Top Producers – Roy Thomas Baker

Journey – Evolution

More Journey

  • An insanely good sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and Double Plus (A++) sound on the first – (mostly) exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Three distinctive qualities of vintage analog recordings – richness, sweetness and freedom from artificiality – are most clearly heard on a Big Production Rock Record like Evolution in the loudest, densest, most climactic choruses of the songs, and this side one delivers that size and power like no copy you’ve ever heard
  • “Journey could seemingly do no wrong. Evolution quickly became the band’s biggest-selling album, and Perry and co. soon embarked on yet another mammoth tour, which set many an attendance record, and set the stage for even greater triumph with 1980’s Departure.”

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Queen / Jazz – Rockin’ Out with Fat Bottomed Girls

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Queen

Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

There is a tendency in the recording to be a little “hot” tonally on the vocals and snare. The better copies like this one keep it under control, with the lesser copies getting much too lean and gritty to play loudly. What good is a raver like Fat Bottomed Girls if you can’t turn it up and really rock out with it? 

Roy Thomas Baker is back on the scene here for Jazz, his first production with the band since 1975’s A Night at the Opera, and the last time he would work with Freddie and the boys.

On side one check out the low harmony vocal on the first track. The big kick drum is also a treat. RTB loves his bass, that’s for sure.

Both sides should have an open, extended top end and a solid, rich bottom. Our best copies were big and clear with plenty of rock bottom end and Whomp Factor.

We Love Dynamic Choruses, and These Are Amazing

This is one of the rare pop/rock albums that dramatically changes levels as it moves from the verses to the choruses of many its songs, especially the anthemic Fat Bottomed Girls. Mustapha, the first track on side one, has a huge finish as well. It can take a record like this to open your ears to how compressed practically every rock album you own is.

The sad fact of the matter is that most mixes for rock and pop recordings are just too safe. The engineers and producers believe that the mixes have to be safe for the average (read: crap) stereo to play the record.

We like it when music gets loud. It gets loud in live performance — why shouldn’t most of that wonderful energy make it to the record?

News of the World is incredibly dynamic and powerful in this respect, our pick for the best recording by the band, but Jazz on its best cuts is not very far behind it.

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The Cars on Nautilus – Ouch!

More of the Music of The Cars

More Records that Sound Best on Big Speakers at Loud Levels

Sonic Grade: F

This Nautilus Half-Speed Mastered LP is pure mud — compressed, thick and congested, a disaster on every level, much like their atrocious remastering of Candy-O.

If you own this Audiophile BS pressing (NR-14) and you can’t hear what’s wrong with it, you seriously need to reconsider ditching your playback system or getting another one.  It is doing you no favors.

Our Nautilus pressing here is yet another one of those Jack Hunt turgid muckfests (check out City to City #058 for the ultimate in murky sound), is incapable of conveying anything resembling the kind of clean, clear, oh-so-radio-friendly pop rock sound that producer Roy Thomas Baker, engineer Geoff Workman and the band were aiming for.

The recording has copious amounts of Analog Richness and Fullness to start with. Adding more is not an improvement; in fact it’s positively ruinous.


FURTHER READING

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Here’s a good question:

How come you guys don’t like Half-Speed Mastered records?

The Cars – Shake It Up

More of The Cars

Hot Stamper Pressings of New Wave Recordings

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this pressing will show you just how good Shake It Up can sound on vinyl
  • It wouldn’t be a Cars Hot Stamper without BIG, BOLD sound flying out of the speakers – friends, let me tell you, this baby’s got that in spades – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Amazing sound quality for some of their most memorable songs – Since You’re Gone, Shake It Up, I’m Not the One, A Dream Away and more
  • “The band’s sound may have been evolving with each succeeding album, but Ric Ocasek was still writing compelling new wave compositions despite all the change, many of which would ultimately become rock & roll standards.”

If you have big dynamic speakers and like to rock, you can’t go wrong with a Hot Stamper Shake It Up. For a band with thin ties, leather jackets, jangly guitars, synths and monstrously huge floor toms that fly back and forth across the soundstage, Shake It Up is going to be the record for you, no doubt about it.

The first two Cars albums were both in The Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 at one time, with good reason: they’re superb recordings. The Cars have been in “heavy rotation” on my system since the albums came out in the late ’70s. We started doing shootouts for both albums right around 2006 or 2007 and they continue to be a regular feature of our Rock Hot Stamper section, not to mention some of the most fun shootouts we do in any given week. (more…)