The SHURE M44G cartridge was very popular not only for DJs but also for listening. The needle has been fascinating listeners for about half a century. but regrettably it was discontinued around 2018. Meanwhile. Japan's leading record needle maker. "NAGAOKA". and the up-and-coming DJ equipment brand. "100 Sounds". have a lineup of compatible replacement needles! I will compare the difference in sound characteristics between Nagaoka and 100SOUNDS. the replacement needles for the legendary M44G cartridge. with Paul McCartney's latest album. The impressions of the listening comparison will be based on my personal subjectivity. Depending on the playback environment. you may hear different sound quality. so please be aware of this before referring to it.
This time. the sound source used in the comparison:
(released on December 18. 2020) SIDE-ONE
Paul McCartney's 1st solo album "McCartney" was released in 1970. The 2nd solo album "McCartney II" was released in 1980 after a 10-year period. following an album under the joint name with his wife and Wings. a band he formed. Both are self-produced. playful albums created by Paul himself. who also played most of the instruments. Both of them seemed to be problematic works that had pros and cons at the time of release. but mainly among Paul fans in the solo era. they kept listening over and over again. There are many people who are familiar with this style. Now in 2020. 40 years after "McCartney II". Paul's new album title suggests that it will be the third work in the same playful feeling series. The title is "McCartney III". An analog record has been released and some limited color records have been released as well. But first of all. I would like to listen to the normal analog record using SHURE's gem-of-a-record cartridge. the M44G.As mentioned above. now genuine replacement needles are no longer in production and there are no supplies for the M44G,. so I have prepared two types of replacement needles sold at Sound House. I decided to listen to this latest work. which is full of experimentation. twice with each needle!
I often listen to Wings' "London Town" with this needle because of the impression that songs. acoustic instruments. and keyboard instruments sound realistic and gentle.
Recommended for those who want to listen to powerful rock. soul. and club and trance music. As for Paul's works. I listen to the 1st album Fireman album and the analog-only album "TWIN FREAKS" using this.
Now. let's take out the record and listen to it.
As the word "MADE IN ROCKDOWN" on the sticker on the shrink indicates. did he create a self-produced album by himself in the wake of self-restraint due to the coronavirus in 2020?
There is a possibility that self-isolation will continue in Japan. but in that case. there’s not much we can do…. Let's get on with thie album. I will write my impressions of listening and comparing twice with each needle for each song. I'm more of a fan of "Paul Solo" than The Beatles. and may use phrases related to and may refer to solo song titles in the “Paul niche” that only Paul fans can understand. But it all refers to Paul's albums! I hope it will be a blog for fans.
1. Long Tailed Winter Bird
An instrumental that is reminiscent of "Valentine Day" recorded on the 1st solo album. For fans of the two earlier albums. this is the beginning of a dignified trilogy. While it's a bluesy riff. with a Goodnight Tonight-style chorus. Fireman-style ambient effects. and "Off-The-Ground"-style guitar cutting also come up. and you'll be immediately drawn into the mysterious world unique to this trilogy. What kind of sound will be emitted by the two needles...
The sound of the acoustic guitar in the intro resonates beautifully as if it were transparent. The chorus is also beautiful. and I am reminded of the three works produced by George Martin in the 1980s.
The cutting guitar in the intro is a little tight. the ambient sound collage is conspicuous. and the rhythm track is perfect for this needle if you want to dance to this song!
2. Find My Way
The most catchy and pop single type of tune on the album. I also feel the remnants of the 2018 album "Egypt Station". Even if you're not an avid fan. I think it's a number that you can easily get into.
The place where the lead guitar sound pops out from the left and right speakers pours down like sunlight through the trees. a real thrill of playing with this needle. A time of bliss!
The bass is rich. and the side guitar drives the song. The light feel of the drums sounds good at key points. By using this needle. including the outro at the end of the track. it becomes a DJ-like "usable" track!
3. Pretty Boys
The excellent melody directly from "Early Days" recorded on the 2013 album "NEW" will make you smile. and the neo acoustic arrangement is also nice. In some parts. you may have doubts about the balance of the sound. such as the tone of the electric guitar coming to the front rather than the song itself. However. this is actually the real thrill of this playful series. It's a killer number for fans. as you can see that he is enjoying a self-produced album ignoring the rules.
The sound of the electric guitar stands out. but it has a simple and natural taste. There is also a place where you can enjoy the strange pop feeling where the vocals are a little ahead and the song excites the guitar.
The acoustic guitar and the song resonate powerfully. The electric guitar mentioned above stands out in the same way. but it felt like it was more exciting with the song
4. Women And Wives
A melancholy minor chord number that seems to loosely resemble "Dear Boy" from the album "RAM". When I listen to it with that in mind. is this title about Paul's ex-wife. I wonder?
The piano echoed richly and reminded me of "You Gave Me The Answer". It produces a deep tone.
To be honest, I expected that this song, and particularly the vocals, had to be a Nagaoka needle song, but I enjoyed the characteristics of the song with the 100SOUNDS as much as I did with the Nagaoka.
5. Lavatory Lil
It appears that Paul listened to, and it also feels like a homage to, Tommy Tucker's R&B classic "Hi-Heel Sneakers" (he covered this song on the 1991 "Unplugged" album). It's fun to have a lot of rowdiness that leads to "Boggy Music" on "McCartney II". A model of bad UK rock that makes you want to take out the 1999 Cavern Club live DVD!
The bottom of the bass sounds moderately rock-like. The sound of the backing chorus is also powerful, and even reminds me the rough pubs in northern England Isn’t this the sound you want to enjoy while getting drunk with beer or cider in one hand?
The swell of the drums and bass is good, and the groovy feeling like when listening to Tommy Tucker's 7-inch single is irresistible. Is 100SOUNDS for clubs after all?
On the record, side A is completed with this song. A rock number suitable for separating the two sides. * The order of the next song is opposite to that of the CD. A song with a skeletal heavy guitar, like the opening number of the 3rd Fireman album. Intro guitar songs such as "I've Had Enough" and "Nobody Knows" often are the last song on the A-side of Paul's albums.
As the synth bass stands out, it is so powerful that the whole becomes a lump of sound. This song is different from the sounds from the Nagaoka needle that I have heard so far, and it is fun to listen to.
The trancy snare and hihat sounds of the drums are often heard. The thickness of the bass resonates with the body rather than the ears. So far, I’ve covered side A. I felt that "Lavatory Lil", which reveals the pop sound of numbers such as "Find My Way" and Paul's R&B roots, are superior when listening with the M44G. Side B starts with a full-blown playful mood of the trilogy, what kind of pop magic will pop out from the two needles? I will introduce the continuation in the next blog, including the package!