The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This pressing of Toto's debut boasts very good Hot Stamper sound from the first note to last
- Toto's albums have the kind of analog sound we love here at Better Records - the best pressings are rich, huge and present, with tons of Tubey Magic and wall to wall spaciousness
- Lukather's overdriven guitar adds so much power to the music - the perfect combo of Grungy guitars and Rock Star vocals makes Hold the Line a staple of rock radio to this day
- 4 stars: "Toto's rock-studio chops allowed them to play any current pop style at the drop of a hi-hat: one minute prog rock, the next hard rock, the next funky R&B. Singles like "I'll Supply the Love" made the charts, and "Hold the Line" hit the Top Ten."
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Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can be sure we have a nice cover for you.
This is analog, make no mistake about it. Those smooth sweet vocals, open top and rich full bottom are a dead giveaway that you are playing a record and not a CD. (I understand the CD for this title is awful; bright, thin and downright painful. This is the problem with the CD: if they do a bad job making it, and you no longer own a turntable, what are your options? Squat, pretty much.)
Pop production techniques were very advanced by 1978, providing plenty of natural sounding roomy reverb around the vocals and guitars. Lukather's overdriven, distorted guitar has near-perfect tonality; it adds so much power to the music.
What the Best Sides of Toto's Debut 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 1978
- 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.
Our Recent Shootout
This shootout got off to a very rocky start; we were on the verge of giving up after playing two very bad, sub-generation side ones, cut at The Mastering Lab just like all the rest, but so bad even the CD might be better. If you have an awful copy, we feel your pain.
But Copy Number Three showed us the real Toto sound: the kind of sweetness and warmth we had been hoping to hear and fearing might not exist. Sure, Toto IV has killer sound, but that's no guarantee that the first album would be recorded (or mastered or pressed) as well. In the world of audio -- vinyl, equipment, what have you -- there are no guarantees. The average 180 gram remastered audiophile pressing should be all the proof you need. Good intentions don't count for much in this business or anywhere else for that matter.
Enough about bad audiophile records. Copy number three also had jump-out-of-the-speakers presence without being aggressive, gritty or strident, no mean feat for a pop record from this era. Like all the best rock records, the good ones make you want to turn up the volume; the louder they get the better they sound. Yes, some copies of Toto IV are so rich and sweet you would think they were recorded ten years earlier. (The clarity and tremendous dynamics seem a tad more modern, which is a good thing, right?)
What are sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record -- any Pop or Rock record -- 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, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we hear a fair number of the qualities mentioned above on the side we're playing, we will provisionally award that side a Hot Stamper grade, which is often revised over the course of the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing. Once we've been through all of our side ones, we then play the best of the best of them against each other to arrive at an official Shootout Winner.
Other copies have their grades raised or lowered depending on how they sound relative to the shootout winner, the record that was doing it all (or as much as possible - even some Triple Plus copies have been known to have a minor shortcoming or two). Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that's left is to see how the sides of each copy match up.
That's why the most common grade for a White Hot stamper pressing is Triple Plus (A+++) on one side and Double Plus (A++) on the other. Finding the two best sounding sides on the same LP does happen, but it sure doesn't happen as often as we would like (!) -- there are just too many variables in the mastering and pressing processes to ensure consistent quality.
It may not be rocket science, but it's 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 this Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.
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.
- Child's Anthem
- I'll Supply The Love
- Georgy Porgy
- Manuela Run
- You Are The Flower
- Girl Goodbye
- Takin' It Back
- Hold The Line
AMG 4 Star Review
Toto's rock-studio chops allowed them to play any current pop style at the drop of a hi-hat: one minute prog rock, the next hard rock, the next funky R&B. Singles like "I'll Supply the Love" and "Georgy Porgy" (featuring Cheryl Lynn) made the charts, and "Hold the Line" hit the Top Ten and went gold. The members of Toto had already influenced the course of '70s popular music by playing on half the albums that came out of L.A. All they were doing with this album was going public.