What is Life (…Best)?

since 1967 I am collecting records. So it does not take wonder that my record storage got two or more or even many more issues of the same record.

George Harrison ´s „All things must pass“ was always one of my favorites showing how underrated he was during the Beatles area.

The 1970 as well as the 2001 issues I kept close in my “golden box sortiment“, picking them up from time to time.

Now the 50th Anniversary edition came out and I am comparing all three sets.

I used my Lyra Atlas with the Allnic N-5000 preamp and in another line the Ortofon 💯 with the EMT JPA 66. Both lines are very open, transparent and deliver a fine soundstage.

My results are different to the many comments I read in forums. The sound level of the 50th Anniversary edition is somehow a bit reduced, you may play it louder. On the other hand it is more balanced. My Sweet Lord sounds better, more dynamical with the 1970 UK pressing while What is Life sounds better with the 50th anni. The 1970 and 2001 edition overemphasize the bass and the “Sound of Wall” comprises partly a mushy picture.

The mixing engineer Paul Hicks said he briefly considered a „de-Spectorized“ mix, eliminating all the strong reverb and effects, but ultimately it didn ´t sound right, so a mix more faithful to the original was preferred. For the Dolby Atmos mix “it is a really, really immersive mix, probably the most immersive mix I have done”. He placed Harrison ´s vocal more within the space, giving a more intimate experience. The two guitar tracks he then placed to the sides and the back. You may look up the 8 pages review at Sound & Vision, September issue.

4 thoughts on “What is Life (…Best)?

  1. Eckart,
    Something caught my attention with this, so I looked through previous posts. All of your record albums.. all of them are in mint, or near mint condition. How do you do this?

    My 1970 copy of this album, looks good but not perfect. My record jacket shows wear from handling, moving, storing, sliding in and out of a shelf for 50 years. How can your’s show no wear at all? All of the records that you display are like new, even the ones you bought 50 years ago.

    Amazing.

    The only copy I have is the original on Apple. US pressing. It’s very good. Apply Jam is my favorite side.

    Norman

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  2. Norman,

    In my early years I used to be a customer of horror for the record shop owners. I clearly remember how often I went back to exchange the rock & pop pressings because of faults and clicks I could hear.
    In the meantime I have two washing machines and a disc flatting machine supporting me. The quality of the pressings became much better, especially on Jazz records.
    Regarding R&B pressings I still send them back even today when I discover pressing mistakes. Sometimes those pressings are really bad.
    I put a lot of attention to quality and cleanliness of my records. Also at storing the vinyl is handled very carefully. The vinyl is put into MFSL sleeves automatically. You see I love this kind of product, guess the next owner will not blame me for mishandling.
    Nevertheless you might call me a pedant. In this respect I would not start a discussion defending my habits.

    Best
    Eckart

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  3. Eckart,
    I am the same way with my records. My vinyl is near perfect and I clean my records at every play.
    What really impressed me was the fantastic condition of your outer record jackets, the covers themselves. They look new. Most all of mine show wear after so many years.
    I have been buying quite a few of the newer reissues, and while the vinyl seems quieter and of higher quality they almost always sound subdued and less dynamic than the original pressings. The exception has been the Giles Martin Beatle remasters which for the most part are excellent.
    It sounds like maybe that is the case here too. This new pressing is less dynamic than the original?
    Best.
    Norman

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    • Norman,
      Agree with you. The Beatles new versions are fine. Also the CCR records. It may be part of the Analogue-Digital Transfer which triggers some „remaster engineers“ to lower the volume which sounds less dynamic when played on the same volume level. Just take the Dire Straits record „Brothers in Arms“. It is a DAD transfer sounding excellent. On the opposite when it comes to ADA transfer like at George ´s 50th anniversary file, so In the case of the older recordings, certain parts are surpressed, emphasizing other musicians. I have some friends who oppose new masters at all, as they know the digital transformation will take place.
      What is life e.g. I do not like on the older Harrison ´s pressings. The „sound of wall architecture of Phil Spector“ is not my case! Just hear it on the 50th anniversary issue at high volume. Much better.
      Miles Showell from Abbey Roads Studios did some remarkable masters on ABBA, Mark Knopfler, Genesis, Bob Marley & the Wailers etc. He seems to keep the process in the way we need it! Or just take the different remasters of Jethro Tull ´s Aqualung. You may not improve a bad recording into a shiny new quality master piece (on this blog „Aqualung my friend“)

      Best
      Eckart

      Like

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