The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
- A record that has its share of problems, but if you've got the system for it (huge, heavily tweaked, fast, undistorted, highly resolving and free from obvious colorations), this pressing is guaranteed to handily beat anything else you've heard
- A TAS List favorite - The Look of Love with warmth, richness and immediacy? Here is the sound you never thought you'd hear
- 4 1/2 stars: "The more recognizable and certainly more straightforward side of Bacharach is here, too, on the Dusty Springfield smash 'The Look of Love.' This is one of Bacharach's best soundtracks..."
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The space is big and the sound relatively rich. Huge amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best-sounding copies, and critical to The Look of Love. The sound needs weight, warmth, smoothness and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.
This vintage Columbia stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides of Casino Royale 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 1967
- 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.
A Super Disc, Or Is It?
It's beyond difficult to find Hot Stamper pressings of this album -- heck, it's hard to find ANY clean copy these days, let alone one that sounds great. Both sides are cleaner and clearer than most pressings yet still as rich and full as you'd want them to be. You won't see too many copies of this one hitting the site, so if this music is up your alley and you have the stereo to play a seriously difficult recording such as this, you might want to jump right on it.
Having heard the best sounding pressings I now understand why this has been such a highly regarded long-term resident of the TAS Superdisc List. The best copies are SUPERDISCS... while the average copy of this album is anything but. Who could take such harsh, grainy, thin, veiled, compressed sound seriously? What was Harry Pearson smokin’?
I can honestly and truthfully say that until we discovered the Hot Stampers for this album, I never thought this record deserved the praise Harry heaped upon it. Now I do. I once was blind but now I see, or something like that. And by the way, does his copy sound as good as this one? Let's face it: the late Harry Pearson was simply not the kind of guy who would sit down with five or ten copies and shoot them out.
When you listen to the average pressing of Casino Royale, you get the feeling that you're hearing a standard-issue, boxy, lightweight, blary '60s soundtrack. Perhaps you hear some promise in the recording, but it's a promise that's unfulfilled by the record on your turntable.
This copy will completely redefine what you know about the sound of this music.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the string arrangements 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.
What We're Listening For on Casino Royale
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Phil Ramone in this case -- would have 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 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.
A Tough Record to Play
The understatement of the year!
This album ranks very, very high -- few records we sell rank higher -- on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale. Do not attempt to play them using anything other than the highest quality equipment.
Unless your system is firing on all cylinders, even our hottest Hot Stamper copies -- the Super Hot and White Hot pressings with the biggest, most dynamic, clearest, and least distorted sound -- can have problems . Your system should be thoroughly warmed up, your electricity should be clean and cooking, you've got to be using the right room treatments, and we also highly recommend using a demagnetizer such as the Walker Talisman on the record, your cables (power, interconnect and speaker) as well as the individual drivers of your speakers.
This is a record that's going to demand a lot from the listener, and we want to make sure that you feel you're up to the challenge. If you don't mind putting in a little hard work, here's a record that will reward your time and effort many times over, and probably teach you a thing or two about tweaking your gear in the process (especially your VTA adjustment, just to pick an obvious area most audiophiles neglect).
- Casino Royale Theme (Main Theme)
- The Look of Love
- Money Penny Goes for Broke
- Le Chiffre's Torture of the Mind
- Home James, Don't Spare the Horses
- Sir James' Trip to Find Mata
- The Look of Love (Instrumental)
- Hi There Miss Goodthighs
- Little French Boy
- Flying Saucer - First Stop Berlin
- The Venerable Sir James Bond
- Dream On James, You're Winning
- The Big Cowboys and Indians Fight at Casino Royale / Casino Royal Theme (Reprise)
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Bacharach excelled at these kinds of musical cut-ups, but thankfully he used liberal doses of humor and melody to keep the proceedings from turning too rarefied or messy. At times, the humor even turns to camp, as it does with the manic hodgepodge of circus themes, gypsy music, and lounge grind on 'Home James, Don't Spare the Horses.' The more recognizable and certainly more straightforward side of Bacharach is here, too, on the Dusty Springfield smash 'The Look of Love.' This is one of Bacharach's best soundtracks and a good buy for seasoned fans.