A classic case of Live and Learn
Back in the day I thought the Classic 180 and then 200 gram pressing was the king on this title. In late 2006 I wrote:
“You can hear how much cleaner and more correct the mastering is right away…”
Folks, I must have been out of my mind.
No, that’s not quite fair. I wasn’t out of my mind. I just hadn’t gotten my system to the place where it needed to be to allow the right original pressings to show me how much better they can sound.
Our EAR 324 phono stage and constantly evolving tweaks to both the system and room are entirely responsible for our ability to reproduce this album correctly. If your equipment, cleaning regimen, room treatments and the like are mostly “old school” in any way, getting the album to sound right will be all but impossible. Without the myriad audio advances of the last decade or so you are just plain out of luck with a Nearly Impossible to Reproduce album such as this.
The exact same 200 gram review copy now [this was written about ten years ago] sounds every bit as tonally correct as it used to, and fairly clean too, as described above, but where is the magic?
- The heavy vinyl pressing is lifeless and boring.
- All the subtleties of both the music and the sound are missing.
- More than anything else the Classic sounds crude.
You can adjust your VTA until you’re blue in the face, nothing will bring this dead-as-a-doornail Classic LP to life.
Relatively speaking, of course. For twenty eight bucks (when it was in print) could you buy something better? Probably not. (Now it’s $100 to $400 on ebay and at that price you are definitely not getting your money’s worth.)
The average IV is really a piece of junk. And if you don’t have at least $10k in your front end (with phono), forget it. It takes top quality equipment to bring this album to life, and you better be prepared to go through a large number of copies to find a good one.