Top Artists – Deep Purple

Deep Purple / Made In Japan – UK Vinyl But Mastered in the States?

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Reviews and Commentaries for Made In Japan

To our dismay, we discovered that some of the stampers for some of the sides on some of the British import pressings are actually sourced from a well known American cutting house. When those sides did poorly in the shootout, naturally we wanted to know more about them in order to avoid buying any more pressings with those markings.

We had no idea the British would “import” the metalwork from here, but they did, and the results were not good, at least not for us audiophiles. I hope it goes without saying that we will not be selling any versions of the album that are not cut in England.

This is what you learn when you have lots of copies of the same album and play them against each other.

We constantly Experiment with Different Record Pressings this way and we recommend you do the same.

Carry out as many experiments as you can find time for. The quality of your collection — at least the sonic quality of your collection — will improve immensely.


Deep Purple / Machine Head on Rhino 180 Gram Vinyl

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Sonic Grade: F

You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (On some records in the Hall of Shame the sound is passable but the music is bad.  These are also records you can safely avoid.)

I’m guessing that very few people have ever heard this record sound good. The average copy is nothing special, but this one is a boring, lifeless mess, so save your money.

Rhino Records has really made a mockery of the analog medium. Rhino touts their releases as being pressed on “180 gram High Performance Vinyl.” However, if they are using performance to refer to sound quality, we have found the performance of their vinyl to be quite low, lower than the average copy one might stumble upon in the used record bins.


Deep Purple / Made In Japan – Right at the Top of the List of Great Sounding Live Albums

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Machine Head Live? That would not be far off, and the fact they brought Martin Birch along with them all the way to Japan in order to engineer a live album that was only supposed to sell to the Japanese market (!) could not have been more fortuitous for us audiophiles.

Machine Head is clearly one of the best sounding hard rock records ever made, and Made In Japan, its successor, sounds more like a top quality studio production than any live album I’ve ever heard. It’s shocking how clean and undistorted the sound is. Equally shocking is the fact that it’s every bit as big and lively as a Hard Rockin’ Live Album should be.

This is a combination the likes of which we have never heard.

We’ve raved about a number of live albums over the years. Some of the better sounding ones that come readily to mind (in alphabetical order) are

  • The Band Rock of Ages,
  • Belafonte at Carnegie Hall,
  • David Live,
  • Johnny Cash At San Quentin,
  • Cheap Trick at Budokan
  • Eric Clapton Just One Night
  • Deep Purple Made in Japan,
  • Donny Hathaway Live,
  • The Jimi Hendrix Concerts,
  • Performance – Rockin The Fillmore,
  • Live Wire – Blues Power,
  • Waiting For Columbus,
  • Lou Rawls Live!
  • Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out and
  • Live at Leeds

I would be proud to have any of them in my collection. (more…)

Deep Purple – Made In Japan

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Want to find your own shootout winner? Scroll to the bottom to see our advice on what to look for.

  • This outstanding UK pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound or BETTER on all four sides 
  • Surprisingly clean, undistorted sound for a live album, yet every bit as big and lively as a Hard Rockin’ Live Album should be
  • In terms of Tubey Magic, richness and naturalness, Made In Japan might just be The Best Sounding Live Album of All Time
  • Rolling Stone: “They’ve done countless shows since in countless permutations, but they’ve never sounded quite this perfect.”

Having just played a stack of copies of Made In Japan I’d put the album right up there with the best of the best. In terms of Tubey Magic, richness and naturalness — qualities that are usually in very short supply on live albums — I would have to say that the shootout winning copies of Made In Japan would be very likely to take Top Honors for Best Sounding Live Album of All Time.

Yes, the sound is that good.

Machine Head Live? That would not be far off, and the fact they brought Martin Birch along with them all the way to Japan in order to engineer a live album that was only supposed to sell to the Japanese market (!) could not have been more fortuitous for us audiophiles. (more…)

Deep Purple – Mark I & II – Reviewed in 2009

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This is a Minty looking EMI Import Double LP. It’s a compilation with a single LP dedicated to each era of the band’s early history. As with any compilation some tracks sound better than others here but don’t let the German sourced tapes scare you. These sound like really high quality tapes, close to, if not the actual, master tapes.

The second LP features the most recognizable and probably best lineup (Mark II) the band ever had, with songs such as Black Knight, Speed King, Smoke on the Water and Highway star, to name but a few. 

Deep Purple – Machine Head

  • Two killer sides clocking in at Double Plus (A++) – the sound is HUGE, with real energy, presence and whomp – exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Amazingly spacious and three-dimensional, no doubt the result of the album being recorded practically live in the studio
  • Their superbly talented engineer, Martin Barre, recorded the big, bold, rich, smooth sound of British Rock about as well as anyone ever did
  • 5 stars: “Machine Head was anything but a one-trick pony, introducing the bona fide classic opener “Highway Star,” which epitomized all of Deep Purple’s intensity and versatility while featuring perhaps the greatest soloing duel ever between guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and organist Jon Lord.”

When you get a Hot Stamper pressing like this one, Machine Head is a True Rock and Roll Demo Disc. Since our stereo is all about playing these kinds of records, and playing them at good loud levels as nature — and the artists — intended, we had a helluva time with Machine Head.

It had the kind of presence and energy that puts most copies of this album to shame. It’s also amazingly spacious, the result no doubt of it being recorded practically live in the studio. On the best copies, you can really hear the sound bouncing off the studio walls, just as you can on the best Zep, AC/DC and Bad Co. albums. You can just tell they are all playing this one live: it’s so relaxed and natural and REAL sounding. (more…)

Deep Purple / Who Do We Think We Are! – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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This British Import Purple Records pressing has a GREAT side one, and AMAZING A+++ side two, and VERY QUIET VINYL throughout! I don’t think you could find a better sounding side two no matter what you did. The sound here is BIG, BOLD and LIVELY with real weight down low and excellent presence. It really JUMPS out of the speakers and fills up the room! Side one is very good as well, with all of the qualities described above. It doesn’t fully open up the way side two does, but it still slaughtered most of the copies we played it against.

The big hit song from this one was Woman From Tokyo and it sounds excellent on this copy — very natural with real texture to the guitars and lots of WHOMP down low. (more…)

Deep Purple – The Book of Taliesyn

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  • An insanely good sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish and the first copy to ever hit the site!
  • Both sides here are big, full-bodied, Tubey Magical and present with plenty of extension on both ends
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “By the time 1972 came around, Deep Purple immersed themselves in dumb lyrics, unforgettable riffs, and a huge presence, much like Black Sabbath. The evolution from progressive to hard rock was complete, but a combination of what they did here — words that mattered matched by innovative musical passages — would have been a more pleasing combination.” – All Music


Deep Purple – Fireball

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  • Outstanding sound throughout for this original Harvest import pressing, with each side earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This LP was simply bigger, richer and clearer, with more Tubey Magic, less smear and less congestion than most of the other vintage imports we played
  • One of Ian Gillian’s favorite albums, “… it was really the beginning of tremendous possibilities of expression.”
  • 4 1/2 stars: “One of Deep Purple’s four indispensable albums (the others being In Rock, Machine Head, and Burn), 1971’s Fireball saw the band broadening out from the no-holds-barred hard rock direction of the previous year’s cacophonous In Rock.”

This vintage Harvest pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Deep Purple – In Rock

  • Both these UK sides have excellent sound for the band’s 1970 Classic, earning Double Plus (A++) grades – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Only the Brit Harvest LPs such as this one are made from the actual master tape, and it sure ain’t hard to hear the difference using the real tape makes
  • In our experience, these import pressings are the only way to hear the band with the big, rich, Tubey Magical sound they’re famous for
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Deep Purple’s soon to be classic Mark II version made its proper debut and established the sonic blueprint that would immortalize this lineup of the band on 1970’s awesome In Rock.”

The best pressings give you exactly what you want from this brand of straight ahead rock and roll: presence in the vocals; solid, note-like bass; big punchy drums, and the kind of live-in-the-studio energetic, clean and clear sound. (AC/DC is another band with that kind of live studio sound. With big speakers and the power to drive them YOU ARE THERE.) (more…)