Aqualung my friend

Do you remember the stormy times in the 70ies when we waited three hours in front of the entry gates of the big music arenas just to get the best standing rooms? One of the major attractions in that period besides of Led Zepellin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Genesis, Alice Copper etc. was the band around the flute player Ian Anderson – Jethro Tull.

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one of their best albums, maybe the most famous one, is Aqualung.

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In the 70 ies we did not care so much about the sound quality of the music. Nevertheless today we do! As Aqualung wasn’t delivering a good sound in the beginning people were and are discussing about the different quality of various pressings. You’ll find a lot about this on the net. I decided to check it by myself. Having collected some pressings I ended up with the following copies of this legendary classic:

a) 1st UK pressing London 1971

b) 1st US pressing Los Angeles 1971

c) MFSL Japan
d) Quadradisc Burbank, Cailf. 1974
e) DCC Los Angeles 1997
f) Classic Records 45 rpm Los Angeles 2010
g) 40th Anniversary Box EU 2011
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I used for all pressings the same phono chain, starting with the Continuum table and the Cobra arm carrying a Goldfinger v2. The first track – Aqualung – I played on all records.

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I know that it is a very subjective assessment. When you hear the records in a row under the same condition, all records flat by the vacuum of the Continuum, you easily detect the different nuances on bass, brightness, voice and balanced soundstage. So everyone may compare with his own findings. My ranking in terms of sound quality is as follows:

1st: Classic Records 45 rpm

2nd: US 1 press

3rd: DCC

4th: 40th anniversary

5th: UK 1 st press

6th: MFSL

7th: Four channel

5 thoughts on “Aqualung my friend

  1. Excellent!! Would you mind doing same for DSOM, LZ I-IV, and Beatles stereo recordings?? 🙂

    All kidding aside -thank you for this wonderful comparison. Ironic and sad that some of our most beloved popular music was so poorly recorded. But then again, how do you make a ‘good’ multi-track recording?


    • Thanks Roy. I think they should have made a Mono Recording as they did on “This Was”. What a difference when you play the record via a true mono line.


  2. Eckart,
    I don’t know how I missed this post. I have the US 1st pressing. Your finding bring a good question to mind. Why even bother with the remasters? Your findings are exactly what I see every time I purchase a remaster. Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin being among the worst remasters of all. Instead of having a good beer or bourbon when listening to these, I feel like I should be sipping tea.
    I will try a a few of the CCR remasters as you recommend, but I think I’m finished purchasing new duplicates of what I already have only to be disappointed after listening.
    Excellent post here Eckart! Thank you.


    • Norman,

      Look at „CCR on vinyl“ on my blog. These ones are worth a try. I do recommend them.
      You ´re right with your critics on the mentioned remasters.



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