Aerosmith – Self-Titled

  • A stunning copy of Aerosmith’s debut — Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • With plenty of energy, killer rock bass, and clear, present vocals, this pressing has all the key qualities we look for in an Aerosmith record
  • Dream On sounds incredible on this one – worth the price of admission alone
  • “In retrospect, it’s a bit shocking how fully formed the signature Aerosmith sound was on their self-titled 1973 debut… Aerosmith clearly showcases all the attributes of the band that would become the defining American hard rock band of the ’70s… “

KILLER sound for this copy of Aerosmith’s debut album! Mama Kin, a perennial staple of the band’s live performances and arguably the best rocker on the album, sounds fantastic here, huge and open with some serious presence. As you might expect from a debut, the sound here is a bit rougher and rawer than later albums like Toys in the Attic, but that’s not altogether a bad thing for this kind of loose, greasy hard rock!

This vintage Columbia pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of this debut release 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 1973
  • 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.

Size

One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.

Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.

And most of the time those very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy that does all that, it’s an entirely different listening experience.

What We Listen For on Aerosmith

  • 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 would 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Make It
Somebody
Dream On
One Way Street

Side Two

Mama Kin
Write Me
Movin’ Out
Walkin’ the Dog

AMG  Review

In retrospect, it’s a bit shocking how fully formed the signature Aerosmith sound was on their self-titled 1973 debut… Aerosmith clearly showcases all the attributes of the band that would become the defining American hard rock band of the ’70s…

…the early masterpiece is, of course, “Dream On,” the first full-fledged power ballad. There was nothing quite like it in 1973, and it remains the blueprint for all power ballads since.

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