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Live and Learn

Audio Commentary  >  Start Here  >  Live and Learn

Live and Learn
A section dedicated to the records we now see we were wrong about.

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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Deep Purple - Made In Japan

Live and Learn

  (Item #: deeppmadei_2006) 
by EMI



This is a classic case of Live and Learn. What we had to say below about Made in Japan back in 2006 is just plain emabarrassing.

"This is a very nice looking EMI British Import Double LP that plays Mint Minus. This copy sounds tonally correct and pretty lively. The DCC may be better but it’s a LOT MORE MONEY I haven't played that record since it came out years ago so who's to say."

Ouch.

More Deep Purple


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Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

180g Rhino LP Debunked

  (Item #: costemyaim_rhino) 
by Rhino



Sonic Grade: D

I’m embarrassed to say we used to like the Rhino Heavy Vinyl version, and in our defense let me tell you why: it was (for the most part) tonally correct, fairly low distortion, and had tight punchy bass.

Boy, was we wrong. Now it sounds positively CRUDE and UNPLEASANT next to the real thing -- if by "the real thing" you mean an honest to goodness Hot Stamper copy. The average copy of this record is aggressive and unpleasant. The British pressings are mud. You either have to work very hard to find a good one (which means buying, cleaning and playing lots and lots of them), or you have to luck into a good one by accident.

See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Bill Evans - Village Vanguard Sessions

Live and Learn

  (Item #: evansvilla_wrong) 
by Milestone LP



A classic case of Live and Learn. Many years ago we had played copies of the record and thought the sound was fine, shootout material in fact. Flash forward to 2015 or 2016. Now it sounds thin, flat and opaque. Worse, it's actually in MONO.

A stereo recording reissued in mono for no apparent reason? What were they smoking over there at Milestone?

More Bill Evans


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Ambrosia - Life Beyond L.A.

Which Stampers Sound the Best?

  (Item #: ambrolifeb_stampers) 
by Warner Brothers LP



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.

There's a unique story behind this title, which goes something like this. I recount it because it's a classic and hopefully instructive case of Live and Learn.

More Ambrosia


  more Info











Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: littltimel_nautilus) 
by Nautilus Audiophile Pressing



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. After playing a killer Hot Stamper pressing of the album a few years back we wrote the following:

If you own the Nautilus Half-Speed, a record we actually liked years ago even when we had long since forsworn those kinds of pressings, you are really in for a treat. THIS is what the band sounds like in the REAL world, not the phony audiophile world that so many seem to get stuck in.

More Little Feat


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Stan Getz - Getz Au Go Go

Live and Learn

  (Item #: getz_getza_live_and_learn) 
by Verve LP



A classic case of Live and Learn. Many years ago we had written:

Of course, you would never know this is a good recording by playing the average domestic copy. This Japanese LP is one of the few pressings that can show you that this wonderful smoky night club jazz LP really can have Demo Disc sound.

Ridiculous, right? Well, at the time we believed it. Now our understanding is quite a bit more sophisticated, in the sense that the Japanese pressing is clearly better than most originals, not all of them.
More Stan Getz


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Steely Dan - Katy Lied

Live and Learn

  (Item #: steelkatyl_jpn) 
by MCA Records



And to think I used to swear by this pressing -- specifically the 2000 Yen reissue, not the 1500 Yen original -- another example of just how Wrong you can be.

We happily admit to our mistakes because we know that all this audio stuff and especially the search for Hot Stampers is a matter of trial and error. We do the trials; that’s how we avoid the kinds of errors most audiophiles and audiophile record dealers make when it comes to finding the best sounding records. Of course, being human we can’t help but make our share of mistakes. The difference is that we learn from them. We report the facts to the best of our ability every time out.

More Katy Lied


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Tchaikovsky / Symphonies 4-5-6 / Mravinsky (4 LPs)

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: tchaisym456_2017) 
by Deutsche Grammophon



Sonic Grade: C

This is a Deutsche Grammophon Italian pressed 4 LP Box Set. I used to really like the sound of this set back in the day, as you can see from the rave review below from 2009.

It's been a while since I found the sound to be worthy of a Hot Stamper shootout, and now, having just played some of the discs against some very good German and British reissues, I now realize the records in the set are clearly made from dub tapes. They badly lack presence, space, transparency and clarity, all hallmarks of sub-generation masters.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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The Beatles - Abbey Road

We Was Wrong -- The MoFi Can Sound Great!

  (Item #: beatlabbey_mofi_wrong) 
by Mobile Fidelity



This Minty MoFi is the Killer MFSL Abbey Road of All Time. We’ve never done a shootout like this in the history of Better Records. Picture it: five Mobile Fidelity copies of Abbey Road, ostensibly identical limited editions, pressed on premium virgin vinyl in Japan. Longtime readers of the site will not be surprised to learn that they all sound different, and in very different ways.

Why is this shootout a first? Simple: we never had five open copies in stock at any one time. Having done a big shootout for the Brit copies in January (2007), we knew how good this album could sound. How would the MoFi stack up to the best Brits? We decided to find out.

More Abbey Road


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Santana - Santana

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: santasant1_mofi) 
by Mobile Fidelity



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Santana is a record we admit to having liked a bit when it first came out. Since then we have changed our minds. As embarrassing as it may be, clearly We Was Wrong.

It’s just too damn compressed and lifeless. The Whomp Factor on this pressing is Zero. Since whomp is critical to the sound of Santana’s music, it’s Game Over for us. The review below is exactly what we wrote at the time the record came in.

More Santana


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Supertramp - Even In The Quietest Moments

Making Progress in Audio

  (Item #: supereveni_progress) 
by A&M LP



The story behind this record is what real Progress in Audio is all about.

We wrote up this album in 2005 as a Hot Stamper Stalled listing. We just could not find anything that sounded right to us. The imports were a smeary mess, the half-speed was and is a complete joke (we used to like it but that just goes to show how wrong you can be), and the domestic copies were so grainy and phony-sounding we knew there was no way to make the case that this was an actual audiophile-quality recording.

Even in the Quietest Moments


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Tchaikovsky / Romeo & Juliet / Dorati

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: tchairomeo_90209_2011) 
by Mercury LP



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

SUPERB Nearly White Hot Stamper sound on side two. With a grade of A++ to A+++, this is clearly the best sounding Romeo and Juliet we have ever heard. Rich lower strings, clear horns, big cymbal crashes, zero smear -- rich and tubey but clear, right up there with the best of the RCA's and London's. And Dorati turns in a top performance with the London Symphony.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin

Classic Records Reviewed and Recommended

  (Item #: ledze1_classic) 
by Classic Records Heavy Vinyl



Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records Heavy Vinyl LP reviewed.

Considering how bad (or at best mediocre) the average copy of the first Zep album sounds, let's give credit where credit is due and say that Bernie's remastered version on Heavy Vinyl is darn good (assuming you get a good one, something of course that neither I nor you should assume).

It's without a doubt the best of all the Classic Zeppelin titles, most of which we found none too pleasing to the ear.

More Led Zeppelin


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The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup

Live and Learn, A Lesson from 2011

  (Item #: rolligoats_2011) 
by Rolling Stones Records



This is a classic case of Live and Learn.

We would agree with very little of what we had to say about Goat's Head Soup as a recording when we wrote about it back in 2011 -- and for the previous 35+ years since I first played a domestic original.

Having done a big shootout for the album in 2016 we now know there most certainly are great sounding pressings to be found, because we found some. The data are in, and now we know just how wrong we were. In our defense, let me just ask one question: Did anybody else know this record was well recorded? I can find no evidence to support anyone having ever taken such a contrarian position.

More Rolling Stones


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Steely Dan - Can’t Buy A Thrill

A Classic Case of Live and Learn

  (Item #: steelcantb_wrong) 
by ABC LP



Years ago - starting with our first shootout in 2007 for the album as a matter of fact - we had put this warning in our listings:

One thing to note: this isn't Aja, Pretzel Logic or Gaucho (their three best sounding recordings). We doubt you'll be using a copy of Can't Buy A Thrill to demo your stereo.

We happily admit now that we got Can't Buy a Thrill all wrong. It's actually a very good sounding record - rich, smooth, natural, with an especially unprocessed sound. In that regard it is superior to most of their catalog; better than Countdown to Ecstacy, Katy Lied, Royal Scam and maybe even Gaucho. You could easily use the album to demo your stereo.
More Can't Buy a Thrill


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Frank Sinatra - Sings Days of Wine and Roses & more

Judging Books and Covers

  (Item #: sinatdayso_2016) 
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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The Byrds - Fifth Dimension

The Red Labels Can Rock

(More Accurately, Some of Them Can)

  (Item #: byrdsfifth_2014) 
by Columbia Records



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

There was not another Red Label that could hold a candle to this copy in our recent shootout, and no 360 label copy could 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 of The Byrds


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Led Zeppelin - IV

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze4_debunk) 
by Classic Records Heavy Vinyl



Sonic Grade: C-

It wasn’t that long ago that I thought the Classic Records 180 (later 200) gram pressing was the king on this title. In late 2006 I wrote: You can hear how much cleaner and more correct the mastering is right away... Folks, I must have been out of my mind. I wasn’t out of my mind. I just hadn’t gotten my system to the place where it needed to be to allow the better original pressings to sound their best.

More Led Zeppelin


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Bad Company - Straight Shooter

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: badcostrai_2009) 
by Swan Song



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

We just finished a shootout for this hard-rockin’ album, our first since way back in January of ’08, and what we were hearing this time around BLEW OUR MINDS. This record got a whole lot better over the course of the last twenty months or so. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the drum sound on this record is the most present, punchy and realistic I have ever heard on a record.

More Bad Company


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Paul McCartney and Wings - At the Speed of Sound

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: mccaratthe_2016) 
by Capitol Records



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

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.

More Paul McCartney


  more Info











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 John Coltrane


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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


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

A Tale of Two MoFi Pressings

  (Item #: crosbdejav_mofi_debunk) 
by Mobile Fidelity



Sonic Grade: F (or not!)

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


  more Info











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


  more Info











Elton John - Elton John

Live and Learn

  (Item #: john_elton_learn) 
by DJM LP



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.

More Elton John


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

We Was Wrong (Circa the '80s)

  (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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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: genesatric_mfsl_debunk_2015) 
by Mobile Fidelity



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

The last time I played the MoFi I could not believe how ridiculously COMPRESSED it was. On top of that, the midrange is badly sucked out (as is the case with most MoFi's) making the sound as dead as dead can be. You think 180 gram records are lifeless? Play this piece of crap and see just how bad an audiophile record can sound.

More Phil Collins and Genesis


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Led Zeppelin

on Prestigious Japanese Limited Edition Vinyl

  (Item #: ledze_japanese) 
by Japanese LP Pressing



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.

More Led Zeppelin


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Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne

What to Listen For

  (Item #: brownjacks_wtlf) 
by Asylum Records



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Jackson Browne's first (and best) album.

The real trick with this album is in striking the right balance between richness and presence. A White Hot Stamper from years back made me change my mind about this recording. I used to think it was dull, but I was wrong. I used to think that even the best copies of this recording sounded rolled off on the top end. I no longer believe that to be true. On the best pressings the top end is correct for this music.

See all of our Jackson Browne albums in stock


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Donovan - Sunshine Superman

Painting with Too Broad a Brush

  (Item #: donovsunsh_wrong) 
by Epic LP



Back in 2009 we wrote: "Donovan’s albums are never well recorded so if you’re looking for audiophile sound this is not the record for you. Although the sound varies here from track to track, some tracks do sound quite nice."

Although we have yet to play a copy of this particular album that sounds any good to us, we couldn't have been more Wrong about the rest of his catalog. Since 2009 we have certainly found any number of superb sounding Donovan records, the best of which to date is The Hurdy Gurdy Man, surely the man's masterpiece. You can read about some of them in the link below.

See all of our Donovan albums in stock


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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

Another Question: Original Is Better?

  (Item #: supercrisi_wtlf) 
by A&M LP



This is an older listing that illustrates how We Was Wrong when we thought the best domestic copies were not competitive with the A&M Half-Speed or better British pressings.

We touch on other much-loved themes in this commentary, such as the myth that the original pressing is going to be better than a reissue or later stamper. On this album that is definitely not the case.

More Crisis? What Crisis?


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Jethro Tull - Aqualung

British Band, British Pressing... Right?

  (Item #: jethraqual_myth_2014) 



Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

As we’ve noted so many times before, this British band, like many of their brethren, had their master tapes sent to America to make our much-maligned domestic pressings. I maligned them myself, wrongly I now realize.

It takes an amazing stereo and a top quality Hot Stamper pressing to get this music to work its magic. If you are lucky enough to have those two things, you will not believe how good this album sounds on domestic vinyl, so much better than you ever thought possible. It’s not perfect, but with the right pressing you can hear why Anderson, his bandmates, the engineer and producer all thought they had put a real winner down on tape.

More Jethro Tull


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Cream - Disraeli Gears

Live and Learn

  (Item #: creamdisra_wrong) 
by Atco LP



Our latest shootout for Cream's classic second album provided proof positive that We Was Wrong when we said:

No reissue we've ever played sounded especially good and none likely ever will.

Ah, but some do! We would love to tell you exactly what to look for so that you can go find one for yourself, but that's bad for business as I'm sure you can see. Let's just say there will be at least one later reissue of the album with very good grades coming soon to a site near you.

More Eric Clapton and Cream


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Supertramp - Crime of the Century on MoFi

We Was Wrong - It Can Sound Great

  (Item #: supercrime_wrong) 
by Mobile Fidelity



This MoFi Crime of the Century has two superb sounding sides. I have to admit I was DEAD WRONG about MoFi’s Crime of the Century -- on this pressing, anyway. But I can tell you that this is one of the few I have ever played that sounded right to me.

It's not that MoFi couldn't cut a record that's tonally correct. It's just that most of they time they didn't. This time they did.

More Crime of the Century


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Aimee Mann - Bachelor No. 2

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mann_bache_mofi_debunk) 
by Mobile Fidelity



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

I had never actually played the LP when I reviewed the MoFi CD (my bad, apologies to all), noting that the CD sounded great and that I expected the vinyl to be even better. Was I ever wrong, sorry! The vinyl has a bad case of sucked-out half-speed MoFi mids. It’s far too polite and lifeless to be taken seriously.

The comments about the music of course still apply -- it's brilliant -- but I recommend the Gold or regular CD over this audiophile Heavy Vinyl pressing.

  more Info











Yes - Fragile

British Band, British Pressing... Right?

  (Item #: yes__fragi_myth) 



Not Really. It’s just another Record Myth.

Some of you may remember that back in the '90s (and even into the 2000s, gulp) we preferred the sound on the British original pressings for the most famous Yes albums, Fragile among them.

There's no way around it, folks: We Was Wrong. While the Brit copies can have some very nice qualities, they just can't compete with the best domestic pressings of Fragile.

More Yes / More Fragile


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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Live and Learn

  (Item #: stevemonab_wrong) 
by A&M LP



When we said this album was not the sonic equal of Teaser and the Firecat or Tea for the Tillerman, boy, We Was Wrong and then some. Read all about it in this White Hot Stamper copy review below.

It’s been about a year since we last found Hot Stampers of this album, and having made a number of improvements to the stereo over that time, I'm here to report that this album got a WHOLE LOT BETTER, better than I ever imagined it could get. Mona Bone Jakon now ranks as a DEMO DISC of the highest order, every bit the equal of Teaser and Tea.

More Mona Bone Jakon


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Blind Faith - Blind Faith

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: blindblind_debunk) 
by Mobile Fidelity



Sonic Grade: C-

Our latest shootout this time around (07/09) left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for the MoFi pressing of Blind Faith, a textbook example of We Was Wrong.

It’s rich and sweet with SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND. MFSL did a masterful job with this one, I’d put it in the top 10 MOFIs of all-time!
I regret to say none of that is true.
More Blind Faith


 
more Info











The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

UHQR Debunked

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_debunk) 
by Mobile Fidelity



Sonic Grade: D

We charge hundreds of dollars for a Hot Stamper Sgt. Pepper, which is a lot to pay for a record. But consider this: the MoFi UHQR typically sells for more than the price we charge and doesn’t sound as good.

Of course the people that buy UHQRs would never find themselves in a position to recognize how much better one of our Hot Stampers sounds in a head to head shootout with their precious and oh-so-collectible UHQR. They assume that they’ve already purchased the Ultimate Pressing and see no need to try another.

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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The Doors - The Doors

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: doorsdoors_dcc) 
by DCC



Sonic Grade: B

We used to like the Doors First album on DCC back when it came out in the late '90s; it sure beat the MoFi and every other pressing I had around, including the original gold label Elektra pressings. But much water has gone under that bridge. There have been countless audio revolutions, the improved record cleaning technologies we tout at every turn. Without them old records just sound like old records, and the DCC pressing will be better.

But with them, and lots of other changes, the right original stomps all over the DCC.

More by The Doors


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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Live and Learn

  (Item #: steveteafo_wrong) 
by Island Records



A blast from the past from 2006.

I have to admit that I was dead wrong when I said that the best copies of this album were the Brown Label A&M pressings. I see now how I made this error. We played four pink label copies and our best A&M LP is only better than three of them.

But it sure isn't better than this one! I've heard a good dozen or so Pink Labels and this is the first one that ever blew my mind. I thought I knew this record, but this copy changes everything.

More Tea for the Tillerman


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Dave Brubeck - Time Out

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brubetimeo_debunk) 
by Classic Records Heavy Vinyl



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.

More Dave Brubeck


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Fleetwood Mac - Future Games

Live and Learn

  (Item #: fleetfutur_wrong) 



As recently as October of 2005 we had Future Games all Wrong. Here is the very listing for what we believed at the time to be the best sounding version: The British Original. Hey, to be fair, it’s not bad, just far from the best.
More Fleetwood Mac


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Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeinthr_debunk) 
by Classic Records Heavy Vinyl



Sonic Grade: D

A classic case of Live and Learn. After finishing our first shootout for this album in August of 2007, our faces were sure red. We used to think the Classic version was pretty decent, but the best originals SLAUGHTER it! We had never done a shootout for this album before that. We didn’t feel up to the challenge, because the typical pressing tends to be miserable -- gritty, grainy, hard sounding, congested mids, dull, and so on.

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Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Live and Learn

  (Item #: youngevery_wrong) 
by Reprise LP



Below you will see our old Hot Stamper commentary from 2004 as part of the discussion of EKTIN in an older shootout (9-08), comments which we now renounce, disown, reject, repudiate and disavow with extreme prejudice. Huh? Here's part of our mea culpa.

Our latest shootout this time around left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for our previous shootout, a textbook example of We Was Wrong. We rarely try to make excuses for our mistakes, but give us a break, that last shootout was more than four years ago (September 2004)!

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The Doobie Brothers - The Captain and Me

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: doobicapta_debunk) 
by Nautilus Audiophile Pressing



Sonic Grade: D

Another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing Debunked and another We Was Wrong listing to boot.

We actually recommended the Nautilus Half-Speed in the old days, but the last time we played one (mid-2007) the sound was Pure Audiophile BS -- compressed to death and totally whomp-free. The average domestic copy is terrible too, but that’s no excuse now is it? Not to worry. One of these days we will put some Hot Stampers on the site, and they will ROCK!

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The Doors - Waiting For The Sun

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: doorswaiti_debunk) 
by DCC



Sonic Grade: B-

We used to like the DCC pressing of this Doors album. Now... not so much. It's a classic case of We Was Wrong.

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.

Read the commentary below to see why we think we were wrong about the DCC pressing of Waiting For The Sun.

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Yes - The Yes Album

What We Learned from Our Shootout in 2007

  (Item #: yes__yesal_wrong) 
by Atlantic LP



Some of our oldest customers may remember that we used to prefer the British Originals for this album back in the '90s. There's no other way to say it, folks: We Was Wrong.

While the Brit copies can have some nice qualities, they just can't compete with the very best domestic pressings. No British Original we played rated above a solid A for either side. Based on what we heard in our shootout, we feel VERY confident that the master tapes for this album are in America. There is NO WAY this record is not cut from the master tape. Dubs just don't sound like this. If you are still under the impression that British bands sound best on British vinyl, this pressing will disabuse of such mystical notions.

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