More of The Doors
More Top 100 Rock and Pop Albums
- An outstanding copy of the band’s debut with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – we guarantee you’ve never experienced The Doors like this!
- The sound is incredibly big, rich and spacious, with a rock solid bottom end and energy that puts the lie to the modern veiled, lifeless reissue
- Only the right Gold Label originals can win a shootout, and few of them are not going to have condition issues, but the two here are fairly minor all things considered
- A must-own album “whose nonstop melodicism and dynamic tension would never be equaled by the group again, let alone bettered.”
- 5 stars: “A tremendous debut album, and indeed one of the best first-time outings in rock history, introducing the band’s fusion of rock, blues, classical, jazz and poetry with a knockout punch.”
Superb sound on this copy of the Doors self-titled classic! You won’t believe how good the sound is here — big and rich with plenty of bottom end and an energy level that’s really something to hear! Thanks, Bruce Botnick, you da man!
Honestly, we must return or reject 80% of the copies that come through the door, which should go a long way towards explaining why they hit the site with such irregularity. We know what the best stampers are and have for quite a while. What we have a devil of a time doing is finding anyone selling the album who knows how to grade it properly, especially when it comes to the kind of groove damage that’s common to records played on turntables that lack anti-skate.
This Elektra stereo 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 The Doors 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.
This a Must-Own Record, a 1966 (!) recording with unbelievable RAW POWER! Most audiophiles likely have no idea how well recorded this album is, simply because most pressings don’t do a very good job of encoding the energy and life of the master tape onto the vinyl of the day. This one certainly does that!
The first Doors album is without a doubt the punchiest, liveliest, most POWERFUL recording in the entire Doors catalog.
Huh? I’m guessing this statement does not comport well with your own experience of the album, and there’s a good reason for that: not many copies of the album provide strong evidence for any of the above qualities. Most pressings are opaque, flat, thin, veiled, compressed, lifeless and sound exactly the way so many old rock records sound: like an old rock record.
The Butterfly and Small Red E labels are so contemptibly thin and harsh they are not worth the vinyl they’re pressed on. You would be much better off with the DCC Gold CD than any of the reissue vinyl we’ve ever heard. Good digital beats bad analog anyday.
Rhino Vinyl (From 2009)
What a mess. Imagine listening to this album with a two inch thick velvet curtain placed over your speakers — that’s the sound of the remastered record! How bad does a stereo have to be in order to disguise the fact that this is one of the worst Classic Rock reissues in the history of the world? I don’t know and I sure don’t want to find out.
Rhino Records has really made a mockery of the analog medium. Rhino bills their releases as pressed on “180 gram High Performance Vinyl”. However, if they are using performance to refer to sound quality, we have found the performance of their vinyl to be quite low, lower than the average copy one might stumble upon in the used record bins.
What We’re Listening For on The Doors
- 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.
Botnick Knocks It Out of the Park
But this album is engineered by Bruce Botnick. The right pressings give you the kind of low-end punch and midrange presence you hear on Love’s first album (when you play the right gold label originals). Botnick engineered them both, and what’s even more amazing is that The Doors first is an even better recording than Love’s!
All tube from start to finish, the energy captured on these Hot Stampers has to be heard to be believed. Not to mention the fact that the live-in-the-studio musicians are swimming in natural ambience, with instruments leaking from one mic to another, and most of them bouncing back and forth off the studio walls to boot.
But the thing that caught us most by surprise is how much LIFE there is in the performances you can hear on the best of these Hot Stamper copies. Morrison pulled out all the stops for his vocals on songs like Backdoor Man and Break On Through; unless you have a very special pressing there is almost no chance you have ever heard him perform with this kind of raw power.
It’s nothing short of amazing to hear that first testosterone-fueled yell at the start of Backdoor Man on side two. It’s also the best-sounding cut on the album. We were hard-pressed to think of any other rock album recorded in 1966 (released in ’67) that can compete with it, not for energy and live-in-your-listening-room presence anyway.
Top 100? You better believe it.
MoFi and DCC
The Doors first album was yet another obvious example of MoFi’s predilection for sucked-out mids. Scooping out the middle of the midrange has the effect of creating an artificial sense of depth where none belongs. Play any original Bruce Botnick engineered album by Love or The Doors and you will notice immediately that the vocals are front and center.
When the DCC Doors first album was released on vinyl we noted that the vocals were finally back where they belonged: after having lived with the MoFi for so many years we’d almost forgotten. And now of course we can’t tolerate the smear and opacity of the DCC. We like to think we’re simply setting higher standards these days. We expect that you are too or you wouldn’t be on our site reading all this.
The midrange suckout effect is easily reproducible in your very own listening room. Pull your speakers farther out into the room and farther apart and you can get that MoFi sound on every record you play. I’ve been hearing it in the various audiophile systems I’ve been exposed to for more than 4 years.
Nowadays I would place it under the general heading of My-Fi, not Hi-Fi. Our one goal for every tweak and upgrade we make is to increase the latter and reduce the former.
And note also that when you play your records too softly it results in an exaggerated, artificial sense of depth. That’s one of the main reasons we play them loud; we want to hear the pressings with real presence and immediacy because they’re the ones that are most likely to win our shootouts. If you have any of our killer Hot stampers you surely know what I’m talking about.
A Must Own Rock Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Break on Through (To the Other Side)
The Crystal Ship
Twentieth Century Fox
Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)
Light My Fire
Back Door Man
I Looked at You
End of the Night
Take It as It Comes
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
A tremendous debut album, and indeed one of the best first-time outings in rock history, introducing the band’s fusion of rock, blues, classical, jazz and poetry with a knockout punch. The lean, spidery guitar and organ riffs interweave with a hypnotic menace, providing a seductive backdrop for Jim Morrison’s captivating vocals and probing prose.
“Light My Fire” was the cut that topped the charts and established the group as stars, but most of the rest of the album is just as impressive, including some of their best songs: the propulsive “Break on Through” (their first single), the beguiling mystery of “The Crystal Ship,” the mysterious “End of the Night,” “Take It as It Comes” (one of several tunes besides “Light My Fire” that also had hit potential), and the stomping rock of “Soul Kitchen” and “Twentieth Century Fox.” The 11-minute Oedipal drama “The End” was the group at its most daring and, some would contend, overambitious. It was nonetheless a haunting cap to an album whose nonstop melodicism and dynamic tension would never be equaled by the group again, let alone bettered.
Rolling Stone Review
By Parke Puterbaugh
April 8, 2003
The Doors arrived in 1967, the same year as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; both were psychedelic touchstones and among the first major rock discs that truly stood as albums, rather than collections of songs. But whereas the Beatles took a basically sunny view of humanity, the Doors’ debut offered the dark side of the moon. Their sound was minor-keyed and subterranean, bluesy and spacey, and their subject matter — like that of many of rock’s great albums — was sex, death and getting high. On “End of the Night,” the band invited you to “take a journey to the bright midnight.”
The key to the band’s appeal was the tension between singer Jim Morrison’s Dionysian persona and the band’s crisp, melodic playing. Keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger’s extended solos on the album version of “Light My Fire” carried one to the brink of euphoria, while the eleven-minute epic “The End” journeyed to a harrowing psychological state. Scattered among these lengthier tracks are such nuggets as “Soul Kitchen” (“learn to forget”) and Morrison’s acid-drenched takes on the blues (“Back Door Man”) and Kurt Weill (“Alabama Song”). Though great albums followed, The Doors stands as the L.A. foursome’s most successful marriage of rock poetics with classically tempered hard rock — a stoned, immaculate classic.