- With killer sound throughout, we guarantee you’ve never heard the 14 tracks of A Hard Day’s Night sound remotely as good as they do here
- Both sides are big, spacious and absolutely jumping out of the speakers, with relatively rich, smooth sound
- This one gets the heart of the music right – the lad’s voices – and that’s what makes The Beatles FUN to listen to
- 5 stars: “Decades after its original release, its punchy blend of propulsive rhythms, jangly guitars, and infectious, singalong melodies is remarkably fresh.”
Drop the needle on any song on either side to see why we went crazy over this one. The emotional quality of the boys’ performances really comes through on this copy. They aren’t just singing — they’re really BELTIN’ it out. Can you imagine what that sounds like on the title track? We didn’t have to imagine it, WE HEARD IT!
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 This Fab Four Classic 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 domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1964
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- 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 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.
It’s (Almost) All About The Midrange
There are two important traits that all the best copies have in common. Tonally they aren’t bright and aggressive (which eliminates 80 percent of the AHDN pressings you find), and they have a wonderful midrange warmth and sweetness that brings out the unique quality of the Beatles’ individual voices and harmonies.
When comparing pressings of this record, the copies that get their voices to sound present, while at the same time warm, smooth, and sweet, especially during the harmonies and in the loudest choruses are always the best. All the other instruments seem to fall in line when the vocals are correct. This is an old truism — it’s all about the midrange — but in this case, it really is true.
This music has a HUGE amount of upper midrange and high-frequency information. (Just note how present the tambourines are in the mixes.) If the record isn’t cut properly or pressed properly for that matter, the sound can be quite unpleasant. (One of our good customers made an astute comment in an email to us — the typical copy of this album makes you want to turn DOWN the volume.)
Play it against your MoFi or Heavy Vinyl pressing and you will quickly see why those remastered LPs bore us to tears. Who in his right mind would want to suffer through a boring Beatles record when you can hear how much life and joy there is in these songs even playing over the radio!?
What We’re Listening For on A Hard Day’s Night
- 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 musicians 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 and maybe a bit better 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 of these wonderful pressings.
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 Tracklist tab above will take you to a select song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice. Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.
A Tough Record to Play
It also ranks fairly high on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale. Do not attempt to play it using anything other than the highest quality equipment.
A word of caution: Unless your system is firing on all cylinders, even our hottest Hot Stamper copies — the Super Hot and White Hot pressings with the biggest, most dynamic, clearest, and least distorted sound — can have problems . Your system should be thoroughly warmed up, your electricity should be clean and cooking, you’ve got to be using the right room treatments, and we also highly recommend using a demagnetizer such as the Walker Talisman on the record, your cables (power, interconnect and speaker) as well as the individual drivers of your speakers.
This is a record that’s going to demand a lot from the listener, and we want to make sure that you feel you’re up to the challenge. If you don’t mind putting in a little hard work, here’s a record that will reward your time and effort many times over, and probably teach you a thing or two about tweaking your gear in the process (especially your VTA adjustment, just to pick an obvious area most audiophiles neglect).
A Hard Day’s Night
I Should Have Known Better
If I Fell
This is a wonderful example of The Beatles’ harmonies at their best. Toward the end of the song, during one of their harmonic excursions, you can hear John’s voice drop out when something apparently catches in his throat, and I could swear that you can hear Paul McCartney react to it with a little laugh.
If their voices sound warm, sweet, and transparent on this track, at the very least you have a contender, and possibly a winner. Not many pressings are going to bring out all the qualities of their voices.
I’m Happy Just to Dance With You
And I Love Her
Tell Me Why
Can’t Buy Me Love
Always starts with a bit of grit and grain, but sounds better by the second verse.
Any Time at All
I’ll Cry Instead
This track has a tendency to sound a bit aggressive on even the best copies. The copies with extended highs and a tonally correct midrange are really going to excel on this track.
Things We Said Today
This track is really rich and full-bodied on the best copies. It’s got wonderful Tubey Magic that is positively intoxicating.
When I Get Home
Another one with a lot of potentially aggressive qualities. If you can play this song good and loud, you must have an excellent copy. (More cowbell!)
You Can’t Do That
I’ll Be Back
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
A Hard Day’s Night not only was the de facto soundtrack for their movie, not only was it filled with nothing but Lennon-McCartney originals, but it found the Beatles truly coming into their own as a band. All of the disparate influences on their first two albums had coalesced into a bright, joyous, original sound, filled with ringing guitars and irresistible melodies. A Hard Day’s Night is where the Beatles became mythical, but this is the sound of Beatlemania in all of its giddy glory.
Decades after its original release, its punchy blend of propulsive rhythms, jangly guitars, and infectious, singalong melodies is remarkably fresh. There’s something intrinsically exciting in the sound of the album itself, something to keep the record vital years after it was recorded. Even more impressive are the songs themselves… [E]verything on the record is performed with genuine glee and excitement. It’s the pinnacle of their early years.