LED ZEPPELIN I A1/B4 Red/Plum VINYL BEAUTIFUL COVER & *Stunning* AUDIO NM/MINT-
March 22, 2020
March 12, 2020
Led Zeppelin I A1/B4 Red/Plum Label The A1/B4 red/plum pressings are highly regarded in the audiophile 'world'. It is a commonly held view that this pressing has the greatest sonic quality of all and having listened to every second I agree with that theory. The 'sound' is further enhanced by the fact the vinyl has hardly been played. It is visually stunning and at first glance looks like it was pressed only yesterday! The audio is exceptional, with only a couple of seconds of interference, and the vast majority is 'as new' - it is a FINAL UPGRADE album in my opinion.
As far as I am aware this is the only red/plum pressing that has the corrected second 8 on the run out grooves on S1 but not on S2. The cover is also in beautiful condition with none of the wear that you so often see. It of course has the grey stripe/band along the bottom edge. 588171 (2nd 8 corrected, replaced with etched 8) A // 1 1 3 1 6 588171 (2nd 8 not corrected) B // 4 1 1 2 The audio on S1 is Mint- (Track 1 & 2 Near Mint-)
The audio on S2 is Mint- (Track 1 Near Mint)
The cover is Ex+
The inner sleeve is Ex-
The labels are Mint-
This is one beautiful vinyl! It is in such fantastic condition for 50 years old and with only a couple of faint spindle traces on each label the record has only been played a handful of times at most. The superb audio more than confirms that theory. S1 is absolutely stunning and you have to look very hard to find even the faintest of hairlines and at first glance it looks 'as new'. It has an immaculate glossy sheen and S2 is the same with only one hairline that is a little more obvious but has no affect on the fantastic audio. This may well be the 'cleanest' red/plum pressing I have ever seen and it has been so well preserved down the years. There cannot be many around that look as good as this today! The run out grooves and labels are also in lovely condition.
Play grading The intro on 'Good Times Bad Times' is so 'clean' with only a couple of very light static sounds and then plays with remarkable clarity and power. This is such an impressive version and with only one click at the end of the final chorus the audio could hardly be any better. I am sure this 'click' is just one of the 'quirks' of vinyl as there is certainly no scratch or mark to suggest a cause. The record is pristine and there is no groove wear of any kind. I would still grade this as Near Mint- as the remainder is just so damn good! The fade out also plays with sublime precision giving you a good indication of the clarity on offer here. What follows is one of the finest versions of 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' I have ever had the pleasure in listening to. The acoustic intro has barely any static and it continues to play beautifully. The 'baby' cry at 1.43 can be heard as clear as day, the clarity here is just astounding. If you don't know it just listen out for it! The up tempo sections are so strong and there is no distortion at all. Again the quieter sections are nigh on perfect and the only negative is two soft dull clicks about 3/4 of the way through. However, the vast majority of this classic is Mint- of that I have no doubt. Aside from this momentary interference the clarity and definition of the audio is absolutely stunning and even the quiet end section plays with FANTASTIC clarity and no 'background'. I will have to grade this as Near Mint- a fair reflection of the audio I believe but as I say the majority is better than that! What a version! 'You Shook Me' again provides further evidence of a hardly played vinyl. The intro has only a handful of mega light dust ticks that are barely audible and it then plays with a clarity that is second to none. Every section plays with wonderful precision and there is no interference to be heard. The long instrumental section is just Mint there is no other way to describe it and the final section is more than equal to that. Plant's vocal right at the end has only a couple of dust ticks and again the clarity cannot be faulted. I will grade this as Mint- so as to adhere to RC guidelines! The bass intro on 'Dazed And Confused' is 'as new' and there is no decrease in quality as the first vocal comes in. From then on the audio is 'high end' to say the least and all I heard was one very faint tick. This is as close to audio perfection that you will find which is rather impressive when you consider this record is now 50 years old! For example the quieter middle section has no 'background' not even a dust tick and as the volume increases the playback is again of the highest quality. Pure Mint audio in all its glory! Page's solo is so strong and this entire rip-roaring section can be turned up to full blast with no fear of any distortion. I cannot quite believe what I am hearing here! I can concur with the widely held opinion that these A1/B4 pressings have the most 'complete' overall sound. This is a truly mesmeric Mint- end to the side. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is one of the 'cleanest' intros on 'Your Time Is Gonna Come' that you will find. It is renown for playing with a lot of interference but there is minimal static here and only one light static tick. A superb start! As Bonham hits the first beat the audio is very strong and continues in the same manner. There is no intrusive 'background' and to the end it plays with great clarity and depth. I am happy to grade this as Near Mint there is nothing to fault. The segue into 'Black Mountain Side' is 'as new' which is how the remainder can also be described. I'm already running out of adjectives for this album! Who needs a minus as I know Mint when I hear it! 'Communication Breakdown' is unquestionably the most impressive I have ever heard! The clarity and definition of the audio really stands out here and again it is just so obvious the vinyl has hardly ever been played. So often this track has some static distortion but the playback here is just out of this world! There is no 'muddiness' to the sound and each note can be heard with perfect precision. There is clarity and then there is clarity like this - wow what a version! With only one light tick on the fade out this is Mint- for certain.
The vocal only intro on 'I Can't Quit You Baby' has no 'background' and this quiet opening section continues to impress with no intrusion of any kind. Once again I cannot overstate just how 'clean' the sound is here - you really get the full stereo sound here, the audio quality is just amazing! There are so many quiet sections of course and yet there are no clicks or pops and no static or crackle either. You will not be surprised to hear that this deserves a Mint- grading.
The iconic bass intro on 'How Many More Times' is as good as the day when first released back in 1969! There is not one iota of interference and the same applies to the first 'high octane' vocal/riff section. As it progresses the more I am impressed by it! There is no inner groove distortion and again the clarity and definition of the audio is just phenomenal! The 'sound' is so deep and rich and it continues to play in the same precise way. The quieter mid section has no discernible background and as the music builds there is no let up in quality. The 'Oh Rosie' section is nigh on perfect with only one barely audible mega light tick (not a click!) and the remainder cannot be faulted either. This is a mind-blowing version of this classic and you would have to travel far and wide to hear a version as good as this! It is 'as new' and I cannot pay it any greater compliment than that and it provides a fabulous Mint- end to this classic album. In summary this FINAL UPGRADE red/plum pressing plays with exceptional quality on both sides. Ok there are a couple of clicks on S1 but aside from that the clarity is stunning in every way. A strong claim to make but I have never heard sonic quality as good as this on an original red/plum pressing. As stated the A1/B4 pressing is often referred to as having the most impressive 'sound' and when you find a vinyl that has hardly ever been played the quality just stands out. The definition and power is incredible and rarely there is no distortion not even towards the end of each side plus the intro on S2 is very impressive also! On a vinyl of this age you might expect some underlying static or crackle but there is none - perhaps not surprising because (I repeat!) this vinyl has hardly ever seen a turntable! This is one for the true audiophiles and I am sure it will not disappoint. The Cover The iconic laminated cover printed by 'MacNeill' is in superb condition with barely any shelf wear. The edges and thin pinched spine are 'as new' with no rubbing/marking and the corners are incredibly 'clean' also. The opening edge is in fantastic order with no obvious handling wear at all. The front cover has no marking and rarely has hardly any laminate creasing, just couple of very faint ones. You will always find some laminate 'lift' next to the spine but there is certainly less than usual here - it can only seen on the top half section. This front cover really is in great shape with no laminate splits and as can be seen it has the silver/grey band along the bottom edge which remains unmarked. The back cover is also in wonderful condition with no wear as such - just the usual light marking on the edge of the laminate around the cover and also a little laminate lift again next to the spine.
This is a superb version of this very famous cover and one that will not disappoint any avid collector. I think an Ex+ grade is richly deserved although I am sure many would grade higher!
The original 'Plastic Bags...' poly-lined inner does have one tiny side split, a couple of minor marks and some age related fading and some creasing also. It has an '0370' date code printed on one side. The Labels
They are in beautiful condition and look practically 'as new'! They have such a strong and vivid red/orange and plum colour and have no marking or writing and hardly any spindle wear. Absolutely stunning!
Play tested on my Pro-Ject Essential III Turntable // B & W 684 Speakers
This record has been professionally cleaned on a Pro-Ject VC-S machine 588171 (2nd 8 corrected, replaced with etched 8) A // 1 1 3 1 6 588171 (2nd 8 not corrected) B // 4 1 1 2
I grade according to "Record Collector" guidelines.
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