Play it against your MoFi or Heavy Vinyl pressing and you will quickly see why those LPs bore us to tears. Who in his right mind would want to suffer through a boring Beatles record?
Drop the needle on any song on the first side to see why we went crazy over this one. The emotional quality of the boys’ performances really comes through on this copy. They aren’t just singing — they’re really BELTIN’ it out. Can you imagine what that sounds like on the title track? We didn’t have to imagine it, WE HEARD IT!
It’s (Almost) All About The Midrange
There are two important traits that all the best copies have in common. Tonally they aren’t bright and aggressive (which eliminates 80 percent of the AHDN pressings you find), and they have a wonderful midrange warmth and sweetness that brings out the unique quality of the Beatles’ individual voices and harmonies.
When comparing pressings of this record, the copies that get their voices to sound present, while at the same time warm, smooth, and sweet, especially during the harmonies and in the loudest choruses are always the best. All the other instruments seem to fall in line when the vocals are correct. This is an old truism — it’s all about the midrange — but in this case it really is true.
This music has a HUGE amount of upper midrange and high frequency information. (Just note how present the tambourines are in the mixes.) If the record isn’t cut properly, or pressed properly for that matter, the sound can be quite unpleasant. (One of our good customers made an astute comment in an email to us — the typical copy of this album makes you want to turn DOWN the volume.)
The Old CD – You Know, the Original Mono One that Everybody Used to Like…
On another note, I have the early generation mono CD of this album. Although my car has a very good stereo system, you would never know there was any magic to the sound of these recordings by playing that CD. The whole thing is hopelessly flat and gray.
It starts to perk up by the song Things We Said Today, the 10th(!) track. Before that it just sounds compressed, with all the voices and instruments mashed together. There’s no transparency to the sound. It reminds me of listening to this music on the radio. If that’s the effect George Martin was going for with the old mono mix, he succeeded brilliantly. I prefer the twin-track unapproved stereo mixes found on this LP.
A Hard Day’s Night
I Should Have Known Better
If I Fell
This is a wonderful example of The Beatles’ harmonies at their best. Toward the end of the song, during one of their harmonic excursions, you can hear John’s voice drop out when something apparently catches in his throat, and I could swear that you can hear Paul McCartney react to it with a little laugh.If their voices sound warm, sweet, and transparent on this track, at the very least you have a contender, and possibly a winner. Not many pressings are going to bring out all the timbral qualities of their voices.
I’m Happy Just to Dance With You
And I Love Her
Tell Me Why
Can’t Buy Me Love
Always starts with a bit of grit and grain, but usually sounds better by the second verse.
Any Time at All
I’ll Cry Instead
This track has a tendency to sound a bit aggressive on even the best copies. The copies with extended highs and a tonally correct midrange are the ones that tend to do well in our shootouts.
Things We Said Today
On the best copies this track is really rich and full-bodied. It’s got the kind of ’60s Tubey Magic that we find positively intoxicating.
When I Get Home
Another one with a lot of potentially aggressive qualities. If you can play this song good and loud, you must have an excellent pressing. (More cowbell!)
You Can’t Do That
I’ll Be Back