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We Was Wrong

Audio Commentary  >  Start Here  >  We Was Wrong

We Was Wrong
A section dedicated to the records we think we got wrong.

Say what?
You want to run that by me again?

It’s not really a problem for us: We see no need to cover up our mistakes. The process of learning involves recognizing and correcting previous errors. Approached scientifically, all knowledge — in any field, not just record collecting and music reproduction — is incomplete, imperfect, and must be considered provisional. What’s true today may very well be proven false tomorrow.

We’re so used to the conventional wisdom being wrong, and having our own previous findings overturned by new ones, that we gladly go out of our way in listing after listing to point out just how wrong we were. (And of course why we think we are correct now.)

A common misperception among those visiting the site is that we think we know it all. We don’t. We learn something new about records with every shootout. Each time we go back and play a 180 gram or half-speed mastered LP we used to like (or dislike), we gain a better understanding of its true nature. (The bulk of those "audiophile" pressings seem to get worse and worse over time, but that’s another story for another day.)

Record cleaning gets better, front ends get better, electronics get better, tweaks get better — everything in your audio system should be improving on a regular basis, allowing you to more correctly identify the strengths and weaknesses of every record you play. (I almost forgot: your ears get better too!) If that’s not happening, you’re not doing it right.

We don’t really have the resources to put all the records we were wrong about into this section, so this must be considered a mere taste of that much larger pool.

Keep in mind that the only way you can never be wrong about your records is simply to avoid playing them.

If you have better equipment than you did, say, five years ago, try playing some of your MoFi’s, 180 gram LPs, Japanese pressings, 45 RPM remasters and the like. You might be in for quite a shock.

It’s all good — until the needle hits the groove. Then you might find yourself in need of actual Better Records, not the ones you thought were better. (To that end we have a fairly large section devoted to
Debunking the Pseudo-Audiophile LP that contains a great deal more title-specific information along these same lines.)

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The Byrds - Fifth Dimension

The Red Labels Can Rock

(More Accurately, Some of Them Can)

  (Item #: byrdsfifth_fame) 
by Columbia Records

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

There was not other Red Label that could hold a candle to this copy in our recent shootout, and no 360 label copy either. It's the exception that proves the rule.

Does it have 100% of the Tubey Magic of the best 360 Label copies? Maybe not, but it has quite a healthy dose, and it does so many things so much better than any of the tube-mastered originals we played that it was simply no contest. There was nothing that communicated the music remotely as well as this Red Label copy did.

More Byrds

  more Info

Frank Sinatra - Sings Days of Wine and Roses & more

Judging Books and Covers

  (Item #: sinatdayso_fame) 
by Reprise LP

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Presented with the less-than-captivating cover and title of Days of Wine and Roses, we were put off by our first impression; that of a budget thrown-together compilation, brought even lower by the fairly generic shot of Old Blue Eyes on the cover. We didn't think an album that looked like this could possibly contain the swinging (or deeply emotional, both are fine with us) Sinatra music we've grown to love from his best Capitol- and Reprise-era releases.

More Frank Sinatra

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Live and Learn

  (Item #: coltrgiant_learn) 
by Atlantic LP

A classic case of Live and Learn. Previously we had written:

The extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum is what really sets the best copies apart from the pack. All the top end and that deep bottom and simply not to be found on most copies, and never on even the best originals in our experience. The cutters back then just couldn't cut it.

Now, having heard some amazing originals, we know that the vintage mastering equipment of the day was perfectly capable of getting all the top, all the bottom, and tons of Tubey Magic besides onto the vinyl.

  more Info

Paul McCartney and Wings - At the Speed of Sound

Live and Learn

  (Item #: mccaratthe_fame) 
by Capitol Records

This is a classic case of Live and Learn. We were wrong about At the Speed of Sound as a recording. As to whether or not there are great sounding pressings of it, having just done a big shootout for the album in 2016 we now know there most certainly are.
See all of our Paul McCartney albums in stock

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Latest Developments

  (Item #: crosbdejav_wrong_2016) 
by Mobile Fidelity

There are two areas in which we would like to amend some of the previous comments we've made about Deja Vu. The first has to do with early pressings. Many years ago we wrote the following:

As we noted in previous commentary, the originals are uniformly awful. Want some inside info on stampers to avoid, free of charge? C and D are pretty bad news most of the time.

Although that's still true -- Deja Vu is a very difficult album to find with good sound no matter what stampers you have -- we now know that there are very good sounding copies, Shootout Winning copies in fact, with early stampers.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu

  more Info

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu on MoFi

Live and Learn

  (Item #: crosbdejav_mofi_debunk) 
by Mobile Fidelity

Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Just for fun about 10 years ago I pulled out a MoFi pressing of Deja Vu I had laying around. I hadn't played their version in a long time. I could have gone a lot longer without playing it, because what I heard was pretty disappointing. Playing their record confirmed all my prejudices. The highs sizzled and spit. The heart of the midrange was recessed and sour.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu

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Dave Mason - Alone Together

MCA Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: masonalone_debunk) 
by MCA Records

Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. I confess I actually used to like and recommend the Heavy Vinyl MCA pressing. Rest assured that is no longer the case. Nowadays it sounds as opaque, ambience-challenged, lifeless and pointless as the rest of its 180 gram brethren.

More Dave Mason

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Elton John - Elton John

Live and Learn

  (Item #: john_elton_learn) 

A classic case of Live and Learn. Scroll down to read what we learned from our recent shootout. To illustrate how the game is played we’ve copied some of the previous commentary into this listing to show the change in our understanding from 2004 to today.

Folks, if you’re looking for Classic Rock that appeals to adults with sophisticated tastes forty plus years after it was made, this is the album for you.

See all albums by Elton John in stock

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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

We Was Wrong (Circa 1985-90)

  (Item #: beatlmagic_wrong) 
by German Import LP

This is a VERY old and somewhat embarrassing We Was Wrong from a few years back.

This German pressing has dramatically different sound than that found on other Hot Stamper pressings of MMT we've had on the site. I used to be convinced that its sound was clearly superior to the regular German MMT LPs. Back in the late '80s and into the '90s this was the pressing that I was certain blew them all out of the water. We know better now. We call this version the "Too Hot Stamper" pressing -- the upper mids and top end are much hotter than they should be.

More Magical Mystery Tour

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Led Zeppelin

on Prestigious Japanese Limited Edition Vinyl

  (Item #: ledze_japanese) 

This is a classic Live and Learn listing from 2006.

I used to sell the German Import reissues of the Zep catalog in the '90s. At the time I thought they we’re pretty good, but then the Japanese AMJY Series came out and I thought those were clearly better.

I couldn't have been more wrong. I now realize those Japanese pressings are bright as hell. Now, not-too-surprisingly, the German pressings sound more or less right (on most titles). They tend to be tonally correct, which is more than you can say for most Zep records.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums

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