Top Engineers – Steve Nye

The Pretenders’ Debut Album

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More Women Who Rock

Records We Only Sell on Import Vinyl

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  • Insanely good sound throughout — Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side, Double Plus (A++) on the first – we rarely have copies that rock the way this one does
  • This is one of engineer Bill Price’s better efforts behind the boards, and Chris Thomas’s production is State of the Art
  • Relatively quiet vinyl throughout this early UK pressing – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • Five Stars: “Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders’ eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude.”

What really separated this copy from the pack was the lack of edge on the vocals. It’s not duller — it’s bigger and clearer yet less distorted and cut cleaner than the other sides we played.

Add big bass and dynamics and you have yourself some truly Hot Stamper sound!

Forget the dubby domestic vinyl, these Brit pressings are the only way to go. (more…)

The Pretenders / Self-Titled – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More from The Pretenders

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Forget the dubby domestic vinyl, these Brits are the only way to go. And this one is a great deal quieter than most. Most of the copies I bought from English record dealers were just BEAT. They kept telling me they played fine (on their Technics table I’m guessing), but I could not for the life of me replicate their experience for myself here in the states. 

This is one of the few that has survived the enthusiasms of the ’70s and can still be played on audiophile equipment in 2014. That makes it a very rare copy indeed. And it sounds terrific. Bill Price engineered and Chris Thomas produced. You may remember them from the Sex Pistols’ debut and The Clash’s London Calling, two amazingly well-recorded albums. Wish we could find them. (more…)

The Pretenders on Nautilus Half-Speed – Ouch!

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Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame pressing and another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing reviewed and found wanting.

Completely lifeless. This pressing takes all the rock out of rock and roll.

A ridiculous joke played on a far-too-credulous audiophile public.  

The top quality audiophile sound of the best import pressings comes courtesy of these guys:

Top Producers – Chris Thomas

Top Engineers – Bill Price

Top Engineers – Steve Nye

If you want to know just how good the album can sound, we make it easy to find out. Just order one of our famous Hot Stamper pressings.

Bryan Ferry – The Bride Stripped Bare

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  • A strong copy, with a Double Plus (A++) side two and a side one that’s nearly as good
  • These two sides show us just what a monster rocker this album can be when it’s mastered and pressed right
  • I’m a big fan of the record – it’s as original and as moving as practically anything the man ever did
  • Bryan Ferry owned the ’70s as much as David Bowie did; they’re both artistic giants in my book

It’s been years since I last played this album, and I’m happy, ecstatic even, to report that it sounds way better than I remember it. In the old days, I recall it sounding dry, flat and transistory. Now it’s BIG and BOLD, revealing a band that’s on fire in the studio.

These two sides show us just what a monster rocker this album can be when it’s mastered and pressed right. The reviews were mixed when the album was released in 1978 but time has been kind to it — after hearing the killer copies I would rank it up at the top with the best of Ferry’s and Roxy’s bodies of work.

We were a bit surprised to find that the domestic copies we played were clearly better sounding than the UK imports. It may be counterintuitive but these are the kinds of things you find out when doing shootouts. We have little use for intuitions (UK recording, UK pressing) and rules of thumb (original equals better). Hard data — the kind you get from actually playing the records — trumps them all. (more…)

Bryan Ferry – In Your Mind – A Real Puzzler

More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music

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This British original pressing caused me a great deal of consternation. I’ve always been a big fan of this album — so much so that I even have the CD of it in my car — and I was under the impression that the sound was quite good. But playing a few British originals like this one caused me to have my doubts. The sound was aggressive and hard. I suspected the absolute phase might be reversed, and sure enough it was. But even after correcting for the improper phase the sound is not what I would have hoped for. It’s a bit “grungy” and lacks the extreme highs that would sweeten the overall presentation. 

So if you can put up with less than state of the art sound you may find yourself thoroughly enjoying this one. Side one rocks hard from start to finish, more than any other Ferry album. (more…)

Bryan Ferry’s Let’s Stick Together – His Best Solo Album


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

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  • Our shootout winner for side two and only the second copy to hit the site in many years – Triple Plus (A+++) on side two, Double Plus (A++) on one  
  • For material and sound I consider this to be the best of Bryan Ferrry’s solo albums – it’s a blast from start to finish
  • The energy, presence, bass, and dynamic power (love that horn section!) place it well above his other side projects
  • 4 Stars: “The title track itself scored Ferry a deserved British hit single, with great sax work from Chris Mercer and Mel Collins and a driving, full band performance. Ferry’s delivery is one of his best, right down to the yelps, and the whole thing chugs with post-glam power.”

More Roxy Music

We shot out a number of other imports and this killer side two is As Good As It Gets. The presence, bass, and dynamics place it head and shoulders above the competition. It has what we like to call Master Tape Sound — right in every way. (more…)