- This Six-Eye Stereo pressing boasts out of this world Demo Disc Sound – Time Out captures the ambience and huge space of Columbia’s studio like no other record has (with a little reverb thrown in for good measure)
- A knockout pressing of Brubeck’s astonishingly well recorded Jazz Classic, a record that belongs in every audiophile’s collection
- Early stereo LPs in clean condition like this one are getting awfully tough to find nowadays…
- “Buoyed by a hit single in Desmond’s ubiquitous Take Five, Time Out became an unexpectedly huge success, and still ranks as one of the most popular jazz albums ever. That’s a testament to Brubeck and Desmond’s abilities as composers, because Time Out is full of challenges both subtle and overt — it’s just that they’re not jarring.”
- If you’re a fan of Brubeck and company, this 1959 album belongs in your collection, along with quite a few others from the classic jazz era
- The complete list of titles from 1959 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
This time around  no other copy of Time Out could touch our good Six Eye Stereo pressings. They were simply in a league of their own.
If you’ve been with us for a long time you may remember that this was not always the case. We used to really like some 360s as I recall, as well as the original mono pressing. This time around, not so much.
This time around most everything is different. Allow us to explain.
1. Our stereo is different; we’ve made quite a number of changes to it since our last big shootout for Time Out a few years back. We are strong proponents of Making Audio Progress.
2. We’re different; we have better (I would hope) listening skills. In fact I’m sure we listen for different qualities in a recording than we might have years ago.
3. Even more importantly, we don’t have the same pile of pressings we had years ago. They’re gone, replaced by a new batch. This new batch had some killer original pressings, some good 360s, and not much to speak of on the later labels. This comes under the heading of Moderately Helpful Title Specific Advice.
With a different batch we might have found a great sounding 360 pressing; we have to believe they exist, and we certainly can’t say that our best copy here could not have been bettered in some way. That would be foolish; anything can be bettered.
The next time we run this experiment, the results could be different.
[Update from 2021: we have run the experiment a number of times in the five yeas since this commentary was written, and the best Six Eye in the shootout has not been beaten yet. Yet.]
For us, in 2014 (and probably through 2015), this is it. This is the right sound. (more…)
Michael Fremer spends two hours and ten minutes on his site going through a list of 100 All Analog In Print Reissued Records You Should Own
On this list is the 45 RPM Bernie Grundman cutting of Time Out. Fremer apparently likes it a whole lot more than we do. We think it is just plain awful. The MoFi Kind of Blue is on this same list, another pressing that is astonishingly bad, or at least very, very wrong. If you’re the kind of person who might want to give Michael Fremer the benefit of the doubt when it comes to All Analog records he thinks sound good, ones he thinks you should own, try either one of them. If you think they sound just fine, you sure don’t need me to tell you that I find them completely and utterly unlistenable.
Sonic Grade: F
Not long ago we found a single disc from the 45 RPM four disc set that Classic Records released in 2002 and decided to give it a listen as part of a shootout.
My notes can be seen below, but for those who have trouble reading my handwriting, here they are:
- Big but hard
- Zero (0) warmth
- A bit thin and definitely boring
- No fun
- No F***ing Good (NFG)
But this is the kind of sound that Bernie Grundman managed to find on Classic Record after Classic Record starting in the mid-90s when he began cutting for them.
We’ve been complaining about the sound of these records for more than twenty years but a great many audiophiles and the reviewers who write for them told us we wrong. If you have a copy of this album on Classic, at 33 or 45, play it and see if you don’t hear the problems we ascribe to it.
To see what we had to say about the 33 RPM version on Classic many years ago, click here.
Maybe we got a bad 45 and the others are better. That has not been our experience.
In these four words we can describe the sound of the average Classic Records pressing.
Not all of their records are as bad sounding as Time Out. We favorably review some of the better ones here.
The drum solo Joe Morello lets loose on Far More Drums is one of the best on record. I was playing that very song recently and it occurred to me that it is practically impossible for a screen or panel speaker of any design to reproduce the sound of those drums properly, regardless of how many subs you have.
Most of the music is not in the deeper bass anyway. It’s the whack of instruments whose energy is in the lower midrange and midrange that a screen speaker will struggle with. A good large-driver dynamic speaker fed by fast electronics can handle the energy in that range with ease.
This is precisely the right album to take with you next time you head to your local stereo store to audition speakers. It will help clarify the issues. Screen speakers do many things well, but drums are not one of them in my experience.
If drums are important to you, do yourself a favor and buy a dynamic speaker, the bigger the better. (more…)
Sonic Grade: D
When we did a shootout for this record way back in October of 2007 we took the opportunity to play the Classic Records 200 gram pressing. Maybe we got a bad one, who knows, but that record did not sound remotely as good as the real thing (6 eye or 360, both can be quite good). The piano sounded thin and hard, which was quite unexpected given the fact that we used to consider the Classic LP one of their few winners and actually recommended it.
As we said in our shootout: “We dropped the needle on the Classic reissue to see how it stacked up against a serious pressing. Suffice it to say, the real Time Out magic isn’t going to be found on any heavy vinyl reissue!”