Genre – Rock – Psych Rock

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

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Atom Heart Mother

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  • A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • The overall sound here is incredibly rich, full and dynamic with huge amounts of Tubey Magic and a solid bottom end
  • This is by far the best copy we have played in years – it’s richer, bigger and more solid than practically everything we were able to throw against it
  • While the music here may not be for everyone, if you’re a fan you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds even remotely as good as this one does

This is an album that rarely sounds any good. We’ve spent a ton of money over the years chasing British originals and various other pressings looking for that Pink Floyd magic, but the early pressings were consistently disappointing, as are most reissues. If you like this music — admittedly a big if — I don’t think you can find better sound for it. (more…)

Traffic – Last Exit – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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Last Exit

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

This QUIET British Import Island Sunray (Pink Rim) pressing has THE BEST SIDE TWO WE’VE EVER HEARD, which is where the two extended live cuts are found. We played a bunch of these recently (nothing but Brits, the only way to go for this album) and no side two could keep up with this one. It’s got more extension up top, more weight down low, and more energy than we heard anywhere else.  (more…)

Spooky Tooth – The Last Puff

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The Last Puff

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  • An outstanding Island Pink Label pressing of the band’s 1970 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The reason this is a Must Own Spooky Tooth album is their sludge-metal cover of I Am the Walrus, guaranteed to blow your mind – it sure blows ours
  • Includes “Something to Say,” co-written by Joe Cocker and later featured on his 1972 album
  • 4 1/2 stars: “It’s a good, solid effort that includes a burning cover of the Beatles’ ‘I Am the Walrus.'”

This vintage Island Pink Label pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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. (more…)

Ten Years After – A Space In Time – A Thrill on Big Speakers at Loud Levels

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A Space In Time

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A Space in Time is just one of the recordings that made me pursue Big Stereo Systems driving Big Speakers, right from my earliest days in audio. You need large dynamic drivers with plenty of piston area – the kind that can move a lot of air – in order to bring the power of the music to life.  

If you have big speakers and a penchant for giving the old volume knob an extra click or two, it just doesn’t get any better than A Space in Time. (more…)

Cream – Disraeli Gears

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This copy’s got the kind of tubey analog sound you need for this music — it’s warm, rich, smooth, and pretty much free of the nasty grain that gets in the way on most pressings. There’s good extension up top, and the bottom end is meaty and well-defined.

The lesson we learned is that when the extremes are properly transferred to the vinyl, the middle will take care of itself.

Since the extremes seem to be the hardest thing to get right, at least on this record, that might explain why so many copies don’t really cut the mustard while this one did.

It ended up having more space, ambience, transparency, resolution, dynamic contrasts, vocal presence and freedom from distortion of any copy we played in our recent shootout. (more…)

Beck – Mutations

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Mutations

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this superb copy of Beck’s 1998 Grammy Award Winning release – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This shockingly well-recorded album sounds surprisingly analog for 1998 – there’s real Tubey Magical Richness here  
  • This is one of our favorite albums from the 90s – if you don’t already have a favorite Beck album, this one should fit the bill
  • 4 Stars: “Beck is not only a startling songwriter — his best songs are simultaneously modern and timeless — he is a sharp record-maker, crafting albums that sound distinct and original…”

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Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow

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  • This outstanding stereo copy of the band’s sophomore release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) from first note to last
  • It’s the rare copy of this ’60s Psych Classic that has this kind of freedom from distortion, as well as clarity, openness, and spaciousness
  • An incredibly difficult album to find with audiophile sound, but this copy has the goods and will beat whatever you throw at it
  • 5 stars: “Every song is a perfectly cut diamond … a groundbreaking piece of folk-rock-based psychedelia that hit — literally — like a shot heard round the world…”

Check out the breathy vocals on Today — now THAT is what we call the magic of vintage analog!

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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. (more…)

Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love

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Axis: Bold As Love

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

What a copy! Super rich and full-bodied with a wide, tall soundstage and plenty of punch, this is exactly the right sound for this music. It sure ain’t easy to find good-sounding Hendrix records, and most copies of Axis are positively painful. You need rich, full tonality and plenty of space up top if this album is going to work, and on those counts this copy certainly delivers! 

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Buffalo Springfield – Listening for Tubey Magic Down Low

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On even the best copies there’s a bit too much Tubey Magic in the bass I regret to say. Tubbiness and bloat were par for the course. This may explain why so many copies have rolled off bass; the engineer cut the bass because he heard how tubby it was and figured no bass is better than bad bass. 

Which is just not true. Cutting the bass leans out and “modernizes” the sound, making the voices sound thin and dry. This pretty much ruins everything on this album just the way it ruins everything in practically every modern recording I hear. Having your bass under control on the playback side isn’t easy — in fact it’s probably the hardest thing to achieve in audio — but it can be done, and with good bass control the slightly wooly bass is just part of the sound you learn to accept.

It doesn’t actually interfere much with your enjoyment of the music, mostly because all the other instruments and voices sounds so magical. (more…)

Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

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  • A stunning copy of Spirit’s 1970 Trippy Masterpiece – Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Huge, lively and dynamic – this legendary Psych album creates a wall to wall, three dimensional psychedelic world of its own
  • Nature’s Way, Animal Zoo and Mr. Skin all sound amazing on this copy – there’s really not a bad track to be found
  • “Spirit’s crowning moment and one of the era’s great underrated albums … enriched by meaty horn arrangements, imaginative vocal harmonies, and a structured approach to psychedelic studio trickery such as stereo panning and tapes run backward.”

The soundfield is huge and transparent, there’s real richness and body to the instruments, and there’s no edge at all to the vocals. Believe me, it’s the rare copy that has all of these qualities, the only one in our shootout as a matter of fact. (more…)