A stunning copy of Security with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
One of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, original and influential on so many levels
With the benefit of today’s technology, on a copy this good you hear into the soundfield in a way never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of multi-tracked choruses
“Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel’s catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance…”
Man does this album sound better than I remember it from back in the ’80s when I first played it. Stereos have come a long way since then, along with a host of other things that help records sound better, such as cleaning fluids, room treatments and all the rest. Now you can really hear INTO the soundfield in a way that simply was never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of PG’s multi-tracked choruses. On the best pressings, both sides are huge, and the music jumps out of the speakers. The balance is perfection.(more…)
This outstanding copy of Before And After Science on the Island Black Label boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
Here you will find that rare combination of silky highs and deep low end, with huge amounts of space in the middle, three qualities among many that make this album an especially magical listening experience
I know whereof I speak- I must have played this album at least two hundred times in the 43 years that have passed since I first bought a copy
If you’re a fan of Art Rock or Prog Rock or just like something a little different, this is an album that belongs in your collection
5 stars: “Despite the album’s pop format, the sound is unique and strays far from the mainstream. The music on Before and After Science at times resembles Another Green World (“No One Receiving”) and Here Come the Warm Jets (“King’s Lead Hat”) and ranks alongside both as the most essential Eno material.”
*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 1 loud stitch followed by 1 moderate pop one-quarter inch from the end of Track 3, Kurt’s Rejoinder. On side two, a mark makes 1 moderate, then 1 moderately light, stitch a quarter inch from the end of Track 1, Here He comes.
Side one, the rock side, strongly relies on its deep punchy bass to make its material come to life and rock (or should we say art rock?). Eno’s vocals are clear and present with virtually no strain. Phil Collins’ drumming is energetic and transparent and perfectly complemented by Percy Jones’ simultaneously acrobatic and hard-driving bass work.(more…)
This outstanding copy of the band’s third studio album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
This domestic LP is proof that the master tape used to cut the album in 1973 was right here in the good old U.S. of A.
“Electric Light Orchestra’s third album showed a marked advancement, with a fuller, more cohesive sound from the band as a whole and major improvements in Jeff Lynne’s singing and songwriting.”
“The ELO’s blending of rock drums, pop violins, a semiclassical feel in the sweep of these same violins, the midrange colors of the cello, and a vocal blend that reminds one of the Beatles in their sophisticated studio days, makes up all the key elements in their music.”
Once you’ve played a good domestic pressing, it’s obvious that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports make it sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers.
We know this because we had a bunch of them cleaned up for our first big shootout in 2010 and they all sucked. We always buy Electric Light Orchestra records on import vinyl; those are the ones that sound the best, the domestic pressings time and again sounding as though they were mastered from dub tapes.
But On The Third Day is proof that this is not always the case, just as Siren proves that the best Roxy Music albums are not always British. Live and learn I guess.(more…)
An outstanding early British pressing, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
Rich, spacious and lively, with an open, extended top end – this is the sound you want from Tears for Fears
More great songs than practically anything from the ’80s – Shout, Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Head Over Heels, just to name a few
4 1/2 stars: “It is not only a commercial triumph, it is an artistic tour de force. And in the loping, percolating “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Tears for Fears perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the mid-’80s while impossibly managing to also create a dreamy, timeless pop classic. Songs From the Big Chair is one of the finest statements of the decade.”
This superb British pressing of Peter Gabriel’s debut solo album earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
Gabriel’s solo debut, the album features his autobiographical lead single, Solsbury Hill
Clearly the hardest of the first five PG records to find with good sound and decent vinyl, which is why these seldom make the site
“…much of the record teems with invigorating energy (as on Slowburn, or the orchestral-disco pulse of Down the Dolce Vita), and the closer “Here Comes the Flood” burns with an anthemic intensity that would later become his signature in the ’80s.”
*NOTE: On side one, the intro to track 1, Moribund the Burgermeister, plays Mint Minus Minus.
Tubey Magical Richness and breathy vocals are the hallmarks of a good British PG 1.
Unlike any that follow, the sound varies greatly from track to track on the first PG album, as does the music. You know you have a good copy when the best sounding tracks sound their best. That may seem like a tautology but is in fact the only way to judge a side when the songs sound this different from one another.(more…)
This is an older listing that illustrates how We Was Wrong when we thought the best domestic copies were not competitive with the A&M Half-Speed or better British pressings.
We touch on other much-loved themes in this commentary, such as the myth that the original pressing is going to be better than a reissue or later stamper. On this album that is definitely not the case.
TWO AMAZING SIDES, including an A+++ SIDE ONE! It’s not the A&M Half Speed, and it’s not a British pressing either. It’s domestic folks, your standard plain-as-day A&M pressing, and we’re as shocked as you are. Hearing this copy (as well as an amazing Brit; they can be every bit as good, in their own way of course) was a THRILL, a thrill that’s a step up in “thrillingness” over our previous favorite pressing, the Half Speed. (more…)
Insanely good sound throughout with all four sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to it
The overall sound here is incredibly rich, warm and full-bodied yet still super detailed, spacious and dynamic; the energy level is off the charts too!
Most pressings of this double album are just awful, if you can even find one that’s clean enough to bother playing
“One of the most ambitious debuts in rock history, Freak Out! was a seminal concept album that somehow foreshadowed both art rock and punk at the same time. Its four LP sides deconstruct rock conventions right and left, eventually pushing into territory inspired by avant-garde classical composers.” – All Music
This outstanding 2-pack pair of pressings of Rick Wakeman’s first studio album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from beginning to end
The sound here is big, full, and rich with tons of energy, beautifully showcasing the diverse contributions of Wakeman’s synthesizers
This prog-rock collection is spacious and musical, thanks in part to the engineering of Ken Scott
4 1/2 stars: “Not only did this album help pave the way for progressive rock, but it also introduced the unbridled energy and overall effectiveness of the synthesizer as a bona fide instrument.”
Our 2-pack sets combine two copies of the same album, with at least a Super Hot Stamper sonic grade on the better of each “good” side, which simply means you have before you a pair of records that offers superb sound for the entire album.
Audiophiles are often surprised when they hear that an LP can sound amazing on one side and mediocre on the other, but since each side is pressed from different metalwork which has been aligned independently, and perhaps even cut by different mastering engineers from tapes of wildly differently quality, in our experience it happens all the time. In fact it’s much more common for a record to earn different sonic grades for its two sides than it is to rate the same grade. That’s just the way it goes in analog, where there’s no way to know how a any given side of a record sounds until you play it, and, more importantly, in the world of sound everything is relative.
Since each of the copies in the 2-pack will have one good side and one noticeably weaker or at best more run-of-the-mill side, you’ll be able to compare them on your own to hear just what it is that the Hot Stamper sides give you. This has the added benefit of helping you to improve your critical listening skills. We’ll clearly mark which copy is Hot for each side, so if you don’t want to bother with the other sides you certainly won’t have to.
One of the two pressings has the original label and one has the reissue label.(more…)