Top Artists – Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson – Night and Day

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Rich solid piano tone, lively drums, tight powerful bass and strong vocal presence – it’s all here and more
  • From that opening big drum on ‘Another World’, you’ll know this pressing has the Night and Day magic
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…his blend of percolating Latin rhythms, jazzy horns and pianos, stylish synths, and splashy pop melodies uncannily feel like a bustling, glitzy evening in the big city.”

You’ll want to turn this one up good and loud to get the full effect because the music really swings on a copy that sounds as good as this one does. It not only swings, it ROCKS.

From that opening big drum on ‘Another World’ you know you’re in for some wonderful sound: BIG, spacious, transparent, dynamic — you name it, this record pretty much has it all.

Night and Day is Joe Jackson’s masterpiece. It’s simply WONDERFUL from start to finish. This is adult popular music that belongs in any serious thinking person’s record collection. Not many records from the ’80s sound as natural as this one. It’s analog, that’s for damn sure. (more…)

Joe Jackson / Jumpin’ Jive – Get Rid of Grit and Grain The Right Way

More Records that Are Good for Testing Grit and Grain

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Jumpin’ Jive is one of the clearest examples of an album where it is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT to make sure your stereo is running on good electricity before you make any attempt to play it. This is the kind of recording — bright, full of energy — that will bring most stereo systems to their knees. Of course, when you play a good copy and it really sounds good, it’s a record that rewards all the time and effort you’ve put into your system.

So much of the aggressiveness, grit and grain that we hear in immediate, high-energy recordings such as this are really the fault of the electricity feeding the stereo, not the fault of the record or even the equipment used to play it.

Now it should be noted that this recording has a ton of high frequency information that will be difficult to reproduce on most systems. If you leave a lot of appliances and electronic devices plugged in around the house when you listen to your stereo, you can forget ever hearing this record right. The grit and grunge caused by polluted electricity will make this record practically unlistenable, at the levels we listen at anyway. (At lower levels most of the garbage is masked, one reason no doubt that audiophiles rarely turn their stereos up to anything approaching live levels.) 

So do as we do: unplug everything you can get your hands on before you sit down to listen. Make sure your tubes (if you have tube equipment) are nice and warm too. (more…)

Half-Speed Mastering – A Technological Fix for a Non-Existent Problem

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We do a lot of MoFi bashing here at Better Records, and for good reason: most of their pressings are just plain awful. We are shocked and frankly dismayed to find that the modern day audiophile still flocks to this label with the expectation of a higher quality LP, seemingly unaware that although the vinyl may be quiet, the mastering — the sound of the music as opposed to the sound of the record’s surfaces — typically leaves much to be desired. 

Hence the commentary below, prompted by a letter from our good friend Roger, who owned the MoFi Night and Day and who had also purchased a Hot Stamper from us, which we are happy to say he found much more to his liking.

In my response, after a bit of piling on for the MoFi, I then turned my attention to three Nautilus records which I had previously held in high regard, but now find well-deserving of a critical beating. This one is entitled:

The Sound Is Pretty, All Right — Pretty Boring 

(Note that the underlining below has been added by us.)

Hi,Tom:

Just a quick note to let you know I listened to your Joe Jackson Night and Day hot stamper LP. I don’t think I have listened to this record for at least 15 years and forgot how much Joe Jackson was on top of his game then. Great record. And it is aptly named as there is a night-and-day difference in sound between it and the Mobile Fidelity half-speed version I have. I was surprised at how bland and undynamic the MoFi was compared to the hot stamper version. Did MFSL ever listen to this title? What did they compare it to, an 8-track tape version, maybe?

The hot stamper was far more dynamic, warm, punchy, and detailed than the MoFi. The piano had a lot more weight and stood apart in the mix. In fact, I could hear all the instruments stand out in the mix a lot more with the HS version. The MoFi sounded like many, but not all, typical MFSL pressings. The very low bass was raised in the mix as was the extreme treble, like it was equalized, but there was a lot less bass and the treble was recessed and sounded more like a can of spray mist being actuated.

I was surprised at how the music came alive with the HS pressing instead of the blah MFSL. Great job on picking this one. I will be keeping both pressings of this record: the MFSL for its collectability and my ability to sell it for big bucks to some bozo who won’t know the difference, and the HS version, the one I will actually listen to.

Roger

A Good Record Doesn’t Just Sit Around

Roger, I have to think that eventually there will come a day when audiophiles will catch on to the fact that most Half-Speeds are a crock, with exactly the kind of pretty but lifeless and oh-so-boring sound that you describe. But it hasn’t happened yet, so maybe that MOFI you are keeping will go up in value. But if I were you, I’d sell it while there’s still a market for bad audiophile records.

I can also tell you that it feels good to get bad records out of your collection. It’s so much more satisfying to have a wall full of good records you know to be good rather than just a wall full of records. And as you say, it’s been 15 years since you played that NIght and Day. A good record doesn’t sit around for 15 years; a good record gets played!

But you owned the MOFI, exactly the kind of record that is easily forgotten. (more…)

Joe Jackson – Night and Day – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper of Night And Day BLEW OUR MINDS by taking this great album to a whole new level! The sound is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, with superb clarity and transparency, shocking You-Are-There immediacy, and amazing weight and punchiness to the bottom end. The overall sound is airy, open, spacious, lively, rich, and full-bodied with unusually high resolution — on BOTH sides. Fans of Joe Jackson should be sure not to hesitate on this one; it’s one of the best sounding copies of Night And Day OF ALL TIME — A+++ for side two, A++ for side one, and quiet vinyl throughout! 

Rich solid piano tone, lively drums, tight powerful bass and tons of presence make this one come ALIVE and sound just the way it should. You’ll want to turn it up to get the full effect, because the music really swings on a copy that sounds as good as this one. It not only swings, it ROCKS.

From that opening big drum on ‘Another World’, you know you’re in for some wonderful sound: BIG, spacious, transparent, dynamic — you name it, this record has it all. Lesser original copies can be grainy, irritating, flat and lifeless. Nothing new there, right?

Most reissues are clearly made from sub-generation tapes. They sound smeared and dead and are guaranteed to bore you to tears. With the right originals the sound is MAGIC.

Night and Day is Joe Jackson’s masterpiece. The music is simply WONDERFUL from start to finish. This is precisely the kind of adult music that belongs in any serious record collection. (more…)

Joe Jackson – Night and Day

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  • An amazing sounding pressing, with a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) second side and a very good Double Plus (A++) side one
  • This copy will beat whatever you play against it — it’s sure to be bigger, punchier and livelier than you imagined; exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • From that opening big drum on ‘Another World’, you’ll know this pressing has the Night and Day magic
  • Joe Jackson’s masterpiece, Allmusic 4 1/2 stars: “…his blend of percolating Latin rhythms, jazzy horns and pianos, stylish synths, and splashy pop melodies uncannily feel like a bustling, glitzy evening in the big city.”

This copy is OUT OF THIS WORLD! It’s extremely clean, clear and open with a HUGE three-dimensional soundfield, excellent presence and deep punchy bass. Rich solid piano tone, lively drums, tight powerful bass and solid vocal presence make this one come ALIVE and sound just the way it should. You’ll want to turn it up to get the full effect because the music really swings on a copy that sounds as good as this one does. It not only swings, it ROCKS. (more…)

Listening in Depth to Joe Jackson – Balancing Night with Day

More Joe Jackson

Balancing Night with Day

Listening in Depth

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There are basically four elements that go into the making of Night and Day: vocals; keyboards (mostly the piano); percussion (in the mids and highs) and rhythm (drums and bass).

No two copies will get all of these elements to sound their best. The trick to finding the hotter of the Hot Stamper pressings is to find copies of the album that reproduce these four elements clearly and correctly, in balance, and reveals their placement in a large, three-dimensional studio space.

It may sound easy but I assure you it is not. With this many instruments in the mix it’s a lot to get right.

Vocals

Pop records live and die by the quality of their vocals and Night and Day is no different in that respect. The vocals have to be front and center. Veiling in the midrange costs a fair number of points. They should also be smooth, not thin or edgy. I would rather have slightly veiled vocals relative to thin and edgy ones, but some copies manage to give you full, clear, present vocals, and those are the ones we tend to like the best.

Keyboards

When the sound is thin in the lower midrange and upper bass the piano will lose its weight and solidity. In the denser mixes it can easily get washed out, and nobody wants a washed out piano.

There is no guitar on this record. The piano carries much of the structural energy of the music. You need to be able to hear the piano clearly and hear that it is both full-bodied and percussive. (more…)