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White Hot Stamper - Frank Zappa & The Mothers - Freak Out!

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

White Hot Stamper

Frank Zappa & The Mothers
Freak Out!

Regular price
$249.99
Regular price
Sale price
$249.99
Unit price
per 
Availability
Sold out

Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Side Three:

Side Four:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus (on the quieter end of this play grade)

Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

Side Three: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

Side Four: Mint Minus Minus (w/ a slightly noisy edge incl. some light pops but otherwise on the quieter end of this play grade)

  • Insanely good sound throughout with all four sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to them
  • Rich, warm and full-bodied, yet still highly resolving, spacious and dynamic - and the energy level is off the charts, which is one way to win a shootout around here
  • Most pressings of this double album are just awful, if you can even find one that's clean enough to bother playing
  • "One of the most ambitious debuts in rock history, Freak Out! was a seminal concept album that somehow foreshadowed both art rock and punk at the same time. Its four LP sides deconstruct rock conventions right and left, eventually pushing into territory inspired by avant-garde classical composers."
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This vintage Verve 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 1966
    • 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.

 

What We're Listening For on Freak Out!

  • 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.

Vinyl Condition

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.


Side One

Hungry Freaks, Daddy
I Ain't Got No Heart
Who Are the Brain Police?
Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder
Motherly Love
How Could I Be Such a Fool?

Side Two

Wowie Zowie
You Didn't Try to Call Me
Any Way the Wind Blows
I'm Not Satisfied
You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here

Side Three

Trouble Every Day
Help I'm a Rock

Side Four

It Can't Happen Here
The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet

AMG Review

One of the most ambitious debuts in rock history, Freak Out! was a seminal concept album that somehow foreshadowed both art rock and punk at the same time. Its four LP sides deconstruct rock conventions right and left, eventually pushing into territory inspired by avant-garde classical composers.