The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding copy of the band's first greatest hits album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
- This surprisingly good sounding greatest hits album is packed with hits, including Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, The Pusher, and more
- We recently played the unbelievably bad sounding Heavy Vinyl pressing from Analogue Productions, and this copy SMOKED it six ways from Sunday
- 4 stars: "Steppenwolf fused traditional rock and R&B with late '60s contemporary heaviness. "Born to Be Wild," their signature tune, has aged amazingly well. Aside from the song's power and performance, its engineering and production is stellar. This goes for most of Steppenwolf's catalog as well.
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*NOTES: On side 1, a mark makes 3 moderate pops one-quarter inch into Track 3, Rock Me.
This vintage Dunhill pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of 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 Amazing Sides Such as These 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 1970
- 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.
Finding Steppenwolf Hot Stampers
What are the criteria by which a record like this 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, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and on and on down through the list.
When we can get all, or most all, of the qualities above to come together on any given side we provisionally award it a grade of "contender." Once we've been through all our copies on one side we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that's left is to see how the sides matched up.
It may not be rocket science, but it is a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we've developed over the course of many years to ensure 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 Gold: Their Great Hits
- 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.
Speaking of Bad Sounding Heavy Vinyl
If you go to our blog On The Record and do a search for Steppenwolf Gold, you can read our scathing review of the awful Analogue Productions pressing that came out recently. An excerpt:
Right from the get-go, thick, murky, compressed, lifeless, ambience-free, dead-as-a-doornail sound started to come out of my speakers. Like sludge from a sewer you might say. What the hell was going on?
I quickly grabbed a Super Hot copy off the shelf and put it on the table.
Here was the energy, clarity, richness, space and more that had been missing mere moments before from the Heavy Vinyl pressing.
Now, coming out my speakers was everything that makes a good vintage pressing such a joy to listen to. I felt like turning it up and rocking out. The first song is Born to Be Wild. Who doesn’t love to blast Born to Be Wild?
What a difference.
Night and Day. Maybe more!
- Born To Be Wild
- It's Never Too Late
- Rock Me
- Hey Lawdy Mama
- Move Over
- Who Needs Ya
- Magic Carpet Ride
- The Pusher
- Sookie, Sookie
- Jupiter's Child
- Screaming Night Hog
AMG 4 Star Review
The term heavy metal was rightfully named for this band. Steppenwolf fused traditional rock and R&B with late '60s contemporary heaviness. "Born to Be Wild," their signature tune, has aged amazingly well. Aside from the song's power and performance, its engineering and production is stellar. This goes for most of Steppenwolf's catalog as well. Other tracks of note include the lesser known "Rock Me, which was used in the film Candy. It's an amazing period piece that reflects the underside of Hollywood life... as an introduction to a great band, [this album is] nearly perfect.