Top Artists – The Moody Blues

Listening in Depth to In Search Of The Lost Chord

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Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues

Achieving just the right balance of Tubey Magical, rich but not too rich “Moody Blues Sound” is no mean feat. You had better be using the real master tape for starters. Then you need a pressing with actual extension at the top, a quality rarely found on most imports. Finally, good bass definition is essential; it keeps the bottom end from blurring the midrange. No domestic copy in our experience has ever had these three qualities, and only the best of the imports manages to combine all three on the same LP.

On the best of the best the clarity and resolution comes without a sacrifice in the Tubey Magical richness, warmth and lushness for which the Moody Blues recordings are justifiably famous. In our experience the best LPs are correct from top to bottom, present and alive in the midrange, yet still retain the richness and sweetness we expect from British (and Dutch) Moody Blues records. They manage, against all odds, to remove the sonic barriers put up by most pressings of the Moodies’ unique music. Who knew, after so many years and so many bad records, that such a thing was even possible?

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Departure

The beginning of this track is fairly quiet and noise will be audible behind the music. Side two will suffer likewise.

Also, for some reason this track tends not to sound as good as those that follow. We had never really noticed that effect before but during a shootout many years ago it became obvious that the real Moody Magic starts with track two.

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The Moody Blues / In Search Of The Lost Chord

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Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues

  • Chock full of Moodies Magic: warm, full-bodied, rich and smooth, with tremendous space and plenty of rock energy
  • The first Moody Blues album to feature their trademark mellotron arrangements, and what a glorious sound that is when it sounds like this
  • “…the album on which the Moody Blues discovered drugs and mysticism as a basis for songwriting and came up with a compelling psychedelic creation, filled with songs about Timothy Leary and the astral plane and other psychedelic-era concerns.”

This early Deram British Import LP has STUNNING SOUND and fairly quiet vinyl. It has higher resolution, is more dynamic, sweeter and clearer than most copies, WITHOUT SACRIFICING the richness, warmth and lushness for which the Moody Blues recordings are justifiably famous. I’ll put it this way — this pressing is correct from top to bottom, so present and alive, while still retaining all the richness and sweetness we expect from British Moody Blues records, that I find it hard to believe you can do any better.

This copy has all the elusive elements that we search for: vocal clarity, real weight down low, great energy, tight punchy bass, and lots of texture to the keyboards and synths. This copy is full of Tubey Magic and, importantly, it doesn’t sound too murky or muddy. That’s a neat trick for any copy of this album, as those of you who’ve been playing it for years certainly know by now.

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The Moody Blues – On The Threshold Of A Dream

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Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues

  • You will not believe how punchy, lively, dynamic, and exciting some of these tracks sound here – this is one of their best albums for both music and sound!
  • 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 UK pressing is the way to go
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… [I]n 1969 this was envelope-ripping, genre-busting music, scaling established boundaries into unknown territory, not only “outside the box” but outside of any musical box that had been conceived at that moment…”

Both sides give you silky highs, surprising clarity, amazing openness and transparency, real weight to the bottom end, lots of air in the flutes, wonderful texture to the strings, and so much more. The acoustic guitars sound impressive, with the proper balance between pluck and body. The vocals are shockingly clean and clear throughout.

Copies like this bring all the psychedelic Moody Blues magic to life in your living room. The richness, sweetness, and warmth on this one give you exactly the sound you want for this wild music. You get lovely Tubey Magic and clarity. The sound is cleaner, clearer, richer, sweeter, and more present that you could have imagined.

It has been my experience that, as good as the British originals of the Moody Blues records are — and I think they are the best sounding pressings of their music that can be found — their one consistent shortcoming is an overly smooth top end. We managed to find a handful of copies that break with that tradition, and the results are wonderful. (more…)

The Moody Blues – To Our Children’s Children’s Children

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More Psych Rock

  • An early UK Threshold pressing with lush but clear Tubey Magical Double Plus (A++) sound throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • You get richness, fullness and warmth on both of these sides, which is exactly what you want for the Moodies’ music
  • We shot out a number of other imports and this one had the presence, bass, and dynamics that were missing from most other copies we played
  • “It is the fourth of what are popularly considered the group’s “core seven” (or Classic Seven) albums from 1967 to 1972, and as such represents the peak of their career to some.”
  • “There are no extended suites on this album, but Justin Hayward’s ‘Watching and Waiting’ and ‘Gypsy’ have proved to be among the most popular songs in the group’s history.”

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The Moody Blues – A Question of Balance

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Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues

  • A very special early UK pressing of A Question Of Balance with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • Huge and spacious with wonderful Tubey Magic – this is the way the band sounded in 1970, alive and kickin’!
  • It’s so correct from top to bottom, so present and alive, while still retaining all the richness and sweetness we expect from British Moody Blues records, that I would find it hard to believe you could do much better, in this life anyway
  • Includes the big hit “Question,” one of the all time greats by the band, which of course sounds fantastic here

Achieving just the right balance of “Moody Blues Sound” and transparency is no mean feat. You have to be using the real master tape for starters. Then you need top end extension, a very rare quality on these imports, and finally, good bass definition to keep the bottom end from blurring and bleeding into the midrange. No domestic copy in our experience has ever had these three qualities, and only the best of the British imports (no Dutch, German or Japanese need apply) manages to get all three on the same LP.

Allow me to steal some commentary from a Moody Blues Hot Stamper shootout we did years ago, for the wonderful In Search of the Lost Chord, in which we say that, on the best Hot Stamper pressings, the clarity and resolution come without sacrificing the Tubey Magical richness, warmth and lushness for which the Moody Blues recordings are justifiably famous.

We guarantee this copy will take the Moodies’ wonderful music to a level you have never experienced in all your music-loving days.

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The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed

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Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues

  • With INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides, this copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other you’ve heard
  • The sound is huge, rich and lively throughout – you need this kind of space for the orchestral parts to work their Moody Magic
  • Fairly quiet for a 55-year-old UK pressing – a couple of light marks put this one in the top ten percent for condition of the top copies we’ve played, not a bad place to be
  • An Album Experience beyond practically anything that had come before (Sgt. Pepper excluded)
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Days of Future Passed became one of the defining documents of the blossoming psychedelic era, and one of the most enduringly popular albums of its era.”
  • If you’re a fan of the Moodies, this vintage UK pressing from 1967 surely belongs in your collection
  • We’ve recently compiled a list of records we think every audiophile should get to know better, along the lines of “the 1001 records you need to hear before you die,” but with less of an accent on morbidity and more on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life

Pretty quiet if you ask me, all things considered!

This album is 55-years-old, for god’s sake! In those 55 years I’d forgotten how good it is.

“Tuesday Afternoon” is the Perfect Pop Song, with the whole of side two flowing effortlessly from it as each song (each day) is linked by means of the surrounding orchestrations until it reaches its zenith with the climax of “Nights in White Satin.”

The sound is very much a part of the entire experience. The strings of the orchestra sound as sweet as any Decca, the soundstage wide and deep as a symphony. For those of you who still think Mobile Fidelity is the king on this one, here’s a record that demonstrates what a real orchestra sounds like.

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The Moody Blues – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

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Records We Only Sell on Import Vinyl

  • With a wonderful combination of Tubey Magical richness and clarity, this Threshold pressing will be very hard to beat
  • Full-bodied and lush, yet not veiled or distant, this is the sound that brings the Moodies magic to life
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The best-realized of their classic albums, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour was also the last of the group’s albums for almost a decade to be done under reasonably happy and satisfying circumstances — for the last time with this lineup, they went into the studio with a reasonably full song bag and a lot of ambition and brought both as far as time would allow…”

This copy had the BIG, RICH, LUSH British sound that can only be heard on the very best Moody Blues pressings.

Great-sounding Moody Blues albums don’t show up on our site too often — they’re just not that easy to come by.

Dull, veiled, boring sound is the rule, and big, rich, CLEAR sound like this the exception.

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The Moody Blues / To Our Children’s Children’s Children on Mobile Fidelity Anadisc

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Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues 

Sonic Grade: F

We here present yet another MoFi pressing found seriously wanting.

If any record belongs in our Audiophile Hall of Shame, this one does. The Moody Blues albums produced by MoFi in the ’90s as part of their Anadisc series are some of the muddiest, tubbiest, most worthless records in the world.

Well… 

Worthless to those of us who play records and want to hear them sound good.

But, worth money to those who collect this sort of audiophile trash.

Folks, seriously, you really would have to work at it to find worse sounding pressings of the Moody Blues albums than the ones MoFi did in the ’90s.


FURTHER READING

Half-Speed Mastered Disasters

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The Moody Blues – Seventh Sojourn

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Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues

  • An outstanding copy with Double Plus (A+++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – the UK LPs are the only way to fly on Seventh Sojourn
  • Great sound isn’t easy to come by for the Moody Blues — it takes a lot of copies to find sound as good as this
  • The Moodies’ biggest success on the American charts – I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock & Roll Band) is the killer hit from the album

This pressing is excellent on both sides. It has lovely vocals — sweet and breathy — so critical to the Moodies sound. It’s also spacious and energetic, two qualities that the average copy simply has very little of. To top it all off, this copy rocks about as much as this album, in our experience, CAN rock. Most pressings are shockingly compressed, recessed and murky.

And the domestic copies are made from dubs; they’re brighter but grainy and transistory as hell. They convey NONE of the Moodies magic.

Moody Blues records have a marked tendency to sound somewhat murky and muddy; that’s obviously the sound these guys were going for because you hear it on every album they released.

Compound their “sound” with bad mastering, bad pressing or bad vinyl — not to mention vinyl that hasn’t been cleaned properly — and you will find yourself trying to wade through an impassable sonic swamp. With anything but a Hot Stamper the result is going to be sound so fat, thick, and opaque that it will confound any attempt you might make to hear into it. (more…)

Letter of the Week – “The proof is in the record grooves…”

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Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of The Moody Blues

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

Hey Tom, 

The Moody Blues – A Question Of Balance…

I had five copies before getting this copy from Better Records. It is clearly BETTER. [You] have exacted a science of this. The proof is in the record grooves…

I can’t try to figure out how or why, nor do I want to! It’s always about the sound for me.

Fabulous service!

Andy

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