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 (often quieter than this grade)
- This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
- A surprisingly well recorded album, perhaps the best sounding release of the man's entire (and much too short) career
- Drop the needle on Sexual Healing, then sit back and relax as the rich, warm sound of analog sets the mood!
- There’s good extension up top and down low, with plenty of meaty bass and silky highs (check out those bells)
- 4 stars: "Midnight Love is a classic Marvin Gaye effort. In addition to this project thriving with Gaye's enthusiastic spirit, it has his harmonious background vocals, his stunning vocal arrangements and his creative penmanship, as he wrote all the selections."
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This copy has two qualities which are essential for this music to really work its soulful magic: silky vocals and a BIG meaty bottom end. Check out all the texture to the synths on Turn On Some Music - this is a highly resolving pressing which takes Marvin Gaye's music -- the last he would make before his untimely death -- to another level.
This copy, even though it was no doubt pressed in the early '80s, still has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Marvin Gaye singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 36 years old), 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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we've played can serve as a guide.
What the Best Sides of Midnight Love 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 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.
The Right Sound for Midnight Love
Copies with rich lower mids 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've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural ambience and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Many copies of Midnight Love suffer from a phony hi-fi-ish quality, sacrificing much of the warmth that is a hallmark of analog. Is that any way to listen to this great Soul Classic? (My sources say no.)
What We're Listening For on Midnight Love
- 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 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.
- Midnight Lady
- Sexual Healing
- Rockin’ After Midnight
- ‘Til Tomorrow
- Turn on Some Music
- Third World Girl
- My Love Is Waiting
AMG 4 Star Review
Larkin Arnold, former CBS Records senior executive VP, convinced Marvin Gaye to leave his flat in Belgium and sign with Columbia Records; the result would become the soul singer's last album before his untimely death. Of all his number one songs, this album's first release, "Sexual Healing," became his longest running number one single on the Billboard R&B charts (ten straight weeks).
With the exception of the guitar, the Washington, D.C. native performed every instrument on this classic hit. Gaye concocted a pioneering percussive sound that was balladic in taste but stimulating in feel. As this project may not be an absolute erotic expression or a socially challenging plea from Gaye like on some of his previous albums, nonetheless, Midnight Love is a classic Marvin Gaye effort. In addition to this project thriving with Gaye's enthusiastic spirit, it has his harmonious background vocals, his stunning vocal arrangements and his creative penmanship, as he wrote all the selections.