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1979

The Last Releases of the '70s Turned Out to Be Some of the Top Releases of the '70s

  (Item #: 1979) 



When you look closely at all the great records that were released that year -- some of which can even be purchased in Hot Stamper form on this very site -- it should be obvious that 1979 was a surprisingly good year for music with high quality sound.

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1979.

And HERE to see the records from 1979 that we've reviewed.


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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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Hot Stamper

The B-52's
The B-52's

  (Item #: b-52sb-52s_1710_1) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find Hot Stamper sound on both sides of the B-52's classic Masterpiece of demented rock
  • Super present, punchy and full-bodied, and pressed on relatively quiet vinyl (Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus)
  • Tubey Magic in 1979? Somehow they managed to pull it off - big and clear too
  • 5 stars in the All Music Guide, Better Records Top 100, and a New Wave Classic
See more of our B-52s albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The B-52's
The B-52's

  (Item #: b-52sb-52s_1711) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, you'll find rockin' B-52's magic on this pressing
  • Both sides have the kind of huge, spacious soundstage and amazingly rich, full-bodied tonality that earned this recording its place in our Top 100
  • Super present, punchy and full-bodied, and pressed on pretty quiet vinyl, it plays Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • A New Wave Classic and 5 stars in the All Music Guide: "These songs illustrated that the B-52's' adoration of camp culture... was a world view capable of turning out brilliant pop singles and, in turn, influencing mainstream pop culture... a hell of a good time."
See more of our B-52s albums in stock


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The B-52s - The B-52s

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: b-52sb-52s_2013) 



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

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES for this amazingly well-recorded album! We think some of you will bo shocked at just how good the sound can be. And you may or may not be surprised at just how FUN the music is! It's sure to be a future member of our Rock and Pop Top 100. (UPDATE: It has officially made the list.)

See more of our B-52s albums in stock


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Bee Gees - Spirits Having Flown

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: beegespiri_2012) 



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

We sat down with a big stack of pressings recently and only found a few that really had their mojo workin'. This copy was one of the best we heard, earning an A+++ grade on side one -- where the best songs are found -- and performing quite well on side two also (A+ to A++). The energy factor is off the charts on side one, and that's exactly what this music needs to really come to life. You are going to be surprised how rich and full-bodied this album can sound when you have a great copy like this.

More Bee Gees


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Hot Stamper

The Cars
Candy-O

  (Item #: cars_candy_1710) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An excellent copy of The Cars' New Wave Classic, boasting solid Hot Stamper grades on both sides
  • Some of the best sound you'll ever hear on Candy-O -- big, punchy, dynamic, and lively
  • A great lineup of songs with Demo Disc sound quality, thanks to Roy Thomas Baker's production
  • AMG raves it's "...another smash album that solidified the band's standing as one of the most promising new bands of the late '70s."
See all of our Cars albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Cars
Candy-O

  (Item #: cars_candy_1712) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • A killer copy of The Cars' New Wave Classic, boasting amazing Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Some of the best sound you'll ever hear on Candy-O -- big, punchy, DYNAMIC, clear and lively
  • A great lineup of songs with Demo Disc sound quality, thanks to Roy Thomas Baker's production
  • AMG raves it's "...another smash album that solidified the band's standing as one of the most promising new bands of the late '70s."
See all of our Cars albums in stock


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The Cars - Candy-O

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: cars_candy_2006) 



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

This Minty Elektra LP has two OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD sides! TRIPLE PLUS/TRIPLE PLUS! As far as we know, this is the only New Wave rock record with DEMO DISC sound ever made. We’re talking huge amounts of dynamic energy, tons of bass, a luscious midrange, all topped with a sweetly extended high end. I always knew there were superb sounding copies of this album, but I honestly had no idea they any could sound like this. There is only one copy that earned our coveted Triple Plus designation for both sides, and this is it. As Good As It Gets.

More Candy-O


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The Cars - Candy-O

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: cars_candy_depth) 



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

This is one of our favorite recordings -- a former member of our Top 100 -- for one very simple reason: it's got Big Rock Sound in spades! Drop the needle on Let's Go and check out the sound of the big floor tom. When the drummer bangs on that thing, you will FEEL it! It's similar to the effect of being in the room with live musicians -- the difference between just hearing music and also feeling it. That's what you get from a Hot Stamper copy.

More Candy-O


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White Hot Stamper

The Clash
London Calling

  (Item #: clashlondo_1709) 

Our Price: $649.99

  • Truly stunning sound, with all four sides rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it
  • This pressing gives you tons of energy, real presence, and huge weight and power down low that the music demands
  • A shockingly well-recorded album that comes to life with the combo of a great copy and a hi-res, full-range system
  • Five stars in the AMG: "A stunning statement of purpose and one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever recorded."
See all of our Clash albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Clash
London Calling

  (Item #: clashlondo_1710) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Excellent sound throughout - all four sides earned seriously good grades of Double Plus (A++)
  • This pressing gives you tons of energy, real presence, and huge weight and power down low that the music demands
  • A shockingly well-recorded album that comes to life with the combo of a great copy and a hi-res, full-range system
  • Five stars in the AMG: "A stunning statement of purpose and one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever recorded."


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The Clash - London Calling

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: clashlondo_2015) 



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

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

More of The Clash


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Leonard Cohen - Recent Songs

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: cohenrecen_2013) 



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

This is easily the best copy of this album to ever hit the site, with a superb A+++ side one and an excellent A++ side two! This 1979 album marks Cohen's return to the simple folk arrangements of his early albums. The songs are as stunning as ever, but only the best pressings really do them justice. As you might expect, the key elements here are going to be vocals, acoustic guitars and Cohen's trademark female backup vocalists. This one really gets them all right, with the kind of big, spacious soundstage and full, rich tonality nothing else in our shootout could compete with!

More Leonard Cohen


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Super Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Armed Forces

  (Item #: costearmed_1611x) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides of this early UK press, giving you killer sound from first note to last
  • Some of the biggest, boldest rock sound ever recorded - nothing short of amazing on a pressing like this
  • A Top 100 album - every track is recorded brilliantly - you will have a hard time finding a record with punchier bass than Armed Forces
  • AMG is right: "It's a dense but accessible pop record and ranks as his third masterpiece in a row." 5 Stars
See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Armed Forces (with Bonus 7")

  (Item #: costearmed_1708_1) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A KILLER early UK pressing, Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and Double Plus (A++) on the second
  • Some of the biggest, boldest rock sound ever recorded - just amazing on a pressing like this
  • 5 Stars and a Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 album - every track is Elvis at this best
  • AMG is right: Armed Forces "It's a dense but accessible pop record and ranks as his third masterpiece in a row."
See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Elvis Costello - Armed Forces

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: costearmed_2009) 



This White Hot Stamper side one was HEAD AND SHOULDERS better than ANY side of ANY other copy we played. We are awarding it our very special "Four Plus" A++++ grade; the sound goes beyond anything we've heard before. It's also one of less than two dozen such records to ever hit the site.

At this point we've easily done more than a thousand Hot Stamper listings, so we are talking in the range of the top one or two percent for sound. Most audiophiles will go their whole lives without hearing a rock record sound this good, considering the tens of thousands of records we've had to buy, clean and play to find the handful of OFF THE CHARTS copies we've reviewed.

More Elvis Costello


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Elvis Costello Arrayed His Forces

and Produced His Single Best Sounding Record

  (Item #: costearmed_best) 



We consider Armed Forces to be one of the best sounding rock records ever made, and a top copy is proof enough to back up our claim. The best copies are extremely transparent and silky sounding, but with unbelievably punchy, rock solid bass and drums.

The sound of the rhythm section of this album ranks up there with the very best ever recorded. Beyond that, the musical chops of this band at this time rank with the very best in the history of rock. Steve, Bruce and Pete rarely get the credit they deserve for being one of the tightest, liveliest backing bands ever to walk into a studio or on to a stage.

More Elvis Costello


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Super Hot Stamper

Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross

  (Item #: crosschris_1611x) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Close to the BEST sound we have ever heard for this album, rating nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) on both sides
  • The sound is full, rich, lively and Tubey Magical in the best tradition of late-'70s glossy pop productions
  • This is the album that swept the Grammy awards - great songs including Never Be The Same, Sailing and Ride Like The Wind
  • "While the hits like the dreamy "Sailing" and the surging "Ride Like the Wind" deserved all the attention, they're hardly the only highlights here — to borrow a sports metaphor, this has a deep bench, and there's not a weak moment here. " -- Allmusic, 4 1/2 stars
See all of our Christopher Cross albums in stock


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Christopher Cross - Christopher Cross

Ride Like the Wind

  (Item #: crosschris_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's one test on side two that few copies do well on. The mostly instrumental section in the middle of Ride Like the Wind has a huge chorus singing in a wonderfully reverberant studio. Only the most transparent, most distortion-free copies let you clearly hear all their voices bouncing off the walls.

See all of our Christopher Cross albums in stock


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Devo - Duty Now For The Future

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: devo_dutyn_2010) 



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

GET DEVOLVED! Here's one of the best copies of Devo's second album that we've ever heard. The average copy of this record barely hints at the sound that Ken Scott was clearly able to get on the tape. This one tells a different story, with serious weight down low, a ton of energy, loads of texture to the synths, and incredible clarity. We know most audiophiles aren't up for this crazy late '70s art rock, but the lucky man who takes this home is sure to get a thrill from it.

More albums engineered by Ken Scott


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Super Hot Stamper

Bob Dylan
Slow Train Coming

  (Item #: dylanslowt_1704x) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to the last
  • Both sides here are big, open and spacious with a punchy bottom end and strong midrange presence
  • About as quiet as we can find them -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • The big hit here is Gotta Serve Somebody - Mark Knopler of Dire Straits is featured throughout
See all of our Bob Dylan albums in stock


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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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White Hot Stamper

The Eagles
The Long Run

  (Item #: eaglelongr_1708) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Stunning Triple Triple (A+++) sound making this the best sounding copy of The Long Run you could ask for
  • Both shootout winning sides are big and full, solid and rich, WAY beyond what you'll find on most pressings
  • The best songs - but only the best songs - prove that the Eagles were still at the height of their powers
  • "The Long Run is a chilling and altogether brilliant evocation of Hollywood's nightly Witching Hour, that nocturnal feeding frenzy first detailed by Warren Zevon on his haunting Asylum debut (Warren Zevon, 1976) and the equally powerful Excitable Boy." Rolling Stone
See all of our Eagles albums in stock


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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.

More Eagles


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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.

More Eagles


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Super Hot Stamper

The Eagles
The Long Run

  (Item #: eaglethelo_1702) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This copy has a rockin' Long Run like you have never heard, with Double Plus (A++) sound all around
  • The sound is full, rich and vibrant with impressive punch down low and relatively smooth up top
  • The best songs - but only the best songs - prove that the Eagles were still at the height of their powers
  • The first two songs on both sides are practically as good as it gets for mainstream rock, staples of Classic Rock stations to this day
See all of our Eagles albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Duke Ellington
Up In Duke's Workshop

  (Item #: ellinupind_1712) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) Ellington Big Band sound from 1969-1972 can be heard on both sides here
  • The overall sound is clean, clear and open yet still pretty big and full with a solid bottom end
  • Pablo has here compiled some of Ellington's best later music and mastered and pressed it wonderfully as well
  • "Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years."
See all of our Duke Ellington albums in stock


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Bill Evans & Toots Thielemans - Affinity

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: evansaffin_2016) 



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

This is a unique jazz album (in my experience, anyway) with very good sound. Piano with harmonica accompaniment is something I’ve never heard before, and most of the time it actually works. Both of these guys are top flight musicians, and their ability to communicate in order to create this wonderful improvisational jazz is a joy to experience.

More Bill Evans


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Super Hot Stamper

Fleetwood Mac
Tusk

  (Item #: fleettusk_1702_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A wonderful copy boasting four excellent sides, all clocking in at or near Double Plus (A++)
  • The sound is clear, rich, warm and full-bodied throughout - the best sounding tracks are killer here
  • Relatively quiet on two sides - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus vinyl and close to that on the others
  • 5 stars on Allmusic, highlights include Storms, Sara, Over and Over and the classic title track
See all of our Fleetwood Mac albums in stock


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Fleetwood Mac - Tusk

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: fleettusk_2008) 



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

FOUR EXCELLENT SOUNDING SIDES ON QUIET JAPANESE VINYL! This Captiol-mastered, Japanese-pressed LP has excellent sound on the first two sides and SUPERB sound on sides three and four. I doubt you’ve ever heard the title track rock like this!

More Fleetwood Mac


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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.

More Fleetwood Mac


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Super Hot Stamper

Foreigner
Head Games

  (Item #: foreiheadg_1710) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb copy that earned seriously Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • One of the better copies from our recent shootout: big, bold and lively with a punchy bottom end
  • Pretty darn quiet throughout -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "Foreigner continued its platinum winning streak on Head Games, the band's third album" - All Music
See all of our Foreigner albums in stock


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Peter Frampton - Where I Should Be

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: frampwhere) 



One of my personal Records to Die For. This album presents a more mature Peter Frampton doing some of the most consistently inspired material of his career, including R&B covers like May I Baby and You Don’t Know Like I Know, with horn charts that really cook — in other words, a great album.
More Peter Frampton


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Lowell George - Thanks I’ll Eat It Here

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: georgthank_2015) 



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

This kind of recording quality was abandoned decades ago, but there was a time -- I'm old, I remember it -- when engineers actually tried to produce recordings with this kind of rich, sweet, thoroughly analog sound. 1979, the year of this album's release, is right at the tail end of it. Why do you think so much of our Hot Stamper output covers the decade that stretched from the late '60s to the late '70s? Only one reason -- that's where some of the best sound can be found. (It's a bit like Willie Sutton's famous answer to why he robbed banks: "because that's where the money is".)

See all of our Little Feat albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Emmylou Harris
Blue Kentucky Girl

  (Item #: harribluek_1703) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Side one here is superb, nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) - the kind of rich, natural sound we found on far too few copies
  • Side two is nearly as good at Double Plus (A++), with none of the vocal edginess that many EH albums suffer from
  • Surprisingly full-bodied and not overly detailed for a recording from 1979 - they still knew what they were doing then
  • Emmylou's traditional country album, with a stronger acoustic feel
See all of our Emmylou Harris albums in stock


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Emmylou Harris - Blue Kentucky Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: harribluek_2015) 



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

One of the best copies to come out of our recent shootout. Very present and dynamic vocals, with no phony EQ or accentuated detail (a big problem with Emmylou's recordings as a whole).

Note how natural, clear and transparent the sound is -- believe me, we didn't hear too many do what these two sides were doing.

More Emmylou Harris


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Holst / The Planets / Solti / LPO

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: holstplane_solti) 



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

This is a fairly quiet, excellent sounding Decca in the Box Purple Label British import LP. This is the same performance, the same recording that Mobile Fidelity remastered (510), but, thankfully, this copy sounds A WHOLE LOT BETTER!

More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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Super Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Off The Wall

  (Item #: jacksoffth_1711) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Two SUPERB sides each rating a Double Plus (A++) or BETTER for this MJ classic, with some of the most heartfelt music he ever recorded
  • The sound is tubey rich, smooth, sweet and lively throughout - this is the way Off the Wall should sound
  • After years of MJ shootouts, we say this is unquestionably the best sounding album Michael Jackson album of them all
  • "...this was his breakthrough, the album that established him as an artist of astonishing talent and a bright star in his own right." - Allmusic, 5 stars
See all of our Michael Jackson albums in stock


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Michael Jackson - Off The Wall

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: jacksoffth_2016) 



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

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING SOUND for this White Hot Stamper pressing!

Side two cannot be beat, and side one is not far behind. Both have the BIG M.J. SOUND that jumps from the speakers and fills the room. We've never a copy that was so full of ANALOG MAGIC!

More Off the Wall


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Michael Jackson's Off The Wall Vs. Thriller

Which Album Has the Real Tubey Magic?

  (Item #: jacksoffth_wtlf) 



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.

Off the Wall has better sound than Thriller you say?

Yes. As consistently brilliant as Thriller may be musically -- it is the biggest selling album of all time after all -- speaking strictly in terms of sonics the best copies of Off the Wall are substantially sweeter, tubier, more natural, richer, and more ANALOG than Thriller.

See all of our Michael Jackson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee Jones

  (Item #: jonesricki_1707) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An outstanding copy of this Singer Songwriter Classic with both sides rating Double Plus (A++) for sound or better
  • Both sides are big and bold with plenty of energy, as well as the warmth and richness of an all analog recording, even one from as late as 1979
  • The musicians and engineers are the ones that made Rickie's debut a multi-million selling Must Own Audiophile Favorite
  • "An astounding debut album that simultaneously sounds like a synthesis of many familiar styles and like nothing that anybody's ever done before."
See all of our Rickie Lee Jones albums in stock


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Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: jonesricki_2016) 



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

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES! This is an excellent recording, but you'd never know that listening to the average pressing. This copy is a big step up from the average pressing with real fullness and weight, plus SIZE and ENERGY that must be heard to be believed!

More Rickie Lee Jones


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Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: jonesricki_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with plenty of advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of RLJ.

On the best of the Hot Stamper copies it becomes abundantly clear just how well the string bass was recorded -- assuming you like the close-miked, maximum-presence quality they were after. You hear all the fingering, the wood of the body resonating; all the stuff you could never hear live unless you were ten feet from the guy. Natural it's not, but natural is not what most hit records are all about anyway.

Credit -- or blame -- belongs squarely with LEE HERSCHBERG.


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Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones

180g Rhino / Warner Brothers LP Reviewed

  (Item #: jonesricki_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: C

We were fairly unimpressed with the Rickie Lee Jones on Warners that came out a few years back. It has that phony Modern Mastering sound we find so unappealing on the Rhino reissue of Blue. (We seem to be pretty much alone in not liking that one, and we’re proud to say we still don’t like it. Hey, play The Blue Game and maybe you’ll see why.)

More Rickie Lee Jones


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Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones

Good Demo Disc / Bad Test Disc

  (Item #: jonesricki_test) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

RLJ's first album is what we would consider a Good Demo Disc but a Bad Test Disc.

Meaning that this record can sound good on really crappy stereos -- which explains why it is so often heard at stereo stores and at shows, where really crappy stereos are usually found in abundance. But it’s not what the System Doctor ordered if the goal is to work out some problem or fault with the reproduction of all your other recordings. In other words, records like this can be misleading.

See all of our Rickie Lee Jones albums in stock


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Jules and the Polar Bears - Fenetiks

Such a Great Album

  (Item #: julesfenet) 



This is a real Desert Island Disc for me. I’m a giant fan of this band, which never got the public acclaim they deserved although they were critics' darlings from day one. If you like adventurous pop this should be right up your alley. If you're the kind of person that was into the Talking Heads in the '70s, this band is just as original and compelling.

"Shear's songwriting is top-notch ranging from the pure pop of 'Good Reason' to the beautiful ballad 'Real Enough to Love.'" -- AMG

More Desert Island Discs


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John Klemmer - Straight from the Heart

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: klemmstrai_2010) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Nautilus Direct-to-Disc recording is an AMAZING Demo Disc, and what’s more, it’s actually REAL JAZZ -- a remarkably unusual combination in the Audiophile World, in my experience anyway. This copy takes the sound of this recording -- and the music along with it -- to another level. YOU WON'T BELIEVE how good this record sounds.

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John Klemmer - Straight from the Heart

Listening for the Tubey Magic

  (Item #: klemmstrai_wtlf) 



The best copies give you dynamics and immediacy like you have rarely heard outside of the live event. Hell, this record IS live; it's live in the studio. It's a direct to disc recording, what else could it be?

There is simply nothing in the way of the music. If you have the system for it, you can recreate the live sound of this session in a way that few other recordings would ever allow you to do.

This copy had one quality not heard on most of the others: Tubey Magic. The sound is rich and full-bodied, practically free of grit and grain - this is the kind of sound one hears occassionally on the best tube equipment and practically nowhere else. Of course this is an all-transistor affair, but tubey sound is what ended up on the record, so go figure.

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Super Hot Stamper

The Knack
Get The Knack

  (Item #: knackgetth_1702_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • The Knack's debut finally returns to the site and with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • Both sides here are clean, clear and solid with a huge bottom end
  • Wall to Wall Live-in-the-Studio Rock Sound to rival Back in Black and Nevermind
  • "Get the Knack is at once sleazy, sexist, hook-filled, and endlessly catchy — above all, it's a guilty pleasure and an exercise in simple fun." AMG 4 1/2 Stars
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The Knack - Get The Knack

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: knackgetth_2009) 



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

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

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White Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
In Through The Out Door

  (Item #: ledzeinthr_1708) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • Incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides; this album really doesn't get any better than this
  • It's all here: Huge amounts of rock solid bass; grungy guitars; breathy, natural vocals and jump out of the speakers presence and energy!
  • Fool In The Rain and All My Love are two of the best sounding tracks - relatively quiet vinyl, too
  • "The album's opening number, "In the Evening," with its stomping rhythms and heavy, staggered riffs, suggests that Zeppelin haven't deviated from their course, but by the time the rolling shuffle of "South Bound Suarez" kicks into gear, it's apparent that they've regained their sense of humor."
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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
In Through The Out Door

  (Item #: ledzeinthr_1709) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This original copy has excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides are rich and full yet still clean, clear and open, and above all, they ROCK
  • Fool In The Rain and All My Love are two of the best sounding tracks
  • "The album's opening number, "In the Evening," with its stomping rhythms and heavy, staggered riffs, suggests that Zeppelin haven't deviated from their course, but by the time the rolling shuffle of "South Bound Suarez" kicks into gear, it's apparent that they've regained their sense of humor."
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Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: ledzeinthr_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.

SUPERB A+++ SOUND! We play dozens of these each year, and almost never find one that sounds amazing and plays this quietly. When a copy sounds this good, the music REALLY works -- we had fun with this one. It's rich, full-bodied, and ALIVE like you wouldn't believe.

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Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeinthr_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A classic case of Live and Learn. After finishing our first shootout for this album in August of 2007, our faces were sure red. We used to think the Classic version was pretty decent, but the best originals SLAUGHTER it! We had never done a shootout for this album before that. We didn’t feel up to the challenge, because the typical pressing tends to be miserable -- gritty, grainy, hard sounding, congested mids, dull, and so on.

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Charles Mingus - Me Myself an Eye

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mingumemys_2015) 



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

If you hear something that sounds like Frank Zappa's music circa Waka Jawaka don't be surprised, we heard it too. Mingus and Zappa were both eccentric geniuses so it only makes sense that they arrived at some of the same musical ideas as they evolved as composers.

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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Mingus

  (Item #: mitchmingu_1711) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A stunning copy, with amazing Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides
  • Rich, dynamic and natural sounding with more energy than almost every other copy we played
  • If you're a fan of Joni's more adventurous work you'll find a lot to like here
  • Herbie Hancock and some of Weather Report join Mingus in helping Joni bring these jazzy works to life
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Joni Mitchell - Mingus

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: mitchmingu_2014) 



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

STUNNING A+++ SOUND FOR BOTH SIDES! Dynamic and very natural sounding with a huge three dimensional soundfield and way more energy than the typical copy, this is absoloutely as good as it gets.

Two of Joni's more famous late '70s songs are on here -- God Must Be A Boogie Man and The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey. If you like the more adventurous music that Joni produced at different stages of her career, this should make a wonderful addition to your collection.

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Van Morrison - Into The Music

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: morriintot_2014) 



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

Two incredible sounding sides for this great Van Morrison album, one that Allmusic calls one of his best records! Not a lot of casual Van Mo fans are familiar with this album, but after a big shootout we were left very impressed with the sound of the best pressings and the quality of the music throughout. Morrison's catalog after the early '70s leaves plenty to be desired, but this one is a real return to form.

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Mussorgsky / Pictures at an Exhibition / Muti

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mussopictu_3645_2012) 



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

This White Hot Stamper EMI Two-Pak gives you the complete Pictures at an Exhibition and the Firebird Suite with TOP PERFORMANCES and SUPERB SONICS from first note to last. It took two separate discs to make it happen, but we managed to find the two copies with sides that matched up in order to bring both of these works to LIFE.

Since this is my All Time Favorite performance of Pictures, this record of course comes very highly recommended. It's a piece of music that has been recorded countless times, and I've played scores of them, but the only one that truly satisfies is Muti's with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1979.

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Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition / Muti

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mussopictu_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi mastering here is a joke. All that phony boosted top end makes the strings sound funny and causes mischief in virtually every other part of the orchestra as well. Not surprisingly, those boosted highs are missing from the real EMIs.

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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

Willie Nelson
Sings Kristofferson

  (Item #: nelsosings_1611x) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Two great Double Plus (A++) sides, giving you excellent sound from start to finish
  • Rich, warm and open sound, with strong body and presence for Willie's legendary vocals
  • 4 stars Allmusic: "A return to country-rock after the smash success of Stardust the year before, this is one of Willie Nelson's best albums... Nelson had one of the best interpretive gifts of any singer, and this album only strengthened that reputation."
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Willie Nelson - Sings Kristofferson

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: nelsosings_2011) 



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

A MINDBLOWINGLY GOOD A+++ SIDE ONE, the best we heard in the whole shootout! Side two earned an A++, making this the best copy to ever hit the site! We’ve heard great copies of this one in the past, but after throwing one on just for fun last year and hearing pretty mediocre sound, we decided that we’d collect a bunch of them to find out just how good the best pressings could sound -- and how mind-numbingly average the typical copy can be. It’s not easy to find a copy that gets EVERYTHING right, but this side one seems to do it all.

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Willie Nelson - Sweet Memories

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: nelsosweet_2017) 



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

Excellent sound for these tough-to-come-by early Willie Nelson songs! This is a compilation of material from some of Willie's earlier albums, records that are very hard to find these days and almost impossible to find with great sound and clean surfaces. Fortunately, this record was cut very well, giving us a chance to hear just how good this music can sound.

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Art Pepper - Landscape

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: peppelands_2007) 



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

Recorded in Japan in 1979, this is a really interesting album. There are a lot of stinkers in the Art Pepper catalog from this era. (Acoustic Sounds released a few of them on 180 gram as a matter of fact. What a waste of good vinyl.)

But this album is actually quite good. Art plays in an energetic staccato style, which is counterbalanced by the long flowing lines of George Cables at the piano. Cables is actually pretty amazing on this record: this is the best I’ve ever heard him play. He’s not very good as a leader, at least on the records I’ve heard, but he and Art get along very well together.

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Art Pepper - Saturday Night At The Village Vanguard

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: peppesatur_2007) 



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

This very nice looking Contemporary LP has pretty good sound and excellent music. We played all four volumes of Art Pepper’s Village Vanguard series recently, and this copy was our favorite of the bunch. It features an intense live version of Pepper’s tune The Trip, from the wonderful album of the same title, as well as extended versions of the tunes You Go To My Head and Cherokee.

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Super Hot Stamper

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Damn the Torpedoes

  (Item #: pettydamnt_1710) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • An outstanding hard rockin' pressing, earning Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides
  • Credit for the tremendous presence and energy of the recording goes to the brilliant engineer Shelly Yakus
  • Damn the Torpedoes is, simply put, the best sounding Tom Petty album we have ever played
  • Tons of hits too: Refugee, Here Comes My Girl, and my favorite of the bunch, Don't Do Me Like That
  • A 5 star album on Allmusic: "Few mainstream rock albums of the late '70s and early '80s were quite as strong as this...."
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Tom Petty - Damn the Torpedoes

The Best Sounding Heartbreakers Album We've Ever Played

  (Item #: pettydamnt_2015) 



Damn the Torpedoes is the best sounding Tom Petty album we have ever played.

Credit must go to SHELLY YAKUS, someone who we freely admit, now with a sense of embarrassment, has never been one of our favorite engineers. After hearing this beyond-White Hot Stamper side two and a killer copy of Animal Notes we realize that we have seriously underestimated the man, and for that we deeply apologize.

If your Damn the Torpedoes doesn't sound good (and it probably doesn't), you sure can't blame him -- the master tape is mind-boggling in its size, weight, power and rock n' roll energy.

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Super Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1708_1) 

Our Price: $279.99

  • An excellent copy, with Double Plus (A++) sound or better on all four sides and relatively quiet vinyl to boot
  • Buzzing helicopters, ringing telephones, clicking typewriters and so on happen RIGHT THERE in the room with you
  • James Guthrie labored mightily to make this one as big, bold and immersive as any Prog Rock recording we know of - and succeeded brilliantly
  • Rock & Pop Top 100 , 4 1/2 stars in the AMG, and proof that analog in 1979 could still be amazing
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Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1711_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With very good Hot Stamper sound on all four sides, this is a great way to hear The Wall
  • Too many songs with Demo Quality sound to mention, but the children's chorus in Another Brick..., Pt. 1 is always fun
  • James Guthrie labored mightily to make this one as big, bold and immersive as any Prog Rock recording we know of - and succeeded brilliantly
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG, and proof that analog in 1979 could still be amazing, hence its status as a Top 100 Title
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Pink Floyd - The Wall

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_2012) 



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

SAY IT ISN'T SO! This is the ULTIMATE White Hot Stamper pressing of The Wall, the finest ever to hit our site BAR NONE!

All four sides of this monster earned top A+++ grades in our massive recent shootout. This copy gives you ALL of the magic that Floyd laid down to tape. You get incredible clarity, breathtaking transparency, wonderful punch to the bottom, sweetness and full extension up top, tubey magical acoustic guitars, full-bodied vocals and serious depth and dimension to the soundfield. Folks, if you love The Wall you will TREASURE this copy for the rest of your listening days.

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Pink Floyd - The Wall

Bad Sounding on Japanese Import Vinyl

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_jpn) 



Sonic Grade: F

Presenting the newest member of our Hall of Shame.

This Japanese Import is one of the dullest, muddiest, worst sounding copies of The Wall we have ever played. It is clearly made from a dub tape.

And somehow this pressing ended up as a TAS List Super Disc. The copy Harry played surely must have sounded a whole lot better than this one.

And the CBS Half-Speed is every bit as bad! Two Hall of Shame titles for the price of one.

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Pink Floyd The Wall

... The best record ever played on my setup ...

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_letter1208) 



Our admittedly skeptical new customer Ebbe decided to take a chance with one of our pricey Hot Stamper copies of The Wall. As expected (by us, not him) he heard the amazing sound that only a true Hot Stamper pressing is capable of. Experts? We say bring it on!

Hi Todd,

YES! No doubt - the best record (or music) ever played on my set up. I had a few experts in for evaluating -- they all (like me) were fairly skeptical. But after just a few tracks everybody was convinced... WOW. You describe the album very well on your site. Another thing is how easy and smooth everything sounds and all the acoustic instruments... I could go on for a long time! As you understand I’m very happy with this copy.

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Super Hot Stamper

The Police
Reggatta de Blanc

  (Item #: policregga_1711) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • An excellent copy with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • The only Police album that has a real Guitar Solo, heard on the song "It's Alright For You"
  • Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Copeland’s kick really come to life here
  • "Reggatta de Blanc stands the test of time as one of the greatest albums of the post-punk and new wave era, improving in almost every way upon The Police's debut album."
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The Police - Reggatta de Blanc

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: policregga_2014) 



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

This original A&M LP has PUNCHY LOW-END that really drives this rhythmically charged music! Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Stewart Copeland’s kick drum really come to life on this White Hot Stamper domestic pressing.

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Bonnie Raitt - The Glow

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: raittglow_2012) 



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

After a nearly two year hiatus, finally, a Top Copy makes it to the site. Side one here is nearly White Hot (A++ to A+++), which means it finished just a half step behind our shootout winner. It's got that big, rich, solid ANALOG Val Garay (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt) sound that we go crazy for here at Better Records (where the records are still made from analog tapes, even if it's only because there aren't any other kind to make them from!).

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Ravel, Saint-Saens et al. / Tzigane, Havanaise / Kyung-Wha Chung

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: raveltziga_7073_2012) 



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

This 1979 London original English pressing of violin showpieces has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which came as a bit of a shock to us after playing side one, which is as congested and opaque as one would expect from such a late London recording. Side two is fabulous -- full-bodied, rich and sweet. Even though it may have been recorded in 1977, the engineer is Kenneth Wilkinson, and the hall is Kingsway -- not many bad recordings can be attributed to either.

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Super Hot Stamper

Supertramp
Breakfast In America

  (Item #: superbreak_1711_2) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With outstanding Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades on both sides, this is guaranteed to be the best sound you have ever heard for Breakfast
  • A truly exceptional recording with huge, spacious, dynamic, lively sound - Tubey Magical richness is big plus too
  • A Top 100 title and True Demo Disc - turn it up and this recording gets LOUD like nothing you have ever experienced
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG: "The majority of the album consisted of tightly written, catchy, well-constructed pop songs, like the hits 'The Logical Song,' 'Take the Long Way Home,' and 'Goodbye Stranger.'"
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Supertramp - Breakfast In America

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: superbreak_2009) 



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

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

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.

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Supertramp - Breakfast In America

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: superbreak_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

The MoFi Standard Operating Procedure of boosting the top end does this album no favors; it’s positively ruinous in fact. How dull does a system have to be to make this record sound right? Pretty damn dull. And the bad bass definition just adds to the phoniness. The average domestic copy is not that great either, so let’s give the MoFi a somewhat forgiving grade of C minus.

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Supertramp - Breakfast In America

A&M Debunked

  (Item #: superbreak_hs) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

So washed out, brittle, thin and compressed it practically defies understanding that anyone with two working ears ever considered calling this piece of crap an "audiophile" record. If you don't think the major labels had anything but contempt for us audiophiles, play this pressing and see for yourself the kind of garbage they were happy to pawn off on an unsuspecting audiophile community (if there ever was such a thing).

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.

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Super Hot Stamper

Talking Heads
Fear of Music

  (Item #: talkifearo_1711) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This Talking Heads LP boasts a solid Double Plus (A++) side two and a side one that's right up there with it
  • I'd be hard-pressed to name another group from the era who put out more groundbreaking yet accessible records than the Talking Heads
  • Producer Brian Eno wasn't shy about adding multiple layers of effects and processing; the texture of Eno's synthesizers gives the music depth and character
  • 4 1/2 stars: "...the music is becoming denser and more driving... with lyrics that match the music's power... its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did"
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Talking Heads - Fear of Music

Our First White Hot Stamper - 2015

  (Item #: talkifearo_2015) 



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

The Talking Heads and producer Brian Eno certainly weren't shy about adding multiple layers of effects and processing, and the average pressing of this record turns some of the more complicated parts into grainy mush. The material here is darker than the songs on the first two albums, so a copy that lacks any extension up top will have trouble bringing the music to life. The texture of Eno's synthesizers gives the music depth and character, and a copy with smear issues forsakes much of that. It takes a special pressing to make this music really work, but this one really gets it right.

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White Hot Stamper

James Taylor
Flag

  (Item #: tayloflag_1707) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A wonderful Triple Triple Flag - A+++ sound on BOTH sides and one of the best copies to ever hit the site
  • Credit for the big, rich, super lively throughout must go to the superbly talented engineer, Val Garay
  • Taylor's hilarious homage to Doo Wop, Is That The Way You Look?, had Demo Disc quality sound
  • The great sounding 1979 follow-up to his wonderful JT album - and one of the man's most underrated albums
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James Taylor - Flag

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: tayloflag_2015) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on both sides! From the opening notes you will be amazed at how good this album sounds. As far as JT's recordings go, it's right up there at the top. Like his album JT, which came just before this one, the best copies of this record are smooth, rich, punchy and have great bass.

A Top Recommendation from Better Records. This is a Must Own James Taylor record.

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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture, Op. 49 / Kunzel

Telarc Debunked

  (Item #: tchai1812_telarc) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

If you want an amazingly dynamic 1812 with huge amounts of deep bass for the firing of the cannon you can't do much better than this (or its UHQR brother).

But if you want rich, sweet and tonally correct brass and strings you had best look elsewhere. I've never liked the sound of this record and I'm guessing if I heard a copy today I would like it even less. Who thinks live classical music actually sounds like this?

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


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture / Kunzel

Telarc UHQR Debunked

  (Item #: tchai1812_UHQR) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This is what we had to say about the UHQR back in 2005 or so:

Having played this record all the way through, I have to comment on some of its sonic qualities. It's about the most dynamic recording I've ever heard. This was the promise of digital, which was never really delivered. On this record, that promise has been fulfilled. The performance is also one of the best on record. It's certainly the most energetic I can remember.

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Tchaikovsky / Concerto for Violin & Orchestra / Oistrakh

Not Too Big to Fail

  (Item #: tchaivioli_mhs_wtlf) 



Side two of this copy from our 2016 shootout provides a clear example of the effect known as the "The Violin That Ate Cincinatti."

Yes, it may be oversized, but it's so REAL and IMMEDIATE and harmonically correct in every way that we felt more than justified in ignoring the fact that the instrument could never sound in the concert hall the way it does here -- unless you were actually playing it (and even then I doubt if it would be precisely the same sound -- big, but surely quite different).

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Richard & Linda Thompson - Sunnyvista

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: thompsunny_2012) 



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

It took two copies, each with a single White Hot Stamper side, to create the All Time Best Sounding version of Sunnyvista, an album AMG calls "...the wittiest and most joyous album Richard & Linda made together."

None of the domestic copies we played were more than passable, and even worse, most of the Brit originals we played were almost as smeary, veiled and opaque. There was only one way to get top sound on both sides, and that was to make a Two Pack with the best two sides of the best two copies. The two good sides here just KILL the competition in every way.

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Muddy Waters - Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: watermuddy_2013) 



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.

If you've got the system to play a record like this (the bigger the better), you can have Muddy Waters perform live in your listening room -- eyes closed of course, you won't be able to see him, but you sure will be able to hear him, and in shockingly realistic sound.

It's shocking how well recorded Muddy's later albums are. Who knew?

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The Recordings of Weather Report

Four that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: weather_report) 



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

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

Weather Report Albums with Hot Stampers

Weather Report Albums We've Reviewed



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The Recordings of Weather Report

Three that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: weather_report_2) 



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

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

Weather Report Albums with Hot Stampers

Weather Report Albums We've Reviewed



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XTC - Drums and Wires

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: xtc__drums_2010) 



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

This is an original Minty Virgin British Import LP with Little Sign of Play (LSOP) that includes a bonus 7-inch single. The record plays quiet and sounds EXCELLENT! The cover has some damage on the seams and corners and rates an 8 out of 10.

"The album that followed the lineup change, Drums and Wires, marks a turning point for the band, with a more subdued set of songs that reflect an increasing songwriting proficiency. The aimless energy of the first two albums is focused into a cohesive statement with a distinctive voice that retains their clever humor, quirky wordplay, and decidedly British flavor." - AMG


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Neil Young - Live Rust

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: youngliver_2012) 



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

SUPERB SOUND ACROSS ALL FOUR SIDES! Neil Young and Crazy Horse are really tearing it up here, and on a White Hot copy like this the sound is amazingly REAL. Full and spacious with plenty of weight and presence, this gets you as close to the stage as any copy of this album can.

This KILLER live set, the ultimate Neil Young concert collection, combines brilliant early material, such as "After the Gold Rush," with his wonderful middle-era material, including the amazing "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" and "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" and "Tonight's the Night."

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Super Hot Stamper

Neil Young
Rust Never Sleeps

  (Item #: youngrustn_1712) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, making this one of the better copies we've heard in a while
  • It's not easy to find copies that get both the quieter, acoustic material and the big, rockin' Crazy Horse stuff right, but this one did
  • Both sides play about as quietly as this record ever does - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • 5 stars: "His strongest collection since Tonight's the Night, its obvious antecedent was Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home, and, as Dylan did, Young divided his record into acoustic and electric sides while filling his songs with wildly imaginative imagery."
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Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: youngrustn_2010) 



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

A great (A++) side one backed with an AMAZING (A+++) side two, this is without a doubt one of the very best sounding copies of Rust Never Sleeps we have ever had the privilege of playing here at Better Records. Side two simply cannot be beat. Drop the needle on Powderfinger to hear the Crazy Horse sound at its best -- the raging guitars, the big meaty bottom end, and the kind of immediacy that puts Neil Young and his band of misfits right in your listening room.

Tubey Magic in 1979? Yes, analog was still alive and well then -- both sides of this copy prove it. The disastrously synthesized '80s were on their way but thankfully they hadn't gotten here yet.

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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

ZZ Top
Deguello

  (Item #: zztopdegue_1710) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • An outstanding copy with a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side two and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side one - the brilliant mastering of Robert Ludwig brings this music to life
  • A surprisingly good recording with the kind of rock energy and size you want from ZZ Top
  • Excellent songs including Hi Fi Mama, Cheap Sunglasses (an all-time classic), She Loves My Automobile and more
  • "The trio is in fine shape here, knocking out a great set of rockers and sounding stylish all the time." -- Allmusic, 4 1/2 stars
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ZZ Top - Deguello

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: zztopdegue_2015) 



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

A killer Top Copy, Double Plus (A++) for the first side and Triple Plus (A+++) for the second. Up there with the very best ZZ Top sound we've ever heard or expect to hear. Most copies aren't BIG, punchy, lively and present like this one is.

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