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<br>The Turn Up Your Volume Test<p>Almost Cut My Hair</p>




The Turn Up Your Volume Test

Almost Cut My Hair


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The only time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young actually sound like a real rock and roll band is on the track Almost Cut My Hair. According to Stephen Barncard, one of the engineers on Deja Vu, the track was actually recorded live in the studio. Boy, it sure sounds like it. The amount of energy the band generates on this one song exceeds the energy of the entire first album put together.

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


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The reason this song presents such a tough test is that it has to be mastered properly in order to make you want to turn it up, not just louder, but as loud as your stereo will play. This song is not to be used as background music whilst sipping wine and smoking cigars. It positively cries out to be played at serious volume levels on monstrously large speakers. Nothing else will do justice to the power of the band's one and only live performance.

Listen to Neil in the left channel wailing away like a man possessed. Imagine what his grunged-out guitar would sound like blasting out of a stack of Marshall amps the size of a house. Now hold that sound in your head as you turn up the volume on your preamp.

When your system starts to distort, back it off a notch and take your seat.

The uncredited engineer behind the copies with "magic stampers" got hold of the master tape and recut this beauty on whatever workhorse cutter was in use at the time. No fancy wire. No audiophile-approved amplification. Just the full bandwidth without distortion.

Originals Versus Reissues

This may be key. The originals do not have the extreme highs and deep punchy bass of the best reissues, and without extension on the top the voices get painfully harsh and edgy. Without the deepest bass, the bass that's left is hollow and tubby, and frequently smeared. Add distortion in the midrange from less-than-optimal cutting equipment and you have the sound of the typical domestic copy in a nutshell. (The imports are uniformly hopeless as well.)


More on Deja Vu

We have a commentary entitled 30 Years of Bad Sounding Deja Vu's Wiped Away in an Instant! and one that explains How to Find a Hot Stamper Deja Vu (Hint: Ignore Conventional Wisdom)
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