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<br>Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow <p>What to Listen For</p>




Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

What to Listen For


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.

The best copies of Surrealistic Pillow have three things in common.

1) Low Distortion, 2) Driving Rock and Roll Energy and 3) Plenty of Tubey Magic.

It's the exceedingly rare copy that has all three. The more of each of these qualities any given pressing has, the higher the sonic grades we will award it.

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Sku # : jeffesurre_wtlf
Manufacturer : RCA LP
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Dave Hassinger

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Are all Hot Stampers exceptionally good sounding records?


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In order to find these three qualities, you had better be using the real master tape for starters. At this point, we only buy the Black Label Original RCA pressings, preferably in stereo but occasionally in mono when they're clean enough to take a chance on.

Next, you need a pressing with actual extension up top, to keep the midrange from getting congested and harsh.

Richness, Tubey Magic, weight, and warmth -- the other end of the spectrum -- are every bit as important, if not more so.

Add freedom from compression -- the dynamic, lively sound that's practically impossible to find on any modern reissue -- and you should have yourself a very enjoyable, hopefully not-too-noisy pressing to throw on the table and enjoy for years -- maybe even fifty of them -- to come.


What We're Listening For on Surrealistic Pillow

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitars, keyboards and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Dave Hassinger in the case -- would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.



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