- This superb copy of Sports boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two married with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side one – mostly quiet vinyl too
- The bass is tight, the drum hits are BIG, the guitars are meaty with lots of texture and the energy level is off the charts!
- We were knocked out at how good this album sounds on a great pressing like this one – one of the more impressive ’80s pop recordings we’ve played in some time
- 4 1/2 stars: “There’s a reason why well over half of the album… were huge American hit singles — they have instantly memorable hooks, driven home with economical precision by a tight bar band, who are given just enough polish to make them sound like superstars.”
Here’s another great example of an album we had pretty much forgotten about over the years that completely re-earned our respect after hearing it come to life on the good copies. The songs are great, the band is on fire and the sound is wonderful throughout.
Most copies are somewhat flat, dry and grainy, but a pressing like this is an entirely different story. The sound is much more analog — rich, smooth and full — and you get more energy as well as a strong, punchy bottom end. The bass is tight, the drum hits are BIG and the guitars are meaty with lots of texture.
What the Best Sides of Sports 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 even as late as 1983
- 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 space of the studio
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 Sports
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- 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 later 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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.
The Heart of Rock & Roll
Heart and Soul
Bad Is Bad
I Want a New Drug
Walking on a Thin Line
Finally Found a Home
If This Is It
You Crack Me Up
Honky Tonk Blues
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Picture This found Huey Lewis and the News developing a signature sound, but they truly came into their own on their third album, Sports. It’s true that the record holds together better than its predecessors because it has a clear, professional production, but the real key is the songs. Where their previous albums were cluttered with generic filler, nearly every song on Sports has a huge hook.
And even if the News aren’t bothered by breaking new ground, there’s no denying that the craftsmanship on Sports is pretty infectious. There’s a reason why well over half of the album (“The Heart of Rock & Roll,” “Heart and Soul,” “I Want a New Drug,” “Walking on a Thin Line,” “If This Is It”) were huge American hit singles — they have instantly memorable hooks, driven home with economical precision by a tight bar band, who are given just enough polish to make them sound like superstars. And that’s just what Sports made them.