Top Engineers – Bruce Botnick

Love and Forever Changes – Dreck from Sundazed

 

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: F

Two Hall of Shame titles, and another two Sundazed records debunked.

We got hold of a minty original pressing of the first Love album back around 2007, so in preparation for the commentary I pulled one of the Sundazed pressings off the shelf, (Forever Changes, the only one we ever bothered to sell), cracked it open and threw it on the turntable. 

Gag, what a piece of crap. When I had auditioned them all those years ago (2002) it was — I’m not kidding — the best of the bunch. (more…)

Love – Revisited

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

Two incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sides! We had a chance to shootout a handful of copies recently and didn’t hear any other copies that could compete with this Elektra Original Pressing. We are HUGE fans of Love and this copy will show you why. Both sides are lively and full-bodied and the bottom end is KILLER throughout. In short, it’s EXACTLY the sound you want for this music. Give it a chance and you’ll hear for yourself!

Compared to some other copies, this one had more impact, more power and more energy. The vocals are full-bodied and rich with excellent presence. Most copies we heard were pretty blurry down low, but you can actually make sense of the bass on this one. (more…)

Eddie Money – Eddie Money – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

xxxxx

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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, both clocking in at or just shy of our top grade of A+++! The typical pressing doesn’t sound anywhere near this good — which is a shame, because when you get a White Hot Stamper copy like this, the music is a lot of fun. 

Side One

A+++, absolutely As Good As It Gets! The bottom end is solid and punchy, the top is open and transparent, and there’s plenty of fullness and presence in the mids. Nothing else in our shootout could compare to this one!

Side Two

A++ to A+++, very nearly as good as side one! The life and energy here are off-the-charts. Pay particular attention to the drums — it’s a rare copy that reproduces them with this kind of snap and punch!

The average copy is way too compressed, which kills the highs (by making the cymbals aggressive) and the vocals too midrangy. When you’ve got a copy of Eddie Money’s debut album that’s doing what it’s supposed to, you know it quickly. The highs are sweet and extended, the vocals are present, but without any spit or strain, and there is solid bass and low end propelling everything else forward.

Eddie Money don’t get no respect, and for the most part he doesn’t deserve any. He’s only made one good record: this one. Fortunately, it’s a GREAT one and we don’t have to play his other crappy ones. Thank God. This guy had so much promise, based soley on his debut here, and he turned into just another mainstream rock hack.

He lost his brilliant guitarist and arranger, Jimmy Lyon, soon after this first album was made, and that may account for his slide into mediocrity. But this record is outstanding from first note to last. If at the end of the second track — a cover of You Really Got A Hold On Me — you are not rockin’ out, then Eddie Money is not for you. I love this album and I have played it scores of times. (more…)

The Doors – Waiting For The Sun on DCC Heavy Vinyl

doorswaiting

We rate the DCC LP a B Minus

We used to like the DCC pressing of this Doors album. Now… not so much. It’s a classic case of We Was Wrong.

Keep in mind that the only way you can never be wrong about your records is simply to avoid playing them. If you have better equipment than you did, say, five years ago, try playing some of your MoFi’s, 180 gram LPs, Japanese pressings, 45 RPM remasters and the like. You might be in for quite a shock.

Of course the qustion on everyone’s mind is, “How does this Hot Stamper copy stack up to the famous DCC pressing?” After all, it’s the one we were touting all through the ’90s as The One To Beat. (more…)

The Doors – The Soft Parade on Rhino Vinyl

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

A Gold Label original pressing blew out minds not long ago, after whichwe wrote “Need I even mention how much better this copy sounds than the 180g version from the Rhino Box Set, digitally remastered by Bernie Grundman? That thing is just awful, possibly the worst sounding pressing I have ever heard.” 

The Gold CD Hoffman did for Audio Fidelity is very likely to be night and day better. So much for the concept of vinyl superiority. Not with Bernie at the helm anyway. (more…)

Dave Mason – Alone Together

xxxxx

  • This outstanding copy of Mason’s Masterpiece boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Listen to how big and rich the dynamic chorus gets on the first track, Only You Know and I Know – what a thrill to hear it like that
  • A killer Bruce Botnick recording – Tubey Magical Analog, smooth and natural, with the whole production sitting on a rock solid bottom-end foundation
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Alone Together represents Dave Mason at his peak… everything comes together perfectly.”

Before I get too far into the story of the sound, I want to say that this album appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time.

It is a surely a masterpiece that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There’s no filler here. (more…)

The Doors – The Soft Parade – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

More The Doors

More The Soft Parade

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

This incredibly rare, exceptionally quiet Elektra Gold Label LP sounds AMAZING, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG)! The sound is BIG, RICH, and FULL-BODIED, exactly the way it should be. As good as the Hot Stamper Big Red E Label copies can be, and that’s very good indeed, the right first pressing is still The King. It just can’t be beat. 

The difference might only be 5%, but on a big dynamic speaker playing at loud levels that 5% can really give the sound the boost it needs to go over the top into crazy Demo Disc Land. (more…)

Love – Love

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

A classic from 1966, a combination of proto-punk and psychedelia featuring My Little Red Book, Hey Joe and more. The first Love album is without a doubt the punchiest, liveliest, most POWERFUL recording in the Love catalog. Engineered by none other than Bruce Botnick, here is the kind of massive bottom end weight and energy that we like to call WHOMP.

Some of you may not know this music, but it’s a true Must Own Psychedelic Gem from the ’60s, a record no rock collection should be without, along with other groundbreaking albums from the ’60s such as Surrealistic Pillow, The Doors’ debut, the first Spirit album and too many others to list. (more…)

The Doors – Waiting For The Sun – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

More The Doors

More Waiting For The Sun

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

It’s been over a year, but Waiting For The Sun Hot Stampers are BACK! It’s exceedingly difficult to find a good sounding, reasonably quiet Gold Label copy of this album, let alone enough copies to put together a proper shootout. It wasn’t easy, but a copy like this makes all the trouble worthwhile. Side one is a tubey magical A++, and side two is As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) at A+++.

Side one is WONDERFUL — tubey magical with tons of energy and real weight to the bottom end. The highs are silky sweet, the mids are warm and rich, and the bass is tight and punchy. This is THE BIG SOUND that we look for on Doors records. Morrison’s vocals sound JUST RIGHT here — full-bodied and breathy with incredible immediacy. The transparency is astonishing — you can easily pick out and follow Morrison’s double tracked vocals. (more…)

The Doors – The Doors – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

More The Doors

More The Doors – The Doors

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF THIS ALBUM WE’VE EVER HEARD! This Elektra Gold Label SLAUGHTERED the DCC, MURDERED the MoFi, and DECIMATED every last pressing we played it against! You aren’t going to believe all the TUBEY MAGIC on this copy!

Both sides are chock full of wonderfully grungy guitars, BIG beefy bass, and amazingly full-bodied vocals. The overall sound is open and spacious with lots of room around the instruments. This copy has the kind of presence and energy that will have you really rockin’ out! Side one rates an A+++ and side two is right behind, rating A++ – A+++. We’ve never heard a better copy and we expect that you haven’t either — it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD!   (more…)