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Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III

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Letters and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin III

  • Huge, Tubey Magical and lively, with solid weight down low and lots of space around all the instruments, this copy is guaranteed to rock like nothing you have ever heard
  • Since I’ve Been Loving You, Gallows Pole, Tangerine and That’s the Way are just a few of the tracks that have truly Demo Disc sound
  • 5 stars: “On their first two albums, Led Zeppelin unleashed a relentless barrage of heavy blues and rockabilly riffs, but Led Zeppelin III provided the band with the necessary room to grow musically. While there are still a handful of metallic rockers, III is built on a folky, acoustic foundation that gives the music extra depth.”
  • If you’re a fan of the band, this classic from 1970 belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1970 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Drop the needle on Since I’ve Been Loving You and turn it up good and loud. Robert Plant will be right there between your speakers, and your jaw will be on the floor!

Cue up Tangerine on side two for a taste of rich, sweet, Tubey Magical Analog Sound. The acoustic guitars are lush and delicate, the bass is deep and well-defined, and the vocals are completely natural and free from bad mastering or phony EQ. (more…)

Led Zeppelin – Always wanted to have a “clean” Plum and Orange Pressing?

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More Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

Here’s your chance!

We should have said “here was your chance” since this pressing sold very quickly. Over the years most Plum and Orange pressings were disposed of on ebay for the benefit of collectors and those audiophiles who might be ill-informed enough to think that early British pressings would have the best sound for Led Zeppelin III. (This is a record we know very well.)

They do not. They can, however, sound quite good in some cases with the proper cleaning. Not Shootout Winning Good: we actually have a section for those killer copies, this one.

Not even Double Plus (A++) good, which sounds like something from the novel 1984 but is in fact a Very Good grade and guaranteed to trounce any and all copies of the album you have ever heard.

No, the best Zeppelin album we have played to date with the early label in this case earned a grade of Single Plus to Double Plus, which we describe as “[a] wonderful sounding side with many impressive qualities, notably better than a Single Plus copy. A big step up from the typical pressing.”

NOTE: We do not even offer Single Plus copies on the site anymore. Although their faults would be less obvious to anyone who went through the shootout process with the album, such faults are too bothersome to us precisely because we did go through that process.

Once you know what is right, it’s very easy to spot what is wrong. This is the foundational principle of our Hot Stampers. Hot Stampers are not simply good sounding records. They are records that have gone through a shootout.

It is also our story with regard to most of the Heavy Vinyl pressings we have played over the last twenty five years, the worst of which can be found here. We see very little evidence that we got any of that wrong.

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Led Zeppelin / Led Zeppelin III – Bright and Harsh on Classic Records Heavy Vinyl

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More Led Zeppelin on Classic Records Reviewed

Sonic Grade: F

Ridiculously bright and harsh, nothing like the good pressings we sell.

We are proud to say this was one of the Classic Zep releases that we never carried on the site (along with II and Houses, both of which stink).

You will find very few critics of the Classic Zep LPs outside of those who write for this very website, and even we used to recommend three of the Zep titles on Classic: Led Zeppelin I, IV and Presence.

Wrong on all counts. Live and Learn, right?

Since then we’ve made it a point to create debunking commentaries for some of the Classic Zeps, a public service of Better Records. We don’t actually like any of them now, although the first album is by far the best of the bunch.

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Letter of the Week – Led Zeppelin III

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

Hey Tom,   

Wanted to say thanks for the Led Zep III, fantastic and beyond expectation. While the loud parts rock in an unbelievable way the quiet bits reveal the magic, the surreal presence, space and uncanny realism. Brilliant! I have an OK copy of Led Zep IV and the first section of Stairway to Heaven is similar in that I love hearing the acoustic guitar and then the breathy recorders (oh those recorders) and then Plant’s voice seems to appear from nowhere right before your ears. I am so lucky to have the Zep III so thanks again.

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Letter of the Week – “I now have twelve copies in total… eleven of them are useless.”

Letters and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin III

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

Hey Tom,   

I’ve really been enjoying the LPs that I’ve gotten from you. Especially the Led Zep 3 most recently. Mindboggingly good. My first copy of that record I got Christmas 1970, I now have twelve copies in total… eleven of them are useless.

Think of all the money wasted on bad pressings, which 98% of them are! If not bad then certainly mediocre.

I want to thank you for this invaluable service. I tell my friends about your service but so far it falls on deaf ears.

ATB,
Fred

If you want to convince them of the reality of Hot Stampers, play them that Zep III you bought. Ask them to bring over their best pressings and then blow their shit right out of the water. That ought to do it.

Led Zeppelin III – Hot Stampers vs. The World

Letters and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin III

One of our good customers has a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a link to a comparison Robert Brook carried out with various pressings of Led Zeppelin III.

Led Zeppelin 3: Audiophile Record Collecting During the Trump Era

FURTHER READING

The Classic has of course been a member of our Hall of Shame on the site since the day it came out. We have a section on this blog for records that don’t sound good (the case with the Classic) or have weak music (definitely not the case!), which can be found here.

Classic Records was an awful record label from day one. The link will take you to some of our reviews of their rock records.

New to the Blog? Start Here

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Led Zeppelin / III – We Was Wrong in 2008

Letters and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin III

A classic example of Live and Learn.

In 2008 we simply had not done our homework well enough.

Sure, we had auditioned plenty of the pressings that we thought were the most likely to sound good: the original and later domestic pressings, the early and later British LPs, some early German pressings, maybe a Japanese import or two. In other words, the usual suspects.

We already knew the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl was unbelievably bad; no need to put that in a shootout. It earned an “F” right out of the gate.

The result? We were in the same position as the vast majority of audiophiles. We had auditioned a number pressings of the album and thought we knew what we were talking about.

But of course, like most audiophiles judging records with an insufficiently large sample size, we turned out to be completely wrong.

We hadn’t stumbled upon the best pressings because we hadn’t put enough effort into the only approach that can possibly work.

Logic hadn’t worked: the originals turned out to be the wrong answer.

It’s trial and error.

We hadn’t made the breakthrough we needed to make in order to know just how good the album could sound.

It is INCREDIBLY difficult to find knockout copies of Zep III — of the dozen-plus copies we auditioned, this British Import Plum & Orange pressing was the only one with two superb sides, with an AGAIG A+++ side two and a side one that’s just half a step behind at A++ – A+++. Folks, when I tell you that it is no mean feat to find a decent copy of this album, I am not joking around.

Side one here is STUNNING. It’s really full-bodied with substantial weight to the bottom end. The bass is tight, punchy, and easier to follow than on any other copy we’ve heard. Just listen to John Paul Jones tearing it up during Immigrant Song — on most copies he’s just a deep rumble, but here you can appreciate the notes he is playing. It really kicks up the excitement factor of one of the hardest-rockin’ songs these guys ever did.

The overall sound is unbelievably lively — we’ve never heard a copy that rocked so hard! It’s just a bit on the bright side at times, but that little bit of extra top end seems to give this copy the ENERGY and PRESENCE that were missing from almost every other pressing we played. Drop the needle on Since I’ve Been Loving You and turn it up loud. Zep will be right there between your speakers, and your jaw will be on the floor!

Side two is EVEN MORE AMAZING — in fact, it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD! You are not going to believe how lively and dynamic it is. Drop the needle on Tangerine for a taste of rich, sweet, Master Tape Sound. The acoustic guitars are lush and delicate, the bass is deep and well-defined, and the vocals are completely natural and free from any bad mastering or phony EQ. (more…)