Imaging question

A friend gave me a copy of Big Country's LP "The Crossing". I'd heard "In a Big Country" on the radio many times but never the album. Anyhow, I dropped the needle on the first track - "In a Big Country" and was amazed at how narrow the soundstage was. Like, every instrument and vocal seemed to shmushed into a 4-foot wide corridor of sound, not even stretching out to where the speakers were.

What gives?It was just this album as I put on other LP's and they imaged wide and deep as usual. Is it a production artifact? Could it have been that pressing?
Not all great music has great sound stage.
I have one CD that is pretty much live but due to the recording equipment they had, 3 or 4 mics were recorded onto the same track.

So either I enjoy it for the music and atmosphere or I obsess over imaging.

I prefer the former.

No obsession implied. I was curious from a technical point of view whether it was a production thingie or something from the pressing itself. The second song on that LP seemed to open up a bit.
@simao - I listened to my copy of "The Crossing" today. The song - "In a Big Country" does sound like you described. For most of the track, most of the soundstage is located right in the middle. Only the drum hits seem to come from wider out in the soundstage. Sound like bad production to me. I don't think its a problem with the pressing.

BTW, I've always liked the music on this album, but I've never cared for the sound quality.
It's usually a limitation of the recording. Once things are compressed in terms of the stereo image, you can't fix it later.
Is the album in question an original analogue recording (1983) or a digital remaster?

Mine is an original, 1983 Mercury 812 870-1
I wasn't at the recording, the mix down or the mastering sessions, but I'm going to speculate.  What you hear is exactly what they wanted the song to sound like.  Dense and loud.  Kind of like an assault to your ears.  Reducing the stereo width lends to this effect.

Steve Lillywhite was the producer.  Compare it to his work with U2.

I have the original '83 pressing, too. It's an anomaly in my listening experience. And it may well have been what Lillywhite and the band wanted to sound like, except I would never deem Big Country a band that goes for "an assault to your ears."

Again, this is all curiosity from a technical perspective as to how and why the sound would be so.

Hi Simao

It's not the recording, just checked it. It's probably not the pressing, but something in your system that is dampening the signal.

Michael Green

Curiouser and curiouser. This is even better! Now I'm intrigued to start figuring out why this LP, and not others, is getting damped.

Yep, and the fun begins! I don't have any idea what your system setup is, but I can tell you that all of us have recordings that show us things about our system that are interesting. We might be able to play 10 recordings in a row and that tenth recording just goes completely dead, dull, bright, squeezed or whatever. We at first suspect the recording or pressing (and it can happen) but there is more times than not that it is actually in our system's mechanics.

When I start tuning someone's system the first thing I ask is "where do you have dampening and shielding". Most people have over dampened their system thinking they are isolating it, resulting in squeezing some part of the signal. Once you start controlling the signal and not so much dampen it your going to find all kinds of music and stage.


Huh. But why would that particular LP - and not any others before or after - sound that narrow?

Want to find out? Lets do some soundstage referencing together so I can see what your system is doing.


Simao, you heard it, Ruebent heard it and I heard it.  We all heard it exactly as you described.  Only one person is telling you that it's your system/room.
I agree. I can't see why my system would be damping ONE specific recording and no others.

I can't do any more than offer. Enjoy your sound. Sorry to interrupt.