Below you will find our review from 2005. After doing our next shootout for Who’s Next in 2007, and replaying the Classic afterwards, we changed our minds about Classic’s version of the album.
Apparently, a surprising amount of audio progress was made from 2005 to 2007, reflected in this review as well as dozens of others.
Looking back, 2007 seems to have been a Milestone Year for us here at Better Records, although we certainly did not know it at the time.
Later that same year, we swore off Heavy Vinyl (prompted by the less-than-enchanting sound of the Rhino pressing of Blue) and committed ourselves to doing record shootouts of vintage pressings full time. To accomplish this we eventually ended up doubling the staff. (Cleaning and playing every record you see on our site turned out to very time consuming. No one man band can begin to fathom the complex and random nature of the vinyl LP, which explains why the audiophile reviewers of the world are right about as often as the proverbially stopped clock.)
Much of the review you see below indicates we had a much more limited understanding of Who’s Next than we do now, but we obviously have no problem admitting to it, a subject we discuss in some detail here.
Live and Learn is our motto, and progress in audio is a feature, not a bug, of record collecting at the most advanced levels. (“Advanced” is a code word for having no interest in any remastered pressing marketed to the audiophile community. There is nothing advanced about these deceptively-packaged mediocrities if you have the stereo to reveal their shortcomings. After spending forty plus years in audio (1975-2023, we do. )
Sonic Grade: B-
At one time we did not recommend this record, but now we do!
Without going into the sordid details, let’s just say this record sounds pretty good.
The acoustic guitars are especially sweet and silky for a modern reissue. The sound is better than most of the pressings of Who’s Next I’ve ever played.
Clearly this is is one of the better Classic Records rock records.
(It’s the only Who record they’ve done that we carried. The others are awful.)
The Best Bass Ever!
In our Hot Stamper commentary for Who’s Next we noted this about the sound of the Classic pressing:
It’s actually shockingly good, better than it has any right to be coming from Classic Records. The bass is PHENOMENAL; no British Track pressing had the bass punch and note-like clarity of the Classic. It shows you the kind of bass you had no idea could possibly be on the tape. It reminds me a bit of the Classic pressing of the first Zep album: in the case of the Zep, it has dynamics that simply are not to be found anywhere else. The Classic Who LP has that kind of bass — it can’t be found elsewhere so don’t bother looking. (Don’t get me wrong; we’ll keep looking, but after thirty plus years of Track Who LPs, we kinda know when we’re beaten.)
Hot Stampers Ain’t Cheap
We’ve found Hot Stampers of Who’s Next in the past, and they are still the ultimate versions. This goes without saying.
But Hot Stamper copies are not particularly quiet, and they are never cheap, which is in marked contrast to Classic Records’ heavy vinyl pressings, which are fairly quiet and also fairly cheap. Some of you may think $30 is a lot of money for a record, but we do not. It’s a fair price.
When you buy Crosby Stills and Nash’s first album or Tapestry or Bridge Over Troubled Water on Classic for $30, you are getting your money’s worth.
Don’t Kid Yourself
But don’t kid yourself. You are not getting anything remotely close to the best pressing available, because the best pressings are hard to find. We do find them, and we do charge a lot of money for them, because they sound absolutely AMAZING in a direct head to head comparison to the Classic version and anything else you may have heard.
We recommend you use the Classic version as a benchmark. When you find something that beats it, you have yourself a very good record. Until then, you still have a good, quiet record to enjoy. You win either way.
- New to the Blog? Start Here
- What Exactly Are Hot Stamper Pressings?
- Record Collecting for Audiophiles from A to Z
- How to Get the Most Out of Your Records – A Step by Step Guide