Reviews and Commentaries for Way Out West
Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Sonny Rollins
Robert Brook writes a blog which he calls A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE.
He recently found himself in the possession of a killer copy of Sonny Rollins’ famous Way Out West album, one that was clearly superior to everything he used to think sounded just fine. Recent improvements meant that his stereo was now capable of showing him a Way Out West he had no idea existed.
This, as you can imagine, is music to our ears. We know exactly how he feels. This has happened to us countless times over the course of the last twenty years. Sometimes we even write about our experiences with these kinds of breakthrough pressings.
Two quick points:
1) This is the reason why all serious audiophiles do their own shootouts. It’s the only way to find the pressing that can show you just how good a record can sound.
2) And it’s the reason that constant audio improvements are the cornerstone of evolving music appreciation.
“… I’m hearing the studio space and everything in it a whole lot better, and I’m relishing all the more the insane chemistry these musicians have on this record. Musically I could always appreciate how dialed in Rollins, Manne and Brown are on WOW, but now I can actually hear that in the sound of the record, and this brings the performance and the experience of listening to it to a whole new level.”
Whole new level? That’s what I’m talking about!
Why are we so dismissive of the Modern Heavy Vinyl Remastered Pressing?
Because we’ve played scores of great copies of albums like Way Out West, the kinds of records that set the bar beyond the reach of any modern LP, regardless of who made it, why they made it or how they made it.
They all fall short of the pressing that Robert played, a record we ourselves know a thing or two about. More than twenty five years ago I wrote my first extended commentary about the Analogue Productions pressing that Doug Sax mastered. It’s too bad Robert did not have one of those on hand, or any of the other pressings that have since been remastered from the tapes on Heavy Vinyl.
He would have heard what I know to be the case: that they’re a disgrace, pure and simple.
If you want to find the endgame in analog audio, you can be sure you will never get anywhere near it playing modern remastered LPs. They’re a scam and a sucker’s game. The better your stereo gets, the worse they sound.
And the way you can prove this to yourself is simply to do what Robert has been doing — making improvements to his system, and noticing that his vintage vinyl is sounding better than ever, while his audiophile records are revealing more and more of their faults.
Robert has exposed many of the new pressings’ shortcomings in his reviews, as have I, but that’s a story to be continued at a later date, not the one he wants to tell about Way Out West at this time. Please to enjoy.