Top Artists – The Dillards

Direct to Discs on Crystal Clear – What Was I Thinking?

Hot Stamper Pressings of Direct-to-Disc Recordings

Reviews and Commentaries for Direct to Disc Recordings

These are just some of the recordings on Crystal Clear that we’ve auditioned over the years and found wanting.

Without going into specifics — who would bother to take the time? — we’ll just say these albums suffer from poor musical performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection.  

The Big Picture from a Lifelong Audiophile

You may have seen this text in another listing, but it bears repeating. There is nothing new under the sun, and that is especially true when it comes to bad sounding audiophile records. The world is full of them.

Hey, the records being marketed to audiophiles these days may have second- and third-rate sound, but at least now they have good music

That’s progress, right?

These two titles are the kind of crap we newbie audiophiles used to put up with back in the ’70s before we had anything resembling a clue.

They clearly belong on our list of Bad Audiophile Records

You might be asking: What Kind of Audio Fool Was I? to buy a couple of dumbass records like these.

Yes, I was foolish enough to buy records like these and expect them to have good music, or at least good sound. Of course they had neither. Practically none of these kinds of records ever did. Sheffield and a few others made some good ones, but most Crystal Clears were crap.

As clueless as I was, even back in the day I could tell that I had just thrown my money away on these two lipsticked-pigs in a poke.

But I was an audiophile, and I wanted to believe. These special super-hi-fidelity records were being made for me, for special people like me, because I had expensive equipment and regular records would just never be good enough to play on my special equipment, right?

To say I was wrong to think about audio that way is obviously an understatement. Over the course of the last forty years, I (and to be fair, my friends and my staff) have been wrong about a great deal when it comes to records and audio.

You can read more about many of the things we got wrong under the heading: Live and Learn.

Thank goodness Audio Progress is real and anyone who goes about it the right way can achieve it.

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The Dillards – Wheatstraw Suite

More of The Dillards

More Folk Rock

  • Stunning sound for this original Elektra Gold Label pressing with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades and playing as quietly as these early pressings ever do
  • This is a SHOCKINGLY well recorded album, full of Tubey Magic and as relaxed, smooth and natural as any record from 1968 has a right to be
  • 4 1/2 stars: “It never got any better than this… 13 all-but-perfect tracks… this is a finer rural/rock fusion album than Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the first Flying Burrito Brothers album, or the Beau Brummels’ efforts during this same period, and an indispensable part of any collection of ’60s music.”

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The Dillards / Copperfields – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More Dillards

For the first time on the site, Hot Stamper sound for The Dillards! Those of you who enjoy the country-fried style of the Flying Burrito Bros., Gram Parsons or The Byrds will probably get a lot out of this one. We paired up our best sounding side one with our most impressive side two to create this QUIET A+++ / A++ 2-pack. Great sounding pressings for this band are tough to come by, so don’t let this one slip past you if you’re a fan!

We’ve been trying to find great sound for this band for years, but it is one tough task. For one thing, it’s difficult to find clean copies out in the bins and even when we do most of them don’t sound that hot. It took years worth of purchases to get enough of these together for a shootout, and even then very few of them delivered. We couldn’t even come up with a copy with two great sides, so we paired up the two pressings that had the best sound for either side.

The side one here is killer earning our top grade of A+++. The sound is super open and transparent with a very wide soundfield, giving lots of room to each of the musicians. This side one had the best bottom end we heard anywhere. It also had excellent presence, lots of energy and natural texture all around. It couldn’t be beat and I’d be very surprised if you could find a better one.

The side two of this set is nearly as good, smooth and sweet with lots of extension in the extremes. Many copies suffered from a veiled midrange that robbed the instruments of texture, but this one was cleaner, clearer and more transparent. We gave it an A++.

Flip either of the rated sides over to hear what separates a Hot Stamper pressing from the rest! (more…)