- Stunning sound throughout this EMI UK import pressing
- Forget the dubby domestic pressings with their boosted mids – this is the way the album is supposed to sound, and the difference is not a small one
- This kind of record often shows up from overseas in beat to death shape – few survived, and that reality is compounded by the fact that even fewer record dealers know how to properly grade their records (hence our prices)
- 4 1/2 stars: “The original Duran Duran’s high point, and just as likely the band’s as a whole, its fusion of style and substance ensures that even two decades after its release it remains as listenable and danceable as ever… From start to finish, a great album that has outlasted its era.”
This vintage EMI import 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 Rio 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 1982
- 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 Rio
- 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.
My Own Way
Lonely In Your Nightmare
Hungry Like The Wolf
Hold Back The Rain
Last Chance On The Stairway
Save A Prayer
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
From its Nagel cover to the haircuts and overall design — and first and foremost the music — Rio is as representative of the ’80s at its best as it gets. The original Duran Duran’s high point, and just as likely the band’s as a whole, its fusion of style and substance ensures that even two decades after its release it remains as listenable and danceable as ever. The quintet integrates its sound near-perfectly throughout, the John and Roger Taylor rhythm section providing both driving propulsion and subtle pacing.
Rio’s two biggest smashes burst open the door in America for the New Romantic/synth rock crossover. “Hungry Like the Wolf” blended a tight, guitar-heavy groove with electronic production and a series of instant hooks, while the title track was even more anthemic, with a great sax break from guest Andy Hamilton adding to the soaring atmosphere. Lesser known cuts like “Lonely in Your Nightmare” and “Last Chance on the Stairway” still have pop thrills a-plenty, while “Hold Back the Rain” is the sleeper hit on Rio, an invigorating blast of feedback, keyboards and beat that doesn’t let up. From start to finish, a great album that has outlasted its era.