A KILLER THRILLER, with an A+++ side one that’s going to knock you out! That gives you TOP SHELF SOUND for songs including Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ and the title track, which are going to BLOW YOU AWAY! So many copies of Thriller out there just don’t deliver, but this side one does almost everything right.
We pulled out every last copy in the house for this last shootout — dozens upon dozens of them. Once these are gone, it’s gonna be a long time before we can do this shootout again.
This side one just could not be beat. It’s got a big beefy bottom end, loads of extension up top, shocking immediacy, incredible transparency, tons of energy and so much more. I don’t think you can find a better side one no matter what you do.
A Real Thrill
Thanks to improvements in our stereo, we heard this album sound better than ever before. If your system is up to the task, you will be BLOWN AWAY by how wonderful this album can sound. Who woulda thunk it?! Good old Bernie Grundman handled the mastering and managed to do a really nice job; unfortunately, most copies of this mass-produced classic don’t give you all of the magic.
The sound on this copy is HUGE — big, wide, deep, and open, with the kind of three-dimensional quality that lets the music unfold in front of you AND around you. Michael’s voice is MARVELOUS on this copy — breathy, textured, and positively dripping with emotion.The bottom end is punchy, meaty, and well-defined, giving you the foundation this music needs to really get you involved. The overall sound is super transparent with amazing texture to every last element.
Trends and Techniques
After listening to dozens and dozens of copies of Thriller there are certain trends that have become apparent over the years, the most noticeable being the differing degrees of high frequency extension found on individual pressings. Based on the many copies we’ve played, we’ve come up with four general classifications:
- All the Highs
- Full extension — making cymbals and shakers present but not abrasive. Vocals have ambience and presence virtually without spit or strain.
- Most of the Highs
- Good extension, gets most of the very top but falls short in terms of presence and overall delicacy compared to the very best. Still rare and certainly well ahead of the competition.
- Some of the Highs
- Cymbals and shakers seem harder, grainier and more abrasive. Vocals have presence but are now are accompanied by grit. Vocals will also tend to sound strained in the louder passages.
- None of the Highs
- Stampers worn smooth, no real top end to speak of, dullsville. You’re better off with the CD (as bass-shy and gritty as the CD may be, at least it has a top end).
Revolutions In Audio Bring You Today’s Thriller
Thanks to our extensive cleaning process, we were able to bring out qualities in these pressings that just weren’t there when we did our preliminary (pre-cleaning) round. Extended highs appeared where none had been before. We were hearing synthesizers buried deep in the mix we’d never heard. All of a sudden, these ’80s pop records had amazing analog magic!
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
Baby Be Mine
The Girl Is Mine
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
The Lady in My Life
Nobody could have prepared anybody for the success of Thriller, since the magnitude of its success was simply unimaginable — an album that sold 40 million copies in its initial chart run, with seven of its nine tracks reaching the Top Ten (for the record, the terrific ‘Baby Be Mine’ and the pretty good ballad ‘The Lady in My Life’ are not like the others). This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul — expanding the approach to have something for every audience. It’s calculated, to be sure, but the chutzpah of those calculations (before this, nobody would even have thought to bring in metal virtuoso Eddie Van Halen to play on a disco cut) is outdone by their success. The record is more than just a phenomenon…it is just simply great music.