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Prokofiev / Love for Three Oranges Suite / Dorati

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: prokolovef_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Dreadful sound. The Mercury series on Classic is a disaster.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs.

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


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Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: waterfolks_2005) 



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

This is a Minty Chess reissue LP. If you want an amazing sounding Folk Blues album, I can’t think of a better one. Top recommendation.

More Muddy Waters


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Little Milton - Blues’N Soul

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: miltoblues_2012) 



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

Pristine looking Stax LP with excellent sound and some really heartfelt Blues music.

This is a Stax reissue from 1982. My experience with the stuff that Fantasy remastered has been very good over the years. This is another winner.

"Milton's early-'70s output indeed began to walk the fine line between the blues and soul and includes the song Behind Closed Doors." -- AMG

More Soul, R&B and Blues


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Enoch Light - Reeds and Percussion

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: lightreeds_2014) 



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

This is one of the most phenomenal sounding records I have ever heard in my life. Take the best sound you ever heard from the best authentic Mercury classical record (not that Heavy Vinyl BS) and translate it into pop arrangements for clarinets, flutes, saxes, oboes, bassoons, and what do you have? Sound that leaps out of the speakers with absolutely dead on tonality.

But what is most shocking of all is how vivid and accurate the timbre of every instrument is.

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Deep Purple - Made In Japan

Live and Learn

  (Item #: deeppmadei_2006) 



This is a classic case of Live and Learn. What we had to say below about Made in Japan back in 2006 is just plain emabarrassing.

"This is a very nice looking EMI British Import Double LP that plays Mint Minus. This copy sounds tonally correct and pretty lively. The DCC may be better but it’s a LOT MORE MONEY I haven't played that record since it came out years ago so who's to say."

Ouch.

More Deep Purple


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Spirit - Clear

Sundazed Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: spiriclear_sundazed) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame and another Sundazed record debunked.

Although it's been many years since I last played it, I'm fairly confidant that the Sundazed only hints at the real sound of the best copies. Most Sundazed records would end up in our Hall of Shame if we ever bothered to audition them.

Being in the "record business", such as it is, I played my share and more of awful sounding Heavy Vinyl.

More Spirit


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Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

Simply Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: nilssschmi_simply_vinyl) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing.

Awful in every way.

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

More Harry Nilsson


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Van Halen - Van Halen

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: vanhavanha_2014) 



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.

We recently took the time to shoot out a bunch of original pressings of Van Halen's debut. I'm sure it won't come as much of a surprise to most of you that the average copy is, well, quite average sounding. Not bad, just mediocre. Not rockin' all that hard and not all that much fun. You know the kind of record I'm talkin' about.

More Van Halen


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The Beatles - Let It Be

Bell Sound Cutting - Not Recommended!

  (Item #: beatlletit_bell) 



If you want to know what you heard when this record came out, here it is. (Trust me, you don't.)
More on Let It Be


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Stan Getz - Jazz Classics

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: getz_jazzc_2011) 



The album contains tracks culled from two different sessions featuring a very young Stan Getz. The sound on the tracks taken from a 1953 session with the Jimmy Raney quintet (tracks one and two on both sides) is amazing! Energetic, tonally balanced, clean and clear -- we've never heard a better sounding Stan Getz recording! Unfortunately, the tracks from the 1949 session with Terry Gibbs, while interesting historically, sound like old 78's -- not our cup of tea.
More Stan Getz


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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra Sings... of Love and Things

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatsinatra_sings_2015) 



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

The music is excellent as one can see from the track listing. It's hard to go wrong with these later Capitol Sinatra records. They're almost always a fun listen.

This album comprises the last group of singles Capitol released of Sinatra's music. Reprise had started in 1960 and the rest of Sinatra's music would come out on his own label. Somehow he managed to record and release six studio albums in 1962, with this compilation making a total of seven for the year. Even more remarkable, all seven of them made the Top Ten of the pop charts.

More Frank Sinatra


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Perez Prado - Pops and Prado

A Killer Bob Simpson Recording

  (Item #: pradopopsa_2016) 



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

A wonderful copy with a White Hot Stamper side two - unbelievably Tubey Magical and spacious. Side one was Super Hot and maybe a bit better - the top is extended, and the reverb is positively luscious. This is vintage analog at its best -- the magic really comes through on this pressing. Credit for the Demo Disc sound of this one must go to the amazing Bob Simpson, working in glorious Webster Hall.

BOB SIMPSON won the Grammy for engineering Belafonte at Carnegie Hall you may recall.



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Henry Mancini - More Music From ’Peter Gunn’

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mancimorem_2011) 



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

The Super Hot Stamper Sound found on side two of this original Living Stereo pressing will show you just how LIVELY and FUN this music can be! The sound is really JUMPIN', much more than the other copies we played (and this side one as well). You also get a healthy dose of Tubey Magic on both sides as befits Mancini recordings on RCA.

More Henry Mancini


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Henry Mancini - The Music From ’Peter Gunn’

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mancimusic_2010) 



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

This early White Dog pressing (4s-6s) has plenty of the Living Stereo Magic RCA was justly famous for back in 1958. Both sides earned a sonic grade of A+ to A++. (The best Hot Stamper copies of More Music from Peter Gunn show you just how well this kind of music can be recorded.)

Listen to all that crazy reverb on the piano and drums -- it may not be the most natural sound in the world but it's pretty cool when it's done this well.

More Henry Mancini


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Henry Mancini -The Mancini Touch

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mancimancini_touch_2010) 



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

This original Living Stereo pressing had nearly White Hot Stamper sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++, with the least amount of smear of any copy we played. (As you may know, smear and opacity are endemic to old Living Stereo pressings such as this.) The sound is SUPER 3-D. You're not going to believe all the ambience surrounding this room full of musicians, especially on the drums! We LOVE that sound. The DEPTH that can be heard in this recording is almost hard to believe.

More Henry Mancini


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Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: nelsoprett_2010) 



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

Imagine the sound of a Hot Stamper Stardust, but instead of Pop Standards you hear Willie, his voice still in its prime, singing Christmas songs, backed by similarly tasteful and understated arrangements. That's what you get on this copy of Pretty Paper in a nutshell.

Released just a year after Stardust in 1979, many of the same musicians are featured, as well as the same producer, the amazing Booker T.. And the most shocking thing of all is just how good the sound is.

More Willie Nelson


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Willie Nelson - Phases And Stages

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: nelsophase_2017) 



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

The first Hot Stamper copy of this great album to ever hit the site and it's one for the ages. It's taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble. The presence and immediacy here are outstanding. Turn it up and Willie is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. He's clearly one of our favorite male vocalists, and this superb copy will show you why.

More Willie Nelson


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Michel Legrand - Legrand Jazz

Our Stereo Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: legralegra_2017) 



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

This album is more common in mono than stereo, but we found the sound of the mono pressing we played seriously wanting. It's dramatically smaller and more squawky and crude than even the worst of the stereo pressings we played.

We had a copy we liked years ago but that was years ago. We don't have that copy anymore and we don't have a stereo that sounds the way our old one did either. Here are some other records that we don't think sound very good in MONO.

More Michel Legrand


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Bob Dylan - Infidels

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: dylaninfid_2017) 



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

This is one of the better sounding Dylan records from the '80s. It's not exactly Blood on the Tracks, the only Dylan album we think is qualified to be on our Top 100 Rock and Pop List, but it sounds good for a record from this era.

More Bob Dylan


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Bob Dylan - Street-Legal

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: dylanstree_2017) 



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

This copy has an insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) side one backed with an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two.

Which breaks the rules a bit because most side twos earned a sonic grade that was about a half plus higher than the average copy's grade for side one. Side two most of the time just plain sounds better than side one, so when evaluating your copy be sure to check side two first to hear what is probably going to be the best sound on the album.

Here are some other albums with notable Side to Side Differences.

More Bob Dylan


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Red Garland Trio - Bright And Breezy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: garlabrigh_2017) 



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

If you have full-range speakers some of the qualities you may recognize in the sound of the piano are WEIGHT and WARMTH. The piano is not hard, brittle or tinkly. Instead the best copies show you a wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, smooth piano, one which sounds remarkably like the ones we've all heard countless times in piano bars and restaurants.

More Red Garland


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John Klemmer - Touch

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: klemmtouch_2010) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper copy of Touch is one of the best sounding records Mobile Fidelity ever made, and the ONLY record of theirs I know of that can't be beat by a standard real-time mastered pressing.

We’re talking DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND here. The spaciousness of the studio and the three-dimensional placement of the myriad percussion instruments and bells within its walls make this something of an audiophile spectacular of a different kind -- dreamy and intensely emotional.

More John Klemmer


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Steve Miller - Fly Like An Eagle

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: milleflyli_2013) 



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

The hottest copy -- by far -- of Fly Like An Eagle to ever hit the site! We've been collecting these for years in hope of finding a knockout pressing, but shootout after shootout stalled. They pressed tons of copies of this album and most of them sound terrible -- grainy, dry and flat. We went into this shootout without high expectations this week, but we were BLOWN AWAY by the sound of the best copies. And here's one that just couldn't be beat, earning A+++ grades on BOTH SIDES. What a monster!

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The Doors - L.A. Woman

Rhino Heavy Vinyl Reviewed

  (Item #: doorslawom_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: B

The pressing we auditioned from the Doors Box Set was surprisingly good. It's rich and smooth with an extended top end -- tonally correct in other words -- and there's lots of bass. This is all to the good. For the thirty bucks you might pay for it you're getting a very good record, assuming yours sounds like ours, something we should really not be assuming, but we do it anyway as there is no other way to write about records other than to describe the sound of the ones we actually have on hand to play.

See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Frank Sinatra - Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim

Rhino Debunked

  (Item #: sinatjobim_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Not recommended. The originals are better and not that hard to find. (The sound on the best original pressings is superb.) Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.

More Frank Sinatra


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Mahler / Symphony #4 / Reiner

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: mahlesym4_2364_2007) 



A Living Stereo record from the Golden Age of Classical Recordings, in this case 1960.

This Mahler work is very accessible and enjoyable. Lovely, smooth, sweet string tone. This, along with the 1st Symphony, are my favorites.

Comparing the Classic Reissue with the white dog above reveals that Bernie Grundman got the tonal balance right (not a common occurrence), but the magic of the RCA string tone has mysteriously been replaced by the thick, glossy strings you might expect on a Phillips record. Consider that the same effect could probably be achieved if you were to buy a Crown amplifier and hook it up to your speakers. I had a Crown DC-300A in 1973 and I don't want it back.


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Mahler - Symphony No. 4 - Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: mahlesym4_6217_2017) 



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

Deep bass; rich, smooth strings, lots of lovely hall space - this copy was right up there with the best we heard, and clearly won the shootout for side two. You will hear immediately why this side two could not be beat - it's wonderful.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

More recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson

More recordings made in Kingsway Hall



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Little Feat - Hoy-Hoy

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: littlhoyho_depth) 



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

The recording quality of many of these songs is OUT OF THIS WORLD, as good as any rock record I can think of. Although Waiting For Columbus is arguably the best sounding live rock 'n roll album ever made, some of the tracks on this album are every bit as good or BETTER. (And the promo EP is practically in a league of its own for sound!)

More Little Feat


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Judy Collins - Judy Collins #3

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: collijudyc_3_2007) 



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

This is a Minty Elektra Red Label LP with two AMAZING sounding sides! Typical copies are dull and thin sounding, making Judy Blue Eyes’ beautiful voice sound honky and weak like she has a head cold. This copy is the remedy!

More Judy Collins


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Al Schmitt

One of Our Favorite Producer-Engineers

  (Item #: allal_schmitt) 



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

Al Schmitt Engineered or Produced Albums We've Reviewed



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Rodrigo - Boieldieu / Harp Concertos / Zabaleta

Reviewed in 201

  (Item #: rodriharpc_2011) 



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

This White Hot Stamper pressing of DG's recording of Rodrigo's famous concerto for harp has amazing DEMO DISC SOUND, but only on side two. The harp is clear, with no smear whatsoever, but what's really shocking is how huge the soundstage is, and how much depth it has. While playing this side the speakers just disappeared and a huge concert hall appeared in their place! The harmonics of the harp are rendered superbly well. It's hard to imagine one could record a harp concerto better than this. It is superb in every way.


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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: kingcinthe_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

The MoFi pressing shown here is surely one of their best. Unfortunately we have little tolerance for the dynamic compression, overall lifelessness and wonky bass heard on practically every record they ever remastered. One of the reasons your MoFi might not sound wrong to you is that it isn't really "wrong." It's doing most things right, and it probably will beat whatever you can find to throw at it.

More King Crimson


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Bonnie Raitt - Streetlights

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: raittstree_2013) 



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

Our first Hot Stamper shootout for Bonnie Raitt's classic fourth album yielded a surprisingly good copy, this one, with practically unbeatable (nearly) White Hot Stamper sound on side two, backed with a Super Hot side one that easily put most of the other copies we played to shame. The first three songs on side one -- That Song About the Midway, Rainy Day Man, Angel from Montgomery -- represent some of the strongest material Bonnie ever got to work with, and they alone would serve to qualify this as a Must Own Bonnie Raitt album.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Bonnie Raitt - Luck of the Draw

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: raittlucko_2012) 



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

Here's the first (Super) Hot Stamper copy of Luck Of The Draw to ever hit the site! What took us so long? It's simple, most copies out there just plain don't deliver, and for a long time we weren't sure we'd ever have a copy that would be a clear enough winner over the DCC pressing to merit Hot Stamper status.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Bonnie Raitt - Bonnie Raitt

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: raittbonni_2013) 



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

The average Green Label Warner Bros. copy we played was lackluster to say the least. The words on some of my notes read flat, veiled, dry, dark, edgy: None too promising, but we persevered and found this one! The reissues we heard tended to be modern and thin. Definitely not our sound.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Jennifer Warnes - The Hunter

Import Debunked

  (Item #: warnehunte_2007) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing on import vinyl from 1992. Years ago we wrote:

This is a SUPER RARE Private Music German Import LP. The last two copies of this record listed on eBay went for over $600!

All of which was true. We left out, however, what an awful record The Hunter is in every way. If you like your Big Production Pop to sound as phony as possible, this is the album for you. Not one instrument sounds remotely like it should, and that is surely an insult to audiophiles of every stripe. (The problem was that most self-identified audiophiles failed to notice how execrable the sound was.)

More Jennifer Warnes


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Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: electnewwo_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

As a result of Jeff Lynne's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production approach, it will be the rare copy that provides enough transparency and resolution to bring out all the elements in these incredibly dense mixes, strings included. But when you find a copy that does, what a THRILL it is. This is the band's MASTERPIECE in my humble opinion. For audiophiles ELO on LP doesn't get any better.

More Electric Light Orchestra


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INXS - Kick

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: inxs_kick_2017) 



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

For a recording from 1987 there is a surprising amount of Tubey Magical Analog sound to be found here. There is almost always a trace of hardness in the loudest vocal parts; that's where the 1987 recording technology raises its head, but the better copies such as this one keep it to a bare minimum.

The copies that were the richest and had the biggest bottom end, without being smeary or dark from a lack of top tended to do the best in our shootout. The copies that lacked weight or lower midrange fullness were most often rejected; rhythmically driven Funk Rock simply doesn't work without plenty of richness and bass.

More INXS


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Chris Thomas

One of Our Favorite Producer-Engineers

  (Item #: allchris_thomas) 



CHRIS THOMAS is one of our favorite engineers and producers. Click on the links below to find our Chris Thomas engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Chris Thomas Engineered or Produced Albums with Hot Stampers

Chris Thomas Engineered or Produced Albums We've Reviewed



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Prince - Purple Rain

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: princpurpl_2017) 



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

The shootout winner for this album earned top grades and showed us a Purple Rain we had never heard before.

The best copies sound pretty much the way the best copies of most Classic Rock records sound: tonally correct, rich, clear, sweet, smooth, open, present, lively, big, spacious, Tubey Magical, with breathy vocals and little to no spit, grit, grain or grunge. That's the sound of analog, and the best copies of The Purple Rain have that sound.

More Prince


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Steely Dan - Katy Lied

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: steelkatyl_obsess) 



KATY LIED is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it. And scroll down to see a wonderful testimonial from one of our good customers about a killer copy we sent him years ago.

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 STEELY DAN albums.


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The Electric Flag - A Long Time Comin'

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: electalong_2017) 



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

The first White Hot copy to ever hit the site and it has KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides. The all-star lineup here features Michael Bloomfield, Buddy Miles, Richie Havens and many more. It’s raunchy and bluesy, somewhat reminiscent of Super Session, but without Al Kooper.


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The Traveling Wilburys - Volume One

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: travetrave_2011) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE ONE backed with an excellent side two, both on very quiet vinyl! It took us ages to put together enough clean copies to get this shootout going again. Many of the pressings we played suffered from too much compression and a phony hi-fi quality. We knew there had to be great copies out there somewhere, so we kept dropping the needle until we found a few good men. Here’s the best of them all -- it rates our top grade of A+++ on side one and A++ on side two. Drop the needle on Handle With Care to hear how wonderful this music can sound when it’s cut right!


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Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets

Our Shootout Winning Copy frrom 2007

  (Item #: eno__herec_2007) 



This British Island Sunray LP is the copy we've been waiting for! We love this music but we'd never heard a copy of this album that could hold its own sonically with our Hot Stamper copies of Taking Tiger Mountain -- until we played this one.

We hardly ever see enough clean copies of this to do a full shootout, but we know Hot Stamper sound when we hear it and this copy's got it -- on BOTH sides. It's got a wonderfully meaty bottom end that was missing from many of the copies we've played before. Baby's On Fire is super punchy, and Cindy Tells Me has AMAZING bass. The vocals are full-bodied and breathy with lots of texture and wonderful presence. The clarity here is superb -- none of the smearing so common to the domestic pressings.

More Eno


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Frank Zappa - Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: zappawease_2013) 



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

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES! Nothing else in our shootout could touch this copy. The sound is incredibly BIG and BOLD throughout with shocking clarity, amazing presence, and wonderful transparency.

If you’re not already a Zappa fan, be warned that experimental song structures, feedback, dirty lyrics, avant garde jazz freakouts and gas mask solos (yes, you read that right) all figure into the mix here. I don’t know of anyone else who could shape that all into one amazing, fairly cohesive LP except for Zappa.

More Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention


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John Denver - Poems, Prayers and Promises

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: denvepoems_2017) 



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

This original Orange Label RCA pressing was clearly superior to everything we played - it's fuller, bigger and clearer than them all. Superb engineering by Ray Hall. The recording is from 1971 but in some ways it sounds as good as if it had been made in 1961, and that's high praise in these parts.

See all of our John Denver albums in stock


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Kenny Rankin - Silver Morning

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: rankisilve_2005) 



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

This is a wonderful Kenny Rankin album. I played side one all the way through and enjoyed it immensely. I don’t know why this record is so rare -- it’s got great songs like Blackbird and People Get Ready, which to me sound like they almost could have been hit songs.


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Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: pinkfobscu_2009) 



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

EXCELLENT SOUND and some seriously strange music! This obviously isn’t Floyd’s greatest album, but we still found a lot to like about this record and specifically this copy. It’s a British Import Harvest Green Label pressing that rates close to A+ on both sides -- slightly better on side one, not quite there on side two. Those of you who enjoy Meddle will certainly get a lot out of this one.

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Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: pinkfatomh_2013) 



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

This is an album that almost never sounds good. We've spent a ton of money over the years chasing British originals and various other pressings looking for that Pink Floyd magic, but most copies were terribly disappointing sonically. This was the best copy we've heard in many years -- richer, bigger sounding and more solid than everything else we were able to put against it. It's far from a Demo Disc but if you like this music I don't think you can find better sound for it.

More Pink Floyd


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David Gilmour - About Face

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: gilmoabout_2015) 



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

For my money this is a far better sounding record than Pink Floyd's eighties releases The Final Cut (1983) or A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987), and the music is pretty darn good as well. If you're a Floyd fan I think you'll enjoy revisiting the album, especially when it sounds as phenomenal as this one does.

Hot Stampers in this case give you a bigger soundfield, more richness and fullness, tighter bass, and more transparency.

More Pink Floyd


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Muddy Waters - I'm Ready

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: waterimrea_2012) 



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

EXCELLENT BLUES SOUND AND MUSIC on this late '70s ABC album produced by Johnny Winter! King and Winter collaborated on three albums and this is the middle one, great pressings of this album like this one bring this music to a whole new level! It's so very difficult to find blues records that sound natural and honest to the style while still giving you the energy, presence and clarity needed to bring the music to life -- this baby has got that magic.

More Muddy Waters


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Muddy Waters - Hard Again

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: waterharda_2012) 



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

This Hot Stamper pressing of Muddy Water's Five Star 1977 collaboration with Johnny Winter and harmonica great James Cotton has two great sides and quiet vinyl! We dropped the needle on one of these recently and liked the sound, so we picked up a bunch of copies and had a rollickin' fun shootout. Many of the other copies we played lacked the kind of energy and big bottom end that you get on this pressing, qualities that help kick up this music to the next level.

More Muddy Waters


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Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: waterfolks_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: C+

Kills that muddy MOFI, which I must confess I used to like. Things have changed, that's for sure. The Mobile Fidelity is thick and fat sounding, like most of their awful Anadisq releases, with much less transparency than this Classic.

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

More Muddy Waters


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Queen - A Day At the Races

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: queendayat_2015) 



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

TWO SUPERB A+++ SIDES! Big and lively, rich and full, clear and open, no other copy in our shootout impressed us as much as this one.

Most of the copies we played weren't even worth putting a grade on. We would feel horrible selling a record that we knew sounded as bad as those dogs. It may never be a Demo Disc, but on a White Hot Stamper copy like this it's a whole lot of fun!

More Queen


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Transparency

and that Wonderful Feeling of Being There

  (Item #: youngafter_transparent) 


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

For our review of the new Heavy Vinyl After the Gold Rush we wrote:

Cleverly the engineers responsible for this remaster have managed to reproduce the sound of a dead studio on a record that wasn't recorded in one.

This pressing has no real space or ambience. Now the album sounds like it was recorded in a heavily baffled studio, but we know that's not what happened, because the originals of After the Gold Rush, like most of Neil's other albums from the era, are clear, open and spacious.

In other words, they are TRANSPARENT.

More Audio Advice


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - So Far

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: crosbsofar_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of So Far.

For example, on Find the Cost of Freedom the best copies have DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND. You could say everything that needs to be said about the beauty of analog with this one track alone. It's not even two minutes long, but it's two really wonderful minutes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the height of their powers. The voices should sound as sweet and as silky as any CSN three part (four part?) harmony you have ever heard. This song rivals Helplessly Hoping for vocal blend.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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Enya - Watermark

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: enya_water_2012) 



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

The sound is airy, open, spacious, and super transparent. This may not be our favorite music in the world, but it’s hard to argue with sonics like this. The vocals are breathy and full-bodied with staggering immediacy, and the bottom end is weighty and powerful. The instruments all have lovely texture, and it's easy to pick out and follow them over the course of a song.

More Enya


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The Pretenders - Get Close

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: pretegetcl_2016) 



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

Get Close has long been a personal favorite of mine. Side one starts off with a bang with My Baby, one of the best tracks this band ever recorded. Of course at this point it's hard to call The Pretenders a band as it is pretty much Chrissie Hynde's show. She continues to mature as a songwriter, and the arrangements and production value are excellent as well, with heavy hitters such as Steve Lillywhite, Bob Clearmountain and Jimmy Iovine involved.

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The Pretenders - Pretenders II

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: pretepreteII_2017) 



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 original British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you.

More Pretenders


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The Police - Synchronicity

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: policsynch_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Synchronicity.

The choruses get LOUD and are so POWERFUL on the best copies they make a mockery of most of the pressings out there. This is a Big Speaker Record if ever there was one.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Hugh Padgham

One of Our Favorite Producer-Engineers

  (Item #: allhugh_padgham) 



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

Hugh Padgham Engineered or Produced Albums We've Reviewed



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Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy

Our First Shootout Winner, 2008

  (Item #: eno__takin_2008) 



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 British Sunray original pressing takes the sound to a level BEYOND all others. This copy has deep, punchy bass that exceeded my wildest expectations. I've been playing this record for thirty years and I've never heard a bottom end like this before. Side one here rates an A+++ -- Master Tape Sound, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG).

More Brian Eno


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Brahms / Variations And Fugue On A Theme By Handel / Katchen

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: brahmvaria_6158_2008) 



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

Near Mint copy with excellent sound! Superb piano tone for these solo pieces and very quiet vinyl add up to a wonderful listening experience. This surprisingly quiet British vinyl is going to be hard to beat by other Golden Age labels. (Finding solo piano recordings on RCA or Mercury from this era that play quietly is practically impossible.)

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Gabor Szabo - Dreams

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: szabodream_2009) 



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

This original Black Label Skye LP has an EXCELLENT SIDE TWO backed with a pretty good side one.

Szabo has made a number of mediocre albums, some of which are poorly recorded, but thankfully this is not one of them. In fact, this is some of the best sound and music he produced for Skye. Side two is open and spacious with a HUGE three-dimensional soundfield that really allows you to hear into the music.

More Gabor Szabo


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Van Halen - 1984

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: vanha1984_2011) 



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

THE BEST COPY OF 1984 TO EVER HIT THE SITE -- better than A++ on both sides with unusually quiet vinyl! We know this one ain't for everyone, but we also expect that a bunch of you will be very excited to see this one in Hot Stamper form. And for good reason -- on a copy like this one, this music rocks like crazy! Both sides here have the kind of BIG, full-bodied sound that lets the music come to life the way it needs to. There's nothing phony here -- the sound is natural and balanced with big punchy drums and lots of meat to the guitars.

More Van Halen


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Richard Thompson - Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years

Reviewed in 2001

  (Item #: thompactio_2001) 



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

Another top outing on TWO clear vinyl LP’s from the master of modern electric folk music. It doesn’t get any better than this.

This was a very limited edition pressing. The sound is excellent and the music is some of the best Richard Thompson has ever made. If I had to choose one Richard Thompson album, this would probably be it.

More Richard Thompson


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Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps

Just How Good Is a Second Tier Neil Young Album?

  (Item #: youngrustn_wtlf) 



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

AMG raves about this album, giving it 5 big stars. (For those of you keeping score at home, that's half a star MORE than they gave Harvest.) We like the album just fine, but I doubt we would want to go quite that far. Sure, these are great songs, but give us After The Gold Rush, Zuma or Harvest (all Top 100 titles, Hot Stampers of which are sometimes in stock) over this one any day.

Still, a second tier Neil Young album (by our standards) usually will beat a first tier album from just about anybody else making records in 1979.

More Neil Young


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Bob and Ray - Throw a Stereo Spectacular

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bobanthrow_2010) 



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

It's been nearly two years but the waiting is over -- we've found another copy of the famous Bob and Ray on Living Stereo with DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Without a doubt this is the best sound I have ever heard for side one of this album. The sound here is so amazing I'm willing to go out on a limb and make the following recklessly bold statement. Buck Dance on this pressing has the most extended, natural and harmonically correct high frequencies I have ever heard from my speakers (or anyone else's for that matter).

More Living Stereo


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Roger Waters - The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: waterprosa_2012) 



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

We paired together our best sounding side one with an equally impressive side two from a different copy to make this White Hot Stamper 2-pack for Roger Waters debut. That gives you A+++ sound and quiet vinyl for both sides! Let me tell you, it is DIFFICULT to find copies of this album that sound as good and plays as quietly as the two White Hot sides in this set. Those of you who like Floyd's The Final Cut will probably get a lot out of this one.

More Pink Floyd


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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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Ella Fitzgerald - The Best of Ella Fitzgerald

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: fitzgbesto_decca_2005) 



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

Two Minty looking Deccalite Pink Label Promo LPs.

This is the best of Ella’s Decca material recorded between 1938 - 1955, the songs that made her a star.

For those of you who don’t know what Deccalite is, Deccalite is a material that Decca invented as an alternative to vinyl. It's quieter than vinyl as a rule -- and these pressings are extremely quiet -- but it is not unbreakable. If you wack this record against a chair, it will shatter into pieces like an old 78. But most audiophiles takes good care of their records, so the risk of breaking an album like this is extremely small.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Ella Fitzgerald - Like Someone In Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzglikes_2017) 



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

The space is HUGE and the sound so rich. The vocals have dramatically less hardness and the orchestra -- especially on side two -- is not brash for once.

Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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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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