- A superb copy of Dylan’s 1970 release with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
- We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness and presence on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true for whatever godawful Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently being foisted on an unsuspecting record-buying public
- “… it’s a fun, affectionate, sometimes beautiful, often entertaining, occasionally goofy record. As a tangle of roots and enthusiasms, it looks forward to Dylan’s two early-90s albums of folk-song covers, to his eclectic satellite-radio show, which ran on Sirius from 2006 to 2009, and to his recent string of albums with their timeless-sounding fusion of blues, country, folk, and pop.” – Bruce Handy, Vanity Fair
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 Self Portrait 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 1970
- 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.
What We Listen For on Self-Portrait
- 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.
All The Tired Horses
I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know
Early Mornin’ Rain
In Search Of Little Sadie
Let It Be Me
Living The Blues
Like A Rolling Stone
Gotta Travel On
The Mighty Quinn (Quinn, The Eskimo)
Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go)
Take A Message To Mary
It Hurts Me Too
She Belongs To Me