The copy we are selling here is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Four: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- A stunning copy of Prince's breakthrough album, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on ALL FOUR SIDES; exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
- This one is killer - it's lively and rich, with plenty of deep punchy bass, a nicely extended top and a huge three-dimensional soundfield
- Packed with hits - Little Red Corvette, Delirious, 1999 - and they are all rockin' like crazy here
- 5 stars: "Where his earlier albums had been a fusion of organic and electronic sounds, 1999 was constructed almost entirely on synthesizers by Prince himself... the result is a stunning display of raw talent..."
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In our shootout for 1999, the best sides had sound that jumped out of the speakers, propelled by driving rhythmic energy. They brought this complex music to life and allowed us to make sense of it. This is yet another definition of a Hot Stamper -- it's the copy that lets the music work as music.
What excellent sides of 1999 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 even as late as 1982
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments (and effects!) having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
Shooting Out the Tough Ones
With so many heavily-produced instruments crammed into the soundfield, if the overall sound is at all veiled, recessed or smeared -- problems common to 90-plus per cent of the records we play in our shootouts -- the mix quickly becomes opaque, forcing the listener to work too hard to separate out the elements of interest.
Transparency, clarity and presence are key. Note that none of the copies we played was especially thin or anemic. They did, however, tend to lack top end extension and transparency, and many were overly compressed.
These kinds of records always make for tough shootouts. Their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to the production makes it difficult to translate so much sound to disc, vinyl or otherwise. Everything has to be tuned up and on the money before we can even hope to get the record sounding right. Careful VTA adjustment could not be more critical in this respect.
If we're not hearing the sound we want, we keep messing with the adjustments until we do. There is no getting around sweating the details when sitting down to test a complex recording such as this. If you can't stand the tweaking tedium, get out of the kitchen (or listening room as the case may be). Obsessing over every aspect of a record's reproduction is what we do for a living.
This kind of recording requires us to be at the top of our game, both in terms of reproducing the album itself, as well as evaluating the merits of individual pressings.
When you love it, it's not work, it's fun. Tedious, occasionally exasperating fun, but still fun. And the louder you play a record like this the better it should sound if it's any good at all.
What We're Listening For on 1999
- 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 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 originals.
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.
Little Red Corvette
Let's Pretend We're Married
Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)
Lady Cab Driver
All The Critics Love U In New York
With Dirty Mind, Prince had established a wild fusion of funk, rock, new wave, and soul that signaled he was an original, maverick talent, but it failed to win him a large audience. After delivering the sound-alike album, Controversy, Prince revamped his sound and delivered the double album 1999. Where his earlier albums had been a fusion of organic and electronic sounds, 1999 was constructed almost entirely on synthesizers by Prince himself.
Naturally, the effect was slightly more mechanical and robotic than his previous work and strongly recalled the electro-funk experiments of several underground funk and hip-hop artists at the time. Prince had also constructed an album dominated by computer funk, but he didn't simply rely on the extended instrumental grooves to carry the album -- he didn't have to when his songwriting was improving by leaps and bounds... Sure, Prince stretches out a bit too much over the course of 1999, but the result is a stunning display of raw talent, not wallowing indulgence.
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