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Dave Brubeck Trio Featuring Gerry Mulligan - Compadres

What to Listen For - The Audience

  (Item #: brubecompa_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the album, or any live album for that matter.

As is the case with most live albums, the sound of the crowd tells you a lot about the recording, and on this copy the crowd sounded exceptionally clear and natural.

More Dave Brubeck / More Gerry Mulligan


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Big Brother & The Holding Company - Cheap Thrills

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bigbrcheap_2015) 



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

We’ve rarely been able to get this shootout off the ground, but we finally managed to stumble upon enough clean copies to get this round going. It's been well over two years since we've had any copy of this album on the site!

This album has got that trippy '60s San Francisco sound, no doubt about it. Those of you who are familiar with Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow or the early Grateful Dead albums know what I'm talking about. The tubey magic of the guitars is worth the price of admission alone; you just don't hear this kind of sound on modern records.

More Janis Joplin


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The Pentangle - The Pentangle

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: pentapentangle_2016) 



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

This is an honest-to-goodness Demo Disc. When for a (thankfully) brief time back in the '70s I was selling audio equipment, the song "Pentangling" was a favorite demo cut to play in the store. The sound of the string bass and snare drum are amazingly natural; I don't know of any other pop album from the era that presents the vibrant timbre of those two instruments better.

More Pentangle


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Leon Russell - Leon Russell and the Shelter People

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: russeleonr_2015) 



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

Concerning Leon's first album, we wrote:

Surprisingly, a number of copies suffered from somewhat dry sound, especially in the vocals. Our best copies will be rich and Tubey Magical, which is the only way these songs can sound their best.

See all of our Leon Russell albums in stock


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Sergio Mendes - Look Around

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: mendelooka_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: C

We were fairly impressed with the Speakers Corner pressing of this album when it came out on Heavy Vinyl years ago. Since then we have learned a lot. Their version is okay, not bad, but by no stretch of the imagination can it compete with any Hot Stamper pressing.

More Sergio Mendes


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In the Market for New Speakers?

See How Well They Handle the Fat Snare on Dreams

  (Item #: fleetrumou_speakers) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

What do the best copies of Rumours have that the also-rans don't? Lots and lots of qualities, far too many to mention here, but there is one you should pay special attention to: the sound of the snare. When the snare is fat and solid and present, with a good "slap" to the sound, you have a copy with weight, presence, transparency, energy -- all the stuff we ADORE about the sound of the best copies.

More Rumours


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Dr. John - In The Right Place

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: drjohinthe_2017) 



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

Punchy drums, solid bass, smooth vocals, extended highs -- this album was produced, recorded and mastered by superbly talented individuals who deserve a lot of credit for the work they have done here.

If you like Little Feat this album should be right up your alley. And if you like this album and don't know little feat, the link on the left will take you to their music. They're one of the all time great bands of the '70s (and still going as far as I know).

More Dr. John


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Coleman Hawkins - Hawkins! Alive!

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: hawkihawki_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The copy I auditioned back in 1995 had Hawkin's horn sounding squawky and sour. We never carried it. I liked many of their other jazz titles -- they did a better job with jazz than any other kind of music -- but this was not their finest hour. Unless I got a bad copy, always a possibility.

More Coleman Hawkins


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Led Zeppelin - Presence

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeprese_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

This was one of only three Classic Records 180 (later 200) gram titles that I used to recommend back in the day.

Now when I play the heavy vinyl pressing I find the subtleties of both the music and the sound that I expect to hear have simply gone missing. These days the Classic just sounds second-rate compared to the real thing. You can adjust the VTA of your rig until you're blue in the face, you'll never get the Classic to sound better than passable.

The average original pressing is better, and that means Classic's version deserves a sub-standard grade of D.

More Led Zeppelin


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Johnny Cash - Johnny Cash at San Quentin

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: cash_atsan_2010) 



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

This Columbia 360 Label pressing has TWO WONDERFUL SIDES and quiet vinyl. We just finished a big shootout for this great album and this copy was a MAJOR step up from most of them we played, particularly on side two. It's of course not the world's greatest recording (San Quentin is not quite Olympic Studios) but on a Hot Stamper copy the sound can actually be very good.

More Johnny Cash


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Charlie Byrd - Byrd at the Gate

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: byrd_byrda_2011) 



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

This is a nice Early Riverside pressing with excellent sound! It's also a title Mobile Fidelity ruined, and having just played this record, I can see why. First of all, the guitar and the drums are tonally right on the money. Mobile Fidelity of course brightened up both and the results are a phony sounding guitar and a phony sounding drum kit, with tizzy cymbals. (The Wes Montgomery MOFI title has many of the same faults, but it's not quite as bad as this one.)


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Jimmy Buffett - Changes In Latitudes...

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: buffechang_2017) 



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

Look, we're as surprised as anyone that this album has the potential to sound like this. We picked up a few copies for the heck of it (I believe that's exactly in the Jimmy Buffett spirit) and were shocked at what we heard on the best of them. Most of them were a complete waste of time, but we learned enough to start the hunt and finally get this shootout rockin'.

More Jimmy Buffett


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Ray Charles - Love Country Style

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: charllovec_2007) 



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

This ABC White Label Promo LP is one of the BEST SOUNDING Ray Charles records we have ever heard! This is analog at its best: rich, warm and sweet with tons of TUBEY MAGIC.

More Ray Charles


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Buckingham Nicks - Buckingham Nicks

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: buckibucki_2012) 



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

TWO WHITE HOT A+++ SIDES! The overall sound is UNBELIEVABLY rich, sweet, open, spacious, and transparent. Most copies suffer from a seriously bloated bottom end, but the bass on this one is nice and tight. The other big problem with the typical copy is a harsh top end, but the highs here are much sweeter and never aggressive.

More Buckingham-Nicks and Fleetwood Mac


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: crosbifico_2016) 



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

BEYOND TRIPLE TRIPLE! This Top Copy had a side one that blew us away enough to earn FOUR Pluses!

Here it is, folks... a TRUE ROCK DEMO DISC! A White Hot Stamper copy such as this will show you why we've long considered it one of the All Time Top Ten Rock Albums for Sound and Music. You will not believe how Tubey Magical and three-dimensional this album can be when you have a pressing with this kind of sound. The harmonic complexity and extension on the acoustic guitars are absolutely stunning!

More David Crosby


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Cheap Trick - At Budokan

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cheapatbud_2017) 



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

This is the only Cheap Trick record that most casual fans should need. The live versions of 'Ain't That A Shame' and 'I Want You To Want Me' are AS GOOD AS IT GETS. Where would Classic Rock Radio be without catchy pop like this? Nowhere man!

More Cheap Trick


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Sibelius / Symphony #2 / Barbarolli

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sibelsym2_rdg_2017) 



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

A truly extraordinary recording mastered beautifully but pressed on vinyl that has never been known for its quiesecece (if I can get by with that ten cent word).

The strings are clear and textured, yet rich and full-bodied. The bottom is big and weighty. The horns are tubey and full-bodied and never screech through even the most difficult passages.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Elvis Costello - Spike

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: costespike_2010) 



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

White Hot Stampers for Elvis Costello’s Last Really Good Album and no, they’re not British -- the British ones were a joke. Spike was mixed right here in the good old US of A at Ocean Way (and elsewhere) with plenty of that big bold sound they know how to get at that studio. Drop the needle on the first track and you will hear exactly what I mean.

This White Hot Stamper showed us a Spike we never knew existed -- so much energy and presence to the sound, it came jumping out of the speakers and simply refused to mind its manners. Elvis should be proud. Why don’t more records sound like this?

More Elvis Costello


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Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

180g Rhino LP Debunked

  (Item #: costemyaim_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: D

I’m embarrassed to say we used to like the Rhino Heavy Vinyl version, and in our defense let me tell you why: it was (for the most part) tonally correct, fairly low distortion, and had tight punchy bass.

Boy, was we wrong. Now it sounds positively CRUDE and UNPLEASANT next to the real thing -- if by "the real thing" you mean an honest to goodness Hot Stamper copy. The average copy of this record is aggressive and unpleasant. The British pressings are mud. You either have to work very hard to find a good one (which means buying, cleaning and playing lots and lots of them), or you have to luck into a good one by accident.

See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Elvis Costello - Mighty Like A Rose

Reviewed in 1991

  (Item #: costemight_1991) 



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

Warner Brothers German Import LP. This is the only vinyl version of this album from 1991. As I recall the sound is pretty good.

More Elvis Costello


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Elvis Costello - Goodbye Cruel World

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: costegoodb_2005) 



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

With the amazing I Wanna Be Loved, one of the 10 best Elvis Costello songs of all time!

More Elvis Costello


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Elvis Costello - Girls Girls Girls

Skip It on Vinyl (But Buy the CD Set)

  (Item #: costegirls_1989) 



This is a Minty looking British Import Demon Records LP with Virtually No Sign of Play (VNSOP). This copy sounds decent -- better than you'd find on any domestic copy -- and the songs, spanning the period from 1976 to 1986, are GREAT!


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Elvis Costello - Blood and Chocolate

Reviewed in 2000

  (Item #: costeblood_2000) 



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

Some brilliant songs on this one: I Want You comes to mind, one of the best tracks Elvis ever laid down. This is not a pretty record -- it's lean, mean, rock and roll, if you're into that sort of thing (which I am of course).

More Elvis Costello


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John Lennon - Imagine

MoFi Pressing (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: lennoimagi_mofi_) 



Sonic Grade: B

One of the better MoFi pressings from the 2000's

We haven't played a copy of this record in years, 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. At the time we said:

I played this when it came out, and I have to hand it to the new MOFI, they did a great job with this one. It sounds better than I''ve ever heard it, and KILLS the old MoFi vinyl, which is the version we did the shootout with.

More John Lennon


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Bob Simpson

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allbob_simpson) 



BOB SIMPSON is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the links below to find his albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

We could not find a picture of the man so we've included a picture of the RCA label of one of his most famous recordings, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall.

Bob Simpson Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Bob Simpson Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: emerspictu_2009) 



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

This Minty looking original Island British Import LP has some of the best sound we have ever heard for this album. This copy KILLED a bunch of other Brit imports we played it against. It wasn't even close. This pressing was so much more TRANSPARENT -- you could hear into the crowd in a way that no other copy managed to let you do. When the band started playing the sound was much more clear and present than the other Brit copies we played.

Great live sound thanks to EDDIE OFFORD.

More Emerson, Lake and Palmer


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Tchaikovsky / Nutcracker Suites 1 & 2 / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tchainutcr_6097_2012) 



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

This is an AMAZINGLY well recorded performance of one of the most famous ballets, probably the most famous, ever committed to analog tape. Enchanting music and sound combine on this copy to make one seriously good Demo Disc, if what you are trying to demonstrate is how relaxed and involved vintage analog can make you feel.

A record like this lets you get lost in the world of its music, and what could be more important in a recording than that?

More Tchaikovsky


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Brahms / Sonata #3 in F Minor / Rubinstein

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brahmsonat_2459_2011) 



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

This exceptionally rare Shaded Dog pressing has AMAZING sound on side one, A+++, with side two rating a nearly as good sonic grade of A++. I can't recall the last time I played a solo piano recording that was this transparent and lively. It's shockingly realistic; this is what a piano sounds like in performance.

Well, almost. Rubinstein's recordings never manage to convey all the weight of a real concert grand piano -- as if any home stereo could anyway -- but this recording is still relatively full-bodied. What it is more than anything else is REAL sounding. You will quickly forget that you are listening to a record at all.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Beethoven / Kreutzer and Spring Sonatas / Rubinstein

Shaded Dogs Vs. Red Seals

  (Item #: beethkreut_shaded_dogs) 



The Shaded Dog original RCA pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that's just another Record Myth.

In this listing for one of our Hot Stamper 2-packs we compare the sound of the originals (which tend to be crude, veiled, recessed and a bit smeary) with the reissues, which can be awful or wonderful depending on which side of which copy you are playing.

More recordings featuring the violin


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Arnold / English, Scottish and Cornish Dances

Reviewed in 2015

  (Item #: arnolengli_2015) 



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

This SUPER RARE Lyrita-mastered title is a member of HP’s famous TAS Super Disc list. It includes Eight English Dances, Four Scottish Dances and Four Cornish Dances.

The sound is uncolored and natural, with a mid-hall perspective, and very little multi-miking to be heard, all to the good.


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Adam / Giselle / Fistoulari

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: adam_gisel_2011) 



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

Remastered by Philips from a Golden Age Classical Recording by Mercury, originally released in 1961.

This Mercury Golden Import 2 LP set has VERY GOOD sound. The average copy tends to be a bit dark and recessed, but this one is refreshingly free from those problems. It's not quite up to Hot Stamper status, but it is a very enjoyable record!

More Mercury Recordings


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Bill Evans - Village Vanguard Sessions

Live and Learn

  (Item #: evansvilla_wrong) 



A classic case of Live and Learn. Many years ago we had played copies of the record and thought the sound was fine, shootout material in fact. Flash forward to 2015 or 2016. Now it sounds thin, flat and opaque. Worse, it's actually in MONO.

A stereo recording reissued in mono for no apparent reason? What were they smoking over there at Milestone?

More Bill Evans


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Sibelius / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sibelvioli_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked. Classic remastered this title in the '90s -- it's one of the better Heifetz recordings. As expected, their version was awful, as bad as LSC 1903, 1992, 2129 and others too numerous to list.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Sibelius, Liszt, Dukas et al. / Bernard Herrmann Conducts

London Phase 4 Debunked

  (Item #: sibelberna_phase_4) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

While preparing for a Finlandia shootout recently we happened to drop the needle on this album, a 1977 Phase 4 recording made in Kingsway Hall and engineered by Arthur Lilley. We could hardly believe how bad it sounded. The multi-miking is the worst I have ever heard! We like lots of Phase 4 recordings -- especially those of Bernard Herrmann -- but this is definitely not one of them.

More of the music of Bernard Herrmann


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Satie, Ravel, Debussy, Faure / The Impressionists / Herrmann

  (Item #: varioimpre_4224_2011) 



Presenting an exceptionally rare and very good sounding Decca Phase IV pressing (with the textured cover, ooh!), the first to ever hit the site. We have been on the lookout for this album for years and somehow cannot find any clean copies, other than this one of course.

Not to worry; this one will do nicely. Three of the six works here have SUPERB better than Super Hot Stamper sound. We went through them one by one and were rather surprised that the sound quality varied so much from track to track. One might conclude from the variation in the sound that the album must be a compilation -- so many of Herrmann's albums are -- but that is not the case, assuming the liner notes are to be believed.

See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaisym6_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as none-too-impressive, playing into my natural prejudice against early Living Stereo recordings and Classic Records themselves.

Keep in mind the Shaded Dog originals of this recording are awful too, as we make clear below.

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


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Elgar / Enigma Variations / Monteux / LSO

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: elgarenigm_2418_2011) 



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

This famous Shaded Dog, containing two superb performances by Monteux and the LSO, has many of the Golden Age strengths and weaknesses we know well here at Better Records, having played literally hundreds upon hundreds of these vintage pressings over the last twenty years or so.

Both sides earned sonic grades of at least A+ to A++ (with side one being just a bit better than that but maybe not quite A++). The sound is rich and sweet and full of Living Stereo Magic!

See more recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson


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Debussy / Ravel - Piano Works - Moravec

Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: debuspiano_athena) 



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

This long out of print Athena LP is one of my favorite audiophile records of all time. It was recorded in 1967 and remastered by a real mastering engineer, Robert Ludwig, a man who knows the sound of an acoustic piano about as well as anyone ever will. He did scores of Vox recordings and knows the sound of classical music inside and out.

Athena, like Chesky, is an Audiophile BS Label of the worst kind; most of their stuff is ridiculously artificial sounding. This is the only record of theirs that I can recommend. You will have a very hard time finding these piano pieces sounding any better than they do here.

More of the music of Claude Debussy (1862-1918)


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Debussy / Iberia - Reiner

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_2005) 



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

This is a wonderful sounding Shaded Dog pressing. Side two is especially dynamic.

This has long been considered one of the Living Stereo triumphs. The spaciousness and tonal correctness is legendary.

This copy does not have the prodigious bass of some that I've heard. The Classic reissue has plenty of deep bass, but it's shrill and hard and altogether unpleasant, so the better bass comes at a steep price.

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Prokofiev / Romeo and Juliet / Munch

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: prokoromeo_1412_2011) 



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

Superb Sound on this Victrola pressing, with TRANSPARENCY, spaciousness and low level detail you will not believe. And plenty of Living Stereo COLOR.

DEMO QUALITY SOUND, if what you're demonstrating is the three dimensional quality of Living Stereo recordings. Amazing space, depth and width can be heard on this side one. And the music is sublime.

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


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Gary McFarland - Does The Sun Really Shine On The Moon

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: mcfardoest_2017) 



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

Look at the track listing -- these are pop tunes by The Beatles and The Beach Boys set to jazzy arrangements, perfect for your bachelor pad. Enjoy this one for what it is -- enchanting pop tunes without the vocals, superbly well recorded and well played by jazz guys who know how to have fun with these kinds of songs.

DCC did this title on CD and if you want one just drop us a note and we will include one with your order gratis.

See more of our Hot Stamper Jazz albums


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ZZ Top - Fandango

Warners Heavy Vinyl Reviewed

  (Item #: zztopfanda_warners) 



Sonic Grade: C

Warner Brothers remastered Fandango in 2008, so we took some domestic pressings and put them up against their Heavy Vinyl LP. The results were mixed; most of our originals pressings were lackluster, many were noisy, and we just weren't hearing anything with the sound we thought deserved to be called a Hot Stamper.

We shelved the project for another day. In the interim we kept buying domestic pressings -- originals and reissues -- in the hopes that something good would come our way.

More ZZ Top


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The Beatles - Past Masters Volumes 1 & 2

Digital Remastering at its Worst

  (Item #: beatlpastm_2010) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

The '90s import pressings of this album are bright and aggressive and very digital sounding, but if you want better sounding versions of these songs you're gonna have to buy a lot of albums to find them.

All the songs that aren't on the original 13 British albums, so for those of you with the MOFI Beatles box, this gives you all the tracks you don't have.


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: beatlmagic_obsess) 



MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR 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 all of our other BEATLES albums.


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Bob Dylan - Slow Train Coming

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: dylanslowt_2012) 



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

We packaged together our very best A+++ side one with a different copy that boasted our best side two with the same top grade to give you this QUIET White Hot Stamper 2-pack! I doubt this is anyone's very favorite Dylan album, but it's sure a lot more enjoyable when you have sound like this. And if you want to hear what's missing on the typical pressing, flip either copy over to the non-WHS side to see what we're talking about.

The big hit here is Gotta Serve Somebody, and Mark Knopler of Dire Straits is featured throughout the album.

More Bob Dylan


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Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: dylantimes_2016) 



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

This amazing Mono pressing is the first Triple Triple copy to ever hit the site!Both A+++ sides are incredibly rich and warm, with dynamics and smoothness to the harmonica you almost never hear. As impressive as the best stereo copies can be, the mono version is our preferred mix for the album.

More Bob Dylan


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Ambrosia - Life Beyond L.A.

Which Stampers Sound the Best?

  (Item #: ambrolifeb_stampers) 



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

There's a unique story behind this title, which goes something like this. I recount it because it's a classic and hopefully instructive case of Live and Learn.

More Ambrosia


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Ambrosia - Life Beyond L.A.

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: ambrolifeb_2013) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Ambrosia LP has the kind of sound you would never expect to find in the grooves of this album. It was a THRILL to hear, especially at the volumes at which we played it! The transparency and openness were off the charts, and unmatched by any other copy in our shootout. We're big fans of this band here at Better Records -- we love their take on complex, big production rock!

More Ambrosia


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Big Brother & The Holding Company

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: bigbrbigbr_2016) 



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

This album has got that trippy '60s San Francisco sound, no doubt about it. Those of you who are familiar with Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow or the early Grateful Dead albums know what I'm talking about. Like you might expect from this mixture of blues and psychedelic rock, the sound can be a bit raw. That's surely the way the band wanted you to hear it, and this copy gives you, more than anything else, the right sound for this music.

More Janis Joplin


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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: bachacasin_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

Casino Royale under the sway of Bernie's penchant for bright, gritty, ambience-challenged sound? Not such a good match. There is no reissue, and there will never be a reissue, that will sound as good as a good original. (And I hope it would go without saying that most copies cannot begin to do what a real Hot Stamper original can.)

See all of our Burt Bacharach albums in stock


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Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: fleetfleet_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed, and this one is actually pretty good.

The Mobile Fidelity pressing of this album can actually sound quite good (if you get hold of a decent copy that is). Audio perfection it ain't, but all in all it's a very enjoyable record. Its strengths are many and its faults are few. Let's give credit where credit is due; the MoFi is rich, transparent, sweet, and natural, and you won't hear us saying that about very many MoFi pressings.

More Fleetwood Mac


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The Moody Blues - A Question of Balance

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: moodyquest_2010) 



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

This British Threshhold pressing is one of the best copies of this album we've heard. Both sides have tons of tubey magic (natch), BIG BASS, and better transparency than the copies we played it against. Most Moody Blues records are too murky to make much sense of, but this Hot Stamper copy breaks through that mud and gives fans of this band the sound they've been wishing for and likely never found.

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Rachmaninoff & Liszt / Favorite Classics for Piano / Pennario

Reviewed in 2014

  (Item #: rachmfavor_2014) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on side two of this solo piano recording. It's big, rich and above all REAL sounding, with natural studio space. The legendary soloist Leonard Pennario is presented here at the height of his powers. Superb choice of material, from Clair De Lune to Liebestraum to the Hungarian Rhapsody No . 2.

On the rare Stereo pressing of course -- we want to hear all that studio space reproduced, just as your two ears would have heard it (more or less).

More of Franz Liszt's music in stock


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Fleetwood Mac - Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: fleetpeter_2008) 



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

Folks, if you love the early Fleetwood Mac, we here present you with the best sounding pressing of that music we have ever heard. Original British LP? Nope, the ones we played were dull as dishwater. This Bluesy Rocker is an original Epic Yellow Label pressing, the kind of record you might find in clean condition roughly every five years or so. We had two for this shootout, and they were the only two pressings that had the kind of life, energy, presence and musicality we demand of our Hot Stampers. Everything else just sounded like an old record.

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Fleetwood Mac - Tusk

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fleettusk_2017) 



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

This copy is absolutely KILLER, with the kind of deep, solid low end and superb space and openness you just don't hear on most copies of the album. When the soundstage is wide and three-dimensional the way it is here, it's amazing how much more SENSE the music starts to make.

And the clarity is not the phony "audiophile" kind that's the result of too much treble - there's no lack of richness or warmth to the sound.

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Ry Cooder - Jazz

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: coodejazz_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: D

As you probably know, the MoFi of Jazz goes for big bucks nowadays -- $500 and up. Is it worth it?

Are you kidding? It’s a nice record as far as it goes, but it suffers from the same shortcomings as just about every Mobile Fidelity pressing we take the time to play these days (with some obvious exceptions of course). We have a test pressing, and knowing that the MoFi is the standard against which many audiophiles would prefer to judge our Hot Stampers, we listened to it first before going about our comparison test.

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Dick Schory - Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: schorbangb_2016) 



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

This one is absolutely As Good As It Gets on side one. It's a real treat to hear such a crazy assortment of percussion instruments with this kind of amazingly clear, high-resolution sound! It's just bigger, richer and clearer than any side we can remember playing.

See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock


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Dick Schory - Music To Break Any Mood

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: schormusic_2125_2009) 



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

This is the successor to Bang Bar-oom, and as you can imagine it's music in the same percussive style, the major difference here being the addition of a giant gong which the producers justifiably take great pride in. This title is also at least 5 times as rare as LSP 1866; I haven't seen one of these in years!

Features standards Caravan, Fascinating Rhythm and Stranger In Paradise, among others.

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Dick Schory - The Happy Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: schorhappy_2013) 


Side One - A++. This side is full and rich yet clear. Listen to that crazy banjo on track two; that's not an easy instrument to get to sound right, but the RCA engineers pull it off. The brass is a bit "hot" at times so we took off one plus. For all we know this is as good as it gets.

Side Two - A++, not quite as warm as side one, but more lively and really jumpin'. The last track is truly Demo Disc quality. The bottom and top are extended and the sound is rich in the best possible sense of the word. Superb sound and plenty of fun, wacky music!

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The Eagles - The Long Run

What to Listen For

  (Item #: eaglelongr_wtlf) 



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

Want to know if you have a good side one on your copy? Here's an easy test. Timothy B Schmit's vocal on I Can't Tell You Why rarely sounds right. Most of the time he's muffled, pretty far back in the soundstage, and the booth he's in has practically no ambience. On the good copies he's not exactly jumping out of the speakers, but he's clear, focussed, and his voice is breathy and full of emotional subtleties that make the song the heartbreaking powerhouse it is.

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Eagles - The Long Run

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: eaglelongr_2009) 



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 copy had sound we never would have expected to hear on this record. Believe me, not too many sound like this one! Most copies have a smeary, veiled, stuck-in-the-speaker quality that makes for some painful listening. Cardboard drums. Non-existent ambience. No energy. The average copy of this album just sits on the turntable with nothing to say.

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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Classic Records Mono Debunked

  (Item #: hendraxisb_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

One of the worst things the dummies at Classic ever did. Flat and dry with no tubey magic whatsoever. It positively screams "CHEAP REISSUE."

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Tchaikovsky / Serenade for Strings - Munch

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tchaiseren_2105_2012) 



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

This original Shaded Dog pressing has WONDERFUL sound and exceptionally quiet vinyl for a record made in 1958. Like most recordings from the era, it has the strengths and weaknesses of simply-miked analog tapes recorded and mastered during The Golden Age. It's every bit as RICH and Tubey Magical as one could ever want, but evidences some congestion in the loudest passages and a touch of tube smear even when quiet. With All Tube Mastering, this is of course to be expected.

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


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Fleetwood Mac - Mystery To Me

Whomp Factor on "Why"

  (Item #: fleetmyste_wtlf) 



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

There is an amazing bass drum on this album that plays on selective tracks, most notably the song "Why", and it will shake the foundation and knock your knick-knacks right off their shelves if you've got the woofers (and the room) to play it right. I was using this record to demo my system in the mid-'70s. I had a pair of Fulton Js and they could really pump out the low end this record needs.

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Steeleye Span - All Around My Hat

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: steelallar_2013) 



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

The best copy to ever hit the site! It ain't easy to find clean British pressings of this one, which is why it's taken us so long to get a copy like this up on the site. We played a good sized stack of these recently and only a couple did the job well enough to be considered Hot Stampers. This one is a big step up, with way less of the thick / murky / veiled sound that plagues many copies.

See all of our Folk albums in stock


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Tom Waits - Closing Time

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: waitsclosi_2017) 



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

This copy has the kind of sound we look for in a top quality Tom Waits record: immediacy in the vocals (so many copies are veiled and distant); natural tonal balance (most copies are either bright or dark; ones with the right balance are the exception, not the rule); good solid weight (so the piano and other instruments sound full and powerful); spaciousness (the best copies have studio ambience like you would not believe); and last but not least, TRANSPARENCY, the effect of being able to see INTO the soundfield all the way to the back, where there is plenty going on in this remarkable studio recording.

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Cat Stevens - Catch Bull At Four

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: stevecatch_2016) 



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

If you're familiar with what the best Hot Stamper pressings of Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat or Mona Bone Jakon can sound like -- amazing is the word that comes to mind -- then you should easily be able to imagine how good this killer copy of Catch Bull at Four sounds.

All the ingredients for a Classic Cat Stevens album were in place for this release which came out in 1972, about a year after Teaser and the Firecat. His brilliant guitar player Alun Davies is still in the band, and Paul Samwell-Smith is still producing as brilliantly as ever.

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Cat Stevens - Izitso

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: steveizits_2008) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including THE BEST SIDE TWO WE’VE EVER HEARD! We just finished our first shootout for Izitso, and this was the overall champion with an A++ side one backed with an AGAIG A+++ side two. It’s no Teaser and the Firecat, but there’s enough Cat Stevens magic here to satisy casual fans and die-hards alike.

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Led Zeppelin - III

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze3_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Ridiculously bright and harsh, we are proud to say this was one of the Classic Zep releases that we never carried on the site (along with II and Houses, both of which stink).

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Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains The Same

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: ledzesongr_2007) 



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

FREAKISHLY GOOD LIVE ZEP SOUND! This Swan Song LP is just full of the Zep Magic -- super lively and full-bodied with a whole lotta WHOMP. Bonzo’s drum sound is LARGER THAN LIFE on this copy. Three of the four sides here rate ABOVE A++.

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Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: littltimel_nautilus) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. After playing a killer Hot Stamper pressing of the album a few years back we wrote the following:

If you own the Nautilus Half-Speed, a record we actually liked years ago even when we had long since forsworn those kinds of pressings, you are really in for a treat. THIS is what the band sounds like in the REAL world, not the phony audiophile world that so many seem to get stuck in.

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Steely Dan - Aja

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: steelaja__mobile_fidelity) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

More Mofi Bashing, But Boy Does The MOFI Deserve It.

I remember back in the ’70s when I thought this album sounded pretty good on my plain old ABC original. Then I got a copy of the Mobile Fidelity pressing and I thought it sounded even better. Side two of the MOFI had bass that was only hinted at on my domestic copy.

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Tom Waits - Small Change

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: waitssmall_2017) 



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

This is a wonderful album, considered by many to be Waits's masterpiece. He's backed with a real jazz combo here, including Lew Tabackin on sax and the great Shelley Manne on drums. Bones Howe does a great job gettin the kind of beatnik-jazz sound out of these songs that they need. On a copy like this, the presence and clarity are absolutely stunning!

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Tom Waits - Nighthawks At The Diner

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: waitsnight_2016) 



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

A stunning Top Copy of this Tom Waits classic! A superb recording, with much credit due to Waits' constant collaborator Bones Howe who produced and engineered. It's a live-in-the-studio romp through Los Angeles with Waits playing the role of tour guide, and the results are wonderful.

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Tom Waits - The Heart of Saturday Night

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: waitsheart_2017) 



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

Amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides! This music ain't for everyone, but when you find good sounding Tom Waits pressings like this one the sonics can be out of this world. It's tough to find clean copies of this stuff these days and even tougher to find ones that really deliver the way this one does. Bones Howe sure knew how to record this kind of music, and a copy like this will really let you appreciate his work.

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Tom Waits - Heartattack and Vine

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: waitsheart_attack_2010) 



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

One of the better copies of Heartattack and Vine we've ever heard! We enjoy listening to the music of Tom Waits here because the music and sound can be excellent. His albums are certainly a nice change of pace from the stuff that's usually on our table. We had quite a few copies of this one and none of the other ones were in a league with this bad boy. The sound is very rich and full with incredble immediacy to the vocals. You just couldn't get the vocals to sound any better than they do on this copy.

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Procol Harum - Broken Barricades

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: procobroke_2014) 



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

TWO EXCELLENT SIDES with each rating A++ or very close to it! Looking for some proggy music that falls somewhere between Jethro Tull and Supertramp, with sonic credentials to match the recordings of those very well-recorded bands? Well look no further. We LOVED playing this album, both for the music and the sound. These guys don't get the respect they deserve among audiophiles, but we're doing our best to try to change that.


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Sibelius / Finlandia / Mackerras (VICS 1069)

A $50 Hot Stamper from 2004 (!)

  (Item #: sibelfinla_1069_2004) 



DEMO QUALITY SOUND and quiet surfaces too.

I don't know when I've heard this album with better sound. This one may be better than the best Shaded Dog for all I know -- it''s that good.

You'll notice that there is a copy of this very same record on the website for $1.99. That one sounds dull. I don't think you'll be able to find a better sounding copy of this record than the pressing we are selling here, because it really is an exceptionally good sounding record. If it weren't, it would be more like $1.99.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad

Not Sounding So Good This Time Around

  (Item #: griegpeer_6049_2016) 



Sonic Grade: F

The originals we played in our recent shootout were bad enough to go right into our Hall of Shame.

We've loved the Blueback pressings in the past. This time, not so much -- too crude and opaque with jello for bass.

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


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Little Feat - Dixie Chicken

How Does the MoFi Sound?

  (Item #: littldixie_mobile_fidelity) 



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

How does the MoFi pressing sound? We have no idea; we've never bothered to order one. This is an album about rhythm. Half-Speed mastered records have sloppy bass and consequently lack rhythmic drive. Why would anyone want to half-speed master an album by Little Feat, one of the most rhythmically accomplished bands in rock and roll history?

The obvious answer is not that it's a good idea, but, if that is the only idea you have, because you are in the half-speed mastering business, then half-speed master is precisely what you are going to do. Good idea or bad idea, what do you care? As the old saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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Little Feat - Dixie Chicken

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: littldixie_2010) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on side two -- yes, it is possible, and this very copy is Proof with a capitol P. Most copies of this album sound like cardboard, especially the later pressings on the palm tree and tan labels. To get the best sound you need originals of this album, and Warner Brothers green label originals are getting pretty darn hard to find as more and more collectors and audiophiles are coming to the realization that the unending stream of heavy vinyl reissues flooding the market leaves a lot to be desired. (Our desire for them is at zero as we no longer bother to order the stuff.)

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Little Feat - Feats Don't Fail Me Now

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: littlfeats_2013) 



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

A White Hot side one mated to a Super Hot side two make this our big shootout winner this time around. Incidentally our last time around for Little Feat's fourth album was 2008 for those of you keeping track at home; yes, it's getting mighty hard to find clean copies of practically all the pre-Waiting For Columbus titles.

The good news we have to offer this time as opposed to last is that we can now clearly say that Feats Don't Fail Me Now is the best sounding album of the first four the band recorded. We think the songs are great too; we would hope that goes without saying.

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Emmylou Harris - Roses In The Snow

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: harriroses_2012) 



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

AMAZING A+++ SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! The immediacy of the vocals is startling -- Emmylou is IN THE ROOM with you, belting out these heartfelt, emotional songs. If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will! We've done several shootouts for this album now, and we've completely fallen in love with both the music and the sound. When you hear a copy like this, it's easy to see why. Even our single plus (A+) sides sound wonderful, but our Super Hot (A++) and White Hot (A+++) sides are OUT OF THIS WORLD. You won't find too many records from 1980 with sound this good, that's for sure!

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Emmylou Harris - Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: harriquart_2012) 



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

This is a Warner Brothers Palm Tree Label LP with SUPERB SOUND, dramatically better than that of the typical copy. We recently undertook a huge shootout for this album and this pressing finished way up top with an A+++ grade on side one and an A++ for the second side. The grit and edge that mess up most copies out there are kept in check here, allowing the music to sound smooth and sweet.

Emmylou's vocals sound JUST RIGHT here with lots of breath and texture. The immediacy is OFF THE CHARTS.

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Emmylou Harris - Pieces Of The Sky

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: harripiece_2014) 



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

This album has the real Country Sound, with plenty of top players sitting in on these sessions, musicians who know country music as well as anyone alive. The legendary guitarist for Elvis (and half the stars of Nashville), James Burton, lends a hand on Electric and Dobro. On vocals and guitar Herb Pederson, who still plays locally. (Together with Chris Hillman they put on a great show of old Country and Honky Tonk favorites. If they come to your town check them out.) Ricky Skaggs on fiddle, Billy Payne on piano, Bernie Leadon on banjo -- no doubt a good time was had by all in the studio,,,

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Emmylou Harris - Luxury Liner

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: harriluxur_2013) 



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

TWO IMPRESSIVE A+++ SIDES for this White Hot Stamper 2-pack! We just finished our first-ever shootout for this album, and we're pleased to report that the sound on the best sides is right up there with Emmylou's best -- clear, open and transparent with tons of texture and detail. We've bundled our best side one and our best side two together to give you As Good As It Gets sound for the entire album! And if you want to hear exactly what you're paying for in a White Hot Stamper, just flip either one of these copies over. (Or you could leave playing average sounding sides to us.)

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Emmylou Harris - Elite Hotel

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: harrielite_2014) 



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

TWO EXCELLENT SIDES, including an AMAZING A+++ SIDE ONE! It is TOUGH to find great sound for this album, but this copy really nailed it. Emmylou's voice, obviously the key element, is just killer here. Most copies we play have their fair share of problems, but when you get one like this the sonic issues fade into the background, letting you focus on one thing -- the MUSIC.

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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte... Live!

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: belafbelaf_live_2011) 



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

White Hot Stampers on sides one and three! This copy also has an A++ side two and an A+ side four, so there's a ton of good sound on this fun concert LP. This album features Harry performing on all four sides, but also includes music from some of the guests he brought along to perform with him at the early '70s shows in Toronto from which these performances are taken. The first three sides are all KILLER -- you get real-life immediacy, excellent clarity, breathtaking transparency and boatloads of tubey magic!

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Sly & The Family Stone - Stand

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: slyanstand_2017) 



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

Finally, a Triple Plus (A+++) copy of Sly’s classic Stand album from 1969, one of the few times that this album has EVER sounded the way it is supposed to! Man, most copies of this album just plain suck -- sonically of course.

Both sides here have lively punchy drums; a big soundfield, front to back and side to side; tonally correct vocals (which obviously are key and sound edgy and thin on most copies), and real resolution to the sound overall. Also just as importantly you lose the sibilance most copies suffer from and the smear on the horns goes away, thank goodness.

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Canned Heat - Canned Heat

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: cannecanne_1967_2006) 



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

This very nice looking Liberty LP has pretty good sound for a Californian Rock band from 1967. Side one is super low distortion and natural with lots of presence. Side two sounds pretty darn good as well. If you’re a fan of early Fleetwood Mac or Grateful Dead you should find much to like here.


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Shelly Manne & His Men - At The Blackhawk Vol. 2

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: manneblack_2008) 



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

WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! This Contemporary Yellow Label LP is West Coast Jazz at its best! The sound is SUPERB -- airy, open, and spacious with an STUNNINGLY GOOD bottom end. You won’t believe how ALIVE the bass sounds -- the depth and definition are OUT OF THIS WORLD! Each instrument here sounds just right -- weighty, percussive piano; punchy drums; and lovely leading edge transients on the brass. Contemporary got live nightclub jazz sound down to a T here.

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Shelly Manne & His Men - At The Blackhawk Vol. 1

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: manneatthe_2011) 



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

WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! This Contemporary Yellow Label LP is West Coast Jazz at its best! The sound is SUPERB -- airy, open, and spacious with an STUNNINGLY GOOD bottom end. You won’t believe how ALIVE the bass sounds -- the depth and definition are OUT OF THIS WORLD! Each instrument here sounds just right -- weighty, percussive piano; punchy drums; and lovely leading edge transients on the brass. Contemporary got live nightclub jazz sound down to a T here.

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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: kingcinthe_2017) 



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

Over the last five years or so we have been prepping for this shootout by buying and trying lots of different pressings. Right from the start we could hear that no domestic pressing was, or was likely to ever be, remotely competitive with the best Brits.

Most later reissues -- domestic or import -- were as flat and lifeless as a cassette, although we admit that some were clearly better than others.

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King Crimson - Lizard

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: kingclizar_2008) 



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

This is a SUNRAY Island Records label British Import LP with No Bar Code -- an Early Pressing. We can’t imagine Lizard sounding much better than this. Both sides have sweet and open sound. A++ all the way -- rich, warm, and transparent!

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King Crimson - Red

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: kingcred_2009) 



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

This is a Minty British Polydor red label import LP. These British imports are consistently superior to their domestic counterparts. We do not even bother to pick up domestic King Crimson albums anymore; the sub-generation tapes they are made from cause them to be smeary, veiled and compressed. If there are good ones out there we sure haven't heard them.

As for this copy, both sides are tubey magical and sweet, again, qualities sorely lacking in domestic pressings. Both sides are however a bit recessed compared to the best we've played. Side two is especially dynamic though; the sound really jumps in places.

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King Crimson - Larks’ Tongues In Aspic

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: kingclarks_2010) 



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

For King Crimson, it doesn’t get much better than this original Island SUNRAY Label British Import LP. It sounds great in all aspects -- quiet, TRANSPARENT, DYNAMIC and full of energy. The sound JUMPS right out of the speakers practically the instant the needle hits the groove. (You better watch your volume knob if you value your equipment!)

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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King

UK Pink Label Island

  (Item #: kingcinthe_2011) 



This is a super rare British original Island Pink Label LP with excellent sound.

Don't expect to see one on the site any time soon. We can't afford to buy them!

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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: kingcinthe_2007) 



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

This Minty looking VERY QUIET Polydor British Import LP has an AMAZING SIDE ONE -- it’s so TRANSPARENT, open and DYNAMIC! The vocals are Right On The Money here, and the breathy quality of the flute really is amazing, especially during the rich and sweet "I Talk to the Wind." The play between the flute and drums, with some keyboards for cohesiveness, through the end of the song is absolutely breathtaking. For a notoriously bass-shy recording, the bottom end is pretty good.

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Saint-Saens / Violin Con #3 & Chausson / Poeme - Milstein

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: saintviol3_2013) 



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

This White Hot Stamper original Blue Angel pressing has some of the most exquisite sound for a violin/orchestral recording we have ever heard here at Better Records. I do not think there is any Heifetz album on RCA Shaded Dog (or otherwise) to compete with it. We would rank this Angel recording/pressing with the best of Rabin and Milstein on Capitol, as well as the wonderful Ricci and Campoli discs on London/Decca. In other words, this is one of the best sounding violin-led orchestral recordings we have yet to play, and we've played them by the hundreds and hundreds. (Practice makes perfect they say.)

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens


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Andres Segovia / The Guitar and I

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: segovguita_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper has amazingly NATURAL sound. It's transparent and tonally correct and above all "REAL", with the kind of sound you rarely hear on recordings made in studios.

This recording sounds like it was made in a practice room with microphones placed at a distance, accurately capturing the sound you would hear if Maestro Segovia had invited you to an advanced class for experienced players.


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