More of the Music of Tom Waits
Hot Stamper Pressings of Singer-Songwriter Albums Available Now
Some of the more common problems we ran into during our shootouts for this album were slightly veiled, slightly smeary sound, with not all the top end extension that the best copies have.
You can easily hear that smear on the attack of the piano. More often than not the piano notes are a tad blunted, a quality you notice when you finally hear a pressing with the piano notes rendered clearly.
If you have full-range speakers some of the qualities you may recognize in the sound of the piano are WEIGHT and WARMTH. The piano is not hard, brittle or tinkly. Instead the best copies show you a wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, smooth piano, one which sounds remarkably like the ones we’ve all heard countless times in piano bars and restaurants.
In other words like a real piano, not a recorded one. This is what we look for in a good piano recording. Bad mastering can ruin the sound, and often does, along with worn out stampers and bad vinyl and five gram needles that scrape off the high frequencies.
But a few — a very few — copies survive all such hazards. They manage to reproduce the full spectrum sound of the piano (and of course the wonderful performances of the musicians) on vintage vinyl, showing us the kind of sound we never expected from a old Tom Waits albums like this.
Lately we have been writing quite a bit about how pianos are good for testing your system, room, tweaks, electricity and all the rest, not to mention turntable setup and adjustment.
Other records that we have found to be good for testing and improving your playback can be found here.