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White Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Kind of Blue

  (Item #: daviskindo_1701_1) 

Our Price: $749.99

  • A stunning copy with KILLER Triple Triple (A+++) jazz sound like you have never heard
  • Striking clarity and transparency, correct tonality, and in-the-room immediacy are just some of the qualities to be found here
  • Kind of Blue demonstrates the big-as-life, spacious and unerringly accurate 30th Street Studio Sound Fred Plaut was justly famous for
  • "Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence."
See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1701_1) 

Our Price: $649.99

  • A stunning Top Copy, with two Mind Blowing Triple Plus (A+++) sides and two Double Plus (A++) sides
  • The Wall DEMANDS big, bold, explosively dynamic sound, and this copy delivers on that promise in spades
  • Grungy electric guitars, breathy vocals, HUGE punchy drums, earth-shaking bass and room-filling ambience are all here like you've never heard before
  • The Wall is one of the best sounding rock recordings of all time - a copy like this really makes the case
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Harry Belafonte
Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

  (Item #: belafbelaf_1612) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • A Top Copy: Triple Plus (A+++) on two sides, Double Plus (A++) or better on the other two
  • The sound is killer throughout -- big and three-dimensional with amazing richness and presence
  • An excellent recording, one of the best of the era in our opinion
  • Good luck finding a copy as quiet as this -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • 5 stars in Allmusic: "The granddaddy of all live albums."
See all Belafonte albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Blue

  (Item #: mitchblue_1610) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • A Top Copy with incredible sound -- Triple Plus (A+++) on side two, Double Plus (A++) on side two
  • Stunning immediacy and presence coupled with superb richness and warmth - this is the right sound for Blue
  • An unusually quiet copy -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • A Better Records Top 100 title that belongs in any audiophile music collection worthy of the name
  • "Unrivaled in its intensity and insight" -- Allmusic, 5 stars
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_1702) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two with a side one that's very nearly as good (A++ to A+++), making this a truly killer copy!
  • Both of these Six Eye original stereo sides were stunning, knocking us out and naturally earning our top sonic grade (or close to it)
  • Tons of ambience and Tubey Magic - this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "The most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made"
See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

David Crosby
If I Could Only Remember My Name

  (Item #: crosbifico_1703) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • A mindblowing Top Copy: Triple Plus (A+++) on side one, close behind on side two (A++ to A+++)
  • You will not believe how Tubey Magical and Three Dimensional this album can be when your pressing sounds like this
  • TAS List and Top 100 - one of the best sounding rock records ever made - Stephen Barncard's engineering masterpiece
  • Finding clean copies of this album with Demo Disc sound is a near impossibility - most copies are too noisy to sell, and fewer still have the sonic goods this one does
  • "The songs range from brief snapshots of inspiration to the full-blown, rambling western epic "Cowboy Movie," and there are absolutely no false notes struck or missteps taken." - Allmusic, 4 1/2 stars
See all of our CSN&Y albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Eagles
Desperado

  (Item #: eagledespe_1611s) 

Our Price: $399.99
Sale Price: $349.00 (You save $50.99 / 13%)


  • A killer Double Plus (A++) on the first side, Triple Plus (A+++) on the second
  • This thing is a BEAST, with both sides sounding amazingly rich, full-bodied, spacious and lively
  • Play this against the average copy for a good laugh -- the differences will be anything but subtle
  • An excellent Glyn Johns recording (with TAS List credentials) that just kills on a copy like this
See all Eagles in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Holst / The Planets / Previn / LSO

  (Item #: holstplane_emi_1703_1) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • We proudly present another Top Copy of Holst's masterpiece, The Planets, here with Demo Disc sound to beat all comers
  • Both sides earned the Three Pluses (A+++) or close to it for the mindblowing orchestral power they have in their grooves
  • The sound is HUGE, clear and DYNAMIC, with weighty brass and energy like no recording of the work you have ever heard
  • A TAS List Super Disc, with a performance by Previn and the LSO that's fitting - it's as spectacular as the sound
See more of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Tea for the Tillerman

  (Item #: steveteafo_1702) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This outstanding pressing - The Pinnacle of Folk Rock from 1970 - earned very strong Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely - we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time
  • This pressing is ALIVE with musical energy and Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may never have experienced
  • 5 Stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100
  • This LP plays exceptionally well, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus, about as quiet as any we've heard in a very long time
See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Station To Station

  (Item #: bowiestati_1702) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - the title track is rockin' like you will not believe
  • Superb presence and energy for this classic -- Golden Years sounds fantastic here, as does the great TVC 15
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG: "... its epic structure and clinical sound were an impressive, individualistic achievement, as well as a style that would prove enormously influential on post-punk."
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

David Crosby
If I Could Only Remember My Name

  (Item #: crosbifico_1611s) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.00 (You save $50.99 / 20%)


  • Exceptionally big, rich and Tubey Magical Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end
  • TAS List and Top 100 - one of the best sounding rock records ever made - Stephen Barncard's engineering masterpiece
  • Finding copies this clean with Demo Disc sound is tough - most are too noisy, and fewer still have the sonic goods this one does
  • "The songs range from brief snapshots of inspiration to the full-blown, rambling western epic "Cowboy Movie," and there are absolutely no false notes struck or missteps taken." - Allmusic, 4 1/2 stars
See all of our David Crosby albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Kind of Blue

  (Item #: daviskindo_1702) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A KILLER copy with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • The sound is super rich, smooth, musical and full of the vintage 30th Street Studio Magic we've come to love here at Better Records
  • "Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence."
See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1702) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An excellent copy, with Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides and 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
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Art Garfunkel
Breakaway

  (Item #: garfubreak_1611s) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.00 (You save $50.99 / 20%)


  • A killer shootout winner - Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side, Double Plus (A++) on the second
  • Top sound for some of the best tracks: My Little Town, I Only Have Eyes for You, 99 Miles from L.A. and more
  • Superb space and clarity with a smoothness missing from most copies - the keyboards are full and rich, the guitars ring sweetly
  • Richard Perry went for the Big Sound here and he got it -- this copy will show you just how well recorded the album really is
  • Relatively quiet vinyl for this album, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus - few in our shootout played this quiet
See all of our Art Garfunkel albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Giorgio Moroder
Cat People

  (Item #: morodcatpe_1703) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Excellent Demo Disc sound with each side rating a Double Plus (A++) or better
  • Incredibly big, rich, full and dynamic with a huge bottom end and lots of energy
  • Bowie's Putting Out Fire is the obvious high point of the album and it rocks like crazy on this pressing
  • Superb transparency is key to the best copies and this one has exceptional clarity on both sides
More David Bowie


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Blue

  (Item #: mitchblue_1702) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Two Double Plus (A++) sides for arguably Joni's greatest album
  • Full-bodied and balanced with the kind of smooth musicality that's not always easy to find for Blue
  • An unusually quiet copy -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • A Better Records Top 100 title that belongs in any audiophile music collection worthy of the name
  • "Unrivaled in its intensity and insight" -- Allmusic, 5 stars
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Dick Schory
Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp

  (Item #: schorbangb_1701) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A Triple Plus (A+++) side two - so open, extended and 3-D we have never heard this side of the famous TAS List Disc sound better
  • Buck Dance sounds out of this world, a real Demo Track on a copy like this - it's in correct polarity here too
  • Side one was solid, dynamic and punchy, earning a Double Plus (A++) grade for its overall balance
  • One of the best copies to ever hit the site and an audio extravaganza the likes of which you may have never heard
    See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_1701_1) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides make this a truly outstanding reissue pressing, guaranteed to beat anything you've heard
  • Both of these stereo sides were exceptionally clear and open, never lean or bright
  • With superb ambience and three-dimensionality, this 30th St. recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "The most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made"
See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Alan Parsons Project
Tales of Mystery & Imagination

  (Item #: parsotales_1701) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • A Top Copy - Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two and excellent Double Plus sound (A++) on side one
  • An amazingly well recorded album - these two sides are proof positive
  • A longtime audiophile favorite that made the TAS Super Disc List for its astounding dynamics
  • "[A]n extremely mesmerizing aural journey through some of Edgar Allan Poe's most renowned works. With the use of synthesizers, drums, guitar, and even a glockenspiel, Parsons' shivering effects make way for an eerie excursion into Poe's well-known classics."
See all of our Alan Parsons albums (and albums he engineered) in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Eagles
Desperado

  (Item #: eagledespe_1702) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Wonderful throughout - both sides earned Double Plus (A++) grades for their big, bold sound
  • Clean, clear and dynamic, this copy has great bass and lots of space around all the guitars and voices
  • Play this against the average copy for a good laugh -- the differences will be anything but subtle
  • An excellent Glyn Johns recording (with TAS List credentials) that just kills on a copy like this
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl on side two, a true Mint Minus - that almost never happens!
See all of our Eagles albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1610) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A superb sounding early pressing that earned excellent grades of Double Plus (A++) on both sides
  • The sound is rich, warm and natural with wonderful transparency, ambience and loads of Tubey Magic
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably her Best Sounding Album
  • "[A] remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last." - AMG 5 Stars
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Kind of Blue

  (Item #: daviskindo_1701) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A wonderfully musical Hot Stamper copy, with both sides earning excellent sonic grades
  • This beauty is tonally correct and just full of vintage 30th Street Studio Magic
  • This properly mastered '70's reissue is your chance to hear KOB sound right for a change
  • "Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence."
See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1611_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With excellent Hot Stamper sound on all four sides, and fairly quiet vinyl, 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
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Carole King
Tapestry

  (Item #: king_tapes_1703) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This killer copy of King's beloved Tapestry earned Double Plus (A++) grades or close to it on both sides
  • Punchy, clear and open - you will hear that the dark veils of the average copy have finally been lifted
  • This album is clearly Carole's masterpiece - it's loaded with great songs, and they all sound fantastic here
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "...an intensely emotional record, the songs confessional and direct; in its time it connected with listeners like few records before it, and it remains an illuminating experience decades later."
See all of our Carole King albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Chet Atkins
The Other Chet Atkins

  (Item #: atkinother_1612) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Both sides of this pressing earned excellent Double Plus (A++) grades, truly worthy of their "Super Disc" status
  • The sound is incredibly rich and tubey with excellent clarity and nice punch down low
  • Chet plays all acoustic Spanish Guitar on this amazing Living Stereo recording from 1960
  • Bill Porter's All Tube engineering makes this a TAS Super Disc that lives up to its reputation and then some
See all of our Chet Atkins albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Ry Cooder
Jazz

  (Item #: coodejazz_1701) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent copy, with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • So much to like about this pressing - clean, clear and full-bodied with tons of energy and presence
  • A one-time TAS List Super Disc that proves its worth on a Super Hot Stamper pressing
  • "The complexity of the material on Jazz, as well as the arrangements by Joseph Byrd, dictate that this is Cooder's most polished and orchestrated effort to date." -- Allmusic
See all of our Ry Cooder albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Peter, Paul & Mary
Peter, Paul & Mary

  (Item #: peterpeter_1701) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An exceptional early pressing of this folk gem, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both of these stereo sides
  • Not phony and forced but relaxed and real, as if the recording were trying its best to get out of the way of the music
  • Credit must go to Bill Schwartau (look him up!) for the uncanny naturalness of this 1962 All Tube recording
  • A Tas Super Disc LP - 4 stars on Allmusic: "Still one of the best albums to come out of the 1960s folk music revival."
See all of our Peter, Paul & Mary albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1702) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A excellent early pressing that earned Hot Stamper grades on both sides and plays reasonably quietly
  • The sound is rich, warm and natural - any Heavy Vinyl pressing will have a hard time competing with it
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably her Best Sounding Album
  • "[A] remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last." - AMG 5 Stars
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Ed Graham
Hot Stix

  (Item #: grahahotst_1609) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Both sides earned at least Double Plus (A++) sonic grades - this may be as good as it gets for all we know
  • Another amazing Direct to Disc Demo Disc recording, this one kicks it up to 45 RPM for extra thrills
  • A longtime member of the TAS Super Disc List and when you turn it up you'll see why
  • As far as dynamic, punchy, full-range reproduction of a real drum kit I know of no better
More Audiophile recordings


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Wild Things Run Fast

  (Item #: mitchwildt_1701) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, this copy has Joni rockin' like you will not believe
  • The sound is spacious, open and powerful with present vocals and solid bass
  • Relatively quiet, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • "...her best album since the mid-'70s." - Allmusic - and famously on the TAS List
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Alan Parsons Project
Tales of Mystery & Imagination

  (Item #: parsotales_1612) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • An amazingly well produced album - these two Double Plus (A++) sides or close to it are proof positive
  • Full-bodied sound, with amazing deep bass in particular - the bottom end is awesome here
  • A longtime audiophile favorite that made the TAS Super Disc List for its excellent sonics
  • "[A]n extremely mesmerizing aural journey through some of Edgar Allan Poe's most renowned works. With the use of synthesizers, drums, guitar, and even a glockenspiel, Parsons' shivering effects make way for an eerie excursion into Poe's well-known classics."
See all of our Alan Parsons albums (and albums he engineered) in stock


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Hot Stamper

Harry Belafonte
Sings The Blues

  (Item #: belafsings_1703) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • Sings the Blues is surely one of the most amazing Male Vocal Albums we've ever played
  • This vintage Living Stereo copy boasts excellent Hot Stamper sound on both sides
  • Here you can find the authentic 1958 Tubey Magical sound that no reissue will ever have
  • A criminally underrated album - the performances and the sound are first rate throughout
See all of our Harry Belafonte albums in stock


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Albeniz / Falla / Granados / Spain / Reiner

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: albenspain_2230) 



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

Spain has been an audiophile favorite for a very long time. Everybody should know it by now, what with both Chesky and Classic Records remastering it in the '90s, dismally of course, as neither of these companies showed the slightest sense that they understood how lackluster, if not downright awful, the products of their efforts turned out. No doubt Analogue Productions will see fit to ruin the recording the way they ruined Scheherazade.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz


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Anderson / The Music of Leroy Anderson Vol. 3 / Fennell

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: andermusic_90400_0311) 



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

Volume Three (SR 90400) of Anderson's recordings for Mercury with Fennell conducting has long been a favorite or ours here at Better Records. The first volume is of course on the TAS Super Disc list, and when you get a good copy of it you will have no trouble believing it is a Super Disc. But so is this one, provided you play the right pressing of course.

More Orchestral Recordings


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Arnold / English, Scottish and Cornish Dances

  (Item #: arnolengli_1502s) 



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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Art Garfunkel - Breakaway

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: garfubreak_2016) 



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

Both sides are transparent, open, and spacious, with dramatically more life and energy than the typical pressing. The bottom end on this copy is surprisingly meaty as well, with far more punch than most of the pressings we played.

The keyboards are full and rich, the guitars ring just right. This copy is killer in practically every way. You will be hard-pressed to imagine it sounding much better than it does here.

More Art Garfunkel


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Beethoven / 'Appassionata' / Kamiya

  (Item #: beethappas_fame) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

A famous resident of the TAS list, this album mixes beautiful music with lovely, solid piano tone, the best of both worlds for audiophiles. A friend of mine tells me that Kamiya plays this piece exactly the way Horowitz did, and that's probably a good thing. Good luck finding a Horowitz recording that sounds like this.

See more of our Direct to Disc recordings


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Bernard Herrmann - The Fantasy Film World of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: herrmfanta) 



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

Two AMAZING SOUNDING DEMO DISC LPS for the price of one! We’ve mated the HOTTEST SIDE ONE of one copy with the HOTTEST SIDE TWO of another to produce the best sounding complete Fantasy Film World we have ever heard. A+++ sound, with the kind of orchestral power that few recordings in the history of the world can lay claim to. There's a reason this record is on the TAS Superdisc list -- if any LP should be called a Superdisc, this one should. (With Phase Four sound you might even call it a Super-Duper-Disc.)

More Bernard Herrmann


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Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_2013) 



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

The Citizen Kane Suite on this album is to die for -- a real desert island disc for me. (The CD by the way is actually quite good. I have it in the car and play it often.)

The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from "Hangover Square") is superbly well recorded and a brilliant piece of music as well.

More of the music of Bernard Herrmann


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Bizet / Carmen - Bernstein (3 LP Box Set)

  (Item #: bizetcarme_1) 


TAS List. Three mostly Minty looking DG German Import LPs with excellent sound. Side three has some light marks and plays about M-. The other five sides should play Near Mint to M- after a good Disc Doctoring. Big, beautiful sound!
More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1975)


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Bloch / Concerto Grosso #1 & #2 / Hanson

  (Item #: blockconce_90223) 



This is a famous TAS list record with amazing string sound! It's incredibly textured and dynamic. I can't imagine music more dramatic than this.

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

More Mercury Recordings


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Bob and Ray - Throw a Stereo Spectacular

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bobanthrow_0110) 



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).

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Brahms / Hungarian Dances / Dvorak / Slavonic Dances

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: brahmhunga_6198_2011) 



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

The London pressing of this music used to be on the TAS List but appears to have been dropped at some point over the years. Not that I would notice what comes and goes on HP's list, as I do not hold it in as high a regard as most audiophiles I have met over the years. For some reason there were those who tended to think it definitive or consistent. I can assure you it is neither.

The Brahms here (side one) is nothing special on this copy, but the Dvorak is SUPERB, sounding much better than the other Bluebacks we played and the Stereo Treasury copies as well. With Reiner at the helm both sides are lively and fun.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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British Band Classics Vol. 2

The First Classical Record I Bought as an Audiophile

  (Item #: holstbriti_golden_import) 



British Band Classics Volume Two was the first Mercury classical LP I ever bought. After hearing it at an audiophile friend's house I went down to Tower Records and found one in the bin. I think the price was $3.99 for the Golden Import pressing, which of course was the only one available. That was what I had heard, so I had no idea that the original even existed, let alone sounded better and would one day sell for many hundreds of dollars. This was the '70s, when you could walk into a record store and buy new records, and long before HP created a feeding frenzy for vintage Mercs.
More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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Buffalo Springfield - Again

Extracting the Midrange Magic

  (Item #: buffaagain_wtlf) 



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

So many copies of this album sound so bad and play so poorly that most audiophiles have by now written it off as a lost cause. But we didn't. We kept at it, and our main motivation was the music.

Extracting the midrange magic from a album like this should be the goal of every right-thinking audiophile. Who cares what's on the TAS Super Disc List? I want to play the music that I love, not because it sounds good, but because I love it. And if the only way to find good sounding copies of typically poorly-mastered, beat-to-death records such as this one is to go through a big pile of them, well then, I guess that's what we'll have to do.

More Buffalo Springfield


 
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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: bachacasin_2008) 



TWO STUNNING SIDES! With sound like this, I now understand why this has been such a highly regarded long-term resident of the TAS Superdisc List. A copy like this IS a TRUE SUPERDISC -- but the average copy of this album is anything but. Who could take such harsh, grainy, thin, veiled, compressed sound seriously? What was Harry smokin’?

I can honestly and truthfully say that until we discovered the Hot Stampers for this album, I never thought this record deserved the praise Harry heaped upon it. Now I do. I once was blind but now I see, or something like that. And by the way, does his copy sound as good as this one? I would bet money right now that this monster is clearly the better pressing.

See all of our Burt Bacharach albums in stock


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Cat Stevens & TAS List Thoughts

Harry Pearson Is Losing It

  (Item #: stevemonab_tas) 



In an issue of The Absolute Sound from a few years back Harry revisited some of his favorite records from the old days. This was one of the ones mentioned, and he made the point that only the British originals sound any good. At one time there were four Cat Stevens albums on the TAS List, all British pressings EXCEPT for Mona Bone. Why? Because Mona Bone never sounds good on import vinyl, at least not on the dozen or so early imports I’ve come across.
More Mona Bone Jakon


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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Making Progress in Audio

  (Item #: steveteafo_progress) 



The following comments were written in 2004.

Hard Headed Woman is a song that has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years. If you've been making regular upgrades to your equipment and taking advantage of all the new technologies available at the front end, such as: vibration control, electromagnetic stabilization, better arms, better cartridges, better phono stages, better motors, fly wheels, Synchronous Drive Systems, better power cords, better power conditioning, to name just a few, you are no doubt able to reproduce this song much better than you were in the old days.

See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

25th Anniversary Island LP Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_25th) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

I remember years ago (1986 to be exact) when Acoustic Sounds was selling the then in-print 25th Anniversary Island pressing (10U, as I recall) for $15, claiming that it was a TAS List Super Disc. If you've ever heard that pressing, you know it has no business going anywhere near a Super Disc List. It's mediocre at best and has virtually none of the magic of the good original pressings. I refused to sell it back in those days, for no other reason than it's far from a Better Record. I don't like misrepresenting records and I don't like ripping off my customers. That pressing was a fraud and I was having none of it.

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Chabrier / Espana & Rimsky-Korsakov / Argenta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: chabrespan_6006_2013) 



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

This London Whiteback (CS 6006) TAS List Super Disc really IS a Super Disc, with SUPERB SUPER Hot Stamper sound on both sides. It easily bested the Blueback we put up against it, and most of the pressings of Ansermet's performance on London/Decca that we like (CS 6438).

What this album has going for it over the London/Decca with Ansermet is an out of this world Capriccio Espagnol, with the kind of orchestral color and excitement that rivals the composer's Scheherazade and arguably exceeds it, compressing as it does its bright orchestration into fewer than 15 minutes of unalloyed brilliance.

More of the music of Emmanual Chabrier (1841-1894)


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Chabrier / Espana - Argenta

Reviewed & Recommended

  (Item #: chabrespan_speakerscorner) 



Sonic Grade: B

This is a Speakers Corner Decca 180 gram LP reissue of the famous Argenta performance, a recording which can sound positively amazing on the right original London, but only about 2 out of 10 copies actually do. (And where in the world are you going to find 10 clean copies of a record that’s practically 50 years old?)

This pressing gets you most of the way there, on reasonably quiet vinyl, for a lot less money.

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

More of the music of Emmanual Chabrier (1841-1894)


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Chet Atkins - Chet Atkins In Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: atkinholly_2007) 



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

This Minty looking RCA Victor LP has an AMAZING SIDE TWO backed with a great side one. Side two is full of the tubey magic that’s missing from the Classic Records version and it has a wonderfully extended top end. Side one lacks some of the top end extension found on side two but the first track has that tubey Nashville sound that we love here at Better Records. The rest of the side is pretty damn good as well.

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

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins - The Other Chet Atkins

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: atkinother_2015) 



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

A stunning Double Plus (A++) side one backed with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two. Rich and tubey with clarity and punch. Chet plays all acoustic on this amazing Living Stereo recording from 1960. Bill Porter All Tube engineering and a TAS Super Disc.

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Chet Atkins / Caribbean Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: atkincarib_2011) 



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

This RCA Living Stereo LP has an A++ side two! It's rich, warm and sweet with great transparency and clear transients -- if it had just a bit more top it would be right up with the very best copies. Side one is not quite up to the same standards, and is very noisy. The vinyl plays about Mint Minus Minus on side two, but its a rare copy that plays any quieter.

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

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins / Chet Atkins in Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: atkincheta_1993) 



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

DEMO DISC SOUND! Exceptionally quiet and ususually clean for a record of its age! TAS List of course, and full of Living Stereo Magic. You can feel the cool air of the studio the minute the needle hits the groove!

More Chet Atkins


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Classic Records

First Three Classical Releases
Debunked

  (Item #: classic_180_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame Pressings, Every One

I’m reminded of the nonsense I read in TAS and elsewhere in the mid-’90s regarding the reputed superiority of the Classic Records Living Stereo reissues. After playing their first three titles: 1806, 1817 and 2222 (if memory serves), I could find no resemblance between the reviews I read and the actual sound of the records I played. The sound was, in a word, awful. To this day I consider them to be the Single Worst Reissue Series in the History of the World.


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Dave Brubeck - Time Out

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brubetimeo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

When we did a shootout for this record way back in October of 2007 we took the opportunity to play the Classic Records 200 gram pressing. Maybe we got a bad one, who knows, but that record did not sound remotely as good as the real thing (6 eye or 360, both can be quite good). The piano sounded thin and hard, which was quite unexpected given the fact that we used to consider the Classic LP one of their few winners and actually recommended it.

More Dave Brubeck


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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: brubetimeo_2011) 



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

STUNNING A+++ SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES! Breathtakingly spacious and transparent, this copy has the big three-dimensional soundstage that makes this record such a joy to listen to. The piano has weight and heft, the drums are big and dynamic, and everything is relaxed and sweet -- in short, this copy does everything we want it to.

More Dave Brubeck


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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

Our Mono Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: brubetimeo_1210) 



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

This Mono Six Eye original pressing has wonderful sound on BOTH SIDES, rating A++ on side two and A+ to A++ on side one. That was way better than practically all of the stereo copies we played -- which came as a bit of a shock as we had always preferred the stereo version, with its wonderful spaciousness and three-dimensionality.

The vinyl plays mostly Mint Minus throughout -- FREAKISHLY QUIET for an old six eye pressing.

More Dave Brubeck


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

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: crosbifico_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

What do you get with Hot Stampers compared to the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue? Dramatically more warmth, sweetness, delicacy, transparency, space, energy, size, naturalness (no boost on the top end or the bottom, a notable failing of the Classic); in other words, the kind of difference you almost ALWAYS get comparing the best vintage pressings with their modern remastered counterparts, in our experience anyway. The Classic is a nice record, a Hot Stamper is a MAGICAL one.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young


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

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: crosbifico_2008) 



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

THE ULTIMATE PSYCH ROCK DEMO DISC! Both sides are shockingly transparent with tight bass, silky highs, full-bodied vocals and TONS of Tubey Magic.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young


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Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

The Classic of LSC 2222 is all but unlistenable on a highly resolving system. The opacity, transient smear and loss of harmonic information and ambience found on Classic's pressing drives us right up the wall. Who can sit through a record that sounds like that? Way back in 1994, long before we had anything like the system we do now, we were disparaging the "Classic Records Sound" in our catalogs.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Debussy / Iberia - Reiner

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222) 



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

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

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

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

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

Check Your Polarity!

  (Item #: schorbangb_LSP1866_2016) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

An amazing discovery from Better Records. Many copies of this album are REVERSED POLARITY on side two (the side with Buck Dance, one of the better tracks on that side and great for testing). Yes, once again you heard it here first, folks. We had two 4S copies of the album and both of them had side two out of polarity.

NEWSFLASH: 7s on side two is out of polarity too. Just played one today. There's practically no real top end extension until you reverse the polarity.

See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock


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

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: schorbangb_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

What to listen for you ask? Top end, plain and simple. It's the RARE copy that really has the incredible extension of the side two we heard recently. The space, the clarity, the harmonic complexity -- perhaps one out of ten copies will show you a side two like that.

The highs are so good on this record you can use it as a setup tool. Adjust your VTA, tracking weight and the like for the most natural and clear top end, then check for all the other qualities you want to hear. You may just find yourself operating on a higher sonic plane than you ever thought possible.

See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock


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Dionne Warwick - Soulful

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: warwisoulf_1108) 



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

There's a reason this record is on the TAS list, but you'd never know it by playing the average pressing. Most copies of this record just sound like an old Dionne Warwick record. You would never even know how magical this recording is by playing a copy that for all intents and purposes appears to be the pressing that Harry Pearson is recommending on his Super Disc list. The catalog number is the same; the sound is not. Unless you have at least half a dozen copies of this record -- and we had more than double that -- you have very little chance of finding even one exceptional side.

More Popular Vocal recordings


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Dire Straits - Love Over Gold

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: diresloveo_2010) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! This copy is a FLUKE -- we guarantee you have never heard a copy sound even remotely this good. We sure haven't, and we've probably played fifty or more. This copy found itself running way ahead of the pack and never looked back. Two A+++ sides back to back -- what are the chances?

More Dire Straits


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Dire Straits - Love Over Gold

What to Listen For

  (Item #: diresloveo_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Telegraph Road does something on this copy that you won't hear on one out of twenty pressings: It ROCKS. It's got ENERGY and DRIVE.

Listen to how hard Allan Clark bangs on the piano on side one -- he's pounding that piano with all his might. No other copy managed to get the piano to pop the way it does here, clear and solid. Wow, who knew? Maybe this is the reason HP put the record on the TAS Super Disc List. (I rather doubt he's ever heard a copy this good but who's to say?)

More Dire Straits


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Dopey Record Theories

Putting Bad Ideas to the Test

  (Item #: mitchcourt_theory) 



In a recent listing for one of our Hot Stamper 2-packs we noted that side two of record one has Joni sounding thin, hard and veiled. If you look at the stampers you can see it's obviously cut by the same guy (no names please!), and we're pretty sure both sides were stamped out at the same time of day since it's impossible to do it any other way. What accounts for the amazing sound of one side and the mediocre sound of its reverse?

If your theory can't account for these huge differences in sound, your theory must be seen for what it is: hopelessly, fundamentally flawed. Mistaken. Inadequate. "Dopey" works too.

See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Dvorak / Cello Concerto / Starker / Dorati

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: dvoracello_90303) 



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

This very nice looking Mercury Oval Label Living Presence LP has EXCELLENT SOUND -- the string tone is relatively sweet, and there's plenty of deep powerful bass on this particular pressing.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


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Eagles - Desperado

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: eagledespe_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series. This is the second-best sounding Eagles record of all time, no doubt thanks to the engineering of our man Glyn Johns. Of course, the best sound on an Eagles record is found on the first album. For whatever reason, that record was left off the TAS Super Disc list, even though we feel that both musically and sonically it beats this one by a bit.
More Eagles' albums


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Eagles - Desperado

Which Pressing Sounds Better, the Brit SYL or Domestic Asylum?

  (Item #: eagledespe_vs) 



Short answer: They both do, or more accurately, they both can sound better than the other. It all depends on how many of each you have.

Harry Pearson famously listed the SYL pressing of this album on his TAS List of Super Discs, but most of them sure don’t sound that super to us! Play enough of them though, and if you’re lucky you just might find one like the one we did -- a lovely Brit Import SYL pressing that has SUPERB SOUND on BOTH SIDES!

See more of our Eagles' albums


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Falla / Nights In the Gardens of Spain/ Argenta

  (Item #: fallanight_0111) 



DEMO QUALITY SOUND from 1959 on this famous TAS List Super Disc recording. This copy of CS 6046 has an especially good Falla side, with Super Hot Stamper sound and fairly quiet vinyl. The Rodrigo side is no slouch either, earning a grade of A+, although it could certainly use more top end (which was the case last time we did a shootout with this title as I recall).

The Falla side is amazingly natural sounding; the string tone is Right On The Money, something that cannot be said of most vintage Living Stereos and Mercury pressings.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


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For Pete’s Sake, What’s Wrong With Blue?

Thoughts on "The Definitive Vinyl" Version

  (Item #: mitchblue__letter) 



In 2007 a customer took issue with our summary rejection of the new Blue.

Tom,

I find it curious you are not carrying the new Joni Mitchell Blue vinyl issue. Even to the point of saying you can do better... for 25 bucks? After clicking on the LP cover and reading the comments from over the years it makes me wonder what your agenda really is. I paid $250 for a wonderful WLP and this Rhino issue smokes it, even as good as it is. I even have a Cd cut from this mastering session off the analog FLAT, not Dolby tapes and this vinyl even beats it.... of course just my opinion. I have listened on $100,000 systems, all the way down to portable units, solid state and tube and there is no denying this is the definitive vinyl version..... and again for 25.00. What a bargain.

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Gershwin / All the Works for Orchestra
Slatkin / Siegel (3 LP Box Set)

  (Item #: gershallth_0510) 



This is a very nice looking original Vox Black Label 3 LP Box Set with the best sound we've ever heard for this TAS List title! This record plays reasonably quiet considering the notorious Vox vinyl.

Can't stand the performances though, much too slow for my taste.

More of the music of George Gershwin


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Gilbert & Sullivan - The Best Of... (3 LP Box Set)

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: gilbebesto) 



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

This is a Minty RCA Reader’s Digest 3 LP Box set with SUPERB SOUND! These recordings are DEMO DISC QUALITY.

HP put the Rachmaninoff Box on the TAS List, and when you get a properly mastered one, it belongs there. But this G&S box is every bit as good sonically. This may not be high brow classical music, but it's music that belongs in any record collection, and especially in an audiophile record collection, because the sound is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

The Mikado; Pirates; The Gondoliers and Patience are simply stunning. You won't find more correct vocal and orchestral sound on the planet.

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Giorgio Moroder - Cat People Soundtrack

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: morodcatpe_2008) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES of the TAS List SuperDisc! We just finished a big shootout for this album, and this knockout copy took top honors on both sides with A+++ sound from start to finish. Drop the needle on any track for some of the best sounding synthesizers you'll ever hear!

More David Bowie


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Grace Williams / Fantasia On Welsh Nursery Tunes / Groves

  (Item #: willifanta_1012) 



Super Hot Stamper sound for this TAS List title, containing the most famous piece for which Grace Williams is known. The sound is BIG and RICH, two adjectives we rarely apply to a '70s EMI. Big maybe -- lots of EMI's are big, but the reason you see so few EMI Hot Stampers on our site is that they are usually big in a vague, phasey way, which is a sound I frankly have never seen the need to take seriously, TAS Listing or no TAS Listing. (Screen speakers tend to sound that way to me, and I've never been a fan of them either.)

But rich -- now that's a sound we do like! It's also not shrill and hard like most EMI's. Instead it's transparent, lively and tonally correct from top to bottom. Add it all up and you have a very special EMI record that qualifies for Super Hot Stamper status. You will have a very hard time finding a copy of the album that sounds like the side one here.

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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: griegpeerg_sts) 



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

This is overall the best sounding pressing of the Fjeldstad / LSO we have ever played, with BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. For those of you who know your Londons, when you see the label on this LP you will no doubt be shocked: This is the last pressing in the world that one would expect to sound good.

Of course we here at Better Records don't give a sh*t about any such conventional wisdom / collector bias. We like audiophile quality sound and we don't give a damn where we find it. Up against the competition this copy was superb in practically every way, excelling with orchestral size, weight and energy like virtually no other. This is to be expected from a recording of its renown. What was not to be expected was the actual pressing that delivered those sonic qualitie

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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Speakers Corner Reviewed / VTA Advice

  (Item #: griegpeerg_2012_reviewed) 



Sonic Grade: C+

The Fjeldstad has long been one of our favorite performances of Peer Gynt here at Better Records.

This record is handy for VTA set-up as well, a subject discussed below in our listing from 2010.

See more of our in-stock pressings of Grieg's music


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Hanson / The Composer and His Orchestra / Hanson

  (Item #: hansotheco_0412) 



This is a White Hot Stamper 2-pack that's made up, naturally, of two LPs: a later Mercury reissue pressing for side one (A+++) and an FR1 Mercury original for side two which is nearly as good (A++ to A+++), for the simple and obvious reason that the "bad" sides of each of these LPs are not nearly as good as the "good" sides. As a matter of fact the bad sides would not even qualify as decent sounding, let alone Hot Stampers. When you play the weaker sides here you will no doubt appreciate why we felt it was appropriate to bundle two somewhat different records together to make a truly SUPERB one.

This pair of records actually deserves to be on the TAS Super Disc list. The typical copy we played doesn't, and the proof of that fact are the two bad sounding sides on these very records. The good sides are true Demo Discs; the bad sides are nothing but old records.

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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: belafharry_2005) 



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

AMAZING DEMO QUALITY SOUND FROM START TO FINISH. We’ve been playing this TAS List favorite for years, but we’ve never heard a copy quite like this one. Only side one didn’t receive our top grade, and at A++, it ain’t too far behind.

More Harry Belafonte


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Harry Belafonte - Sings The Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: belafsings_2016) 



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

If you're looking to demonstrate just how good 1958 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the record for you.

Naturally the vocals have to be the main focus on a Harry Belafonte record. He should sound rich and tubey, yet clear, breathy and transparent. To qualify as a Hot Stamper the pressings we offer must be highly resolving, not crude and ambience-challenged the way so many modern LPs seem to be. You should be able to hear every element of the recording, with the voice and instruments surrounded by the natural space of the studios in which the recording was made.

More Harry Belafonte


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Henry Mancini - A Warm Shade of Ivory

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: manciawarm_2010) 



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

With THE BEST side one we have ever played, backed with a side two that's very nearly as good, this is a very special copy indeed! This copy was getting everything right on side one. Wide and deep stage, smooth but textured strings, background vocalists who take breaths, room around the piano, clear attack, it's all here.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs. More about that later.

More Henry Mancini


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Henry Mancini - Hatari!

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mancihatar_2009) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper pressing is one of the BEST COPIES we’ve ever played! Both sides earned very high A Double Plus honors, beating practically all the other copies we played it against. The sound is relaxed, natural, and musical, with an incredibly sweet top end.

The overall sound is airy, open, spacious, and SUPER transparent. The brass on this copy also sounds just right: breathy with a nice bite, avoiding most of the blare-y quality we heard on so many other pressings. (There is a touch of smear on even the best copies; this one is no different.)

More Henry Mancini


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Holst / British Band Classics Vol. 2 / Fennell

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: holstbriti_2016) 



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

Side one big, full and dynamic, with horns and winds that are never screechy. (Side two of this first LP is very screechy and not at all to our liking.)

Side two of the second record has the sound of live music. Huge space, clear yet rich, this is the sound we were looking for!

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


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Holst / The Planets / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: holstplane_6734_2010) 



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

This 2-pack boasts White Hot Stamper sound on side two for the Mehta Planets. Yes, it IS possible. Side two shows you what this record is actually capable of -- big WHOMP, no SMEAR, super SPACIOUS, DYNAMIC, with an EXTENDED top. It beat every London pressing we threw at it, coming out on top for our recent shootout. Folks, we 100% guarantee that whatever pressing you have of this performance, this copy will trounce it.

But side one of this London original British pressing was awful. We wrote it off as NFG after about a minute; that's all we could take of the bright, hard-sounding brass of War.

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


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Joan Baez - Farewell, Angelina

Our Hot Copy from 2005

  (Item #: baez_farew_2005) 



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

Very nice fairly original Vanguard LP with EXCELLENT SOUND.

These early Black Label Vanguard pressings are actually better in some ways than the 180 gram reissue, as good as that one is. Of course, they all vary in their sound. But listen especially to tracks two and six on the first side to hear a more natural sounding Joan.

Side two normally lacks top end and sounds dull on most of the copies I have heard. This copy is actually quite good -- not perfect but a lot closer to the mark than others. Listen to the second track to hear Joan at her best. Her voice is breathy and sweet, exactly the way it should be.

More Joan Baez


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Joan Baez - Joan Baez

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: baez_joanb_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame from 1960.

This former member of the TAS list is the kind of recording that has everything going for it: Golden Age equipment in a live acoustic with a simple arrangement for voice and guitar (or two).

The purity and complete freedom from distortion allow the listener to imagine himself, to borrow a phrase, in the Living Presence of the performer. With a record this good it takes no effort whatsoever to suspend disbelief and imagine Joan and her guitar directly in front of you, a command performance if you will.

More Joan Baez


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John Klemmer - Touch

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: klemmtouch_5006_0310) 



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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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: mitchblue_wtlf) 



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

You’ve probably heard us say this before, but top quality copies of Blue are few and far between. It’s not just the toughest nut to crack in Joni’s catalog, it’s one of the most difficult albums in ALL OF POP MUSIC to get to sound right.

More Joni Mitchell


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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Rhino / Warners Reviewed

  (Item #: mitchblue_debunk_2014) 



Sonic Grade: B-

In March of 2007 we remarked that we would not be carrying the new 180 gram Rhino pressing of Blue. We noted at the time:

Since Kevin and Steve are [perhaps erstwhile] friends of mine I won’t belabor its shortcomings. Let’s just say I think you can do better.
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Joni Mitchell - Court And Spark

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: mitchcourt_scorecard) 



Sonic Grade: B

The DCC -- Not Bad!

Steve's version is very musical; it's rich and natural sounding, which of course makes it very enjoyable. You can do a lot better but you sure can do a lot worse. Opaque, veiled, lifeless, dull sound is the norm for Court and Spark -- most copies are dead as a doornail. If they're not dead, they're likely to be thin and gritty. The DCC is a big improvement over the average domestic pressing. (The original Brit imports are fairly competitive with the DCC; the later Brits with the K catalog numbers suck as a rule.)

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Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2009) 



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

It was a tougher shootout than Blue has ever been around these parts, but after a MASSIVE shootout this week we managed to find a copy of Court and Spark with TWO AMAZINGLY GOOD SIDES and relatively quiet vinyl. Words can hardly convey how grueling the evaluation process was this time around. We played a huge number of copies to come up with a very small handful of exceptional pressings worthy of the Hot Stamper designation. In the end, it was worth all the trouble to hear a copy like this one, which gave us the warmth and richness we had hoped for without sacrificing any clarity or energy.

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Joni Mitchell - Wild Things Run Fast

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mitchwildt_2013) 



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

One of our favorite Joni Mitchell albums. A Desert Island disc for me & one of the few good reasons to listen to new music in the '80s. I think it's one of Joni's masterpieces. (One is only supposed to be allotted one masterpiece, but considering all the stylistic changes she's been through, she's earned the right to have as many as she likes. I count at least three so far and perhaps there will be more coming down the road, although I very much doubt it.)

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Joni Mitchell Discography

  (Item #: alljonimitchell) 



1968 Song to a Seagull*
1969 Clouds*
1970 Ladies of the Canyon*
1971 Blue* -- Top 100
1972 For the Roses* -- Some of her best sound
1974 Court and Spark
1974 Miles of Aisles*
1975 The Hissing of Summer Lawns*
1976 Hejira*
1977 Don Juan's Reckless Daughter*
1979 Mingus*
1980 Shadows and Light*
1982 Wild Things Run Fast* -- TAS List but shouldn't be
1985 Dog Eat Dog
1988 Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
1991 Night Ride Home
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Khachaturian - Spartacus & Gayneh - Khachaturian

  (Item #: khachspart_6000) 



This is a Near Mint Decca In The Box British Import LP featuring Spartacus on side one and Gayaneh on side two with the Vienna Phil.

Side Two is the BEST EVER! Just play the Sabre Dance! This famous TAS List LP has a very good side one as well, 90 to 95% the best. This is a record that deserves its Superdisc ranking. It IS a superdisc!

More Classical Music on London


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Khachaturian / Masquerade Suite / Kondrashin (LSC 2398)

  (Item #: khachmasqu_0910) 



A distinguished member of our Hall of Fame.

DEMO DISC SOUND for this TAS List Shaded Dog, with each side earning an A++ grade and playing relatively quietly!

This is a BIG one folks, as most of you probably know already. It is not easy to find copies of this album with excellent sound and fairly quiet surfaces on both sides, and if you don't believe me than I encourage you to try. The violin is so sweet and full of rosiny texture here. The whole string section is full of Living Stereo magic. The soundstage is wide and deep, the overall sound rich and warm. The midrange is nothing short of magical.

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Little Feat - Hoy-Hoy

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: littlhoyho_2011) 



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

This Warner Brothers Double LP is one of the all time TOP Little Feat albums and a longtime personal favorite. Three out of the four sides here are White Hot, as good as it gets -- A+++, and the fourth is just a half plus behind at A++1/2. It's been a very long time since a double album made it to our site with grades like these -- 11 1/2 pluses out of 12!

And side three was so good I noted that it might as well be A++++ -- no other side of the ten copies we played could touch it, not even the three other ones here. Teenage Nervous Breakdown (Live) is a real Demo Disc Quality track. As we said last time around, there is not a rock album on the TAS Super Disc List that can hold a candle to the real Rock and Roll Power of a pressing such as this.


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Mahler / Das Lied Von Der Erde / Solti / CSO

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: mahledasli_555) 



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

This Minty Decca pressing from 1972 sounds WONDERFUL -- another Kenneth Wilkinson/ Gordon Parry triumph.

This recording is part of the Solti Decca Silver Jubilee, celebrating the 25th year of Solti's collaboration with Decca.

(He started in 1947!) The Beethoven 9th on the TAS List, one of the all time great Beethoven recordings, is also part of that series. Judging by those two records, it appears that Decca still had their act together in 1972, long after other labels were producing garbage.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler


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