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Reviews and Commentaries for L.A. Woman
The Rhino pressing we auditioned from the Doors Box Set was surprisingly good. It’s rich and smooth with an extended top end — tonally correct in other words — and there’s lots of bass.
This is all to the good. For the thirty bucks you might pay for it you’re getting a very good record, assuming yours sounds like ours, something we should really not be assuming, but we do it because there is simply no other way to write about records other than to describe the sound of the ones we actually have played.
What it clearly lacks compared to the best originals is, first and foremost, vocal immediacy.
Jim Morrison seems to be singing through a veil, an effect which becomes more and more bothersome over time, as these kinds of frustrating shortcomings have a habit of doing.
A bit blurry, a bit smeary, somewhat lacking in air and space, on the plus side it has good energy and better bass than most of the copies we played. All in all we would probably give it a “B.” You could do a helluva lot worse.
Record Collecting Advice
All the ’70s and ’80s reissues of this album we’ve ever played were just awful, especially those with the date inscribed in the dead wax. For more moderately helpful advice, click here.
Remastering Out Too Much of the Good Stuff
What is lost in the newly remastered recordings so popular with the record collecting public these days ? Lots of things, but the most obvious and irritating is the loss of transparency.
Modern records tend to be small, veiled and recessed, and they rarely image well. But the most important quality they lack is transparency. Almost without exception they are opaque. They resist our efforts to hear into the music.
We don’t like that sound, and we like it less with each passing day, although we certainly used to put up with it back when we were selling what we considered to be the better Heavy Vinyl pressings from the likes of DCC, Speakers Corner, Cisco and even Classic Records.
Now when we play those records they either bore us to tears or frustrate us with their veiled, vague, lifeless, ambience-challenged presentation.
It was sometime in 2007 when we turned a corner. The remastered Blue on Rhino Heavy Vinyl came out and was such a mediocrity that we asked ourselves “Why bother?” That was all she wrote.
We stopped selling those second- and third-rate remasters and dedicated ourselves to finding, cleaning, playing and critically evaluating vintage pressings, regardless of era or genre of music.
The result is a website full of great sounding records that should find special appeal with audiophiles who set high standards, who own good equipment and who have well-developed critical listening skills.
These newer records, with few exceptions, tend to be compressed, thick, dull, opaque, veiled, recessed and lacking in ambience. These are currently the hallmarks of the Heavy Vinyl LP.
Here are some of the Commentaries we’ve written about Heavy Vinyl over the years. Please to enjoy.
Even as recently as the early 2000s, we were still impressed with many of the better Heavy Vinyl pressings we’d auditioned. If we’d never made the progress we’ve worked so hard to make over the course of the last twenty or more years, perhaps we would find more merit in the Heavy Vinyl reissues so many audiophiles seem impressed by these days.
We’ll never know of course; that’s a bell that can be unrung. We did the work, we can’t undo it, and the system that resulted from it is merciless in revealing the truth — that these newer pressings are second-rate at best and much more often than not third-rate and even worse.
Some audiophile records sound so bad, I was pissed off enough to create a special list for them.
Setting higher standards — no, being able to set higher standards — in our minds is a clear mark of progress. Judging by the hundreds of letters we’ve received, especially the ones comparing our records to their Heavy Vinyl and Half-Speed Mastered counterparts, we know that our customers often see things the same way.