This commentary was written many years ago after a review I spotted online prompted me to crack open one of the Classic Records 200 gram Peter Gabriel titles and play it. Let’s just say the results were less than pleasing to the ear.
Bernie Grundman had worked his “magic” again and as usual I was at a loss to understand how anyone could find his mastering in any way an improvement over the plain old pressings, even the domestic ones.
I then had a discussion with a reviewer for an audiophile web magazine concerning his rave review for the Peter Gabriel records that Classic pressed.
I just now played one, and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. But of course it’s not right either.
Not surprisingly, reviewers have a tendency not to notice these things. I’m not exactly sure how these people are qualified to review records when the most obvious tonal balance problems seem to go unnoticed. The Classic is brighter and less rich. This is not the right sound for this music and does the album no favors.
That’s Bernie for you. After all these years. no amount of mischief he does for Classic should surprise me.
A Bad Record Tells You… What?
Which brings up something else that never fails to astonish me. How can an equipment review be trusted when the reviewer uses bad sounding records to evaluate the equipment he is testing? Aren’t we justified in assuming that if said reviewer can’t tell he is listening to a bad record, he probably can’t tell whether the equipment under review is any good either?
Here is a good example of a reviewer raving about a mediocre-at-best pressing in an equipment review.
A bad record tells you nothing about the equipment it is playing on. Worse, it might complement the faults of the gear and end up sounding tonally correct. If you use So Long So Wrong as a test disc, what are you testing for, the hyped-up vocals or the harmonically-challenged guitars?