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<br>The Rolling Stones - It’s Only Rock N’ Roll <p>Our Shootout Winner from 2018</p>




The Rolling Stones - It’s Only Rock N’ Roll

Our Shootout Winner from 2018


A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It's Only Rock 'N' Roll is no slouch if you get hold of a good one. It can be a bit gritty and grainy at times, but you gotta believe that's the sound the Stones heard in the booth and were totally cool with. Andy Johns engineered and he's made as many super-tubey, super-rich and super-smooth recordings as anybody this side of Bill Porter.

The Stones didn't want that sound this time around. The Stones wanted the sound of this pressing.

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Sku # : rolliitson_2018
Manufacturer : Atlantic LP
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It's Only Rock 'N' Roll is a consistently good, straight-ahead, no-frills rock album from the Stones with Mick Taylor still in the band. It was the last of its kind for a while; their next release was the reggae-influenced Black and Blue.

This album may have some of best The Rolling Stones music, but those looking for top quality sonices for the Stones should head in the direction of Beggars Banquet, Sticky Fingers or Let It Bleed. They're simply more audiophile-friendly recordings.

What the best sides of It's Only Rock 'N Roll from 1974 have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1974
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with the piano, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
  • No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find the best.

    Best Practices

    Recently we did one of our regular shootouts for It's Only Rock 'N Roll, using pressings we know from experience to have the potential for Hot Stamper sound. We cleaned them as carefully as we always do. Then we unplugged everything in the house we could get away with, carefully warmed up the system, Talisman'd it, found the right VTA for our Triplanar arm (by ear of course) and proceeded to spend the next couple of hours playing copy after copy on side one, after which we repeated the process for side two.

    If you have five or ten copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what's right and what's wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the others do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given pressing reproduces those passages.

    The process could not be more simple. The first step is to go deep into the sound. There you find something special, something you can't find on most copies. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.

    What We're Listening For on It's Only Rock 'N Roll

    Less grit - smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on Stones' albums from this era.

    A bigger presentation - more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.

    More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a pure rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way Andy Johns wanted it to.

    Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.

    Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.

    Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven't played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.

    Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.

    Vinyl Condition

    Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

    Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.

    If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

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