Hot Stamper Art Rock Albums Available Now
For Big Production Rock Albums like English Settlement there are some obvious problem areas that are often heard on at least one or two sides of practically any copy of this four sided album.
With so many heavily-produced instruments crammed into the soundfield, if the overall sound is at all veiled, recessed or smeared — problems common to 90+% of the records we play in our shootouts — the mix quickly becomes opaque, forcing the listener to work too hard to separate out the elements of musical interest.
Exhaustion, especially on this album, soon follows.
Transparency, clarity and presence are key.
Note that none of the British copies we played was thin and anemic. The domestic copies are made from dubs and can’t begin to compete.
Almost all had plenty of Tubey Magic and bottom end, so thankfully that was almost never a problem.
They did however tend to lack top end extension and transparency, and many were overly compressed. There is plenty of tube compression being used in both the mixing and mastering, but most of the time it is working its magic to keep the bass big, punchy and loud.
Robert Ludwig used humungous amounts of tube compression on this album, and we’re glad he did. All that massive compression is at least partly responsible for it being one of the Ten Best Sounding Rock Records Ever Made.
The sides that had sound that jumped out of the speakers, with driving rhythmic energy, worked the best for us. They really brought this complex music to life and allowed us to make sense of it. This is yet another definition of a Hot Stamper — it’s the copy that lets the music work as music. (more…)