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the earlier, andrew loog oldham-helmed records were sonic messes--he was more of an impressario than a producer. their classic jimmy miller/glyn johns records--beggars banquet/sticky fingers/let it bleed records sound great to me, as does some girls ("exile" is murkier and more polarizing). the later stuff is professionally done but not as engaging.
I find all my old original recordings to sound good on vinyl, the newer stuff like the Blues album for example sound bright and compressed which surprised me.
I also don't prefer the remakes I have like Beggars and Exile. I guess you can't fix what wasn't right to begin with. Wouldn't it be interesting if there was MOFI original recording possibilities...
For a life long Stones fan like me the quality of the recording takes a back seat to the great music which is opposite to how I feel about some music as an audiophile.
For me, the Stones’ best sound is from Hot Rocks’ Midnight Rambler, which has gargantuan bass and rhythm. And, it’s a live track! Why the heck these guys didn’t ensure that future mastering of their albums captured that same type of sound is beyond me. After all, they’re supposed to be a rock and roll band, right? I find that the sound of most Stones’ albums to be dry and without that boogie factor. They deserved better IMO.
I would add that, while I’m talking about vinyl I have that I’m commenting on, I also picked up three of the those Abcko CD remasters in the early 2000s; Majesty’s, Bleed and Beggars. Those sound OK, but again, they could have boosted the low end a bit and given Watts and Wyman more presence. Again, just my opinion. They’re not the only band to have suffered from such lack in production, by a long shot.
I have a great sounding re-issue vinyl LP of Beggar's Banquet (my fave Stones album...it's folkie-ness appeals to me somehow) from Barnes and Noble (who knew?). I saw the Stones live only one time and that was in 1966 in my home town of Honolulu, original members of course, short but sweet...on "Sweet Lady Jane" Brian Jones played a dulcimer with a feather (a guitar pick works better, but hey...cool!)...great show! There's a live recording of this show on Youtube that sounds surprisingly good. They used Fender Bandmaster and Bassman amps (not sure those were even miked) through the mediocre '66 era "sports arena" type standard house PA system. Those were the days.
Just to mention the irony about the DSD CD Stones releases circa 2002 - they were produced by Abkco, you know, the company that pretty much botched the original Digitally Remastered Stones stuff way back when. All is forgiven. Virgin Records reissues back in the 90s were very good, too. But the DSD stuff is the sine qua non.
A friend brought over all his Stones one time. Every single one of them sounded horrid. The worst one made my stereo sound exactly like the music was coming from the one speaker in the middle of the dash board of a 1973 Ford F-150. No kidding. Worst recordings ever.
Now recently I have been buying Hot Stampers from BetterRecords.com and every one so far has been mind-altering stunningly good. I never will buy another reissue/remaster, they are all crap compared to these. And sorry, but that's being nice.
The last one I just got last night, Don't Shoot Me, is outstanding all the way across but the last track High Flying Bird was way beyond anything I'd come to expect from an Elton John record. Almost ordered a Stones last night, went for Nilsson Schmilsson instead.
So unfortunately haven't heard yet myself but based on all my others if you want to hear the Stones the best that they can be then you buy a White Hot Stamper. No they are not cheap. Until you hear one and it sinks in that you never heard your rig sound so good. And never will, except by dropping the needle on another White Hot Stamper.
The Stones, and many other bands at the time, were considered "Pop Music" — throwaway ditties for teenyboppers who didn't care about SQ, with a week or two on the charts, mostly heard on radio. No one expected those tracks would be "classic music" 60 years later, and maybe far longer. Had Decca known, they might have applied the same standards they used for their magnificent "classic classical" recordings.
It would have made financial sense too: so much cheaper to record 5 guys in a studio than the London Philharmonic in Kingsway Hall —and their records outsold the London Phil 20-to-1.
The Stones SACDs are amazingly good. As I recall, this collection used whatever masters were available (some were and are just plain missing) and other sources that were as close as ABKO could get. Agree that Tattoo You, Some Girls, Black and Blue and Emotional Rescue on original vinyl are also excellent as is the Stripped cd and expanded Stripped vinyl.
I don’t know Michael. One of my all time favorites, The Stone’s great "Let It Bleed" album sounded terrible when I took it along with some other (vinyl) albums to audition speakers on some really fine equipment. I didn’t expect that and was pretty disturbed. That album was the soundtrack for my senior year in high school. I played it daily. I’d love to hear a well recorded version of "Let It Bleed" on an SACD on my new system and will seek one out. Thanks for that suggestion gpgr4blu. I'd try a DSD recording if I had a DSD player.
I agree with geoffkait. The ABKO DSD CD's sound great. That is before the Stones got control and didn't care about the sonics on their own label. It's a shame, really. Exile sounds terrible and there is no way to fix it. I have 4 different copies of Sticky Fingers, in SACD, in SHM-CD, etc. and they all sound lousy. However I'm not a vinyl guy, so I can't comment on the vinyl releases. But listening to Honky Tonk Woman on the ABKO DSD release-- the opening cow bell-- is fantastic. Post-ABKO is a shame in regards to audio quality. Just MHO.
Let it Bleed, Tatoo You, Emotional Rescue on ABKO are exceptional. I believe Bob Ludwig did the remasters that I have.
Maybe it’s also because I use the same speakers as The Rolling Stones/ABKO
There is also a great sounding compilation called Jump Back also done by Bob Ludwig. Bob Ludwig is my go to mastering engineer for The Rolling Stones.
I own all of the 80's U.S. and U.K. Cds. I also own the 1994 Virgin remasters (limited catalog titles) that sound very good. Finally, I own the 2002 SACD catalog. As above, the DSD CD titles are reported as being well done. Purists will say that original U.K. and Japan LP pressings are the way to go. There probably is not a right/wrong way to enjoy The Rolling Stones. I can vouch for the 94 re-masters as well as the 2002 SACD titles. Then, there are the re - re-masters on SHM- CD and SHM-SACD discs...
I think the 2002 discs are better in clarity and dynamics especially on a SACD player. 12x5, Get your Ya Ya's , Hot Rocks 1 and Let it Bleed are outstanding. Another +vote for "Midnight Rambler". Play it LOUD!
When I say the Rolling Stones recodings sound great, I mean they sound like the Rolling Stones live...No complaints — but not my experience at all. I saw the first two Stones Concerts in NYC — early stuff: 12 X 5, Now, Out of our Heads — and two at MSG in ’69 — more "peak" Stones — Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed. Both contained other songs not on those albums.
In each case I thought "So THIS is what it sounds like!" The records I already knew were pale imitations — like seeing a movie poster ("Gotta see that, looks great!") and then seeing the movie. The LPs and posters were flat, small, mediocre repro jobs..
BTW, in all those concerts, supporting acts stole the show.
Got the Hot Rocks on both vinyl and CD. I used to be as you, not happy with my Stones recordings. So the issue, as I've discovered in my particular situation is not necessarily the quality of the recording but whether or not the system communicates the music over the quality or lack of the recording. This varies among listener's. So the real issue is getting those less than great recordings satisfy your musical mojo.
Starting with Bridges to Babylon, maybe even Steel Wheels (has it really been 30 years? OMG!) Stones CD have suffered greatly due to dynamic range compression. Too bad, since there are always a few good tunes even on their crappier albums. Like “Let me Down Slow” on A Bigger Bang. Goodness in the Doorway is excellent, Jagger solo.
You see, I ain’t too proud to beg and even though it’s only rock ’n roll, if you really want to be my friend with your short and curlies and you understand that time waits for no one, till the next time we say goodbye, then I can only say that It’s Only Rock ’N Roll is probably my favorite Stones release. It may not be the best sounding recording but that Mick Taylor guitar makes it oh so sweet because you know these days it's all secrecy.....and no privacy.....who’s listening? Well I don’t really know.....check your fingerprint file and sleep tight!
Is there any consensus on the best recording of "Let It Bleed" you can acquire on either vinyl, CD or SACD. My Magico A3’s are scheduled to arrive Wednesday after an almost half year wait, and this thread has given me the idea of making a well done Let It Bleed recording a great way to christen them. That is, if I can get the recording in time. I remember as a teenager thinking how great it would be to play this record on a "really good" stereo. Well that day has almost arrived fifty years later. Better late than never.
Good to read that your A3 speakers are arriving next week. My vote is for the 2002 SACD that edges out my other CD versions. I can recall the day back in 1986 when I had my first "hifi" moment. It was a Fall Saturday during a local Mall visit like teenagers do. I walked into Metzger's Electronics and was blown away with a Yamaha stack (pre/power amps/cd player) playing "Time is on my Side". My family had always had lower fi systems from Sears or J.C. Penney. This was a different presentation and sound altogether! I wish that I knew speakers and cabling that rounded out that incredible mid-fi system? Anyway, I was captivated and seduced all at the same time. Many years and a few systems would pass until 2012 where I had a second "higher" fi moment via Thiel Audio loudspeakers. Happy Listening!
The album Black and Blue is outstanding. Sound quality is very good on cd and their lean towards raggae on their is nice twist. Notable tracs are “Hand of Fate”, “Hey Negrita”, “Hot Stuff.Another exceptional recording for them was Get your ya ya’s out. “Midnight Rambler” and “Sympathy” stand out, imo.