Beatles "Abbey Road" .... Vinyl Pressing Comparisons & Black Triangle CD, etc

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tone, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Lot's of different pressings on the Abbey Road page for comparison. UK, Japanese, MFSL, US and the 87 and Black Triangle CD.

    www.beatledrops.com/abbey_road

    Still hard to beat the wonderful open and dynamic sound of the early UK vinyl.

    I apologize for the condition of some of the vinyl, but it's quite hard to find quiet early UK copies of AR. Same with the US apple.
     
  2. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I may be nuts or I may just not have something better for comparison, but I like the sound of my mid-90s Apple copy.
     
  3. John Carsell

    John Carsell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest Illinois
    The Dutch 80's pressing (1A 062 04243) IMO sounds very close to the 1st UK Apple LP. That's the one I usually spin since the vinyl is very quiet but that fade on (I Want You) She's So Heavy really bugs me.
     
  4. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Probably a mid 80s if you mean the -6 / -4 stamper cut.

    It's been very common in these 'pressing comparisons' for folks to prefer the later edition Apple. They do really sound good, and it makes those Blue Boxes even more a bargin IMO.

    I still like the very 1st pressings. Big open, dyanmic sound. Too bad mine are noisey.
     
  5. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I do not know what you mean by "-6 / -4 stamper cut". I bought it brand new at Tower Records in 1998 or 1999 I think. I was under the impression that the 90s reissues were all from digital source and considered inferior. My "Abbey Road" says "MASTERED BY CAPITAL" stamped with "WALLY" written right next to it in the deadwax. Sounds terriffic. My "Rubber Soul" from that reissue series sounds just astounding to my ears and has the same markings. Is it possible that they used existing stampers for this series?
     
  6. Leo K

    Leo K Member

    Location:
    SW Minnesota
    My mid 70's Abbey Road from New Zealand sounds just as good as the UK 1st pressing...same stampers (-1/-2) as the UK 1st press too...perhaps this is why? The bass is glorious on both of these.
     
  7. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    On the page that this thread is discussing.

    www.beatledrops.com/abbey_road

    A mid 70s Apple pressing with -6/-4 stamper number in the deadwax.
     
  8. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That Stamper is my favorite out of all of these. Nice to know the NZ sounds that good. I agree with you about the wonderful rich and clear bass.
     
  9. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    I have a 1st press copy of Abbey Road (misaligned Apple logo, -2 -1). Mine plays pretty quiet--so it's possible. Of course, it wasn't cheap...
     
  10. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Nice Tom! Those do sound gorgeous. Worth a good price IMO. You can compare here to see how it sounds against later pressings. Did it come with the black sleeve liner?

    I've got a couple of copies, and one is more than listenable, but not great for presenting pressing clips. Still you can hear in these, how nice they sound.
     
  11. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    Black sleeve liner, yes--it came from an ultra-finicky dealer in Denmark. Even my Mofi is not much quieter.



    This is a very challenging album on vinyl. The recording is very dynamic, has many super quiet sections, and is quite long on both sides. Both sides climax with loud tracks (not counting Her Majesty), inviting massive inner groove distortion. Basically, Abbey Road is a vinyl mastering engineer's nightmare.

    If you listen to the Mofi pressing you'll notice how quiet it's cut. Stan Ricker (a good friend) cut it at lower level to try to avoid the distortion. He was working with the low surface noise Japanese Victor Co. vinyl and could get away with low gain.

    Another notable thing about Abbey Road is the solid state sound. Many things had changed in recording, even since Sgt. Pepper, including the introduction of solid state mixers and mic preamps. This gives Abbey Road a clearer, but harder sound than its predecessors. Sgt. Pepper was recorded with much more tube gear, so even on the later non "tube cut" pressings, it has a "tubey" warmth. Abbey Road does not have that "tube thing" going on.

    --Tom
     
  12. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Interesting. Tell us more about what Stan did with the Beatles MFSL stuff.

    This AR MFSL doesn't sound too bad, but lacks the wide dynamics of the original. I have both the box and single version and can't hear much difference between them..... There is a wide variety of sound in other Beatles MFSL. Some sound quite EQ'd and compressed.

    The other suprising thing on this page is how the '87 CD and the Black Triangle Japanese don't sound that different..... Bl Tri sounds a little fuller in the bass, but I have to say it's a bit over rated in comparison..... Again, neither sound as good as the original UK IMO.
     
  13. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I may be dense but I don't see any discussion of a mid 70s Apple with -6/-4 in the deadwax on that page. It appears I may have a copy stamped from the same stampers used in the 80s for the purple capitol version.
     
  14. Leo K

    Leo K Member

    Location:
    SW Minnesota
    I really love your site...it's already helped find some great pressings!


    It's great to finally hear a comparison between the black triangle and '87 CD's...now I don't have to be so urgent about finding the former!
     
  15. BobbyS

    BobbyS Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Powell OH USA
    I have 3 different 2/1 copies. The quietest version is a 70's orange label Australian version pressed from UK stampers and it's still not that quiet!

    But I agree the 2/1 version is the way to go.

    Bob
     
  16. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Here's a question... I have a Capitol pressing of Abbey Road where the background of the apple logo on the record itself is a cream color and not black. When was this pressed? I can't find anything on it, but it is the best sounding AB I've heard on vinyl, and I have a blue box AB, japanese blue box, original UK, and original U.S. pressing. I've heard the MFSL and don't like it. Anyone have any ideas??

    Frank R.
     
  17. emkay

    emkay Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    That sounds like a mid-90s reissue made from digital masters. There are those who feel these issues sound pretty nice, but not the same as the original analog UK pressings.
     
    John Bliss and ndoheny like this.
  18. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    Here's an excerpt from a very long online interview between Stan Ricker and Dave Glackin. The full interview can be found here:
    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/Magazine/rickerinterview/ricker1.htm

    Dave: Another famous LP, or set of LPs that you mastered for them is the Beatles' Box. Is there anything special you wanted to say about the Beatles' Box? What the experience of handling the Beatles' master tapes was like, how much they were insured for, how they got here, so on and so forth?


    Stan: Well, what I really like about the Beatles' tapes was, as probably with all EMI tapes, how well their use was documented. Each one came in a flat tin can, a mu-metal can, and taped inside was a log of when the tape was made, when the original was made, when the two-track tape was made, when it was edited, who edited it, who put the leader on it, and how many times it was loaned out, to whom and for what reason, which was neat; for us [MoFi], or American Capitol, or dubs for European distribution, or whatever. Except for the stuff that EMI released off of those tapes, everything else was made from tape copies of those originals. That's why the Capitol things that were released here in the U.S. sounded so different, indeed, from the original. The copies weren't all that very good. One of the things that interested me was that with some of the earlier Beatles' tapes the voices singing were all on one channel, and the instruments were on the other channel. And it's not what you'd truly call stereo. It was, in fact, two mono tracks which were originally designed to be combined into a mono release. But we found these things very interesting in their original form. So a discussion grew into, "Well, how do you think we ought to release these things? Should we be true to our format and say, we're gonna release 'em exactly as the tapes are, or we're gonna release 'em exactly like the original records were?" Well, we really didn't want to release them exactly as the original records were. One of the very interesting reasons for that, among other things, was that the MoFi cutting system was dedicated, hard wired stereo. There was no mono switch on this thing at all. I'm sure I could have easily enough rigged up some wiring to make it mono, but we thought it would be really interesting to release the records as the tapes really existed. And we got into kind of a discussion. "Well, geez, you think we ought to call them up and ask them?" or something like this, you know. The net result was we placed a phone call to George Martin to find out, "Well, sir, do you have any preferences, or do you care?" or whatever, you know. And the tone of his answer was that he seemed to be quite much burned out on Beatles stuff and really didn't give a rat's behind what we did with it. So we elected to cut it exactly as the tape format presented itself. And then later I heard that Mr. Martin bitched vigorously about "Why the hell did you release it that way?" And I believe my answer to it was, "Well, earlier I phoned you up and asked you and you, in your words, told me you didn't give a **** what I did with the things." "So," I said, "It's a little late now to complain about it." He agreed and so, rightly, it is. That was the end of that hassle. But the tapes were extremely well engineered, they were just marvelous things to work with. And, of course, the acetate tape was brittle and one time, the tail end of one of the numbers just shattered all over the cutting room floor. Well, I mean that makes it sound really bad, like spilling a bag of potato chips and then walking on them, you know. It wasn't that bad. It was probably a length of tape, maybe six or eight inches long, but it fractured into something like 200 tiny little pieces, so it took the better part of a day to put it all back together.



    Dave: Your friends in the Sapphire Club tell me that was the first note of Michelle.



    Stan: Is that what that was? I enjoyed Yellow Submarine a whole lot. I thought that was really cool. And what was the one, the Sgt. Pepper was fun to do. A lot of interesting recording. What's the one, "Will you love me when I'm sixty-four?"


    The MFSL LPs usually have a pronounced top end boost. Stan told me that the owner of Mobile Fidelity, Herbert A. Belkin, had hearing problems and kept insisting (despite Stan's advice) upon making the LPs brighter and brighter. I always thought that this was unfortunate, since the Mofi LPs were pressed on the wonderful super-quiet JVC vinyl.

    The best Stan Ricker Beatles story is the one about the Beatles stereo master tapes almost being stolen at the airport. He told me it is true--right now don't have time to find the account that someone posted online.
     
  19. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    The one I have is definitely not from digital sources. It doesn't sound like the CD at all, and doesn't have EMI written anywhere on it or the catalog number for the CD counterpart like the other 90's pressings I've seen.

    Frank R.
     
  20. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Mine's the same, definitely the mid-90s master.
     
  21. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Sounds like you have the exact same one that I have. Does it have "MASTERED BY CAPITAL" stamped in the deadwax with "Wally" hand etched right next to it? Mine doesn't sound like the CD either. I really like it. Is it possible that the "digital source" is a much higher resolution or different digital transfer than the 1987 CD masters.
     
  22. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    I like it too! It does say mastered by capitol, but I haven't checked for the "Wally" etch. I'll look tonight. I honestly thought it was a much older reissue!

    Frank R.
     
  23. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks Leo. That's the intent. :)

    And I agree with you about the Black Triangle vs the '87. That 87 CD sounds pretty good on this one.
     
  24. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Take a look here: http://wax.fm/release/beatles_abbey_road/C1+46446/d/714549 Images 7 and 8 are the 90s pressing I have. I have never seen this Apple label on any other release (I only have three of the 90s reissues).
     
  25. emkay

    emkay Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Don't be too sure. I bought one of these, but it remains sealed. They had a black sticker on the shrink wrap that said limited edition or something like that. I only opened one of the albums in the set (I had a dupe) -- the white album -- and it had labels like the one you describe. Sort of a cream colored field around the apple on the label. Thems is digital mon frere...

    That's not to say they sound bad. I think the white album, while not being my best, is a great listen.
     

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