Top Artists – The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari

More of The Beach Boys

More Titles that Sound Best in Mono

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  • The band’s debut album finally arrives on the site with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A copy like this is a rare audiophile treat – here are The Beach Boys’ marvelous harmonies from 1962, sounding as rich, warm, clear, natural and lively as you could ever hope to hear them 
  • We have to admit we were wrong about the early Beach Boys pressings sounding like the bad Capitol Beatles LPs we know all too well – some of them can sound great, and this mono early pressing is proof!
  • “… afford[s] a glimpse of the group as they sounded when they were a true band in the studio, before most of their parts were played by session musicians.”

We have to admit we were wrong about the early Beach Boys pressings sounding like the bad Capitol Beatles LPs we know all too well. As we discovered in our recent shootout, some of them can sound great. There are also amazing sounding reissues, and this is one of those.

The sound is big, open, rich and full, with the band front and center. (It’s a mono pressing of a mono recording so the band had better be in the center or something is definitely amiss.) The highs are extended and sweet. The bass is tight and full-bodied. Very few early Beach Boys records offer the kind of sound you will hear on this pressing, and on both sides no less. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Spirit of America

More of The Beach Boys

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  • The Beach Boys compilation follow-up to Endless Summer finally arrives on the site with two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides mated with two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This copy get the midrange right, and since that is where The Beach Boys’ voices are, that puts it well ahead of the other pressings we played n the first two sides
  • “Spirit of America was downright refreshing in its succinct, bracing brevity, singles and album tracks alike.”

(more…)

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

More Beach Boys

Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

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  • This insanely good pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to them on both sides
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album, a vintage pressing like this one is the way to go
  • The Beach Boys revolutionized the popular music of the day with their genius for harmony, and a killer copy like this has their voices sounding the way they should
  • 5 stars: “The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound.”

(more…)

The Beach Boys / Pet Sounds – DCC Reviewed

More The Beach Boys

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Sonic Grade: D to C+

Not long ago [2014 or so] we pulled out the three copies we had in our leftover stock of DCC vinyl and gave them a spin. They weren’t awful, but they weren’t very good either. They sounded like most Heavy Vinyl we’ve played over the years: airless, blurry, smeary, two-dimensional, dull and opaque.

Not surprisingly (to us anyway) one copy was quite a bit better than the other two. I would say that the sound of the three copies would plot on a curve from about a D to maybe a C+, so let’s figure the average would be around a C- or so.

I’d be surprised if the DCC Gold CD didn’t sound better. More often than not it does. (Kevin Gray’s lousy cutting system would not be involved and that is almost a guarantee that the sound would improve markedly.)

The no-longer-surprising thing about our Hot Stamper pressings of Pet Sounds is how completely they trounce the DCC LP. Folks, it’s really no contest. Yes, the DCC is tonally balanced and can sound decent enough, but it can’t compete with the best “mystery” pressings that we sell. It’s missing too much of the presence, intimacy, immediacy and transparency that we’ve discovered on the better Capitol pressings.

As is the case with practically every record pressed on Heavy Vinyl over the last twenty years, there is a suffocating loss of ambience throughout, a pronounced sterility to the sound. Modern remastered records just do not BREATHE like the real thing. Good EQ or Bad EQ, they all suffer to one degree or another from a bad case of audio enervation. Where is the life of the music? You can try turning up the volume on these remastered LPs all you want; they simply refuse to come to life.


FURTHER READING

Basic Concepts and Realities Explained 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments 

Key Tracks for Critical Listening 

Making Audio Progress  (more…)

The Beach Boys – Sunflower

More Beach Boys

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  • A KILLER copy of Sunflower with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
  • This pressing is surprisingly rich and smooth, with excellent bass and the kind of breathy immediacy to the vocals that only vintage vinyl can offer
  • 4 1/2 stars: “[Sunflower] signaled a creative rebirth for the band, a return to the beautiful harmonies and orchestral productions of their classic mid-’60s material.”

This album — like Surf’s Up, which was released just after it — can really sound wonderful on a good pressing. If you love Pet Sounds, you’ll find plenty of the Beach Boys’ signature harmonies here, all recorded with real richness and warmth. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Surfin’ USA

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  • An excellent reissue pressing of this Beach Boys classic from 1963 – this one earned Double Plus (A++) grades for sound or BETTER – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is big, open, rich, full-bodied and spacious, with the performers front and center (as well as left and right)
  • 4 stars: “The real breakthrough… The LP was a huge hit, vital to launching surf music as a national craze, and one of the few truly strong records to be recorded by a self-contained American rock band prior to the British Invasion.”

NOTE: Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can be sure we have a nice cover for you.

It’s hard to find great sounding Beach Boys records, so when we first heard a Hot Stamper of this title we were blown away. The sound is big, open, rich and full, with the performers front and center (as well as left and right). The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than others by a long shot (more…)

The Beach Boys – Endless Summer

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  • A superb copy with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side four, mated with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on the other three sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, 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
  • 5 stars: “Endless Summer, which was assembled in consultation with Mike Love, soared to number one and charted high over two subsequent summers (spending three years on the charts, the longest of any of the group’s albums).”

Like any compilation, some tracks sound better than others, but the best sounding tracks on here easily rank with any Beach Boys vinyl we’ve ever played. And the material on here is so good and so comprehensive (check the track listing tab above) that for most of you this and Pet Sounds should be all the Beach Boys you’ll ever need.

The sound here is big, open, rich and full, with the performers front and center (as well as left and right). The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than others by a long shot. Very few Beach Boys records offer the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from these pressings.

Fresh Tapes

These original LPs also have the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s no doubt missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 50+ year old tapes. As good as that pressing may be, we guarantee that this one is dramatically more REAL SOUNDING. It gives you the sense that all the boys (and the Wrecking Crew) are right in the room with you.

They’re no longer a representation — they’re living, breathing persons. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. Their voices are so rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality, you immediately find yourself lost in the music.

As any record collector knows all too well, Capitol pressings are all over the map. When you find a good one, you can be pretty sure it’s the exception, not the rule. That’s been our experience, and we’ve played them by the hundreds. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Sunflower

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  • A Top Copy: Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side, Double Plus (A++) on the first
  • This pressing is surprisingly rich and smooth, with excellent bass and nice immediacy to the vocals
  • One of the better sounding Beach Boys recordings that really comes to life on the best copies
  • A 4 1/2 star album in the All Music Guide: “Brian Wilson once again back near the top of his game.”

This album — like Surf’s Up, which was released just after it — can really sound wonderful on a good pressing. If you love Pet Sounds, you’ll find plenty of the Beach Boys’ signature harmonies here, all recorded with real richness and warmth. (more…)

Led Zeppelin III – Hot Stampers vs. The World

Letters and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin III

 

One of our good customers has started writing a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a link to a comparison Robert Brook carried out with various pressings of Led Zeppelin III.

Led Zeppelin 3: Audiophile Record Collecting During the Trump Era

The Classic has of course been a member of our Hall of Shame on the site since the day it came out. We have a section on this blog for records that don’t sound good (the case with the Classic) or have weak music (definitely not the case!), which can be found here.

Classic Records

was an awful record label from day one. The link above will take you to some of our reviews of their rock records.

We also have sections for their jazz and classical offerings.

Today’s Mediocre LP – Pet Sounds on DCC

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Sonic Grade: C-

The no-longer-surprising thing about our Hot Stamper pressings of Pet Sounds is how completely they trounce the DCC LP. Folks, it’s really no contest. Yes, the DCC is tonally balanced and can sound decent enough but it can’t compete with the best “mystery” pressings that we sell. It’s missing too much of the presence, intimacy, immediacy and transparency that we’ve discovered on the better Capitol pressings.

As is the case with practically every record pressed on Heavy Vinyl over the last twenty years, there is a suffocating loss of ambience throughout, a pronounced sterility to the sound. Modern remastered records just do not BREATHE like the real thing. Good EQ or Bad EQ, they all suffer to one degree or another from a bad case of audio enervation. Where is the life of the music? You can try turning up the volume on these remastered LPs all you want; they simply refuse to come to life.