Michael just got a nice copy of Zep IV from us. His letter follows.
Well son of a bitch. Do you know how many tube combinations, cartridge adjustments, turntable adjustments, speakers, speaker placements, and other hocus pocus shit I’ve gone through after listening to a Led Zeppelin album I have where Bonham was barely present and Page’s guitar would wear my ears out within 2 songs thinking this can’t be the way they sounded… I know Bonham hit those drums hard. Well, that ain’t the case with the Zeppelins I recently purchased from you. Shit man, finally. It’s alive! Thank you Tom.
Glad to hear it! If you ever win the lottery we’ll get you a White Hot copy and REALLY blow your mind. About one out of ten with the right stampers gets When the Levee Breaks to sound the way you want it to. When I finally heard it about two or three years ago I could hardly believe it. Most pressings just plain suck.
Notes on When the Levee Breaks
When The Levee Breaks is rarely mastered properly and consequently rarely sounds the way it should. If the cymbals or the double-tracked harmonicas on your copy don’t get at least a little gritty you probably have an overly smooth copy, and it’s even possible that it’s made from a second or third generation tape. On the best copies both are alive with presence and energy.
And the room around the drums is huge, as is that famous 26″ Ludwig bass drum.*
The Classic Records reissue corrects this problem somewhat, but at a cost. They’ve completely robbed the song of all the Zep magic. It’s not as big, not as open, not as rich, not as lively, not as punchy, and so on — but the cymbals are clean. Is that the tradeoff we should be happy to live with? If you’re on our site you already know the answer.
Good to know you are giving the boys a good home to live in, where they can be appreciated.