Top Artists – The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys – Little Deuce Coupe

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  • An original Capitol Stereo pressing with stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Both of these sides are surprisingly rich and smooth, with excellent bass and the kind of breathy immediacy to the vocals that only vintage vinyl can offer
  • The sound is big, open, full-bodied and spacious, and the boys’ voices are as clear and sweet as you could ever wish for


The Beach Boys – Sail on, Sailor

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of The Beach Boys 

The original record is dull on the lead vocal, but the chorus is magic.

All the other versions get is wrong as far as I can tell, and in exactly the way I describe in this commentary for Jackson Browne’s first album:

Jackson Browne’s Debut – Smooth or Detailed, Which Is Right?

Most of the clips posted here are so modern and phony and wrong they make my head hurt. Really boosted on the top. Who on earth wants that sound? Apparently some people do.

The real pressings never sounded that way. Although they may need some modest help in the EQ department, making wholesale changes to the sound — as was clearly done for most of these modern versions — is just wrong.

It ruins everything that is good about the recording.

Now do you see why we have so little respect for modern mastering engineers?

They ruin classic titles like Surfs Up with their “improvements.” They destroy what is good about vintage analog while promoting themselves as the protectors of vintage analog.

The only people who can be trusted to promote the sound of vintage analog are the people who sell it and write about it.

The rest of them are frauds and charlatans and, as far as I can tell, deaf as a post.


Letter of the Week – “…the sound of the vocals on this thing are just incredible!”

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More Records that Sound Better in Stereo

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I just had to write in appreciation of a killer Beach Boys pressing I bought from you last year. It’s so funny to me because it’s the Beach Boys Christmas Album, which is the kind of thing I’m sure audiophiles tend to dismiss.

But wow, the sound of the vocals on this thing are just incredible! So much presence and texture in them; and this from a mid-’70s pressing in stereo!

I only wish I could find more sound like this for the Beach Boys, especially from Pet Sounds, but that presents a completely different set of problems I’m sure.

Anyway, I was completely impressed by the A+ sound on these sides. I can only imagine what the White Hot Stamper holds in its grooves.



Thanks for your letter. This is indeed one of the better sounding Beach Boys titles we’ve played. It might even be the best.

Is it surprising that it is a true stereo recording? Not to us it isn’t.

While leader Brian Wilson produced and arranged the rock songs, he left it to Dick Reynolds (an arranger for the Four Freshmen, a group Wilson idolized) to arrange the 41-piece orchestral backings on the traditional songs to which the Beach Boys would apply their vocals.

The album was released in mono and stereo; the stereo mix, prepared by engineer Chuck Britz, would be the last true stereo mix for a Beach Boys album until 1968’s Friends. – Wikipedia

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Basic Concepts and Realities Explained

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The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album

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  • With two INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, this early (original?) Capitol pressing is without a doubt the best sounding pressing we have ever played
  • This copy gets the midrange as perfectly as any pressing we have ever played, and since that is where The Beach Boys’ voices are, that puts it ahead of everything else we heard
  • What’s shocking to those of us who have played The Beach Boys records by the bucketful is how RICH and OPEN the best pressings of this album are
  • You will have an awfully hard time finding another Beach Boys album that sounds as good as this one, and you may just find that it simply can’t be done
  • 4 stars: “This mix of favorites and originals makes this a balanced holiday album that should please both Beach Boys admirers and those unfamiliar with the group

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate solid, palpable, and real Beach Boys singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.


The Beach Boys – Spirit of America

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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.”
  • If you’re a fan of the Beach Boys, this 1975 release surely belongs in your collection


The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds: Analogue Productions Takes on the Hot Stamper

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


Below is a link to a comparison Robert Brook carried out between two pressings of Pet Sounds – the Analogue Productions pressing and one of our Hot Stampers.

We’ve written quite a bit about the album, and you can find plenty of our Reviews and Commentaries for Pet Sounds on this very blog.

Pet Sounds: Analogue Productions Takes on the Hot Stamper

I have never heard the AP pressing, and have no plans at this time to play one, mostly because not a single one that I have heard on my system was any better than awful.

You can read some of my reviews here:

Analogue Productions

I wrote a very long review of their disastrous Tea for the Tillerman, which you may find of interest:

Cat Stevens / Tea for the Tillerman – This Is Your Idea of Analog?

And followed it up with a two part exegesis on the 45 RPM version. We are nothing if not thorough.

Surfer Girl Takes MoFi Spit to a New Level

More of the Music of The Beach Boys

More Recordings that Are Good for Testing Sibilance

Sonic Grade: F

An Audiophile Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP reviewed and found wanting.

I played the MoFi pressing of this record many years ago, some time back in the early ’90s if memory serves, and at the time I could hardly believe that the good people of MoFi would release a record that was so ridiculously SPITTY. The sibilance is positively out of control, the result of their wacky cutting system and phony EQ and who knows what else.

But then I remembered that there has never been a title produced by these people with sound so bad that they would have cancelled its release. {This is a classic case of begging the question. I really have no idea why some of their titles that exist only on test pressing — Pearl for one — never saw the light of day. It is possible that it was cancelled because it sounded worse than even the hard-of-hearing Powers That Be at MoFi could tolerate. Doubtful, but possible.)

The audiophile public was clamoring for remastered pressings of their favorite albums and MoFi saw it as an opportunity to serve them.

In other words, to paraphrase a famous wag, their fans had spoken and now they must be punished.

It started with their execrable remastering of Katy Lied and continued all the way to the turgid muck of the Anadisc series and beyond. Those who have visited our Hall of Shame have seen many of their worst productions on display. If we had more time to write listings for them I’m sure I could come up with double or triple the number that are in there now. 

Further Reading

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The Beach Boys – In Concert

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In Concert

  • Wonderful Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides – this is only the second copy to ever hit the site, and it’s a good one!
  • Fairly quiet on the fourth side – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus – the other three sides plays Mint Minus Minus
  • “Beach Boys in Concert was the final live album to be issued — excluding archival vault releases — capturing the seminal American combo as a viable, hard-working rock & roll band with timeless material instead of the parody that Mike Love so perfectly embodied during their final years. This is the way the Beach Boys deserve to be remembered.” – 4 Stars

We’ve raved about a number of live albums over the years. Some of the better sounding ones that come readily to mind (in alphabetical order) are Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, David Live, Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Donny Hathaway Live, The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Performance – Rockin The Fillmore, Live Wire – Blues Power, Waiting For Columbus, Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out and Live at Leeds. I would be proud to have any of them in my collection.

The Beach Boys In Concert will never join that rarefied list, but the better copies are clearly giving us a picture of the band pleasing their fans in the early ’70s, right here in the good old U.S. of A.

Note that we have never heard good sounding copies of either of the two previous Beach Boys concert albums, so for a live recording of The Beach Boys this is pretty much going to be it. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari

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More Titles that Sound Best in Mono

  • 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 
  • “… 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 – Pet Sounds

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Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

  • 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.”