Top Artists – The Cars

The Cars – Panorama

More of The Cars

xxxxx

  • Panorama makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • The sound here is rich and full-bodied with much less grain and much more Tubey Magic than most of the other copies we played
  • A tough title to find these days — it took us years to get this shootout going
  • “While it’s true that Panorama may be the work of a band in transition, taking baby steps in new directions, it’s also the work of a band that couldn’t help but make great music regardless. . . The production, too, is just as striking as it is on previous efforts, as are the performances.”

(more…)

The Cars – The Cars

More of The Cars

A Top 100 Title

xxxxx

  • With superb Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, this is a killer copy of The Cars’ debut album – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • You may have heard these songs a million times, but you’ll be shocked at just how much better they sound on this very pressing
  • A Better Records Top 100 title, the band’s masterpiece, and a New Wave Must Own Classic from 1978
  • 5 stars: “Whereas most bands of the late ’70s embraced either punk/new wave or hard rock, the Cars were one of the first bands to do the unthinkable — merge the two styles together. With flawless performances, songwriting, and production (courtesy of Queen alumnus Roy Thomas Baker), the Cars’ debut remains one of rock’s all-time classics.”

The material is superb — just check out the first three tracks: Let The Good Times Roll, Best Friend’s Girl, and Just What I Needed — how many albums start off with that kind of a bang? Each of those tracks sounds amazing — if you’ve got big speakers and a front end capable of resolving musical information at the highest levels, put this record on, turn it way up and get ready to hear some serious Demonstration Quality Sound. (more…)

Ramping Up the Horsepower of The Cars Like Crazy

More of The Cars

More Records that Sound Best on Big Speakers at Loud Levels

carscars

The best copies must have one key ingredient that we’ve discovered is absolutely essential if this groundbreaking New Wave album is to come to life — a huge, spacious soundstage.

Some copies are huge; others, not so much. The effect of these size differentials is ENORMOUS. The power of the music ramps up like crazy — how could this recording possibly be this BIG and POWERFUL? How did it achieve this kind of scale? You may need twenty copies to find one like this, which begs the question: why don’t the other 19 sound the way this one does? The sound we heard has to be on the master tape in some sense, doesn’t it? Mastering clearly contributes to the sound, but can it really be a factor of this magnitude?
(more…)

The Cars – Candy-O

xxxxx

  • An outstanding copy of The Cars’ New Wave Classic, boasting solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides
  • We guarantee this is some of the best sound you’ll ever hear on ANY Cars album – Roy Thomas Baker’s production makes this one jump out of the speakers like few recordings we’ve heard (and not many of them are from 1979, that’s for damn sure)
  • An underrated album by the band – we consider it a Must Own, along with their brilliant debut, two records that belong in any audiophile’s Rock and Pop collection
  • 4 1/2 stars: “As it stands, it may be one of the best second albums ever made, full of great songs, inspired performances, and sporting a still-perfect sound. If this had been the Cars’ debut album, people might consider it a classic. Coming after The Cars, it has to be rated a little lower, but not by much.”

(more…)

The Cars – We Love Dynamic Choruses, and These Are Amazing!

More The Cars

More The Cars – The Cars

xxxxx

Another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

The hottest of the Hot Stampers did one easily recognizable thing better than the Also-Rans, and it was apparent pretty much from the get-go. The multi-multi-multi-tracked Power Pop Choruses on the best copies don’t strain (a very common problem), they are bigger and more powerful, they stretch from wall to wall, and the voices that make them up are separated much more than on other copies. 

I won’t say you can make out all the players — there are dozens of tracks overdubbed together don’t you know — but you can surely make out some of the voices. At least you can if you have the kind of high resolution front end that we do. Big speakers help a lot too, creating more space for each voice to occupy.

Some copies are huge; others, not so much. The effect of these size differentials is ENORMOUS. The power of the music ramps up like crazy — how could this recording possibly be this BIG and POWERFUL? How did it achieve this kind of scale? You may need twenty copies to find one like this, which begs the question: why don’t the other 19 sound the way this one does? The sound we heard has to be on the master tape in some sense, doesn’t it? Mastering clearly contributes to the sound, but can it really be a factor of this magnitude?

My intuition says no. More likely it’s the mastering of the other copies that is one of the many factors holding them back, along with worn stampers, bad stampers, bad metal mothers, bad plating, bad vinyl, bad needles and all the rest — all of the above and more contributing to the fact that the average copy of this album is just plain average. (more…)

The Cars – Shake It Up

xxxxx

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this pressing will show you just how good Shake It Up can sound on vinyl
  • It wouldn’t be a Cars Hot Stamper without BIG, BOLD sound flying out of the speakers – friends, let me tell you, this baby’s got that in spades – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Amazing sound quality for some of their most memorable songs – Since You’re Gone, Shake It Up, I’m Not the One, A Dream Away and more
  • “The band’s sound may have been evolving with each succeeding album, but Ric Ocasek was still writing compelling new wave compositions despite all the change, many of which would ultimately become rock & roll standards.”

If you have big dynamic speakers and like to rock, you can’t go wrong with a Hot Stamper Shake It Up. For a band with thin ties, leather jackets, jangly guitars, synths and monstrously huge floor toms that fly back and forth across the soundstage, Shake It Up is going to be the record for you, no doubt about it.

The first two Cars albums were both in The Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 at one time, with good reason: they’re superb recordings. The Cars have been in “heavy rotation” on my system since the albums came out in the late ’70s. We started doing shootouts for both albums right around 2006 or 2007 and they continue to be a regular feature of our Rock Hot Stamper section, not to mention some of the most fun shootouts we do in any given week. (more…)

The Cars – Heartbeat City

More of The Cars

xxxxx

  • KILLER sound throughout with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, or ever will hear
  • If you have big dynamic speakers and like to rock, you can’t go wrong with a killer Hot Stamper of Heartbeat City
  • 5 Stars “… a gleaming pop masterpiece. The producer’s golden touch, the strength of the songs Ric Ocasek wrote, and the stunning vocal performance both he and Benjamin Orr deliver make the album one of the best of the ’80s and something that still sounds perfect many years later.”

Roy Thomas Baker is out, Robert John “Mutt” Lange is in, but the sound of The Cars really isn’t all that different from the likes of Shake It Up. On this title the critical listener should be on the lookout for edgy sound and hard vocals; we heard a lot of both in our shootout and took off serious points for each. The better copies tend to have more extended highs, smoother vocals, and a richer, tubier sound, without the all-important punchy rock elements suffering. This may be a New Wave Pop Album full of synths and keyboards, but it still has to rock. (more…)

Letter of the Week – The Cars

The Cars

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

I really wanted to thank you for The Cars. What a sweet-sounding record! Everything about that one is so right; the guitars, the bass, the drums, the vocals, everything sounds completely natural.  

I have a good friend whose favourite band are The Cars. He has an expensive high-end system, but doesn’t want the “hassle” of vinyl. Swears blind that nothing beats the DCC gold CD of ‘The Cars’, so I invited him round at the week-end and asked him to bring his DCC CD with him to compare on my relatively modest system. After we had heard his CD, the look on his face when I dropped the needle on my record was absolutely priceless! A big thank you for the heads-up on that one.

Owais M.

Letter of the Week – Wild Planet, Greatest Hits, The Cars and Emerson, Lake & Palmer

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

Yesterday, I attended an audio event at Audio Connection, in Verona, NJ (where I purchased my stereo).

I played the B-52s, Wild Planet, “Party Out Of Bounds”, on their cost-no-object flagship system.
It was spectacular!  

I played other titles that were also spectacular, such as Sly And The Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music” and The Cars’ “Good Times Roll” (all purchased from your store).

A couple of other pressings were very good, but not as impressive (Cat Stevens’ WHS, for example). And my WHS of ELP’s “Take A Pebble” had a fair amount of sibilance (a song I had not previously played). But overall, a wonderfully musical experience.

Great job unearthing / identifying these gems! (more…)

The Cars – The Cars – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More The Cars

More The Cars – The Cars

xxxxx

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

As you may remember from our last go around with The Cars’ debut, we proclaimed that new White Hot Stampers had been discovered, and indeed they had. These, dear reader, are the very ones of which we spoke, and let me assure you, they are every bit as good. They just plain blow the doors off our previous favorites, which is both shocking and wonderful. The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

Talk about jumping out of the speakers, the energy level of this copy is completely OFF THE CHARTS. You’ve probably heard these songs a million times, but you’ve NEVER heard them sound like this. Both sides have FREAKISHLY GOOD SOUND — dynamic, spacious and ALIVE! (more…)