The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- This superb copy of the band's first A&M release boasts Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout - just shy of our Shootout Winner
- This wonderful original pressing is huge and rich, with prodigious amounts of bass, like no other copy you've heard
- "'Equinox' would prove to be the last album from the original lineup of Styx. This would also be the band's first album for major label A&M and probably the album where the band really developed their signature sound, a mix of progressive rock, straight ahead pop, and arena style rock. 'Equinox' is a must own album for Styx fans and remains one of the band's best works."
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These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
Who likes their Wall of Sound small and closed-in? Certainly not Big Speaker guys like us. By all accounts this band wanted their records to sound good, or at least as good as their contemporaries. There's no shortage of production polish here and on the best pressings the sound adds a lot to the music.
This vintage A&M 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 the Best Sides of Equinox 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 1975
- 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.
Choruses Are Key
The richness, sweetness and freedom from artificiality is most apparent on Breakfast in America where you most always hear it on a pop record: in the biggest, loudest, densest, climactic choruses.
We set the playback volume so that the loudest parts of the record are as huge and powerful as they can possibly grow to be without crossing the line into distortion or congestion.
On some records, Dark Side of the Moon comes instantly to mind, the guitar solos on Money are the loudest thing on the record. On Breakfast in America the sax toward the end of The Logical Song is the biggest and loudest element in the mix, louder even than Roger Hodgson’s near-hysterical multi-track screaming “Who I am” about three quarters of the way through the track.
Those are clearly exceptions though. Usually it’s the final chorus that gets bigger and louder than anything else.
A pop song is usually structured so as to build more and more power as it works its way through its verses and choruses, past the bridge, coming back around to make one final push, releasing all its energy in the final chorus, the climax of the song.
On a good recording — one with real dynamics — that part should be very loud and very powerful.
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.
And most of the time those very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy that does all that, it's an entirely different listening experience.
What We're Listening For on Equinox
- 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 for the guitars, keyboards and drums, 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.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Barry Mraz in the case -- would have put them.
- 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 originals.
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.
- Light Up
- Mother Dear
- Lonely Child
- Midnight Ride
- Born For Adventure
- Prelude 12
- Suite Madame Blue
Amazon 5 Star Review
Styx - Major Label Debut And Last From The Original Band
"Equinox" would prove to be the last album from the original lineup of Styx. This would also be the band's first album for major label A&M and probably the album where the band really developed their signature sound, a mix of progressive rock, straight ahead pop, and arena style rock.
The album spawned two medium hits "Light Up" and "Lorelei" both written by Dennis Deyoung. Deyoung's mini epic "Suite Madam Blue" would also be a concert staple for years and remains one of the band's all time best compositions.
The rest of the album, "Mother Dear", "Lonely Child", "Midnight Ride", and "Born For Adventure" are all solid album cuts as well. All but "Midnight Ride" (written by James Young) feature Dennis Deyoung as at least a co-writer. In fact this is one of Deyoung's strongest albums as a songwriter.
"Equinox" is a must own album for Styx fans and remains one of the band's best works.