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Paul Quinichette - On The Sunny Side

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: quinionthe_2016) 



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

With three saxophones and a trombone, this is a fresh combination that really brings out the best in all the players during this Prestige jam session, a format for which they are justly famous . I raved about this album when it was in print many years ago - it's solidly swinging jazz that belong in your collection.

1957 - It Was a Very Good Year


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Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: cash_atfol_2016) 



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

Two great sides on quiet vinyl! We've been trying to find good copies of this fun album for ages, but it wasn't until recently that we heard this music sound right. Most copies are just too thin and edgy with lots of strain and hardness on the vocals. This one is richer, smoother and sweeter, with lots of body and excellent transparency. It ain't easy to find great sounding Johnny Cash records, but this copy had the sound we were looking for.

See all of our Johnny Cash albums in stock


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Sly & The Family Stone - Life

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: slyanlife_2008) 



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

EXCELLENT MUSIC AND SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND! We picked up this Epic Yellow Label Promo LP just for fun because someone here remembered liking this album back in the day. When we cleaned it up and dropped the needle on it, we couldn’t believe how CORRECT it sounded. It's not going to ever make anyone's SuperDisc list, but if you dig funky, energetic, soul music from the late '60s, you can't do much better than this record. It's right up there with Sly's next two albums, Stand! and There's A Riot Goin' On.


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Louis Armstrong - I’ve Got The World on a String

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: armstivego_2009) 



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

This very nice looking Verve LP has EXCELLENT SOUND on both sides. Side one is transparent, rich and sweet. It’s fully of tubey magic and tonally correct from top to bottom. Side two is even better! It’s more open and spacious. I can’t imagine this record sounding a whole lot better than it does here.

More Louis Armstrong


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Foreigner - Double Vision

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: foreidoubl_2016) 



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

The fullest, richest, smoothest, most energetic and clearest copy we played in our shootout by far - this is how good the album can sound! This one has the clarity and energy that let this music come to life. The sound was jumping out of our speakers.

See all of our Foreigner albums in stock


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The Who - Who’s Next

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: who__whosn_obsess) 



WHO'S NEXT 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.

Who Albums with Hot Stampers

Who Albums We've Reviewed



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Marvin Gaye - Let’s Get It On

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: gaye_letsg_2011) 



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

AMAZING SOUND for one of the best soul albums of all time! This is the first Hot Stamper copy of Let's Get It On to ever hit the site, and it is KILLER on side one, giving you better sound for the classic title track than you probably ever dreamed of! It's not easy to find clean original copies, and even when you manage to track them down they often don't sound all that hot. This side one takes the music to a whole new level -- the vocals are smooth and sweet, the bottom end is punchy with real weight, and the vocals have the kind of presence that carries them out of the speakers and front and center into your listening room. Let's get it on indeed!

More Marvin Gaye


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Kodaly / Hary Janos Suite / Kertesz

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: kodalharry_6417_2010) 



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

This is a SUPERB recording, a real sleeper in the world of audiophile pressings. The sound is BIG, BOLD and DYNAMIC as practically any classical record you can name. And the distortion level is vanishingly small as well.

This British pressing has an AMAZING SIDE ONE (A++) backed with an excellent side two (A+), both on very quiet vinyl! I'm a big fan of this music and here's a pressing that really delivers. Side one of the album has the complete Suite, and with Super Hot Stamper sound this copy is guaranteed to knock you out. One of the top Kertesz recordings on London.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Kingsway Hall


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Randy Newman - Randy Newman Live

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: newmalive_2013) 



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

We paired up a wonderful A++ side one with an even better A+++ side two to create this killer Randy Newman Live 2-pack, giving you wonderful sound for this whole album! We had a ton of these around and finally got to the task of comparing them. Many copies were too congested or had an unpleasant edgy quality to the vocals, but the Hot sides of the 2-pack give you the kind of sound that you want for this music.

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Bennett & Evans - The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: benneevans_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

That weird boost around 10k that Stan Ricker liked to add to practically every record he mastered wreaks havoc on the sound of Tony Bennett's voice. I would be very surprised if the current in-print CD doesn't sound more tonally natural, and for us audiophile record lovers - not lovers of audiophile records, but guys who love records with audiophile sound - that's simply another nail in the coffin for one of the most laughably inept remastering labels in the history of that sad enterprise.

More Tony Bennett


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Dvorak / Violin Concerto / Accardo / Davis

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: dvoravioli_accardo_2015) 



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

Top quality sound on BOTH sides of this lovely Philps recording from 1980 -- yes, it was still possible to record classical music properly in 1980, though not many labels managed to pull it off. (Londons from this era are especially opaque and airless. We find them as irritating and frustrating as most of the Heavy Vinyl releases being foisted on the audiophile public today.)

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


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Steely Dan - Gaucho

Capitol Records Debunked

  (Item #: steelgauch_capitol) 



Sonic Grade: D

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers. When such records are clearly inferior to their mass-produced counterparts (Heavy Vinyl pressings are mass-produced too by the way), we put them in our Hall of Shame.

Reasonably good bass, we'll give it that, but no top end and no Tubey Magic. More of Ron McMaster’s handiwork and the result is a record that simply has no reason to exist. The AVERAGE original pressing sitting in your local record store bin right now for probably all of five bucks will MURDER this piece of crap.

More Gaucho


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Rozsa / Music From the Film Ben Hur

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: rozsabenhu_2010) 



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

This TAS List Super Hot Stamper pressing of one of the greatest and most famous Orchestral Blockbuster Soundtracks ever recorded more than lives up to our expectations for Decca Phase 4. This is Phase 4 done RIGHT.

As with all the best Herrmann releases, the huge size and scope you hear is the sound of orchestral music recorded in glorious ANALOG!

See all of our Phase 4 albums in stock


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Harry Nilsson - A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: nilsslittl_2011) 



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

AMAZING SOUND AND WONDERFUL MUSIC! We just finished our first huge shootout for this great album and this one was a BIG step up over most of the pressings we played. This is one of the better sounding orchestral-backed male vocal albums that we know of, and on a copy like this the sound can be MINDBLOWINGLY GOOD. Side one is rich, lush and warm; more importantly, the vocals are PERFECTION.

More Harry Nilsson


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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_2007) 



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

This Hot Stamper Verve T-Label LP has an EXCELLENT SIDE TWO backed by a great side one. Both sides are super smooth, sweet and tubey magical with Ella’s vocals sounding wonderful. Side one rates A+ and side two is a bit better. These stereo pressings have a bit of echo added to the vocals -- not a choice we would have made, but what can you do? The overall sound is still quite nice -- big and bold with lots of energy.

Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance, Soloist

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Willie Nelson - Tougher Than Leather

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: nelsotough_2017) 



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

The presence and immediacy here are outstanding. Turn it up and Willie is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. He's clearly one of our favorite male vocalists, and this superb copy will show you why.

The sound is big, open, rich and full. The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than others big time.

More Willie Nelson


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Eric Clapton - 461 Ocean Boulevard

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: clapt461oc_2012) 



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

AN AMAZING A+++ SIDE ONE backed with an EXCELLENT A++ SIDE TWO! This is the best sounding pressing of this album to ever hit our site. It is insanely tough to find copies that aren't murky, overly smooth and/or lifeless, but after years of struggling with this title we finally landed a big one.

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Rick Nelson - Garden Party

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: nelsogarde_2010) 



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

UNBELIEVABLE TUBEY ANALOG MAGIC on this very fun Rick Nelson album. Who woulda thunk it? We went through a big stack of these and couldn’t believe the wonderful DEMO QUALITY sound we heard on the best copies. It’s PURE AUDIOPHILE GOLD!

If you like the sound of albums engineered by Stephen Barncard (think Deja Vu, American Beauty and Tarkio for starters) then you are going to find much to like about the sound of this one. The country-tinged opening track, complete with pedal steel guitar, sounds amazing on a copy like this.


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Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, et al. - Greatest C&W Hits Vol 4

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: variogreat_2012) 



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

WOW! (Or should that be OMG?) This Columbia 360 original pressing has AMAZING DEMO DISC sound on many of its twelve tracks, tracks by some of the biggest names in country at the time. To hear Jimmy Dean sing Big Bad John or Marty Robbins' do Devil Woman with this kind of Tubey Magical, tonally correct, rich, sweet, spacious sound is nothing less than a THRILL. The Analog sound of this pressing makes a mockery of even the most advanced digital playback systems, including the ones that haven't been invented yet. I'd love to play this for Neil Young so he can see what he's up against! Good Luck, Neil, you're going to need it.

More Johnny Cash


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Johnny Cash - Now, There Was A Song

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: cash_nowth_2008) 



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

This very nice looking original Columbia Stereo 360 Label LP has that authentic early Johnny Cash sound. We put this through our cleaning process and took a listen. The EQ on his vocals is a little bit brighter than we like but overall the album has LOTS OF TUBEY MAGIC!

"This is an outstanding album of covers of old country songs, from the familiar (Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, George Jones) to lesser-known gems. " AMG

More Johnny Cash


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Albeniz / Iberia - Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: albeniberi_2017) 



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

The sound of this copy is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had a real winner on our hands as soon as the needle hit the groove.

We were impressed with the fact that it excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, pulling the listener into the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)


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Roy Wallace

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allroy_wallace) 



ROY WALLACE is one of our favorite recording engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Roy Wallace engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Roy Wallace Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Roy Wallace Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_2017) 



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

Exceptionally lovely All Tube sound from 1958, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by our man, Marty Paich. Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo - these were the days when Ella was on top of the world.

See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Ella Fitzgerald - The Johnny Mercer Song Book

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgjohnn_2017) 



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

The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the many highlights to be found on the songbook series. By the time this album came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs worth of songbooks - this was the last, going out on a high note. Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In - Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You.

See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Duke Ellington - Duke's Big 4

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: ellindukes_2016) 



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

I don't know of any other Pablo recording of the Duke from this era that has such big, open, clear, solid sound. VAL VALENTIN did the engineering, and as he has so often over the course of his storied career, he knocked it out of the park.

More Duke Ellington


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Linda Ronstadt - Greatest Hits - Volume 2

DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: ronstgreat_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: C

As much as I admire Steve Hoffman’s work for DCC, on this title the DCC is not as good as the best domestic copies. The best domestic pressings are leaner and meaner than the DCC, and just plain more fun. The DCC sounds thick in the midrange and fat in the bass, although some of that boost in the bass could have been used to the advantage of some of the domestic pressings we played. 1 DB or so at 50-60 cycles would help, but the DCC has a boost in the middle and upper bass that causes the bass to sound bloated next to a good pressing.

See all of our Linda Ronstadt albums in stock


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Steely Dan - Katy Lied

Live and Learn

  (Item #: steelkatyl_jpn) 



And to think I used to swear by this pressing -- specifically the 2000 Yen reissue, not the 1500 Yen original -- another example of just how Wrong you can be.

We happily admit to our mistakes because we know that all this audio stuff and especially the search for Hot Stampers is a matter of trial and error. We do the trials; that’s how we avoid the kinds of errors most audiophiles and audiophile record dealers make when it comes to finding the best sounding records. Of course, being human we can’t help but make our share of mistakes. The difference is that we learn from them. We report the facts to the best of our ability every time out.

See more of our Steely Dan albums in stock


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Cream - Fresh Cream

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: creamfresh_2017) 



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

After playing this copy and the other ones that came close, this music sounds so much better than I ever thought it could, it's given me a whole new appreciation for the album. I've grown to love it, and consider it one of the all time greats. It's probably my favorite Cream record now. That's what a good copy can do.

More Cream


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10cc - Deceptive Bends

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: tenccdecep_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Deceptive Bends.

We've long been huge fans of this album both musically and sonically. It's the kind of recording where the sound JUMPS out of the speakers. It reminds me of Crime Of The Century that way. It's also one of the most DYNAMIC popular recordings I know of. If this album doesn't wake up your system, it's time to scrap it and start over! Musically it's one of my all time favorite albums, a real Desert Island disc.

More 10cc


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The Lovin' Spoonful - n Sebastian Songbook, Vol. 1

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: lovinjohns_2017) 



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

Great sound for some the biggest hits of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band I wouldn't have expected to hear sound good on vinyl if I lived to be a hundred, and yet, here it is. This is one of the rare cases where, in our experience, the hits compilation sounds BETTER than the original records. Why? Who knows? We don't pretend to have all the answers. What we do have (that no one else has, if that's not too obvious) are the records that back up the claims we make for them.

See all of our The Lovin' Spoonful albums in stock


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Bread - The Best of Bread Vol. 2

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: breadbesto2_2010) 



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

This very nice looking Elektra Butterfly Label LP has the best sound I’ve ever heard for this compilation. Keep in mind that this is an album of mostly weak material, not in the class with the first ’Best of Bread’ by a long shot. However, some of these songs sound quite good here, easily better than the typical Bread album from which they are taken. Listen to 'Been Too Long On The Road' or 'He's A Good Lad' to hear the best sounding Bread.

More Bread


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Blondie - Autoamerican

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: blondautoa_2009) 



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

DEMO DISC SOUND on this A+++ Hot Stamper Side One! This is one KILLER New Wave Pop Record. All the Blondie magic you could ever want is in these grooves! The truly POWERFUL sound of this Power Pop Band really comes through on this Bad Boy, or should we say Bad Girl? Whatever. This was the Hands Down Hot Stamper Winner of our latest shootout. Man, we had a ball with this one.

To be fair, consistency is the problem with this album, with some songs being absolute Pop Masterpieces (The Tide Is High on side one, Rapture on side two), but other tracks falling short of the standard set by Parallel Lines, where every track bar none was a gem of songcraft and High Gloss Pure Pop Production.



 
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White Hot Stamper

Genesis
Wind and Wuthering

  (Item #: geneswinda_2016) 


  • The first single copy with Triple Triple sound to EVER hit the site! It's a ridiculously tough album to find great sound for
  • Both A+++ sides are dramatically more present, dynamic and detailed than we've heard elsewhere
  • It's hard to imagine we'll have many copies like this in the future -- we've been trying for years and come up with very few
  • Allmusic: "Followed quickly on the heels of A Trick of the Tail and they're very much cut from the same cloth"
See all of our Genesis albums in stock


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Traffic - Mr. Fantasy

Where's the Bass?

  (Item #: traffmrfan_pink) 



This Pink Label Original Island pressing has amazingly sweet, open, extended and transparent mids and highs. It has two major shortcomings: a lack of bass, and a fair amount of surface noise. If you can add a few dB around 50 cycles and can put up with some surface noise and scratches, you are guaranteed to hear some wonderful sound in the best tubey Island tradition.

Side two sounds better than side one; it has more bass and therefore is more tonally correct.

More Traffic


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Traffic - Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: traffshoot_2015) 



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

Import versus domestic? You would be hard pressed to find better sound than on the best of these DOMESTIC pressings, and that includes Low Spark of High Heeled Boys!

We just finished a huge shootout for this album and didn't find a copy that could hold a candle to this one in the huge stack we played. This may not be the best Traffic album ever, but on a copy that sounds this good it's very enjoyable and certainly an impressive sonic spectacular.

See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzephysi_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

Tonally correct, which is one thing you can't say for most of the Zeps in this series, that's for sure. Those of you with crappy domestic copies, crappy imported reissues and crappy CDs, which is pretty much all there is of this recording, will not know what you're missing.

More Led Zeppelin


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Dopey Record Theories Part 2

Putting More Bad Ideas to the Test

  (Item #: book_2) 



A well know audiophile reviewer once wrote the following, which I quote:

But just because you find a “360 Sound” label doesn't mean you have an “original” pressing. -1A is an original. Then -1B, etc. Past a certain number it goes to -1AA, etc. There's great variability to the sound of these different pressings with -1A being best, of course.

Of course!
More Dopey Record Theories


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Astrud Gilberto / Walter Wanderley - A Certain Sadness...

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gilbeacert_2010) 



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

LOVELY SOUND AND EXCELLENT MUSIC on this unusually quiet, exceptionally good sounding Verve T-Label LP. We compiled enough of these to do a shootout and this was one of the better copies, earning A++ grades for both sides. It's full of energy with big time immediacy and wonderfully breathy female vocals. The organ sounds gorgeous!

More Astrud Gilberto


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Rush - Signals

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: rush_signa_2016) 



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

If you're a fan of the band, you know what these guys are about -- big-time technical prowess, dizzying effects, powerful solos and so forth. You've got to have a very good pressing with serious clarity and lots of energy if you want that magic to come through in the grooves.

More Rush


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Joe Gordon - Lookin’ Good!

  (Item #: gordolooki_2009) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper pressing has the Contemporary Jazz Sound we LOVE here at Better Records. If you want to know what’s wrong with the sound of your Rudy Van Gelder Squakfest Records, play this LP and bathe in the kind of relaxed, NATURAL tonality that Roy DuNann is justly famous for.

More Contemporary label jazz


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Phil Collins - Face Value

Whomp Factor

  (Item #: collifacev_whomp) 



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.

Until we heard some of the better copies we were simply not able to appreciate just how important good bass definition and serious weight down low are to the sound of this record. When the bass is wooly or thin, as it is on so many copies -- not clear, not deep, not full enough -- it throws the rest of the mix off. When the bass is huge and powerful the music itself becomes huge and powerful.

More Phil Collins and Genesis


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Sade - Diamond Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sade_diamo_2017) 



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

This copy gives you the kind of present, breathy vocals that are absolutely critical to the success of this music . There’s no denying the power of Sade’s sultry voice when you can actually hear it. All it takes is a top copy such as this to make her talents -- and those of her bandmates -- abundantly clear.

More Sade


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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Breaking Down the Engineers

  (Item #: ledzephysi_engineers) 



Four engineers worked on the various sessions for the tracks which would become Physical Graffiti. The songs for this sprawling double album were recorded over the course of five years (1970-1974) although the bulk of the work was done by Ron Nevison in January and February of 1974.

For a complete breakdown of who recorded what, see below.

More Physical Graffiti


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Dire Straits - Making Movies

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: diresmakin_2017) 



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

Making Movies finally makes the grade on this White Hot Stamper copy! We've tried this one a few times over the years, very rarely having anything to show for it. The typical copy of this album tends to be dry, spitty, grainy, and somewhat dull, robbing the music of much of its charm. These guys obviously know their way around a studio -- many of you must know just how good their first album can sound -- so we've always been frustrated at what we hear on copy after copy that hits out table.

More Dire Straits


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Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms

Simply Vinyl Reviewed

  (Item #: diresbroth_simply_vinyl) 



Sonic Grade: B

This older Simply Vinyl pressing (with the gold SVLP sticker) actually sounds pretty good. It certainly is one of the most ANALOG sounding versions I’ve heard, high praise in my book.

We've recommended it in the past. It's a nice record (if you can get your hands on one) but it's not really a match for our Hot Stamper pressings. The multiple copies we auditioned did darn good for a Heavy Vinyl reissue and substantially better than the average pressing, hence the "B" grade.

More Dire Straits


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Lou Rawls - Live!

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: rawlslive_2014) 



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

This is one of the best live vocal recordings we know of, but only a great copy like this will bring that sound to your stereo. Lou is live, singing his heart out in a small club that exists between, behind and maybe even around your speakers. If you can reproduce the three-dimensional space of this club well you are in for a real treat.

The songs are great, the musicians are brilliant, the sound is amazing -- what else could you ask for?

This album was a late addition to our 2014 update of our Rock and Pop Top 100 list. or live soul-infused vocals we know of none better.

See all of our Lou Rawls albums in stock


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Nat King Cole - Unforgettable

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cole_unfor_2017) 



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

Our shootout winner here had the clearest, most natural vocals, with a living, breathing Nat King Cole front and center. Hard to believe some of these songs date back to 1946, with the most recent being from 1954. No matter; whatever the limitations of the recording technology, they knew enough of what they were doing to get Nat's voice consistently right for practically every track.

See all of our Nat King Cole albums in stock


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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Near Myth

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brubenearm_2011) 



This original STEREO BLUE VINYL Fantasy pressing has Hot Stamper sound on both sides, with rich and musical Tubey Magical qualities appropriate to this early '60s West Coast jazz. We've known about this album for close to twenty years, having played the surprisingly good sounding OJC pressing and recommended it back in the days when those kinds of records were still in print.

Side two is especially good on this copy: present, lively and clear, with good energy.

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Sonny Rollins - Taking Care of Business

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: rollitakin_2010) 



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

This is a Prestige Demo Two-Fer Double LP.

Big, full-bodied, MONO jazz sound at its BEST. This is what classic ’50s jazz is supposed to sound like! These transfers from 1978 by David Turner are in tune with the sound of these recordings. There's not a trace of phony EQ on this entire record, and the vinyl plays nice and quiet.

This Two-Fer includes all of Tenor Madness and most of Work Time and Tour De Force. Top jazz players such as Ray Bryant, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Kenny Drew, Max Roach and Paul Chambers can be heard on the album.

More Sonny Rollins


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Red Garland Trio - Groovy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: garlagroov_2017) 



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

This Triple Triple (A+++) pressing recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in '56/'57 in mono is RICH and REAL like you will not believe. This very record has the best sound and the best music we have ever heard on any Red Garland album.

See all of our Red Garland albums in stock


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Which Album by The Who Has the Best Sound?

We Think It's Tommy

  (Item #: who__tommy_sounds_best) 



I don't know of another Who album with such consistently good sound -- song to song, not copy to copy, of course. Just about every song on here can sound wonderful on the right pressing. If you're lucky enough to get a Hot Stamper copy, you're going to be blown away by the Tubey Magical Guitars, the rock-solid bottom end, the jumpin'-out-of-the-speakers presence and dynamics, and the silky vocals and top end. Usually the best we can give you for The Who is "Big and Rockin," but on Tommy, we can give you '60s analog magic like you will rarely hear in the decades to follow.

Acoustic guitar reproduction is key to this recording, and on the best copies the harmonic coherency, the richness, the body and the phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard in every strum.

More Tommy


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Bruce Botnick

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allbruce_botnick) 



BRUCE BOTNICK is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Andy Johns engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Bruce Botnick Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Bruce Botnick Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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Brewer & Shipley - Weeds

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: breweweeds_2017) 



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

It took two copies on two different labels to give you BETTER than Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the two sides of this 2-pack. These sides were beyond anything we had ever heard, with weight and Tubey Magic to put other records to shame. On the best copies the midrange is amazingly relaxed and natural, yet completely clear and present. This Bay Area Hippie Folk Rock has much in common with classic albums like Workingman's Dead and CSN's first.

See all of our Brewer & Shipley albums in stock


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Do All the Robert Ludwig Mastered Copies Have Hot Stampers?

  (Item #: brewetarki_RL) 



Even though all the original Pink Label pressings are mastered by Robert Ludwig, they have a marked tendency to be dull, thick and opaque. The sound is just too smooth. The best copies however have the top end and the transparency to let you hear all the guitar and vocal harmonics, surrounded by the large acoustic of the studio.

This time around we discovered something new: one specific stamper that seemed to be the only one with the potential for an extended top end. This special stamper did not always fare well; some copies with it were mediocre. We have always found this to be the way with the "right" stampers; they often let us down and sometimes they really let us down hard.

More Brewer and Shipley


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Peter Gabriel

Commentary and Overview

  (Item #: allpeter_gabriel) 



I’m a huge PETER GABRIEL fan, having grown up with every one of the first five studio albums practically as they were released.

The first is an operatic extravaganza, with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production, a sound PG would never return to for some reason. Maybe he needed to get it out of his system?

Hot Stamper Peter Gabriel Albums in Stock


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Neil Young - Harvest

Nautilus Reviewed

  (Item #: youngharve_nautilus) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Half Speed reviewed. We haven't played a copy of this record in more than a decade, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds.

This is a SURPRISINGLY good sounding Nautilus Half-Speed mastered LP with AMAZING transparency. The sound here is DRAMATICALLY more natural than your average audiophile pressing.Just listen to the phoney top end found on most MOFIs to see what we mean. On this record you'll hear non of the hyped up highs that are MoFis claim to fame.

More Neil Young


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Sly & The Family Stone - There’s A Riot Going On

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: slyanthere_2009) 



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

This very nice looking Epic Demo LP sounds about as good as you could hope for from this famously compromised recording. Some tracks sound great and others don’t. It’s not a Demo Disc by any stretch but I can’t imagine it sounding much better than it does here; it’s tonally correct from top to bottom. Almost any remastering engineer is going to want to brighten this up, but believe me that will ruin it and turn it into the dry, grainy, transistory crap that labels like Sundazed and Get Back like to put out. The music is wonderful, of course, earning 5 big stars in the All Music Guide.

You just don’t see too many clean copies of this one around. DJs and the like tend to snap them up as soon as they hit the bins. What’s a good party without a little Family Affair?


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Sly And The Family Stone - Fresh

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: slyanfresh_2017) 



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

Both sides here had exceptionally good bass, and that earned it a lot of points in our shootout. The sound is punchy and full-bodied with excellent clarity. It's also smooth, in the best tradition of analog from the early '70s. This is the right sound for the music, no question about it.

See all of our Sly and the Family Stone albums in stock


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Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: previwests_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B-

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

I played this record a while back -- it's one of the Mobile Fidelity's I remember liking from the old days -- and sure enough it still sounds good. It does not have the phony boosted bottom and top that most MoFis do. Since it's such a well recorded album, the sound is very impressive. Also the music is great. This is one of Previn's best piano trio records. And Shelly Manne drums up a storm here.

More Andre Previn


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Turning Skeptics into Believers

One Hot Stamper at a Time

  (Item #: skeptic_1) 



Years ago we received a letter from a fellow on our email list who found our prices for vinyl curious, and which he considered a bygone technology at the time. Can’t say I agree with that assessment. It sure would be nice to demonstrate for him how much better records sound than the supposedly superior technologies that have -- for most people, perhaps even for this gentleman -- replaced them.

Wait, there is a way! A Hot Stamper, 100% Guaranteed to Satisfy or Your Money Back. One click is all it takes. Which is pretty much what I said in my reply to his letter which you can read below.

Straight Answers to Your Hot Stamper Questions


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A Frequently Asked Question

How different will a Hot Stamper sound on my system?

  (Item #: hot_stampers_faq_3) 



That's a tough question, because it involves two things I can't know: how good your stereo is, and how critically you listen to it. Really, the only way to find out is to try a record or two and see if the sound quality justifies the price to you. Which is why we offer a 100% money back guarantee: the record has to perform to your satisfaction or we give you all your money back.
Straight Answers to Your Hot Stamper Questions


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A Frequently Asked Question

How can common pressings possibly be worth these prices?

  (Item #: hot_stampers_faq_2) 



We freely admit that we paid south of twenty bucks each at local stores for most of the records on our site. We pay what the stores charge, and most rock records are priced from five to twenty bucks.

Unfortunately the cost of the records you see on the site is only a small part of the cost of that finished "product." The reality of our business is that it costs almost as much to find a Carly Simon or Gino Vannelli Hot Stamper that sells for a hundred dollars as it does to find a Neil Young or Yes Hot Stamper that sells for five times that.

Straight Answers to Your Hot Stamper Questions


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A Frequently Asked Question

Are Hot Stamper pressings quiet?

  (Item #: hot_stampers_faq_1) 



They're about as quiet as vintage LPs ever are. Some surface noise is always going to be audible on an old record. We believe we sell the quietest vintage pressings in the world, but they are certainly not silent. Lately we've been adding this text to our listings to clarify our position on surface noise:

Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any original pressing will play, and since only the right originals have any hope of sounding amazing on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Straight Answers to Your Hot Stamper Questions


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Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: vaughsarah_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

A TOP TITLE from Speakers Corner on 180 gram. This is an outstanding Sarah Vaughan album with very good sound and top players like Clifford Brown on trumpet, Paul Quinichette on tenor sax and Herbie Mann on flute.

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

More Sarah Vaughan


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Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are!

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: deeppwhodo_2011) 



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

This British Import Purple Records pressing has a GREAT side one, and AMAZING A+++ side two, and VERY QUIET VINYL throughout! I don't think you could find a better sounding side two no matter what you did. The sound here is BIG, BOLD and LIVELY with real weight down low and excellent presence. It really JUMPS out of the speakers and fills up the room! Side one is very good as well, with all of the qualities described above. It doesn't fully open up the way side two does, but it still slaughtered most of the copies we played it against.

More Deep Purple


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Deep Purple - Mark I & II

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: deeppmarko_2009) 


This is a Minty looking EMI Import Double LP. It’s a compilation with a single LP dedicated to each era of the bands early history. As with any compilation some tracks sound better than others here but don’t let the German sourced tapes scare you. These sound like really high quality tapes, close to, if not the actual master tapes. The second LP features the most recognizable and probably best lineup (Mark II) the band ever had, with songs such as Black Knight, Speed King, Smoke on the Water and Highway star to name but a few.
More Deep Purple


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Martin Birch

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allmartin_birch) 



MARTIN BIRCH is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Martin Birch engineered albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Martin Birch Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Martin Birch Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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The Pretenders - The Pretenders

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: preteprete_2013) 



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

Forget the dubby domestic vinyl, these Brits are the only way to go. And this one is a great deal quieter than most. Most of the copies I bought from English record dealers were just BEAT. They kept telling me they played fine (on their Technics table I'm guessing), but I could not for the life of me replicate their experience for myself here in the states.

More Pretenders


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Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gordoourma_2010) 



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

AMAZING SOUND ON SIDE ONE, great sound on side two and quiet vinyl throughout. Most importantly, the music here is EXCELLENT. We shot out all the copies in the house, and nothing could hold a candle to this Blue Label pressing on side one.

The sound is lively and energetic with lots of DEEP, well-defined bass. This side one has the kind of bottom-end WHOMP that you don’t hear on too many Blue Note LPs. The overall sound is rich and full-bodied with lots of air in the brass. The sound really JUMPS out of the speakers!

More Dexter Gordon


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The Beatles - Help

Germans Versus Brits

  (Item #: beatlhelp_2011) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Help.

We've heard some excellent German pressings before, but this time [circa 2011] nothing could match up to our best Brit copies. What the best British copies have is more of the TUBEY MAGIC that can typically be heard on early pressings, due no doubt to the fact that they are mastered with tube equipment.

More Help


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Strauss / Horn Concertos - Tuckwell / Kertesz

A Top Copy from 2009

  (Item #: strauhornc_2009) 



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

This is a fairly quiet 1967 Decca British LP with lovely sound. It's tonally Right On The Money. The strings have lovely texture. The horn has a nice smooth quality, just like the real thing. A solid record, guaranteed to beat the pants off the 180 gram version.

See more of the music of Richard Strauss


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The Doors - The Doors

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: doorsdoors_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

If anyone still thinks that pressing is anything but a bad joke played on the audiophile public -- so sucked out in the midrange, bass-shy and compressed to death -- that person has a way to go in this hobby. A very long way. You can hear how bad it sounds from another room.

But wait a minute. I liked the MoFi just fine when it came out. I guess I had a way to go in this hobby too. That was back in the early ’80s. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in the last twenty five plus years. I’m pretty sure we can offer you a better record now.

See more of The Doors' albums


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Carly Simon - Anticipation

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: simonantic_2011) 



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

TWO INCREDIBLE SIDES ON QUIET VINYL! We just finished our first big shootout for Anticipation in three years, and here’s the copy that finished at the top of the heap. Both sides have the kind of warm, sweet sound that perfectly conveys the emotional qualtity of Carly's performance. Drop the needle on the song "I've Got To Have You" for some of the best Carly Simon sound you will ever hear -- we were blown away!

More Carly Simon


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Keith Jarrett - Solo-Concerts (3 LP Box Set)

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: jarresoloc_2010) 



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

This is a very nice looking ECM Promo 3 LP set with Virtually No Sign of Play (VNSOP). The set comes with a 13-page booklet containing extensive liner notes and photographs. We prefer the sound of these domestic pressings to the imports we've played.


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Bob Dylan & The Band - Before The Flood

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: dylanbefor_2012) 



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

One of the great Live Classic Rock albums of all time, now available in White Hot Stamper form! We recently undertook a massive shootout for this spirited double LP and three of the better sides from the whole shebang are on this here pressing. Sides one and two each earned our top grade of A+++, while side four clocked in at A++. Side three, as is often the case, was not quite up to the same standards.

More from Bob Dylan / More from The Band


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Phil Ramone

One of Our Favorite Producer-Engineers

  (Item #: allphil_ramone) 



PHIL RAMONE is one of our favorite engineers and producers . Click on the links below to find our in-stock Phil Ramone engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Phil Ramone Engineered or Produced Albums with Hot Stampers

Phil Ramone Engineered or Produced Albums We've Reviewed



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Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays - As Falls Wichita...

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: metheasfal_2017) 



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

This spacey music needs huge amounts of reproducible recording space to work its ethereal magic. The best sides were always the biggest, clearest and most three-dimensional, assuming they were able to retain the rich, natural, balanced tonality that is inherently key to a good record, or a great one in this case.

Hard to find them quiet though!

More Pat Metheny


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Deodato - Prelude

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: deodaprelu_2017) 



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

Listen to the trumpet on the second track on side one -- it's so immediate, it's practically JUMPING out of the soundfield, just bursting with energy. Rudy can really pull off these big productions on occasion, and this session was clearly one of them. If you have the kind of stereo that's right for this music (the bigger the better) you could easily find yourself using this record as a demonstration disc. It's very unlikely your audiophile friends have ever heard anything like it.

More Deodato


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George Benson - Bad Benson

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bensobadbe_2012) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on side two, which means this copy has the power to show you just how well-recorded the album really is, and how much energy and drive there is to both the sound and the music. No other side of any copy earned the full Three Plus White Hot grade, so this is a very special side indeed.

We didn't run into any awful CTI originals the way we do with the typical rock record from the '70s, but it's the rare copy that has a real top end, or much in the way of transparency, or freedom from smear. This copy has all three, without any sacrifice in richness or Tubey Magic.

More George Benson


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Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 - Fool on the Hill

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: mendefoolo_2007) 



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

EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It’s rich, full-bodied, and sweet, with super-low distortion and breathtaking transparency. Side Two rates A+++, As Good As It Gets! The vocals on this copy were as sweet as we have ever heard for this record.

The average copy of this record is thin, aggressive and irritating. What separates the best copies like this one from the typical bad sounding copies is more extension on the top end to balance out the upper midrange and lower highs, as well as more weight on the bottom end, to anchor and balance out the sound.

More Sergio Mendes


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Copland / Billy the Kid / Johanos

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: coplabilly_2010) 



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

AN AMAZING RODEO and an EVEN BETTER BILLY THE KID! We are BIG fans of this performance and this copy will show you exactly why. Side one (Rodeo) rates A++; it is clear and dynamic with an unusually three-dimensional soundfield, giving the instruments their own space and allowing you to hear right INTO the music. Side two (Billy The Kid) earned top A+++ honors with serious weight down low, a wonderfully sweet top end, more texture to the strings and HUGE dynamics.

More of the music of Aaron Copland (1900-1990)


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The Recordings of Linda Ronstadt

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: ronstadt_linda) 



These are just some of the recordings by Linda Ronstadt that we've auditioned over the years 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.

Linda Ronstadt Albums with Hot Stampers

Linda Ronstadt Albums We've Reviewed



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Gerry Mulligan & Stan Getz - Gerry Mulligan Meets Stan Getz

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: mulligerry_2011) 


This is a very nice looking Verve Trumpeter Label Mono LP from 1957. Side one is wonderful and has the better sound here. It has more extension up top; the baritone sax is especially well reproduced.

Both sides of course have somewhat tubby bass, the type that characterizes all tube recordings from the ’50s and ’60s. Side two is a bit more veiled. The midrange is as musical as it is on side one but has less top end and therefore comes across as kind of dull. Musical and involving, but not as lively as it could be.

Supposedly the stereo pressings of this album are full of added echo, which is the reason Steve Hoffman chose to release the mono version of the album on gold CD for DCC back in the day. It’s one of our favorite DCC CDs; Steve did his usual top quality mastering of it.

More Gerry Mulligan


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Antonio Carlos Jobim - Wave

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: jobimwave_2011) 



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

This A&M / CTI Brown Label LP is the first Hot Stamper copy to hit the site in many years! It’s noticeably more TRANSPARENT than most copies. You really HEAR INTO THE MUSIC on this LP in a way that just doesn't happen on the typical pressing. Side one is tonally correct and natural with good size and big bass -- we gave it an A++.

More Antonio Carlos Jobim


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Ray Hall

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allray_hall) 



RAY HALL is one of our favorite recording engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Ray Hall engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Ray Hall Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Ray Hall Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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Arthur Fiedler

One of Our Favorite Conductors

  (Item #: allarthur_fiedler) 



ARTHUR FIEDLER is one of the All Time Great Conductors.

Music Conducted by Arthur Fiedler in Stock

Recordings by Arthur Fiedler We've Reviewed



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Brahms / Piano Concerto No. 2 / Gilels / Reiner

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: brahmpiano2_2010) 



This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.

This Very Nice Plum Label Victrola has excellent sound -- sweet and spacious -- but only if you reverse your absolute phase. The vinyl is quiet and, most importantly, this is arguably the greatest performance of all time. The LSC might be a tad better overall; they're so darn rare it's hard to know.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Mendelssohn & Prokofiev / Concertos / Heifetz / Munch

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mendeconce_2314_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl Classical LP debunked.

Classic Records ruined this album, as expected. Their version is dramatically more aggressive, edgy and smeared than the better vintage pressings. In fact it's just plain awful, like most of the classical recordings they remastered.

More of the music of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)


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Testing for Sibilance with 10cc's Deceptive Bends

  (Item #: tenccdecep_test) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Deceptive Bends.

On side two the tonal balance is especially critical. Any boost to the top end will cause the vocals on the second track to SPIT LIKE CRAZY. This is a good test for how well your cartridge and arm are doing their jobs.

More 10cc


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Tchaikovsky / Symphonies 4-5-6 / Mravinsky (4 LPs)

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: tchaisym456_2017) 



Sonic Grade: C

This is a Deutsche Grammophon Italian pressed 4 LP Box Set. I used to really like the sound of this set back in the day, as you can see from the rave review below from 2009.

It's been a while since I found the sound to be worthy of a Hot Stamper shootout, and now, having just played some of the discs against some very good German and British reissues, I now realize the records in the set are clearly made from dub tapes. They badly lack presence, space, transparency and clarity, all hallmarks of sub-generation masters.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Ry Cooder - Jazz

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: coodejazz_2007) 



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

This is one of the BEST COPIES WE’VE EVER HEARD! We’re talking MASTER TAPE SOUND on side two, which is very open and spacious and EXCEPTIONALLY TRANSPARENT. There’s so much detail and texture, it blew us away -- and should do the same to you.

More Ry Cooder


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Sly and the Family Stone - Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: slyangreat_2008) 



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

Finally, a Triple Plus side for Sly’s Greatest Hits album, the first time this album has EVER sounded the way it is supposed to! Man, most copies of this album just plain suck -- sonically of course. Musically I have to second the sentiments of the writer for AMG who noted: "Music is rarely as vivacious, vigorous, and vibrant as this, and captured on one album, the spirit, sound, and songs of Sly & the Family Stone are all the more stunning." So true.

See all of our Sly and the Family Stone albums in stock


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Bonnie Raitt - Home Plate

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: raitthomep_2008) 



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

This original WB Palm Tree label LP has THE BEST SIDE ONE we have ever heard here at Better Records. "A Triple Plus" sound means you're probably hearing the album better than they did when they played back the master tape in the control room. (Studio monitors being what they are.) Since this is one of my three favorite Bonnie Raitt albums -- the others being Sweet Forgiveness and Nine Lives -- and quite possibly the best sounding album she ever made, it goes without saying that this is THE Must Own Bonnie Raitt Hot Stamper Pressing of All Time.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Dionne Warwick - Make Way for Dionne Warwick

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: warwimakew_2011) 



AMAZINGLY GOOD White Hot Stamper sound on side two - WOW! I cannot recall ever hearing Dionne sound better than she does on this side two. Her voice is so clear and present, so natural and real, the truest way to describe the sound here is simply to say that the sound is natural, natural in a way that not three out of a hundred female vocal recordings sound.

But side one is a DISASTER -- veiled, smeary and murky, with noisy vinyl thrown in for good measure. Thank goodness we are the kind of record dealers / audiophiles who know that the two sides of a record often sound vastly different, otherwise why would we ever have bothered to play side two?

More Popular Vocal recordings


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War - Why Can’t We Be Friends

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: war__whyca_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

This is a United Artists LP with DEMO DISC SOUND on BOTH sides. If you’re a fan of BIG DRUMS, with jump-out-of-the-speakers direct-to-disc sound quality, this is the album for you. Some of the best rock bass ever recorded can be found here -- punchy, note-like and solid as a rock. (Got subs? A concrete foundation under your listening room? Low Rider is a cinch to blow your mind!)

See all of our War albums in stock


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Haydn / Symphonies 59 & 81

The Best on Record

  (Item #: haydnsymph59_2010) 



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

These are THE BEST HAYDN SYMPHONIES I have ever heard on disc. Folks, until I heard Dorati and the Festival Chamber Orchestra perform these pieces I never knew there could be this much FIRE in Haydn's music. (Please excuse the pun; the 59th Symphony is entitled "Fire".)

Mercury bring the kind of recording energy and presence to this music that I have frankly never heard before. Credit must go to both Dorati and his players.

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)


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Haydn / The Surprise Symphony / Fjeldstad

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: haydnsurpr_2012) 



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

This vintage RCA Living Stereo Camden LP has Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. It's one of the best Camdens, if not actually THE best. In true Living Stereo fashion, a natural, realistic concert hall perspective unfolds before you. As we noted about side one: it's rich, smooth, sweet and tubey -- what's not to like? Lovely sheen on the strings too. This is our kind of sound!

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)


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Horace Silver Quintet - Doin’ The Thing

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: silvedoint_2006) 



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

This Minty Blue Note LP has EXCELLENT LIVE JAZZ SOUND! It’s rich, full, and tonally correct from top to bottom. Just listen to the cymbals on the track Doin’ The Thing -- you’ll hear how wonderfully extended the top end is.

More Horace Silver


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Stanley Turrentine - Another Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: turreanoth_2013) 



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

A very dynamic recording by Rudy Van Gelder that really jumps on a copy like this. Needless to say, you will have a very hard time finding a better sounding funky Soul Jazz record.

More Stanley Turrentine


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Ambrosia

The First Four Plus Copy We'd Ever Heard, Going All the Way Back to 2008

  (Item #: ambroambro_2008) 



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

This White Hot Stamper original LP goes BEYOND DEMO DISC sound. What that means exactly I’m not sure, but I know it when I hear it, and this record has THAT SOUND. Side one of this copy has ENERGY and LIFE we have never heard before.

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