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Debunking the Pseudo-Audiophile LP

Audio Commentary  >  Start Here  >  Debunking the Pseudo-Audiophile LP

Debunking The Pseudo-Audiophile LP

The Bad Audiophile LP is regularly subjected to the punishment it deserves from our merry band of reviewers here at Better Records
We created this section to bring together many of these critical commentaries. We hope you find them both educational and enjoyable. Rarely do we conduct a Hot Stamper shootout without the relevant Audiophile Pressing being involved. With few exceptions (which are so unusual I can't actually remember the last time it happened) these head to head battles consistently leave the audiophile LP beaten and bloodied, making our point again and again, to wit:

The Audiophile's Choice -- the record that will do the best job of communicating the music through its superior sound quality -- is almost never going to be the one marketed to him as an Audiophile Pressing.

If you find this in any way hard to believe, we encourage you to read on. Better yet, try one of our
Hot Stampers. They're guaranteed to beat the pants off any Audiophile pressing (however you define that term) or your money back.
More commentary along the same lines can be found in our section entitled Random Thoughts.

For a better understanding of our unique approach to finding exceptional sounding vinyl, please click here.


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Bonnie Raitt on Heavy Vinyl

DCC + RTI = Audio Enervation

  (Item #: raittnicko_enervation) 
by DCC

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.

More Bonnie Raitt

  more Info

Making Audio Progress

Step One: Weed Out the Heavy Vinyl

  (Item #: weeding) 

In his latest letter Dan tells us of his disappointment with the new reissues he's been trying:

... And thanks again for that amazing "Who's Next" record. It was startling to hear the difference between that and the Classic - and that was one of the better modern audiophile records!

I can't tell you how many modern reissues I've bought over the past couple months that have lost, and lost badly, to just my one single original or early pressing of an album. Reissues by AC/DC, The Who, ZZ Top, The Rolling Stones, and Patti Smith have all failed miserably against my merely average sounding originals.

See all pressings of Who's Next in stock

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Classic Records Has an Epiphany

UHQRs Actually DO Sound Good!

  (Item #: hobson_1) 
by Classic Records Heavy Vinyl

Mike Hobson finally figured out why his pressings often don't sound good and/or are noisy. We'll let him explain it. If you want the whole story (which goes on for days) you can find it on the Classic Records web site. While you're there, remember the sound.

One day, while out for a run, I had an epiphany and rushed home to dig out a JVC pressing from the 1980's pressed for Herb Belkin's Mobile Fidelity. The Mobile Fidelity UHQR pressings were always revered as sounding better than the standard weight pressings from JVC – but why I thought? To find out, I cut a UHQR pressing in half and guess what I found? First, it weighed 195 grams and IT WAS A FLAT PROFILE! I cut a 120g JVC pressing in half and found that it had the conventional profile that, with small variations, seems to be a record industry standard and is convex in it's [sic] profile – NOT FLAT.

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Linda Ronstadt - What’s New

Wait, How Exactly Is This an Audiophile Record?

  (Item #: ronstwhats_debunked) 
by Mobile Fidelity

Not having played this record in more than a decade, it’s interesting to hear this Mobile Fidelity pressing with much better equipment than was previous available to me. The first thing I noticed was the amazing transparency of the recording, no doubt the reason audiophiles have always liked it.

Next on the list, and a bit of a surprise, is the correct tonality -- this record is tonally right on the money, something Mobile Fidelity rarely achieves. This MOFI was mastered by Jack Hunt, not Stan Ricker, which may explain why the top end is more correct than usual.

More Linda Ronstadt

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Our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard

  (Item #: debunk2) 

Visit this link to see how some of the Heavy Vinyl reissues (168 and counting!) scored against our famous Hot Stamper pressings.

Check back for all the latest entries because this section is very much a work in progress. It will take years to round up all the bad Heavy Vinyl pressings and make listings for them, a task that doesn’t generate a nickel in revenue but one that we feel the audiophiles who visit our site can certainly put to good use.

  more Info

Audiophilia 101

What Kind of Audio Fool Was I?

  (Item #: audiophile101) 

Today’s audiophile seems to be making the same mistakes I was making as a budding audiophile more than thirty years ago. Heavy Viny, the 45 RPM 2 LP pressing, the Half-Speed Limited Edition -- aren’t these all just the latest audiophile fads, each with a track record progressively more dismal than the next?
See more commentaries on Record Collecting

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Mobile Fidelity

The Little Label That Couldn’t

  (Item #: mobilefidelity_debunk) 
by Mobile Fidelity

MOBILE FIDELITY remastered a large number of classic Rock and Jazz albums. Some of them are good, some not so good, but they all have one thing in common: they sell for a lot more money than most other pressings. (Except ours of course!)

In my opinion the primary reason for this is that audiophiles as a whole still believe that MOFI’s meticulous care with their half-speed mastering approach, as well as the dead quiet Japanese vinyl they originally pressed on, are the Gold Standard of record production.

And their pressings often do sound better than run of the mill domestic product. But are they really the best version ever?

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MoFi Half-Speed Mastering

A Technological Fix for a
Non-Existent Problem

  (Item #: halfspeedbash) 
by Mobile Fidelity

We do a lot of MoFi bashing here at Better Records, and for good reason: most of their pressings are just plain awful. We are shocked and frankly dismayed to find that the modern day audiophile still flocks to this label with the expectation of a higher quality LP, seemingly unaware that although the vinyl may be quiet, the mastering -- the sound of the music as opposed to the sound of the record’s surfaces -- typically leaves much to be desired.

Hence the commentary below, prompted by a letter from our good friend Roger, who owned the MoFi Night and Day and who had also purchased a Hot Stamper from us, which we are happy to say he found much more to his liking.

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Our Audiophile Pressing

  (Item #: debunk1) 

Visit this link to see how some of the Audiophile Vinyl (89 and counting!) we played scored against our famous Hot Stamper pressings.

Check back for all the latest entries because this section is very much a work in progress. It will take years to round up all the bad (and good) Audiophile Vinyl and make listings for them, a task that doesn’t generate a nickel in revenue but one that we feel the audiophiles who visit our site can certainly put to good use.

  more Info

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