Yes – 90125

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  • This outstanding copy of 90125 boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Spacious, solid and dynamic with huge bass and analog richness that’s hard to find on this album
  • There’s tons of life and energy here and the vocals sound just right
  • 4 1/2 stars: “A stunning self-reinvention by a band that many had given up for dead, 90125 is the album that introduced a whole new generation of listeners to Yes… there’s nary a duff track on the album.”

A superb copy with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish. I’m pleased to report that we can now add 90125 to our small list of ’80s albums that can sound excellent on the right pressing. Drop the needle on Owner Of A Lonely Heart and we bet you’ll agree!

So many copies we played were full of that digital grit and grain that we hear on so many records from the era. This one is an entirely different story. It has wonderful analog qualities, with more richness and smoothness than most pressings.

Hit and Miss Mass-Produced Vinyl

The recording itself is outstanding: punchy and lively with an especially beefy bottom end, the kind a good rock record needs. But you would never know it by playing the average pressing you might pick up for five bucks at your local used record store. The typical copy of this record is pretty average sounding. Let’s face it: Every mastering mistake that CAN be made WILL be made sooner or later with mass-produced domestic vinyl like this.

What the best sides of 90125 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 1983
  • 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 space of the studio

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.

Yes Rebooted

Did you know that this almost wasn’t even a Yes album? Trevor Rabin had joined forces with Chris Squire and Alan White and began writing material under the name Cinema. Eventually, Jon Anderson came on board and the band decided to stick with the Yes name. The result? Yes’s most commercially successful album and their biggest hit song ever.

The album certainly has a different vibe than the band’s classic earlier albums, but it’s all in good fun. They managed to incorporate the sounds and technology of the ’80s with their own style and ended up at the top of the charts. Not bad!

What We’re Listening For on 90125

Less grit – smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on 90125.

A bigger presentation – more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.

More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way Gary Langan wanted it to.

Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.

Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.

Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.

Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.

Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain’t easy to play ’em either. You’re going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area — VTA, tracking weight, azimuth, and anti-skate — in order to play this album properly. If you’ve got the goods you’re gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart/table/arm and you’re likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Owner of a Lonely Heart
Hold On
It Can Happen
Changes

Side Two

Cinema
Leave It
Our Song
City of Love
Hearts

A 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

A stunning self-reinvention by a band that many had given up for dead, 90125 is the album that introduced a whole new generation of listeners to Yes… “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was a huge crossover hit, and its orchestral break has been relentlessly sampled by rappers ever since. The vocal harmonies of “Leave It” and the beautifully sprawling “Hearts” are additional high points, but there’s nary a duff track on the album.

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