The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*
- An outstanding British pressing of The White Album, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides
- This copy of the Beatles' Masterpiece (my personal favorite of all their albums) is going to thrill and delight the lucky person who snags it
- If you've heard the half-speed and Heavy Vinyl versions of The White Album, then you know how riddled they are with unacceptable flaws and not enjoyable on high-quality equipment, unlike this copy which is guaranteed to be an unalloyed joy to play
- "If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest song writers since Schubert, then next Friday - with the publication of the new Beatles double LP - should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making..." Right On!
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*NOTE: On side two, a group of light marks makes about 15 moderate to loud crackles during the last 15 seconds of Track 9, Julia. On side four, a mark makes 8 moderate dull thumps at the beginning of Track 1, Revolution 1.
Our Hot Stampers have always been a BIG hit with the folks who've been lucky enough to snare them. If you're ready for a High-Quality copy of The White Album that's sure to massacre all the pressings you've heard until now, you should jump right on this bad boy.
This vintage UK Apple 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 The White Album 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 1968
- 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.
Now, this is obviously a ridiculous amount of money to drop on a single album, even a single double album. Consider it a reward for all the time, effort and money it took to get your stereo to where it is today.
I'd be shocked if twenty Audiophile pressings could bring you the kind of satisfaction and joy that just one side of this killer White Album is going to. Like every Hot Stamper, we back this one with a 100% Money Back Guarantee, so there's nothing to lose... and amazing White Album sound for the rest of your life to gain.
What We're Listening For on The White Album
- 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 -- Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott in this case -- 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.
The Toughest One?
It's exceedingly difficult to find audiophile quality sound on The White Album. Other than Yellow Submarine, side two of which almost never sounds good, The White Album is surely one of the toughest nuts to crack in The Beatles canon.
The Beatles were breaking apart, often recording independently of each other, with their own favorite engineers as enablers, and George Martin nowhere to be found most of the time. They were also experimenting more and more, pushing the boundaries of recorded sound. These new approaches and added complexity cause a loss of "purity" in the sound. Let's face it, most audiophiles like simplicity: A female vocal, a solo guitar -- these things are easy to reproduce and often result in lovely sound, the kind of sound that doesn't take a lot of money or effort to achieve.
Dense mixes with wacky EQ are Difficult to Reproduce (our famous DOR Scale comes into play here), and the White Album is full of both, taking a break for songs like Blackbird and Julia.
This is my favorite Beatles album, a Desert Island Disc if there ever was one, and nothing less than a work of GENIUS. If some songs could have been recorded better, so what? They're as good as they are going to get, and on a Hot Stamper pressing like this one, that means awfully good.
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.
Extensive Track Commentary
We really spent some quality time on the track commentary for this one, so make sure you refer to it while comparing what we are saying to what you are hearing at home, using whatever copy you own.
If you end up with one of our Hot Stampers, listen carefully for the effects we describe. This is not an easy record to reproduce -- everything has to be working in tip-top form to even begin to get this complicated music sounding the way it should -- but if you've done your homework and gotten your system really cooking, you will hear the Beatles' Masterpiece sounding better than it ever has before, and by a long shot.
This album should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Look at the lineup for side one. Is there a rock album on the planet with a better batch of songs?
- Back in the U.S.S.R.
- Dear Prudence
On a superb copy, you'll hear tons of ambience on this track. Listen for the hand claps -- with a good copy you'll hear plenty of room around them. We all know what hand claps sound like. Does the clapping on your copy sound right? Like applause on a live album, hand clapping is usually a good test.
The guitars in the right channel are also key. They should be practically jumping out of the speaker -- any veiling is a sign of transparency or "immediacy" problems. The best copies have wonderfully subtle harmonics to the guitars behind the main guitar as well. Listen for them. On a good copy played on high quality equipment you should easily be able to focus your attention to the guitars behind the main guitar in the right channel and hear lovely qualities to both the sound and playing. That's what a good stereo and a good record are all about -- bringing out the subtleties hiding in your music.
There's always a lot going on behind the main attractions on this album. Those backing guitars are a perfect example.
- Glass Onion
- Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
As one of the poppiest songs on the double album, it shouldn't surprise anyone that this track tends to be a little bright. We found that to be the correct sound for this track. If this song ISN'T a bit bright, you probably have a fairly dull copy, and a song like Happiness is a Warm Gun will really suffer as a result. The vocal at the beginning of happiness is a bit dull, Ob-La-Di... is a bit bright, and the best copies, tonally speaking, are going to be the ones that split the two right down the middle.
- Wild Honey Pie
- The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps
One of the all-time Harrison classics, right up there with Something and Within You, Without You.
- Happiness Is a Warm Gun
Just the opposite of what we said about Ob-La-Di holds true here. The correct sound for this track is a bit dark in the early going. If this track sounds at all bright, you have an aggressive copy and the poppier songs are going to tear your head off. Wild Honey Pie with its close miked guitar will have your ears bleeding.
Look at the lineup for side two. Where is the weak material? Where is the filler? There isn't any! Beatles albums don't have filler.
- Martha My Dear
- I’m So Tired
You really need a copy with superb clarity to fully appreciate the delicacy and immediacy of Paul's performance. Transparency is the key to this one. When the birds start chirping, they should be clear as a bell. Listening to the various pressings, we could easily follow the bird's songs much better on some copies than others. Most of the copies we heard were tonally correct on this track, so the guitar and voice sounded right most of the time. But once we keyed in on the bird's singing, it became clear which copies had the breathier, more realistic vocals and were capable of revealing the most subtle guitar harmonics. It's all midrange; the better the birds are, the better Paul is.
This is a great test track for side two. You want to hear lots of texture, with the rosin on the strings clearly audible. When the tambourine comes in, it should be fairly obvious whether you have a copy with too much grit or grain.
- Rocky Raccoon
- Don’t Pass Me By
- Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?
- I Will
Wasn't Paul supposed to be "the nice Beatle"? John could write ballads every bit as well as Paul (see above), and Paul's rockers were every bit as intense as John's (Helter Skelter anyone?).
What rock album on the planet has a better batch of songs on any side, besides this one? I'm telling you, The White Album is the Beatles' Masterpiece.
- Yer Blues
This song ROCKS! Listen to the big jam at the end of the song, where John's vocal mic is turned off but his performace is still caught by a room or overheard mic. They obviously did this on purpose, killing his vocal track so that the "leaked" vocal could be heard.
Those crazy Beatles! It's more than just a cool "effect". It actually seems to kick the energy and power of the song up a notch. It's clearly an accident, but an accident that works. I rather doubt George Martin approved. That kind of "throw the rule book out" approach is what makes The Beatles' recordings so fascinating, and The White Album the most fascinating of them all.
The EQ for this song is also a good example of something The Beatles were experimenting with, as detailed in their recording sessions and interviews with the engineers. They were pushing the boundaries of normal EQ, of how much bass and treble a track could have. This track has seriously boosted bass, way too much, but somehow it works!
(The MOFI pressing really wreaks havoc with all the added bass and top end on this track. Their version is already too bright, and has sloppy bass to start with, so the result is way too much BAD bass and way too much BAD spitty 10k-boosted treble, unlike the good imports, which have way too much GOOD bass and treble.)
- Mother Nature’s Son
It should be fairly apparent early on if your copy possesses the warmth, sweetness, and delicacy this track demands. The intro is classic McCartney -- quite similar to the intros to Michele and Singalong Junk. He loves that chord progression, and who can blame him? It's his sound, he created it, and we love him for it!
Also, listen for the vocal mic opening up in the right channel early in the track, well before he sings. On a high resolution system you can clearly hear the whole room open on the right side of the soundstage, completely separately from when he starts to sing.
- Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey
Genius. And a great test track for side three. It HAS to be lively and punchy, with lots of studio echo audible on Ringo's snare. On most copies that hand bell (yes, the same kind that would be used to call the kids in from recess in a one room schoolhouse!) is a mess -- distorted, smeared, etc. Some copies manage to get it to really ring, with all its harmonics intact -- but not many. Sexy Sadie
- Sexy Sadie
- Helter Skelter
- Long, Long, Long
Such a perfect track for The White Album from George, so unlike anything he had ever done.
This is where the White Album runs out of steam a bit. Five very good songs, but certainly not equal to any of the strongest found on the first three sides, and then there's the matter of Revolution 9, which brings down the side even more. Not a bad song, but not one that rewards repeated playings in the same way the others do. Good Night does bring the White Album experience to a lovely close, but side four must be considered the weakest of the lot.
- Revolution 1
- Honey Pie
Paul and the boys seem to be going for kind of an old-timey feel here -- something you might find on a '78. The sound should be forward, bright, punchy, and lively. The high hat is key -- accept no smearing or loss of immediacy; good copies don't have those problems.
- Savoy Truffle
A great song, but there's just too much overdubbing and compression here for the song to ever sound amazing.
- Cry Baby Cry
- Revolution 9
- Good Night
The Observer Review from 1968
If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest song writers since Schubert, then next Friday - with the publication of the new Beatles double LP - should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making, which only the ignorant will not hear and only the deaf will not acknowledge.