- Triumph finally returns to the site with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two mated with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side one – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- If you’ve heard one of our amazing Hot Stamper pressings of Off the Wall – the best sounding record Michael Jackson ever made – then you know exactly the Tubey Magical sound of the best copies of Triumph
- 4 stars: “Released during the summer of 1980, just as the hits from Michael’s Off the Wall were sliding off the charts, Triumph became the Jacksons’ first Top Ten pop album since 1972’s Lookin’ Through the Windows…”
ABSOLUTELY STUNNING SOUND for this White Hot Stamper pressing!
Both sides cannot be beat — both have the BIG M.J. SOUND that jumps out of the speakers and fills the room. We’ve never heard a copy that was so full of ANALOG MAGIC!
The vocals are PERFECTION — breathy, full-bodied, and present. The top end is extended and sweet, with tons of ambience the likes of which I’ve never heard before.
Normally when you have a copy with strong midrange presence it will be somewhat sibilant in places. Not so here. For some reason this copy has all the highs, but it’s cut so clean it practically doesn’t spit at all. Even on the song I Can’t Help It, which normally has a problem in that respect. Since that’s my favorite song on this album, and probably my favorite MJ song of all time, hearing it sound so good was a revelation.
Better Sound than Thriller?
Yes. As consistently brilliant as Thriller may be musically — it is the biggest selling album of all time after all — speaking strictly in terms of sonics the sound of the best copies of Off the Wall is substantially sweeter, tubier, more natural, richer, and more ANALOG than Thriller.
Thriller is clearly more aggressive and processed-sounding than Off the Wall. The Girl Is Mine or Human Nature from Thriller would fit just fine anywhere on Off the Wall, but could the same be said for Beat It or Thriller? Just thinking about them you can hear the artificiality of the sound of both those songs in your head. Think about the snare that opens Beat It. I’ve never heard a snare sound like that in my life. Practically no instrument on Off the Wall has that kind of overly processed EQ’d sound.
Choruses Are Key
The richness, sweetness and freedom from artificiality is most apparent on Off the Wall where you most always hear it on a pop record: in the biggest, loudest, densest, climactic choruses.
We set the playback volume so that the loudest parts of the record are as huge and powerful as they can possibly grow to be without crossing the line into distortion or congestion. On some records, Dark Side of the Moon comes instantly to mind, the guitar solos on Money are the loudest thing on the record. On Breakfast in America the sax toward the end of The Logical Song is the biggest and loudest element in the mix, louder even than Roger Hodgson’s near-hysterical multi-track screaming “Who I am” about three quarters of the way through the track. Those are clearly exceptions though. Usually it’s the final chorus that gets bigger and louder than anything else.
A pop song is usually structured so as to build more and more power as it works its way through its verses and choruses, past the bridge, coming back around to make one final push, releasing all its energy in the final chorus, the climax of the song. On a good recording — one with real dynamics — that part should be very loud and very powerful.
Testing Off the Wall
It’s almost always the toughest test for a pop record, and it’s the main reason we play our records loud. The copies that hold up through the final choruses of their album’s largest scaled productions are the ones that provide the biggest thrills and the most emotionally powerful musical experiences one can have. Our Top 100 is full of the kinds of records that reward that listening at loud levels.
We live for that sound here at Better Records. It’s what vintage analog pressings do so brilliantly. They do it so much better than any other medium that there is really no comparison, and certainly no substitute. If you’re on this site you probably already know that.
To bring this discussion back to the subject at hand, the loudest choruses on Off the Wall are richer, smoother, sweeter and more free of processing artifacts than those on Thriller. (more…)
One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:
These are absolutely fantastic – mind blowing. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but your Off the Wall pressing was a religious experience. (more…)
One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:
The Off The Wall Hot Stamper is a fantastic album and worth every penny. I am not what you would call an audiophile and won’t ever claim to be but I know what I like. I have listened to this album 5 times and I am just amazed that all the [tracks] can SOUND SO GOOD.
I especially like Girlfriend, She’s Out of My Life where Michael’s voice strains and I can hear him take a couple of breaths before the last couple of words and I Can’t Help It is exceptional. Wow! is the word that describes this album and I am glad I got mine.
Thanks for all the great sounds.
Sonic Grade: F
Pure mud. No top end whatsoever!
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
A KILLER THRILLER, with an A+++ side one that’s going to knock you out! That gives you TOP SHELF SOUND for songs including Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ and the title track, which are going to BLOW YOU AWAY! So many copies of Thriller out there just don’t deliver, but this side one does almost everything right. (more…)
- A KILLER copy with two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides – this is some of the best sound we have ever heard on Bad – exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
- This one beat every other copy we played against it – the sound is huge, full-bodied, punchy and relatively smooth throughout, with real space and ambience around the vocals and instruments
- Includes some of Jackson’s biggest 80’s hits, “Man in the Mirror,” “Dirty Diana,” Smooth Criminal,” and of course, the title track
- 4 1/2 stars: “… essentially taking each portion of Thriller to an extreme, while increasing the quotient of immaculate studiocraft. He wound up with a sleeker, slicker Thriller, which isn’t a bad thing…”
Michael Jackson’s records always make for tough shootouts. His everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to recording make it difficult to translate so much sound to disc. vinyl or otherwise. Everything has to be tuned up and on the money before we can even hope to get the record sounding right. (Careful VTA adjustment could not be more critical in this respect.) (more…)
On the better copies the multi-tracked chorus and background vocals are as breathy, rich, sweet and Tubey Magical as any pop recording we know of. An extended top end opens up the space for the huge, dense production to occupy. There is Midrange Magic To Die For exceeding anything to be found on Thriller.
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
The first single from the album was designed to go to Number One and it certainly met all expectations in that regard.
On the properly mastered and pressed copies the vocals and percussion will be a bit brighter than those on most of the tracks that follow. The percussion is often somewhat brittle on even the best copies; it’s surely on the tape that way.
It should be big, clear and lively right out of the gate. (more…)
This copy has Triple Plus Shootout Winning sound on side one!
- A killer Top Copy: Triple Plus (A+++) on the first side, Double Plus (A++) on the second
- The sound is huge — big, wide, deep, and open, with the kind of three-dimensional soundstaging that lets the music unfold in front of you and around you
- Billie Jean and Beat It sound out of this world here, but that’s not fair to the rest of the album since every track does
- “More than just a phenomenon…it is simply great music.” — AMG 5 stars
The sound on this copy is huge — big, wide, deep, and open, with the kind of three-dimensional soundstaging that lets the music unfold in front of you and around you as well. You get the bottom end punch that’s so crucial to this music and tons of energy as well. The bass is meaty and well-defined, showing you the rhythmic foundation that the music needs. The overall sound is transparent with amazing texture to practically every element.
Michael’s voice is marvelous on this copy — breathy, textured, and positively dripping with emotion (just listen to him break down on The Lady in My Life).
A Real Thrill(er)
Thanks to constant improvements in our stereo, we’re now getting this album to sound better than it ever has. Extended highs appeared where none had been before. We were hearing synthesizers buried deep in the mix we’d never heard. All of a sudden, these ’80s pop records had amazing analog magic.
If your system is up to the task, you won’t believe how big and lively this album sounds. Who woulda thunk it? (more…)