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Super Hot Stamper - Dave Grusin - Discovered Again!

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Dave Grusin
Discovered Again!

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*

  • Grusin's jazz masterpiece from 1976 returns to the site for only the second time in sixteen months, here with INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them throughout this original import copy - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Here are just a few of things we had to say about this killer copy in our notes: "weighty, deep bass and kick"..."3D, rich, and silky"..."excellent detail and size"
  • After critically listening to this record good and loud, and hearing it sound the way this copy sounds, we have to call it One of the All Time Great Direct to Disc Recordings
  • The songs, the players, the arrangements, the sound - this is a record that will reward hundreds of plays for decades to come
  • Side one of this copy is out of polarity and not a copy you should buy if you can't switch
  • "...makes for the kind of demo material audiophiles are so fond of using to impress friends and neighbors."

More Direct to Disc Recordings / More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Piano

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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays 10 times lightly at the start of track 2 / the last track, "Adeus A Papai."

We are on record as being big fans of this album. Unlike most direct to disc recordings, Discovered Again actually contains real music worth listening to. During our all-day shootout, the more we played the record, the more we appreciated it. These are top quality players totally in the groove on this material. When it's played well, and the sound is as good as it is here, there's nothing dated about this kind of jazz. Hey, what can we say -- it works.

What The Best Sides Of Discovered Again! Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1976
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Reversed Polarity, Or Is It?

Many years ago we had discussed the polarity issues associated with this record, to wit:

According to the liner notes, this album has its polarity reversed. They tell you straight out to reverse the positive and negative at the speaker terminals for the best "transient response and spatial clarity."

That out-of-phase quality is as plain as the nose on your face when you know what to listen for. There's an unpleasant hardness and hollowness to the midrange, a lack of depth, and an off-putting opaque quality to the sound. The top gets dull and the bass gets weird and wonky.

With our EAR 324p phono stage, the click of a button reverses the polarity. I can't tell you how handy it is to have such a tool at your disposal. Checking the polarity for Discovered Again couldn't have been easier.

But get this: most side ones are not out of polarity. How about them apples! We could not have been more shocked. Here is the most famous wrong polarity audiophile recording in the history of the world, and it turns out most copies are not wrong on side one at all.

Latest Findings

I did not do the shootout for the album, but I wanted to check on the polarity just to hear it for myself. I must admit I had to go back and forth a number of times, using my favorite song on the album and an old demo track from back in my earliest days in audio, the mid- to late-70s: "Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow."

Harvey Mason's super punchy drum playing catches your attention right off the back. A tambourine comes along in the left channel at some point. Lots of bass. Rit's guitar in the right channel and Grusin's keyboards in the center fill out the soundstage. The ensemble is on fire.

Evaluating the sonic differences of the individual instruments in and out of polarity had me confused. A typical conundrum: Should the tambourine be smoother with more body, or brighter with more harmonic overtones? Which is right? Who can say definitively?

It was only after about fifteen minutes of playing the album, switching the polarity back and forth, that the penny dropped and the skies opened up.

Focused on an individual instrument, I could hear it just fine both ways. But then I noticed that with the polarity reversed the group got vague. The images seemed blurrier, less defined. If I relaxed and just stared into the middle distance and let the music flow, the band seemed to be more jumbled up and messy.

That was the key. The obvious change when the polarity was wrong was a loss of image specificity. Flipping the record over to side two and using my new "lens" to hear the difference with the polarity changed, it was obvious when the polarity was right or wrong.

I have experimented with polarity on scores of records. Certain effects on certain records are unmistakable. But these effects seem to vary a great deal from title to title. Grusin's brilliant direct to disc recording initially had me at a loss. With a little experimentation, the improvement in the sound with the correct polarity became evident over time, as it always seems to do. Thanks god I didn't have to change speaker leads the way I used to in the old days.

What We're Listening For on Discovered Again!

  • 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, 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.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Listen to the harmonics around the cymbals and bells on Git Along Little Dogies -- you can really hear the transients of the cymbals and percussion, so important to the sound of those instruments. The stand-up acoustic bass is amazingly well recorded on this album; it's so rich and full-bodied. You will have a hard time finding a string bass that sounds better.

The typical direct to disc pressing of Discovered Again leaves much to be desired. Two areas are especially lacking as a rule: the top end tends to be rolled off, and there is a noticeable lack of presence, which can easily be heard in the drum sound: the snare sounds like it's covered with a towel on many copies of this album. Wha' happen?

Who knows? Even though the mastering is fixed at the live event, there are many other variables which no doubt affect the sound. The album is cut on two different lathes -- M (Master) and S (Slave), and pressed in two different countries: Japan and Germany. Many mothers were pulled from the acetate and many, many stampers made from those mothers. (I saw one marked stamper number 15!)

Bottom line? You got to play 'em, just like any other pressing. If no two records sound the same, it follows that no two audiophile records sound the same, a fact that became clear early on in the listening. Of course, not many audiophiles are in a position to shootout six copies of Discovered Again, and I'm not sure most people would want to. Here at Better Records, we have a whole system set up to do exactly that, so we waited until we had a pile of them, got them all cleaned up, and off to the races we went.

The Players

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic that is a key part of the appeal of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

A Must Own Jazz Record

We consider this Dave Grusin album his masterpiece. It's a recording that belongs in any serious Jazz Collection.

Others that belong in that category can be found here.

Side One

  • A Child Is Born
  • Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (Theme from Baretta)
  • Sun Song
  • Captain Bacardi

Side Two

  • Three Cowboy Songs
  • Git Along Little Dogies
    The Colorado Trail
    Cripple Creek Break-Down
  • Adeus A Papai

Classical Candor.com Review

What do you mean, it's not classical music? It's jazz, and jazz is always classic. Especially when it's done by American composer, arranger, and pianist Dave Grusin. Besides, Grusin has not only written and arranged songs and soundtracks for Oscar-winning films like The Graduate and Tootsie and won an Oscar for The Milagro Beanfield War, he's done crossover albums of classical music as well. With credits for over a hundred films and a multitude of record albums, the guy is a class act all the way around.

Joining Grusin on a Steinway piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano are Ron Carter, bass; Lee Ritenour, guitar; Harvey Mason, drums; and Larry Bunker, percussion. They make a tidy, well-knit ensemble.

The program begins with "A Child Is Born," quiet, soft, with fine bass playing, a clear, taut piano sound, and just a hint of percussive support. "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow" comes next, probably the most well-known work on the album because of its use in the old Baretta TV series. It's a faster, more up-tempo piece than the preceding track, with firm bass thumps, excellent, extended highs, and superclean transient response. "Sun Song" features superb piano and percussion sound, and it's one of Grusin's sweeter melodies, building as it goes along. Then, there's "Captain Bacardi," a sambo from Antonio Carlos Jobim, among the most-exciting music on the disc, performed joyfully by the players. It makes for the kind of demo material audiophiles are so fond of using to impress friends and neighbors.

Next come three cowboy songs: "Git Along Little Doggies," "The Colorado Trail," and "Cripple Creek Breakdown," making a terrific set of variations on the familiar tunes. The original album ended with "Adeus A Papai," a piece Grusin wrote as a farewell to his father.