Detail may be the Holy Grail to some audiophiles, but detail can be a trap we all too easily fall into if we are not careful.
Tonal balance is the key. Without it no judgments about detail have any real value.
One example: As good as the Classic Heavy Vinyl pressing is, the guitar at the opening of Helplessly Hoping tells you everything you need to know about what’s missing. The guitar on the better Hot Stamper domestic copies has a transparency and harmonic integrity that cannot be found on Classic’s version.
The Classic gets the tonal balance right, but their guitar doesn’t have the subtlety and harmonic resolution of the real thing.
I’m laboring here to avoid the word detail, since many audiophiles like bright, phony sounding records because of all their wonderful “detail.” Patricia Barber’s albums come to mind.
The MoFi guys and the CD guys often fall into this trap.
Get the sound tonally balanced first, then see how much detail you have left.
Detail is not the end-all and be-all of audio. Those who think it is usually have systems that make my head hurt.
But most people will never know what they’re missing on Helplessly Hoping, because they will never have an amazing sounding copy of this album. The hot copies are just too rare.
THIS RECORD IS GOOD FOR TESTING