I remembered not enjoying it very much, so I read some reviews here and saw one saying it’s a really hot master.
I pulled my copy back out just now, and listening to the first side— good lord! It really is SO hot. I had to immediately get up to turn my volume down about 40%! I have audible distortion through the first side, and I won’t be spinning farther than this, as I remember how it sounds.
I think this would be a great record for someone with an entry-level system that possibly needs a bit more volume out of a record. Definitely not a fun critical listen.
Cart: Dynavector 20x TT: Sony PS-X50 w/ PUA-7 tonearm
Very interesting to hear this album on vinyl after listening to the CD for years. What stands out to me is the amazing drum sound that Kevin Gray was able to pull out of the master. The drums are super punchy and realistic. Next, the low end is definitely enhanced with the bass being super forward and defined in the mix (not necessarily a bad thing but it adds a different element to the music which I’m used to being on the softer side). I’m not really used to hearing these songs with thumping, driving bass but it doesn’t ruin the music at all, just adds a different focus. IMO, this reissue isn’t cut hot. The volume is boosted and the vocals are slightly stretched but everything is balanced well, the soundstage is the wider than the CD and there’s more room for the individual instruments to breathe. No sibilance though, no distortion, really clean sound, not too bright at all. I actually really like the way this record sounds. It has a bigger sound than the CD and this is now my preferred way to listen to the album. The acoustic guitar sounds rings beautifully. The only downfall to this album is that the clarity is lost in harder rock parts like on Expo ‘86 which is common on records mastered from digital. Not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m sure this album was not originally cut all analog so there’s really nothing you can do but it’s digital roots are apparent at times on the vinyl version. Overall though, a very enjoyable experience on vinyl and I’ll take it.
P.S. are we sure this was pressed at Pallas? I’ve never seen Pallas use MoFi-style poly sleeves but I have seen it with RTI in the past? Are there two editions? One pressed at RTI (possibly the US version) and one pressed at Pallas (possibly the EU version?). Or maybe two different pressings?
Purchased from Amazon 9/26/2019. Playback is on an AT LP-120X with VM95E cartridge.
First impressions are very good. The pressing does not seem to exhibit the defects noted on earlier ones. The record itself is nearly perfectly flat and runs true (no stylus wobble or moving to-and-fro like a number of recent albums I own). Absolutely zero skipping. I can only detect minor surface noise here and there, but it is otherwise very quiet. Mastering is probably a bit on the hot side, yeah, but it's not awful and it doesn't really detract from the music, in my opinion. I own the SACD copy of Transatlanticism as well, and it sounds damn close to my ears. I'm not sure I could tell the difference in a blind listening test.
Packaging is great. The booklet is printed nicely and as noted by another reviewer, the records ship in MoFi-style sleeves which is SO NICE. The label on side A was ever so slightly misaligned, but that's it for my complaints about the actual "hardware". Also as pointed out previously, a small card is included in the side A/B gatefold which says that (presumably due to the hot master), some skipping on Side A is possible with economy turntables.
All in all, very happy with this release and it was well worth the ~$22 paid.
I just bought a copy of this, it now comes with a card insert which states: "Skips or other problems with your vinyl? These issues can often be resolved by proper turntable calibration, especially when playing heavyweight 180-gram vinyl. The sonics of the beginning of Side A of this particular album are known to produce a skipping problem for owners of economy or entry-level turntables. After much consultation with audio and vinyl mastering experts, we have determined that the old "penny-on-the-tone-arm" trick will almost always fix the problem for the small minority of consumer turntables that have a hard time with it - it is *not* a problem with the pressing or with your particular copy. If you have this problem on a higher-end turntable, please write to us at [email protected] and we'll get you sorted out!"
My copy plays fine, no noise or skips, on my trusty "economy" Sony turntable... no penny needed (though I always found blu-tack a better option back in the day - never fell off if the needle hit a scratch, and you could adjust the weight by changing the size/position of the blob... ahhh, memories)
Thankfully, my copy doesn't suffer from the issues that others have reported. It was purchased from a live show in late 2018. Playback is through a Thorens TD-160.
A seminal, decade defining indy rock set that plays like a greatest hits album. Absolutely no filler.
Like others have mentioned, the master and subsequent record was cut roughly -3 to -4 db too hot, and this effects the quiet, delicate moments on the album. It's a mixed bag for me. Otherwise, the pressing is excellent. Flat and quiet. The records also ship in anti-static, MoFi style sleeves (I wish this practice was more common).
For those experiencing skips, you might need to adjust the anti-skate and tracking force of your tonearm. Hot records can be hell on improperly setup turntables.