PINK FLOYD PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN 2/1 Blue Columbia MONO *Stunning* AUDIO
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (2/1 Mono Blue / Black Columbia Label)
This highly collectable classic plays with stunning quality and this is especially true on S1. S2 has a little interference at the beginning but is not particularly intrusive. The flipback cover is in beautiful condition and is quite possibly the most impressive version I have ever seen. They are so rarely found in this condition, it really is superb!
It is known as a second pressing due to the fact that it has 'File Under Popular' on the top right flipback on the back cover. Nevertheless this is still a mega early pressing as it has very low single stampers on each side and of course may well have been pressed at the same time as the first.
It is often believed that mono pressings give a fuller and deeper sound than their stereo counterparts and this record is an excellent example of that. The clarity and definition is in the main stunning throughout and a full audio grading is given below.
SX 6157 // XAX 3419 - 2 / XAX 3420 - 1 // H 1 / L 1
The audio on S1 is Near Mint (track 3 fade out VG)
The audio on S2 is Ex+ (Near Mint in many sections / track 1 intro VG / track 5 one brief section VG+)
The laminated cover is Near Mint-The labels are Mint-
The inner sleeve is Ex-
This is one of the cleanest blue Columbia mono vinyls that I have seen in a long time. It still has a lovely glossy sheen and has only been played a small number of times as there is minimal spindle wear. S1 in particular is stunning with only a few faint hairlines with just one small hairline that is more obvious. There is also one very small 4mm scratch at the end of track three. S2 has a small number of very faint 'specks' and a few more hairlines but they are largely superficial and have barely any affect on the audio and there are no scratches. It would be difficult to find this rare mono version as clean as this. The run out grooves and labels are in superb condition. Overall a fantastic example of this iconic album.
The intro on 'Astronomy Domine' is incredibly clean with no clicks or pops and no static or crackle either. It is stunning! This is without doubt one of the 'cleanest' intros I have heard on a mono pressing for a very long time. There is just a very minor background hiss every now and then which you often find when playing a mono record through a stereo system but in no way is it intrusive. It is so minor and the playback could hardly be any better. As the vocal begins the clarity and definition of the audio is so impressive and you can hear each note perfectly. The 'silent' section prior to the instrumental section is superb and has only one faint tick. The instrumental piece then plays with a depth that is so rarely heard today - near perfect clarity with no distortion at all. The final vocal is faultless and to the end there is just no interference at all. This is a stunning start to the album and it is obvious this vinyl has only ever been lightly played. I am confident in grading this classic as Near Mint such is the clarity on offer here.
With complete silence in the dead wax 'Lucifer Sam' plays with wonderful clarity from the very first groove. It continues to play to the same exacting standard and again there is no interference. There has been no lessening in sound quality over the intervening 52 years and I cannot stress enough just how good the playback is. The depth and strong bass sound is superb and the only imperfection is one light click on the fade out.
There is barely any static on the 'Matilda Mother' intro and it then plays with great depth and clarity. This is a track that is so often affected by distortion but there is very little here. It plays superbly well throughout but with a small number of clicks on the fade out. This is the first 'real' interference on the side and is only at the very end anyway so is not that intrusive and as described the vast majority of the track still plays with excellent clarity and definition.
'Flaming' plays with stunning clarity from the very first note and the first vocal section then plays to a impeccable standard with no 'background'. The more you progress into the track the more you are impressed by it! The sonic quality is superb and each note again plays with such fine precision. This is without question one of the strongest versions I have heard and this is a blue Columbia mono pressing! As my regular customers know I do no over-grade and this is easily Near Mint it is that good! I always go on about clarity but that is how any vinyl should be judged no matter how old. Just because a vinyl is 50+ years old is not an excuse for poor clarity because if it has only been lightly played and well preserved it will still play with great quality and this track is a fine example of that. The clarity of each note is sublime and it is no exaggeration to say the vast majority plays 'as new' and the 'bell ringing' section at the end is absolutely fantastic. Wow!
There is again complete silence in the dead wax and the intro on 'Pow R. Toc H.' just has to be heard to be believed! It plays as cleanly as it did when first released back in '67 the clarity could not be any better. The piano section that follows is just incredible and there is no 'background' of any kind. This is just audio of the highest calibre. As the volume increases on the mid section there is perhaps just a hint of distortion but the playback remains very impressive. The quieter section towards the end is quite simply mind-blowing and there is nothing that intrudes on the amazing quality of the listen, no static or crackle and certainly no clicks or pops. The 'louder' section then ends the track with superlative playback and with barely any distortion. Another Near Mint track in my opinion.
As any Floyd collector knows 'Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk' will often have a fair amount of distortion being the final track etc so I am delighted to say this is quite possibly the most impressive version I have ever heard on a mono pressing. The drum intro is 'as new' and the first vocal is stunning with no distortion! The instrumental section is then so strong and clear and I am just blown away by the depth of the audio on this track. The playback is astounding and the strong bass - wow! The definition is so good i.e. there is no 'muddiness' to the sound and each note can be heard with perfect clarity. Even on the top end there is barely any distortion and yes you can turn it up to 'loud' without fear of it hurting your ears! This is an immaculate version the likes of which are rarely heard today. The final vocal is again stunning and the drum fade out plays to near perfection. This is an immaculate version that cannot fail but impress. In a word, stunning.
The intro on 'Interstellar Overdrive' plays cleanly but there are a small number of light ticks and one mega brief skip. It is not that noticeable and only obvious if you listen intently! As soon as the percussion comes in the audio is very strong and there is no interference. The first real 'quiet' section plays with impeccable quality and the second of course is even quieter and yet it plays with only a little static, certainly nothing that is intrusive. As the volume increases the playback is excellent and each note can be heard very clearly. So often static/crackle will 'drown out' the not so obvious instrumental sections but here the clarity is very impressive and no 'sound' is lost. About two thirds of the way through there is some light static and a handful of crackle sounds but it doesn't last long and the following quiet section plays very clearly indeed. As it builds there is a little distortion/static on the top end but it remains an excellent listen and overall there is very little to detract from the audio experience. The playback isn't 'perfect' all the way through but the vast majority does play with great clarity and power - as all my regulars know I provide a comprehensive grading so any minor imperfections will be mentioned. The audio here is still very impressive! The build up to the final section is stunning and that final guitar riff is even better! It is so clean and powerful and there is no distortion whatsoever. Even the relatively quiet end section plays with sublime clarity and the percussive section is 'as new'.
'The Gnome' has only a couple of mega quiet dust ticks on the intro and then plays to a standard that is so rarely heard on these blue Columbia pressings. The depth and warmth of the audio could scarcely be any better and with only a couple of minor static ticks the audio quality is superb from start to finish. This is eminently worthy of a Near Mint grading.
As any Floyd collector will know 'Chapter 24' will often have a fair amount of 'background' and yet the playback here has much to commend it. There is only minimal light static and what there is does not detract from the impressive audio. What is rare is the lack of distortion as this is a common feature on this track and provides another example of a vinyl only lightly played. There is perhaps a little more static and a hint of distortion on the end section but again it is not intrusive. There are a small number of dull clicks on the fade out but that really is the only obvious interference on the entire track....and it is the fade out!
'The Scarecrow' has fantastic clarity on the intro with only a couple of very quiet ticks, they are not clicks! It really is a superb start to this little classic. The vocal then plays very clearly with no 'background' and it plays with great clarity to the end. The acoustic/bass section that comes in towards the end plays with wonderful depth and precision and there is only a little crackle on the fade out.
'Bike' ends this classic album with excellent audio and only a little 'background'. There is always some distortion on these pressings, there is no escaping it, but of course it would be improved when played as a mono record and not through a stereo set up. In saying that there is minimal distortion here, a rarity, and the audio is very clear. There is some crackle in the quiet section prior to the 'instrumental' section but this instrumental piece then plays with great clarity and with only a couple of very light clicks on the 'duck' section and another slightly louder one right at the end. Overall though a very impressive final track with minimal interference.
In summary this highly collectable mono pressing plays with wonderful audio and especially on S1. This side is stunning and plays to a standard that is so rarely heard today. S2 is also impressive but with a little interference albeit sporadic. Yes there is that minor skip near the start and a handful of clicks but the audio for the vast majority is still of an excellent standard with many near mint sections. If anyone is after a stunning flipback cover though then this one is the one to own! With only superficial shelf wear I haven't seen one as clean as this for many a year. A superb example.
The laminated E.J. Day mono cover is in beautiful condition and is one of the 'cleanest' I have seen in a very long time. The edges and thin pinched spine have no rubbing/marking at all and look 'as new'. There is no real corner wear which is such a rarity and the opening edge is also extremely clean with next to no handling wear. The laminate on the front cover is in fantastic condition and remarkably has no splits, lifts or creasing. I don't think I've seen a better example it is stunning! The back cover is also in lovely condition and the grey background has no staining or marking of any kind, this is so rare! The flipbacks are so clean and have only the faintest of print marking on the outer edges - they really are superb examples and are still firmly attached to the cover. There is just one mega faint crease on the bottom edge flipback. The 'File under Popular' can be seen clearly top right. This is a stunning early press cover at over 50 years old now and has been so well preserved down the years. Hopefully the photos do it justice and I honestly believe it deserves a Near Mint- grading!
This is the earliest EMI inner that was used for this album and is advertising The Beatles 'Revolver' and 'Both Sides of Herman's Hermits' amongst others. It does have two small side splits but is otherwise very clean with no marking of any kind and barely any creasing.
The famous Blue/Black Columbia labels are in superb condition with hardly any spindle wear and they have lost none of their original colour. They have no marking, spotting or fading and no writing either which is a rarity! There is no KT tax stamp on either side.
Play tested on my Pro-Ject Essential III Turntable / B&W 684 Speakers
This record has been cleaned on a Pro-Ject VC-S machine
SX 6157 // XAX 3419 - 2 / XAX 3420 - 1 // H 1 / L 1
I grade according to "Record Collector" guidelines.
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