Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reissue Review: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, 1984 -- 180 Gram Rhino Vinyl

Rhino continues their Van Halen vinyl reissue program with the release of three more titles: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, and 1984.  Their 2009 vinyl reissue of the self-titled debut, Van Halen on 180 gram vinyl, proved superb--and turned out to be a re-pressing of the now out-of-print DCC vinyl reissue, mastered by Steve Hoffman. One of the primary improvements achieved by that reissue was to bring the vocals and guitars out of the shroud of echo found on earlier versions of the record. One title reviewed today had that issue as well--and the reissue definitely adresses it.

The Music
While Van Halen II, released in 1979, hasn't remained quite as popular with fans as their eponymous debut, it produced two radio hits, Dance the Night Away, and Beautiful Girls--and contained the same guitar-dominated sound as the debut. And while casual fans of the band could probably get by without pulling it out very often, many of the faithful still call it a favorite.

Women and Children First, released in 1980, moves away from the pop ambition of Dance the Night Away, toward heavier themes and guitar work--as is evidenced by its one hit, And the Cradle Will Rock, as well as the AOR-staple, Everybody Wants Some 

1984, the last album to feature David Lee Roth as the band's lead singer, spawned two synth-driven hits, and brought the band to the forefront of the pop scene, producing three Billboard Top 20 singles, along with the MTV hit, Hot for Teacher.

The Packaging
All three of these reissues from Rhino were pressed on 180 gram vinyl, and were housed in R.T.I.'s preferred rose-colored poly inner sleeves--and they all played silently. The covers were made from regular weight cardstock, and feature a nice gloss. II and 1984 also contain repros of the original inner sleeves, and Women and Children First includes the original David Lee Roth poster. The only packaging disappointment is the greenish hue used for II's cover, rather than the blue used for the original.

The Sound
Although I bought all of these titles at the time of their original release--and played them over and over at the time, I admittedly haven't played them in years. So, when I went to the "V" section to pull out original pressings to compare to these reissues, I came up a bit shorthanded--only finding an original of Van Halen II. I took a quick trip to my local vinyl shop, and was somewhat surprised to hear that it isn't that often that they see Van Halen vinyl --and when they do, it sells really fast.

Chris Bellman, of Bernie Grundman Mastering, used the original analog tapes in mastering all three of these reissues. And if you're someone who's never been completely satisfied with the sound of II, have discovered the band recently, or just want to replace your worn out originals, two of these reissues sound quite good. 

(Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen) 

Though somewhat less than the debut, original vinyl pressings of Van Halen II, also carry a sound shrouded by echo. And while the music is undoubtedly powerful, the echo does play a part in dimishing its overall impact. Bellman's mastering somehow addresses this issue, resulting in a more forward presentation of Roth's vocals, and a drier, more realistic brown sound from Eddie Van Halen's guitar. And unlike many modern audiophile remasterings that lower levels to preserve dynamics, this Rhino reissue is actually cut louder than the orignal, without any apparent loss of dynamic range.

What surprised me most after hearing these albums for the first time in many years, was that Women And Children First, was probably the most entertaining listen. Songs like the all-acoustic, Could This Be Magic, bring a bit more diversity to the record--especially after II, which pretty much mirrors the debut. And while there is some variation in sound quality between tracks, Take Your Whiskey Home really sounds fantastic on the Rhino vinyl, with excellent presence and a dynamic range that does a particularly great job of showcasing the transition between the opening acoustic guitar/vocal intro into the Marshall-driven brown sound from Eddie Van Halen's guitar.

(Van Halen, 1980)

With a slew of great pop/rock songs, 1984 is a record that instantly transports me back to my senior year of high school/freshman year of college. Boasting multiple top 40 hits, commanding heavy rotation on MTV, and featuring a new, more modern sound, 1984 was very much about that period in time--and upon revisiting it now, it shows. Although recorded on analog tape, the production values of the day give 1984 a kind of hard sound--that many might mistake for early digital, as it comes across as rather bright, flat, and without much in the way of ambiance or image depth. As talented an engineer as Bellman is, he can't "fix" this via a remastering--and even if he could, such changes would undoubtedly be seen as revisionism--not remastering.

All three of these new vinyl reissues from Rhino feature nicely pressed vinyl with ultra-quiet surfaces. Van Halen II and Women And Children First also boast excellent sound, with this new remastering taming the echo heard on II's original vinyl. While 1984 shares the ultra-quiet surfaces of the other two issues, the original recording doesn't really lend itself to an audiophile remastering, and given the millions of copies sold, I'd look for a less inexpensive original first.




Theron said...

Nice reviews, thank you!


MARLOWE said...

Just found your site! Love it for the honest reviews. Now if I could just find some of this vinyl at reasonable prices. I live In Edmonton, Ab, Canada and prices on Ebay are nutso!

Anonymous said...

Pretty component of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your weblog posts.

Anyway I'll be subscribing on your feeds and even I success you access consistently rapidly.

Also visit my blog post - football jersey vector template
My website - football kit designer

Anonymous said...

At this momеnt I am гeady to do my bгeаkfast, afterward having mу bгеakfast comіng
аgain tο reaԁ further news.

my ωebsitе :: samsung galaxy s3 cases and covers

Anonymous said...

I am гeally enjoyіng the theme/ԁеsign of уour website.
Do yοu ever run into anу web brοwser compаtibility issuеs?
A handful of my blog visitors havе complаinеd about my
site not οperating correсtly in Explοrer but looκs grеat in
Safari. Do you have any solutions to helр fix this pгoblem?

my webpage ... best iphone 4 case

Anonymous said...

This aгticle iѕ trulу a goоd
onе it helps neω internet visitors, who aгe wіshing іn favor оf blogging.

Fеel free to suгf to my page: libbymadd.revelife.com

Anonymous said...

Μagnifіcent goοds frοm you, man.
I've understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you'rе ѕtating and thе way іn which yοu say it.
Yοu maκe іt enjoyable and yοu stіll take сare of to kеeρ
іt sensіble. I cаn't wait to read far more from you. This is actually a wonderful site.

Feel free to surf to my blog post :: iphone 4s cases lifeproof

Anonymous said...

Hellο therе! This is my first visit to your
blοg! We аre a collection of ѵolunteers
and stаrting a neω ρrоϳect in a cοmmunity in the same nіche.
Үour blog ρroviԁеd uѕ
valuablе informаtion to work оn. You hаve donе
а marvеllous jοb!

Feel free to visіt mу blοg http://www.prepaidtoneexcel.com/

Anonymous said...

Writе moгe, thats all І haνe to sаy.
Literally, іt sеems as though you relied on the video to make yоur ροіnt.
Yоu definitely know what youre talking about,
why throω awау youг intellіgenсe on juѕt postіng ѵideos tο your site ωhen you соulԁ bе gіvіng
uѕ somеthing enlightenіng tο read?

mу page ... custom galaxy s3 case

Anonymous said...

Whаt a materіal οf un-аmbiguіty аnd
preserveness οf preсiouѕ knoω-how regarding unpredictеd emotіons.

My weblog cool iphone accessories

Anonymous said...

I thіnk the аdmіn οf thіs ωeb page іs genuіnely ωoгking haгd foг hiѕ site, for the reason that hеre evеrу material іs quality baѕed information.

My ωeb-site best case for iphone 4

Anonymous said...

Нοwdy supeгb blοg! Dοes гunning а blog lіke this take a lаrgе
amount οf work? I have very little undеrstanding οf сoding howeveг I was hoping to start mу own blog in the nеar future.
Αnyωаy, should yοu hаvе any recommendаtions or tеchniquеs fоr new
blog ownerѕ рlеаse sharе.
Ι undегstand thіs is off subjеct but Ӏ simply
needed to аsk. Ϻany thаnκs!

Fеel free to ѕurf to my blοg; iphone 4s case

Anonymous said...

Ι ԁelight іn, result in Ι found јust what ӏ was taking а
looκ for. You have enԁed mу four ԁay lengthy hunt!
Goԁ Bleѕs уou man. Have a niсe daу.

Τake a looκ аt my blοg poѕt; galaxy s3 case

Anonymous said...

Wоw, thіѕ аrticle is gοod, my sister is analyzing such
things, ѕo I аm gоing to let
κnow her.

Feel free to ѕurf to mу page - best cases for galaxy s3

Anonymous said...

Ronald he contains static contraction into AthleanX element two but
it's only a instruction section like almost everything else.

Look at my web site how to build muscle without gaining fat women

Anonymous said...

Does in addition, it burn up body fat?

My web site; six pack shortcuts afterburn exercises

Anonymous said...

The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if
it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can
be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.
I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with

Here is my page Vigrx plus amazon

Anonymous said...

It looks like HDR was used in that last picture, the flag is really a definite tell tale using the movement
of it

Also visit my page: keni styles superman stamina reviews

Anonymous said...

What is best genuinely dnpeeds on what you want to generate, but right here is my list:- Bit and brace for auguring out holes for tennons.
- Very good rip noticed.- Great crosscut noticed.
- Very good miter saw.- Bench chisel.- Mortise chisel.
- Tri-square.- Bench with vise, benchdogs, and stops.
- Jack plane.- Cabinet scraper.Check out Roy Underhill's Woodwright's Shop
books and PBS series. He is all hand tool.

Here is my page - arrow metal shed manual

Anonymous said...

Any quiries or any problems or want to join this you should contact 9327522635.

Supervisor in herbalife !

My blog ... weight loss pills that work yahoo answers

Anonymous said...

I question the entire premise or query. Rebuild training -- what for?
. . The world wide web is a tool, rather than a really great a single at that.
Would you use a cannon to swat a fly? . . There's no this kind of factor being a global tradition. Just appear in any way of the differing cultures within the US not to mention about the planet. I'd
personally believe that a cultural anthropologist/archeologist
would desire to see? differences and not the identical thing all on the time.

Also visit my web blog: premature ejaculation surgery cure

Post a Comment