The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- A stunning vintage UK pressing with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish
- You will not believe how punchy, lively, dynamic, and exciting some of these tracks sound here - this is one of their best albums for both music and sound!
- We shot out a number of other UK imports (the only copies that sound any good to us) and the richness, presence, clarity, and dynamic power of this outstanding copy placed it above the competition on side one, and right up there with the best on the second side
- Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- 4 1/2 stars: "... [I]n 1969 this was envelope-ripping, genre-busting music, scaling established boundaries into unknown territory, not only "outside the box" but outside of any musical box that had been conceived at that moment..."
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*NOTE: On side 1, track 1, "In the Beginning," plays Mint Minus Minus and there is a mark about 1/8" into the track that plays lightly 7 times.
On side 2, there is a mark near the end of the first track that plays loudly 6 times, the last half of track 4 ("The Dream") plays Mint Minus Minus to EX++, and track 6 ("The Voyage") also plays Mint Minus Minus to EX++.
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
Both sides give you silky highs, surprising clarity, amazing openness and transparency, real weight to the bottom end, lots of air in the flutes, wonderful texture to the strings, and so much more. The acoustic guitars sound impressive, with the proper balance between pluck and body. The vocals are shockingly clean and clear throughout.
Copies like this bring all the psychedelic Moody Blues magic to life in your living room. The richness, sweetness, and warmth on this one give you exactly the sound you want for this wild music. You get lovely Tubey Magic and clarity. The sound is cleaner, clearer, richer, sweeter, and more present that you could have imagined.
It has been my experience that, as good as the British originals of the Moody Blues records are -- and I think they are the best sounding pressings of their music that can be found -- their one consistent shortcoming is an overly smooth top end. We managed to find a handful of copies that break with that tradition, and the results are wonderful.
What The Best Sides Of On The Threshold Of A Dream 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 1969
- 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.
No Sacrifice Necessary - You Can Have It All
Allow me to steal some commentary from our last Moody Blues Hot Stamper shootout winner, the one we did for the wonderful Lost Chord, in which we say that all the clarity and resolution comes...
WITHOUT SACRIFICING the Tubey Magical richness, warmth and lushness for which the Moody Blues recordings are justifiably famous. We're not kidding -- this pressing presents this music in a way that no previous LP of it that we've ever played could. It's so correct from top to bottom, so present and alive, while still retaining all the richness and sweetness we expect from British Moody Blues records, that we find it hard to believe you can do any better, in this life anyway. This copy managed to take the Moodies' wonderful music to another level. It's the very definition of a Hot Stamper.
What We're Listening For On On The Threshold Of A Dream
- 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.
Three Qualities to Look For
Achieving just the right balance of "Moody Blues Sound" and transparency is no mean feat. You have to be using the real master tape for starters. Then you need top extension, a very rare quality of these imports, and finally, good bass definition to keep the bottom end from blurring the midrange. No domestic copy in our experience has ever had these three qualities, and only the best of the imports manages to get all three on the same LP.
The Nautilus half-speed is actually pretty good but it sure doesn't sound like this. It robs the music of some essential energy, ambiance, and warmth. Those of you with budget front-ends will find the Nautilus to be very enjoyable, but if you've put a lot of time, energy, and money into your system then there is no substitute for The Real Thing.
Cutting Through the Moody Muck from Way Back When
Little by little over the course of 2007-2008 things began to change. We came up with a number of much more sophisticated and advanced cleaning techniques.
- The ruler-flat, super-clean and clear Dynavector 17d replaced the more forgiving, less accurate 20x.
- The EAR 324 we acquired at the beginning of 2007 was a BIG step up over the 834p in terms of resolution and freedom from distortion slash coloration.
- And the third pair of Hallographs had much the same effect, taking out the room distortions that compromise transparency and three-dimensionality.
- With the implementation of a number of other seemingly insignificant tweaks, each of which made a subtle but recognizable improvement, the cumulative effect of all of the above was now clearly making a difference. The combination of so many improvements was nothing less than dramatic.
- We saw the Moody Blues, not through a glass darkly, but clearly for the first time, and we loved what we were hearing.
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.
- In the Beginning
- Lovely to See You
- Dear Diary
- Send Me No Wine
- To Share Our Love
- So Deep Within You
- Never Comes the Day
- Lazy Day
- Are You Sitting Comfortably?
- The Dream
- Have You Heard, Pt. 1
- The Voyage
- Have You Heard, Pt. 2
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
On the original LP's first side (which was the more rock-oriented side), the songs "Lovely to See You," "Send Me No Wine," "To Share Our Love," and "So Deep Within You" all featured killer guitar hooks (electric and acoustic) and fills by Justin Hayward; beautiful, muscular bass from John Lodge; and vocal hooks everywhere.
It's also a surprisingly hard-rocking album considering the amount of overdubbing that went into perfecting the songs, including cellos, wind and reed instruments, and lots of vocal layers — yet it even found room to display a pop-soul edge on "So Deep Within You" (a number that the Four Tops later recorded)...
... [I]n 1969 this was envelope-ripping, genre-busting music, scaling established boundaries into unknown territory, not only "outside the box" but outside of any musical box that had been conceived at that moment — perhaps it can be considered rock's flirtation with the territory covered by works such as Alexander Scriabin's Mysterium, and if it overreached (as did Scriabin), well, so did a lot of other people at the time, including Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Who, et al...
Amazingly, On the Threshold of a Dream was their first chart-topping LP in England, and remained on the charts for an astonishing 70 weeks.