This is Eno’s Masterpiece as well as a Desert Island Disc for yours truly. On the right pressing this is a Twisted Pop Demo Disc like nothing you have ever heard. If you have a big speaker and the kind of high quality playback that is capable of unraveling the most complicated musical creations, with all the weight and power of live music, this is the record that will make all your audio effort and expense worthwhile.
That’s the kind of stereo I’ve been working on for forty years and this album just plain KILLS over here.
That being said, it may not be the kind of thing most music loving audiophiles will be able to make much sense of if they have no history with this kind of Art Rock from the ’70s. I grew up on Roxy Music, 10cc, Eno, The Talking Heads, Ambrosia, Supertramp, Yes and the like, bands that wanted to play rock music but felt shackled by the chains of the conventional pop song. This was and still is my favorite kind of music.(more…)
A killer copy of Manifesto, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and Double Plus (A++) on the first
Big, rich and lively throughout – the Tubey Magic on this early UK pressing will show you just how good this Rhett Davies’ recording can sound
This one may have won our shootout, but it has some minor condition issues, so we’re keeping the price down
“The songs ending each side fade out with real grace and leave you hanging, wanting more — drenched in a romance out of reach.” Rolling Stone
Good pressings of Manifesto are hard to come by — this kind of rich, full-bodied, musical sound is the exception, not the rule. And there’s actual space and extension up top as well, something you certainly don’t hear on most pressings.(more…)
This has to be one of the worst sounding copies of Dire Straits’ first album we have ever played. There are plenty of bad sounding pressings of this album around — most of the domestic copies we’ve auditioned over the years were pretty awful — so we really can’t give it an F. (The 10cc title from this same series wasn’t half bad, FYI; certainly not the joke this pressing is.)
Two incredible sides, each rating a Triple Plus (A+++) — rich, smooth, spacious sound
Credit as always goes to the brilliant engineering of Roxy’s go-to guy, Rhett Davies
Flesh + Blood from 1980 is the precursor to Avalon, with much the same style and sound
Some of Roxy’s best material and biggest hits are here, on exceptionally quiet British vinyl too
The British Original Polydor Super Deluxe pressings are the only way to go on this album. No domestic pressing or other import in our experience has ever been better than passable; we know, we’ve been cleaning and playing them for more than thirty years.
This British LP is cut by one of my favorite mastering houses in England, which no doubt accounts for the excellent sound. The estimable Robert Ludwig cut the domestic pressings. Unfortunately for us Americans it sounds to us like they gave him a dub tape to master from. (The same thing happened on Avalon by the way.)
This is a transitional album. Some of it sounds like Avalon (Oh Yeah, Over You, etc) and some of it sounds more like their earlier material. It may not be as consistent as Avalon but it’s well worth owning for its best songs (listed below) and highly recommended for fans of the band.
Standout tracks on side one include In the Midnight Hour / Oh Yeah / My Only Love
Standout tracks on side two include Over You / Eight Miles High / Rain, Rain, Rain (more…)
You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this classic Ferry album from 1985
This copy was super big, full and lively with plenty of presence and bottom end weight
On this record, bigger bass and punchier drums make all the difference in the world
“Instead of ragged rock explosions, emotional extremes, and all that made his ’70s work so compelling in and out of Roxy, Ferry here is the suave, debonair if secretly moody and melancholic lover, with music to match…”
Excellent sound and quiet vinyl on both sides! If you’ve spent any time with this album, you will be blown away by how great both sides of this copy sound.
Key Listening Test
The song Valentine, the second track on side two, is a key test for that side. Note how processed Ferry’s vocals are; on the best copies they will sound somewhat bright. The test is the background singers; they should sound tonally correct and silky sweet. If Ferry sounds correct, they will sound dull, and so will the rest of the side. That processed sound on his vocal is on the tape. Trying to “fix” it will ruin everything.(more…)
A stunning early UK pressing of this Roxy classic: Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side and Double Plus (A++) on the first
Superb sound from start to finish — full-bodied and warm with wonderfully sweet vocals
Copies that are exceptionally open, clear and big present this music the way it was meant to be heard
Credit Rhett Davies with creating the sonic space that clearly displays so many singers, instruments and sounds
“Ferry was never this romantic or seductive, either with Roxy or as a solo artist, and Avalon shimmers with elegance in both its music and its lyrics.” – Allmusic, 5 stars
It is records like Avalon that get people (often known as audiophiles) to spend wads and wads of money in pursuit of expensive analog equipment good enough to bring this wonderful music to life.(more…)
RHETT DAVIES is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Rhett Davies engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Davies recorded some of our favorite albums of all time and we want to pay tribute to this unsung hero, a man who has brought so much joy and pleasure to audiophiles through albums like those listed below.
A stunning sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
Both sides have that rare combination of silky highs and deep low end that make any record magical
5 stars: “Ranks alongside the most essential Eno material.”
Side one, the rock side, strongly relies on its deep punchy bass to make its material come to life and rock (or should we say art rock?). Eno’s vocals are clear and present with virtually no strain. Phil Collins’ drumming is energetic and transparent and perfectly complemented by Percy Jones’ simultaneously acrobatic and hard-driving bass work.
This album typically suffers from a severe case of rolled-off highs, compounding the problems in the midrange: veiled and smeary vocals. The average copy is thick, muddy and congested, lacking the kind of transparency and clarity that makes it possible for the listener to hear into Eno’s dense mixes and make musical sense of them.
Partly this is Eno’s fault. He overloads his recordings. Played The Joshua Tree lately? It has some of the same sonic shortcomings, (exacerbated by Direct Metal Mastering).(more…)
The Rhino Heavy Vinyl reissue of this album was Dead On Arrival the minute it hit my turntable. No top, way too much bottom, dramatically less ambience than the average copy — this one is a disaster on every level.
Rhino Records has really made a mockery of the analog medium. Rhino touts their releases as being pressed on “180 gram High Performance Vinyl.” However, if they are using performance to refer to sound quality, we have found the performance of their vinyl to be quite low, lower than the average copy one might stumble upon in the used record bins.