- This incredibly good sounding Triple Plus (A+++) side two will show you just how good Ziggy Stardust can sound in analog (and side two was not far behind at A++) – exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
- The stage is huge and the amount of Tubey Magic has to be heard to be believed – this is the pinnacle of sound for Glam Rock
- Until you hear one of these killer British pressings you simply cannot know what you are missing
- A Rock & Pop Top 100 album, and Ken Scott’s engineering masterpiece
- “Fleshing out the off-kilter metallic mix with fatter guitars, genuine pop songs, string sections, keyboards, and a cinematic flourish, Ziggy Stardust is a glitzy array of riffs, hooks, melodrama, and style and the logical culmination of glam.”
Drop the needle on any song. We guarantee you have never heard that song sound better. The mastering is superb. There’s really no “mastering” to listen for — all you’re really aware of is the music flowing from the speakers, freed from all the limitations that you’ve had to accept over the years.
Unquestionably, this is the pinnacle of Glam Rock. Every track is superb; not a moment is less than stellar from beginning to end.
Is it Bowie’s Masterpiece?
Absolutely. No other Bowie record ranks higher in my book.
Is it amazingly well recorded?
You better believe it. This is not just Bowie’s masterpiece; it’s Ken Scott’s as well. For BIG, BOLD, wall to wall, floor to ceiling sound, look no further. The best copies are swimming in rich, sweet TUBEY MAGIC. This is a sound we cannot get enough of here at Better Records.
The guitars may not sound “real,” they way they actually would in real life, but they sure sound grungy and GOOD!
What the best sides of Ziggy Stardust 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 1972
- 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.
The Tubey Magic Top Ten
You don’t need tube equipment to hear the prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic that exist on this recording. For those of you who’ve experienced top quality analog pressings of Meddle or Dark Side of the Moon, or practically any jazz album on Contemporary, whether played through tubes or transistors, that’s the luscious sound of Tubey Magic, and it is all over Tommy.
Ranked strictly in terms of Tubey Magic I would have to put this album on our list of Most Tubey Magical Rock Recordings of All Time, right up there with, and in no particular order:
- Sgt. Pepper (1967),
- Meddle (1971),
- Dark Side of the Moon (1973),
- The Eagles (1972),
- Tommy (1969),
- Dire Straits (1977, and clearly the outlier in this group),
- The Doors (1967),
- Ziggy Stardust (1972),
- Tumbleweed Connection (1970),
- A Space in Time (1970), and a handful of others to be named later.
Worth the Price
To say that a superb sounding British pressing is not the kind of record that’s easy to come by these days is to state the obvious. If this record is as meaningful for you as it is for me, I think you will quickly appreciate that it’s worth every penny of its price. All you need do is drop the needle at the start of either side. It won’t be long before all questions are answered and all mysteries revealed.
The emotional power of these songs is communicated so completely through this copy that the experience will be like hearing it for the first time.
This is, I hope it goes without saying, one of the greatest rock records of all time, music that belongs in any collection. I’ve been playing this album for 30 years and I can honestly say I’ve never once tired of it.
What We’re Listening For on Ziggy Stardust
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Ken Scott in this case — would have put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings)
The guitars on this record are a true test of stereo reproduction. Many pressings of this album do not get the guitars to sound right. On some they will sound veiled and dull, and on a copy with a bit too much up top, they will have an unfortunate hi-fi-ish sparkle, the kind that Mobile Fidelity was infamous for in the late ’70s and ’80s.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
Just listen to those cymbal crashes! Never heard them sound like that.
It Ain’t Easy
The piano is recorded superbly; it’s the perfect balance of power and delicacy, not just on this track but throughout the album.
Hang on to Yourself
Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Borrowing heavily from Marc Bolan’s glam rock and the future shock of A Clockwork Orange, David Bowie reached back to the heavy rock of The Man Who Sold the World for The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Constructed as a loose concept album about an androgynous alien rock star named Ziggy Stardust, the story falls apart quickly, yet Bowie’s fractured, paranoid lyrics are evocative of a decadent, decaying future, and the music echoes an apocalyptic, nuclear dread. Fleshing out the off-kilter metallic mix with fatter guitars, genuine pop songs, string sections, keyboards, and a cinematic flourish, Ziggy Stardust is a glitzy array of riffs, hooks, melodrama, and style and the logical culmination of glam. Mick Ronson plays with a maverick flair that invigorates rockers like “Suffragette City,” “Moonage Daydream,” and “Hang Onto Yourself,” while “Lady Stardust,” “Five Years,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” have a grand sense of staged drama previously unheard of in rock & roll. And that self-conscious sense of theater is part of the reason why Ziggy Stardust sounds so foreign. Bowie succeeds not in spite of his pretensions but because of them, and Ziggy Stardust — familiar in structure, but alien in performance — is the first time his vision and execution met in such a grand, sweeping fashion.
We Get Letters
From a few years back:
Picked up your SHS of “Ziggy” last week–my daughter is 13 and starting to get into Mick Ronson, and I got this to show her what I think is his best work, not just on guitar, but in essentially creating the overall sound for the “Ziggy Stardust” album. What I didn’t expect was how fantastic this album sounds. I’ve had other copies and they sound like I’m wearing a blanket over my head.
Alongside my HS copy of “Freak Out” (first record I ever bought from you guys, I think), this has to be the most dramatic improvement over a typical recording I’ve ever heard! Records like this justify Better Records in spades–wow!!