This Minty Apple British Import pressing has MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE ONE! We just finished a big Abbey Road shootout (1/16/07) and this side one was IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN!
This is the first Hot Stamper Abbey Road we’ve ever listed … and there’s a good reason for that. It’s practically impossible to find a properly mastered copy. For whatever reasons — probably because this recording is so complicated and required so many tracks — Abbey Road is the toughest nut to crack in the Beatles’ catalog.
This copy is actually my personal Ref Copy, which I have had in my collection for many years. Surprisingly, while doing this shootout we discovered that it doesn’t have the ultimate side two, which is the side I really liked on this copy. It still merits an A+ for side two, but it’s interesting that one of the things that we often discover in these shootouts is copies that exceed our expectations and set entriely new standards for albums we’ve been listening to critically for decades. This copy turned out to have the Ultimate Side One — A+++. No other copy came close; it’s two full grades above the next best pressing.
Frankly up to now we’ve been afraid to take on Abbey Road. With recent improvements to the stereo, and knowing that I had at least one superb sounding copy, now was the time. Out of all the Imports I’ve been collecting over the last dozen years or so, only three or four copies really qualified as having Hot Stampers.
The biggest problem with Abbey Road is aggressive highs. There are so many places on both sides that can sound shrill and unpleasant. (See the Track Commentary below.) To find copies that remain sweet and smooth throughout was exceptionally difficult, but we managed to do it.
Side one is amazingly transparent, with tons of ambience and immediacy to the vocals. There’s no trace of phony EQ or bad mastering whatsoever. It rates an A+++ — As Good As It Gets. As we’ve said for some of our other White Hot Stampers, you’ll feel as though the master tape is threaded up and playing through your stereo.
Side two is wonderful as well, with SUPERB clarity. We only heard one side two that had better sound. This one has a wonderfully punchy bottom end with deep, well-defined bass.
One more thing. This is a BIG SPEAKER RECORDING. If you’re trying to squeeze the nine tracks of Beatles’ voices in the song Because through some little box, you are wasting your time. This is the final statement from The Beatles. To take away the power of this album by playing it through inadequate equipment makes a mockery of the effort they put into it.