- With a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side two and a side one that’s close to it, this original pressing has the analog magic in its grooves
- Both sides here are big, full-bodied, clear and spacious with a nice bottom end and plenty of rock energy
- “Almost every one of Queen’s signatures are already present, from Freddie Mercury’s operatic harmonies to Brian May’s rich, orchestral guitar overdubs and the suite-like structures of “Great King Rat”… It showcases the band in all their ornate splendor yet it’s strangely lean and hard, revealing just how good the band was in their early days as a hard rock band.”
- Plays with surfaces as quiet as any we can find on both sides – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side one starts out with Queen’s back-to-back anthemic classics, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. Does it get any better for a Queen fan? Hell no!
The stomps and claps that introduce the former should make you feel like you are in a stadium full of people with a single goal – to rock you. Those stomps and claps need weight and clarity, an unusual combination. One without the other is not going to cut it.
The record needs to be able to reproduce the room everybody is in, while still conveying the tremendous impact and power. Most domestic pressings are severely lacking in these areas. This kind of anemia can be frustrating — you want to rock but the sound won’t let you.
Another quality our best copies excelled in was the sound of Brian May’s guitar during his solo toward the end of the song. Here his tone is very boxy with no real highs or lows, but when that sound is exaggerated by bad mastering, it sounds like there are mattresses sitting in front of his amplifiers. The best copies had extension on the high end, restoring the clarity and complimenting his distinctive technique. (more…)
There is a tendency in the recording to be a little “hot” tonally on the vocals and snare. The better copies like this one keep it under control, with the lesser copies getting much too lean and gritty to play loudly. What good is a raver like Fat Bottomed Girls if you can’t turn it up and really rock out with it?
Roy Thomas Baker is back on the scene here for Jazz, his first production with the band since 1975’s A Night at the Opera, and the last time he would work with Freddie and the boys.
On side one check out the low harmony vocal on the first track. The big kick drum is also a treat. RTB loves his bass, that’s for sure.
Both sides should have an open, extended top end and a solid, rich bottom. Our best copies were big and clear with plenty of rock bottom end and Whomp Factor.
We Love Dynamic Choruses, and These Are Amazing
This is one of the rare pop/rock albums that dramatically changes levels as it moves from the verses to the choruses of many its songs, especially the anthemic Fat Bottomed Girls. Mustapha, the first track on side one, has a huge finish as well. It can take a record like this to open your ears to how compressed practically every rock album you own is.
The sad fact of the matter is that most mixes for rock and pop recordings are just too safe. The engineers and producers believe that the mixes have to be safe for the average (read: crap) stereo to play the record.
We like when music gets loud. It gets loud in live performance — why shouldn’t most of that wonderful energy make it to the record? (more…)
- Triple Plus (A+++) on side one, Double Plus (A++) on side two, this copy took top honors in our recent shootout
- The best copies – like this one – have plenty of bass and are smoother and fuller than the others
- Disco, funk, rhythm and blues, dance and pop music all found their way onto this 1982 release
- The monster hit Under Pressure with none other than Mr David Bowie closes out side two
- With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy of Hot Space took top honors in our recent shootout
- The best pressings – like this one – have plenty of bass and are smoother and fuller than the rest
- Disco, funk, rhythm and blues, dance and pop music all found their way onto this 1982 release -the monster hit Under Pressure with none other than Mr. David Bowie closes out side two
- “Hot Space is an essential cog for Queen completists… [it] has invention and ideas to spare.”
Queen albums in general are notoriously hard to find good sound for, and Queen albums from 1982 are probably even harder.
We’re guessing this album’s appeal is probably limited to fans of the band, but for those of you who want something different, or to hear Under Pressure sound good, we offer Hot Space with White Hot Stamper sound. (more…)
- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout
- Tie Your Mother Down and Somebody to Love are both wonderful sounding on this EARLY British pressing
- It’s incredibly difficult to find big, bold, lively sound like this for Queen – it takes us years to do the shootout
- “Its sleek, streamlined finish is the biggest indication that Queen has entered a new phase, where they’re globe-conquering titans instead of underdogs on the make.”
The best sounding side ones were rarely as good as the best sounding side twos.
Even the good side ones tended to have a trace of harmonic distortion and compression that is simply nowhere to be found on the good side twos. How and why this is we have no idea. Since every copy had the same sonic issues we discounted it in our grading. Only the better copies bring the hits on side one to life and give them the size and power we know they can have. (more…)
Sonic Grade: F
Murky, opaque and compressed: yes, we can agree it has never been an especially good sounding record on anything but the most difficult to find UK pressings, but does it deserve this kind of mastering disrespect? Isn’t the idea to try and FIX what is wrong, rather than to make it worse? At collector prices no less. Don’t waste your money.
Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.
- A stunning sounding copy — Triple Plus (A+++) on side two and Double Plus (A++) on side one
- Powerful sound throughout: incredibly huge and present with amazing clarity and lots of detail
- Some of the best Queen sound you’ll ever hear — We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions sound great here
- “…it’s massive, earth-shaking rock & roll, the sound of a band beginning to revel in its superstardom.” — Allmusic customers give it 4 1/2 Stars and that rating sounds about right to us
It is ridiculously tough to find decent sound for Queen. We’ve suffered through a lot of fruitless shootouts, but this album is clearly a cut above most of their recordings. On a copy like this, it’s absolutely stunning!
Side one starts out with Queen’s back-to-back anthemic classics, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. Does it get any better for a Queen fan? Hell no. (more…)