The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- A STUNNING copy of Prado's 1960 RCA stereo release with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from top to bottom
- Spacious and transparent, this copy has the three-dimensional soundstaging and layered depth that makes these kinds of record such a joy to play
- There is plenty on offer for the discriminating audiophile, with the spaciousness, clarity, tonality and freedom from artificiality that are hallmarks of the better Living Stereo recordings
- "Big Hits actually is a powerhouse anthology: the first definitive, stereo collection of mambo hits. All were re-recorded for stereo in "new arrangements" as the jacket advertises... easy to find [but not in audiophile playing condition with sound this good] and very worthwhile."
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*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 8 moderate pops at the end of track 4, Guaglione, into the beginning of track 5, Mambo No. 5.
This copy of Big Hits By Prado has a lot in common with the other Decca and Living Stereo titles we've listed over the years, albums by the likes of Henry Mancini, Esquivel, Dick Schory, Edmundo Ros, Arthur Lyman and a handful of others. Talk about making your speakers disappear, these records will do it!
An album like this is all about Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation. For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you're looking to demonstrate just how good 1960 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the record for you.
This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you'll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There may well be a CD of this album, but those of us in possession of a working turntable and a good collection of vintage vinyl could care less.
What the best sides of Big Hits by Prado 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 1960
- 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 space of the studio
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.
Golden Age Living Stereo
What do we love about LIVING STEREO pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The instruments on this vintage recording are reproduced with remarkable fidelity.
Now that's what we at Better Records mean by "Hi-Fi," not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days. There's no boosted top, there's no bloated bottom, there's no sucked-out midrange. There's no added digital reverb (Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, et al.). The microphones are not fifty feet away from the musicians (Water Lily) nor are they inches away (Three Blind Mice).
This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I'm pretty sure our customers do, and whoever picks this one up is guaranteed to get a real kick out of it.
Here is a complete list of theLiving Stereo titles we have reviewed to date, sorted by artist or composer.
What We're Listening For on Big Hits by Prado
- 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.
- 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.
"Here are the unforgettable classics of one of the master mixers of sound and rhythm, recorded and played with even more breath-taking brilliance than the originals."
Mambo Jambo (Que Rico El Mambo)
Cherry Pink Apple Blossom White (Cerezo Rosa)
Mambo No. 5
In A Little Spanish Town
Mambo No. 8
Caballo Negro (Black Horse)
Big Hits actually is a powerhouse anthology: the first definitive, stereo collection of mambo hits. All were re-recorded for stereo in "new arrangements" as the jacket advertises. A couple originally were recorded in stereo, e.g., "Patricia" and "Why Wait," but were not available in stereo, even as late as 1960. The most desirable selections are "Guaglione" and "Paris"; the latter may have been non-LP until this (Francis Bay covered it to even greater effect)... Big Hits is easy to find and very worthwhile.
- Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
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