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The Recordings of Linda Ronstadt

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: ronstadt_linda) 



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

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

Linda Ronstadt Albums with Hot Stampers

Linda Ronstadt Albums We've Reviewed



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Mendelssohn & Prokofiev / Concertos / Heifetz / Munch

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mendeconce_2314_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Classic Records ruined this album, as expected. Their version is dramatically more aggressive, edgy and smeared than the better vintage pressings. In fact it's just plain awful, like most of the classical recordings they remastered.

More of the music of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)


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Lee Ritenour - Rit

Discovery Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: ritenrit_discovery) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

We played our very good sounding Nautilus pressing against the 180g Discovery reissue that Doug Sax remastered and it SMOKED it. What a muddy piece of trash that Discovery pressing is.

See more of our Hot Stamper Jazz albums


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Freddie Hubbard - First Light

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hubbafirst_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper original CTI pressing has a truly SUPERB side two that just put to shame most of what we played. Smeary blurred trumpet blasts? Not here. Nope, the transient bite and energy of the trumpet is as REAL as it gets.

Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and this pressing was one of the few in our shootout with the kind of high quality mastering that can do justice to his uniquely energetic, lightning fast jazz style.

More Freddie Hubbard


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Steely Dan - The Royal Scam

Our $600 Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: steelroyal_2009) 



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

Steely Dan fans, brace yourselves! This White Hot Stamper copy of The Royal Scam ROCKS HARDER than you’d ever imagine! We play dozens and dozens of these each year, and it’s a shame more of them don’t sound like this. All the elements necessary to really bring this music to life are here: tight, punchy bass; knockout energy; big time presence; shocking clarity and so forth. Everyone gets all hot and bothered about Aja (and with good reason) but there’s no denying how POWERFUL this material is after you’ve heard these songs sound like this!

More Steely Dan


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Badfinger - Straight Up

The British 2 LP Remaster Is a Joke

  (Item #: badfistrai_apple_remaster) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This British 2 LP reissue was digitally remastered and contains alternate mixes of 6 songs on the 2nd record.

The whole series was awful sounding and should be avoided completely.

More Badfinger


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto in D / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

It is an airless fraud, a cheap fake reproduction that's incapable of fooling anyone with two good ears, a properly set up stereo and a decent collection of Golden Age violin concertos.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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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



  more Info











The Recordings of The Lovin' Spoonful

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: lovin_spoonful) 



These are just some of the recordings by The Lovin' Spoonful that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor sound 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.

The Lovin' Spoonful Albums with Hot Stampers

The Lovin' Spoonful Albums We've Reviewed



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Ray Charles & Betty Carter - Ray Charles & Betty Carter

DCC Clear Vinyl Pressing

  (Item #: charlraych_dcc_clear) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

This Dunhill Compact Classics LP pressed on CLEAR VINYL is one of DCCs earliest forays into analog production. Unfortunately it sounds like a bad CD. In fact, you can be sure that Hoffman's CD murders it in every way. Don't waste your money.

More Ray Charles


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Santana - Santana

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: santasant1_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Santana is a record we admit to having liked a bit when it first came out. Since then we have changed our minds. As embarrassing as it may be, clearly We Was Wrong.

It’s just too damn compressed and lifeless. The Whomp Factor on this pressing is Zero. Since whomp is critical to the sound of Santana’s music, it’s Game Over for us. The review below is exactly what we wrote at the time the record came in.

More Santana


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The Recordings of Santana

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: Santana) 



These are just some of the recordings by Santana 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.

Santana Albums with Hot Stampers

Santana Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beachsurfe_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

I played the MoFi pressing of this record many years ago, some time back in the early '90s if memory serves, and at the time I could hardly believe that the good people of MoFi would release a record that was so ridiculously SPITTY. The sibilance is positively out of control, the result of their wacky cutting system and phony EQ.

But then I remembered that there has never been a title produced by these people with sound so bad that they would have cancelled its release,

More Beach Boys


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The Recordings of Steely Dan

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: steely_dan_2) 



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

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

Steely Dan Albums with Hot Stampers

Steely Dan Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Milt Jackson

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: jackson_milt) 



These are just some of the recordings by Milt Jackson 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.

Milt Jackson Albums with Hot Stampers

Milt Jackson Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Thelonious Monk

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: monk_thelonious) 



These are just some of the recordings by Thelonious Monk 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.

Thelonious Monk Albums with Hot Stampers

Thelonious Monk Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Still More that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella_4) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned 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.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Four More that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella_3) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned 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.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Four More that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella_2) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned 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.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Four that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned 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.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Weather Report

Three that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: weather_report_2) 



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

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

Weather Report Albums with Hot Stampers

Weather Report Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Weather Report

Four that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: weather_report) 



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

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

Weather Report Albums with Hot Stampers

Weather Report Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











Bernard Herrmann on Vinyl

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: herrmann_bernard) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Bernard Herrmann that we've auditioned 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 on our site, in your collection, and might even belong in a Hall of Shame.

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

Hot Stamper pressings of Bernard Herrmann's Music

Various Pressings of Bernard Herrmann's Music We've Reviewed



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Edvard Grieg on Vinyl

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: grieg_edvard) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Edvard Grieg that we've auditioned 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 on our site, in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

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

Hot Stamper pressings of Grieg's Music

Pressings of Grieg's Music We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Chet Baker

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: baker_chet) 



These are just some of the recordings by Chet Baker 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.

Chet Baker Albums with Hot Stampers

Chet Baker Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











Saint-Saens on Vinyl

Four that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: saint-saens) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Saint-Saens that we've auditioned 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 on our site, in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

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

Hot Stamper pressings of Saint-Saens's Music

Pressings of Saint-Saens's Music We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Benny Carter

These Three Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: carter_benny) 



These are just some of the recordings by Benny Carter that we've auditioned 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.

Benny Carter Albums with Hot Stampers

Benny Carter Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

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

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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The Recordings of Frank Sinatra

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: sinatra_frank) 



These are just some of the recordings by Frank Sinatra 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.

Frank Sinatra Albums with Hot Stampers

Frank Sinatra Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Zoot Sims

Four More that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: sims_zoot_2) 



These are just some of the recordings by Zoot Sims 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.

More Zoot Sims


  more Info











Chabrier / Espana and more / Paray

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: chabrespan_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

I much prefer Ansermet’s performances on London to those of Paray on Mercury. I know of none better. The famous Classic pressing of the Mercury is a grainy, gritty, shrill piece of crap.

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


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Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mussopictu_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The shrillness, the hardness, the sourness, the loss of texture to the strings, the phony boosted deep bass -- this is the kind of sound that makes my skin crawl. After a minute or two I’ve had it. And the performance is dreadful as well.

HP put this on his TAS List? Yes he did!

More Pictures at an Exhibition


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Mussorgsky on Vinyl

Three that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: Mussorgsky) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Mussorgsky that we've auditioned 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 on our site, in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

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

Hot Stamper Pressings of Mussorgsky's Music

Pressings of Mussorgsky's Music We've Reviewed



  more Info











Tchaikovsky on Vinyl

These Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: tchaikovsky) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Tchaikovsky that we've auditioned 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 on our site, in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

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

Albums of Tchaikovsky's Music with Hot Stampers

Albums of Tchaikovsky's Music We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Oscar Peterson

These Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: peterson_oscar) 



These are just some of the recordings by Oscar Peterson 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.

Oscar Peterson Albums with Hot Stampers

Oscar Peterson Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Lou Rawls

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: rawls_lou) 



These are just some of the recordings by Lou Rawls 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.

Lou Rawls Albums with Hot Stampers

Lou Rawls Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Hubert Laws

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: laws_hubert) 



These are just some of the recordings by Hubert Laws 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.

Hubert Laws Albums with Hot Stampers

Hubert Laws Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel

Direct Disk Labs Debunked

  (Item #: gabrigabr1_dd_labs) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Half Speed Mastered Record that belongs in our Hall of Shame

The Direct Disk Labs half-speed here is thick, compressed and lifeless, though fairly rich. You could do worse I suppose, but too much of the life of the music will be lost when playing their remastered pressing.

More Peter Gabriel


  more Info











Roy Orbison - Sings Lonely and Blue

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: orbissings_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Can’t recommend this one. It’s too bright. The DCC LP of Orbison’s material is dramatically better. I’ve had some discussions with some audiophiles who liked this album, and I’m frankly surprised that people find this kind of sound pleasing, but if you’re one of those people who likes bright records, this should do the trick!


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The Recordings of Stan Getz

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: getz_stan) 



These are just some of the recordings by Stan Getz 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.

More Stan Getz


  more Info











The Recordings of Zoot Sims

Four that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: sims_zoot) 



These are just some of the recordings by Zoot Sims 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.

More Zoot Sims


  more Info











The Recordings of Count Basie

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: basie_count) 



These are just some of the recordings by Count Basie 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.

Count Basie Albums with Hot Stampers

Count Basie Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaivioli_2129_classic) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Classic is both aggessive and lacking in rosiny string texture at the same time, the worst of both worlds. Bernie's cutting system is what I would call Low Resolution -- the harmonics and subtleties of the sound simply never make it to the vinyl.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky


  more Info











MS 6069

A Columbia Record We Can't Recommend

  (Item #: rimsk_6069) 



Another recording that we auditioned and found wanting. Without going into too many specifics, we'll just say the album suffers from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore deserves a place in our Hall of Shame.

The performance here is far too slow to be taken seriously.

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

More of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)


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Stravinsky / Petrushka and Circus Polka / Mehta

Not Recommended

  (Item #: stravpetru_6554_2017) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and a London Classical Record we can't recommend. We're big fans of Decca/London Records in general, but in this case the sound and the performances are simply not acceptable.

We had three original UK pressed copies of CS 6554 and none of them sounded any good to us. What's worse, Mehta and the Los Angeles Phil play the work quite poorly. How this album got released I have no idea.

More of the music of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)


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Tchaikovsky / Swan Lake / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tchaiswanl_2204_2012) 



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

This London Small Red Label "Whiteback" (it's white inside the box, not on the back but you get what I mean) UK Import 2 LP Set put every other recording we had of Swan Lake to shame. This is the one folks, assuming you want a nearly complete performance of the work. (We will have some single LP highlight pressings coming to the site down the road. The Fistoulari on London can be especially good on the right pressing.)

The performance here by Ansermet and the Suisse Romande I rank second to none.

See more of Tchaikovsky's music


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Paganini & Wieniawski / Concerto No.1 & Con. No. 2 - Rabin

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: paganconce_2010x) 



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

WONDERFUL MUSIC AND SOUND ON SIDE ONE, plus quiet vinyl! This copy gives you precisely the right balance of clarity and sweetness we were looking for in the sound of the violin. Beyond that, the orchestra also sounds amazing here -- so RICH and FULL-BODIED. We found the sound of this side one Hard To Fault and I bet you will too. In fact, I guarantee it -- or your money back! This record puts most of the TAS Super Discs to shame, and it's on a budget reissue label. Hey Harry, how about them apples!?

More recordings featuring the violin


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Grieg & Liszt / Piano Concertos / Rubinstein

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: griegpiano_2011) 



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

The strings are RICH in the best Living Stereo tradition, but unlike so many classical pressings we play, the tubey magical string tone comes with virtually no tube smear. The textures and overtones are fully intact. This side may in fact be pretty much as good as it gets; we don't have enough copies to know just how good the recording can be, but it can't be too much better than this, because this side puts most Golden Age classical recordings to shame.

More of the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)


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Led Zeppelin - III

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze3_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Ridiculously bright and harsh, we are proud to say this was one of the Classic Zep releases that we never carried on the site (along with II and Houses, both of which stink).

More Led Zeppelin


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The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: policzenya_nautilus) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

And to think we used to actually like the sound of the Nautilus pressing! It suffers from all the same shortcomings other Nautilus and similar half-speeds suffer from: the kind of pretty but lifeless and oh-so-boring sound that we describe in listing after listing. (More bad Nautilus pressings are discussed below.)

More Police and Sting


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Coleman Hawkins - Hawkins! Alive!

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: hawkihawki_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The copy I auditioned back in 1995 had Hawkin's horn sounding squawky and sour. We never carried it. I liked many of their other jazz titles -- they did a better job with jazz than any other kind of music -- but this was not their finest hour. Unless I got a bad copy, always a possibility.

More Coleman Hawkins


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Steely Dan - Katy Lied

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: steelkatyl_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

By the time I was avidly collecting Mobile Fidelity records in the late '70s this title had already gone out of print, one of the first to do so. My guess is that even the cloth-eared audiophiles at MoFi knew when they had a turkey on their hands and mercilessly put this one out to pasture. Yes, the sound is so bad that even MoFi could hear it.

Compressed and lifeless as the screen speakers so popular at the time, it's hard to imagine any version sounding worse than this one.

More Katy Lied


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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: rollistick_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a joke. It’s so compressed, lifeless, and lacking in bottom end that it would hardly interfere with even the most polite conversation at a wine tasting. I consider it one of the worst sounding versions ot the album ever made. It’s an Audiophile Record in the worst sense of the word.

More Sticky Fingers


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Gerry Mulligan Quartet - What Is There To Say?

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: mulliwhati_2016) 



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

This Six Eye stereo LP put every other copy we played to shame on side one with shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound. Side two earned a Double Plus (A++) grade for its explosive dynamics and rich, full-bodied, Tubey Magical sax sound. Tubier, more transparent, more dynamic, with that "jumpin' out of the speakers' quality that only The Real Thing ever has. Hard to imagine any reissue, vintage or otherwise, can hold a candle to the sound of this amazing record.

More Gerry Mulligan


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Supertramp - Breakfast In America

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: superbreak_2009) 



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

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

More Breakfast in America
.

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Gerry Mulligan - Jeru

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: mullijeru_2016) 



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

This Black Print 360 original stereo pressing from 1962 put every other copy we played to shame - it's White Hot on both sides. Tubier, more transparent, more dynamic, with that "jumpin' out of the speakers' quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has. Hard to imagine any reissue, vintage or otherwise, can beat the sound of this amazing LP - we sure couldn't find one.

See all of our Gerry Mulligan albums in stock


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaisymph6_1901_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

Both the '60s Victrola and the '70s Gold Seal pressings are clearly superior to this heavy vinyl mediocrity. RCA managed to cut this record amazingly well decades after the tape was first recorded (1955!), not for audiophiles, but for music lovers. Maybe that's the secret.

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


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Bernstein / The Music of Leonard Bernstein / Rogers

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bernsmusic_2012) 



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

This London Phase 4 British import has some of the most SPECTACULAR sound I have ever heard reproduced from disc. The sound is so BIG and BOLD that it handily puts to shame 95% or more of all the Golden Age Shaded Dogs, London Bluebacks, Mercury Living Presence's, EMI's and Decca's we've ever played. If we had a Classical Top 100 list, this record would belong in a Top Ten taken from it, right near the top judging by what I heard when I played it.

More of the music of Leonard Bernstein


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Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Nautilus Digitally Remastered Half Speed Debunked

  (Item #: fleetrumou_nautilus) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

Compressed and thin, for all I know the CD might be better than this barely passable audiophile pressing.

More Rumours


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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel

Debunked

  (Item #: gabrigabr1_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another addition to our Hall of Shame from one of our favorite whipping boys here at Better Records, the late but hardly lamented Classic Records.

Bernie Grundman's mastering approach for the first PG album is a disaster -- brighter and cleaner, which turns out to be precisely the wrong sound for the music.

More Peter Gabriel


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Kansas - Leftoverture

CBS Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: kansalefto_cbs) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Audiophile Record debunked.

Way too bright and thin. What were they thinking?

It's the sound that most audiophiles are fooled by to this day! Brighter and more detailed is rarely better. Most of the time it's just brighter. Not many half-speed mastered audiophile records are dull. They're bright because the audiophiles who bought them preferred that sound. I did. Hopefully we've all learned our lesson, expensive and painful as it may have been.

More Kansas


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: ledze2_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

This pressing has to be one of the worst audiophile remastering jobs in the history of the world. There is NOT ONE aspect of the sound that isn't wrong. Not one! The highs are boosted, the upper midrange is boosted, the mid-bass is boosted, the low bass is missing -- what part of the frequency spectrum is even close to correct on this pressing? The answer: none.

More Led Zeppelin


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Led Zeppelin - II

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze2_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

An absolute DISASTER -- ridiculously bright, ridiculously crude, in short, a completely unlistenable piece of garbage.

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings as a "reference". After all, the Classic pressings are considered by many -- if not most -- audiophiles to be superior to other pressings. If you don't believe me go to the forums and read for yourself.

More Led Zeppelin


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Saint-Saens - Organ Symphony

180g Klavier Debunked

  (Item #: saintsym3_klavier) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

Yet another murky, smeary Audiophile Piece of Trash from the mastering lathe of the formerly brilliant Doug Sax. He used to cut the best sounding records in the world. Then he started working for Analogue Productions and never cut a good record again as far as I know.

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)


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The Who - Live at Leeds

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: who__livea_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES! Get ready to rock out, as this is one of the BEST SOUNDING live albums ever recorded. Young Man Blues on a copy such as this has drums that are so solid, punchy and present they positively put to shame the drum sound on 99 out of 100 rock records you've ever played. Keith Moon lives on!

More by The Who


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Paul Simon - Graceland

What to Think When the New Version Is Completely Unrecognizable?

  (Item #: simongrace_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Where did this thick, dull, bloated, opaque turd come from? Having played at least 50 copies of the album over the last ten years, I can honestly say I have never heard one that sounded very much like this new version (maybe some record club copy we picked up by accident did, can't say it never happened).

Can that possibly be a good thing?

More Graceland


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Frank Sinatra - Come Fly With Me

Skip the Mono

  (Item #: sinatcomef_2012) 



Sonic Grade: F

A great sounding record in stereo, potentially anyway, but in mono the bad sound puts it firmly in our Hall of Shame.

Stick with stereo; the MONO pressings aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time).

Yet another public service from the record loving audiophiles here at Better Records.

See all of our in-stock copies of Frank Sinatra's albums


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Electric Light Orchestra - On the Third Day

The British Imports Are Made from Dubs

  (Item #: electonthe_import) 



Sonic Grade: F

Presenting the newest member of our Hall of Shame.

It's obvious, or should be, that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports make it sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers. We know this because we had a bunch of them cleaned up for our shootout and they all sucked. We always buy Electric Light Orchestra records on import vinyl; those are the ones that sound the best, the domestic pressings time and again sounding as though they were mastered from dub tapes. But On The Third Day is proof that this is not always the case, just as Siren proves that the best Roxy Music albums are not always British.

More ELO


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture / Kunzel

Telarc UHQR Debunked

  (Item #: tchai1812_UHQR) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

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

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

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


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The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

Rhino Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: grateworki_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The 2003 Rhino reissue on heavy vinyl of Workingman's Dead is absolutely awful. It sounds like a bad cassette. The CD of the album that I own is superb, which means that the tapes are not the problem, bad mastering and pressing are.

More Grateful Dead


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Foreigner - Double Vision

MoFi Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: foreidoubl_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

There is a Mobile Fidelity Half-Speed Mastered version of this album currently in print, and an older one from the days when their records were pressed in Japan (#052).

We haven't played the latter in years; as I recall it was as lifeless and sucked-out in the midrange as some other famous MoFis of that period, notably The Doors (#051) and Trick of the Tail (#062). Is there any doubt that the new MoFi will be every bit as bad or worse?

More Foreigner


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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

Analogue Productions Debunked

  (Item #: cartejazzg_ap_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Analogue Productions LP debunked.

You may remember that Acoustic Sounds did a version back in the '90s, which was a complete disaster. I haven't heard the new 45 RPM version, but I seriously doubt that it sounds like this. We have yet to hear a single Heavy Vinyl 45 that sounds any good to us, judged by the standards we set in our shootouts. (Actually the records themselves set the standards; we simply grade them on the curve they establish.)

More Benny Carter


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Mel Torme - Swings Shubert Alley

The Original Pressings Are the Best, Right?

  (Item #: tormeswing_original) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. Don't buy into that record collecting / audiophile canard that the originals have better sound.

The original Verve stereo pressing -- true, we only had the one, so take it for what it's worth -- was dry, lean and evinced very little of the Tubey Magic that VAL VALENTIN managed to get on the master tape.

More Mel Torme


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The Yardbirds - Roger The Engineer

Original Pressing Debunked in 2008

  (Item #: yardbroger_original) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing. Don't buy into that record collecting / audiophile canard that the originals are always better sounding.

The original British pressing -- true, we only had the one, so take it for what it's worth -- was a poor imitation of what was surely on the master tape, as revealed by the Edsel reissues. Maybe you have a good sounding one, can't say you don't. But we would be very unlikely to spend much money on an original import pressing after hearing this one. And the domestic records we've played were clearly made from dub tapes, so they're a bust too.

More Yardbirds


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Stoneground - Play It Loud

Bad Direct Disc Music & Sound

  (Item #: stoneplayi_crystal_clear) 



Sonic Grade: F

An awful Direct to Disc recording. The bad sound and pointless music -- this is the kind of crap we audiophiles used to put up with back in the '70s before we had much of a clue -- means that it clearly belongs in only one place on our site: the Hall of Shame.

More Direct to Disc recordings


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Falla / Three-Cornered Hat / Argenta (CS 6050)

This Copy Sure Was a Letdown

  (Item #: fallathree_cs_6050) 



Sonic Grade: F

This London original pressing with 1K/1K stampers was so bright, dry, and shrill I could hardly stand to listen to it for more than the half a minute it took to realize it was not going to get any better. It's bad enough to go right into our Hall of Shame.

The copy we had back in 2010 was a very good sounding record. You can read all about it below.

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


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Herb Alpert - Whipped Cream & Other Delights

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: alperwhipp_2013) 



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

TWO STUNNING SIDES rating at or near A+++ for this White Hot Stamper 2-pack! Most copies of this album either sound terrible or play too noisy to bother with -- finding one that does anything right is a chore. These two killer sides are a completely different story, with the kind of big, spacious soundstage and rich, full-bodied tonality that puts the typical pressing to shame.

More Herb Alpert


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Various Composers / Ballet Music From The Opera / Fistoulari

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: varioballe_2400_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Classic Records ruined this album, as one would have expected. Their version is dramatically more aggressive, shrill and harsh than the Shaded Dogs we've played, with almost none of the sweetness, richness and ambience that the best RCA pressings have in such abundance. In fact their pressing is just plain awful, like most of the classical recordings they remastered, and should be avoided at any price.

More Living Stereo


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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.

More John Coltrane


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Vivaldi Ensemble / Vivaldi, The Beatles

Bad Direct Disc Music & Sound

  (Item #: vivalsprin_rdc-2) 



Sonic Grade: F

An awful Direct to Disc recording. The bad sound and pointless music -- this is the kind of crap we audiophiles used to put up with back in the '70s before we had much of a clue -- means that it clearly belongs in only one place on our site: the Hall of Shame.

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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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.

More by The Doors


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Ravel & Dukas / Bolero & Sorcerer’s Apprentice / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: ravelboler_6367_2014) 



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

We are rarely able to find quality recordings (or performances) of either Bolero or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, so this pressing comes as an especially welcome addition to the classical offerings on the site.

The sound is clear, with wonderful depth to the stage. As a rule, the classic '50s and '60s recordings of Ansermet and the Suisse Romande in Victoria Hall are as big and rich as any you may have encountered. These recordings strike us as the ideal blend of clarity and richness, with depth and spaciousness that will put to shame 98% of the classical recordings ever made.

More of the music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)


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Gerry Rafferty - City To City

Original Artisan Pressings Are Awful

  (Item #: raffecityt_domestic) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

In case you have never had the misfortune to play one, the original domestic pressings, mastered at the usually reliable-for-sonics Artisan, are an absolute disaster. From an audiophile point of view they are all but unlistenable.

Surprisingly, the same is true for most of the British early pressings we had acquired over the last year or so (at significant expense I might add). Most of them simply have no top end to speak of whatsoever. The bells at the beginning of Baker Street sound like somebody in the studio must have thrown a blanket over them.

More Gerry Rafferty


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Beethoven / Symphony #4 / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: beethsymph4_2011) 



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

BOTH sides of this early Plum Label Victrola pressing earned a Super Hot Stamper sonic grade, with the kind of string tone only found on the best of the Living Stereo releases and other top quality Golden Age recordings. Here is the kind of sound that Classic Records could not ignore, even though it was only ever made available as part of RCA's budget reissue series, Victrola. Don't let its budget status fool you -- this pressing puts to shame most of what came out on the full price Living Stereo label.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Marty Robbins - Hawaii's Calling Me

Skip the Mono

  (Item #: robbihawai_mono) 



Sonic Grade: F

A great sounding record in stereo, potentially anyway, but in mono the bad sound puts it firmly in our Hall of Shame.

Stick with stereo; the MONO pressings aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time). If you see one for a buck at a garage sale, pick it up for the music, and then be on the lookout for a nice stereo original to enjoy for the sound. A public service from the record loving audiophiles here at Better Records.

More Marty Robbins


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The Pretenders - Get Close

The Domestic Pressings Are Awful

  (Item #: pretegetcl_shame) 



Sonic Grade: F

The domestic LP belongs in our Hall of Shame. It's awful, and the domestic CD is even worse, practically unlistenable in fact. I have one in my car; only the judicious use of the treble control, steeply downwards, makes the sound even tolerable.

But the album rocks -- it's great driving music.

More Pretenders


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Falla / Nights In The Gardens Of Spain - De Burgos

Testament Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: fallanight_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

Another pointless Heavy Vinyl reissue, this time from Testament, with sound bad enough to qualify for our Hall of Shame. Dead as a doornail. Surely even the CD is better.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Orchestral Music Scorecard to read more about the latest winners and losers.

More music by Manuel de Falla


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Bola Sete - Tour De Force

Analogue Productions Debunked

  (Item #: sete_tourd_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Analogue Productions LP debunked.

Acoustic Sounds had Stan Ricker remaster this record a number of years ago, and of course they (he) ruined it. A twinkly top end and flabby bass were just two of the major shortcomings of their version. Nothing surprising there, as Stan Ricker is famous for his "smile" curve, boosting both ends of the audio spectrum whether they need boosting or not.

More Bola Sete


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Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - On the Sunny Side of the Street

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: fitzgonthe_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A weak outing from Speakers Corner and a Hall of Shame pressing.

Their 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO -- brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Antonio Carlos Jobim - The Composer of...

Skip the Mono

  (Item #: jobimcompo_mono) 



Sonic Grade: F

A great sounding record in stereo, potentially anyway, but in mono the bad sound puts it firmly in our Hall of Shame.

Stick with stereo; the MONO pressings aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time).

A public service from the record loving audiophiles here at Better Records.

More Antonio Carlos Jobim


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Donald Fagen - Morph The Cat

Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: fagenmorph_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Truly awful sound. Can't make any sense of it. Pure sludge.

More Donald Fagen


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Liszt / Sonata in B Minor & Other Pieces / Curzon

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: lisztsonat_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: F

More vinyl dreck from Speakers Corner and a Hall of Shame pressing if there ever was one. Pure mud.

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

More of the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)


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Gerry Rafferty - City To City

Simply Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: raffecityt_svlp) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Simply Vinyl pressing debunked.

We had two copies of the Heavy Simply Vinyl pressing to audition as part of our last big shootout a few years back. We used to actually like it, but it now sounds worse than we remember, especially in the low end, which is a blurry mess. Better than any domestic copy I suppose, but that's not really saying much.

More Gerry Rafferty


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Liszt / Piano Concertos No. 1 and 2 / Kondrashin / Richter

Awful Mercury Mastering

  (Item #: lisztpiano_philips) 



Sonic Grade: F

An Orchestral Hall of Shame pressing.

This recording was released through Mercury, recorded by Robert Fine and Wilma Cozart, mastered by George Piros, the legendary Mercury team of renown. It is instructive to note that the Philips mastering is dramatically superior to the mediocre Mercury mastering, which may strike you as counterintuitive, but is nonetheless a fact. It's precisely the reason we play records all day here at Better Records. You can't judge a record by its credentials. The only way to know how it sounds is to play it, and to really know how it sounds you must play it against a sizeable number of other copies.

More of the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

25th Anniversary Island LP Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_25th) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

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

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Massenet / Le Cid / Martinon

This Blueback Was Awful

  (Item #: masselecid_6058) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing. Don't buy into that record collecting / audiophile canard that the originals are always better.

The original Blueback pressing -- true, we only had the one, so take it for what it's worth -- was a complete disaster: shrill, with no top or bottom to speak of.

See more of Massenet's music


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Liszt, Enesco, Smetana / Rhapsodies - Stokowski

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: lisztrhaps_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The lower strings are wonderful on the original -- wall to wall, with that rosiny texture we love. I wrote at the time -- this is twenty or so years ago -- that the Classic pressing took that rich, dark sound and brightened it up, naturally ruining it in the process. Cellos and double basses just don't sound like that. On the best pressings of LSC 2471 their timbre is Right On The Money. Of course, that's is the real thing, not some audiophile rebutchering.

Now if you're a Classic Records fan, and you like that brighter, more detailed, more aggressive sound, the original is probably not the record for you.


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Mussorgsky - The Power of the Orchestra

Chesky Debunked

  (Item #: mussopower_chesky_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

So lifeless, compressed and thin. It’s clean and transparent, I’ll give it that, which is no doubt why so many audiophiles have been fooled into thinking it actually sounds better than the original. But of course there is no original; there are thousands of them, and they all sound different.

The Hot Stamper commentary below is for a pair of records that proves our case in the clearest possible way. We sold a two pack of Hot Stamper pressings, one with a good side one and one with a good side two. Why? Because the other sides were terrible! If you have a bad original, perhaps the Chesky will be better.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition / Muti

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mussopictu_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

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

More Pictures at an Exhibition


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Gino Vannelli - Powerful People

What Was I Thinking?

  (Item #: vannepower_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

At the time of our last shootout in 2014 I still had the MoFi pressing of Powerful People in my personal, very small (at this point) record collection. Almost all the best sounding records from my collection had long ago been sold off, going to good homes that I can only assume would play them more than I had in the last ten years. If it's a record you see on our site, chances are good I have listened to it until I'd practically turned blue in the face.

More Gino Vannelli


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