The Beatles – Revolver (EMI/Odeon vs. Hörzu)

Japanese pressings enjoy a good reputation among collectors. So do German pressings on Hörzu. In the duel between the two versions of the Beatles’ album Revolver, there was a distinct winner.

The Beatles – Revolver, EMI/Odeon, Japan 1992
The Beatles – Revolver, Hörzu, Germany 1969

A few thoughts on The Beatles – Revolver

When the Beatles recorded Revolver, the biggest break in their career was still to come. The recordings took place between the beginning of April and the end of June 1966. In August, they left for concerts in the USA. It was to be their last tour.

The Beatles did not play any of the songs on Revolver. The recordings had become too complex and multi-layered to reproduce them live in concert.

What had begun on the predecessor Rubber Soul, the Fab Four continued unchecked. The studio became the instrument. Reverse guitars, automatic double tracking (ADT, a process in which the sound is thickened, especially by the bass and drums), feedback – the whole programme. Highlight: John Lennon’s psychedelic masterpiece Tomorrow Never Knows. With its wild tape experiments, a harbinger of the coming Summer of Love 1967.

Taxman or She Said She Said provided the template for Oasis and 90s Britpop. The single Rain, after which Oasis originally named themselves, was recorded at the same time but was released as a single. Eleanor Rigby and For No One are pop evergreens of the first order. And in Got To Get You Into My Life, Paul McCartney processed what he liked best about US soul.

What stands out when comparing the 1969 and 1992 pressings?

The Japanese pressing and the typical super vinyl keeps its promise: background noise is almost non-existent. The record and its sleeve are made according to the quality standards of the Sons of Nippon.

In the German Hörzu edition of Revolver from 1969, quality control was not quite so precise. I Want To Tell You became “I Want To Love You” on the label. Mind you, no one corrected the mistake for at least 4 years, although the labels of the various versions since 1969 do differ in detail. The vinyl itself, however, shows no weaknesses.

How are the two versions of Beatles – Revolver equipped?

The Japan pressing is already distinguished externally by razor-sharp cover printing on heavy cardboard and an OBI. Of course, there is an antistatic inner sleeve as well as a four-page insert with English and Japanese lyrics. All in all, a very high-quality package.

How good does Beatles – Revolver sound in the Hörzu pressing from 1969 and the Japanese one from 1992?

The German Hörzu from 1969 enjoys a very good reputation in collector circles. And it redeems everything! The record sounds super dynamic and very finely resolved. The analogue reverb makes the voices more pleasant than on the Japanese pressing. It doesn’t always have to be MoFi. Fantastic sounding records can also be produced in disdainful mass production.

“This album has been direct metal mastered from a digitally remastered original tape to give the best possible sound quality” is written on the cover of the Japanese pressing. That says it all. So the masters from 1987 are used, which George Martin made for the forthcoming CD releases. Martin no longer had access to the analogue reverb that can be heard on the previous releases. So he resorted to digital reverb – the hot shit at the time. Especially with the voices, the difference is clearly audible as a slightly cold undertone.

What is the difference in level and frequency response between Beatles turrets from Germany and Japan?

Waveform diagram for Taxman, The Beatles, Revolver
Waveform diagram for Taxman, The Beatles, Revolver

This is what Beatles stereo looks like in the waveform! In the left channel (upper part of the wave) there is always on the twelve. Vocals and overdubs are placed in the right channel. And the diagrams for both pressings look damn similar. If I didn’t know for sure that there was no digital master file available in 1969…

Joking aside. The digital master from 1987 for Revolver is probably closer to the Hörzu pressing than many collectors believe. If you look very closely and long enough, you will also find a few small differences in the waveform like those I have marked with arrows.

Frequency spectrogram for Taxman, The Beatles, Revolver
Frequency spectrogram for Taxman, The Beatles, Revolver

No serious differences can be detected in the frequency spectrogram either. Then we just have to trust our ears. And when we listened, there were real differences.

Which pressing of Beatles – Revolver is better?

Those who collect Japanese pressings also need these. If you are looking for the best sound, you should get the Hörzu Revolver from 1969. Whether it is the best of all Revolver editions, as some collectors claim, we don’t want to say yet. But we look forward to a direct comparison with the LP from the mono box or the 2012 remaster. The sound duel against the Japanese edition from 1992 goes clearly to the German version from 1969.

Title list

Side 1

  • Taxman
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • I’m Only Sleeping
  • Love You To
  • Here, There And Everywhere
  • Yellow Submarine
  • She Said, She Said

Side 2

  • Good Day Sunshine
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • For No One
  • Dr. Robert
  • I Want To Tell You
  • Got To Get You Into My Life
  • Tomorrow Never Knows
The ravages of time have not yet gnawed ...
The ravages of time have not yet gnawed …
A feat - the Japanese one is also 23 years younger.
A feat – the Japanese one is also 23 years younger.
The deadwax is much smaller on both sides ...
The deadwax is much smaller on both sides …
... of the Japanese than on the Hörzu.
… of the Japanese than on the Hörzu.
As is usual with Japan releases, ...
As is usual with Japan releases, …
... there is also a four-page insert here ...
… there is also a four-page insert here …
... with the song lyrics in ...
… with the song lyrics …
… translated into Japanese.
… translated into Japanese.
...at the Japan-Revolver as they did at the Hörzu of 1969.
…at the Japan-Revolver as they did at the Hörzu of 1969.
The Hörzu appeared three years after the first publication.
The Hörzu appeared three years after the first publication.
Despite the larger deadwax (= narrower groove cut) ...
Despite the larger deadwax (= narrower groove cut) …
... the Hörzu shows no deficits in dynamics.
… the Hörzu shows no deficits in dynamics.
ArtistThe Beatles
TitleRevolver
LabelEMI/OdeonHörzu
Released19921969
Catalogue numberTOJP-7077SHZE 186
Format12“12“
Revolutions/minute33 1/333 1/3
TypeAlbumAlbum
CoverSingle SleeveSingle Sleeve
Add-onsOBI, 4 page inlay with English lyrics and Japanese Translation
SourceDigitalAnalog
Mastered by   Not specifiedNot specified
Pressing plantNot specifiedNot specified
Matrix-RunoutYEX-605-1S YEX-606-2S    SHZE 186 A – X2 SHZSHZE 186 B – 2  
Edition/Limitation5.000
Consecutive number
Country of manufactureJapanGermany

Brian Bringleson über Revolver

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