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We Was Wrong

Audio Commentary  >  Start Here  >  We Was Wrong

We Was Wrong

A section dedicated to the records we think we got wrong.

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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Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: littltimel_debunk) 
by Nautilus Audiophile Pressing

Sonic Grade: D

Another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing Debunked.

We played a Hot Stamper pressing against a Nautilus Half-Speed and it was not even close. Just listen to how punchy the drums are on the best domestic copies, a perfect example of what proper mastering does right and Half-Speed mastering does wrong. When you listen to the Hot Stamper pressing, you feel that you are hearing this music EXACTLY the way the band wanted it to be heard.

See all of our Little Feat albums in stock

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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.

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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.

See all of our Yes albums in stock

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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

We Was Wrong!

  (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.

See all pressings of this album in stock

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Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin

We Was Wrong!

  (Item #: ledzeI____wrong) 
by Clef

Still another We Was Wrong listing. We would agree now with almost none of what we had to say about this Classic Records title in the past, which you can read here for yourself. (The commentary included in our review below concerning the importance of good bass reproduction is of course something we still believe very strongly to be true.)

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Cat Stevens Catch Bull

Wow, I Mis-Remember It Sounding Much Better on Import...

  (Item #: stevecatch_memory) 

We recently came across a White Hot MIND-BOGGLING copy of this album, the best sounding one we’d ever played. Or was it? We noted in our listing:

To be fair to the other Hot Stamper copies we’ve listed in the past, this copy may be no better than a White Hot Stamper from 2007 or 2008. Our stereo undergoes constant improvements; we just made a major one, so the playing field is far from level and comparisons from years back are highly suspect, a subject we’ve discussed at length in previous commentaries. Memory in audio is demonstrably unreliable if not downright worthless. Go back and play all your audiophile pressings; if you’ve been making regular improvements to your stereo, you may find that they don’t sound nearly as good as you remember. (Mine sure don’t!)

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