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Super Hot Stamper

John Coltrane
Giant Steps

  (Item #: coltrgiant_1712) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • With Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, on both sides, this is an excellent copy of Giant Steps
  • Close your eyes and Coltrane is right in the room with you, front and center. How can you put a price on that?
  • Naima is surely the most emotionally powerful ballad the man ever wrote, and MAN does sound good here!
  • 5 Stars: "History will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed"
See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Kind of Blue

  (Item #: daviskindo_1711_2) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A very good sounding copy with Hot Stamper sound from start to finish
  • 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."
More Miles Davis / More John Coltrane / More Bill Evans


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John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: coltrloves_2010) 



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

This is an original 1964 Impulse LP in superb condition. This record is ALIVE! WHen you hear a record like this, you don’t need to play the 180 gram reissue to know that the original KILLS IT. The sound here is right on the money and as good as I've ever heard it. It also plays fairly quiet, about M-, which is unusual for an original of this vintage.

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John Coltrane - Blue Train

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: coltrbluet_2011) 



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

This Blue Note pressing has THE BEST SIDE TWO we've ever heard or expect to hear! It does EVERYTHING right, giving you the kind of Blue Train sound that most jazz fans have dreamed of forever but certainly have never heard before. The sound is absolutely KILLER, sounding dramatically more like live music than any copy we've played. It's full-bodied and rich with tons of energy, YOU ARE THERE immediacy and wonderful clarity. There's also a ton of tubey magic and an unbelievably strong bottom end, making this the kind of record that's going to BLOW YOU AWAY. I bet you never believed Blue Train could sound like this -- heck, we sure didn't!

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John Coltrane - Coltrane Plays the Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: coltrplays_2009) 



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

ONE OF THE VERY BEST COPIES WE'VE EVER HEARD of this phenomenal album! This is PURE GOLD for the jazz-loving audiophile. I can count the number of jazz records we've played this year in a league with this one both sonically and musically on one hand. Both sides here are AMAZINGLY GOOD -- exceptionally rich and full-bodied with superb transparency. Coltrane's sax sounds OUT OF THIS WORLD with the lots of that airy, breathy quaility that we just love here. The immediacy is OFF THE CHARTS!

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Live and Learn

  (Item #: coltrgiant_learn) 



A classic case of Live and Learn. Previously we had written:

The extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum is what really sets the best copies apart from the pack. All the top end and that deep bottom and simply not to be found on most copies, and never on even the best originals in our experience. The cutters back then just couldn't cut it.

Now, having heard some amazing originals, we know that the vintage mastering equipment of the day was perfectly capable of getting all the top, all the bottom, and tons of Tubey Magic besides onto the vinyl.

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: coltrgiant_2009) 



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

This Atlantic Stereo LP has EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! As everyone should know by now, a killer copy like this is the exception, not the rule.

Side one had wonderful energy and the kind of full-bodied sound that is key to keeping the saxophone from tearing your head off when it really gets going. If you know anything about this music you know that Coltrane builds up a head of steam on practically every track on the album. He is blasting away here and it is a thrill to be sure.

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Rhino 45 RPM 2 Disc Set Debunked

  (Item #: coltrgiant_rhino_45) 



Sonic Grade: F

The sound of the new 45 RPM 2 disc version cut by Bernie Grundman sounds thick and dull, much like the Deja Vu he remastered years ago for Classic Records.

As is the case with so many of the Heavy Vinyl reissues released these days, the studio ambience you hear on these pressings is a pitiful fraction of the ambience the real pressings are capable of revealing, the ones mass-produced by Atlantic, original and reissue alike. We're not sure why audiophiles have trouble noticing such an obvious shortcoming but it and others like it sure don't get by our crack listening panel here at Better Records too often.

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Rhino Debunked

  (Item #: coltrgiant_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: D

Mastered by Kevin Gray, this record has ''modern'' sound, which is to say it's clean and tonally correct for the most part, but it's missing the Tubey Magic the originals and the good reissues both have plenty of. Any properly mastered, properly pressed '70s copy on the red and green label will be richer, fuller, sweeter, and just plain more enjoyable than this 180 gram version. It's below average, which means it merits a D.

That said, "Giant Steps" is not an easy record to find in good condition, because any serious jazz lover would have played it plenty. It is inarguably one of John Coltrane's greatest achievements.

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John Coltrane - Impressions

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: coltrimpre_2012) 



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

BIG, BOLD JOHN COLTRANE SOUND -- ain't that something?! We had a big stack of pressings to compare and this one just blew us away, earning our top grade of A+++ for the first side and a strong A++ for the second. The clarity and transparency on this copy are mind-boggling, and the immediacy puts early '60s Coltrane blowing his brains out right there in your listening room!

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John Coltrane - John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrjohnc_2016) 



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

An outstanding copy of this classic Jazz Vocal album, with superb sound throughout. The sound is huge and spacious with richness and Tubey Magic like nothing you've heard. I defy you to find a Male Vocal record produced in the last thirty years that can hold a candle to this one sonically or musically. A wonderful collaboration between a horn player and a singer, perhaps the greatest of all time.

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John Coltrane - Lush Life

DCC and OJC Reviewed

  (Item #: coltrlushl_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: B or so (DCC)
Sonic Grade: C or so (OJC)

The DCC heavy vinyl pressing is a nice record; I remember liking it back in the day. I'm guessing it's a bit better than the '80s OJC, which is, like most OJC pressings, typically thin and hard. Neither one of them can hold a candle to the pressings we offer on the site. If for some reason we could not find copies of the album that substantially beat the sound of either of these two remastered LPs, we simply would not have anything to offer, since neither of these versions could be considered Hot Stampers. Nice records, sure, but Hot Stampers? Not a chance.

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John Coltrane - Lush Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrlushl_2016) 



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

We've been searching for years trying to find just what kind of Lush Life pressing -- what era, what label, what stampers, mono or stereo, import or domestic -- had the potential for good sound.

No, scratch that. We should have said excellent sound. Exceptional sound. We've played plenty of copies that sounded pretty good, even very good, but exceptional? A pressing of that caliber had eluded us -- until 2016.

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John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: coltrmyfav_2015) 



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

SUPERB SOUND FROM START TO FINISH! We played tons of these in our most recent shootout and both sides here were head and shoulders above the typical copies. Some were a bit squawky and some of them were a bit dull, but this one sounded excellent throughout. We have a tough time finding Hot Stamper pressings of this album -- most copies out there are very disappointing.

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John Coltrane - Ole Coltrane

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrole_2016) 



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

Olé! Here's a great copy of a wonderful Coltrane album that we seriously enjoy but just don't see enough to keep in our regular rotation. And that's a shame, because these Top Copies are a THRILL to hear. Both sides give you an exceptionally strong bottom end, and with two bass players contributing on much of the album that is essential for this music. The overall sound is lively, dynamic, and very transparent.

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John Coltrane - Ole Coltrane

Skip the Mono

  (Item #: coltrole) 



Sonic Grade: F

Stick with stereo; the MONO pressings -- at least the ones we played -- aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time).

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John Coltrane - Standard Coltrane

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: coltrstand_2015) 



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

As you may have guessed by now, remastered is a bit of a dirty word around these parts. Most remastered records we play, from The Beatles to John Coltrane to ZZ Top, sound to us like pale imitations of the real thing, whether the real thing is an original or a reissue from back in the day.

But only a fool could fail to appreciate how correct and lively the best copies of this remastered record sound, and we're no fools here at Better Records. We judge records by one and only one criterion: how they sound. We pay no mind to labels, record thicknesses, playback speeds, mastering speeds or anything else you can read about on audiophile websites.

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John Coltrane - The Stardust Session

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrstard_2016) 



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

Superb sound quality courtesy of Rudy van Gelder (1958) and the brilliant mastering of David Turner (1972). The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on these incredibly Hot sides.

We were impressed with the fact that these pressings excel in so many areas of reproduction. What was odd about it -- odd to most audiophiles but not necessarily to us -- was just how rich and Tubey Magical the reissue can be on the right pressing.

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John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: coltrjohnc_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C (at best)

We were only slightly impressed with both the Speakers Corner pressing of this album and the earlier Impulse Heavy Vinyl edition from the '90s. Neither one in our opinion is worth pursuing.

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McCoy Tyner - Extensions

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: tynerexten_2016) 



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

With Alice Coltrane on harp, this is one trippy album! For those with adventurous tastes you are sure to have an interesting musical experience with this one.

We quite enjoy the sound of a great many Blue Note pressings from the '70s, although to be fair there are plenty of dogs out there too. The reason this LP and others from the era have such transparency and such an extended top end compared with some of RVG's older recordings is due, at least to some degree, to the better cutting equipment he had available to him in the '70s.

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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Our A++++ Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: daviskindo_2013) 



This Shootout Champion and Hall Of Fame pressing has TWO AMAZING SIDES. Side one was so mindblowingly good that we awarded it our extra-special Four Plus (A++++) rating, and side two was almost as good, earning our standard top grade of A+++! This is one of the very best copies we've ever heard, and we have literally played more than a HUNDRED copies of this album over just the last five years.
More Miles Davis / More John Coltrane / More Bill Evans


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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Our First KOB Hot Stamper - June 2005

  (Item #: daviskindo_2005) 



This Columbia Red Label LP has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND!

Call me crazy, but I DON’T THINK YOU CAN CUT A BETTER SOUNDING KIND OF BLUE THAN THIS ONE!

I’m fully aware of how outrageous a statement that is, considering the fact that this is a '70s Red Label reissue. But I've long known of amazing sounding Kind Of Blue reissues.

Having played dozens of different pressings of this record over the years, I think I know this recording about as well as anyone. The tube mastered original Six Eye Stereo copies have wonderful, lush, sweet sound. I've heard many of them. The 360s from the '60s often split the difference -- less tubey magical, but cleaner and more correct.

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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

White Hot on the '70s Red Label? Can You Really Be Serious?

  (Item #: daviskindo_wtlf) 



When it comes to Miles Davis' jazz classic Kind of Blue, the 6-eye originals are of course the best sounding, right?

Nope. It’s just another Record Myth. Based on scores of pressings it has been our experience that the best sound for this album is found on standard domestic Red Label pressings from the '70s. I'm fully aware of how outrageous a statement that may seem to those who believe that original pressings are always superior, but we've long known of top of the heap, can't be beat Kind Of Blue reissues, going on more than twenty years now.

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Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come

Our Outstanding Reissue from 2014

  (Item #: davissomed_2014) 



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

The first Hot copy of this classic to hit the site in over five years! Side one rates A++ to A+++ -- super open and transparent with amazing immediacy.

This Red Label reissue DESTROYED the similar copies we played it against, and was also surprisingly competitive with our Super Hot (and Super Noisy) Six Eye ref copy. Most of these later pressings have superior clarity (compared to the earlier ones) but lack nearly all of the tubey magic. This one’s amazingly clean and clear, but still delivers on the tubey qualities -- it’s richer, warmer, and sweeter than any other Red Label pressing we played.

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Miles Davis - Workin’ And Steamin’

Our Shootout Winning Mono from 2010

  (Item #: davisworki_2010) 



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

To the Jazz Fans of the World, we here present one of the BEST sounding jazz recordings we have ever had the PRIVILEGE to place on a turntable. I cannot ever recall hearing a better sounding Rudy Van Gelder recording, and I have a theory as to why this tape is as good as it is: it's MONO. It also sounds like it's recorded completely LIVE in the studio, direct to one track you might say. As good a recording as Kind of Blue is, I think the best parts of this album are more immediate and more real than anything on KOB.

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Sonny Rollins - Taking Care of Business

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: rollitakin_2010) 



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

This is a Prestige Demo Two-Fer Double LP.

Big, full-bodied, MONO jazz sound at its BEST. This is what classic ’50s jazz is supposed to sound like! These transfers from 1978 by David Turner are in tune with the sound of these recordings. There's not a trace of phony EQ on this entire record, and the vinyl plays nice and quiet.

This Two-Fer includes all of Tenor Madness and most of Work Time and Tour De Force. Top jazz players such as Ray Bryant, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Kenny Drew, Max Roach and Paul Chambers can be heard on the album.

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The Recordings of John Coltrane

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: coltrane_john_) 



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

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

John Coltrane Albums with Hot Stampers

John Coltrane Albums We've Reviewed



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