- You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this vintage stereo UK pressing
- Forget whatever sleep-inducing Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of these wonderful sessions from 1967 (some with Syd, some with David), this is the only way to go
- in 2014, Nick Mason named A Saucerful of Secrets as his favorite of Pink Floyd’s studio albums. “I think there are ideas contained there that we have continued to use all the way through our career,” he says. “I think [it] was a quite good way of marking Syd [Barrett]’s departure and Dave [Gilmour]’s arrival. It’s rather nice to have it on one record, where you get both things. It’s a cross-fade rather than a cut.”.
We’ve been at this quite a long time so that should tell you something about how tough it is to find good sound for this album. If you’re a fan of the band’s early prog-psych freakouts, I imagine you’ll be very impressed with the kind of sound we were able to find here.
Most copies we’ve played weren’t as punchy, dynamic or clean as this one. You get real weight down low, more energy, and more transparency than what you might get on the typical pressing. Drop the needle on either side and get ready to take a trip!
This vintage EMI pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can 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 the Best Sides of A Saucerful of Secrets 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 1968
- 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 A Saucerful of Secrets
- 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.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
Let There Be More Light
Remember a Day
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
A Saucerful of Secrets
A transitional album on which the band moved from Syd Barrett’s relatively concise and vivid songs to spacy ethereal material with lengthy instrumental passages. Barrett’s influence is still felt (he actually did manage to contribute one track, the jovial “Jugband Blues”), and much of the material retains a gentle, fairy-tale ambience. “Remember a Day” and “See Saw” are highlights; on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” “Let There Be More Light,” and the lengthy instrumental title track, the band begin to map out the dark and repetitive pulses that would characterize their next few records.