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Joe Cocker - Joe Cocker (1969)

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: cockejoeco_1969_2016) 



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

I put this album up against the best Cocker has ever made. He released both of his first two albums in 1969, strikingly reminiscent of another band we revere, Led Zeppelin. (Small world: Jimmy Page plays on Cocker's first release.)

The consistently high quality of the material is another reason this album has to be considered a Must Own. Did Cocker ever release an album with more good songs than these? On side one alone you'll find Dear Landlord; Bird on the Wire; She Came in Through the Bathroom Window; and Hitchcock Railway. On side two: Something; Delta Lady; Hello, Little Friend; and Darling Be Home Soon.

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Joe Cocker - Joe Cocker

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: cockejoeco_1972_2007) 



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

This Hot Stamper Original A&M LP has BIG BOLD sound. It’s dynamic, punchy and spacious. Just listen to the drums on Black-Eyed Blues -- the way the percussion and bass mingle sonically with Alan Whites’ skins takes this listener right into the room where the magic happened. This is definitely the best sounding Joe Cocker record we have ever heard.

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Joe Pass - For Django

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: pass_fordj_2016) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on both sides -- this is some killer jazz guitar "trio" sound. There are actually two guitarists on this record, John Pisano being the other one, plus bass and drums. We're big fans of Pacific Jazz recordings from this era, with 1964 live in the studio Tubey Magic to die for.

See all of our Joe Pass albums in stock


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Beethoven / Famous Beethoven Overtures / Munchinger

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: beethfamou_6053_2011) 



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

This British London Blueback original pressing has better than A+ Hot Stamper sound on both sides. The music is lively and well-played, as one would expect from the venerable Karl Munchinger leading the Vienna Phil.

The sound is quite good but very different for each of the two sides. For more on the sound please see our notes below.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven/ Quartets in F Minor & F Major 25 Julliard

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: beethquart_2632) 



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

Red Seal. This string quartet sounds like it''s in your living room. Has that immediacy that Mercury is famous for. Many of RCA''s chamber recordings are excellent and unfortunately for us record lovers they are quite rare.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_2011) 



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

This White Dog Living Stereo pressing has SUPERB sound on side one. It's alive and immediate in a way that the Shaded Dogs almost never are. Listen to the violin! Again, the Classic pressing of this recording does not present the listener with the sound of a real, wood instrument bowed by horsehair in physical space. This copy does.

The White Dog pressing we are offering here is not as rich as the better Shaded Dog pressings we played in our shootout but in some ways the brighter, more forward presentation actually works to its advantage.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Beethoven, Bach, Schubert / Heifetz, Primrose, Piatigorsky

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: beethtrios_2563_2013) 



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

This Red Seal pressing of the famous 1961 recording (LSC 2563) has SUBLIME White Hot Stamper sound for one of the works contained herein, the Schubert. It's so rich and sweet you may have a hard time believing it's on a Red Seal LP. The originals we've played over the years sure never sounded like this! Perhaps it's the thin vinyl that contributed to the shockingly good sound. Maybe, just maybe, RCA was right to start pressing thinner records in the '70s. If they can sound this good, we should all be for it.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Nat King Cole - The Very Thought Of You

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: cole_veryt_2016) 



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

The presence and immediacy here of Nat King Cole's vocals are '50s Capitol Recording Magic at its best. Set the volume right and Nat is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. The selection of material and the contributions of all involved are hard to fault.

More Nat "King" Cole / More Albums Arranged by Gordon Jenkins


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Pepper, Klemmer, Griffin, et al. - Ballads By Four

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: peppeballa_2011) 



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

Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides of this wonderful Galaxy original pressing. There are four extended ballads, two on each side, and each of them is played with real passion and skill by this group of veteran horn men and their respective rhythm sections. The recording itself is one of the best I've heard on Galaxy, the other top Galaxy title being Art Pepper Today. Joe Henderson is the leader not mentioned in our listing title, so with his addition we have four of the best saxophone ballad players, backed by a top rhythm section, all performing material that has stood the test of time. This is the kind of record the world needs more of!

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Grover Washington Jr. - Inner City Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: washiinner_2012) 



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

TWO A+++ SIDES ON QUIET VINYL, making this the best copy of Inner City Blues we've found! This copy trounced the other ones we played, giving us the kind of open, transparent sound that brings out the best in this music. The overall sound is very clean and clear with lots of weight down low and extension up top. I don't think you could find a better sounding copy no matter what you did.

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Astrud Gilberto - Gilberto With Turrentine

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: gilbegilbe_2009) 



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

This is a CTI LP with No Bar Code on the fold-open cover. The music and sound on side two are OFF THE CHARTS! If you’re a fan of Sergio Mendes or Jobim you’re likely to really enjoy this music.

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Airto - Fingers

Truly a Desert Island Disc

  (Item #: airtofinge_obsess) 



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

Fingers is one of our all time favorite records, a Desert Island disc to be sure. I've been playing this album for more than thirty years and it just keeps getting better and better. Truthfully it's the only Airto record I like. I can't stand Dafos, and most of the other Airto titles leave me cold. I think a lot of the credit for the brilliance of this album has to go to the Fattoruso brothers, who play keyboards, drums, and take part in the large vocal groupings that sing along with Airto.

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Miles Davis - Seven Steps to Heaven

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: davisseven_2006) 



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

This Original Miles Davis record has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! I have never heard Miles Davis’ trumpet sound more real. The sound is as good as it gets. Columbia jazz records from this period are some of the best sounding jazz records ever made, and this is a perfect example of what is right with their recordings. The sound is rich, full, sweet, tonally right on the money, and lively as can be.

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Yes - Fragile

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: yes__fragi_obsess) 



FRAGILE 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. Below you can find a letter one of our good customers wrote about his Hot Stamper pressing.

This link will take you to all of our other YES albums.


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The Byrds - Ballad of Easy Rider

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: byrdsballa_2016) 



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

The first White Hot copy of this great Byrds album -- 4 stars on Allmusic -- to EVER hit the site, and it's a killer Triple Triple copy! Anyone who has played the typical copy of this album is probably familiar with the dull, lifeless, opaque sound that plagues most pressings. We collect these in bulk (natch) and it's disappointing how mediocre most copies sound.

See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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The Byrds - Fifth Dimension

The Red Labels Can Rock

(More Accurately, Some of Them Can)

  (Item #: byrdsfifth_2014) 



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

There was not another Red Label that could hold a candle to this copy in our recent shootout, and no 360 label copy could either. It's the exception that proves the rule.

Does it have 100% of the Tubey Magic of the best 360 Label copies? Maybe not, but it has quite a healthy dose, and it does so many things so much better than any of the tube-mastered originals we played that it was simply no contest. There was nothing that communicated the music remotely as well as this Red Label copy did.

More of The Byrds


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The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn!

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: byrdsturnt_2011) 



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

This Columbia 360 label pressing has AMAZING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES and the vinyl is about as quiet as any of these 360 Label pressings can be found!

It took us a long time, but we pulled together enough clean copies for a big shootout, and these two great sides were head and shoulders above the competition. The sound is natural, lifelike and realistic with serious immediacy and plenty of rock and roll energy.

See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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Procol Harum - A Salty Dog (Best Of...)

  (Item #: procoasalt_2011) 



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

This is a very nice looking MFP British Import LP. The vinyl this title was pressed on tends to be somewhat noisy so all the click 'n' pop counters out there should probably steer clear of this one as we cleaned and played ten copies (!) and not one was better than Mint Minus Minus! But the sound tends to be quite good, which means that if you can stand a little surface noise you will be getting quite a bargain here. We love this music and think you will too.

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Chopin / Concerto No. 1 / Rubinstein / Skrowaczewski

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: chopiconce_2575_2012) 



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

You'll find Super Hot Stamper sound on side one of this minty and rare Shaded Dog pressing, with more space and more hall than most of Rubinstein's recordings on RCA -- this is a closer approximation of live music than we expected, and in that sense a pleasant surprise. The strings have lovely Living Stereo texture as well. There is of course no shortage of Tubey Magic (and a bit too much of it on side two.)

A reviewer on Amazon mentioned that this performance shows Rubinstein's deep understanding of the work, having played it for forty years. On that basis alone it should stand the test of time.

More of the music of Frederic Chopin


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Barney Kessel - Music to Listen to Barney Kessel By

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: kessemusic_2008) 



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

This Minty Original Black Label Contemporary Stereo LP from 1956 has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! No other copy we played was in a class with this bad boy -- it does it ALL. For those of you who appreciate the sound that Roy DuNann (and Howard Holzer on other sessions) were able to achieve in the '50s at Contemporary Records, this LP is a Must-Own (unless you already have it, which is doubtful considering how hard it is to find a copy in clean condition).

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Gary Wright - The Dream Weaver

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: wrighdream_2010) 



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

Near MASTER TAPE SOUND on side two of this original Warner Bros. LP. Right out of the gate the song Dreamweaver had the ENERGY and PRESENCE that we were looking for on copy after copy and not finding -- until we played this one! Folks, it ain't rocket science. You know it when you hear it, and ten seconds into this side two we knew we had a seriously good copy on our hands. With a grade of A++ to A+++ you can rest assured it doesn't get much better than this. The vocals were especially breathy on this copy, the overall transparency of the recording hard to beat.

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The Doobie Brothers - What Were Once Vices...

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: doobiwhatw_2011) 



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

This quiet Palm Tree Label pressing is one of the best sounding copies of this album we've ever played! We had a massive shootout for this fun album recently and this was the big winner, earning an A+++ grade for the first side and a strong A++ for the second. Drop the needle anywhere on side one; you won't believe how open, clear and dynamic the sound is. It's also big, present and spacious with unusually high resolution. No other side one we played came close. Black Water sounds KILLER here!

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The Doobie Brothers - The Captain and Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: doobicapta_2009) 



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

OH BABY! This is the HOTTEST copy of The Captain And Me to ever hit the site, bar none. The sound is nothing short of PHENOMENAL from the first cut to the last. Side two earned our top A+++ grade while side one clocked in just half a plus behind. You can’t even begin to imagine what we’ve gone through trying to find Hot Stampers for this album. Here’s the copy that proves it was all worth it.

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Deep Purple - In Rock

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: deeppinroc_2016) 



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

The best pressings give you exactly what you want from this brand of straight ahead rock and roll: presence in the vocals; solid, note-like bass; big punchy drums, and the kind of live-in-the-studio energetic, clean and clear sound. (AC/DC is another band with that kind of live studio sound. With big speakers and the power to drive them YOU ARE THERE.)

See all of our Deep Purple albums in stock


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Joni Mitchell - For The Roses

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: mitchforth_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame that sold for $600 in 2008..

OFF THE CHARTS breathiness, delicacy, warmth and sweetness, and that’s just Joni’s voice. The sound of the ensemble throughout is amazingly natural, the recording so spacious. You may have noticed that there were no Joni records on our Top 100 List, but after hearing this wonderful LP on the original white label Asylum pressing we knew we had to add it to that very special list.

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Joni Mitchell - For The Roses

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchforth_2011) 



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

Let's face it, we love Blue (1971) but most pressings suffer from a raft of sonic problems, as does Ladies of the Canyon (1970).

Court and Spark (1974) is up at the top up the list as well, but Roses (1973) seems to have more recording purity. Perhaps the engineers saw this as an opportunity to address the problems with Blue, the album that preceded it.

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The Moody Blues - To Our Children's Children's Children

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: moodytoour_2016) 



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

This Decca original British pressing has TWO STUNNING SIDES! The sound is incredibly lively and dynamic with the kind of top end extension that's missing from most copies (of any Moody Blues album). Most aren't nearly this airy, open or spacious. The bottom end is strong with nice weight and great bass definition. The vocals are big and solid.

You get amazing richness, fullness and warmth on these sides, which is exactly what you want for the Moodies' music. Nothing else in our shootout came close to this side two, which of course is why it won the shootout.

See all of our Moody Blues albums in stock


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Prokofiev / Lt. Kije / Abbado

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: prokoltkij_33_2011) 



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

This German 33 RPM White Hot Stamper pressing of our favorite recording of Prokofiev's wonderful Lt. Kije Suite has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND. For starters, there are very few records with dynamics comparable to those found here. As this is my favorite performance of all time, with this kind of Demo Disc sound I cannot recommend the record any more highly.

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)


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The Band - Rock Of Ages

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: band_rocko_2009) 



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

White Hot Stampers for side two -- WOW! Check out the track listing for that side: Stage Fright / The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down / Across the Great Divide / This Wheel’s on Fire / Rag Mama Rag

Pretty hard to beat that batch of Band songs; practically every one is a classic. And considering how difficult it is to get a good sounding copy of the albums those songs are taken from, this double album is a great way to go if you love The Band. The performances are uniformly excellent, and the live horn section adds a lot to the fun and energy of the music.

More of The Band


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The Band - The Band

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: band_band_2011) 



A distinguished member of our Hall of Fame.

Holy mother of god, this is one KNOCKOUT copy of The Band's self-titled masterpiece! Both sides earned our top grade of A+++ and beat the pants off every other copy -- including quite a few RL-mastered originals -- in the shootout. On top of that, both sides play between Mint Minus and Mint Minus Minus, which is pretty dan quiet for this album. We love this music, but most copies out there have flimsy sound, trashed vinyl, or both. Here's the exceedingly rare copy that does just about everything right WITHOUT the typical crackly campfire surface noise!

See all of our albums by The Band


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Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent...

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: sprinwildt_2013) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this original copy, much better sound than we ever expected to hear.

Side one here was the richest, clearest, biggest and most energetic of any side one we played.

Side two is nearly as good, but such a big jump over all the rest that it easily earns its Three Pluses.

Side one is doing it all. Nothing came close.

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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: ledze2_2017) 



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

This pressing just knocked us out from beginning to end -- this is the Zep II sound you want.

At least 80% of the copies we buy these days -- for many hundreds of dollars each I might add -- go right back to the seller. The biggest problem we run into besides obvious scratches that play and worn out grooves is easy to spot: just play the song Thank You at the end of side one. Most of the time there is inner groove damage so bad that the track becomes virtually unlistenable.

See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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Billy Joel - Glass Houses

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: joel_glass_2014) 



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

A truly stunning copy of one of Billy Joel's best-loved albums! We recently finished a massive shootout for Billy Joel's hard-rockin 1980 release and most copies were pretty dreadful. Thankfully for us (and the Billy Joel fans out there) we managed to find a few copies that really work! This one absolutely nails it -- they just don't get much better than this, folks.

See all of our Billy Joel albums in stock


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

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: hawkibacki_2006) 



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

Columbia 360 Label. A Jazz Primer if there ever was one! If you don’t get jazz this album will get it for you. There is simply not a false step or false note to be found anywhere on this recording.

This record has a magical midrange, like so many Columbias. It's a little rolled off on the extreme highs. If you have any way of boosting your top end, you can make this record really sing. As it is now, it's still quite good, just a bit more mellow than I know it should be.

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Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - On the Sunny Side of the Street

  (Item #: fitzgonthe_2004) 



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

This early British import KILLS the Speakers Corner 180 gram reissue! I still like their version but this is what it should have sounded like: tonally much fuller and richer. The 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO -- brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here. I've never heard this album sound better and I doubt that it really can sound much better than this. This copy makes me want to turn it up as loud as the stereo will go and let those wonderful Quincy Jones arrangements come to life!

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Turntable Set Up Advice Using Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_setup) 



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

There are loud vocal choruses on many tracks, and more often than not at their loudest they sound like they are either breaking up or threatening to do so. I always assumed it was compressor or board overload, which is easily heard on Down to You. On the best copies there is no breakup -- the voices get loud and they sound clean throughout.

More Joni Mitchell


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Ballet Favorites / Ansermet (VICS-1066)

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: varioballe_2011) 



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

This RCA Plum Label Victorla has an AMAZING SOUNDING side one -- it's unbelievably spacious and three-dimensional with depth that goes on for DAYS.

Side one earned its two pluses with the kind of spacious, rich, sweet sound you've come to expect from Super Hot Stampers. Note the correct sounding tape hiss -- a dead giveaway that the highs are going to be correct. (Funny tape hiss is the hallmark of Classic Records and Mobile Fidelity, a dead giveaway that their highs will be phony and boosted.)

See more music conducted by Ernst Ansermet


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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: rollistick_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a joke. It’s so compressed, lifeless, and lacking in bottom end that it would hardly interfere with even the most polite conversation at a wine tasting. I consider it one of the worst sounding versions ot the album ever made. It’s an Audiophile Record in the worst sense of the word.

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Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: devo_arewe_2013) 



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

Let the Devolution begin! This is quite possibly the BEST COPY WE'VE EVER HEARD, and one of a very select group of copies (I can count 'em on one hand) to ever attain White Hot Stamper status here at Better Records. The sound here can be summed up in one word: HUGE! The bass is deep and punchy; the energy level is off the charts; the soundfield has tremendous depth and the music is just flyin' out of the speakers. If you're a fan of this music -- and you should be -- you'll be hard pressed to find a copy that comes close to this one!


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Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: youngafter_2011) 



This is amazing copy of AFTER THE GOLD RUSH and a member of our Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

It's an album we admit to being just a bit obsessed with. 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.

This link will take you to all of our other NEIL YOUNG albums.


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Led Zeppelin - IV

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze4_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

It wasn’t that long ago that I thought the Classic Records 180 (later 200) gram pressing was the king on this title. In late 2006 I wrote: You can hear how much cleaner and more correct the mastering is right away... Folks, I must have been out of my mind. I wasn’t out of my mind. I just hadn’t gotten my system to the place where it needed to be to allow the better original pressings to sound their best.

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Led Zeppelin - IV

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: ledze4_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

We always have a great time doing Zep IV shootouts. It's one of those all-too-rare cases where amazing music and amazing sonics coexist on the same slab of vinyl. You just need to find the right slab, a proposition that turns out to be much harder than it sounds.

You probably know by now just how tough it is to find audiophile quality sonics on this album. Far too many copies just leave us cold, but the best pressings, whether British or domestic, are so good, and so much fun at the loud volumes we employ, that it ends up being worth all the time, trouble and expense it takes to wade through the vinyl dreck to find them.

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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: supercrisi_obsess) 



CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? 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.

This link will take you to our other SUPERTRAMP albums.


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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: supercrisi_2013) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including an A+++ SIDE ONE! It's not the A&M Half Speed, and it's not a British pressing either. It's domestic folks, your standard plain-as-day A&M pressing, and we're as shocked as you are. Hearing this copy (as well as an amazing Brit; they can be every bit as good, in their own way of course) was a THRILL, a thrill that's a step up in "thrillingness" over our previous favorite pressing, the Half Speed.

The best of the best domestics and Brits are bigger, livelier, punchier, more clear and just more REAL than the audiophile pressing...

More Crisis? What Crisis?


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Oscar Peterson - Peterson + Harry Edison + Eddie Cleanhead Vinson

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: peterpeter_2005) 



This is a long out of print Pablo LP with AMAZING sound and music. It's one of those superb Allan Sides engineered recordings at Ocean Way, like Basie 88 Street. Demo disc quality sound is the result! With players like these, the music is every bit as good as any jazz record I know of. In other words, I really like this album.
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Offenbach / Gaite Parisienne - Fiedler

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: offengaite_1012_2005) 



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

Superb sound! The top end of this record is PERFECTION. When you hear all the percussion instruments, the tambourines, triangles, wood blocks they just sound so lovely. The overall sound is rich and sweet, just like a good vintage RCA should sound. Some may find the sound colored, but I find it enchanting.

More of the music of Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)


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Coleman Hawkins - Hawk Eyes

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hawkihawke_2016) 



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

This 1960 Saxophone Ballad session from 1960 has to be seen as yet another recording triumph for Rudy Van Gelder

The best pressings of these OJC and Prestige reissues from the '70s and '80s sound like the vintage jazz albums they emulate, and sometimes they even beat the originals at their own Tubey Magical game. They can be every bit as rich, sweet and spacious as their earlier-pressed brethren in our experience.

See all of our Coleman Hawkins albums in stock


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Heart - Dog and Butterfly

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: heartdogan_2011) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on side one, which means you get a Straight On that really ROCKS! Like the best copies of Dreamboat Annie and Little Queen, this is classic '70s ANALOG at its best. The sound is RICH and WARM without sacrificing clarity and punch. This very copy really made the case for just how good the album can sound, with wonderful grungy texture to the guitars and a big fat snare keeping the beat. (Heart in the old days had a great band behind them. When they left so did much of the reason to play Heart's records.)

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The Police - Synchronicity

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: policsynch_depth) 



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

WHITE HOT STAMPERS on side two! That gives you amazing sound for Every Breath You Take, King Of Pain, and Wrapped Around Your Finger! It’s been about a while since we last found Hot Stampers for this album, mostly because so many copies just plain suck. The sound on this one is meaty and punchy down low.

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The Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: moodyinsea_2009) 



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

This Minty early Deram British Import LP has SOME OF BEST SOUND I HAVE EVER HEARD for this album. It has higher resolution, is more dynamic, sweeter and clearer than most copies, WITHOUT SACRIFICING the tubey-magical richness, warmth and lushness for which the Moody Blues recordings are justifiably famous. I’ll tell you this -- this pressing is correct from top to bottom, so present and alive, while still retaining all the richness and sweetness we expect from British Moody Blues records, that I find it hard to believe you can do any better, in this life anyway.

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Moody Blues - Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: moodyevery_2013) 



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

It's been ages since we listed a Hot Stamper copy of this album, which should show you how tough it is to find a good one. Side one here earned an A++ to A+++ grade with excellent energy, amazing transparency and loads of tubey magic. Most importantly, it's not nearly as murky or muddy as most copies we've heard. Side two shocked us by delivering EVEN BETTER SOUND -- it earned our top grade of A+++ and did everything we could ask of it!

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Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues (S9)

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mayorlinco_2010) 



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

WOW! Here's a stunningly good sounding and shockingly quiet copy of The Big One -- Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues' first Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP aka S9. We've been comparing and contrasting pressings of this album for a long time and this is one of the very best -- and QUIETEST -- copies we've ever had the good luck to stumble on. The sound is BIG, RICH and FULL OF ENERGY. We gave side one an A++ and side two our top grade of A+++. It is ridiculously tough to find this record anymore, let alone a pressing this amazing. Who knows when we'll find another copy, let alone one that sounds like this!

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Huey Lewis & The News - Sports

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: lewissport_2014) 



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

A superb copy of Sports, the first to ever hit the site! We recently had a massive shootout for this one featuring all the copies we've picked up over the years and this was was particularly wonderful, earning Double Plus grades on both sides. We were pretty knocked out at how good this album can sound on the better pressings like this one -- it's certainly one of the more impressive '80s pop recordings we've played in some time.

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Return to Forever - Romantic Warrior

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: returroman_2011) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Romantic Warrior has a side one that will blow your mind. It’s 100% guaranteed to bring any stereo to its knees! Turn this one up and prepare yourself for the kind of sound that perhaps one out of a hundred records has to offer, with cymbal crashes that really crash, bass that threatens to move your house off its foundation and energy that is hard to believe was encoded into a thin piece of vinyl decades ago. But here it is! This copy is all that and more.

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Poco - Poco

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: poco_poco_2016) 



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

Poco's second album is an unusual blend of country-rock, with some long, jazzy instrumental breaks that center around Rusty Young's pedal steel, which doesn't sound like any pedal steel guitar you've ever heard. It's played with a wah-wah pedal and, if that wasn't enough, the resulting sound is sent through a Leslie organ speaker.

We know it sounds crazy, but it really works. There is nothing else like it on record, nothing that we've ever heard anyway.

See all of our Poco albums in stock


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Electric Light Orchestra - On the Third Day

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: electonthe_2010) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Side Two is proof positive that the master tape used to cut the album back in 1973 was right here in the good old U. S. of A. The sound is positively JUMPING out of the speakers, like nothing you've ever heard before from this band -- especially if you have a British pressing of the album. The sound has real life to it, unlike the sound on the import pressings of the album. Once you've played a good domestic pressing such as this one, it's obvious that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers.

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Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Where’s The Money

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hickswhere_2011) 



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

This live album has White Hot Stamper sound on side two, with sound that is rich, real and musical in ways that we have never heard ANY Dan Hicks record sound. Who knew it could sound like this? Certainly not us.

The dryness, the flatness, the you-are-so-not-thereness of their studio recordings is nowhere in evidence on this side two, which is as good and probably better than any side we heard in our shootout. It's not an easy record to find in clean condition in the first place.

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Jerry Jeff Walker - Mr. Bojangles

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: walkemrboj_2016) 



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

The clear winner of our recent shootout, this Atco original boasts White Hot stamper sound on both sides. The biggest and clearest of any we played, the sound was also full-bodied and present like no other. The engineering team of Tom Dowd and Phil Lehle work their magic on this one, just as they did for so many John Coltrane albums of the '60s.

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JS Bach / Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Martzy

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: bach_sonat_2012) 



This Minty British "Sitting Angel" pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, reproducing accurately the sound of a solo violin in what sounds to us like a fairly lively and resonant rehearsal hall. Perhaps accurately is not the right word, since obviously none of us have ever set foot in whatever room the music was recorded in. "Realistic" might be a better choice in that regard, since the sound is believable for what we would expect that room might have contributed to the sound we hear on the pressing in hand.

Interestingly, the sound on side two is a tad better than side one -- the violin is more present and warm, the room less resonant (in a good way).

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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Henry Mancini - Our Man In Hollywood

Making More Progress in Audio

  (Item #: manciourma_vta) 



The story of our recent shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about.

In our previous listings we noted:

This is one of those odd records in which the variation in sound quality from track to track is dramatic. Take the first two tracks on side one -- they suck. They sound like your average LSP Mancini album, the kind I have suffered through far too many times. And that means bad bad bad.

See all of our Henry Mancini albums in stock


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Gerry Mulligan Quartet - What Is There To Say?

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: mulliwhati_2016) 



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

This Six Eye stereo LP put every other copy we played to shame on side one with shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound. Side two earned a Double Plus (A++) grade for its explosive dynamics and rich, full-bodied, Tubey Magical sax sound. Tubier, more transparent, more dynamic, with that "jumpin' out of the speakers' quality that only The Real Thing ever has. Hard to imagine any reissue, vintage or otherwise, can hold a candle to the sound of this amazing record.

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The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: grateworki_2012) 



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

STUNNING MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE TWO, as good as it gets! I don’t think you could ask any more from this music than what this magical side two gives you -- breathy vocals with mindblowing immediacy; incredible depth and width to the soundfield; rich, round bass with real WEIGHT; a silky, extended top end; tons of ambience; tons of tubey magic and so on. It’s also open, spacious, and super transparent. The sound positively JUMPS out of the speakers and fills the room. Black Peter is INSANELY GOOD on this side -- you’re gonna flip when you hear it.

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U2 - War

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: u2___war_2009) 



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

When you get hold of a good pressing, War is a surprisingly good sounding album, much better than The Joshua Tree (although that may not be saying much).

Side two here was one of THE BEST we played in our entire shootout, with Big Bass, tons of Energy and even a pretty sizable helping of Tubey Magic, something we did not expect to hear on a U2 album. Most of them sound as dry and flat as a cassette. Not this one, or to be more precise, not this copy. We rated it A++ to A+++, about as good as it gets!

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John Coltrane - John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrjohnc_2016) 



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

An outstanding copy of this classic Jazz Vocal album, with superb sound throughout. The sound is huge and spacious with richness and Tubey Magic like nothing you've heard. I defy you to find a Male Vocal record produced in the last thirty years that can hold a candle to this one sonically or musically. A wonderful collaboration between a horn player and a singer, perhaps the greatest of all time.

"Hartman was in prime form on the six ballads, and his versions of "Lush Life" and "My One and Only Love" have never been topped. Classic, essential for all jazz collections."

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Bill Evans - Quintessence

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: evansquint_2012) 



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

STUNNING SOUND THROUGHOUT -- this is one of the best sounding Bill Evans records we've ever heard! Side one here earned our top A+++ grade while side two earned a very strong A++. Both sides are super rich and full-bodied with lots of energy and considerable dynamic power. There aren't too many '70s jazz records that sound like this!

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Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: warnefamou_2009) 



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

This Cypress pressing has AMAZINGLY GOOD SOUND on side one! With a grade of A++ to A+++ it's the highest rated side of any copy we have to offer this go around -- none of our other pressings could touch it on any side.

Why such a high grade? Simple. It's ALIVE! It's super transparent with a big, bold bottom end. The drums here are as good as they get -- punchy and powerful with lots of WHOMP and the sound of the skins being THWACKED.

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Frank Sinatra - September of My Years

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: sinatsepte_2010) 



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

Have you been wondering when some amazing sounding Hot Stamper vinyl from The Chairman Of The Board was going to hit the site? Folks, TODAY IS THAT DAY! It is beyond tough to find amazing sounding (and quiet) copies of any of Sinatra's albums, but we managed to find some STUNNING copies of this lovely album, one that earned Five Big Stars in the venerable All Music Guide.

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The Knack - Get The Knack

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: knackgetth_2009) 



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

This Monster Power Pop Debut by the Knack is an AMAZINGLY well-recorded album, with the kind of Wall to Wall Big Beat Live Rock Sound that rivals Back in Black and Nevermind -- if you're lucky enough to have a copy that sounds like this one! (If you're not then it doesn't.)

Side two here has White Hot Stamper sound, and let me be clear: this is a Rock Demo Disc that is very likely to lay waste to whatever rock demo disc you currently treasure. My Sharona is simply OUT OF THIS WORLD here. You just can't record drums and bass any better!

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Ambrosia - Ambrosia

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: ambroambro_obsess) 



AMBROSIA is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it. It's also part of our extensive Listening in Depth series. There is no question that this band, their producers and their engineers sweated every detail of this remarkable recording. They went the distance. In the end they brought in Alan Parsons to mix it, and Doug Sax to master it. The result is a masterpiece, an album that stands above all others.
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Why Didn't Those @!#&/?% Record Companies Produce More Hot Stampers?

  (Item #: santasanta_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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Jethro Tull - Aqualung

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: jethraqual_obsess) 



AQUALUNG 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.

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Jethro Tull - Benefit

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: jethrbenef_2008) 



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

This WONDERFUL original Island Chrysalis Brit LP has AMAZING SOUND! This is the BEST sounding copy we’ve ever heard, better than any of the other Island imports! A Triple Plus AGAIG sound on side one and nearly as good on side two. Quiet too!

Both sides were the winners in this shootout, and the vinyl was some of the quietest we played. This is THE ONE! There are many sonic problems with this recording, but most of them disappear when you get a truly Hot Stamper copy like this one.

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Jethro Tull - Benefit

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: jethrbenef_2016) 



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

WHOA! The best copy of Benefit to hit the site in OVER EIGHT YEARS! The sound is big, rich, tubey and solid with excellent transparency

See all Jethro Tull albums in stock


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Count Basie & Oscar Peterson - Yessir, That’s My Baby

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: basieyessi_2012) 



Side two of this wonderful Basie Peterson record has nearly White Hot Stamper Demo Disc sound -- jazz records don't get a whole lot bigger, clearer or more full-bodied. Man, that is the sound of glorious ANALOG. A++ to A+++ is our conservative grade. It might be worth the full Three Pluses but we just can't find enough copies to know if this side could get any better. There is not a single critical comment of any kind in the notes, so that ought to tell you that you are in for a real sonic treat with this side two.
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Jethro Tull - Stand Up

Notes from 2006

  (Item #: jethrstand_2006) 



This Island Pink Label Original British pressing has ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SOUND! We mention that there was a Sunray pressing that may have been even better, but I didn’t have this copy in hand to compare the Sunray to, so I can’t be sure that pressing was any better. This one sounds as good as any I've ever heard.

It's amazingly dynamic and powerful, yet full of tubey magic. I played almost ten different pressings of this record today (11/08/06): every domestic label variation and a handful of imports. This copy is clearly the best of the batch.

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Jethro Tull - Stand Up

Notes from 2009

  (Item #: jethrstand_2009) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

Our last shootout for Stand Up was over a year ago, early in 2008. By some good fortune we have been able to find a number of fairly clean early British pressings, with both Pink and Sunray labels, as well as some very good sounding domestics. (Yes, they are out there. Few and far between and probably not the ones you would think to buy but out there nonetheless. Buy enough of them and clean them right and you will find some too.)

More Stand Up


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Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sealssumme_2017) 



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

This copy had a side one that could not be beat. The vocals were especially clear and breathy.

Speaking of stampers, all our best copies had the same numbers and letters in the dead wax, which -- contrary to popular opinion -- doesn't happen all that often but does from time to time.

See all of our Seals & Crofts albums in stock


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Richard & Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights

A Four Men with Beards Heavy Vinyl Winner

  (Item #: thompshoot_heavy_vinyl) 



Sonic Grade: B

Hey, this is a surprisingly good sounding pressing! Our Hot Stampers are clearly bigger and more lively, but for a Heavy Vinyl reissue this pressing is quite respectable.

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

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Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright...

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: thompiwant_2016) 



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

The first White Hot Stamper of this 1974 classic to make it to the site, and it's wonderful on both sides. Rich, full-bodied, with big bass and gobs of studio ambience, this is the way this music was meant to be heard. Kurt Loder writing in Rolling Stone noted that there's "not a single track that's less than luminous."

See all of our Richard & Linda Thompson albums in stock


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Son Seals - The Son Seals Blues Band

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: sealssonse_2011) 



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

This 1973 debut album has the kind of Live-in-the-Studio sound that most Blues albums (and every other kind of album) strive for but practically never achieve. If you turn this one up good and loud, the Son Seals Band will be right there in the room with you. If there's any overdubbing on this record you sure can't hear it.

If you've been suffering with one bad sounding Stevie Ray Vaughan album after another -- is there any other kind? -- this record should come as a godsend. This album will show you just how dynamic and energetic recordings can be, but so rarely are. Not more than one or two out of 100 records we play in a given year are as exciting sounding as this very record.

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The Who - Quadrophenia

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: who__quadr_2012) 



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

This may be the best sounding copy to ever hit the site - White Hot on 3 sides, and nearly White on the 4th! The sound is so BIG, rich, and powerful it will surely make you rethink the recording itself. When the sound is this immersive your experience of the music becomes breathtakingly REAL. One of the True Must Own Classics by the band.

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Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: trowebridg_2016) 



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

Triple Triple! The best copy of Robin Trower's masterpiece to ever make it to the site. This glorious early UK pressing is huge, rich and super punchy, just about as good as it gets. Brilliant engineering by Geoff Emerick at George Martin's AIR studios. Coming soon to a Better Records Top 100 List near you.


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Supertramp - Breakfast In America

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: superbreak_2009) 



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

TWO KILLER SIDES ON THIS ROCKIN’ LATE ’70s CLASSIC! I am not at all ashamed to say that we LOVE this album here at Better Records, and a copy like this will certainly help show you why. Side one has incredible A+++ Master Tape Sound and side two is just a plus behind. Drop the needle on Gone Hollywood or The Logical Song to hear how powerful this music can sound when you have the right pressing.

More Breakfast in America
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Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: simonbridg_2008) 



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

THE FIRST WHITE HOT STAMPER FOR THIS ALBUM TO EVER HIT THE SITE! We love this music, but let me tell you the truth -- this is not a shootout we ever look forward to doing. The sound of the average copy is POSITIVELY PAINFUL. If you play a couple dozen copies, you'll probably turn up a good one eventually, but you're better off letting us do that dirty work.

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Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: simonbooke_2011) 



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

TWO KILLER SIDES including a STUNNING Demo Quality A+++ side one! Bring over your audio buddies and blow their minds by dropping the needle on America -- I guarantee that they've never heard it sound like this before (unless, of course, they happen to be one of our top-shelf Hot Stamper customers already). Everything you'd hope for on a killer pressing of this album is right here on this side one, and most of it is on the A++ side two as well.

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Simon & Garfunkel - Sounds of Silence

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: simonsound_2010) 



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

This White Hot Stamper has AMAZING A+++ SOUND ON BOTH SIDES. It’s been ages since we’ve tried to tackle Sounds Of Silence, and with good reason -- it’s exceptionally difficult to find quiet copies with the right sound. This one is an entirely different story -- smooth, sweet and full-bodied with incredible presence.

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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: ledze1_2007) 



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

YOU WON’T BELIEVE HOW HARD THIS ZEP I ROCKS! It’s exceedingly tough to find great copies of this album, which is why you’ve never seen a Hot Stamper copy on the site before. We went through more than two dozen copies looking for The Real Sound, and this copy’s got it big time... ON BOTH SIDES!

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Led Zeppelin - III

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: ledze3_2008) 



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

It is INCREDIBLY difficult to find knockout copies of Zep III -- of the dozen-plus copies we auditioned, this British Import Plum & Orange pressing was the only one with two superb sides, with an AGAIG A+++ side two and a side one that's just half a step behind at A++ - A+++. Folks, when I tell you that it is no mean feat to find a decent copy of this album, I am not joking around.

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The Clash - London Calling

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: clashlondo_2015) 



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

Absolutely stunning sound for all four sides, Triple Plus on one and two, very close on three and four. Huge and open, full and rich, present and energetic -- absolutely as good as it gets. An album that almost never makes it on to the site with grades like this.

More of The Clash


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The Beach Boys - Endless Summer

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: beachendle_2015) 



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

A stunning Top Copy, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all four sides. Demo Disc sound on the best tracks -- rich, full and sweet beyond belief. Surfer Girl and In My Room are stunning on this pressing -- you will be blown away. The best copy we've ever had on the site -- who knows if we'll ever find one this good again?

See all of our Beach Boys albums in stock


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The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: beachpetso_2014) 



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

We've obviously been at this Hot Stamper business for a long, long time. Well folks, today is the day that an amazing A+++ copy of Pet Sounds finally makes it onto the site (we've found a few before, but they always sold before they got a chance to be listed!). I'm not sure if you want to hear the story of how we finally found these good pressings or just snap this one up before the next man does -- I think we all know this record isn't going to last long here!

See all pressings of this album in stock


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Fiedler / Boston Tea Party

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: fiedlbosto_2213_2010) 



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

This original Shaded Dog pressing has EXCELLENT SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON SIDE TWO, where you'll find a wonderful rendition of Hernando's Hideaway! The sound is excellent -- lively, full-bodied and super three-dimensional. Check out how great the castanets sound!

Side one is nothing special and a bit noisy in the right channel, so we're really only charging you for the strong side two. Hernando's Hideaway is really worth the price of admission alone, you'll see! As I'm sure you know by now, Fiedler on this sort of material is very hard to beat.

More Living Stereo


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Copland / Billy the Kid / Morton Gould

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: coplabilly_2011) 



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

Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides, with side one so energetic and exciting it would easily qualify as a Demo Disc. This title is almost impossible to find in anything but beat up condition. Records like these got played over and over and few survived the ten grams of stylus pressure and mis-aligned cartridges of the day.

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


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June Christy - This Is June Christy

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: christhisi_2016) 



This wonderful recording from 1958 is a distinguished member of the Better Records Popular Hall of Fame.

It's very rare that a Shootout Winning copy of a June Christy album from the late '50s would have vinyl this quiet. Can't recall the last time that happened, or if it ever has.

Both sides of this '50s All Tube Recorded and Mastered record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout.

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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Awesome In Stereo (2007)

  (Item #: mussopower_2007) 



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

DEMO DISC QUALITY ORCHESTRAL SOUND like you will not believe. We put two top copies together to bring you the ultimate-sounding Pictures At An Exhibition. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this for huge orchestral dynamics and energy.

One side of each copy rates A Triple Plus -- our highest sonic grade. The sound is out of this world.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Mozart / Complete Wind Music Volume 2 / Brymer

Reviewed in 2004

  (Item #: mozarwind2_6347_2004) 



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

This record plays NM and sounds superb! A great London title.

This record includes Serenade in E Flat, Divertimento in E Flat and Divertimento in F and K.

See more of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


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Mozart / Sinfonia Concertante / Oistrakh (Igor and David)

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: mozarsinfo_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

A fairly good Speakers Corner Decca.

Years ago we wrote that the following: "One of the best of the Decca reissues! EXCELLENT SOUND for these pieces, written for violin, viola and orchestra." Can't be sure we would still feel that way but I'm guessing this is a good record at the price.

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Wes Montgomery - Boss Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: montgbossg_2016) 



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

This is one of Wes Montgomery's best albums from his prime '60s period, if not THE best. Rich and full-bodied but clear and spacious, the 1963 All Tube Analog sound is perfect for Wes's organ trio format.

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Thelonious Monk - Criss-Cross

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: monk_criss_2009) 



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

WONDERFUL MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound -- natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT -- totally free of the RVG squawk. ’The clarity and transparency are superb throughout. AMG raves about the album and calls it prime Monk for any degree of listener and we couldn’t agree more.

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Thelonious Monk - Big Band and Quartet

The Glorious Sound of Tubes - 1963 Tubes, That Is

  (Item #: monk_bigba_tubes) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.

On this record, more than most, the tubes potentially make all the difference.

Keep in mind that we are referring specifically to 1963 tubes, not the stuff that engineers are using today to make "tube-mastered" records. Today's modern records barely hint at the Tubey Magical sound of a record like this, if our experience with hundreds of them is any guide. We, unlike so many of the audiophile reviewers of today, have a very hard time taking any of the new pressings seriously. We think our position is pretty clear, and we have yet to hear more than a stray record or two that would make us want to change our minds.

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