Van Halen – 1984

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  • A stunning copy of this hard rock classic with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are rockin’ like crazy – lots of energy, impressive size and big-time presence
  • Tons of hits: Panama, Hot For Teacher, Jump, and you won’t believe how good they sound on this copy
  • 5 stars: “It’s the best showcase of Van Halen’s instrumental prowess as a band… the best showcase for their songwriting, just their flat-out best album overall.”

Want to hear three of the best songs these guys ever did — Jump, Panama and Hot For Teacher — sound incredible? We recently had a chance to shoot out a bunch of these, and I’m sure it won’t surprise you that most copies were a JOKE. Most of them just do not have the kind of weight to the bottom end that this music needs to work. Put simply: if your Van Halen LP can’t rock, then what’s the point?

Go ahead and turn your nose if you must, but this music is practically classic rock by now! I’m not going to pretend it’s on a level with After The Gold Rush or Zep II, but this album really rocks. At least it does when you have a good pressing like this one. The All Music Guide gives this album 5 Big Stars, and I’m sure that a few of you feel just as strongly about it.

What the best sides of this Van Halen ’80s Classic from have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1984
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Engineering Excellence

Credit Donn Landee (and Ted Templeman too) with the rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of the best copies. He’s recorded many of our favorite albums here at Better Records.

Most of the better Doobies Brothers albums are his; more by Van Halen of course; Lowell George’s wonderful Thanks I’ll Eat It Here; Little Feat’s Time Loves a Hero (not their best music but some of their best sound); Carly Simon’s Another Passenger (my favorite of all her albums); and his Masterpiece (in my humble opinion), Captain Beefheart’s mindblowing Clear Spot.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

1984
Jump
Panama
Top Jimmy
Drop Dead Legs

Side Two

Hot for Teacher
I’ll Wait
Girl Gone Bad
House of Pain

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

It’s the best showcase of Van Halen’s instrumental prowess as a band, the best showcase for Diamond Dave’s glorious shtick, the best showcase for their songwriting, just their flat-out best album overall. It’s a shame that Roth left after this album, but maybe it’s for the best, since there’s no way Van Halen could have bettered this album with Dave around (and they didn’t better it once Sammy joined, either).

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