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Knack, The - Get The Knack - Hot Stamper

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

Hot Stamper

The Knack
Get The Knack

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus

  • A vintage copy of The Knack's debut LP (one of only a handful to hit the site in nearly three years) with two very good Hot Stamper sides
  • It's richer, fuller and with more presence than the average copy, and that's especially true for whatever godawful Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently being foisted on an unsuspecting record buying public
  • While doing this shootout, one thing that took us by surprise was how common it was for pressings to be slightly to seriously bass shy — on this album you lose a lot of points for not having enough bass
  • "My Sharona" is on side two, and we guarantee you have never heard it sound as good as it does here
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Get the Knack is at once sleazy, sexist, hook-filled, and endlessly catchy — above all, it's a guilty pleasure and an exercise in simple fun."

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This monster Power Pop debut by The Knack is an amazingly well-recorded album. Mike Chapman produced this album and clearly he is an audiophile production genius. With a pair of Number One charting, amazing sounding Pop albums back to back -- Blondie's Parallel Lines in 1978 and this album early the next year -- how much better could he get? The answer is: none more better.

What The Best Sides Of Get The Knack Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1979
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Come to Life, Would You!

So many copies we played just didn't come to life the way the good ones do. Especially noticeable on many of the pressings we played was a lack of bass foundation and punch. When the bass comes in at the opening of "My Sharona" it should make your neighbors come knocking. On most copies the effect is, to be charitable, less than startling.

Bass, Man

Dropping the needle on the average copy we kept asking ourselves where the bass was! Only the better copies let you hear the bass with all its power and glory intact. (Of course, you have to have the kind of dynamic full-range system that can reproduce that kind of power down low; we never tire of making the case for big dynamic speakers because we know what a thrill it is to hear a record like this played good and loud on them.)

What We're Listening For On Get The Knack

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Real Studio Space

One of the qualities we heard on the more transparent copies is huge studio space around the drum kit, especially the kick. We love that "unbaffled" sound; it lets the long-delayed reflections off the back wall be heard clearly. Until we got our EAR 324 in 2007 we couldn't get a good picture of just what was happening in the studio, but now those reflections are as clear as a bell on record after record, from The Planets to Physical Graffiti.

The advent of top quality stand-alone phono stages is, in our opinion, one of the most important revolutions in audio in recent times. Room treatments that allow that three-dimensional studio space to be recreated in your very own living room are another.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

Side One

  • Let Me Out
  • Your Number or Your Name
  • Oh Tara
  • (She's So) Selfish
  • Maybe Tonight
  • Good Girls Don't

Side Two

  • My Sharona
  • Heartbeat
  • Siamese Twins (The Monkey and Me)
  • Lucinda
  • That's What the Little Girls Do
  • Frustrated

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

The Knack attempted to update the Beatles sound for the new wave era on their debut. A good idea that was well executed, but critics cried "foul" when millions sold after Capitol's pre-release hype (it went gold in 13 days and eventually sold five million copies, making it one of the most successful debuts in history).

Get the Knack is at once sleazy, sexist, hook-filled, and endlessly catchy — above all, it's a guilty pleasure and an exercise in simple fun. When is power pop legitimate anyway? Includes the unforgettable hits "My Sharona" and "Good Girls Don't."