More of the Music of Simon and Garfunkel
Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Paul Simon (and Art Garfunkel)
Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Sounds of Silence. Here are some albums currently on our site with similar Track by Track breakdowns.
Sounds of Silence is made from a second generation tape, as we explain below. Since we listen to all the records we sell, we like to point out such things so our customers know what they are getting.
This album is the proverbial tough nut to crack, a mix of folkie tracks and ambitious big production numbers, all recorded on a four track machine and bounced down maybe just a few too many times along the way. Some got handed a troublesome case of Top 40 EQ — hey, this is 1965, it’s the way they thought pop records should sound.
But many of the best tracks survived just fine. They can sound wonderful, it’s just that they rarely do. This is precisely where we come into the picture.
The key to good sounding pressings of this record is to look for the ones with a top end. Now of course you can’t see the top end when you buy the record. But most of the copies of this album you pick up are going to sound like cassettes. There won’t be much over 8K, and that means hard, harsh, transistor radio sound. You need extended highs to balance out the upper midrange.
Although the rock tracks certainly come to life and really do sound good on the hottest of the hot copies, the folkie tracks are the real reason to buy these early pressings. They have the Tubey Magic that’s missing from virtually any reissue or digital format version.
Best and Worst Tracks
For the best sounding tracks try Leaves That Are Green on side one, and April Come She Will on side two.
Keep in mind that the big hit ”Sounds of Silence” will never sound much better than it does in the car. It’s basically the track from their previous album with rock instrumentation added, meaning an electric guitar, a second generation of tape and some extra distortion for good measure.
But on a superb copy, that track can still be surprisingly enjoyable. Not Demo Disc quality, just enjoyable.
Below you will find our moderately helpful advice for finding the best sounding pressings of Sounds of Silence.
In our experience the album sounds best this way:
Which simply means that the 360 label domestic stereo pressings win our shootouts, in this case without exception.