The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- With two outstanding sides each rating a Double Plus (A++), this copy was one of the better British pressings we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- An excellent source for many of the Beatles' greatest hits up to 1966 - with 8 songs per side you are geting a lot for your money with this one
- Several tracks, including "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Day Tripper", "We Can Work It Out" and "Paperback Writer" were given their first stereo mixes for this very album
- Surprisingly good sound for From Me to You, We Can Work It Out, Yesterday, I Feel Fine, and the list goes on
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NOTE: *A mark near the middle of track ones makes eight light ticks.
As is usually the case with compilations like this, there is quite a bit of variation in sound quality between tracks -- what works well for a song from 1963 may not quite suit a song from 1966 -- but from start to finish on both sides this record strikes a much better balance than most.
And the the choice of songs is outstanding, with just the right mix -- almost as if you had compiled the thing yourself from all the best tunes from that era of The Beatles. They're almost all favorites of mine, and I hope yours too.
This collection has a number of songs that are not on the original British LPs: the first three on side one for starters; also Can't Buy Me Love, I Feel Fine; Bad Boy; Paperback Writer and I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Tubey Magic Is Key to the Best Songs
This vintage British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even 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 outstanding sides such as these 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 1966
- 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
What We Listen For on A Collection Of Beatles Oldies
- 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 later 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.
The Track Listing tab above will take you to an extensive song by song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For (WTLF) advice.
She Loves You
This song will never be Demo Quality, but when it's mastered correctly using low-distortion cutting equipment, as it seems to be on the better copies, it can actually sound quite good.
From Me to You
We Can Work It Out
One of the better test tracks for side one. The overall sound should be airy and spacious. On the best copies you'll hear lots of ambience around the harmonium. This is also one of our favorite songs from Paul McCartney's Unplugged, again with a wonderful sounding hamonium.
This track and Day Tripper were the first "double A sided single" The Beatles released, the two songs having been recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions. (Some good sessions those!)
When we did a shootout for Help! a little while back, we noticed that this song never sounded quite right on the Brit copies; the vocals had a hollow quality on every Brit copy we played. On this album it sounds MUCH closer to correct. The German Helps are still king for this song, but a good copy of this album is a close second.
I Feel Fine
Can’t Buy Me Love
One of the best sounding tracks on the album. When this song is right, it REALLY ROCKS -- Demo Quality for sure.
The stereo mix of this song leaves much to be desired. We're waiting to be blown away by a superb mono mix.
A Hard Day’s Night
One of the toughest tracks to get right. On almost every copy you'll have to deal with aggressive upper mids and at least a bit of distortion. It has some of that sound on the original album as well.
Ticket to Ride
With a high-resolution copy you'll really hear the texture of the strings of the octet (four violins, two cellos, and two violas) accompanying Paul. On an exceptional copy it's pure magic. Paul's voice should be rich and full with lots of ambience.
I Want to Hold Your Hand