More of the Music of Bob Dylan
Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Bob Dylan
Sonic Grade: F
We played this Mono reissue and found it to be flat as a pancake and dead as a doornail, like most of the Sundazed records we played starting way back in the early 2000s. No, they never got any better.
In our experience, Sundazed is one of the worst record labels of all time. This pressing is just more evidence to back up our low opinion of them.
Obviously we may have had a low opinion of them, but a famous audiophile reviewer seemed to find the sound much more to his liking. He wrote:
Sundazed’s reissue gives the original a run for the money and remains true to the original, though it suffers in the bass, which while deep and reasonably well defined, is not as tightly drawn or focused. The upper mids on the original also bloom in a way that the reissue’s don’t, giving the reissue a slightly darker, recessed sound, but there’s still sufficient energy up there since Dylan’s close-miked vocals pack an upper midrange punch. If the vocals or harmonica sound spitty and unpleasantly harsh, it’s your system, not the record – though there’s plenty of grit up there. On the plus side, the overall clarity and transparency of the reissue beats the original. A really fine remastering job.
Of course we find every word of this review arrant nonsense, except the discussion of the qualities he praises in the original relative to the reissue. It’s been twenty years since this remastered pressing came out, does anybody still like the sound of it? Anybody? I hope not.
The intro to his review boldly declares a respect for Sundazed (and Classic Records and Analogue Productions) that we find puzzling after playing so many of their rarely-better-than-awful sounding records. This commentary gets at it pretty well.
Sundazed’s decision to issue Blonde on Blonde using the much sought after mono mix is indicative both of the company’s dedication to doing what’s musically correct, and of the vinyl marketplace’s newfound maturity. There was a time a few years ago when no “audiophile” vinyl label would dare issue a mono recording; audiophiles wouldn’t stand for it was the conventional wisdom. Perhaps back then it was even true. Today, with Sundazed, Classic, Analogue Productions and others issuing monophonic LPs on a regular basis (and one has to assume selling them as well) listeners are appreciating the music for music’s sake, and equally importantly, for the wonderful qualities of monophonic sound reproduction.
My grade might be 2 out of 11. No audiophile should be fooled by the crap sound of this pressing, and no audiophile should believe a word of this review.
Reviewer Incompetence? We’ve been writing about it for more than 25 years. From the start we knew we could never begin to do much more than scratch the surface of preposterous record reviews in need of rebuttal. The audiophile world is drowning in this sh*t.
But rather than spending all day typing at a keyboard, we felt the best use of our time we be to offer the audiophile community actual records that backed up everything we typed, something obviously no reviewer has ever been able to do.
More on Blonde on Blonde
Over the many years we have been doing shootouts, we have cleaned and played quite a number of vintage pressings of Blonde on Blonde. For those of you who love the album, some of these may be of interest:
The right 360 label pressings are very special. Nothing can beat them. They might even be original. We’re not saying one way or the other.
This customer really liked his very expensive but very awesome copy. (Apparently he did not get the message that analog is a bygone technology. For more on that subject, please read the comments section for this article.)
Side four of some copies is horrendously bad sounding. Any idea why?
A better question: Any idea why nobody ever noticed?
Finally, of course Blonde On Blonde is a recording that should be part of any serious popular Music Collection. Others that belong in that category and that are currently available can be found here.
Reviews for other records in the Rock and Pop Core Collection can be found here.
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