The Moody Blues – On The Threshold Of A Dream

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On The Threshold Of A Dream

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  • This excellent pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • The richness, sweetness, and warmth on this one give you exactly the sound you want for this wonderful music
  • This copy plays on relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… [I]n 1969 this was envelope-ripping, genre-busting music, scaling established boundaries into unknown territory, not only “outside the box” but outside of any musical box that had been conceived at that moment…”

Both sides give you silky highs, surprising clarity, amazing openness and transparency, real weight to the bottom end, lots of air in the flutes, wonderful texture to the strings, and so much more. The acoustic guitars sound impressive, with the proper balance between pluck and body. The vocals are shockingly clean and clear throughout.

Copies like this bring all the psychedelic Moody Blues magic to life in your living room. The richness, sweetness, and warmth on this one give you exactly the sound you want for this wild music. You get lovely tubey magic and clarity. The sound is cleaner, clearer, richer, sweeter, and more present that you could have imagined.

It has been my experience that, as good as the British originals of the Moody Blues records are — and I think they are the best sounding pressings of their music that can be found — their one consistent shortcoming is an overly smooth top end. We managed to find a handful of copies that break with that tradition, and the results are wonderful.

No Sacrifice Necessary — You Can Have It All

Allow me to steal some commentary from our last Moody Blues Hot Stamper shootout, the one we did for the wonderful Lost Chord, in which we say that all the clarity and resolution comes…

WITHOUT SACRIFICING the tubey-magical richness, warmth and lushness for which the Moody Blues recordings are justifiably famous. I’m not kidding — this pressing presents this music in a way that no previous LP of it that I’ve ever played could. It’s so correct from top to bottom, so present and alive, while still retaining all the richness and sweetness we expect from British Moody Blues records, that I find it hard to believe you can do any better, in this life anyway. This copy managed to take the Moodies’ wonderful music to another level. It’s the very definition of a Hot Stamper.

Cutting Through the Moody Muck

Improvements in the stereo and room made quite a difference in the reproduction of Days of Future Passed as well. Little by little over the course of the last year things began to change. We came up with a number of much more sophisticated and advanced cleaning techniques (which we will talk about at a later date so stay tuned). The ruler-flat, super-clean and clear Dynavector 17d replaced the more forgiving, less accurate 20x. The EAR 324 we acquired at the beginning of 2007 was a BIG step up over the 834p in terms of resolution and freedom from distortion slash coloration. And the third pair of Hallographs had much the same effect, taking out the room distortions that compromise transparency and three-dimensionality. With the implementation of a number of other seemingly insignificant tweaks, each of which made a subtle but recognizable improvement, the cumulative effect of all of the above was now clearly making a difference. The combination of so many improvements was nothing less than dramatic. We saw the Moody Blues, not through a glass darkly, but clearly for the first time, and we loved what we were hearing.

Three Qualities to Look For

Achieving just the right balance of “Moody Blues Sound” and transparency is no mean feat. You have to be using the real master tape for starters. Then you need top extension, a very rare quality of these imports, and finally, good bass definition to keep the bottom end from blurring the midrange. No domestic copy in our experience has ever had these three qualities, and only the best of the imports manages to get all three on the same LP.

The Nautilus half-speed is actually pretty good but it sure doesn’t sound like this. It robs the music of some essential energy, ambiance, and warmth. Those of you with budget front-ends will find the Nautilus to be very enjoyable, but if you’ve put a lot of time, energy, and money into your system then there is no substitute for The Real Thing.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

In the Beginning 
Lovely to See You
Dear Diary 
Send Me No Wine
To Share Our Love 
So Deep Within You

Side Two

Never Comes the Day 
Lazy Day 
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
The Dream 
Have You Heard, Pt. 1
The Voyage 
Have You Heard, Pt. 2

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

On the original LP’s first side (which was the more rock-oriented side), the songs “Lovely to See You,” “Send Me No Wine,” “To Share Our Love,” and “So Deep Within You” all featured killer guitar hooks (electric and acoustic) and fills by Justin Hayward; beautiful, muscular bass from John Lodge; and vocal hooks everywhere.

It’s also a surprisingly hard-rocking album considering the amount of overdubbing that went into perfecting the songs, including cellos, wind and reed instruments, and lots of vocal layers — yet it even found room to display a pop-soul edge on “So Deep Within You” (a number that the Four Tops later recorded)…

… [I]n 1969 this was envelope-ripping, genre-busting music, scaling established boundaries into unknown territory, not only “outside the box” but outside of any musical box that had been conceived at that moment — perhaps it can be considered rock’s flirtation with the territory covered by works such as Alexander Scriabin’s Mysterium, and if it overreached (as did Scriabin), well, so did a lot of other people at the time, including Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Who, et al…

Amazingly, On the Threshold of a Dream was their first chart-topping LP in England, and remained on the charts for an astonishing 70 weeks.