I became intrigued by our host mentioning, in a prior 'Doors' post or two, that the only time the Doors 'Strange Days' master tape was used (besides his DCC project) was for the first LP cutting - and that subsequent pressings were made from lacquer(s) cut from a LEDO copy tape. (These have some EQ-ing and compression added). While I've never specifically read whether the first 'self titled' album was cut from a master and/or a LEDO tape, I did find (about two years ago) a first pressing that sounded 'different' - more open and natural. At some point I mentally got 'Strange Days' mixed up with the first album, and believing the first pressings of the first album were cut from the master, decided to compare my vinyl copies to my DCC gold CD - since we know that used the master. It didn't take long to hear that one pressing of the first album paralleled the feel and sound of the DCC disc. When listeneing to later label Electra's it was immediately clear that the later copies were compressed noticeably, with louder more 'up front' vocals, and exhibiting some EQ'ing (although not bad). I should mention the DCC parallel LP wasn't quite as smooth sounding as the DCC disc, but it was still better to my ears than any other pressing. Moving now to 'Strange Days,' the same results were obtained by A/B-ing against the DCC - with the result that one pressing also paralleled the feel and balance of the DCC disc. So I began to look at matrices on other copies to see if the good sounding ones could be located just by looking at the record. Early Elecktra's with the 'gold' label (big 'E') that I have were pressed by Monarch and Columbia. Monarchs characteristically have a 'glossy' label in a light gold color, while the Columbia's use a matte finish label in a darker or ochre like color, and have the distinctive 'rim' (a slight circular inner depression starting midway through the label). In the dead wax, Monarchs used an (M) or a (MON) while the Columbia's use a (CP). These are followed by numbers in some cases. Self-titled: gold label Monarch: EKS-70047A (M) M in a circle ^9991 EKS-70047B (M) M in a circle ^9991-X This one is close to the DCC gold CD in presentation (but a bit brighter). gold label Monarch: EKS-70047A (M) M in a circle ^9991 EKS-70047B-2 (Mon) M in a circle ^9991-X Side two is cut quite a bit louder on this one, but otherwise sounds close to the above. (I wonder if this is to bring up the signal to noise ratio for The End). red label (big E) Monarch: EKS-70047A-RE (Mon-2A) M in a circle ^9991 EKS-70047B-RE (Mon-2A) M in a circle ^9991-X Clearly compressed and EQ'd. The RE strongly suggests a re-cut. Strange Days: gold label Monarch: EKS-74014A (Mon-1) M in a circle ^11050 EKS-74014B (Mon-1) M in a circle ^11050-X This most closely parallels the DCC. gold label Monarch: EKS-74014A (Mon-3) M in a circle ^11050 EKS-74014B (Mon-4) M in a circle ^110501-X This one is clearly more compressed and EQ'd a bit. ochre label Columbia: EKS-74014A (CP-1) EKS-74014B (CP-1) This one follows the balance of the DCC as well. red label big 'E' (not a Monarch I believe) EKS-74014A-W EKS-74014B-W Obviously compressed and EQ'd. Summary: if the first album says RE in the matrix, its likely cut from an EQ'd & compressed tape. If it has the (M) or (MON) with no numbers its more likely to be from the master (or a copy of it) without much futzing. Note I didn't get a Columbia pressed self titled LP to compare here, so thats up in the air, but see the 'Strange Days' below for matrix tips. Strange Days: Look for the (Mon-1) or (CP-1) in the dead wax and it should sound more open, warm, and less compressed.