Patti Smith’s debut album Horses from 1975 is considered by many critics to be one of the best albums of all time. We compared two 180g reissues from Speakers Corner and Arista.
Some background information on Patti Smith – Horses
When I discovered Patti Smith and her debut album Horses at the end of the 70s, I was immediately fascinated and that hasn’t changed until today. Horses from 1975 is rightly considered one of the best debut albums of all time. Rolling Stone, NME, Guardian and Time magazines all list Horses among the top 100 albums of all time. Certainly Horses was an extremely influential album. Generations of indie bands took their cue from the sound of the later Patti Smith Group. The mixture of ambitious lyricism accompanied by hard, no-frills rock music paved the way for singers like Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), Courtney Love (Hole) or PJ Harvey.
How good are the pressings for Horses from Speaker’s Corner and Arista?
For both: flat, no streaks, 180g vinyl. No pressing defects visible.
What else stands out when comparing the two editions of Patti Smith – Horses?
The iconic cover photo by Robert Mapplethorpe is printed sharply on the cover of Speaker’s Corner, but the contrast is a bit poor. Arista shows how it can be done better: more contrast is good for the black and white image on the cover. The hands and the face are clearly visible.
How does the equipment of the two editions of Patti Smith – Horses differ?
Speaker’s Corner uses medium-weight cardboard for the cover, Arista leaves it at normal cardboard. Both pressings come in the original single sleeve.
How well do the Speaker’s Corner and Arista pressings sound in comparison?
The Arista is characterised by a low background noise and good dynamics in the quiet passages. The only criticism: Patti’s voice sounds too nasal and slightly annoying in places, but worse are the sibilants on page 2 (e.g. Kimberly or Land).
In contrast, the Speaker’s Corner does not show any weakness in audiophile terms: no background noise, powerful, great dynamics. The voice is not annoying. Minimal more bass. The improvements compared to the 2007 version are subtle but successful. Very similar to the Speaker’s Corner version of Transformer – Lou Reed, for example.
How do the levels and frequency response of the Speaker’s Corner and Arista pressings differ?
The waveform (red) of the two versions is like two peas in a pod. Differences in dynamics or level have to be searched for with a magnifying glass. The frequency spectrogram (coloured areas in the background) also gives no indication of fundamental differences. The increasing intensity of the piece is nicely recognisable in both.
Which pressing of Patti Smith – Horses is better?
The differences between the 2018 and the 2007 reissue are not very big on side 1. On side 2, however, there is a lot of sibilance. The Arista version only has the higher-contrast photo on the plus side. In terms of sound, the audiophile Speakers Corner is clearly ahead, at least on side 2, and is therefore worth every penny.
|Catalogue number||AL 4066||201 112|
|Revolutions/minute||33 1/3||33 1/3|
|Cover||Single Sleeve||Single Sleeve|
|Mastered by||Not specified||Not specified|
|Pressing plant||Pallas||Not specified|
|Matrix-Runout||AL 4066-A -13076- AL 4066-B -13076-||B797464-01 A1 886971597219 B797464-01 B1 886971597219|
|Country of manufacture||Europe||Europe|