What do the best copies have that the also-rans don’t?
Lots and lots of qualities, far too many to mention here, but there is one you may want to pay special attention to: the sound of the snare.
When the snare is fat and solid and present, with a good “slap” to the sound, you have a copy with weight, presence, transparency, energy — all the stuff we ADORE about the sound of the best copies of Rumours.
Next time you are on the hunt to buy new speakers, see which ones can really rock the snare on Dreams. That’s probably going to be the speaker that can do justice to the entire Rumours album, as well as anything by The Beatles, and Neil Young’s Zuma, and lots of other favorite records of ours, and we expect favorites of yours too.
The drums that open this track and the one monster cymbal crash at the beginning are PERFECTION on the best pressings. If you took ten copies of this album and just played that cymbal crash, I’m guessing you could tell the difference in the sound of every copy. If that cymbal crash doesn’t splash you in the face like a bucket of cold water, you do not have a killer copy. It’s way out front in the mix and that’s the way they want it.
Ideally the bass is very prominent on this track. It should be way up in the mix, loud, tight and note-like, with the guitar and kick drum clearly separated. It absolutely drives the song; the copies that got the bass right on this track really came to life. If you want to know why Fleetwood and Mac are revered as one of the all-time great rhythm sections, this song should provide all the evidence you need. (Try Werewolves of London if this song doesn’t convince you. Same sound too.)
Listen for Stevie Nick’s humming before she starts to sing. On the good copies it’s quite clear.
What to Listen For in General
Top copies of Rumours are full of Tubey Analog magic. (Shockingly, the album before from 1975 is even more Tubey Magical, the most Tubey Magical album the band ever released as a matter of fact.)
The sound will be open, spacious and transparent, with a huge three-dimensional soundfield.
On the best pressings, Christine McVie’s vocals are solid and present, Stevie Nicks’ breathy and clear.
The overall sound can be surprisingly rich, sweet and warm — this is analog, baby!
Of special interest to those of us who like to rock is the fact that the best sides have tremendous weight, with WHOMP factor that lets the energy of the recording (and the music) burst out of the soundfield.