Truly stunning sound, with shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all four sides
A shockingly well-recorded album that comes to life with the combo of a great copy and a hi-res, full-range system
Five stars in the AMG: “A stunning statement of purpose and one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever recorded.”
AUDIOPHILE SOUND FOR THIS PUNK ROCK CLASSIC?! You better believe it, baby! The sound here is superb for all four sides.
What really sets this album apart sonically is The Clash’s use of reggae and dub influences. You can really hear it when you tune in to the bottom end; your average late ’70s punk record won’t have this kind of rich and meaty bass, that’s for sure. Drop the needle on The Guns Of Brixton (last track on side two) to hear exactly what I’m talking about. On a Hot Stamper copy played at the correct levels (read: quite loud!) the effect is positively HYPNOTIC.
Bill Price engineered and as we like to day, he knocked this one out of the park. The best sounding record from 1979? I have the feeling it just might be.
Nobody would have accused The Clash of being an audiophile-friendly band, but a copy like this might make you think twice about that! We had a blast doing this shootout and we hope whoever takes this home has just as much fun with it.(more…)
The Rhino Heavy Vinyl reissue of this album was Dead On Arrival the minute it hit my turntable. No top, way too much bottom, dramatically less ambience than the average copy — this one is a disaster on every level.
Rhino Records has really made a mockery of the analog medium. Rhino touts their releases as being pressed on “180 gram High Performance Vinyl.” However, if they are using performance to refer to sound quality, we have found the performance of their vinyl to be quite low, lower than the average copy one might stumble upon in the used record bins.
Eno produced, Rhett Davies engineered, every track is (psycho) killer – a Must Own from 1978
5 stars: “Brian Eno brought a musical unity that tied the album together, especially in terms of the rhythm section, the sequencing, the pacing, and the mixing.”
If you thought you’d never hear a truly great pressing of this album, here’s the copy that will prove you wrong and rock your world doing it! The top end is extended and sweet, the bottom end is big and punchy, and the overall sound is as rich and full-bodied as you could expect from this zany art-rock.
The vocals have the kind of presence that put David Byrne right there in your living room, and not under a blanket or behind the speakers as most of the pressings we played were wont to do.
Top Notch ’70s Art Rock
I don’t think these guys ever put together a better group of songs. The ultimate pressings of Little Creatures go a step further sonically, but the best copies of this one can sound incredible, if not quite Demo Disc worthy.(more…)
The British pressings are simply not competitive with the best domestics. No import, from any country, can touch a good Columbia pressing from the states. The most common stampers for the Columbia pressings have never sounded very good to these ears, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some killer copies with different stampers sitting in the bins wearing the generic ’70s Red Columbia label. We’ve heard them. Wish we could find more of them but they are rare and only getting rarer. (more…)
The best copies must have one key ingredient that we’ve discovered is absolutely essential if this groundbreaking New Wave album is to come to life — a huge, spacious soundstage.
Some copies are huge; others, not so much. The effect of these size differentials is ENORMOUS. The power of the music ramps up like crazy — how could this recording possibly be this BIG and POWERFUL? How did it achieve this kind of scale? You may need twenty copies to find one like this, which begs the question: why don’t the other 19 sound the way this one does? The sound we heard has to be on the master tape in some sense, doesn’t it? Mastering clearly contributes to the sound, but can it really be a factor of this magnitude? (more…)
There is a line in the Hot Stamper commentary below concerning driving punk rock bass. Man, this record lives or dies by your ability to reproduce the powerful bottom end that propels this music. Pardon me for cueing up a broken record again, and with all due respect to the things they do well — they must do something well, right? People keep buying them — small speakers and screens are not going to cut it on My Aim Is True. This is precisely the kind of album they don’t do well.(more…)
PUMP IT UP! This British Import Radar LP has TWO AMAZING SIDES that brilliantly and powerfully convey the energy of this hard rockin’ music.
The overall sound is punchy, lively, and dynamic with plenty of tight, note-like bass. This is key to the best copies.
The Low End Theory
A correct bottom end is absolutely CRITICAL for this album. Like Trust and Armed Forces, there’s a TON of low-end on this record; regrettably, most copies suffer from either a lack of bass or a lack of bass definition. I can’t tell you how much you’re missing when the bass isn’t right on this album. (Or if you have the typical bass-shy audiophile speaker, yuck.)
It’s without a doubt the single most important aspect of the sound on this album. When the bass is right, everything falls into place, and the music comes powerfully to life. When the bass is lacking or ill-defined, the music seems labored; the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs blur together, and the band just doesn’t swing the way it’s supposed to.(more…)
A stunning copy, absolutely as good as it gets for this punk classic! It’s clear and open with tons of presence and detail, and no attendant sacrifice in fullness or musicality. Most of the other copies we played failed in one of two ways: if they weren’t too bright, they were dead as a doornail. But this copy knocked them all out with correct tonal balance and tons of energy.
On the surface of things, Combat Rock appears to be a retreat from the sprawling stylistic explorations of London Calling and Sandinista! The pounding arena rock of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” makes the Clash sound like an arena rock band, and much of the album boasts a muscular, heavy sound courtesy of producer Glyn Johns. But things aren’t quite that simple. Combat Rock contains heavy flirtations with rap, funk, and reggae, and it even has a cameo by poet Allen Ginsberg — if this album is, as it has often been claimed, the Clash’s sellout effort, it’s a very strange way to sell out.
Even with the infectious, dance-inflected new wave pop of “Rock the Casbah” leading the way, there aren’t many overt attempts at crossover success, mainly because the group is tearing in two separate directions. Mick Jones wants the Clash to inherit the Who’s righteous arena rock stance, and Joe Strummer wants to forge ahead into black music … its finest moments — “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” “Rock the Casbah,” “Straight to Hell” — illustrate why the Clash were able to reach a larger audience than ever before with the record.(more…)
Off the charts “Triple Triple” (A+++) sound for The Pretenders’ second album – both sides earned our top grade of A+++
With loads of solid, punchy bass and the richest, smoothest vocal reproduction, this pressing simply could not be beat
This original British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce
“What’s more the unique American voice of Hynde matched with the tribal beat of Martin Chambers and spangly guitar of Honeyman-Scott was as close to perfect as a band could get in the late 70s.”
If any of this commentary looks familiar there’s a simple explanation for that fact; it’s lifted practically wholesale from our listings for the first Pretenders album.
The two albums are twins, with the same engineer, the same producer, even the same band members, something that was regrettably and tragically to change soon enough.
Tubey Magic Is Key
This original British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot 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.
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.
Forget the dubby domestic vinyl, these Brit pressings are the only way to go.(more…)