Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Abbey Road merry-go-round

Christmas is over so we have the first post of the New Year.
Sometimes you like an album that much you spend quite a bit in the pursuit of what may appear to be the best sounding lp version and so you from time to time compare them and that was the years first major activity.
This is an album I love and it's one probably you do, Abbey Road by the Beatles and in the decades I've had a number copies go through my hands.
The one I've had for a good while was a late 70's UK analogue cut copy (a -4/3HTM set of stampers), a copy many do like the sound of but there are a few clicks on the first side of my copy and this tends to be one album it can be hard to find a copy that plays mint no matter how the surfaces may look.
I did get around September a European pressed digitally cut copy based on the 2009 cd remasters and issued in 2012.
That cd was pretty good although like the whole series there was a extra bit of limiting the sound compared to the originals as well as a bit of bass boost I wasn't so keen on.
The lp when it arrived proved to be a disappointment for while it was dead quiet (tm), it sounded dead with very little high frequency content especially on side one, with a few of us saying it sounded nothing like the cd.
I remembered a much hyped US digitally cut copy from 1995 that some at a infamous music forum liked and ordered up what I thought was a copy but it transpired to be the US pressed version of the 2012 lp.
My heart sank.
When I finally got around to opening the shrink wrapping and playing though this surprisingly sounded much more better and research into it suggested part of the process used to make the stampers, the plating, had been done by RTI in the States so they didn't just use the European parts.
While this does lack a few of the subtitles of a UK analogue cut original it is very good indeed.
Just for interest I also acquired a Japanese pressing from 1976 (EAS80650) which was the quietest of the bunch for background noise but the tape it used to cut it from clearly were inferior to the UK or even that US digital version and also had a very noticeable rise in high notes that jarred and I can't recommend it.
Of course the real answer to this search will come when a new analogue sourced from the tapes version is cut and pressed in the way the Beatles In Mono and RED and BLUE stereo compilations last year have. They sounded fantastic.
If you must have new for the silence and don't wish to pony up a lot for a really mint new copy, it's the current US pressed copy you want.
If your prepared to take a chance for the current best ever a  used -4/-3HTM or 2-/-2 UK set of stamped copies are what you need

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