Top Artists – Boston

Boston’s First Album on MoFi Anadisq

Sonic Grade: F

The MoFi Anadisc of Boston’s first album has the same problems that plague the whole Anadisq 200 series: turgid, thick, opaque, blobby, murky, mucky sound.

A real slogfest. Audiophile trash of the worst kind.

Do people still pay good money for this kind of awful sound? Yes they do!

Go to ebay and see the high prices these kinds of records are fetching. This is in equal parts both shocking and disgusting. 

Here is what is available for the MoFi pressing on Discogs today (2/2/2022). If you have $400 you can order one there.

Marketplace 3 For Sale from $399.99

And people complain about our prices? At least we send you a great sounding record for all the money we charge.

Boston – Self-Titled

More Boston

Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

  • With big, bold, hard-rockin’ Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, this pressing will show you just how good Boston’s debut can sound
  • The multi-tracked, multi-layered guitars are as big as life on this copy and guaranteed to rock your world
  • Top sound for all the hits: More Than a Feeling, Long Time/Foreplay, Rock & Roll Band, Peace Of Mind…
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Nearly every song on Boston’s debut album can still be heard on classic rock radio today due to the strong vocals of Brad Delp and unique guitar sound of Tom Scholz. Boston is essential for any fan of classic rock, and the album marks the re-emergence of the genre in the 1970s.”

Boston’s first (and only good) album is a long-time member of our Top 100, and on a great pressing like this it’s easy to see why. It’s an incredible recording when you can hear it right, and this is about as right as it gets!

It’s obvious why the first Boston album became a Multi-Platinum Record. Practically every one of its songs still gets heavy radio play on every rock station in town. Consummately well-crafted music like this is almost impossible to find nowadays. I guess that’s why they call it Classic Rock. (more…)

Letter of the Week – “I could tell the difference right away. It’s amazing what you guys do.”

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

  Hey Tom,   

Just some feedback. I know its been a long time. Just always busy. Anyways, all the albums were great. The Dire Straits I thought was the best. FM was next.

Boston is hard for me to listen to nowadays. I used to really be a big Boston fan, played it all the time in the car cassette deck. In fact I first heard album #1 in a friends car deck. Now, I’m not so much a big fan, but The hot stamper was great.

When I first contacted you about your hot stampers you mentioned that I might not be able to notice a big difference with my setup. But I could tell the difference right away. I frequent your site at least once a week looking for something of interest and within my price range. It’s amazing what you guys do.

Anyways, I’ll keep looking and thanks for the awesome hot stampers.

Boston Hot Stamper Testimonial – Shooting Out the Big Three

This week’s letter comes from our good customer Roger, who did a little shootout of his own among three very different sounding pressings: two Half-Speeds, one by MoFi and one by CBS, probably the two most popular pressings among audiophiles, and our very own Hot Stamper LP.

Here are his findings. Keep in mind that Roger bought a copy priced at $125, half the price of the best copy in our shootout.

“Hi Tom,

I got your Boston hot stamper today and enjoyed comparing it to MFSL and CBS half-speed versions in a shootout. I had long since given up on listening to this record since it became part of a communist ploy to brainwash us by playing Boston repeatedly on the radio until we would give up any information they desired. “Deep Purple Lite” was what my college buddies and I used to derisively call it. Now I only wish we had this type of music still around. So I had fun reliving my college days and listening to this LP.

“For a pop recording, it is a pretty good recording soundwise, and all 3 pressings were indeed good, if not interesting. I tried the CBS half-speed first, and it was tonally lean with good speed and detail, and bass was extended and quick. However, its Achilles heel was that it had too much energy on top and excessive brightness, something that couldn’t hide from my speakers’ ion tweeters.”

Roger, you seem to be using the phrase “tonally lean” unpejoratively (if I can make up such a word), whereas for us here at Better Records, that is the kiss of death for Half-Speeds, and in fact Audiophile Records of All Kinds. Lack of weight down below, lack of Whomp Factor, is the main reason half-speed mastered records are so consistently and ridiculously bad. If not bad, certainly wrong. You can be very sure that Boston would not want, nor would they put up with, that kind of anemic sound for a minute.

“The CBS is cut clean from a good tape, so it easily beats the bad domestic pressings, of which there are many. But it can’t rock. What good is a Boston record that doesn’t rock? It’s a contradiction in terms; the band, as well as their debut album, have no other reason to exist.

“So the MFSL was somewhat of a relief in that regard, being more sweet and rolled-off on top. However, it sounded bland, blah, slow and murky by comparison. It was still OK sonically with a fuller midband, but didn’t have the midrange energy or dynamics of the CBS and it just seemed slow and plodding, no other way to put it. Bass on the MFSL copy was weightier but more midbass than the quick and extended bass on the CBS.”

Agreed. The MoFi Anadisc had the same problems that plagued that whole series: turgid, thick, blobby, murky, mucky sound. A real slogfest. In short, audiophile trash of the worst kind.

“Now for the hot stamper, it was closer in tonal balance to the CBS, tending to be leaner, but the bass was quicker and more impactful, and the treble, while still as extended, was more balanced with the rest of the sonic spectrum. There was more instrumental detail, like on the rimshots on More Than A Feeling, better dynamic range, and a more transparent soundstage than with either half-speed copy. I actually had a great time listening to Smokin and the other cuts on side 2 that I actually haven’t heard in a while.

“I would highly recommend anyone who can still stand this record to get a hot stamper and get their feet tapping.”

Here here. I would recommend the same. Thanks for taking the time to do your own shootout and writing up your results.

Best, TP


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Half-Speed Mastered Counterparts

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Heavy Vinyl Counterparts

Boston – What the Best Copies Really Get Right

Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

Albums with Choruses that Are Good for Testing

The multi-tracked layers of guitars really come to life on the better copies. The not-so-great pressings tend to be congested and compressed, thickening the sound and diffusing the layers of multi-tracked harmonies. Tom Scholz’s uniquely overdriven, distorted leads have near-perfect timbre. On the top copies you can really hear how much power that sound adds to the music.

As is the case for best pressings of Aqualung, when the guitar sounds this good, it really makes you sit up and take notice of the guy’s playing. When the sound works the music works, our seven word definition of a Hot Stamper.

Our killer copies have sweetness and tubey warmth we didn’t expect to hear. Better yet, the best copies have jump-out-of-the-speakers presence without being aggressive, no mean feat.

The good ones make you want to turn up the volume; the louder they get the better they sound. Try that with the average copy. When playing mass-market pop-rock music like this, more level usually means only one thing: bloody eardrums.

The typical Boston EQ is radio-friendly, not audiophile-friendly. But some were cut right, with the kind of richness, sweetness and smoothness that we fondly refer to here at Better Records as The Sound of Analog.

(more…)

Letter of the Week – “…slow, murky and all the other things that your commentary says…”

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

Hey Tom, 

Just wanted to say thanks for finding a record like this. I looked in my collection and thought, wow I have an anadisc (Serial #5), let’s see how they compare?

The MOFI is so bad! It sounds like there are three layers of Saran wrap on it… slow, murky and all the other things that your commentary says… the food analogy would be crappy soggy french fries… bloated… lifeless…

There is no comparison to the sound on side two…. the organ is rolling and alive and sounds like the Hammonds I have heard through Leslie cabinets… on the MOFI it was like the organ was behind glass doors… flat… no life…. I could go on and on.

The other songs were so much better on the Hot Stamper… makes me want to go frisbee my MOFI or maybe just sell it on ebay.

Ed F.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Half-Speed Mastered Counterparts

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Heavy Vinyl Counterparts

Boston – A CBS Half-Speed I Used to Like (Gulp)

Sonic Grade: D

Lack of weight down below, or as we like to call it, whomp factor*, is the main reason half-speed mastered records are so consistently bad. (If not bad, certainly wrong.)

You can be sure that Boston would not have wanted, nor would they have been willing to accept, the kind of anemic sound that the half speed delivers.

The CBS is cut clean from a good tape, so it easily beats the bad domestic pressings, of which there are many. But it can’t rock. What good is a Boston record that doesn’t rock? It’s a contradiction in terms; the band, as well as their debut album, have no other reason to exist.

Here’s what we used to say about the record:

This is the best sounding version of this music that I know of. A Better Records recommended pressing!

Which means it’s another classic case of Live and Learn.


*It’s the WEIGHT and POWER you sense happening down below that translates into whomp factor.

This is the frequency area that screens and small dynamic drivers have the most trouble with. You need to be able to move lots of air under, say, 200 cycles to give the music a sense of real power down below.

Few systems I’ve run into over the last thirty years can really pull it off.