Top Artists – U2

U2 – October

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  • Outstanding sound throughout with both sides rating a strong Double Plus (A++) for their big, bold sound
  • Balanced, musical and full throughout – this pressing is a big step up from many of the other originals that we played
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl, with each side playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “… when U2 marry the message, melody, and sound together, as on “Gloria,” “I Threw a Brick Through a Window,” and “I Fall Down,” the results are thoroughly impressive.”

Recordings from the ’80s are always a bit tricky in terms of their sound quality, and U2 is not a band we have ever associated with the highest audiophile-quality sonics. We’ve been through a number of their albums now, including War, The Unforgettable Fire, and The Joshua Tree, and while Demo Quality Sound may never be in the cards for these guys, we’ve at least found a handful of pressings that do a much better job of communicating their music than others, and certainly a great deal better than any Heavy Vinyl reissue or digital source.

It’s not often that we come across audiophile-quality sound for U2’s early titles. The average copy of this record sounds as dry and flat as a cassette. Not this one, or to be more precise, not this pressing. (more…)

U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

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  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from the first note to the last – this is the way the album is supposed to sound
  • Pride (In the Name of Love) is the big hit on this one, and the sound is appropriately glorious on this vintage copy
  • “U2 took their fondness for sonic bombast as far as it could go on War, so it isn’t a complete surprise that they chose to explore the intricacies of the Edge’s layered, effects-laden guitar on the follow-up. Working with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, U2 created a dark, near-hallucinatory series of interlocking soundscapes … ranking among U2’s very best music…”

We had a big stack of these to compare and not too many of them were in a league with this one. Most copies are too dark and murky to really come to life, but this one is had no such problems. (more…)

U2 – War – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

When you get hold of a good pressing, War is a surprisingly good sounding album, much better than The Joshua Tree (although that may not be saying much).  

Side two here was one of THE BEST we played in our entire shootout, with Big Bass, tons of Energy and even a pretty sizable helping of Tubey Magic, something we did not expect to hear on a U2 album. Most of them sound as dry and flat as a cassette. Not this one, or to be more precise, not this copy. We rated it A++ to A+++, about as good as it gets! (more…)

U2 – The Joshua Tree – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

This domestic Island LP has SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND on side one. The soundstage is huge, and the overall quality of the recording is BIG and BOLD. Most copies of this album are either thin, shrill and agressive — like most U2 albums — or thick and veiled. This one is actually smooth and fairly natural sounding, with the added benefit of some deep punchy bass. 

Don’t get me wrong — this is no audiophile recording or demo disc by any stretch. What we have here is a copy that beats most of the other ones we played, no more, no less. It conveys the ENERGY and POWER of the music, and that makes it a very unusual pressing indeed. The vocals can be a bit edgy in places; with better vocals this one would have been hard to beat on side one.

Side two was not as good sounding, rating a grade of A Plus. It’s rich and sweet but a bit smeared, which takes the edge off some of the sound but keeps the energy and presence from working the way they should.

By the way, the British copies we played were awful. Perhaps there are good ones out there but we sure didn’t hear any. (more…)

U2 – The Unforgettable Fire – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

Super Hot Stampers on side one, giving you excellent sound for the big hit “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”, backed with an A+ side two! We had a big stack of these to compare and not too many of them were in a league with this one, particularly on the first side. Most copies are too dark and murky to really come to life, but this one is cleaner, clearer and more open throughout.

’80s vinyl is almost always tricky in terms of sound, and U2 is not a band we associate with audiophile-quality sonics. We’ve been through a number of their albums now, including War and The Joshua Tree, and while Demo Quality Sound may never be in the cards for these guys, we have at very least found pressings that do a better job communicating the music. I don’t want to throw on a record that just sounds like a CD when I have access to so much amazing sounding vinyl, but clean and play enough copies of this album and eventually you’ll find one like this copy that gives you something to enjoy. (more…)

U2 – Boy

More U2

More Boy

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  • We here present the best sounding copy of U2’s debit we’ve ever played, our Shootout Winner with Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides
  • The sound is bigger and richer, as well as more present and lively, than any other copy that’s ever hit our turntable
  • The vinyl is quiet for an Island pressing from 1980, with each side playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “From the outset, U2 went for the big message — every song on their debut album Boy sounds huge, with oceans of processed guitars cascading around Bono’s impassioned wail. It was an inspired combination of large, stadium-rock beats and post-punk textures.”

Recordings from the ’80s are always a bit tricky in terms of sound quality, and U2 is not a band we have ever associated with the highest audiophile-quality sonics. We’ve been through quite a number of their albums now, including War, The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree.

While Demo Quality Sound may never be in the cards for these guys, over the years we’ve stumbled upon (stumbling being the only way to go about it) pressings that are much better at communicating their music than others, and certainly a great deal better than any Heavy Vinyl reissue or digital source. (more…)

U2 – War


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • A stunning sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • Both sides here are incredible: big, full, punchy, energetic, spacious and even a pretty sizable helping of Tubey Magic (for 1983)
  • Full-bodied smooth analog sound is the key to the best pressings, and here both sides have it
  • Allmusic 5 Stars: “U2 always aimed at greatness, but War was the first time they achieved it.”

See all of our U2 albums in stock

When you get hold of a good pressing War can be a surprisingly good sounding album, much better than The Joshua Tree (although that may not be saying much).

This was one of the best copies we played in our entire shootout, with Big Bass, tons of Energy and even a pretty sizable helping of Tubey Magic, something we did not expect to hear on a U2 album. Most of them sound as dry and flat as a cassette. Not this one, or to be more precise, not this copy. (more…)

U2 – The Joshua Tree


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • A superb pressing with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and Double Plus (A++) on the first
  • Both sides here are outstanding — big, full and musical with a solid bottom end and lots of energy
  • One of the best copes from our most recent shootout, and this one is on fairly quiet vinyl too
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: “A powerful, uncompromising record that became a hit.”

See all U2 in stock

The soundstage is huge, and the overall quality of the recording is big and bold. Most copies of this album are either thin, shrill and agressive — like most U2 albums — or thick and veiled. This one is actually smooth and natural sounding, with the added benefit of some deep punchy bass! It conveys the ENERGY and POWER of the music, and that makes it a very unusual pressing indeed.

’80s vinyl is almost always tricky in terms of sound, and U2 is not a band we associate with audiophile-quality sonics. We’ve been through a number of their albums now, including this title, War and October, and while Demo Quality Sound may never be in the cards for these guys, we have at very least found pressings that do a better job communicating the music. I don’t want to throw on a record that just sounds like a CD when I have access to so much amazing sounding vinyl, but clean and play enough copies of this album and eventually you’ll find one like this copy that gives you something to enjoy. (more…)