Our Thoughts Circa 2007
This British Import Honky Chateau is THE BEST SOUNDING COPY WE’VE EVER HEARD — BY FAR! We just finished a big shootout for this wonderful album, and this copy took top honors with MASTER TAPE SOUND!
This has to be one of the best sounding rock records of all time. A Hot Stamper copy like this really tells you why. The highs are silky sweet, the vocals are full-bodied and breathy, and the tonal balance is perfection from top to bottom.
If you have any doubts that Elton John was a pop music genius, just play this record. It’s all the proof you will need. Drop the needle on any track — you just can’t go wrong.
There’s no need to go on and on about the sonic qualities of this copy. Everything you’d ever want from this record is here in abundance. Folks, this copy is the epitome of what we call Master Tape Sound — on both sides.
Two mastering approaches
The original British copies of this record, with the leatherette cover, have two distinctly different mastering approaches.
The earliest pressings tend to be very lively, but a bit hi-fi-ish and aggressive in places. I used to think these were the best.
The later British originals tend to sound dull and muddy.
It’s been almost two years since we’ve done a shootout for this album. It’s beyond difficult to find clean copies of this album, let alone ones that have Hot Stamper sound. There was a time when we liked a certain British stamper that we thought split the difference between the mastering approaches mentioned above. The copies we played this time around with that stamper were practically unacceptable this time around.
Our best domestic pressings actually bettered many of the Brit copies with our old favorite stamper. Improvements in our stereo and evaluation process have allowed us to discover the stampers with The Real Sound.
Quiet copies don’t grow on trees
99% of all copies of this record that can still be found are THRASHED! Even the ones that look good are usually noisy. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about — I’ve played them! DJM vinyl leaves a lot to be desired. We find maybe one clean Brit pressing every three years or so, and not all of them sound like this!
Amazingly, this copy plays a solid Mint Minus on both sides. Good luck finding another copy that plays this quietly and sounds anything like this!