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
- This excellent UK import copy (one of only a handful to hit the site in three years) boasts two solid Double Plus (A++) sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- "Who Can It Be Now" and "Down Under" are the big hits, and we guarantee you've never heard them sound as good as they do on this vintage pressing
- Big and full-bodied, and much smoother than most, with an abundance of energy, the sound here immediately set the sonic bar very high
- "The production sound was low-key, but clean and uncluttered. Indeed, the songs stood by themselves with little embellishment save for a bright, melodic, singalong quality."
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As a bit of background just in case you are not familiar with the album, the domestic pressings are horrendously bright. We have never played one that didn't sound like the treble was jacked up to a level just this side of ear-bleed.
The only way to hear this album sound right is on Australian, Dutch, British and, more than a little surprisingly, even Japanese vinyl. Yes, we have heard them all. We've liked about one out of every one hundred Japanese pressings we've played over the last twenty years. We were surprised to find that the Japanese copy of Business As Usual we played many years ago was pretty good, for what that's worth. (We can't be sure that on our current system with our current ears we would feel the same.)
We tend to prefer the Brits but it seems that any import is worth a listen. The key, as always, is in the mastering and pressing.
What The Best Sides Of Business As Ususal 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 1981
- 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.
Pop and Rock Shootouts
What are the sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record -- any Pop or Rock record -- should be judged?
Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we can get a number of these qualities to come together on the side we’re playing, we provisionally give it a ballpark Hot Stamper grade, a grade that is often revised during the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing, both good and bad.
Once we’ve been through all the side ones, we play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Other copies from earlier in the shootout will frequently have their grades raised or lowered based on how they sounded compared to the eventual shootout winner. If we’re not sure about any pressing, perhaps because we played it early on in the shootout before we had learned what to listen for, we take the time to play it again.
Repeat the process for side two and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.
It may not be rocket science, but it’s a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.
What We're Listening For On Business As Ususal
- 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 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.
- Who Can It Be Now?
- I Can See It In Your Eyes
- Down Under
- Helpless Automaton
- People Just Love To Play With Words
- Be Good Johnny
- Touching the Untouchables
- Catch a Star
- Down By the Sea
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Business as Usual became a surprise international hit on the basis of "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Down Under," two excellent singles that merged straight-ahead pop/rock hooks with a quirky new wave production and an offbeat sense of humor.
Colin Hay's keening vocals uncannily recall Sting, and the band's rhythmic pulse and phased guitars also bring to mind a bar band version of the Police. And that helps make the remainder of Business as Usual enjoyable. ..."Be Good Johnny," "I Can See It in Your Eyes," and "Down by the Sea" are all fine new wave pop songs, making [the album] one of the more enjoyable mainstream-oriented efforts of the era.
Garry Raffaele opined that it "generally stays at a high level, tight and jerky ... There is a delicacy about this music — and that is not a thing you can say about too many rock groups. The flute and reeds of Greg Ham do much to further that."
McFarlane noted that "[a]side from the strength of the music, part of the album's appeal was its economy. The production sound was low-key, but clean and uncluttered. Indeed, the songs stood by themselves with little embellishment save for a bright, melodic, singalong quality."