Top Artists – Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac – Mystery To Me – Whomp Factor on “Why”

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.

That bass drum tells you a lot about your deep bass reproduction, but we prize a little something called whomp here at Better Records every bit as much. It’s the WEIGHT and POWER you sense happening down below that translates into whomp factor. (This is the frequency area that screens and small dynamic drivers have the most trouble with. You need to be able to move lots of air under, say, 200 cycles to give the music a sense of real power down below. Few systems I’ve run into over the last thirty years can really pull it off.) 

That bass drum tells you a lot about your deep bass reproduction, but we prize a little something called whomp here at Better Records every bit as much. It’s the WEIGHT and POWER you sense happening down below that translates into whomp factor.

“Why”

Speaking of the song “Why,” I have to confess that it’s my favorite Fleetwood Mac song of all time. Considering how many great songs this band has recorded over the last thirty plus years, that’s really saying something. (“Need Your Love So Bad” off Pious Bird is right up there with it.) (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Penguin

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  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout  
  • This early Reprise LP is a huge step up from most – this copy is full-bodied, smooth and musical – classic Fleetwood Mac sound
  • One of my favorite songs on the album is one of Christine McVie’s best from this period, Did You Ever Love Me – on this pressing it’s rich and sweet exactly the way it should be
  • “Fleetwood Mac’s first album made after the departure of Danny Kirwan features the additions of guitarist Bob Weston and singer Dave Walker… This album gave Fleetwood Mac its best U.S. chart showing yet…”

This is the rare copy that strikes the right balance between richness and texture. So many copies sacrifice one for the other, but not here. Fully extended on both top and bottom, with big bass and plenty of energy, this pressing is getting Penguin right. 

On the best pressings, the sound is positively JUMPING out of the speakers in a way that is completely unexpected. We often talk about the size of the soundfield on a particular pressing, side to side, bottom to top, and even more often about the energy found on one copy relative to another. On this copy, we were surprised by a Penguin that was bigger and more energetic than most of the pressings we heard in our shootout. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac – A MoFi Winner

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Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed, and this one is actually pretty good

The Mobile Fidelity pressing of this album can actually sound quite good (if you get hold of a decent copy that is). Audio perfection it ain’t, but all in all it’s a very enjoyable record. Its strengths are many and its faults are few. Let’s give credit where credit is due; the MoFi is rich, transparent, sweet, and natural, and you won’t hear us saying that about very many MoFi pressings.

It belongs in their Top Ten, toward the bottom I would guess, due to its own sloppy bottom, but that’s half-speed mastering for you. Like most new audio technologies it was a giant step in the wrong direction: backwards. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Mystery To Me – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

Here it is, folks — the best sounding copy of Mystery To Me to ever hit our site. This copy positively DOES IT ALL — it’s super open and spacious with tons of energy and incredible presence. The bottom end is just KILLER and there’s dramatically more richness and fullness than you get on most copies out there. 

It’s beyond difficult to find great sounding copies of this album, which is why it’s been about four years since we last had these on the site.

Mystery To Me is my All Time Favorite Fleetwood Mac album, and this White Hot Stamper copy has the sound that I always DREAMED this album could have, but didn’t — until now. This is just the second Hot Stamper shootout that we’ve been able to do, since clean copies with the right stampers are ridiculously hard to come by. I’m not kidding. I have spent the last ten years and more trying to find the right stampers for this record. I can tell you I was dead wrong so many times in the past that I had almost given up. Time and time again, just when I thought I had it figured out, I would go back and play my so-called “hot” copy, to find myself miserably disappointed all over again. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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

In 2012 we noted that this WHITE HOT copy of Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled album has some of THE BEST SOUND WE HAD EVER HEARD, not only for this album, but for the band itself. As good as the best copies of Rumours are, they don’t really sound like this. Until we started doing these shootouts in about 2006 we had no idea this album was remotely this well recorded. There are layers and layers of subtle instrumental textures and recording effects throughout 1975’s Fleetwood Mac that we had never even suspected were there. Then we played this copy.  

It took a copy like this to show us what an amazing pop recording it is. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird Of Good Omen

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

If you’re a fan of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac — and who in his right mind wouldn’t be — then you can’t go wrong with this record. Need Your Love So Bad, Albratross and Black Magic Woman are all featured here.

Speaking of Black Magic Woman, the best copies of Pious Bird reproduce the bass-heavy drumming on that track much better than the Greatest Hits album we also recommend. It’s very unlikely that you can find better sound for that classic than right here on this very copy.

Side One

White Hot shootout winning sound. Big and rich, with correct tonality, this is the way early Fleetwood Mac is supposed to sound. No smear at all, which is rare on these pressings.

Side Two

Nearly as good, with rich vocals and plenty of punchy energy to drive the music. Good space too. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

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Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

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  • Dramatically more impressive than any other copy we played – Triple Plus (A+++) throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The size, clarity, presence and energy are off the charts – and talk about Tubey Magic, this pressing is overflowing with it
  • The Mac’s debut is an extraordinary collection of Guitar-Based British Blues and an album that’s rarely on the site with sound this good and surfaces this clean
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Fleetwood Mac’s debut LP was a highlight of the late-’60s British blues boom. Green’s always inspired playing, the capable (if erratic) songwriting, and the general panache of the band as a whole placed them leagues above the overcrowded field…”

This is the band back in the day when they were playing their unique brand of Blues Rock, with Peter Green leading the band, about as far from Rumours as you can get. If you like British Blues Rock, I don’t think any other band can hold a candle to the Mac back then. Clapton may have been considered a god but I think Green is the better guitar player. 

The pluck of the guitar transients aren’t smeary and dull for once. There’s real extension up top, a big help to the cymbals, and the vocals sound tonally correct with just the right presence, placing Green front and center but still keeping the band in the mix. Like a good vintage Brit record, the sound is smooth, rich and full.

This is ANALOG, baby. They don’t make ’em like this anymore because they don’t know how. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2010

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

White Hot Stampers for Rumours with UNBELIEVABLY GOOD SOUND (and quiet vinyl) FROM START TO FINISH! Folks, if you’re looking for a Demo Quality version of one of the most beloved pop albums of all time, this is the record for you! Side one was so darned good that we had to bust out the rare A++++ (Four Plus) grade, and side two is just about as amazing. It certainly ain’t a cheap record, but it’s beyond difficult to find copies of this classic with two sides that sound like this and play quietly. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Tusk

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

This copy is absolutely KILLER, with the kind of deep, solid low end and superb space and openness you just don’t hear on most copies of the album. When the soundstage is wide and three-dimensional the way it is here, it’s amazing how much more SENSE the music starts to make. 

And the clarity is not the phony “audiophile” kind that’s the result of too much treble – there’s no lack of richness or warmth to the sound. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Heroes Are Hard To Find

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  • A STUNNING copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first 
  • Both sides here are super clean, clear and open, providing lots of space for the musicians to occupy. It’s not midrangy, but instead, rich and full, with sweet, silky vocals. This is the sound you want on Heroes Are Hard to Find
  • “… the album is one of their most cohesive yet diverse… Heroes is a minor gem that retains its effortless pop charms and contains some buried jewels in the extensive Fleetwood Mac catalog.” – All Music 

Biggest Problems

Hard, midrangy vocals are far and away the biggest problem we ran into on copy after copy. The other problems we encountered are the ones common to all records: smear, lack of top or bottom end, opacity, etc. (more…)