More presence, clarity and resolution in the midrange, and less of the congested, dark sound we hear on so many of U2’s records
Full-bodied, smooth analog sound is key to the best pressings, and here it is on both sides
5 stars: “Opening with the ominous, fiery protest of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” War immediately announces itself as U2’s most focused and hardest-rocking album to date. Blowing away the fuzzy, sonic indulgences of October with propulsive, martial rhythms and shards of guitar, War bristles with anger, despair, and above all, passion… U2 always aimed at greatness, but War was the first time they achieved it.”
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).
Many of the LPs we played were as dry and flat as a cassette. Not this copy, even though it had the same stampers as some of those that did not earn particularly good sonic grades.
The vocals were present and breathy, even silky on some songs. There was real clarity and resolution throughout the midrange, not the congested, dark sound we’ve heard on so many of the records from this band. (The ones that don’t sound thin and aggressive, that is.)
Our advice: Drop the needle on “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” turn it up good and loud and get ready to rock. Check out the drums at the opening — they are right there. The drums on Joshua Tree sound like cardboard boxes covered in blankets. Not these.
You can thank producer Steve Lillywhite for the hard-driving sound on War. He keeps the sound simple, clean and punchy.
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.”
If you’re a U2 fan, a killer copy of their classic album from 1981 belongs in your collection
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…)
An outstanding pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
Big and rich, with correct tonality from top to bottom, strong bass and plenty of space – this copy sounded just right to us
Stunning sound for the album’s biggest hits, including With Or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and Where the Streets Have No Name
5 stars: “With the uniformly excellent songs… the result is a powerful, uncompromising record that became a hit due to its vision and its melody. Never before have U2’s big messages sounded so direct and personal”
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 aggressive — like most U2 albums — or thick and veiled. This one is smooth and natural sounding, with the added benefit of some deep punchy bass!(more…)
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…)
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…)