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James Taylor - Mud Slide Slim

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: taylomudsl_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

Mud Slide Slim has some of Taylor's strongest material: You've Got a Friend; You Can Close Your Eyes; Hey Mister, That's Me up on the Jukebox, and one of his best and most underrated, Love Has Brought Me Around. If you've got a top copy of the album, this song, the leadoff on side one, can really rock. It's yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

More Mud Slide Slim


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George Benson - Breezin'

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: bensobreez_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Excellent sound for George Benson's 1976 classic Breezin'! This copy should blow the doors off your old copy or any MoFi pressing -- guaranteed. It's got all the elements this smooth masterpiece needs to come to life today, almost 40 years later if you can believe it. There's tons of energy, strong presence, excellent bass and a huge soundfield with real depth. You can hear right into the music, something just not possible on most copies out there.

See all of our George Benson albums in stock


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Ray Brown - And The All-Stars Band - Cannonball Adderley

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: brownwitht_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

These two sides offer bigger brass, more transparency and more presence than any other sides we played! This may become one of your favorite big band albums to demo or test with. Or you can just enjoy the hell out of it if you prefer. So transparent and tonally correct, this is a killer sounding copy. We put this one right up there with the best of the Verve jazz titles we've done to date.

This is the kind of HUGE, RICH sound that Ray Hall engineered with tubes back in 1962, and it's glorious to hear in 2017.

See all of our Ray Brown albums in stock


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Frank Zappa - Cruising With Ruben & The Jets

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: zappacruis_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This is an album of greasy love songs & cretin simplicity. We made it because we really like this kind of music (just a bunch of old men with rock & roll clothes sitting around the studio, mumbling about the good old days). Ten years from now you'll be sitting around with your friends someplace doing the same thing if there's anything left to sit on.

From the Liner Notes


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Favorite Beethoven Concertos / Heifetz & Rubinstein / BSO

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: beethconce_7087_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

RCA Red Seal LPs. DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND!

The first LP of this disc is the equivalent of LSC 1992 and sounds AMAZING. The mastering is right on the money.

This compilation was created in 1971. The tapes were still good then, because the transparency of this pressing is top notch. I wish I could say as much for the second record, which, like most of these reissues, is a disaster. It should go without saying that the LP here KILLS the Classic Records reissue.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / The Emperor Concerto / Backhaus

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: beethemper_6156_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Another top London, recorded with more of a mid-hall approach, and smooth sound that reminds me much more of a live concert than most records. This is a demo quality disc, if what you are demonstrating is the kind of realistic piano sound and natural, relaxed presentation found in the concert hall. These may not be qualities that all audiophiles appreciate, but we sure as hell do.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / 'Appassionata' / Kamiya

  (Item #: beethappas_2010) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

A famous resident of the TAS list, this album mixes beautiful music with lovely, solid piano tone, the best of both worlds for audiophiles. A friend of mine tells me that Kamiya plays this piece exactly the way Horowitz did, and that's probably a good thing. Good luck finding a Horowitz recording that sounds like this.

See more of our Direct to Disc recordings


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Donovan - The Hurdy Gurdy Man

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: donovhurdy_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The 1968 sound here is GLORIOUS — rich, sweet, Tubey Magical and very, very Analog. Donovan records tend to be hit or miss affairs, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that we could not find a bad track on either side of the album. Most are in fact quite wonderful.

More Donovan / More Hippie Folk Rock


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Art Pepper - One September Afternoon

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: peppeonese_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

AN EXCELLENT A++ SIDE TWO for this album -- this is an excellent recording from 1980, one of the best of the later Art Pepper period during which Art was signed with Galaxy and was devoting his remaining years to playing and recording as much as possible. The album is engineered by Baker Bigsby, as is Art Pepper Today (1978), my personal favorite Art Pepper album and amazing sounding if you can find the right pressing (we're working on it!).

"When Art Pepper died at the age of 56, he had attained his goal of becoming the world's great altoist." AMG


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David Lindley - El Rayo-X

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: lindlelray_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

After hearing Lindley's white-bread session playing on '70s albums by Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, et al., you might think the man must have a stick stuck up his butt. His solos never seem to let loose or get loose, and they rarely rock. Mercury Blues on this, his best album, is proof positive that he can rock like a wild man when he wants to. On this album, perhaps for the first time, he really does seem to want to.

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Genesis - Abacab

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: genesabaca_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Another top recording from Hugh Padgham, the man who engineered The Police's best sounding album, Synchronicity, as well as Phil Collins' first album. He gets the Big, Rich, Smooth Rock Sound during the '80s like few others we know of. Tons of bass too. We also quite like the big drums and meaty guitars he was able to bring to XTC's English Settlement (a record we just never see anymore; wonder where they all went?).

By the way, the domestic LPs easily beat the best imports we had to throw at them.

See all of our Genesis albums in stock


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Foreigner - 4

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: forei4_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

What's key to the sound of Foreigner's records? Obviously the big one would have to be ENERGY, a subject we have discussed at length here on the site. Next would be punchy ROCK BASS, followed by clear, present vocals. Those would be the big three.

Many copies were gritty, some were congested in the louder sections, some never got big, some were thin and lacking the analog richness of the best -- we heard plenty of copies whose faults were obvious when played against the better sides such as these.

See all of our Foreigner albums in stock


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Billy Squier - Don't Say No

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: squiedonts_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Billy Squier LP has HUGE Rock Sound -- the guitars and drums are positively jumping out of the speakers with dynamic energy, presented on a stage that's exceptionally wide and tall -- which means the two monster hits In The Dark and The Stroke both rock like crazy, with more bottom and top end extension than practically any of the other copies we played.

There's a reason this album sounds big and lively. It was produced by Mack ("& Billy" according to the liner notes), Mack being the man who produced one of the few truly amazing sounding Queen albums, The Game. If you've ever heard a serious Hot Stamper of that album, you know what we're talking about when we say it delivers the Big Rock Sound we love here at Better Records. Turn it up and rock out!

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Brian Eno / David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: enobymylif_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

This QUIET Original Sire LP has EXCELLENT SOUND! We just did a mini-shootout for this fun album, and this copy was the clear winner on both sides. It’s got the kind of deep, meaty, well-defined bass that’s absolutely critical to this music. The various instruments and noises have more room to breathe than on the other copies we played. The overall sound is airy, open, and spacious with excellent clarity. The percussion -- a HUGE part of this album -- sounds Right On The Money. You can really hear the sound of the skins!

More Brian Eno


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Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: nicksbella_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The sound of the typical copy can best be summed up in three words: thin, hard and bright. When the sound is thin or hard or bright the fun factor of this mainstream drops to zero. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around and Leather And Lace both sound great on the radio, why not on Warners vinyl? We can't blame Sheffield Labs, the original cutting house: all the copies we played -- good, bad and otherwise -- were originals and mastered by them.

See all of our Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac albums in stock


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Alice Cooper - Goes To Hell

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coopegoest_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Triple Plus (A+++) Shootout Winning sound on side one -- it doesn't get any better than this, folks! Huge, open and clear, yet rich and full-bodied, this is the sound you want for this Alice Cooper classic. At Double Plus (A++) side two is nearly as good - Alice's vocals are especially clear and lively. The choruses are big and rich, just the way we like 'em - we guarantee you've never heard the album sound this good by a long shot.

More Alice Cooper


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CTI Jazz

One of Our Favorite Labels for Sound and Music

  (Item #: allcti) 



Visit this link to find our best sounding CTI Jazz albums.



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George Benson - Other Side of Abbey Road

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: bensoother_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

An A++ side one backed with an A+++ side two! We just shot out a bunch of these and this copy finished way ahead of the pack. George Benson and a top-notch backing crew (Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Ray Baretto, Freddie Hubbard and many more) knock these jazzy Abbey Road covers out of the park, and Rudy Van Gelder did a great job putting it to tape. Of course not every pressing sounds good, but the best copies like this one are killer!

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Freddie Hubbard - Hub-Tones

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: hubbahubto_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Blue Note reissue LP has SUPERB SOUND AND QUIET VINYL! Freddie’s trumpet sounds Right On The Money -- breathy and full-bodied with clearly audible leading edge transients. The overall sound is tonally correct with extended highs and super low distortion. It's open and spacious and wonderfully dynamic. I don't think there's anything you could do to this music to make it sound much better than this!

More Freddie Hubbard


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Freddie Hubbard - First Light

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hubbafirst_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Super Hot Stamper original CTI pressing has a truly SUPERB side two that just put to shame most of what we played. Smeary blurred trumpet blasts? Not here. Nope, the transient bite and energy of the trumpet is as REAL as it gets.

Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and this pressing was one of the few in our shootout with the kind of high quality mastering that can do justice to his uniquely energetic, lightning fast jazz style.

More Freddie Hubbard


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Freddie Hubbard - Sky Dive

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hubbaskydi_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

With a sonic grade of A+++ this White Hot Stamper original CTI pressing has a side two that won Top Honors in our recent shootout. It's CLEARLY the best sounding side we have ever offered of this funky jazz classic, but it has serious condition issues, including a mark that plays at the end of track one all the way into track two. If you can live with that mark you will hear some amazing sound and music on side two. And if you buy this copy and realize you can't, feel free to send it back for a full refund.

More Freddie Hubbard


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The Police - Outlandos d’Amour

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: policoutla_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Minty A&M LP has TWO AMAZING SIDES on QUIET VINYL! We listened to more than a dozen copies of this album -- imports, promos, and domestics -- and nothing came close to this copy! There are SWEET HIGHS and AMBIENCE that we didn’t think were possible -- and it ROCKS!

Halfway through this shootout, our mood here had become somber. We were innundated with dull, overly compressed, harsh sounding copies of a record that's supposed to be upbeat and fun -- especially on Side Two. Muck!!

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Neil Young - Time Fades Away

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: youngtimef_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO AMAZING A+++ SIDES, making this the best copy ever to hit our site! Unlike most "live" albums this one was cut direct-to-disc with no fixes or overdubs. On a White Hot Stamper like this the sound is incredibly open and spacious, with a three-dimensional quality that puts you right there with the band!

More Neil Young


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Neil Young - On The Beach

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: youngonthe_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

HOT STAMPERS FOR THIS NEIL YOUNG GEM FINALLY DISCOVERED! We’ve been trying for quite a while to find a copy of this album with the kind of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling sound we get from the best copies of Zuma and After The Gold Rush, but it's been quite the tough task. We love the music, but most of the copies we played left us wondering if we'd ever play one worthy of the Hot Stamper designation. Well, folks, I'm pleased to report that we've finally confirmed what we had imagined and hoped -- that on the best pressings, this album can sound OUT OF THIS WORLD!

More Neil Young


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Talking Heads - Talking Heads: 77

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: talkitalki_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

AMAZING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES of this White Hot Stamper LP. Side two rates A+++ and side one is not far behind at A++ - A+++. This copy murdered the typical pressings in an incredibly enjoyable shootout.We couldn't believe how amazing this album can sound on a top copy. I'd even say that it's a sonic step up from More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear Of Music and Remain In Light, probably tying with Little Creatures for top Talking Heads honors.

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Steely Dan - The Royal Scam

Our $600 Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: steelroyal_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Steely Dan fans, brace yourselves! This White Hot Stamper copy of The Royal Scam ROCKS HARDER than you’d ever imagine! We play dozens and dozens of these each year, and it’s a shame more of them don’t sound like this. All the elements necessary to really bring this music to life are here: tight, punchy bass; knockout energy; big time presence; shocking clarity and so forth. Everyone gets all hot and bothered about Aja (and with good reason) but there’s no denying how POWERFUL this material is after you’ve heard these songs sound like this!

More Steely Dan


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Poco - Poco

Are the Original Pressings the Best Sounding?

  (Item #: poco_poco_original) 



I've been a fan of this album since it came out in 1970, but I never thought that the original pressings were especially good sounding.

Turns out I was right -- the original Yellow Label Epic pressings leave much to be desired, so much so that we simply do not bother to pick them up anymore. Based on the results of this shootout I would say it's very unlikely we would offer you anything but a later label copy as a Hot Stamper. Ah, but which one? That's always the rub, isn't it? They all sound different, and most are nothing special.

See all of our Poco albums in stock


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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

We Found a Good Sounding Orange Label Pressing

  (Item #: jeffesurre_2010) 



This QUIET orange label (!) pressing has surprisingly good sound, some of the best sound we have ever heard for that more-often-than-not dismal second label in fact. It actually beat a few of our black label originals, with more tubey magic and less distortion and harshness than we expect from these later pressings.

We always have fun playing this psychedelic ’60s masterpiece. The sound -- problematical as it may be -- gives you so many of the qualities we love about good ol’ analog. No one’s recording albums these days with this kind of richness, sweetness, and warmth, that’s for sure. Drop the needle on My Best Friend or Today to hear that trippy Sixties San Francisco sound at its best.

More Jefferson Airplane


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Badfinger - Straight Up

The British 2 LP Remaster Is a Joke

  (Item #: badfistrai_apple_remaster) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This British 2 LP reissue was digitally remastered and contains alternate mixes of 6 songs on the 2nd record.

The whole series was awful sounding and should be avoided completely.

More Badfinger


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Bonnie Raitt - Sweet Forgiveness

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: raittsweet_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper side one had the kind of sound that just JUMPS out of the speakers! This side one had more of everything: more size and weight. more separation, more ambience, more vocal dynamics, more presence, more bottom end (which is unusual in that most copies of this album tends to be bass shy); in short, more LIFE. This copy, more than any other we played, showed us just how good the master tapes must be.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Bonnie Raitt - Nine Lives

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: raittnine_2006) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

I did a little shootout today (7/3/06) with a few copies of this album and this one was CLEARLY SUPERIOR. The others were a bit smeared and thick sounding. This copy has the LIFE of the recording preserved in the grooves. With George Massenburg involved, there's no way this record could sound "natural". This copy does sound the way it's supposed to and that's the most we can hope for. If you have an aggressive or thin sounding stereo this is not the record for you.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Art Pepper - Smack Up

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: peppesmack_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

WOW -- the first Smack Up Hot Stamper to hit the site in over two years! We love this album and wish we could find more great copies, but it sure ain't easy. Here's a Contemporary Yellow Label pressing that's very good on side one and INCREDIBLE on side two. The first track on side one doesn't sound quite as good as the rest of the material, but by the second track this thing is SMOKIN'.

More Art Pepper


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Stan Getz - Getz Au Go Go

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: getz_getza_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This WHITE Hot Stamper Stan Getz record has the kind of LIVE JAZZ CLUB SOUND that audiophiles like us (you and me) dream of. More importantly, this ain’t no Jazz at Some Pawnshop -- this is THE REAL THING. Stan Getz, Gary Burton, Kenny Burrell and the lovely Astrud Gilberto, the living embodiment of Cool Jazz, are coming to a listening room near you (assuming you have two hundred and fifty bucks you're not doing anything else with).

More Getz Au Go Go


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Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz-Gilberto

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: getz_getzg_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

We have been trying to find great sound (on reasonable surfaces) for this album for YEARS -- I kid you not -- but this 2-pack is the first Hot Stamper version to ever hit the site. We have fired up this shootout multiple times since 2006 and been left empty-handed each and every time until the last go-around. We have sunk an insane amount of dough into trying to get a few killer copies because we love the music so much, but we just haven't had much to show for it. If you love this Brazilian-flavored cool jazz as much as we do, you might want to snap this one up because who knows when or if we'll find another one.

More Stan Getz


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Van Morrison - Moondance

Our Half-Speed Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: morrimoond_ddlabs_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We've combined our two best half-speed mastered SuperDisk pressings to give you Super Hot sound for both sides. Of all the half-speed versions we had here, two of them each had one amazing side.

"But Tom," you might say, "I thought you hated audiophile versions of rock records!" Well, we sure don't hate 'em when they sound like this! The best Green Label copies are going to be a step up in class, but you're going to have a hard time finding sound this good for Moondance no matter what kind of pressings you're playing.

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Sammy Davis Jr. Sings, Laurindo Almeida Plays

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: davissammy_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

One of the most emotionally rich and sublimely enjoyable collections of romantic ballads ever recorded. White Hot on side one, Super Hot on side two, this copy is truly a Demo Disc for vocal reproduction. So intimate - Sammy is quietly accompanied by Laurindo Almeida on solo guitar.


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Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: peppemoder_yellow_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Oh Yeah! This Contemporary Yellow Label LP DESTROYED the competition in our big shootout this week, rating ABOVE A++ on BOTH SIDES. We didn’t hear better sound for either side on any other copy we played. Drop the needle on any track and prepare yourself to be BLOWN AWAY! The sound is full-bodied and energetic with tight bass, breathy brass, and lots of ambience.

More Art Pepper


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The Beatles - The Blue Album

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: beatl1967_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This is a WONDERFUL SOUNDING early German Import 2 LP set -- pressed on fairly quiet vinyl to boot! We are on record as finding the British pressings of 1967-1970 too bright; certainly most of them are anyway. This German set has much more natural sound to my ear -- it's RICH, SMOOTH and SWEET, with plenty of tubey magic and little of the grain and grunge of the Brits. (The original domestic pressings, as anyone who has ever played one can attest, mastered at Sterling no less, are absolutely godawful.)

More of The Beatles


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto in D / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

It is an airless fraud, a cheap fake reproduction that's incapable of fooling anyone with two good ears, a properly set up stereo and a decent collection of Golden Age violin concertos.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Freddie Hubbard - The Body and Soul of Freddie Hubbard

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: hubbabodya_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

An outstanding Freddie Hubbard straight ahead jazz album on Speakers Corner vinyl that belongs in any jazz lover's collection.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.

More Freddie Hubbard


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Nat King Cole - Nat King Cole Sings/ George Shearing Plays

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: cole_natki_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Excellent sound on both sides! We picked up a bunch of pressings of this great collaboration album featuring the vocals of Nat King Cole and the piano work of George Shearing. The better pressings like this one are wonderful sonically, putting Cole's voice right up front with lots of breath and texture. It's very tough to find great sound for Nat King Cole, so here's a rare chance to hear what he can sound like on a strong pressing.

More Nat "King" Cole


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Roy Dunann

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allroy_dunann) 



ROY DUNANN is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Roy Dunann engineered albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

More of our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers


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David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: bowiediamo_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The sound on this copy is KILLER. It's incredibly big and open with tons of space around the instruments and wonderfully present vocals. Super rich, full and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and spacious -- good luck finding another copy with sound anything like this!

Both sides were shootout winners and earned A+++ grades. This copy was better than the rest of them in every way we could imagine -- livelier, more transparent, cleaner, more present and all that good stuff.

More David Bowie


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David Bowie - Pin-Ups

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: bowiepinup_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We just finished our biggest-ever shootout for this fun Bowie album and this one was DRAMATICALLY better than most other copies. We played copies from all over the world -- England, Germany, France, Canada, and the good ol' USA -- and heard all kinds of bad sound. This one is no Demo Disc (I don't there's a copy in the world that would fit that description) but it's a HUGE step up over just about anything else you could expect to find. The sound is lively, natural, and smooth with all the tubey magic you could ask for.

More David Bowie


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Grieg / Piano Concerto / Wallenstein

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: griegpiano_2566_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This Shaded Dog pressing has exceptionally lively and dynamic sound on side two, which earned an A++ grade and plays quietly to boot! The sound is BIG and BOLD enough to fill up your listening room and then some. Side one is strong as well earning an A+ grade and also playing quietly. The piano is clean and clear, and the strings are rich and textured, It's practically impossible to find a Rubinstein record that plays Mint Minus, but this one does! And his performance of this wonderful work is superb, as is his performance of the shorter coupling works on side two (which actually have the best sound here).

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)


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Billie Holiday - Music For Torching

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: holidmusic_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

You'd be hard pressed to find a female vocal album from the 1950s with sound comparable to this one. We just finished up a big shootout for the sublimely titled Music For Torching, and this lovely copy was clearly one of the better pressings we played. If you love smoky jazz vocals the way only Lady Day can sing them, we think you'll be absolutely blown away to hear her sound this warm, rich and present.

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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

What to Listen For

  (Item #: londojulieis_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.

On side one listen to how rich the bottom end is on Barney Kessel's guitar. The Tubey Magic on this side is off the charts. Some copies can be dry, but that is clearly not a problem on this one. The naturalness of the presentation puts this album right at the top of best sounding female vocal albums of all time.

More Julie London


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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: brubetimeo_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This time around no other copy of Time Out could touch our good Six Eye Stereo pressings -- they were in a league of their own.

If you've been with us for a long time you may remember that this was not always the case. We used to really like some 360s as I recall, as well as the original mono pressing. This time around, not so much.

This time around most everythings's different. Allow us to explain.

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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

Our Mono Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: brubetimeo_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Mono Six Eye original pressing has wonderful sound on BOTH SIDES, rating A++ on side two and A+ to A++ on side one. That was way better than practically all of the stereo copies we played -- which came as a bit of a shock as we had always preferred the stereo version, with its wonderful spaciousness and three-dimensionality.

The vinyl plays mostly Mint Minus throughout -- FREAKISHLY QUIET for an old six eye pressing.

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Sonny Stitt & Paul Gonsalves - Salt and Pepper

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: stittsalta_2006) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Original Impulse Brown & Orange Label LP.

When this came out on 180 gram vinyl, I raved that it was one of the best Impulse 180 gram reissues, but you can be sure this original will KILL that one!


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Sonny Stitt - Plays Arrangements From the Pen Of Quincy Jones

Reviewed in 2004

  (Item #: stittsonny_2004) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Outstanding mainstream jazz at its best! Stitt is absolutely phenomenal on this album. His solo work on My Funny Valentine alone is worth the price of the album! The real jazz guys know that his lines are completely fresh and unique. This record is all the proof you need to know what a giant of jazz Sonny Stitt was. He's also joined by great players such as Hank Jones, Freddy Green, Oscar Pettiford and Philly Joe Jones.

There is a larger group that joins him on some numbers, but the real star of this album is Stitt when he is soloing. Very good sound as well.


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Fred Plaut

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allfred_plaut) 



FRED PLAUT is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Fred Plaut engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

More of our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers


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John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: coltrloves_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is an original 1964 Impulse LP in superb condition. This record is ALIVE! WHen you hear a record like this, you don’t need to play the 180 gram reissue to know that the original KILLS IT. The sound here is right on the money and as good as I've ever heard it. It also plays fairly quiet, about M-, which is unusual for an original of this vintage.

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The Recordings of John Coltrane

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: coltrane_john_) 



These are just some of the recordings by John Coltrane that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

John Coltrane Albums with Hot Stampers

John Coltrane Albums We've Reviewed



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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: oldfitubul_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

You'll find incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides of this British Virgin LP - this one is doing everything right! The space, the richness and the clarity all combine to make this a powerful listening experience. It's incredibly hard to find good sounding copies of this record - this is the first White Hot copy to hit the site in a long time.


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The Recordings of The Lovin' Spoonful

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: lovin_spoonful) 



These are just some of the recordings by The Lovin' Spoonful that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor sound and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

The Lovin' Spoonful Albums with Hot Stampers

The Lovin' Spoonful Albums We've Reviewed



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The Beatles - Abbey Road

We Was Wrong -- The MoFi Can Sound Great!

  (Item #: beatlabbey_mofi_wrong) 



This Minty MoFi is the Killer MFSL Abbey Road of All Time. We’ve never done a shootout like this in the history of Better Records. Picture it: five Mobile Fidelity copies of Abbey Road, ostensibly identical limited editions, pressed on premium virgin vinyl in Japan. Longtime readers of the site will not be surprised to learn that they all sound different, and in very different ways.

Why is this shootout a first? Simple: we never had five open copies in stock at any one time. Having done a big shootout for the Brit copies in January (2007), we knew how good this album could sound. How would the MoFi stack up to the best Brits? We decided to find out.

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Roy Halee

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allroy_halee) 



ROY HALEE is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Check out our supply of Roy Halee engineered or produced albums, along with some of our famous commentaries.
More of our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers


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Lovin' Spoonful - The Very Best of the Lovin' Spoonful

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: lovinveryb_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) White Hot Stamper sound for some of the biggest hits of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band I wouldn't expect to hear sound good on vinyl if I lived to be a hundred, and yet, here it is! This pressing changes EVERYTHING.

This copy lets you hear versions of Younger Girl, Didn't Want to Have to Do It, Daydream, You Didn't Have to Be So Nice, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?, and Do You Believe in Magic? with the kind of sonics never thought possible, not by us anyway. This copy is truly a revelation. And side two ain't too shabby either.

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Crowded House - Woodface

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: crowdwoodf_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This WHITE HOT STAMPER Woodface fulfills the promise of this extraordinarily well-recorded album beyond all expectations. We have an expression that we reserve for this kind of record -- Master Tape Sound. When you drop the needle on a record this good you feel like you just threaded up the master tape and hit play. The effect so totally immerses you in the musical experience that you forget you're listening to a record at all.

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Eddie Kramer

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: alleddie_kramer) 



EDDIE KRAMER is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers.

Check out our supply of Eddie Kramer engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Bad Company - Run With The Pack

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: badcorunwi_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

SUPERB SOUND on Hot Stamper 2-pack! This is not an easy album to find with audiophile sound, and since our best sides were less impressive on their flipsides, we paired up these two copies to give you incredible sound for the album from first note to last.

Side two of the second record is the real deal, with BIG, RICH and ROCKIN' White Hot Stamper sound. Side one of the first record is nearly as good (A++ to A+++), boasting exceptional transparency, excellent balance and something we didn't hear on most copies: ENERGY.

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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Notes from an Early Shootout (2007)

  (Item #: stevemonab_2007) 



This album is one of Cat's top four titles both musically and sonically. Tea and Teaser are in a league of their own, but this album and Catch Bull At Four are close behind. The music is WONDERFUL -- the best tracks (including I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light) rank right up there with anything from his catalog. Sonically, it's not an epic recording on the scale of Tea or Teaser [WRONG] but with Paul Samwell-Smith at the helm you can be sure it's an excellent sounding album -- on the right pressing.

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The Rolling Stones - Rolled Gold

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rollirolle_2011) 



We took the best first LP and mated it to the best second LP from the set to create the overall Shootout Winner with EIGHT, count 'em, eight total pluses over the four sides! And side one was WHITE HOT. We certainly didn't expect to hear sound like that on a 1975 compilation of classic Stones hits such as this; most Stones compilations are awful sounding in our experience. Played Hot Rocks lately?

But these tracks have the potential to be taken from something very close to the real master tapes, a subject we discuss in one of our dirty little secret commentaries.

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Dave Hassinger

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: alldave_hassinger) 



DAVE HASSINGER is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Dave Hassinger engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

"'Satisfaction' was [mixed] on four tracks," Hassinger recalls. "That was a big thing." He adds:

"When I first arrived at RCA there were three tracks. When it went to four tracks we were all thinking. What are we going to do with the extra track?"

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Chuck Mangione - Children of Sanchez

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mangichild_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

What's unusual about this album -- shocking really -- is how MEATY the bottom end is. I don't know of a pop jazz recording with beefier, more articulate or weightier bass. The only record I can think of in this genre of jazz with comparable bass is Grover Washington's Winelight. We played some copies of that album recently and were just knocked out with how well recorded the bass is, just the way we were knocked out with Children of Sanchez from a month or two back. Both of them really set the standard for recording this kind of music. Needless to say we loved the sound.

See all of our Chuck Mangione albums in stock


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Chuck Mangione - Feels So Good

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mangifeels_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This better than Super Hot stamper side one of arguably Chuck Mangione's best album gets what is inarguably his most famous song to come alive in a way that practically no other copies in our shootout were able to. It's shocking just how lifeless and pointless Feels So Good can sound on some copies; after only a few minutes the band seems to be having a hard time staying awake. But the same performance is captured on every pressing, so how can the band sound so inspired here and so uninspired elsewhere? It's one of the mysteries of recorded media, one which still takes us by surprise on a regular basis, every week in fact.

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Grover Washington - Feels So Good

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: washifeels_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Top A+++ sound on side one and Double Plus on side two - who knew this was such a well recorded album? So much like live music -- uncompressed, present, full of energy, with the instruments clearly located and surrounded by the natural space of the studio. An RVG recording (and mastering) from 1975 that is a KNOCKOUT on a copy like this.

See all of our Grover Washington albums in stock


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Dave Mason - Headkeeper

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: masonheadk_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper side one was DOIN' IT ALL! It showed us a Headkeeper that's present and alive. This is some of the BEST SOUND Dave Mason ever managed, so let's give credit where credit is due, to the amazing AL SCHMITT.

He recorded and mixed this album and he sure knocked it out of the park. We know his work well; he happens to have engineered many albums with SUPERB SOUND: Aja, Hatari, Breezin', Late for the Sky, Toto IV, as well as some we can't stand (the entire Diana Krall digital-echo-drenched catalog comes to mind).

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Horace Silver Quintet - The Tokyo Blues

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: silvetokyo_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This QUIET Blue Note ’70s issue LP has a PHENOMENAL SIDE ONE and a GREAT SIDE TWO! It's one of the better sounding Blue Notes we've heard over the last few months.

I've played quite a few of these over the years and I've NEVER heard a side one this good. (We did hear a slightly better side two earlier this year.) The sound is super full-bodied and shockingly transparent with real depth to the soundfield. The brass has a nice bite and the piano sound is superb -- you can very clearly hear the sound of the little hammers hitting the strings inside! Piano jazz almost never sounds this good.

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Coleman Hawkins and Clark Terry - Back In Bean’s Bag

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: hawkibacki_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

We're not the least bit embarrassed to admit we used to like their version very much, and happily recommended it in our catalog back in the day.

Like many Classic Records, the master tapes are so good that even with their mediocre mastering -- and pressing: RTI's vinyl accounts for at least some of the lost sound quality, so airless and tired -- the record still sounds great, at least until you get hold of the real thing and hear what you are missing.

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Shelly Yakus

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allshelly_yakus) 



SHELLY YAKUS is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Check out the Shelly Yakus engineered or produced albums we have in stock, along with plenty of commentaries about the sound of the records he's engineered, from Moondance (his first official lead engineering gig) to Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus and more.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Martin Denny - The Versatile Martin Denny

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: dennyversa_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This early stereo Liberty label pressing has BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. This is not just another exercise in Bachelor Pad Exotica; there is some fun, swingin' jazz here. Martin Denny on piano has real jazz chops and sympathetic sidemen to play with.

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Gilbert & Sullivan - The Best Of... (3 LP Box Set)

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: gilbebesto_2006) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is a Minty RCA Reader’s Digest 3 LP Box set with SUPERB SOUND! These recordings are DEMO DISC QUALITY.

HP put the Rachmaninoff Box on the TAS List, and when you get a properly mastered one, it belongs there. But this G&S box is every bit as good sonically. This may not be high brow classical music, but it's music that belongs in any record collection, and especially in an audiophile record collection, because the sound is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

The Mikado; Pirates; The Gondoliers and Patience are simply stunning. You won't find more correct vocal and orchestral sound on the planet.


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Joe Henderson - Page One

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: hendepageo_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

EXCELLENT SOUND ON SIDE ONE of this Highly Recommended Blue Note classic! This ’70s pressing has sound that’s sure to beat the pants off most other copies out there. Just listen to the sound of the percussion; on the earlier pressings it tends to be smeary, but that’s certainly not the case here! The overall sound is open and transparent with incredible presence. Turn up the volume and you’ll have a smokin’ jazz quintet tearing it up right there in your living room! I don’t think Henderson made a better album than this one, and I doubt it’ll be easy tol find another copy that sounds this good!


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Henry Mancini - Charade

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mancichara_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Living Stereo RCA LP has TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES, giving you a healthy dose of the Living Stereo Tubey Magic we love here at Better Records. As is usually the case with Mancini's records, some tracks sound far better than others. Charade is a particularly good sounding song on side two, with superb reproduction of both female and male voices, rich and sweet in the best tradition of RCA from the Golden Age. More good stuff on side two? Drop the needle on Latin Snowfall to hear exactly what I’m talking about.

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Henry Mancini - The Pink Panther

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: mancipinkp_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Both sides are rich, sweet, and smooth. We didn't hear any other copies that could keep up with the presence and energy on BOTH sides here. The overall sound is airy, open, spacious, and SUPER transparent. The brass sounds AMAZING. You're not going to believe all the ambience, especially around the drums!

I gotta tell ya, this was quite a fun shootout. We obviously love finding the classic rock Hot Stampers, but this wonderful Mancini album was a nice change of pace.

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JS Bach / Organ Music Volume 2 / Weinrich

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: bach_organ_2649_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is an exceptionally quiet Shaded Dog pressing with SUPERB SOUND on side one. The organ is so big and relaxed sounding you can't help but forget you are in your listening room, not a church.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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Sonny Rollins - Vol. 2

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rollivol2_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Even though this session was supposedly recorded in one day on April 14, 1957 we heard an anomaly that took us somewhat by surprise. The first and third track on side two sound amazing, better than anything on side one. However, the second track, You Stepped Out Of A Dream, has sound that is clearly a step down from anything else on the album. It's smaller and more congested. Why that is we have no idea, but we felt it was worth pointing out.

Sonny's horn on side two is especially big and rich, with huge amounts of Tubey Magic as befits an all-tube 1957 Blue Note recording. This is clearly the right sound for this music.

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Frank Sinatra - Close To You

Sounds Great in Mono

  (Item #: sinatclose_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This nice looking Capitol Rainbow Label pressing has SUPERB SINATRA SOUND! His voice is PERFECTION. Rich, sweet, and completely free of phony EQ (Mobile Fidelity take note!), this record will put a living, breathing Sinatra between your speakers. Normally I'm not a big fan of these slower, ballady Sinatra records, but he's so good here, it's difficult to find fault with music and sound like this.

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Airto - Free

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: airtofree_2006) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is a Minty looking CTI LP with VERY GOOD SOUND.

We're on a winning streak with RVG these days (September 2006), three in a row, in fact: Chet Baker (She Was Too Good To Me), Freddie Hubbard (Red Clay), and now this wonderful Airto record. The best music is found on side two, especially the last two tracks.

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Wes Montgomery - Bumpin’

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: montgbumpi_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Minty looking Verve LP really sounds GOOD! It’s transparent, as well as tonally correct from top to bottom. This is THE copy to have -- we guarantee it will CRUSH the MoFi pressing.

More Wes Montgomery


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Don Sebesky

One of Our Favorite Arrangers

  (Item #: alldon_sebesky) 



DON SEBESKY is one of our favorite arrangers.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers series


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Marty Paich

One of Our Favorite Arrangers

  (Item #: allmarty_paich) 



MARTY PAICH is one of our favorite arrangers. Some of the better albums showcasing Marty's arrangements are Spirit’s first release (1967), Art Pepper Plus Eleven (1959), Ella Swings Lightly (1958) and Whisper Not (1966), and the amazing The Hi-Lo’s And All That Jazz (1958). Copies or commentaries for all of them can be found on our site.
See more entries in our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers series


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Ray Charles & Betty Carter - Ray Charles & Betty Carter

DCC Clear Vinyl Pressing

  (Item #: charlraych_dcc_clear) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

This Dunhill Compact Classics LP pressed on CLEAR VINYL is one of DCCs earliest forays into analog production. Unfortunately it sounds like a bad CD. In fact, you can be sure that Hoffman's CD murders it in every way. Don't waste your money.

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Ray Charles - All Time Great Country & Western Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: charlallti_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

EXCELLENT SOUND and mostly quiet vinyl throughout, the big highlights being an A++ side three and an A+++ side four! We finally found enough copies of this album to do another proper shootout, and this one was one of the very best. Drop the needle on side four to find out just how amazing Ray Charles can sound on vinyl when you've got a killer pressing. The vocals are silky and breathy with natural texture and amazing presence. You will not believe how much tubey magic you get on this side!

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VTA Adjustment with Santana

Sometimes It Pays to Just Fake It

  (Item #: santasant1_vta) 



When this Heavy Vinyl pressing by Columbia came out back in 2003, I was dumbfounded at the incredible sound: huge depth and soundstage; an octave of bass below what would normally be considered bass (a 20 cycle note that sticks its head up from under the more common 40 cycle bass that drives the music); wonderful transparency and sweetness in the midrange; dynamics; and lastly, the kind of low-distortion, naturally un-hyped sound that this record shared with the Nirvana LP you’ve read about on the site. When you turn up the volume to very high levels, the sound gets better!
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Why Didn't Those @!#&/?% Record Companies Produce More Hot Stampers?

  (Item #: santasant1_press) 



A while back we received a letter from a good customer of ours lamenting how rare Hot Stamper pressings are.

Why were so many copies produced without HOT STAMPER sound when it was obviously possible is beyond me and quite frankly upsets me. But that is the way it is.

Our answer can be found below.

See all of our Santana albums in stock


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Santana - Santana

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: santasant1_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Santana's brilliant first album.

First off, a 360 label doesn't mean much on this record except the POTENTIAL for good sound. The badly mastered or pressed copies can be recognized easily: they are muddy and smeary. The recording itself has a bit of that too-many-tubes-in-the-signal-path quality to start with, so unless the record is mastered and pressed clearly and cleanly the whole presentation is likely to turn to mud.

More Santana


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Santana - Santana

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: santasant1_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Santana is a record we admit to having liked a bit when it first came out. Since then we have changed our minds. As embarrassing as it may be, clearly We Was Wrong.

It’s just too damn compressed and lifeless. The Whomp Factor on this pressing is Zero. Since whomp is critical to the sound of Santana’s music, it’s Game Over for us. The review below is exactly what we wrote at the time the record came in.

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Santana - Santana

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: santasant1_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

Huge ENERGY, incredible DYNAMICS and amazing IMMEDIACY are what we found on this side two, and those three qualities are what made it the Side Two Winner of our shootout!

We just finished a big Santana shootout and this side two had us going like no other. It’s got that HUGE Santana sound that always gets us rocking along to the beat. The soundfield is big, wide, and open with a three-dimensional quality that lets you hear right INTO the music. The strong bottom end sets the perfect foundation for the mids and highs to really open up and do their thing. I can hear clearly that You Just Don't Care on side two is recorded LIVE in the studio.

More Santana


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Santana / Santana

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: santasant1_obsess) 



SANTANA is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it.

We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands -- maybe a bit too much time on your hands -- please feel free to check out our commentaries.

Santana Albums with Hot Stampers

Santana Albums We've Reviewed



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The Recordings of Santana

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: Santana) 



These are just some of the recordings by Santana that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Santana Albums with Hot Stampers

Santana Albums We've Reviewed



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Santana Records to Avoid

180 Gram Imports!

  (Item #: Santana_imports) 



There are some 180 gram reissues from Germany that are just plain awful. They can’t begin to hold a candle to good American copies. The Original Orange Label CBS pressings always have that veiled, opaque, smeary quality that we dislike so much. They are obviously made from sub-generation tapes. The transients suffer a great deal of damage when these dub tapes are used.
More Santana


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The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beachsurfe_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

I played the MoFi pressing of this record many years ago, some time back in the early '90s if memory serves, and at the time I could hardly believe that the good people of MoFi would release a record that was so ridiculously SPITTY. The sibilance is positively out of control, the result of their wacky cutting system and phony EQ.

But then I remembered that there has never been a title produced by these people with sound so bad that they would have cancelled its release,

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The Beach Boys - Surf's Up

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: beachsurfs_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper two-pack puts together the two winning sides from our last shootout! This is not an easy album to find good sound for -- just flip either one of these excellent sides over to hear what we mean. The mix is a bit of a mess (maybe more than a bit) and the sound varies somewhat between tracks, but when it works, boy it sure can sound AMAZING. Parts of this album are full of tubey magic, not to mention analog warmth and sweetness.

More Beach Boys


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The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beachsurfe_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

If you've ever played an original pressing of the album you know what a sonic mess it is. There may be some good sounding copies out there but we've never heard one and remain skeptical in the extreme as to the possibility. Ever heard a top quality early Beatles Capitol pressing? Me neither.

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The Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coup

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: beachlittl_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Capitol reissue LP has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND. The Beach Boys’ voices are as clear and as sweet as you could ever wish for. I’d be really surprised if original pressings of this album are even remotely as good sounding. This album sounds like somebody threaded up the master tape and started up the record cutting lathe.

More Beach Boys


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Chris Kimsey

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allchris_kimsey) 



CHRIS KIMSEY is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Kimsey engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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The Bloated Cello Sound Some Audiophiles Seem to Love

  (Item #: brittsonat_cello) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate any and all cello recordings you may own.

On this pressing we were a bit surprised by how unusually natural the cello sounded -- more like the real instrument and less like the typical recording of it.


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