Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Gino Vannelli
Sonic Grade: F
At the time of our last shootout in 2014, I still had the MoFi pressing of Powerful People in my personal, very small (at that point) record collection. Almost all the best sounding records from my collection had long ago been sold off, going to good homes that I can only assume would play them more than I had in the last ten years. If it’s a record you see on our site, chances are good I have listened to it until I’d practically turned blue in the face.
But I had kept my Powerful People half-speed these 30+ years because the domestic pressings I’d played were just too damn midrangy to enjoy. At least the MoFi had bass, top end and didn’t sound squawky or hard on the vocals.
Well, let me tell you, played against the best domestic pressings, the MoFi is laughable. (In that respect it shares much with the current crop of audiophile reissues.) It’s unbelievably compressed, a problem that is easily heard on the biggest, most exciting parts of the tracks. They never get remotely as big or as loud on the MoFi as they do on the lowly A&M originals.
It’s also sucked out in the midrange, like most MoFis, and, like most MoFis and half-speeds in general, the bass is not well-defined, punchy, nor does it go very deep.
There is also the issue of the MoFi 10k boost on the top end — it’s clearly audible and as bothersome as ever.
In summation, like most of the better audiophile records — from long ago as well as those being produced today — the most you can hope for from these reissues is that they can fix a few problems you might be saddled with on the particular pressing you own. But if you work at it, the “right” plain old record, properly cleaned and played, will show you sound that the audiophile edition can barely begin to reproduce.
Having auditioned by the thousands the kinds of records you see on the site, the reality of this truth is irrefutable to us now, and has been for a very long time. Our customers know exactly what we are talking about; they’ve heard it for themselves.