LED ZEPPELIN IV A3/B3 Red/Plum LABEL VINYL LP *Stunning* AUDIO NEAR MINT/MINT-
March 22, 2020
March 12, 2020
Led Zeppelin IV A3/B3 UK Red/Plum Label This red/plum pressing plays to a wonderful standard and with no clicks or pops! The clarity and depth of the audio is stunning from start to finish and there is only minimal inner groove distortion on the final tracks. This record has not been overplayed in my opinion judging by the audio quality and the minimal amount of spindle wear. As any Led Zepp collector knows there are about nine versions of this album on the red/plum label and this is the one where everything is actually correct on the label itself! There is no 'Peter Grant' credit, 'Hop' is spelt correctly and the 'feather' is not inverted on S2. The 'Kinney Music Ltd / Superhype Music Inc'
production credit is also correct. The A3/B3 is the earliest matrix for this album and PECKO DUCK and PORKY are etched into the dead wax on each side. 2401012 A // 3 1 3 3 Pecko Duck 2401012 B // 3 1 2 2 Porky The audio on S1 is Mint- (Track 4 Near Mint-)
The audio on S2 is Mint- (Tracks 3 & 4 Near Mint)
The gatefold is Ex
The original inner sleeve is VG
The labels are Ex+
The vinyl is in beautiful condition with no marks or scratches and it retains a super healthy glossy sheen. S1 is stunning with only a handful of mega faint sleeve removal hairlines but even then they are extremely difficult to find! S2 is very similar with only small section of hairlines but again these are very faint and have no affect on the superb audio. There is only minimal spindle wear and the run out grooves are also very clean. The labels are in great shape with no marking, just a small amount of faint 'mottling'.
Play grading The quiet intro on 'Black Dog' is nigh on perfect with only a couple of dust ticks and it then plays with incredible power and depth for the remainder. The playback is so 'clean' and even the brief quieter moments have no 'background'. There are no clicks or pops and no intrusive static or crackle and from start to finish this qualifies as Mint- it is that good. Page's solo at the end is a prime example of the clarity on offer here - there is no distortion and it plays fantastically well! The fade out is also super clean with no interference. 'Rock and Roll' then plays with stunning sonic quality from the first groove to the last. There is no distortion and the definition of the audio could not be any better. Every note can be heard so clearly even the piano! There is just one very brief 'swipe' static sound right at the end of the fade out so will grade as Mint- as apart from that it plays with perfect precision. The quiet intro on 'The Battle of Evermore' has barely any static and provides a superb start to this track. It continues to play with great clarity and there is nothing that intrudes on the quality of the audio. This is impressive for a relatively quiet track that is close to 50 years of age. The long fade out plays beautifully. It is Mint- and there are no clicks or pops etc. The classic 'Stairway to Heaven' has a super 'clean' intro and again there is barely any static. Superb! As Plant's vocal begins there is no decrease in quality and the clarity cannot really be faulted. There is just one faint tick during the second verse but aside from that this opening section has barely any 'background'. There is perhaps a minor amount of mega light static on fourth verse but in no way is it intrusive and as Bonham joins in the playback is stunning. The volume of course is a little louder here and in fact the audio is so rich and deep, it plays so well! The guitar section following the 'whispering wind' line has a little static distortion but that is common. Page's solo is then so powerful and has no obvious distortion at all and the same can be said for the 'high octane' vocal section that follows. This 'heavier' section regularly plays with inner groove distortion as it is final track and that it has generally played so much! However, this is definitely one of the 'cleanest' I have heard and there is no interference at all. The quiet end vocal has just a couple of minor dust ticks and ends this all time classic in fine style and is deserving of a Near Mint- grade. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Misty Mountain Hop' is superb from the first note to the last! There is no interference and the audio has such a deep rich quality to it. You cannot beat these red/plum pressings for audio definition but then that's why they are so collectable of course. There is so much going on 'musically' here and yet there is no 'muddiness' to the sound and there is no audio deterioration at all. Mint- in my opinion. 'Four Sticks' again shows how well this vinyl has been preserved down the years. It plays with stunning precision and Jones' bass is just so strong here! A fantastic Mint- version for sure - there are no negatives :-) 'Going to California' plays with great clarity throughout and...with no clicks or pops. There is no background static or crackle and all I could detect was a handful of dust ticks on the final section which are totally non-intrusive. I will grade this as Near Mint just to be safe.
Bonham's intro is faultless on 'When the Levee Breaks' and this long intro continues to plays extremely well with no intrusion. As Plant's vocal comes in the audio remains strong and as you progress further into this classic there is very little of the inner groove distortion that is so often prevalent. Yes there is a little but so much less than usual! It is a very 'clean' version and you can turn it up to 'loud' without it affecting your eardrums! There is perhaps just a little more distortion on the end section but again it is only minor and not intrusive. There are no clicks or pops and I will grade as Near Mint even though the minimal distortion should be accepted as a given. It's always there and is just a matter of how much - not very is the answer to that one! In summary this A3/B3 red/plum pressing plays with exceptional quality and with not one single click or pop! There is barely any static and certainly no crackle either. The clarity and depth of the audio is very impressive and there is only minimal inner groove distortion as stated. There is not very much spindle wear so it is safe to assume this record has not been overplayed and that is certainly reflected in the quality of the audio. The Gatefold The iconic cover is in excellent condition with only very minor shelf wear. The edges have only a small amount of light rubbing and the spine remains strong with only a couple of small 'rubs' and a little wear on the corners. The right hand corners have only very minimal wear and the opening edge is in superb shape with very little handling wear. The front cover is very clean and the only mark is a small scuff in the lower right corner. Other than one tiny 'spot' the back cover is exceptionally clean as is the inside of the gatefold which only has a couple of mega small areas of white 'spotting'. An impressive cover overall and so much better than many you see today.
The original inner is extremely clean with one split on the bottom edge and a small side split also. 'Around' this small split some of the flipback is missing but the remainder of this inner is in excellent shape with no marking etc. The Labels
They have lost none of their strong red/plum colour but there is some faint 'mottling' on each side. This often occurs when a record is kept inside a sleeve for a long time! There is no writing on the labels and not very much spindle wear either.
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 2401012 A // 3 1 3 3 Pecko Duck 2401012 B // 3 1 2 2 Porky
I grade according to "Record Collector" guidelines.
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