RRecently I acquired a set of quadraphonic headphones from the 1970s and asked an engineer friend to give them a look. Listening to my SQ vinyl copy of wish you were Here through my vintage quad system with these babies on is pretty exciting, if I’m being honest. Antisocial, but exciting.
Honestly, I’m not much of a headphone user most of the time. I am a rare breed. Everywhere I go people seem to be wearing headphones, and not just headphones – big noise canceling canisters. When I was a kid, my brothers told me that some albums were “headphone albums” and some were just regular fare. These so-called headphone albums have been described to me as those that feature dramatic panning or panning sounds. Like this part in pink floydit is On the run (The dark side of the moon) when footsteps seem to cross your head.
So, given my hot new product, I decided to do a little research on what other albums are considered “headphone albums” – especially ones that I hadn’t really considered. For starters, contrary to what my brothers told me, albums don’t have to feature experimental or creative panning. They just have to be great pressings of really, really well-recorded albums.
I have half speed masters that meet this requirement (the McCartney Archives series, leaf dogit is Mushroom Growers, WHOit is Living in Leeds and Freddie Gibbs and Madlibit is Pinata ’74) as well as my Mobile loyalty pressings of Eldorado by Rated and Muddy Waters Blues Singer. I also have one Impex pressing of Monk Thelonieuxit is straight, no hunter. These would all sing into headphones.
jimi hendrixit is electric ladyland listening through headphones is considered essential. I’ve never tried it but I can only imagine how crazy it is 1983… (A newt that I should become) would ring. Amazing to think that all sound psychedelic mashups were done manually. To be honest, I don’t like electric ladyland in album form; most of them are mediocre compositions. But I bet he puts on a show strapped to your head.
In addition to Floyd wish you were HereI also have four copies of The dark side of the moon and Atom Heart Motherbut I read that those 70s santana the albums that have been mixed for quadraphony are just as stunning – 1972 Caravanserai being the apparent star. Definitely my quadruple copy of the santana-Related Aztec the album sounds wonderful. My best mixed quadruple album is a mix between Rufusit is Rags to Rufus and Sly and the Family Stoneit is The biggest hits. I will try them. Psonic Psunspot by The Dukes of Stratosphear (a.k.a XTC) is a highly touted headphone album. I don’t have it anymore, but I have 25 hours and will give a whirlwind.
Queenit is Bohemian Rhapsody does a lot of audiophile headphone song lists, so I guess A night at the opera worth trying. Perpetual change of Yes album is awesome in headphones because it has this part where the song moves to the right, and something new kicks in in the left channel. To try absolutely. My favorite album of theirs.
My favorite mothers of invention the album is We’re only here for the money (in fact, I’m wearing a T-shirt right now!). Lots of good headphone moments on this masterpiece that confuses the hippie movement – but none better than Flower Punk. Really, headphones are the only way to hear all the craziness and spoken bits at the end. black sabbathThe 1970 self-titled debut album is also one headphone aficionados swear by. I have a good 180g remaster and will try it. I just imagine the rain and the bell ringing now…
Miles Davisit is In a silent way makes many lists, as does kind of blue. Just make sure you don’t have the mono versions. Drink of female dogs is another, and I believe it’s only available in stereo. And if you include this album, surely Headhunters by Herbie Hancock should also be on your list.
The crazy panning in the middle section of full of love of Led Zeppelin II makes it a candidate for inclusion here. I just ordered a remaster of Those who sell, specifically for the headphone experience (and the psychedelic poster!). Apparently The rolling stones‘ Their satanic majesty’s request is also essential, if you like swirling sounds.
Disintegration by The treatment is supposedly something to live with headphones. I never tried. In fact, somehow I don’t own a copy of this album – something I’ll attribute to PTSD from a previous relationship.
Finally, let’s not forget the greatest stereo album of all time – Bob and Doug McKenzieit is Great White North. One hose in the left channel and the other in the right channel, and Geddy Lee to start!
Take off, huh.
• • •
Resident of the region is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and marketer. Listen (and buy) his music on band campsend him an e-mail HEREfollow him on instagram and check it out at Discogs.