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)
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- A vintage copy of this Zep live album that boasts KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two and excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on the other three
- Insane live Rock and Roll energy like nothing you have ever heard - the sound is full-bodied and reasonably smooth, making it possible to get the volume up good and high where it belongs
- An incredibly tough album to find with the right sound and audiophile surfaces - this is one of the better copies for both, noted condition issues on side three notwithstanding
- Packed with Zep classics, including "The Song Remains The Same," "Dazed and Confused," "Stairway to Heaven," and more
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*NOTE: On side 3, there is a mark that plays 28 times lightly at the start of track 1, "No Quarter." There is another mark that plays 20 times very lightly about 1" into the same track.
It's exceedingly rare that we come across a copy that sounds this good. Most we've played sound like bad, second-generation bootleg cassettes. We still pick them up every time we see them -- hey, it's Zep, man -- but we weren't sure we'd ever hear a decent copy. We dropped the needle on this one and were blown away by how hard it rocked.
It's got the big sound that you look for on a Zep LP -- great bass, huge drums, and immediacy to the vocals. The sound is silky up top, punchy down low, and very transparent.
Turn this one way up and you might just find yourself right in the middle of a killer live Zep concert.
The only song here that didn't totally blow our minds was the version of "Dazed and Confused," which sounded a bit compressed during the big jam. Other than that, all the big hits ("Rock And Roll," "The Rain Song," "No Quarter," "Stairway," etc.) sound Right On The Money.
What The Best Sides Of The Song Remains The Same 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 1976
- 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 these records are 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 are the only way to find pressing that sound as good as these two do.
Domestic or Import?
The domestic copies we've played over the years of Song Remains the Same are clearly better sounding than any import we've auditioned. The imports we've played were clearly made from dubbed copies of the master tapes, sounding small, veiled, smeary and lifeless. (Come to think of it, that's exactly the kind of sound we hear on many remastered Heavy Vinyl pressings these days, and exactly why we stopped carrying them.)
The fact that domestic pressings are consistently superior to the imports on this album may be counterintuitive, but that's the kind of thing you find out when doing blinded shootouts. We have little use for intuitions ("if it's a UK recording buy the UK pressing") and rules of thumb ("originals always have better sound than reissues").
Hard data -- the kind you get from actually playing the records -- trumps them all.
What We're Listening For On The Song Remains the Same
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- engineering legend Eddie Kramer in this case -- would have put them.
- 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 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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 Song Remains The Same is a Difficult Record to Reproduce. Do not attempt to play it 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 many audiophiles neglect).
- Rock And Roll
- Celebration Day
- The Song Remains The Same
- Rain Song
- Dazed And Confused
- No Quarter
- Stairway To Heaven
- Moby Dick
- Whole Lotta Love
Released in conjunction with the pseudodocumentary film of the same name, The Song Remains the Same reproduces the very things that made Zeppelin concerts legendary — lengthy solos, intertwining interplay between Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and ridiculously long songs ("Dazed and Confused" is nearly an entire half-hour).