- This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album, a vintage pressing like this one is the way to go
- The Beach Boys revolutionized the popular music of the day with their genius for harmony, and a killer copy like this has their voices sounding the way they should
- 5 stars: “The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound.”
Important Details About This Pressing
There have been a great many versions of Pet Sounds released on vinyl over the years, and most of them in our opinion are awful. (The DCC is acceptable at best.) We’re not going to give away what pressing this is, mostly because it took us many years, a huge amount of effort, and quite a large supply of expensive, ultimately rejected pressings in order to finally figure out what version of Pet Sounds sounds the best.
In short, we ask that you please not order this copy of Pet Sounds expecting to receive an original pressing. We’ve never heard an original that sounded better than tolerable, and tolerable is simply not going to cut it for a Hot Stamper, not at these prices anyway.
What you will receive is the only version of the material that has ever sounded right to us, and naturally that means it will be made from the original mono mix. We would be very surprised to discover another pressing that can compete with it. As per our policy, if for any reason you are not happy with the sound of the album we send you (or the condition, or the cover, or absolutely anything else, that’s our policy and always has been), feel free to return it for a full refund.
Pet Sounds in Glorious Mono
This vintage Capitol pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 Beach Boys Classic 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 1966
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the multi-tracked vocals, guitars, keyboard, drums and myriad other instruments (orchestrated strings, bicycle bells, buzzing organs, harpsichords, flutes, Theremin, Hawaiian-sounding string instruments, Coca-Cola cans, barking dogs, etc.) having the correct sound for this recording
- 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.
Pet Sounds Issues
This is not a perfect recording and not a perfect pressing. There is a touch of compressor distortion at times, but it’s there on every last copy we’ve played. You’ll hear a bit of it on Here Today, Sloop John B and I Wasn’t Made For These Times. There are beautiful Minty copies that we shell out big bucks for that get tossed back in the trade pile when the distortion is too much to bear.
However, a copy that has earned a Hot Stamper grade will handle these parts dramatically better than most. We’ve evaluated many different copies of many different versions of Pet Sounds, and the sound here is so much better than most everything out there. We’re absolutely sure you’ll agree. In fact, we guarantee you will or your money back.
What’s magical about The Beach Boys? Their voices of course, what else could it be? It’s not a trick question. They revolutionized the popular music of their day with their genius for harmony. Any good pressing must sound correct on their voices or it has no practical value whatsoever. A Beach Boys record with bad sound in the midrange — like most of them — is to us a worthless record.
When you drop the needle on a copy with gritty, spitty, harsh, shrill vocals, give up and move on. You have a bad pressing and no amount of cleaning or adjusting of the tonearm can ever fix it.
Some reissue copies of the album actually have at least one track in reprocessed mono — fake stereo — even though the label and jacket say mono.
What We’re Listening For on Pet Sounds
- 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 — Bruce Botnick, Larry Levine, and others in this case — would have 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.
A Must Own Pop Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious audiophile Popular Music Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Records that we think sound best in mono can be found here.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
You Still Believe in Me
That’s Not Me
Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)
I’m Waiting for the Day
Let’s Go Away for Awhile
Sloop John B.
God Only Knows
I Know There’s an Answer
I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
The best Beach Boys album, and one of the best of the 1960s.
The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound. Conventional keyboards and guitars were combined with exotic touches of orchestrated strings, bicycle bells, buzzing organs, harpsichords, flutes, Theremin, Hawaiian-sounding string instruments, Coca-Cola cans, barking dogs, and more.
It wouldn’t have been a classic without great songs, and this has some of the group’s most stunning melodies, as well as lyrical themes which evoke both the intensity of newly born love affairs and the disappointment of failed romance (add in some general statements about loss of innocence and modern-day confusion as well)…
Massively influential upon its release (although it was a relatively low seller compared to their previous LPs), it immediately vaulted the band into the top level of rock innovators among the intelligentsia, especially in Britain, where it was a much bigger hit.