Although what I post here may be common knowledge to some folks, I thought that most people may not know this and may find it useful (I hope). Before I expound my theory (plus some hypotheses), let me briefly explain how I got to this level of obsessiveness regarding this LP. The Who, Who's Next, has always been one of my all-time favorite Rock LPs, and until recently, I enjoyed just about any vinyl pressing of this (and yes, I even enjoyed the digital counterparts). A few months ago, however, I picked up a U.K. original Track pressing of this with the dead wax matrix ending A//1 on Side 1 and B//2 on Side 2. After doing some research, I learned that many UK vinyl buffs consider that pressing to be the finest sounding vinyl pressing of Who's Next. My own listening sessions had convinced me that this LP just cannot sound any better. It does not "wow" you from the start like a "double-RL" cut of Led Zeppelin II, but it sounds very real and "right" throughout the LP that I do not find to be case with most other Rock LPs. Since acquiring my UK Track, I have sold two copies of the MCA "Heavy Vinyl Audiophile Series" pressing, and my 1972 US MCA reissue, the Japanese original and two other Japanese pressings are collecting dust. Then I read somewhere here that some members (and Mike Fremer) consider the Classic's recent reissue on 200 or 150 gram vinyl to be the best. Being curious, I, of course, threw away another $30 on a copy to do my own comparison. After many careful and casual listening sessions and comparisons, and trying very hard to like the Classic reissue (which, by the way, is excellent), I concluded that my original UK Track is better in just about every way (and twice on Sundays). The only thing that the Classic reissue was better at was the "spacious" presentation. My UK Track is more real sounding with every instrument (including vocals) and at every frequency. The vocals and piano sound more natural, the drums and bass have more body and definition with better attack and decay, the cymbals have more clarity and shimmer (and sound more like cymbals rather than tin), the acoustic guitar sounds more real and the electric guitars have less distortion and more clarity and power. I vowed never to waste more money on another false second-coming of this great record. Then I read a couple of posts by some fellow Forum members, whose opinions I have learned to value immensely. (Ouch, so much for my vows, ). According to Ben, Randy and Mike, the US Decca first "West Coast" pressing is the version to get. So I tracked down (no pun intended) a W2, W2 pressing (I could not find a clean W1, W1 copy). How could this be? My newly acquired W2, W2 US Decca pressing sounded remarkably similar to my UK Track on Side 1. "Getting in Tune" on Side 2 sounded like it had more reverb or echo (especially at the beginning of the vocal) but the rest of Side 2 also sounded very similar to my UK Track in terms of overall sound quality. Hmmmmmmm. Dazed and confused. I did some research on the Forum and discovered a couple of posts by our fearless leader stating that only the first US Decca pressing was cut from the original master tapes by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab. Hmmmmmm. Disillusioned and disappointed. Then my obsession with dead wax began and here is what I concluded. sungshinla's pet theory D ): At LEAST Side 1 of my UK Track original pressing was cut by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab, JUST LIKE the US Decca first pressing. I am certain beyond a reasonable doubt that the above statement is correct. I do not care about any "stories" to the contrary from people who are in the know, as I have hard proof. My UK Track original has "MG 12888" HAND-etched in the dead wax of Side 1. My US Decca pressing has "MG712888-W2" hand-etched in the dead wax of Side 1 and "MG712889-W2 x" hand-etched in the dead wax of Side 2. The handwriting on Side 1 of both my UK Track original and US Decca are identical. The "M" is written with the middle part looking like a smile rather than a "v". The "G" is written like a "C" with the "-" part going outward to the right rather than inward to the left. The "888" has the tendency to lean or tilt to the right. I have verified using the dead wax writing on Doug Sax remastered EMI Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (the "M" from "DSOTM" hand-etched on the dead wax, and the "G" from "DOUG" also hand-etched on the dead wax) that the "MG 12888" was, in fact, hand-etched by Doug Sax. Mr. Sax has handwriting as bad as mine, but because of that, his handwriting is more readily discernible as it is unique. From this, I was also able to tell that Mr. Sax did not write the "7" in between "MG" and "12888" or the "-W2" on the US Decca. Someone else SQUEEZED in the "7" and added the "-W2" after he had written the "MG 12888". Also, it was clear from the size of the "MG 12888" on Side 1 vs. "MG 12889" on Side 2 that the marking on Side 2 was NOT hand-etched at the same time as the marking on Side 1. The marking on Side 2 is noticeably bigger (although of the same handwriting). From that, I have the following hypothesis: EITHER Mr. Sax, when FIRST cutting the lacquer, wrote "MG 12888" on Side 1 only (which then were used to pressed the US Decca first pressing AND some of the UK Track first pressing) OR Mr. Sax also wrote "MG 12889" on Side 2 also but that lacquer was not used to press the UK Track first pressing. Someone with a true W1, W1 Decca pressing (as opposed to W1 with other trailing numbers or letters) should check to see if the "MG712889" or "7MG 12889" on Side 2 is bigger than the "MG712888" or "7MG 12888" on Side 1. If Side 2 lacquer used for the UK Track first pressing was NOT cut by Mr. Sax, then I would think that the reason may have had something to do with the UK import tax issues. Perhaps, if only one side came from the US, the tax did not apply. Anyway, Side 1 of my UK Track first pressing sounds better than Side 1 of my US Decca W2, W2 pressing, although they sound incredibly similar. I believe the slightly better sound of my UK Track comes from better vinyl formulation of the UK pressings. As previously mentioned, "Getting in Tune" on my US Decca W2, W2 sounds like it has more reverb or echo. It also has more pronounced vocal and mid-bass sound. I personally think that this was due to EQ'ing (or compression), as my US Decca W2, W2 is missing much of the deep lower bass information compared to my UK Track original. Someone with a TRUE W1, W1 US Decca should check the beginning minute or so of "Getting in Tune" to see if there appears to be more reverb or echo compared to Side 1 (for example, "Bargain"). If not, then that should sound identical to Side 2 of my UK Track (and that would also support the position that Side 2 of my UK Track original was also mastered by Mr. Sax). Also, the following are some hypotheses that I have formulated during all this dead wax reading: The later US MCA reissues, if mastered by Mr. Sax, do not have Mr. Sax's handwriting on the dead wax. I am guessing that the handwriting belongs to Mike Reese, another engineer at The Mastering Lab for many years (as confirmed by the handwriting on the dead wax of many 80's and late 70's "TML" records, including Styx, Grand Illusion, for which only Mike Reese at The Mastering Lab is credited on the inner sleeve). I have only found Mr. Sax's own hand markings on the US and UK originals of Who's Next, the recent EMI reissue of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and the Analogue Productions reissues where he was the mastering engineer (e.g., Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, etc.) The UK Track pressings with "Bilbo" on the dead wax was cut from a dub of the master tapes by another engineer in the UK, Denis Blackham. Also, I have compared my UK Track first pressing against Scott's UK Track later pressing with "Bilbo" on Side 1 (A//4, B//4 pressing), and my copy is on MUCH THICKER vinyl (similar to Hendrix UK Track records). My UK Track pressing is THE EARLIEST UK Track pressing, as indicated by the earliest matrices, Mr. Sax's marking of "MG 12888" on the dead wax of Side 1, and the date code of "8 71" (August, 1971, when the record was first released in the UK) on the inner sleeve. (By the way, some of the UK eBay sellers are incorrect when they claim that the ones with a "head hunter" paper inner sleeve are the only first runs, as my copy has an earlier matrix number following the A//1 and B//2, indicating that my copy was from an earlier mother and stamper than the "head hunter" copies that I have seen on eBay). Judging from the Classic reissue and our fearless leader's CD, the master tapes have degenerated a bit over the years and no vinyl reissue will sound as good as the UK Track A//1 "MG 12888", B//2 pressing or the US Decca first pressing cut by Doug Sax when he had the fresh master tapes. I must add, however, that both reissues are excellent on their own. Because of the huge demand for the LP PRIOR to its release in the UK (generated by The Who's amazing concert performances immediately prior to the release of the LP), my guess is that a lacquer initially cut by Mr. Sax in the US was shipped to the UK to save time in meeting the anticipated demand. That may explain why this record was released at least two weeks before in the US than in the UK. By the way, I also believe that some of the "later" UK Track pressings were actually pressed in the US (with the outer jacket being made also in the US). Some of the US Decca pressings came in an outer cover having the top and bottom inch (approx.) of the SPINE being "pinched" (similar to the UK Beatles outer sleeves of this same period). I think that these records and sleeves were mostly made in the US and shipped to the UK, and were "finished" in the UK for the UK market. Well, that is all for now. I am sure I am missing some other tidbits of information that I have gathered during the last couple of weeks but the above is all I can remember right now. I hope this helps.