monos, as you might expect, balance the three elements well enough, but the problem with mono is that the vocals and instruments are jammed together in the center of the soundfield, layered atop one another.
Real clarity, the kind that live music has in abundance, is difficult if not impossible under the circumstances. Only the stereo pressings provide the space that each of the elements need in order to be heard.
Naturally the vocals have to be the main focus on a Billie Holiday record. They should be rich and tubey, yet clear, breathy and transparent. To qualify as a Hot Stamper, the pressings we offer must be highly resolving. You will hear everything, surrounded by the natural space of the legendary Columbia 30th Street Studio in which the recording was made.