More of the Music of Charles Mingus
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Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Charles Mingus
Although this album is fairly common in mono, we found the sound of the mono pressing we played seriously wanting. It’s dramatically smaller and more compressed than even the worst of the other pressings we played in our shootout.
We will never buy another, and of course we would never sell a record that sounds as bad as this mono pressing does.
For those looking for the best sound, the mono pressing is hard to take seriously, and for that reason, we say Skip It.
For records that we think sound best in mono, click here.
Are You a Jazz Collector or an Audiophile?
If you’re a jazz collector, of course you want the mono. If you’re an audiophile who likes jazz, you should want the stereo.
And if you are a very serious audiophile who has a great deal of time and money tied up in his equipment and room, someone whose motto might boil down to “nothing but the best,” then you need one of our killer Hot Stamper pressings of the album.
Below you will find our moderately helpful advice for acquiring the best sounding pressings of Charles Mingus / Dynasty.
In our experience the album sounds best this way:
Mono or Stereo? Stereo!
On Big Speakers at Loud Levels
On the Right Domestic Pressing
On the Right Early Pressing
Which simply means that the 6 Eye label domestic stereo pressings win shootouts, in this case without exception.
The 360 label pressings, Black Print or White Print, can sound very good, but they never win shootouts.
In general it is best to avoid pressings with the label you see to the left, from the Columbia Special Products series. They are rarely much better than awful, although there are a few exceptions to that rule.
Our Recent Hot Stamper Review
This is a wonderful example of the kind of record that makes record collecting FUN.
If innovative Large Group Jazz is your thing, you should get a big kick out of this one. If you like the sound of relaxed, tube-mastered jazz — and what red blooded audiophile doesn’t — you can’t do much better than the Mingus recordings on Columbia from this era. (We’ve now done shootouts for the album before this one and the one to follow. Both are amazing, musically and sonically.) The warmth and immediacy of the sound here are guaranteed to blow practically any record of this kind you own right out of the water.
Both sides of this very special pressing are huge, rich, tubey and clear. As soon as the band got going we knew that this was absolutely the right sound for this music. There was practically nothing that could beat it, in any area of reproduction.
Amazing Tubey Magic
For we audiophiles, both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1960 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy should be just the record for you.
It’s spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This is the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of the album, but those of us in possession of a working turntable could care less.
We played a handful of later pressings that didn’t really do it for us. They offer improved clarity, but can’t deliver the tubey goodness that you’ll hear on the best early pressings. We won’t be bothering with them anymore. It’s tubes or nothing on this album.
Production and Engineering
Teo Macero was the producer, and Fred Plaut may have been the engineer for these sessions in Columbia’s glorious sounding 30th Street Studio. It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording.