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Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Fan's Video Vinyl Review: Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Psychedelic Pill

Here's something very cool.

A video vinyl review by a fan of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's album Psychedelic Pill.

Thanks Tony! Excellent. So cool to hear back from folks who totally get Neil.

Check out Tony's Neil Young Vinyl Collection on

Spin the black circle!

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At 12/09/2012 02:47:00 PM, Anonymous herbsworld said...

I dunno. just don't get the Vinyl craze. grew up listening to 45's, LP's and, later, EP's. was the only game in town back then. used to play once and tape to a chromium cassette (usually BASF - TDK & Memorex, while more popular, were inferior, IMHO) for portability reasons, mainly, no turntable in my car. but also, as I recollect to save the vinyl from "the needle & the damage done" if you will. even with the highest quality diamond needle, you wear off a layer with each spin, no? let's not forget the dreaded scratches. no matter how much care you took, scratches, like stuff, happens. skip, skip,skip. anyone remember that? when I was single my sound system was pretty happening. but I also moved around, A LOT. A large album collection, stored in milk crates, followed me from apartment to apartment. no small effort, believe you me. When cd's came out it was like the dawning of the age of Aquarius, all over again. you could fast forward and program playback order. I actually owned an Onkyo turntable once that would allow for track programming and it worked correctly approx 75% of the time. no tape hiss. no ejecting and flipping to play side two (anyone remember eight tracks, with track changes mid song?). Although I did also have a home and car deck that used to auto reverse cassettes.
I appreciate the artwork and the tactile experience but don't get the rest of it. Driftin' Back is 27 minutes long and you have to flip the album to hear the song in it's entirety? no thanks. the bad old days, far as I'm concerned.
It also struck me as funny how the "cd version is playing" in the background. pretty much says it all.
I completely agree with the review otherwise. great cd! (which I now listen to as a 256k mp3) - EVERYWHERE.

At 12/09/2012 08:36:00 PM, Anonymous Sandy Horne said...

He's BBBAAACCCKKK!!!!! Great review, She's Always Dancing is like Hurricane's little sister! Love it!

Don't spook Shittyhorse!

Peace, and loud Rock & Roll


At 12/09/2012 09:10:00 PM, Blogger ShittyHorse said...

Thrasher! Thanks so much for posting my review! So glad you enjoyed it. Psychedelic Pill is definitely one of my favorite albums of the year. Just a fantastic album from start to finish. I’ve played it to death already, and hearing Ramada Inn and Walk Like A Giant live was just a spectacular experience. Two awe-inspiring, monster songs done by a band with the biggest sound around. Just killer. In response to Herbsworld comment regarding vinyl, all I can say is that I personally prefer vinyl to any other format, hands down. That’s just my preference though, and cannot speak to what others prefer. For me convenience is not always king. Listening to vinyl is an experience; there is something else with you in the room that’s real, and not numbers being converted to sound by a computer. Am I anti-digital? Not at all. I own plenty of CDs and Mp3s, but when I’m at home, I almost exclusively listen to vinyl (actually the CD was playing because I was making a video… I don’t deny CDs and Mp3s are more convenient), there is nothing else like it, the sound is far better (in my opinion), I enjoy sitting down and listening to a record, and admiring the artwork, reading the liner-notes, etc. Just looking over and seeing the record spinning just makes me feel good for some reason. I also think there are a lot of misconceptions about vinyl...If you take care of your records and your equipment (and use the right equipment, correctly)they will last. Actually many of my records are ten, fifteen, twenty years older than me. If you put in a little bit work & love into listening and collecting, you are rewarded many times over. I didn’t mean to go on a long tirade about vinyl, or vinyl vs. digital, etc.Anyway, again, that's just me. I also think Neil sounds best on vinyl.

Sandy! Thanks so much! I'm always around, I do need to post more though. Glad you enjoyed the video.
Thanks again Thrasher! You guys are the best!

At 12/10/2012 06:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I'm not yet convinced of the sound benefits of vinyl or hi-res over 16/44.1.....I'm certainly ready to be persuaded on that, but I haven't seen much evidence offered as to exactly what the improvement is. A lot of it seems to be in the quality of the audio mastering, rather than the actual audio resolution. And part of it is just like a placebo effect, I think.

If Neil and Co. want to successfully promote hi-res, then it is crucial that they make sure people can hear exactly what the improvement is, and what sound is missing from CD. The vast majority of people are not going to buy the same albums for the 300th time unless there is a clear benefit to doing so. Most of us are losing patience with constant format-hopping. All this talk of "you only get 5%" is interesting enough, but if people can't hear the difference then they are not going to be convinced just by words.

Looking around the web, I would say that the arguments against the need for hi-res are currently more compellingly presented that those for it, so that is something that must seriously be addressed in the marketing of Pono, in a way that doesn't underestimate the prospective-customer's intelligence.

I love to buy vinyl just for the 'experience' of owning it, having the album nicely presented at a decent size. It just feels better to own something like that.

The Flying Scotsman

At 12/10/2012 11:33:00 AM, Blogger ANDREW BYROM said...

shittyhorse. Great review, I've also got the vinyl bug and love PP on vinyl. picked it up in the amazon price balls up for £16.50 which is a steal for such a beautiful package. I've bought all the vinyl accept the last few NYAPS releases, might pick them up on eBay at some point, but already got the archive BR's so seems a waste of money.

At 12/10/2012 02:00:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

You bet Tony!

We really enjoy these vinyl videos. So retro yet so forward.

So what about the etching on Side 6? What can you tell us?

At 12/10/2012 07:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked for the guy at San Gregorio Beach today, beautiful day, didnt see him though.

At 12/11/2012 02:10:00 AM, Blogger Kimball said...

Maybe I can shed some insight into what I get out of the analog vinyl and high resolution digital formats. For me its like being bathed, fully immersed in smooth, realistic sound. There's a sense of completeness and depth to the sound, whereas lower resolution digital can tend toward a thinner sound. I know those descriptions are cliched, but they do fit the phenomenon for me. I was listening to an HD radio subchannel (much more compressed than the primary channel, and it really struck me how thin the compressed sound was. It was as if the vast majority of the music was thrown away (for the compression) and what remained was a minimal representation, thin as a piece of paper, really like a poster of the rolling stones rather than the song they were playing. That reminded me how bad it can really get with highly compressed digital, I'd say the HD Radio subchannel was about 128 kbps MP3 equivalent. I spend my time with at least full CD quality flac files, if not high rez digital when available, and for a special treat, the LPs get played. For me the best place to notice the benefit of high resolution digital is in the smoothness of the cymbals and high frequencies. I can absolutely hear when a recording is high resolution by listening, almost feeling, the smoothness of the highs. I often get images of silk in my mind, and a broader cloth when listening to lower resolution. When things are lower quality than CD even, I get images of sandy type grains when picturing the sound coming from the speakers. I have just listened enough, closely enough that I can identify the differences that are present in music from lossy mp3's up through cd, high res and well done vinyl. Now clearly a poor recording and mastering job can be a larger detriment to the sound of record than the difference between cd and high resolution, but in cases where its all done right, the music really is free to float off the speakers, without pressure from compression and manipulation, to treat the listener to a convincingly realistic listening experience that exceeds one's belief of what should be possible from electromechanical loudspeakers. The band and singer must be behind a curtain! In my experience high rez does not always pose an audible improvement in detail of a well mastered CD. I'll also be one to say that high rez is not a necessity to emotionally connect to music. I've connected to the sound of a song on my laptop speakers before, and that connection was mostly lost upon listening to the full resolution cd quality on my stereo. This is certainly the minority of my experience though. Indeed, hearing a larger amount of more realistic details seems to give me more "surface area" on the recording from which to be "touched" by the music, or to have my feelings attach to it. These are my honest experiences with the various formats. If you have the opportunity to critically listen to high rez vs CD and MP3 on a good stereo with full sized speakers, and you can listen to a recording you're familiar with, you should be able to hear the diffeence in formats. Seeing with the ears, actually focusing your hearing on various instruments and edges and boundaries of the sound is a skill that not everyone has, it can take practice to focus on a very small artifact within a large sound of a rock and roll song. To some extent, just be happy that you can enjoy whatever format music is presented in. I get agitated when I have to listen to a lossy compression presentation, such as on satellite radio, or youtube videos. To each his own though, just get into the music.

At 12/11/2012 07:31:00 AM, Blogger ShittyHorse said...

Hey Thrasher, sure. The etching is the same as on the Americana LP, the infamous Crazy Horse logo (for lack of a better word right now), which is still very cool. Actually, my only gripe is the size of the booklet, which is the exact same one as the CD (except the credits are for vinyl mastering etc. rather than CD), which is a pet peeve of mine, but I seriously think that Neil did that to keep costs down a bit. When the LP was first announced, it was listed at $90 and lots of people complained, then it went down to $75-$70. Americana had the large book, so that is the only reasoning I can figure. What is important though is the music, and this sounds fantastic. Americana and Pill are among the best sounding records I own, no question about it. I'd still love to know more about what exactly goes into making this LP, the printing, the paper, etc. etc.
Anyway, thanks again Thrasher!

At 12/11/2012 09:07:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Kimball - thanks for all the detailed thoughts on audio quality.

With PONO coming, it'll be very interesting to see how this all works out. It just seems odd that it seems so many have keen ears and hear the difference and so many can't?

@Tony - thanks for update. It would be nice to hear more about the vinyl details. If you hear something, let us know! enjoy.

At 12/11/2012 02:36:00 PM, Anonymous rustedstevie said...

I am 62 so I grew up listening to vinyl and I always had a powerful amp and some huge speakers so I could really feel the sound. Now I do not have the hearing that I had back then (mom was right about my hearing being sacraficed to rock and roll) so I wonder if I am capable of benefiting from the high fidelity that I have on my blue ray archives disks. The old albums were so close to the masters that I can not tell the difference. I can however tell that the CD and mp3 sound is missing presence (if that's what you call it)

I guess everyone has to pay the piper-
rusted stevie (YouTube)

At 12/11/2012 06:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to think I could hear a clear difference between the hi-res too .... Night and day etc. Until I tried a truly fair (and that is important) blind test and I realised that it wasn't that easy to tell which was which. And I've got good, young ears.

I know lots of people say they can hear a big difference, and describe it - but I haven't come across anyone who has done a fair blind comparison say that. The average result tends to be around 50% e.g no better than guessing.

There may well be a difference - but it's at least a little bit more subtle than is being suggested. The placebo effect shouldn't be underestimated.

The Flying Scotsman

At 12/11/2012 06:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS good post kimball!

At 12/12/2012 12:20:00 PM, Anonymous Setz said...

I am pretty sure I saw a glimpse of PP vinyl on TV last night! On the show Parenthood, Craig Nelson received it as a Xmas gift from the family.It was a double album he was flipping through & I quickly saw the Crazy Horse Pill on the back. It was at the end of the episode.Can someone that bought the vinyl confirm this?!

At 12/14/2012 11:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shittyhorse. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your video vinyl review. It was excellent! Very much so. It's a shame the focus of this thread turned into a debate about audio instead of admiration for your skills. Thanks again.

And you Arkansas Girls? Did you ever tell your story? What the hell happened there in Virginia before Cinnamon Girl? I'd love to know. Did I miss it?


Steven James

At 12/15/2012 03:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ If anything, Stephen, it is a 'shame' that you try to create discord where there clearly is none.

I'm quite sure that Neil would be upset to hear us discussing audio quality - I know he doesn't like to talk about it either.

The Flying Scotsman.

At 12/15/2012 06:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last thing I'm trying to do is create "discord". I was simply trying to convey my admiration for Shittyhorse's mad skills. His posts on this board are always thoughtful and informative and now he follows it up with a crazy good video review. The guy should be getting paid he's so good.

I enjoyed the audio debate. I like my audio high! Get it?!


Steven James

At 12/15/2012 06:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, that's fine - we are agreed on that. Sorry I spelt you're name wrong.

The Flying Scotzman.


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