This album has some of the worst sound I have ever heard in my life, worse than The Hunter even, and that’s saying something.
If this kind of crap is what audiophiles choose to play, then they deserve all the derision heaped upon them.
We’re glad we no longer offer embarrassments such as The Well, although we used to, many years ago. In our defense we would simply offer up this old maxim: de gustibus non est disputandum.
Our old slogan was Records for Audiophiles, Not Audiophile Records, but we also followed this business rule: Give the Customer What He Wants.
Now we give the customer what he wants, as long as he wants one of the best sounding pressings of the album ever made. (In this case obviously there is no good sounding pressing.)
How Bad Is It?
If this isn’t the perfect example of a Pass/Not-Yet record, I don’t know what would be.
Some records are so wrong, or are so lacking in qualities that are critically important to their sound — qualities typically found in abundance on the right vintage pressings — that the defenders of these records are fundamentally failing to judge them properly. We call these records Pass/Not-Yet, implying that the supporters of these kinds of records are not where they need to be in audio yet, but that there is still hope, and if they devote sufficient resources of time and money to the effort, they can get where they need to be, the same way we did.
Tea for the Tillerman on 2 LPs at 45 RPM may be substandard in every way, but it is not a Pass/Not-Yet pressing. It lacks one thing above all others, Tubey Magic, so if your system has an abundance of that quality, as many tube systems do, the new pressing may be quite listenable and enjoyable. Those whose systems can play the record and not notice this important shortcoming are not exactly failing. They most likely have a system that is heavily colored and not very revealing, but it is a system that is not hopeless.
A system that can play the MoFi pressing of Aja without showing to the listener how wrong it is is on another level of bad entirely, and that is what would qualify as a failing system. My system in the ’80s played that record just fine. Looking back on it now, I realize my system was doing more wrong than right.
We were still selling Heavy Vinyl when this Jennifer Warnes album came out in 2001, but six years later we had had enough of the sonically-challenged titles that were being foisted on the public. It was then that we decided to focus all our energies on finding good vintage vinyl for our audiophile customers.
In 2007 we took the question we had asked rhetorically above and turned it into a full-blown commentary:
Looking back, 2007 turned out to be a Milestone Year for us here as Better Records.
The best way out of that predicament is to hear how mediocre these modern records sound compared to the vintage Hot Stampers we offer.
Once you hear the difference, your days of buying newly remastered releases will most likely be over.
Even if our pricey curated pressings are too dear, as the English say, you can avail yourself of the methods we describe to find killer records on your own.
Bernie cut this record — Ms Warnes would never trust anyone else — and this link will take you to other commentaries you may find of interest concerning Bernie Grundman‘s accomplishments.