- Queen’s debut returns to the site on this original UK pressing with KILLER Nearly Triple Plus Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Both sides here are big, full-bodied, super clear and spacious with a huge bottom end and tons of rock energy
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- “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.”
- This UK import copy of the band’s fifth studio album has outstanding sound from start to finish
- Forget the domestic pressings — they may be cut at Sterling, but they never sound like these shockingly good British LPs
- We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
- Problems in the vinyl is sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around it if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- “A Day at the Races is a bit tighter than its predecessor… 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.”
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 it when music gets loud. It gets loud in live performance — why shouldn’t most of that wonderful energy make it to the record?
News of the World is incredibly dynamic and powerful in this respect, our pick for the best recording by the band, but Jazz on its best cuts is not very far behind it.
This EMI import LP has TWO SUPERB DEMO DISC QUALITY SIDES! Each received an A+++, making this BY FAR THE BEST SINGLE COPY we have ever heard. This copy set a new standard for the sound of this album; we’ve never heard anything like it!
Side two made possible a major discovery regarding this recording. Through the first two songs on this side, the sound on the whole is very consistent – fairly dark and somewhat compressed (like most Queen records now that I think of it).
Then we listened to “It’s Late” with dropped jaws. It’s like a completely different album! It’s got high-end extension that can even be heard on the bad copies. Can you imagine having to be the mastering engineer for this album? The problems seem far too varied and complex to be fixed in the mastering. Then you hear a track like this and realize that the cutting equipment they were using must have been great. The sound is awesome.
No other record in our shootout received an A+++. In our last shootout of this record there were just too many problems with the recording itself, and now those problems seem to have been fixed. We can’t be sure there isn’t a copy out there that tops this one — The Black Swan effect — so top honors are being happily given out now.
Believe us when we say that you have never heard a News Of The World that comes close to our A+++ copy here, or your money back.
To say that this amazing sounding copy is rare is an unbelievable understatement. If this record is as meaningful for you as it is for me, I think you will quickly appreciate that it’s worth every penny of its price. All you have to do is drop the needle. All questions will be answered and all mysteries revealed.
Owning this White Hot Stamper is a PRIVILEGE that affords the listener insight into Queen that simply is not possible any other way. The emotional power of these songs is communicated so completely through this copy that the experience will be like hearing it for the first time.
- Queen’s killer 1974 release finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- This copy rocks like crazy with serious weight down low, huge size and space, and plenty of driving energy
- 4 1/2 stars: “. . . this sense of scale, combined with the heavy guitars, pop hooks, and theatrical style, marks the true unveiling of Queen, making Sheer Heart Attack the moment where they truly came into their own.”
- This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from the first note to last
- Some of the best sound Queen achieved in the studio, thanks to talented engineer Rienhold Mack
- Plenty of hits here, including Another One Bites The Dust and Crazy Little Thing Called Love, which both sound amazing on this Super Hot Stamper
- 4 1/2 stars: “… the striking difference with this album is that it finds Queen turning decidedly, decisively pop, and it’s a grand, state-of-the-art circa 1980 pop album that still stands as one of the band’s most enjoyable records.”
Throughout this copy, you get solid bass, Tubey Magic, breathy vocals and BIG BOLD sound.
Compared to most of the copies we played, these sides have more energy, bigger bass and even more present and breathy vocals. This is without a doubt some of the best sound we have ever heard for Queen, no ifs, ands or buts about it.
The quality of bass on this record is often superb. The best copies were Demo Discs in that regard.) You have probably never heard Queen sound this good.
Take it from us, the guys who play nothing but vintage vinyl all day: not many Queen records sound as good as The Game. (more…)
- This stunning copy of Queen’s Masterpiece boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
- Both sides are exceptionally quiet – this is some of the best sound and quietest vinyl we have ever heard for the album
- HUGE with WHOMP like nothing you have ever heard – finally, the code has been cracked (but the right British pressings are sure hard to find)
- 5 stars: “But the appeal of A Night at the Opera is in its detailed, meticulous productions. It’s prog rock with a sense of humor as well as dynamics, and Queen never bettered their approach anywhere else.”
Although we wish it were not the case, for some reason it’s unusually difficult to find good-sounding Queen albums, which is why you rarely see most of their better titles on the site. (News of the World and The Game are exceptions to that rule; they’re much easier to find with good sound, especially The Game.)
Not to worry. We’ve done our homework (which simply involves finding, cleaning and playing a big stack of British pressings from different eras) and found you the copy that has all of the Queen Magic you heard in your head (and only in your head) while Bohemian Rhapsody was playing on the radio.
Here’s the pressing that finally can let you hear that BIG, BOLD sound in your very own listening room. You can even play it for your audiophile friends now. (more…)
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…)
- 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…)
More records that often display Side to Side Differences
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.