Top Engineers – Derek Varnals

Listening in Depth to In Search Of The Lost Chord

More of the Music of The Moody Blues

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.

(more…)

The Moody Blues – In Search Of The Lost Chord

More of The Moody Blues

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.

(more…)

The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed

More of The Moody Blues

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.

(more…)

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

More of the Music of The Moody Blues

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.

(more…)

The Moody Blues – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour on MoFi Anadisc

More of The Moody Blues

Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues

Sonic Grade: F

Pure Anadisc mud, like all the Moody Blues records MoFi remastered and ruined.

Completely worthless to those of us who play records and want to hear them sound good but, unsurprisingly, they’re still worth money to those who collect this sort of audiophile trash.

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


Head to Head It’s No Contest

Visit our Hall of Shame (300+ strong) to see what, in our opinion, are some of the worst sounding records ever made.

Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another.

The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the all-too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.

When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good record, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much more intolerable.

FURTHER READING

Bad Sounding Audiophile Records – The List So Far

Half-Speed Mastered Disasters

Half-Speed Mastered Mediocrities

Half-Speed Mastered Winners

Half-Speed Masters – The Complete List

To learn more about records that sound dramatically better than any Half-Speed ever made (with one rare exception, John Klemmer’s Touch), please consult our FAQs, found here:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)