This commentary was written about 2000, when the Speakers Corner pressing had just come out. We liked it back then, but I doubt we would care much for it now.
Listen to the vocals at the end of Dreamer. If they are too bright, the bells at the end of the song sound super-extended and harmonically clear and clean.
But at what price? Now the vocals are TOO BRIGHT. Which is more important, good vocals or good bells? There has to be balance. This is something audiophiles and audiophile labels, who should obviously know better, seem to have difficulty appreciating.
We used to get these MoFis in on a regular basis, and they usually sound as phony and wrong as can be. They’re the perfect example of a hyped-up audiophile record that appeals to people with lifeless stereos, the kind that need amped-up records to get them to come to life.
I’ve been telling people for years that the MoFi was junk, and that they should get rid of their copy and replace it with a tonally correct version, easily done since there is a very good sounding Speakers Corner 180g reissue currently in print which does not suffer from the ridiculously boosted top end and bloated bass that characterizes the typical MoFi COTC pressing.
Brighter and more detailed is rarely better. Most of the time it’s just brighter. Not many half-speed mastered audiophile records are dull. They’re bright because the audiophiles who bought them preferred that sound. I did too, a couple of decades ago [make that four decades ago].
Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson by now, expensive and embarrassing as such lessons so often turn out to be.
If your system is dull, dull, deadly dull, the way many of our older systems tended to be, this record has the hyped-up sound to bring it to life in a hurry.
There are scores of commentaries on the site about the huge improvements in audio available to the discerning (and well-healed) audiophile. It’s the reason Hot Stampers can and do sound dramatically better than their Heavy Vinyl or Audiophile counterparts: because your stereo is good enough to show you the difference.
With an Old School Audio System, you will continue to be fooled by bad records, just as I and all my audio buds were fooled thirty and forty years ago. Audio has improved immensely in that time. If you’re still playing Heavy Vinyl and Audiophile pressings, there’s a world of sound you’re missing.
We discussed the issue in this commentary:
My advice is to get better equipment and that will allow you to do a better job of recognizing bad records when you play them.