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 (often quieter than this grade)
- With a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side two and a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one, this copy will be very hard to beat - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Before the raging bluesy rock of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed, with loads of psychedelic madness, this is some crazy Stones music, and a lot of fun on a pressing that sounds as good as this one
- Exceptionally quiet for a vintage Decca Stones album, this one plays Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus or close to it on both sides
- 4 stars: "Never before or since did the Stones take so many chances in the studio... a fascinating anomaly in the group's discography".
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This is the Stones at their most experimental, so there are plenty of strange effects and trippy arrangements. Only the best copies manage to make sense of it, but when you find one this music is a lot of fun.
If you're looking for the raging bluesy rock of Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed, you'll find some of that here but also a lot of psychedelia too. You do get some great rockers though -- Citadel, 2000 Man, and 2000 Light Years From Home to name a few. She's A Rainbow is the poppiest song here, and on this copy it sounds WONDERFUL.
This early Decca pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely manage to reproduce. Folks, that sound is pretty much gone and sure doesn't seem to be coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, 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 maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What both of these outstanding sides have to offer on Their Satanic Majesties Request 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 1967
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments (and effects!) having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it's hard to play them when you do find them. You're going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end to play this properly, but if you've got the goods this is one hot record! Play this with a budget cart / table / arm and you'll hear very little of the magic that we heard.
It's not perfect by any means, just better. Don't expect Demo Quality Sound, but we guarantee you've never heard this music sound better -- or your money back.
What We're Listening For on Their Satanic Majesties Request
- 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 -- Glyn Johns in this case -- would have 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.
Size and Space
One of the qualities that we don't talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record's presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small -- they don't extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don't seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies -- my notes for these copies often read "BIG and BOLD" -- create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They're not brighter, they're not more aggressive, they're not hyped-up in any way, they're just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn't, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation.
Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded that open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one of two clean British copies with which to do a shootout? These records are expensive and hard to come by in good shape. Believe us, we know whereof we speak when it comes to getting hold of British pressings of Classic Rock albums.
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it's an entirely different - and dare I say unforgettable -- listening experience.
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 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.
Sing This All Together
In Another Land
Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
She's a Rainbow
2000 Light Years from Home
On With the Show
Without a doubt, no Rolling Stones album – and, indeed, very few rock albums from any era – split critical opinion as much as the Rolling Stones' psychedelic outing. Many dismiss the record as sub-Sgt. Pepper posturing; others confess, if only in private, to a fascination with the album's inventive arrangements, which incorporated some African rhythms, Mellotrons, and full orchestration. Never before or since did the Stones take so many chances in the studio. […]
In 1968, the Stones would go back to the basics, and never wander down these paths again, making this all the more of a fascinating anomaly in the group's discography.
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