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White Hot Stamper

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
4 Way Street

  (Item #: crosb4ways_1612) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • An incredible copy with all four sides rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it - this is about as good as it gets, folks
  • If you want to hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rock out live in your listening room, this is the pressing that can do it
  • Bill Halverson did a great job but you have to work your tail off to find a copy that does his brilliant engineering justice. Sad, isn't it?
  • Rolling Stone raves that "Crosby, Stills. Nash, and Young are all performers of unquestionable talent, and mostly because they stay out of each others' way, 4 Way Street must surely be their best album to date."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Deja Vu

  (Item #: crosbdejav_1703_1) 

Our Price: $449.99

  • Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) on both sides, this copy is very close to as good as it gets for CSNY's Masterpiece
  • We guarantee you will be nothing less than knocked out by the size and power of the music on this album
  • The sound is HUGE -- lively, present and rich in a way that nothing you've heard can compete with
  • One of our all time favorite albums at Better Records and one that almost never sounds THIS good
  • "A rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners" - Allmusic 5 stars
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young 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

Bloomfield-Kooper-Stills
Super Session

  (Item #: bloomsuper_1611_1) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A killer Top Copy, the first to hit the site in 2016!
  • Side one earned a Double Plus (A++) while side two impressed enough to earn our top Triple Plus (A+++) grade
  • Both sides are incredibly rich and full with great energy and huge amounts of studio space - qualities that bring out the best in this music
  • Season of the Witch on a Triple Plus side two? You won't believe how BIG and BOLD the sound gets on this copy
  • "This is one of those albums that seems to get better with age... This is a super session indeed. "
More of our albums featuring Al Kooper in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Crosby Stills & Nash
Crosby Stills & Nash

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_1701) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An excellent copy of this classic, Double Plus (A++) on side two and nearly as good (A+ to A++) on side one
  • The sound of this Folk Rock Classic is lively, full-bodied and clear, dramatically better than most copies out there
  • Unusually quiet vinyl on this one too -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus - they never play quieter
  • "A rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners ... a sparkling set immortalizing the group's amazingly close, high harmonies..." - Allmusic 5 stars
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young 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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White Hot Stamper

Crosby / Nash
Graham Nash/ David Crosby

  (Item #: crosbgraha_1610s) 

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


  • Triple Triple! The best copy of this wonderfully well recorded album to hit the site in ages
  • Both A+++ sides are open, spacious and very tubey -- qualities that bring out the best in this music
  • The breathy, hi-res vocals are smooth and sweet here, not bright or grainy as on many copies
  • Four stars in Allmusic: "One of the most impressive side projects to arise from CSN."
See all of our C, S, N or Y albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Graham Nash
Wild Tales

  (Item #: nash_wildt_1701) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An incredible Top Copy: Triple Plus (A+++) on side one and close on side two (A++ to A+++)
  • The sound is rich, warm and full-bodied with real energy and strength down low
  • Filling out the band: Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Dave Mason, Neil Young, David Lindley and others
  • This may not be a well-known album, but any CSNY fan should find a lot to like here -- give this one a shot!
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Graham Nash
Songs For Beginners

  (Item #: nash_songs_1702) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Two excellent sides, of this Better Records favorite, both rating a strong Double Plus (A++)
  • We love the sound of this album, especially on a copy as rich and full-bodied as this one
  • One of the very best solo CSN&Y albums and a member of our Top 100
  • A very tough album to find in clean enough condition for our shootouts, which is why we almost never have copies on the site
  • Allmusic 4 1/2 stars: "It inevitably brings a smile to anyone who hears it"
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Stephen Stills
Stephen Stills

  (Item #: stillsteph_1610) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it, pressed on the quietest vinyl we have ever heard - both sides play a true Mint Minus!
  • The sound is HUGE, lively, rich and tubey, with unusually high resolution for the big choruses on side one
  • Love the One You're With and Sit Yourself Down are to die for, but there's really not a bad track on the album
  • A triumph of engineering for Bill Halvorsen and Andy Johns - this and Deja Vu are both landmarks of Big Production Rock
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG: "Listening to this album three decades on, it's still a jaw-dropping experience, the musical equal to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu, and only a shade less important than either of them."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
4 Way Street

  (Item #: crosb4ways_1609) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Consistent, outstanding sound for 4 Way Street, with all four sides rating Double Plus (A++) for sound and playing fairly quietly
  • If you want to hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rock out live in your listening room, this is the pressing that will let you do it
  • Bill Halverson did a great job but you have to work your tail off to find a copy that does his brilliant engineering justice. Sad, isn't it?
  • Rolling Stone raves that "Crosby, Stills. Nash, and Young are all performers of unquestionable talent, and mostly because they stay out of each others' way, 4 Way Street must surely be their best album to date."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Graham Nash
Wild Tales

  (Item #: nash_wildt_1702) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end for Nash's second solo album
  • Big, rich and full-bodied, with plenty of presence and bottom end weight - this is the way to hear Wild Tales
  • Lending a hand to the nicest guy in rock: Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Dave Mason, Neil Young, David Lindley and others
  • Not a well-known album, but any CSNY fan should find a lot to like here -- one listen and you just become a fan
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Bloomfield-Kooper-Stills
Super Session

  (Item #: bloomsuper_1612) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This Must Own Al Kooper classic has two Hot Stamper sides on reasonably quiet vinyl
  • For fans of BS&T's first album (and everybody else) Super Session is a Must Own
  • 4 1/2 Stars in Allmusic and a True Rock Classic - Season of the Witch is so amazing on this album
  • "This is one of those albums that seems to get better with age... This is a super session indeed. "
More of our albums featuring Al Kooper in stock


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Hot Stamper

Crosby, Stills and Nash
CSN

  (Item #: crosbcsn_1701) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Two very good sides, with nearly Double Plus (A+ to A++) for both sides
  • Very clear and musical -- a big step up from the typical pressing
  • 4 stars on Allmusic: "It has held up remarkably well, both as a memento of its time, and as a thoroughly enjoyable musical work."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Neil Young
Hawks and Doves

  (Item #: younghawks_1609) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An excellent pressing with Hot Stamper sound on both sides
  • Big and full with lots of presence and most of the tubey magic that's missing from the average copy
  • Quiet vinyl too -- both sides play a true Mint Minus
  • "Side two is quite brilliant, and unlike anything Young's ever done." Robert Christgau (A-)
See all of our Neil Young albums in stock


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Bloomfield / Kooper / Stills - Super Session

All Things Are Never Equal

  (Item #: bloomsuper_equal) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning (usually old) records.

Can the Red Label reissues sound any good?

Why yes, they can, and here's why. Every once in a while, when it comes time to stamp out some more copies of slow but still-selling records, "back catalog" as they are known in the trade, someone has to go into the vault and find a tape with which to master. Maybe that person finds a real master tape. Or maybe that person finds a master tape and makes a really high quality dub of it to master from. Either one of those possibilities might produce a great sounding final product relative to the sub-generation, EQ'd, compressed cutting tape used to make most copies, including the originals.

More Al Kooper


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Bloomfield-Kooper-Stills - Super Session

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bloomsuper_2012) 



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

Possibly the BEST SIDE TWO WE'VE EVER HEARD! Neither side suffered from the problems we heard on copy after copy: bright, gritty, spitty, edgy, harsh, upper-midrangy vocals. The Red Labels tend to be worse in this respect, but plenty of original 360 pressings have that sound too. Let's face it: If the vocals are wrong this album pretty much falls apart. Here's a copy that gets the midrange right, along with most everything else, and that puts it way ahead of the pack.

More Al Kooper


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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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Buffalo Springfield - Last Time Around

Listening for Tubey Magic Down Low

  (Item #: buffalastt_wtlf) 



On even the best copies there's a bit too much Tubey Magic in the bass I regret to say. Tubbiness and bloat were par for the course. This may explain why so many copies have rolled off bass; the engineer cut the bass because he heard how tubby it was and figured no bass is better than bad bass.

Which is just not true. Cutting the bass leans out and "modernizes" the sound, making the voices sound thin and dry. This pretty much ruins everything on this album just the way it ruins everything in practically every modern recording I hear. Having your bass under control on the playback side isn't easy -- in fact it's probably the hardest thing to achieve in audio -- but it can be done, and with good bass control the slightly wooly bass is just part of the sound you learn to accept.

More Buffalo Springfield


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Crosby / Nash - Graham Nash/ David Crosby

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: crosbgraha_2015) 



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.

This album has some of the BEST SOUND Crosby and Nash ever recorded, but you'd never know that listening to the average pressing. You need plenty of deliciously rich Tubey Magic if this music is going to work, and on that count this copy certainly delivers.

More by C, S, N and/or Y


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Crosby Stills & Nash - Crosby Stills & Nash

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: B-

Nice enough I suppose, but where’s the Midrange Magic?

The Classic 180g version was a revelation when it came out years ago. Bernie actually cut it pretty darn right. However, his mastering chain cannot compete with the one used on the best original pressings.

The evidence for this is overwhelming. There simply is no Bernie-Grundman-cut record that is the equal of the best pressings not cut on his current chain that I have heard over the years. (His old cutting system, the one that cut Stardust and Blue and much of the Contemporary catalog, was KILLER. Wonder what happened to it?)

See more of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's albums


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Crosby Stills & Nash - Crosby Stills & Nash

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Crosby, Stills & Nash's first album.

Although millions of copies of this album were sold, so few were mastered and pressed well, and so many mastered and pressed poorly, that few copies actually make it to the site as Hot Stampers. We wish that were not the case -- we love the album -- but the copies we know to have the potential for Hot Stamper sound are just not sitting around in the record bins these days.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's albums


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Crosby Stills & Nash - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

Critical Listening Exercise (WTLF)

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_test) 



This commentary from an older Hot Stamper listing for CSN’s debut makes note of some specific qualities in the recording that are a good test for midrange transparency and naturalness.

What’s magical about Crosby, Stills, Nash (& Young)?

Their voices of course. It’s not a trick question. They revolutionized rock music with their genius for harmony. Any good pressing must sound correct on their voices or it has no value whatsoever. A CSN record with bad midrange -- like most of them -- is a worthless record.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's albums


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Crosby, Stills & Nash on Nautilus

THE Most Bloated Bass in Half Speed History

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_nr_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

An audiophile record dealer (of course; who else?) once raved to me about Crosby Stills and Nash on Nautilus. I said "What are you talking about? That version sucks!" He replied "No, it’s great. Helplessly Hoping sounds amazing."

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's albums


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - 4 Way Street

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: crosb4ways_2012) 



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.

If you want to hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rock out live in your listening room, this copy will let you do it. It's not easy to find good sound on even one side of this album, let alone all four!

See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: crosbdejav_obsess) 



DEJA VU is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it.

We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands -- maybe a bit too much time on your hands -- please feel free to check out our commentaries.

This link will take you to all of our other Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums.


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Latest Developments

  (Item #: crosbdejav_wrong_2016) 



There are two areas in which we would like to amend some of the previous comments we've made about Deja Vu. The first has to do with early pressings. Many years ago we wrote the following:

As we noted in previous commentary, the originals are uniformly awful. Want some inside info on stampers to avoid, free of charge? C and D are pretty bad news most of the time.

Although that's still true -- Deja Vu is a very difficult album to find with good sound no matter what stampers you have -- we now know that there are very good sounding copies, Shootout Winning copies in fact, with early stampers.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

A Tale of Two MoFi Pressings

  (Item #: crosbdejav_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F (or not!)

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Just for fun about 10 years ago I pulled out a MoFi pressing of Deja Vu I had laying around. I hadn't played their version in a long time. I could have gone a lot longer without playing it, because what I heard was pretty disappointing. Playing their record confirmed all my prejudices. The highs sizzled and spit. The heart of the midrange was recessed and sour.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: crosbdejav_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.

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES -- Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than this. To say this copy murders the competition is the understatement of the year. There is only ONE stamper that gives you the Deja Vu magic from top to bottom and this is it. [We know now that that isn't true.]

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - So Far

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: crosbsofar_2007) 



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

This Hot Stamper copy has SUPERB SOUND ON SIDE TWO -- the best we’ve ever heard. It sounds like it was made from the MASTER TAPE, and believe me, not many of them do. This LP killed any and all of the competition during this shootout; no other copy earned Three Pluses on Side Two. The sound is BIG and BOLD as it gets -- it practically LEAPS out of the speakers. That's what we call Hot Stamper sound. No other copy did that, on side two anyway. Side one has the highly-coveted unreleased material, so this copy, with "only" an excellent side one, is being priced somewhat more competitively and represents real value for money.

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Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Music Does the Driving

  (Item #: crosbstillsandnash_overview) 



Of course it's easy to argue that finding good sound on an album with two or more members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, in any configuration, has never been easy. It's the rare copy of either of the first two albums that's even listenable, and the CSN album from 1977 doesn't sound nearly as good as any of the first three Crosby/Nash albums. Which simply means that the "good" sound of our Hot Stamper copies is far better than what most audiophiles own of any of these guys in combination.
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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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.

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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name

What to Listen For

  (Item #: crosbifico_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.

Note how Crosby's voice is "chesty" -- some copies make him sound like he's all mouth and no diaphragm. When his voice is full-bodied and solid, that's when he sounds more like a real person and less like a pop recording of a person. All credit must go to Stephen Barncard.

See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Detail on Crosby Stills and Nash’s First Album

Holy Grail or Audio Trap?

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_detail) 



Detail may be the Holy Grail to most audiophiles, but detail can be a trap we all too easily fall into if we are not careful. Tonal balance is the key. Without it no judgments about detail have any real value.

One example: As good as the Classic Heavy Vinyl pressing is, the guitar at the opening of Helplessly Hoping tells you everything you need to know about what’s missing. The guitar on the Hot Stamper domestic copies has a transparency that cannot be found on Classic’s version. The Classic gets the tonal balance right, but their guitar doesn’t have the subtlety and harmonic resolution of the real thing.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's albums


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Graham Nash - Better Days

A Good Reason to Get into Audio

  (Item #: nash_songs_wtlf) 



This is one of the records that convinced me that I should enthusiastically and actively pursue high quality home audio - that I should devote the time, energy and money into improving my system so that I could play records like Songs for Beginners louder and get them to sound clearer.

I had such inexpressibly deep feelings while listening to the album that I knew I had to do everything in my power to make it sound as good as possible. And the song that really did it for me on the album was Better Days.

More Songs for Beginners


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Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners

Greatest "Copy" Ever

  (Item #: nash_songs_2015) 



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

WHOA! We've paired up two FOUR PLUS sides to create this stunning 2-pack with mindblowing Demo Quality sound for the whole album. These A++++ sides will show you just how amazing it can sound: super full-bodied, rich, warm and natural.

Please note that we award this very special grade so rarely that we don't even have a graphic to represent it in our sonic grade box. The scale usually only goes to three pluses, but these two sides went up to four!

More Graham Nash


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Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: nash_songs_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Songs for Beginners.

This is one helluva well recorded album. Most of the credit must go to the team of recording engineers, led here by the esteemed Bill Halverson, the man behind all of the Crosby Stills Nash and Young albums. Nash was clearly influenced by his work with his gifted bandmates, proving with this album that he can hold his own with the best of the best.

More Graham Nash


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Graham Nash's Wild Tales

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: nash_wildt_2015) 



This is a Forgotten Classic from Graham Nash.

Like the man's first album, no one pays much attention to this music nowadays, but Better Records is trying to remedy that situation by making available to the audiophile public numerous copies of this album, every one of which is guaranteed to turn you into a fan. This is not new music, but it may be new music to you, so "discovering" it will be every bit as much fun for you in 2016 as it was for me in 1973.

More Graham Nash


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Graham Nash's Wild Tales

and Their Mysteries Many and Deep

  (Item #: nash_wildt_wtlf) 



What hurts so many pressings of this album is an overall lifeless, compressed quality and a notable lack of presence.

Were the stampers a bit worn for those copies? Or was it bad vinyl that couldn't hold the energy of the stamper? Or perhaps some stampers just weren't cut right? These are mysteries, and they are mysteries that will always be mysteries, if for no other reason than that the number of production variables hopelessly intertwined at the moment of creation can never be teased apart no matter how hard one thinks about them.

As we like to say at every turn, thinking is really not much help with regard to finding better sounding records.

More from our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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How to Find a Hot Stamper Deja Vu

Hint: Ignore Conventional Wisdom

  (Item #: crosbdejav_conventionalwisdom) 



A testimonial from a customer for his Hot Stamper Deja Vu provides a forum for the discussion of just what are the higher fidelity pressings.

Never make the mistake of confusing Better Sounding pressing with More Original pressing; they have nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to do with each other. It’s just another Record Collecting Canard. The audio world is full of them.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: youngafter_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

I won't go into too much detail discussing the sound of this new pressing because, frankly, it's just not worth anybody's time, even mine, and I do this for a living.

We know what the good pressings of the album sound like, we play them regularly, and this newly remastered vinyl is missing almost everything that makes the album essential to any Right Thinking Music Lover's collection.

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Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: youngafter_2005) 



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

I've been looking for a great sounding version of this record for 20 years. I can't say that this is the best sounding copy in the world, but it's the best sounding copy I've ever heard (almost -- more about that later). This copy has incredible tubey magic, the likes of which I have never heard for any Neil Young record. It's rich, sweet, smooth, transparent -- it's hard to believe that this is a "modern" transistor rock recording, because it sure doesn't sound like one on this pressing. The vocal harmonies have those silky textures you expect to find on gold label Warner Brothers Peter Paul and Mary records, not orange label Neil Young records.

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Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Live and Learn

  (Item #: youngevery_wrong) 



Below you will see our old Hot Stamper commentary from 2004 as part of the discussion of EKTIN in an older shootout (9-08), comments which we now renounce, disown, reject, repudiate and disavow with extreme prejudice. Huh? Here's part of our mea culpa.

Our latest shootout this time around left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for our previous shootout, a textbook example of We Was Wrong. We rarely try to make excuses for our mistakes, but give us a break, that last shootout was more than four years ago (September 2004)!

More Neil Young


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Stephen Stills - Manassas

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: stillmanas_0609) 



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

Our first Hot Stamper shootout for Manassas produced a number of good sounding sides on the original pressings, but we held back our highest sonic grade because even the best of the best still had problems. Most copies we played were a disaster: grungy, veiled, no real top end, grainy, stuck in the speakers, tubby bass -- these and other problems were all too common. When a double album sounds like this it makes for a very long day.

After playing four or five bad sounding copies we almost threw in the towel. Everyone kept asking me Does this record ever sound good? I said I thought it did, I thought I heard a good copy or two when we listened to them in our preliminary rounds, but hey, maybe I was wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.



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Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills

What to Listen For

  (Item #: stillsteph_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.

When all the elements are working together as they do here, the music on Steve Stills' first album is postively AMAZING. Until I hear something better, I'm going to have to call this BILL HALVERSON's Engineering Masterpiece.* Yes, on the best copies it's that good.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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The Brilliant Recorded Legacy of David Crosby / Stephen Stills / Graham Nash / Neil Young

  (Item #: allcsny) 



Recordings featuring the work of David Crosby

Recordings featuring the work of Stephen Stills

Recordings featuring the work of Graham Nash

Recordings featuring the work of Neil Young

Some of our favorite engineers worked on the albums of these four men, principally Bill Halverson, as well as...


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The Byrds - Fifth Dimension

Sundazed Debunked

  (Item #: byrdsfifth_sundazed) 



Sonic Grade: D

The best stereo copies are rich, sweet and Tubey Magical -- three areas in which the Sundazed reissues are seriously lacking. (If anyone still cares; we can't be bothered with mediocrities such as this.)

And none of the Columbia monos we've played did much for us either. Congested and compressed, with no real top, who in his right mind could possibly prefer that sound?

See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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The Byrds - Fifth Dimension

The Red Labels Can Rock

(More Accurately, Some of Them Can)

  (Item #: byrdsfifth_2014) 



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

There was not another Red Label that could hold a candle to this copy in our recent shootout, and no 360 label copy could either. It's the exception that proves the rule.

Does it have 100% of the Tubey Magic of the best 360 Label copies? Maybe not, but it has quite a healthy dose, and it does so many things so much better than any of the tube-mastered originals we played that it was simply no contest. There was nothing that communicated the music remotely as well as this Red Label copy did.

More of The Byrds


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The Byrds in Mono

How Do They Sound?

  (Item #: byrdsmono) 



Practically none of the MONO pressings of The Byrds' albums that we've played in shootouts over the course of the last few years has impressed us much, none that I can recall anyway.

Congested and compressed, with no real top, who in his right mind could possibly tolerate that kind of sound on modern equipment?

Although, to be fair, we've stopped buying them, so there may actually be a good copy or two out there in used record land that we haven't heard. In our defense, who really has the time to play records with so little potential for good sound?

See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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The Turn Up Your Volume Test

Almost Cut My Hair

  (Item #: crosbdejav_volume_2014) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The only time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young actually sound like a real rock and roll band is on the track Almost Cut My Hair. According to Stephen Barncard, one of the engineers on Deja Vu, the track was actually recorded live in the studio. Boy, it sure sounds like it. The amount of energy the band generates on this one song exceeds the energy of the entire first album put together.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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VTA Adjustment

Helplessly Hoping to Get It Right

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_vta) 



This listing contains commentary about VTA adjustment, using a Hot Stamper of the track Helplessly Hoping from CSN’s So Far.
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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VTA Adjustment

Helplessly Hoping to Get It Right

  (Item #: crosbsofar_wtlf) 



This listing from 2005 (!) contains commentary about VTA adjustment using the track Helplessly Hoping from a Hot Stamper pressing of CSN’s So Far.
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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VTA Adjustment on Crosby Stills and Nash

Using the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl LP (2005)

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_vta_200) 



This listing contains commentary about VTA adjustment for 200 gram vinyl, using the CSN track Helplessly Hoping.

Helplessly Hoping is a wonderful song with plenty of energy in the midrange and upper midrange area which is difficult to get right. Just today (4/25/05) I was playing around with VTA, having recently installed a new Dynavector DV-20x on my playgrading table (a real sweetheart, by the way), and this song showed me EXACTLY how to get the VTA right.

See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Yes, You Too Can Get an Old Buffalo Springfield Record to Sound This Good!

  (Item #: buffalastt_commentary) 



Not long ago we found a White Hot Stamper pressing of Last Time Around that really blew our minds. We were surprised to hear
...some of the breathiest, silkiest vocals we’ve ever heard on ANY Buffalo Springfield album, with startling presence and immediacy to boot! This side two had BY FAR the most energy and life of any side of any copy we've ever played. Man, does it ROCK.

Even as recently as 2010 we would not have expected to find that kind of sound on a vintage '60s pop/rock album. We know better now.

More Buffalo Springfield


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Crosby Stills Nash (&) Young

  (Item #: _CrosbyStillsNashYoung) 


Crosby, Stills, Nash and/or Young albums in stock

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