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The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: beachpetso_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Not long ago we pulled out the three copies we had in our leftover stock of DCC vinyl and gave them a spin. They weren't awful, but they weren't very good either, sounding, like most Heavy Vinyl, airless, blurry, smeary, two-dimensional, dull and opaque. Not surprisingly (to us anyway) one copy was quite a bit better than the other two. I would say that the sound would plot on a curve from about a D to maybe a C+, so let's figure the average would be around a C- or so.

I'd be surprised if the DCC Gold CD didn't sound better. More often than not it will.

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Ray Charles / Betty Carter - Ray Charles and Betty Carter

DCC Reviewed & Recommended

  (Item #: charlraych_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: B+

Folks, I have to hand it to Steve Hoffman -- this is the BEST SOUNDING DCC LP we have played in years.

We've been harshin' on DCC for quite a while now. Whenever we do a shootout for the Eagles or Doors or Bonnie Raitt or Queen or you name it, the DCC pressing almost always gets a serious drubbing from our listening panel. Not so here. This one took TOP HONORS against the other copies we played and was head and shoulders better sounding in practically every way.

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Ray Charles & Betty Carter - Ray Charles & Betty Carter

DCC Clear Vinyl Pressing

  (Item #: charlraych_dcc_clear) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

This Dunhill Compact Classics LP pressed on CLEAR VINYL is one of DCCs earliest forays into analog production. Unfortunately it sounds like a bad CD. In fact, you can be sure that Hoffman's CD murders it in every way. Don't waste your money.

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Nat King Cole - Just One Of Those Things

S&P (DCC) Debunked

  (Item #: cole_justo_reviewed) 



Sonic Grade: C+

S+P's 180g reissue has some nice qualities, but it isn't especially natural, nor is it Tubey Magical the way the real Capitol pressings are. Ambience and instrumental textures are sorely lacking, although to be honest, considering how bad most Capitol pressings are, it's still a step up from the average copy sitting in your local store's used record bins.

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John Coltrane - Lush Life

DCC and OJC Reviewed

  (Item #: coltrlushl_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: B or so (DCC)
Sonic Grade: C or so (OJC)

The DCC heavy vinyl pressing is a nice record; I remember liking it back in the day. I'm guessing it's a bit better than the '80s OJC, which is, like most OJC pressings, typically thin and hard. Neither one of them can hold a candle to the pressings we offer on the site. If for some reason we could not find copies of the album that substantially beat the sound of either of these two remastered LPs, we simply would not have anything to offer, since neither of these versions could be considered Hot Stampers. Nice records, sure, but Hot Stampers? Not a chance.

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Cream - Fresh Cream

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: creamfresh_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

Compressed, thick, dull, opaque and completely lacking in ambience, almost any domestic or British original pressing will be better in almost every way. Read our Hot Stamper review below for the full story.

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Deep Purple - Made in Japan

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: deeppmadei_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D-

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

Dead as a doornail sound. Disgraceful.

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The Doors - The Doors

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: doorsdoors_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.

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The Doors - Strange Days

Rhino and DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: doorsstran_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: DCC: B / Rhino: C

It’s not easy for us to find copies of Strange Days that outperform the DCC, but our best Hot Stampers beat it handily. We also put our original copies up against the 180g version from the Doors Box Set and it was an absolute bloodbath. We understand that a well-known reviewer likes the sound of those Doors pressings (along with just about every heavy vinyl reissue that hits his table) but we here at Better Records prefer to set higher standards. We think you deserve better, and at these prices the record better deliver a world of sound that the heavy vinyl pressing only hints at. And it does.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.

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The Doors - Waiting For The Sun

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: doorswaiti_debunk) 



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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Eagles - Hotel California

DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: eaglehotel_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: B+/B-

The DCC -- Not Bad, But...

The DCC for this album is not a total disaster. In fact, the first side of the DCC is one of the better DCC sides we've played in recent memory. We dropped the needle on a few copies we had in the back (pressing variations exist for audiophile records too, don't you know) and they averaged about a B+ for sound on side one. Side two was quite a bit too clean for our tastes -- no real ambience or meaty texture to the guitars, about a B- for sound. To flip something we say often: you can do worse, but you can do a LOT better.

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: jeffesurre_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Sour and opaque, a major disappointment. You can do worse -- hence the D -- but it isn’t easy.

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

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Jethro Tull - Aqualung

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: jethraqual_dcc_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

As bad as the MoFi is, the DCC is even worse. Murky and bloated, to my ear it does almost nothing right, not on vinyl anyway. I’ll bet you the DCC Gold CD is better, and it's certainly nothing to write home about.

Our Hot Stamper commentary below sorts out the DCC, the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl pressing and the MoFi Half-Speed Mastered LP, as well as British and domestic originals.

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Herbie Mann - Live At The Village Gate

Audio Fidelity / DCC Debunked

  (Item #: mann_livea_24425) 



Sonic Grade: D-

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Audio Fidelity / DCC LP debunked.

A murky mess. Hard to imagine you couldn't find a common domestic pressing that wouldn't sound better.

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Joni Mitchell - Court And Spark

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: mitchcourt_scorecard) 



Sonic Grade: B

The DCC -- Not Bad!

Steve's version is very musical; it's rich and natural sounding, which of course makes it very enjoyable. You can do a lot better but you sure can do a lot worse. Opaque, veiled, lifeless, dull sound is the norm for Court and Spark -- most copies are dead as a doornail. If they're not dead, they're likely to be thin and gritty. The DCC is a big improvement over the average domestic pressing. (The original Brit imports are fairly competitive with the DCC; the later Brits with the K catalog numbers suck as a rule.)

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Queen - A Night at the Opera

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: queennight_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

Murky, opaque and compressed: yes, we can agree it has never been an especially good sounding record on anything but the most difficult to find UK pressings, but does it deserve this kind of mastering disrespect? Isn't the idea to try and FIX what is wrong, rather than to make it worse? At collector prices no less. Don't waste your money.

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

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Bonnie Raitt on Heavy Vinyl

DCC + RTI = Audio Enervation

  (Item #: raittnicko_enervation) 



The no-longer-surprising thing about our Hot Stamper pressings of Nick Of Time is how completely they MURDER the DCC LP. Folks, it's really no contest. Yes, the DCC is tonally balanced and can sound very good, but it can't compete with the best original pressings. It's missing too much of the presence, intimacy, immediacy and transparency that we've discovered on the better original pressings.

As is the case with practically every record pressed on Heavy Vinyl over the last twenty years, there is a suffocating loss of ambience throughout, a pronounced sterility to the sound. Modern remastered records just do not BREATHE like the real thing.

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Linda Ronstadt - Greatest Hits - Volume 2

DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: ronstgreat_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: C

As much as I admire Steve Hoffman’s work for DCC, on this title the DCC is not as good as the best domestic copies. The best domestic pressings are leaner and meaner than the DCC, and just plain more fun. The DCC sounds thick in the midrange and fat in the bass, although some of that boost in the bass could have been used to the advantage of some of the domestic pressings we played. 1 DB or so at 50-60 cycles would help, but the DCC has a boost in the middle and upper bass that causes the bass to sound bloated next to a good pressing.

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Rod Stewart - Never A Dull Moment

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: stewanever_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing on DCC Heavy Vinyl.

We hadn’t played the DCC in a very long time, so we offered a special guarantee for the Hot Stamper pressing we had listed:

Better than the DCC? Some people think so; without both records side by side I can’t say which I would prefer, but this record sure sounds amazingly good to me. Zero distortion! Music in your room!

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Van Halen - Van Halen

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: vanhavanha_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

As I recall it isn't very good -- thick and dull and closed-in; in other words, boring -- but I played it quite a while ago. If your copy sounds better, more power to you, but I bet it doesn't. Any copy we sell is guaranteed to blow the doors off of it -- as well as any other pressing you own -- or your money back.

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