- One of the best copies to ever hit the site and boy is it KILLER! Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
- An excellent recording that really shines on a good pressing like this; fairly quiet vinyl too!
- “Every track on this album has been carefully thought, arranged, and performed to perfection…”
It’s not easy to find great copies of this album. This kind of prog rock demands big, bold sound, and not all copies have the size or low end weight to pull it off. Keith Emerson’s organ needs to extend all the way down, or it just doesn’t work. Both sides here have a great bottom end, and some real texture and space up top.
From The Beginning has the kind of analog magic that made it a staple in practically every stereo store I walked into back in the ’70s.
The organ captured here by Eddie Offord (of Yes engineering fame, we’re his biggest fans) and then transferred so well onto our Hot Stamper pressings, will rattle the foundation of your house if you’re not careful. This music really needs that kind of megawatt reproduction to make sense. It’s big Bombastic Prog that wants desperately to rock your world. At moderate levels it just sounds overblown and silly. At loud levels it actually CAN rock your world.
Folks, This Is Why We Love Analog
This is ANALOG at its Tubey Magical finest. You ain’t never gonna play a CD that sounds like this as long as you live. I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but digital media are evidently incapable of reproducing this kind of sound. There are nice sounding CDs in the world but there aren’t any that sound like this, not in my experience anyway. If you are thinking that someday a better digital system is going to come along in order to save you the trouble and expense of having to find and acquire these expensive original pressings, think again. Not gonna happen.
This is the kind of record that shows you what’s wrong with your BEST sounding CDs. (Let’s not even talk about the average one in your collection, or mine; the less said the better.) This is the kind of record that somebody hears in a stereo store and realizes the digital road they’ve been going down for so many years is a sonic dead end. This is that kind of record.
Top Honors Go to the Brits for a Change
The best Brit copies take top honors for sound in our Trilogy shootout, with the kind of sweetness, openness, tubey magic, correct tonality, presence without aggressiveness, well-defined note-like bass, extended airy highs and all the rest that are the hallmarks of the Hottest of the Hot.
Unlike the Brit pressings of the first album [we no longer agree with this statement as of about 2020], the Brits here really ROCK, with greater dynamic contrasts and seriously prodigious bass, some of the best ever committed to vinyl. This music needs real whomp down below and lots of jump factor to work its magic. These Brits are super-low distortion, with an open, sweet sound, especially up top, but they still manage to convey the awesome power of the music, no mean feat.
This is a true Demo Disc LP, one of the most dynamic and powerful rock recordings ever made. The organ on this album is wall to wall and floor to ceiling.
Size and Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn’t, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation.
Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded that open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one of two clean British original copies with which to do a shootout? These records are expensive and hard to come by in good shape. Believe us, we know whereof we speak when it comes to getting hold of original British pressings of Classic Rock albums.
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it’s an entirely different – and dare I say unforgettable — listening experience.
The Endless Enigma, Pt. 1
The Endless Enigma, Pt. 2
From the Beginning
This is PROGGY POP at its best, right up there with Yes’s and King Crimson’s biggest and boldest musical statements. When it’s good, it’s REALLY GOOD. (Conversely, of course, when it’s bad, it’s pretty bad. Played Relayer lately?)