The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus to EX++
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus to EX++
- With solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout, this outstanding Columbia mono LP is full of the analog warmth and sweetness almost sure to be missing from anything pressed in the last twenty five years
- Featuring most of his best Columbia material, here is the Tubey Magical Midrange missing from the Classic reissue - theirs was not a bad record per se, but without the presence, breathiness and intimacy of the younger Sinatra's vocals reproduced faithfully, boredom will likely set in before the first side comes to an end
- 4 stars: "The Voice was one of a handful of '50s long-players showcasing the first phase of Sinatra's solo career, and at the time it wowed listeners -- the focus is on the ballads, and the dozen represented here constitute a bumper crop of classics, all resplendent in the singer's richest, most overpowering intonation and most delicately nuanced work."
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In our experience, these Mono early Columbia pressings (either on the 6 Eye label or earlier solid red) are the only ones with any hope of having the Midrange Magic that is essential to getting good sound on Frank's early Columbia LPs -- and is clearly missing from the Classic Records heavy vinyl pressing. The Classic is clean and clear and tonally correct like a CD. Without the warmth and sweetness of analog and, in this case, tube mastering, the sound just isn't "the real Frank."
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the strings from becoming shrill) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we heard them all.
We know a fair bit about the man's recordings at this point. As of today we've done commentaries for more than 20 different Sinatra shootouts, and that's not even counting the ten or twenty other titles that either bombed or were sold off years ago.
What the Best Sides of The Voice 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 1955
- 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.
What We're Listening For on The Voice
- 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.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit worse 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.
- I Don't Know Why
- Try A Little Tenderness
- A Ghost of A Chance
- These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
- She's Funny That Way
- Fools Rush In
- Over The Rainbow
- That Old Black Magic
- Spring is Here
AMG 4 Star Review
The Voice was one of a handful of '50s long-players showcasing the first phase of Sinatra's solo career, and at the time it wowed listeners -- the focus is on the ballads, and the dozen represented here constitute a bumper crop of classics, all resplendent in the singer's richest, most overpowering intonation and most delicately nuanced work. The sensibilities, from the lushly seductive "Laura" to the gently self-satisfied "(I Got a Woman Crazy for Me) She's Funny That Way," show off a huge emotional range, and the latter song may be the highlight of the album, displaying a soft yet smugly confident brand of machismo, all of it drenched in Axel Stordahl's overflowing string arrangements, yet quietly bold in its emotional content.