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White Hot Stamper

The Doors
The Soft Parade

  (Item #: doorssoftp_1711) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side two and a Double Plus (A++) side one this copy is practically as good as it gets
  • The sound on this Gold Label pressing is incredibly powerful -- big, rich, full-bodied, present and lively
  • Great songs: Touch Me, Runnin' Blue, Wild Child and the amazingly trippy extended Soft Parade suite, here with Triple Plus sound!
  • A tragically underrated album and a killer recording, with Demo Quality sound on the best pressings
  • "Much like a true “parade” of an English fugue, the song morphs from Morrison’s a capella sermon-like intro to a Baroque ballad to a show tune-like section to the long rock outro, the music masterfully following the flowing, stream of consciousness lyric." Hell yeah!
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doors
L.A. Woman

  (Item #: doorslawom_1709s) 

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


  • An outstanding copy of L.A. Woman, one of the best from our recent shootout and an album you rarely see on the site
  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from the first note to the last
  • Unusually quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus - they don't come any quieter
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The seven-minute title track was a car-cruising classic that celebrated both the glamour and seediness of Los Angeles; the other long cut, the brooding, jazzy "Riders on the Storm," was the group at its most melodic and ominous."
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds

  (Item #: beachpetso_1711) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from beginning to end -- this pressing has the sound you've been looking for
  • Play this against any and all versions you have -- this will be the last Pet Sounds you buy (unless you upgrade to a White Hot!)
  • Copies that play as quietly and sound as good as this one does are getting expensive and much harder to come by
  • 5 stars: "The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound."
See all of our Beach Boys albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doors
Morrison Hotel

  (Item #: doorsmorri_1709) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A wonderful copy of this hard-rockin' Doors album, Double Plus (A++) from start to finish
  • Rich, big and full-bodied, with clarity and energy to spare, this is the way you want to hear the Doors' Blues Rock album
  • Pretty darn quiet vinyl throughout - I can't ever remember a copy playing quieter
  • Roadhouse Blues, Waiting For The Sun and Maggie McGill are KILLER on this pressing - you Doors fans are gonna flip
  • Circus Magazine praised it as "possibly the best album yet from the Doors" and "Good hard, evil rock, and one of the best albums released this decade."
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doors
Waiting For the Sun

  (Item #: doorswaiti_1710) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Two outstanding sides for this superbly recorded Doors album, with strong Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • The sound is rich, lively and tonally correct, with Morrison's rich vocals well reproduced and especially Tubey Magical
  • It's tough (not to mention expensive) to find these early Gold Label pressings with this kind of sound and reasonably quiet vinyl
  • A Top 100 Title - "Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore were never more lucid... This was a band at its most dexterous, creative, and musically diverse ..."
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doors
The Soft Parade

  (Item #: doorssoftp_1710_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides and exceptionally quite vinyl, this copy will be hard to beat
  • The sound is rich, lively and dynamic with solid brass and punchy drums - thanks, Bruce Botnick!
  • Full of great songs including Touch Me, Runnin' Blue, Wild Child and the amazingly trippy extended Soft Parade suite
  • "Much like a true “parade” of an English fugue, the song morphs from Morrison’s a capella sermon-like intro to a Baroque ballad to a show tune-like section to the long rock outro, the music masterfully following the flowing, stream of consciousness lyric." Hell yeah!
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

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

  (Item #: hickswhere_1702x) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A truly outstanding early pressing with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two and Double Plus (A++) sound on side one
  • The sound is rich, real and musical in ways that we we almost never hear a Dan Hicks record sound
  • The female singers' voices are so clear, breathy and sweet on this copy, we were a bit taken aback - that just never happens
  • Allmusic 4 1/2 Stars: "...the album does in fact capture a certain intimacy missing from their studio debut."
See all of our Dan Hicks albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Weather Report
Tale Spinnin'

  (Item #: weathtales_1704s) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this copy of the band's 1975 release simply could not be beat
  • Recorded by Bruce Botnick at Wally Heider's, this is one of the few Weather Report albums that has anything close to audiophile sound
  • So solid, spacious, and rich, this copy has the room the myriad instruments and recorded effects need to open up and soar
  • "'Spinnin’ convinces once again that Weather Report is the most adventurous, meticulous and consistently stimulating band working in the electric-jazz idiom.” Rolling Stone
See all of our Weather Report albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Randy Newman
Sail Away

  (Item #: newmasaila_1705x) 

Our Price: $139.99

  • Excellent sound throughout with each side earning an outstanding Double Plus (A++) grade and playing fairly quietly
  • Both sides here are big, full and natural with rich bass and the energy that's missing from the average copy
  • Our favorite Newman album for both music and sonics (12 Songs being the main competition)
  • 5 stars: "Whether he's writing for three pieces or 30, Newman makes superb use of the sounds available to him, and his vocals are the model of making the most of a limited instrument. Overall, Sail Away is one of Newman's finest works, musically adventurous and displaying a lyrical subtlety that would begin to fade in his subsequent works."
See all of our Randy Newman albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Buffalo Springfield
Again

  (Item #: buffaagain_1710) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Very respectable Hot Stamper sound from the first note to the last and a nice step up over the average copy
  • Both sides here are rich, full and smooth with a lovely musical quality that's missing from most copies we hear
  • The vinyl plays pretty well, Mint Minus Minus - we can't find them much quieter
  • A Desert Island Disc for yours truly - "...this record stands as their greatest triumph." 5 Stars
See all of our Buffalo Springfield albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

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

  (Item #: hickswhere_1704) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An excellent copy with both sides rating a solid Double Plus (A++) and playing about as quiet as they ever do
  • The sound is clean, clear, open and relaxed with much of the richness that most copies lack
  • The dryness, the flatness, the you-are-so-not-there-ness of their studio recordings is missing on these sides, thank goodness
  • Allmusic 4 1/2 Stars: "...the album does in fact capture a certain intimacy missing from their studio debut."
See all of our Dan Hicks albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Weather Report
Tale Spinnin'

  (Item #: weathtales_1710) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two excellent Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy of the band's 1975 release will be hard to beat
  • Recorded by Bruce Botnick at Wally Heider's, this is one of the few Weather Report albums that has anything close to audiophile sound
  • So solid, spacious, and rich, this copy has the room the myriad instruments and recorded effects need
  • "Spinnin’ convinces once again that Weather Report is the most adventurous, meticulous and consistently stimulating band working in the electric-jazz idiom.” Rolling Stone
See all of our Weather Report albums in stock


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Billy Joel - Turnstiles

What to Listen For

  (Item #: joel_turns_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.

On side two Prelude/Angry Young Man were key test tracks. The biggest, richest copies with the most space consistently brought out the best in the songs and individual performances of the players.

Summer, Highland Falls is a great test -- listen for breathy vocals, a full piano, a clear snare drum once it comes in and, most importantly, an energetic performance. You will need all four to score well in one of our shootouts.

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Bread - Bread

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: breadbread_2012) 



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

Side two of Bread's debut here -- the one that shows the heaviest influence of The Beatles, this being 1969 -- is smoother, silkier, and sweeter than any copy we've EVER played. There's TONS of life and energy and the clarity and resolution are nothing short of superb. The sound is clean and clear without losing any of the Tubey Magical Warmth we prize so highly here at Better Records. The bottom end here is deep and punchy with stellar definition. Side two rates an A++ to A+++, the best we've heard. (It may not get any better.) Bruce Botnick only recorded one album with Bread but it's clearly one of the best sounding in their catalog, no surprise there.

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Bread - The Best of Bread

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: breadbesto_2011) 



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

For just the second time since 2007, here’s a White Hot Stamper copy of The Best Of Bread -- a Better Records Desert Island Disc if ever there was one. (Believe me, there are plenty.)

I can’t be sure why these songs sound so much better here than they do on Bread’s standard albums, but we’ve never heard a Bread album that could compete with the best copies of this compilation. [This is no longer true, please read more about this subject in the listings for the individual Bread albums.]

Bread albums have some of the most Tubey Magical, rich and sweet ANALOG sound you can find, thanks to engineer ARMIN STEINER.


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Bruce Botnick

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allbruce_botnick) 



BRUCE BOTNICK is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Botnick engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Bruce Botnick Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Bruce Botnick Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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Bud Shank And the Sax Section

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: shankandth_2010) 



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

A True Demo Disc of the highest order! The sound of multiple saxes playing these lively arrangements is audiophile magic to these ears. We played a ton of copies and none of them had two sides like this! You aren't going to believe how open, lively and tubey magical the sound is throughout.

Both sides here are SUPER HOT. It must have something very close to 100% of the sound the engineer recorded, because it is just out of this world. The engineer in question? None other than Bruce Botnick, the man behind Sergio Mendes' first album, The Doors, Love and countless others, a true wizard in the studio if ever there was one.

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Bud Shank And the Sax Section

The Bass Sax - What a Sound

  (Item #: shankandth_wtlf) 



What to Listen For you ask?

The reason this album is so appealing to us audiophiles is that the sound of each of the saxophones is clearly recognizable as they weave in and around these arrangements. On the back cover you can see a fellow holding a bass saxophone, an instrument you don't hear too often -- perhaps it's fallen from favor. (It solos at the beginning of Sidewinder on side one. Once you hear it you will be dying to play that song for your audiophile buddies, I guarantee it. What a sound!)

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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.

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Buffalo Springfield - Again

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: buffaagain_2007) 



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

This original Plum and Tan Atco label Hot Stamper pressing has TWO AMAZING SIDES and fairly quiet vinyl. A Double Plus (A++) Sound and Mint Minus vinyl makes the copy the Black Swan of this shootout, that’s for sure.

You have never heard a better pressing of what many consider to be Buffalo Springfield's Masterpiece, Buffalo Springfield Again. We guarantee this copy will blow your mind or your money back! Only one side of one copy had better sound, and that one was noticeably noisier, so we crowning this one King of the Buffalo Springfield Again Shootout for 2007.

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Crazy Horse - Crazy Horse

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: crazycrazy_2012) 



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

This Reprise Super Hot Stamper LP has TWO EXCELLENT SIDES with each rating an A++ or better. Side one is the better of the two sides here. It's rich, full and tonally correct from top to bottom. Side two is a small step down but still sounds great. It's big and bold with more presence than the average copy.

Side note: Drop the needle on 'Gone Dead Train' and tell me it doesn't remind you of 'Waiting for the End of the World' by Elvis!


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Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Striking It Rich

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hicksstrik_2016) 



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

Normally this record sounds thick and dead. It's very rare to find a copy like this that has any real transparency. The vocals are sweet and silky and the string instruments are more clear in the mix.

There's nothing more frustrating than a record that defies every effort to hear into it, typically the feeling I get when listening to Dan Hicks' recordings. But on this pressing I could actually appreciate the music without having to fight the sound.

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

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hickswhere_2011) 



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

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

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

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Dave Mason - Alone Together

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: masonalone_2012) 



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

Alone Together appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time. It is a surely a MASTERPIECE that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There's not a scrap of filler here. The recording by Bruce Botnick (mix by Al Schmitt) is hard to fault as well.

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Dave Mason - Alone Together

MCA Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: masonalone_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. I confess I actually used to like and recommend the Heavy Vinyl MCA pressing. Rest assured that is no longer the case. Nowadays it sounds as opaque, ambience-challenged, lifeless and pointless as the rest of its 180 gram brethren.

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Dave Mason - Certified Live

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: masoncerti_2015) 



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

Unlike Frampton Comes Alive, recorded at different venues, Certified Live was recorded at one location, the Universal Amphitheatre, resulting in very little variation in the sound from track to track. The variation in the sound from side to side is the kind of variation we hear on virtually every pressing we play, since no two sides of a record ever really sound exactly the same.

We like our '70s Rock Records to be rich and full; that's what live Rock Concerts have always sounded like to us and we see no reason to revise our biases now. It's what good analog does effortlessly and what even the best digital finds difficult to achieve.

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Dave Mason - Split Coconut

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: masonsplit_2013) 



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

TWO EXCELLENT SIDES, including a near-White Hot A++ to A+++ side one! We just finished our first-ever shootout for this album, and we were shocked at just how good it can sound. Bruce Botnick did the engineering, and this record has his signature sound all over it. Nobody captures deep, punchy bottom end like he does! Crosby and Nash are here too, providing excellent backing vocals to a few songs.

More Dave Mason


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Eddie Money - Eddie Money

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: moneyeddie_2013) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, both clocking in at or just shy of our top grade of A+++! The typical pressing doesn't sound anywhere near this good -- which is a shame, because when you get a White Hot Stamper copy like this, the music is a lot of fun.


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John Sebastian - John B. Sebastian

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: sebasjohnb_2012) 



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

This Super Hot side one was clearly better than every other side one we played, with the exception of our shootout winner of course. It's big, full-bodied and rich; in other words, it has that classic 1970 analog rock sound that we love. Bruce Botnick and his brother are two of the many engineers on the project, along with John Haeny, the man who recorded his share of legendary albums, some of our favorites by Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt and others.


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Love - Da Capo

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: love_dacap_2010) 



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

ONE OF THE BEST SIDE ONES WE'VE EVER HEARD on unusually quiet vinyl! Since side two is just one long track that we just can't get too worked up about, this is EXACTLY the kind of copy we'd want to own. We had a chance to shootout a handful of copies recently and didn't hear anything that could compete with side one of thie Elektra Gold Label Original Pressing. We are HUGE fans of Love and side one has three of our favorite songs by the band: Stephanie Knows Who, Orange Skies and Seven & Seven Is. Get ready to rock out with this one!

More of our best Psych albums


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Love - Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: love_love_2008) 



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

You'd never know it from those dull Sundazed reissues, but the right pressings of Love's albums are full of Tubey Magic! With Bruce Botnick at the controls you can expect a meaty bottom end and BIG rock sound, and this recording really delivers on both counts, and this copy captures all of the magic. Big speaker guys (like yours truly) are going to get a LOT out of this copy.

See more albums engineered by Bruce Botnick


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Love - Love and Forever Changes

Sundazed Debunked

  (Item #: love_love_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

Two Hall of Shame and another two Sundazed records debunked.

We got hold of a minty original pressing of the first Love album recently, so in preparation for the commentary I pulled one of the Sundazed pressings off the shelf, (Forever Changes, the only one we ever bothered to sell), cracked it open and threw it on the turntable.

Gag, what a piece of crap. When I had auditioned them all those years ago (2002) it was -- I'm not kidding -- the best of the bunch.

More of our best Psych albums


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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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Randy Newman - Sail Away

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: newmasaila_2012) 



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

Side one of this Original Reprise pressing has A+++ Master Tape Sound! It's open and spacious, with vocals that are tonally Right On The Money (ROTM).

We hear so many records that went off the rails somewhere in the recording, the mixing, the mastering, or the pressing, so it was a real treat to hear a record like this with absolutely no trace of heavy-handed fixing or phony EQ! What you hear on this record has got to be extremely close to what the guys in the control room heard as it was being recorded. This is no-frills, nothing-fancy, old-school analog, and we love it!

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Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: rolliletit_2007) 



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

STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! This Hot Stamper Let It Bleed is the best copy we’ve EVER played, rating A++ on side one and A+++ on side two. ’Love In Vain’ is DEMO DISC QUALITY here. Who knew Let It Bleed could sound this amazing?

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Sergio Mendes - Equinox

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mendeequin_2011) 



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

This Original A&M pressing has one of THE BEST SIDE ONES WE’VE EVER HEARD backed with a side two that's nearly as amazing! The sound is DEMO DISC QUALITY from start to finish, first note to last. Side two was no slouch either, with A Double Plus sound, very nearly as good as we heard but falling just a tad shy of the best in the loudest passages. These old Sergio Mendes records can be VERY DYNAMIC, and only the best of the best will allow those dynamics to explode naturally, with the kind of ease that you only hear in analog.

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Sergio Mendes - Equinox

Botnick and Levine Knocked This One Out of the Park

  (Item #: mendeequin_botnick) 



The music is of course wonderful, but what separates Sergio from practically all of his '60s contemporaries is the AMAZING SOUND of his recordings. Like their debut, this one was engineered by the team of Bruce Botnick and Larry Levine. Botnick is of course the man behind the superb recordings of The Doors, Love and others too numerous to mention.
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Sergio Mendes - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

Bruce Botnick and The Big Bottom End

  (Item #: mendesergi_botnick) 



What separates Sergio from practically all of his '60s contemporaries is the AMAZING SOUND of his recordings. The first album was recorded by the legendary BRUCE BOTNICK, the man behind the superb recordings of The Doors, Love and others too numerous to mention. This, in my opinion, is his Masterpiece. The Doors albums Bruce recorded represent some of his best work, but what Doors album sounds as good as Sergio's debut? I can't name one. [Actually I can: the first album, when you get the right pressing. It's out of this world.]
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Sergio Mendes - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mendesergi_2009) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND QUIET VINYL THROUGHOUT! Both sides are lively and transparent with super low distortion and lovely breathy vocals. The sound is Right On The Money all the way around -- superb clarity, mind-blowing transparency and tons of dynamics. This copy is ALIVE! The drums and percussion are powerful and punchy with lots of room around them, and the bass is PERFECTION. There's plenty of whomp and lots of extension on the top end. This side two really conveys a sense of the amazing performances of these great musicians. It's rich, full, smooth, sweet, open, spacious -- everything you'd expect from an A+++ / A+++ record.

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Sergio Mendes - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mendesergi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

So spitty and thin! Why, in God's name, why?

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Sergio Mendes on LP

Diminishing Returns in Audio?

  (Item #: mendesergi_diminishing) 



Diminishing returns? Sez who? In our opinion, it's another Old and Pernicious Myth.

I often read this comment in audio magazines regarding the piece of equipment under review, as if to say that we are so close to audio perfection that a gain of a few percent is the most we can hope for from this or that new megabuck amp or speaker. In my experience the exact opposite is true.

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The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: beachpetso_2014) 



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

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

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The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: beachpetso_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Not long ago we pulled out the three copies we had in our leftover stock of DCC vinyl and gave them a spin. They weren't awful, but they weren't very good either, sounding, like most Heavy Vinyl, airless, blurry, smeary, two-dimensional, dull and opaque. Not surprisingly (to us anyway) one copy was quite a bit better than the other two. I would say that the sound would plot on a curve from about a D to maybe a C+, so let's figure the average would be around a C- or so.

I'd be surprised if the DCC Gold CD didn't sound better. More often than not it will.

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The Doors - L.A. Woman

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: doorslawom_2016) 



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

The first White Hot Stamper version of L.A. Woman to EVER hit the site! This is a 2-pack set with a Triple Plus (A+++) copy for side one and a Double Plus (A++) copy for side two. The sound here goes DRAMATICALLY beyond the average copy -- huge, super lively and very rich.

Engineered by the man responsible for the amazing sound on The Doors' albums, BRUCE BOTNICK.

More of The Doors


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The Doors - L.A. Woman

German Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorslawom_debunk_2014) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

There is [was; it’s out of print now] a German 180 gram pressing of L.A. Woman which is [was] so bad, I am calling this commentary The Audiophile Apocalypse. The fact that some audiophiles and audiophile reviewers appear to like this pressing is a sign that, to me at least, The End Is Near, or May Be.

See more copies of The Doors' albums


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The Doors - L.A. Woman

Rhino Heavy Vinyl Reviewed

  (Item #: doorslawom_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: B

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

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The Doors - Morrison Hotel

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: doorsmorri_2008) 



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

THE NEW ALL-TIME CHAMP FOR MORRISON HOTEL! Not only does this AMAZING Elektra LP rate A+++ on both sides, but it plays astonishingly quiet, mostly Mint Minus throughout! Drop the needle on Blue Sunday for some of the best organ sound you'll ever hear on a rock record!

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The Doors - Morrison Hotel

Rhino / Universal Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorsmorri_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D (at best)

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

A few years back we played the 180 gram reissue of Morrison Hotel. Initially we thought it pretty good, but the longer it played, the more its artificiality became apparent -- and annoying. Just listen to the vocals -- they're all wrong. Jim Morrison has one of the richest and most distinctive voices in the history of rock. When it doesn't sound like the guy I've been listening to for close to forty years, something is very, very wrong.

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The Doors - Strange Days

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: doorsstran_2011) 



This is THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF STRANGE DAYS to EVER hit the site! We've only found one or two copies that were in the same league as this one, and they went directly into the hands of our best longtime customers who had been waiting patiently for a killer pressing. Side one rated between A++ and A+++ and side two earned top A+++ honors.

Both sides are MAGICAL, dramatically better than the vast majority of copies we come across. The sound is rich, warm, clean, clear and amazingly transparent. The vocals sound JUST RIGHT. You would have to have a ton of copies at your disposal to have any chance of finding one that had even one side that sounds as good as BOTH sides sound here. This one is a MONSTER.

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The Doors - Strange Days

Rhino and DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: doorsstran_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: DCC: B / Rhino: C

It’s not easy for us to find copies of Strange Days that outperform the DCC, but our best Hot Stampers beat it handily. We also put our original copies up against the 180g version from the Doors Box Set and it was an absolute bloodbath. We understand that a well-known reviewer likes the sound of those Doors pressings (along with just about every heavy vinyl reissue that hits his table) but we here at Better Records prefer to set higher standards. We think you deserve better, and at these prices the record better deliver a world of sound that the heavy vinyl pressing only hints at. And it does.

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

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The Doors - The Doors

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: doorsdoors_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

If anyone still thinks that pressing is anything but a bad joke played on the audiophile public -- so sucked out in the midrange, bass-shy and compressed to death -- that person has a way to go in this hobby. A very long way. You can hear how bad it sounds from another room.

But wait a minute. I liked the MoFi just fine when it came out. I guess I had a way to go in this hobby too. That was back in the early ’80s. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in the last twenty five plus years. I’m pretty sure we can offer you a better record now.

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The Doors - The Doors

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: doorsdoors_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: B

We used to like the Doors First album on DCC back when it came out in the late '90s; it sure beat the MoFi and every other pressing I had around, including the original gold label Elektra pressings. But much water has gone under that bridge. There have been countless audio revolutions, the improved record cleaning technologies we tout at every turn. Without them old records just sound like old records, and the DCC pressing will be better.

But with them, and lots of other changes, the right original stomps all over the DCC.

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The Doors - The Doors

Rhino / Universal Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorsdoors_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

What a mess. Imagine listening to this album with a two inch thick velvet curtain placed over your speakers -- that's the sound of this remastered record! How bad does a stereo have to be in order to disguise the fact that this is one of the worst Classic Rock reissues in the history of the world? I don't know and I sure don't want to find out.

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The Doors - The Doors

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: doorsdoors_2007) 



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

THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF THIS ALBUM WE’VE EVER HEARD! This Elektra Gold Label SLAUGHTERED the DCC, MURDERED the MoFi, and DECIMATED every last pressing we played it against! You aren’t going to believe all the TUBEY MAGIC on this copy!

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The Doors - The Doors

What to Listen For

  (Item #: doorsdoors_wtlf) 



What to Listen For? you ask?

ENERGY and RAW POWER. Few audiophiles have any idea how well recorded this album is, simply because most pressings don't do a very good job of encoding the life of the master tape onto the vinyl of the day, regardless of whether that day is in 1967 or 2017.

The first Doors album is without a doubt the punchiest, liveliest, most powerful recording in the entire Doors catalog.

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The Doors - The Soft Parade

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: doorssoftp_2007) 



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 incredibly rare, exceptionally quiet Elektra Gold Label LP sounds AMAZING, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG)! The sound is BIG, RICH, and FULL-BODIED, exactly the way it should be. As good as the Hot Stamper Big Red E Label copies can be, and that's very good indeed, the right first pressing is still The King. It just can't be beat.

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The Doors - The Soft Parade

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: doorssoftp_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 Soft Parade.

Our latest shootout (4/2014) included a minty Gold Label pressing, which did reasonably well, but not great, on side one. Side two however was OFF THE CHARTS and won the shootout on that side handily. The fact that side one wasn't a knockout is yet more evidence that individual pressings with the same label -- even the "right" label -- vary dramatically in sound.

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The Doors - The Soft Parade

Rhino Box Set Pressing Debunked

  (Item #: doorssoftp_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

A Gold Label original pressing blew out minds not long ago, after whichwe wrote "Need I even mention how much better this copy sounds than the 180g version from the Rhino Box Set, digitally remastered by Bernie Grundman? That thing is just awful, possibly the worst sounding pressing I have ever heard."

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The Doors - Waiting For The Sun

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: doorswaiti_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: B-

We used to like the DCC pressing of this Doors album. Now... not so much. It's a classic case of We Was Wrong.

Keep in mind that the only way you can never be wrong about your records is simply to avoid playing them. If you have better equipment than you did, say, five years ago, try playing some of your MoFi’s, 180 gram LPs, Japanese pressings, 45 RPM remasters and the like. You might be in for quite a shock.

Read the commentary below to see why we think we were wrong about the DCC pressing of Waiting For The Sun.

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The Doors - Waiting For The Sun

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: doorswaiti_listen) 



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

My favorite of the first three Doors album, this one is imbued with more mystery and lyricism than any previous effort. The album shows them maturing as a band, smoking large amounts of pot and preparing for the wild ride of their next opus, the ambitious Soft Parade. Actually, as I listen to this album it reminds me more and more of that one. Now that it sounds as good as The Soft Parade I find I've gained a new respect for Waiting for the Sun.

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The Doors - Waiting For The Sun

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: doorswaiti_2008) 



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

It's been over a year, but Waiting For The Sun Hot Stampers are BACK! It's exceedingly difficult to find a good sounding, reasonably quiet Gold Label copy of this album, let alone enough copies to put together a proper shootout. It wasn't easy, but a copy like this makes all the trouble worthwhile. Side one is a tubey magical A++, and side two is As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) at A+++.

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The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: rolliletit_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.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I've mentioned how good this song sounds -- thanks to Glyn Johns, of course -- but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. It's also our favorite test track for side one. The first minute or so clues you into to everything that's happening in the sound.

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