- With superb sound on all six sides, this early British box set of All Things Must Pass will be very hard to beat
- Exceptionally quiet vinyl for this set – most of the copies we see are heavily played and prone to marks that repeat
- If you’ve struggled with domestic pressings and later imports or Heavy Vinyl reissues, your troubles are over – here is the sound you were looking for
- 5 stars: “Without a doubt, Harrison’s first solo recording is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements.”
- A Must Own Title from 1970
- The complete list of titles from 1970 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here
Many of the pressings we played of Volume One suffered from too much compression and a phony hi-fi-ish quality on the vocals. We knew there had to be great copies out there somewhere, so we kept dropping the needle until we found a few good men. Here is what we had to say about a killer copy we ran into during that process.
We heard a lot of copies with a spitty, gritty top end, but this one is smooth like butter and sweet like candy. Side two is nearly as good but doesn’t have quiet the same energy factor. It’s still dramatically better than most copies out there.
Now that we’ve discovered these Hot Stampers, the sound is finally where we want it to be. Until this week, we were convinced that these songs sounded better on the radio. (That’s what tons of compression and FM bass boost will do for you.)
Learning the Record
For our recent shootout we had at our disposal a variety of pressings we thought would have the potential for Hot Stamper sound. We cleaned them carefully, then unplugged everything in the house we could, warmed up the system, Talisman’d it, found the right VTA for our Triplanar arm (by ear of course) and proceeded to spend the next hour or so playing copy after copy on side one, after which we repeated the process for side two.
If you have five or ten copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what’s right and what’s wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that other pressings do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given copy reproduces those passages.
The process is simple enough. First, you go deep into the sound. There you find a critically important passage in the music, one which most copies struggle — or fail — to reproduce as well as the best. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.
It may be a lot of work but it sure ain’t rocket science, and we never pretended it was. Just the opposite: from day one we’ve explained how to go about finding the Hot Stampers in your own collection.
The problem is that unless your a crazy person who bought multiple copies of the same album there is no way to know if any given copy is truly Hot Stamper. Hot Stampers are not merely good sounding records. They are the copies that win shootouts. This is a fact that cannot be emphasized too strongly.
As your stereo and room improve, as you take advantage of new cleaning technologies, as you find new and interesting pressings to evaluate, you may even be inclined to start the shootout process all over again, to find the hidden gem, the killer copy that blows away what you thought was the best.
You can’t find it by looking at it. You have to clean it and play it, and always against other pressings of the same album. There is no other way.
For the more popular records on the site such as the Beatles titles we have easily done more than twenty, maybe even as many as thirty to forty shootouts.
And very likely learned something new from every one. (more…)
- KILLER sound for this Dark Horse pressing from 1981 with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
- “Harrison’s first album since 1979 is one of his finest, featuring his moving tribute to Lennon, All Those Years Ago. Harrison’s signatures – crystal-clear production, buoyant backup and chimelike guitar runs are all here. This record is both entertainment and a musical giant’s defiant tribute to the value of life.”
- Insanely good sound throughout with both sides earning nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades; the first copy to ever hit the site!
- Both of these sides had some of the best sound in our recent shootout — big, full-bodied and present with a massive bottom end and huge amounts of energy
- Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- “…this record is loaded with charm. Dylan’s ”If You Belonged to Me” is stronger than anything on his last record, and ”You Took My Breath Away” is a first-rate ballad.”
- You’ll find very good Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this copy of the Wilbury’s debut album – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Proof that, when you put Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne in a recording studio together, something good is bound to happen
- Certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, this album was Grammy nominated Album of the Year in 1989
- 4 1/2 stars: “There never was a supergroup more super than the Traveling Wilburys… It’s impossible to picture a supergroup with a stronger pedigree.”
It’s hard not to enjoy this music. Put Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne in a recording studio together and something good is bound to happen, right?
This album is proof that it did! (more…)
- An excellent sounding early British Apple pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout and reasonably quiet vinyl
- If you want to hear the rich, Tubey Magical sound that was all over the Master Tape in 1973, these vintage imports are the only way to go
- What Living in the Material World does show off far better than the earlier record, however, is Harrison’s guitar work… it does represent his solo playing and songwriting at something of a peak. Most notable are his blues stylings and slide playing, glimpsed on some of the later Beatles sessions but often overlooked by fans.” – All Music