Although we now use an amazing copy of Bob and Ray (the big band version of The Song of the Volga Boatmen located therein has to be the toughest test we know of bar none), we could easily go back to using TAAB. It’s absolutely ruthless when it comes to the slightest hint of artificiality in the sound of the system.
Since the biggest problem every audiophile is always fighting is artificiality (and, more often than not, losing, if I may be that cynical about most audiophile systems, our customers’ systems excluded of course), TAAB is one of the best recordings one could ever find to test and tune with.
- The better copies are shockingly dynamic. At about the three minute mark the band joins in the fun and really starts rocking. Set your volume for as loud as your system can play that section. The rest of the music, including the very quietest parts, will then play correctly for all of side one. For side two the same volume setting should be fine.
- The recording can have exceptionally solid, deep punchy bass (just check out Barrie “Barriemore” Barlow’s drumming, especially his kick and floor toms. The guy is on fire).
- The midrange is usually transparent and the top end sweet and extended on the better pressings.
- The recording was made in 1972, so there’s still plenty of Tubey Magic to be heard on the acoustic guitars and flutes.
- The best copies can be as huge, wide and tall as any rock record you’ve ever heard, with sound that comes jumping out of your speakers right into your listening room.
- Unlike practically any album recorded during the ’80s or later, the overall tonal balance, as well as the timbre of virtually every instrument in the soundfield, is correct on the best copies.
That kind of accuracy practically disappeared from records about thirty years ago, which explains why so many of the LPs we offer as Hot Stampers were produced in the ’70s. That’s when many of the highest fidelity recordings were made. In truth this very record is a superlative example of the sound the best producers, engineers, and studios were able to capture on analog tape during that time.
Which is a long way of saying that the better copies of Thick As A Brick have pretty much EVERYTHING that we love about vinyl here at Better Records.
Furthermore, I can guarantee you there is no CD on the planet that will ever be able to do this recording justice. Our Hot Stamper pressings – even the lowest-graded ones – have a kind of ANALOG MAGIC that just can’t be captured on one of them there silvery discs.