The Association – Insight Out

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  • An outstanding pressing of Insight Out, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • The Tubey Magical sound, the lively, tight playing by The Wrecking Crew, not to mention some killer Chart Topping ’60s pop, make this THE Association album to own
  • With this copy the Sound of the Sixties will fill your room like never before – wall to wall, floor to ceiling, with layers upon layers of analog depth
  • These original Gold Label stereo pressings are potentially the best sounding, with the ideal balance of richness and transparency
  • POTENTIALLY – again, the label is no guarantee of top quality sound, only proper cleaning and careful shootouts can do that
  • “The harmonies and choruses are among the most beautifully textured singing in a rock outfit this side of the Beach Boys.”

This vintage Warner Brothers Gold Label stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records 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 Superb Sides Such as These 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 1967
  • 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’re Listening For on Insight Out

  • 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.


Side One

Wasn’t It a Bit Like Now (Parallel ’23)
On a Quiet Night

This is an interesting track, one I never fully appreciated before. It sounds just like the Mamas and the Papas! Perhaps Bones Howe, the man who recorded both groups, had something to do with the crossover harmonies and similiar arrangements. Either way, it’s one of the stronger songs on the album.

We Love Us
When Love Comes to Me

Windy never sounds quite as good as the other tracks; we suspect it may have an extra generation of tape. They might have added something after the final mix which resulted in another piece of tape between us and the music — too bad because it’s such a great song! Everything around it is more alive sounding, so what else could it be?

Still, on the best copies you will hear sound far superior to what you remember hearing on the radio, that’s for damn sure.


Side Two

Never My Love

This is actually the best sounding track on the album. Those of you with better front ends will be astonished at the quality of the sound found on the best copies. It is the very definition of Tubey Magic. If you have a skeptical neighbor or friend who doesn’t know what this Old School Analog Foolishness is all about, sit him (or her) down and drop the needle on Never My Love.

If the stereo is up to it, and you have the right copy of the record (this one will do nicely), you will be demonstrating the kind of magic no digital media in the history of the world will ever manage to reproduce.

And you don’t need tubes to do it. The Tubey Magic is on the tape, it’s on the record (when you get a good one), so all you have to do it play it right.

Easier said than done but what in audio isn’t?

Happiness Is
Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin’
Requiem for the Masses

AMG Review 

Insight Out is an enjoyable folk-rock album with a few digressions into garage punk, novelty tunes, and psychedelia, all displaying much of what the group did best. The harmonies and choruses are among the most beautifully textured singing in a rock outfit this side of the Beach Boys, while the playing is engaging.

Insight Out was done somewhat in the shadow of Harpers Bizarre’s experimental “Feelin’ Groovy” single — the opening number, “Wasn’t It a Bit Like Now,” was an exercise in nostalgia similar to the later successful songs of Harpers Bizarre. “On a Quiet Night” and “We Love Us” are folk-rock ballads on which the group’s harmonies are the highlight, while “When Love Comes to Me” is a breezy little mood piece that resembles a slightly more ornate cousin to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Punky’s Dilemma.”

In that company, the number one single “Windy” (the presence of which helped drive up sales of this album) sounds almost heavy and hard-rocking. It and the accompanying single, “Never My Love” (which was later a hit for the 5th Dimension), are the strongest tracks here.