Click on the link below to pull up the many reviews and commentaries we’ve written, as well as Hot Stamper copies that are currently available on the site.
It’s official: we’re inaugurating a Top Ten Best Sounding Rock / Pop Album List, and the first member to be inducted is none other than our old favorite, Led Zeppelin II.
It’s also yet another in a very long line of records that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume. We’re convinced Zep II has to be the hardest rocking album of all time. The best copies — often with the same stampers as the not-as-good copies by the way — have a LIFE and a POWER to them that simply cannot be found on other records.
Hence the Top Ten title designation.
And I certainly have never heard a CD or Heavy Vinyl pressing that sounded remotely as good as one of our Hot Stampers. I doubt that I ever will. As long as we have records like this, what difference does it make?
Turn It Up!
The best copies of Zep II have the kind of rock and roll firepower that’s guaranteed to bring any system to its knees. I can tell you with no sense of shame whatsoever that I do not have a system powerful enough to play this record at the levels I was listening to it at in one of our shootouts a while back. When the big bass comes in, hell yeah it distorts. It would have distorted worse at any concert the band ever played. Did people walk out, or ask the band to turn down the volume? No way. The volume IS the sound.
That’s what the album is trying to prove. This recording is a statement by the band that they can fuse so much sonic power into a piece of vinyl that no matter what stereo you own, no matter how big the speakers, no matter how many watts you think you have, it’s not enough. And never will be.
Distortion? What Distortion?
The music will be so good you be unable to restrain yourself from turning it up louder, and louder, and still louder, making the distortion you hear an intoxicating part of the music. Resistance, as we all know, is futile.
The louder you play a top copy the better it sounds. Turn up Moby Dick as loud as you can. Now it’s starting to sound like the real thing. But drum kits play far louder than any stereo can, so even as loud as you can play it isn’t as loud as the real thing. This is in itself a form of distortion, an alteration of the original sound.
If at the end of a side you don’t feel like you’ve just been run over by a freight train, you missed out on one of the greatest musical experiences known to man: Led Zeppelin at ear-splitting levels. If you missed them in concert, and I did, this is the only way to get some sense of what it might have been like.
Assuming of course that you have the room, the speakers and all the other stuff needed to reproduce this album. Maybe one out of fifty systems I’ve ever run into fits that bill. But we’re all trying, at least I hope we are, and it’s good to have goals in life, even ones you can never reach.
…along these lines can be found below.
This listing will show you How to Get the Most Out Of Your Records .
You may find our recommendations for Record Cleaning helpful as well.
You can find your very own Hot Stamper pressings by using the techniques we lay out in Hot Stamper Shootouts — The Four Pillars of Success.
Record shootouts are the fastest and easiest way to hone your listening skills, a subject we discuss often on the site and directly address in this commentary from way back in 2005.