I've always found this to be a not brilliantly recorded album. It's good just not great recording wise. Pity really as it's pretty much my favourite album, such a good selection of songs, brilliant use of horns and the amazing riff writing of the Stones.
But back to versions. I have a standard record, it sounds pretty good to my ears. A couple of years ago I found a Mobile Fidelity record of this and it is an improvement - if you can find that buy it, probably the best version you can get and I managed to get mine for $AU35 at a record shop here.
Can't really suggest anything else except to say the standard version is fine and I don't think a brilliant version exists. BTW, I've never heard this on CD so no idea about that.
Look for a clean original. It helps if it says Rolling Stones Records in the dead wax. Not all of them do. I think this corresponds with earlier pressings. It's harder to find a clean one but I think the sound is a cut above the copies without the inscription. You should be able to find these for $10 or less. I haven't heard the MoFi but I'm not a big fan of MoFi in general and you can bet that copy will be much more expensive.
first canadian pressing is reported to be the best. As others have said, it isn't a sonic marvel to start with.
The MoFi pressing of Sticky Fingers is terrible, one of the worst efforts in Mobile Fidelity catalog. The level on the LP is very low and has the smiley face EQ. They are not difficult to find but don't waste your money.
Early pressings are among the best (Rolling Stones Records deadwax, 1841 B'way, etc) but extremely hard to find good clean copies - SF being a popular record played on many a cheap stereo at many a party.
With the Stones, the vibe was more important than the sonics but SF isn't bad, as is Exile. The low point for sonics for the Mick Taylor era Stones wasn't hit until Goats Head Soup.
Best I've heard is the original on Atco catalog # COC 59100.
The MOFI version is dreadful and might be the worst recording they ever released.
THE MOFI IS RIDICULOUS!! It is the most compressed version of mush I have ever heard, super low output as well.. The original if a good clean one will kill it. It can sound very good, but was kinda recorded in a distance on some songs and flat, and then some tracks are excellent... If you want it for Moonlight mile, and like Wild horses the original pressing I have plays nearly perfect in all frequency extremes, great dynamics, very smooth but not flat highs, and the bass is very full, especially on those 2 tracks.
Thanks to Gary Giorgi for screwing up the Sticky Fingers on MoFi, along with so many others. I have a copy and it sucks. The original Atco LP is great and the SACD is probably the best record of the bunch.
On Mofi the sax on Brown Sugar sounds like a kazoo. The early Atco sounds good, though not as good as an early US pressing of Exile-- which has unjustifiably gotten a bad reputation.
Viridian, I'm confused by your mention of SACD. Sticky Fingers was never released in SACD.
Anyway, I have both UK & US first pressings of Sticky Fingers and the US LP sounds better to me and others who have sat down and compared them. THe UK pressing sounds "more" compressed than the US pressing, neither are sonic marvels.
its still pretty easy to find 'seventies' pressings from the US and Japan in mint condition...with mint covers too, for under 100 bucks. the mofi version is out there(no improvement on the others) for much more. the more recent japanese CD's are good...but once again, no improvement, and half ther charm of owning SF, is owning the 12x12 warhol.
Frank_sm, good catch, I just checked, my "Let It Bleed" is a great sounding hybrid CD, not "Sticky Fingers". Mea culpa.
Viridian, I wish they had released S.F. in the SACD format.
The Stones SACD's for the mostpart are fantastic examples of digital done right, too bad Sony gave up on the software side of things.
I generally reguard Begger's Banquet and Let It Bleed as the best Stones releases sonically but lately even Their Satanic Majesty's Request has been sounding pretty good to me(I found an older one with the 3D cover) Sticky Fingers definitely has it's sonic high points as well. I now need to reevaluate the sonics of my Tatoo You copies as I've recently come to realize they were done at Masterdisc by Robert Ludwig(usually a real good sign) It's been too long since I played this one to comment on sonics.
I was given an ' old box of records' from my buddy's garage. There were Japanese 'mint records' pressings of Aftermath, let it bleed and beggars banquet! As well as 1st pressings of exile, ya ya's and let it bleed.
I can say those Japanese pressings are head and shoulders above the rest.
I've never heard a really good one. Both CD and vinyl copies I have are mediocre.
I have what I am pretty sure is a Canadian first (or at least very early) pressing: COC 59100 Matrix W 59100-S1 3 on side one and COC 59100B-1A on side 2. No "Rolling Stones Records" in the deadwax on my Sticky Fingers unlike what I also to believe is a very early or first Canadian pressing of Exile which I also have.
This version of Sticky Fingers sounds absolutely superb, much better than Exile IMO which is cut much hotter and the record I have is stone mint with the exception (unfortunately) of a huge dimple in the middle of Can't You Hear Me Knockin on side one and bisecting Dead Flowers and Moonlight Mile on side two. Caused by the zipper and obviously some heat that the record was exposed to at some point in time. A common problem with this record (it's the second copy of this early or earliest pressing I've had having this problem in exactly the same spot) and unfortunately these tracks are a write off.
But if you can find this pressing in mint condition it is worth it. IMO it sounds not just "acceptable" but very good and, as I say, much better than Exile which can be pretty aggressive in terms of sonics.
Just be on the lookout for zipper problems and, if you do buy the record, undo the zipper so that if there are problems that develop with heat/storage they will be in the label area as opposed to playable areas of the disc.
thanks for the tip HDM, my copy is now 'flying low'!
I have both the Canadian 1st pressing and the MOFI.
The MOFI has much better separation. Wider sound stage and clear sound.
The Canada version sounds ok- a bit hot and distorted in spots.
I'm not sure why so many folks dump on the MOFI. It needs volume to sound it's best. On a good system it it really shines. Fremer agrees with this.
I agree the MOFI is very good, the trouble is it was cut about 10 dB too low. My preamp didn't go up high enough. Virgin made excellent versions of some of the Stones' standard repertoire but I don't remember if sticky fingers was one of them.