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Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: trowebridg_2016) 



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

Triple Triple! The best copy of Robin Trower's masterpiece to ever make it to the site. This glorious early UK pressing is huge, rich and super punchy, just about as good as it gets. Brilliant engineering by Geoff Emerick at George Martin's AIR studios. Coming soon to a Better Records Top 100 List near you.


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The Clash - London Calling

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: clashlondo_2015) 



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

Absolutely stunning sound for all four sides, Triple Plus on one and two, very close on three and four. Huge and open, full and rich, present and energetic -- absolutely as good as it gets. An album that almost never makes it on to the site with grades like this.

More of The Clash


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The Beach Boys - Endless Summer

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: beachendle_2015) 



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

A stunning Top Copy, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all four sides. Demo Disc sound on the best tracks -- rich, full and sweet beyond belief. Surfer Girl and In My Room are stunning on this pressing -- you will be blown away. The best copy we've ever had on the site -- who knows if we'll ever find one this good again?

See all of our Beach Boys albums in stock


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Charles Mingus - Mingus Revisited

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mingurevis_2015) 



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

This copy sounds like a big room full of musicians (25 in all!) playing live, which it surely was. The Tubey Magical richness of this 1960 recording is breathtaking - no modern record can touch it. Allmusic gives it 4 stars and we think it's maybe even a better than that.

On both sides the best sound can be heard starting with the second track, but on side one the first track was very spacious and had a fuller sounding piano than practically any other we played.

See all of our Charles Mingus albums in stock


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John Lennon - Imagine

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: lennoimagi_2015) 



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

This is the highest rated copy of Imagine to ever hit the site! As crazy as that sounds, it's true -- these are next to impossible to find, they tend to cost big bucks when you do track them down, they're almost always noisy, and they very rarely sound very good. If it wasn't ridiculously difficult to find Hot Stamper pressings of Imagine, it certainly would not have taken us until 2015 to offer one.

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Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: john_tumbl_2015) 



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

A side two for the ages -- it beat our best Ref Copy to earn a Four Plus (A++++) grade. Both sides are stunning with superb Demo Quality sound: huge, rich, spacious, dynamic and lively. An incredible recording and longtime member of our Top 100 -- our pick for Elton's very best music and sound.

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Duke Ellington - At the Bal Masque

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: ellinbalma_2015) 



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

This Super Hot 2-pack has the Tubey Magical richness we love about vintage Columbia recordings. The "bad" sides here are proof that no two sides sound the same - they suck. More superb sound from the legendary CBS 30th street studios in New York. The size and power of a jazz orchestra in glorious all ANALOG sound.

See all of our Duke Ellington albums in stock


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Gershwin / Concerto In F & Rhapsody In Blue / Kostelanetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: gershconce_8286_2015) 



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

This early Columbia 360 Label pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. Exceptionally rich and Tubey Magical from start to finish. The sound on this vintage pressing is natural and above all musical. Both works are performed with consummate skill and attention to detail, the result magnificent.

More of the music of George Gershwin


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Thelonious Monk - Big Band and Quartet

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: monk_bigba_2015) 



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

An amazingly well-recorded Big Band Concert from 1963, and these White Hot sides make the case like nothing you have ever heard. Our early pressing here is so rich, Tubey Magical, spacious and lively we simply could not fault the sound. Monk alternates between a 10 piece Big Band and his standard quartet, with magical results.

See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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Billy Joel - Streetlife Serenade

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: joel_stree_2015) 



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

Two big and solid Triple Plus sides, the best we've heard in years. Los Angelenos and The Entertainer both sound wonderful on this copy. Most copies won't come close in terms of energy, transparency, punch or presence.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: creedcosmo_2015) 



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

Clean copies of the album are rare enough as it is; good sounding clean copies are as rare for this title as for practically any we offer.

Fortunately we've made some strides of late finding the "right' pressings for this band, and with better cleaning technologies we are finding that the better copies such as this one are sounding the way we want our Creedence records to sound.

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Carly Simon - Carly Simon

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: simoncarly_2015) 



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

Two Shootout Winning sides bundled together to give you top sound for the whole album. We just finished our first shootout for this, Carly's debut, and found a lot to like about both the sound and the music.

That's not to say that we'd put this recording on the same level as an audiophile knockout like Dark Side of the Moon, but the richness and the sweetness of the midrange on the best copies is exactly what you'd want to hear. Credit must go to venerable Eddie Kramer, producer and engineer. He knows how to get the big sound here all right.

See all of our Carly Simon albums in stock


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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: creedgreen_2015) 



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

The first White Hot copy of Green River to ever hit the site! We've been trying this one for years but it's insanely tough to find copies that really deliver. Creedence recordings tend to be somewhat rough and raw and this one is no exception, but this copy brought the music to life in a way that very few before it ever have on our system.

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Jackson Browne - The Pretender

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: brownprete_2015) 



Amazing A++++ (Four Plus) sound, so good we rated it beyond our usual top grade of Triple Plus. Without a doubt it's the best sounding Jackson Browne record ever made, and this copy backs up everything we say and more.

Side one was super transparent, with breathy, present vocals. What really blew us away on this one is the sheer size and openness of the soundfield. We were so impressed that we went beyond our usual top grade of A+++, something we rarely do. But when a copy like this comes along and sets a new standard for an album's sonic potential, there's nothing else we CAN do!

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Rimsky-Korsakov / Scheherazade / Ansermet / Suisse Romande

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: rimskscheh_6212_2015) 



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

We did a monster shootout for this music in 2014, one we had been planning for more than two years. On hand were quite a few copies of the Reiner on RCA; the Ansermet on London (CS 6212, his second stereo recording, from 1961, not the earlier and noticeably poorer sounding recording from in 1959); the Ormandy on Columbia, and a few others we felt had shown potential.

The only recordings that held up all the way through -- the fourth movement being THE Ball Breaker of all time, for both the engineers and musicians -- were those by Reiner and Ansermet.

More music conducted by Ernst Ansermet (1883-1969)


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Humble Pie - Performance - Rockin' The Fillmore

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: humblperfo_2015) 



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

One of the best -- if not THE best -- rock concert albums we have ever heard. Can you imagine if Frampton Comes Alive sounded like this? If you want to hear some smokin’ Peter Frampton guitar work from the days when he was with Humble Pie this album captures that sound better than any of their studio releases, and far better than Comes Alive on even the best copies.

See all of our Humble Pie albums in stock


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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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Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: benneileft_2015) 



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

Everything that's good about All Tube Vocal Recordings from the '50s and '60s is precisely what's good about the sound of this record.

The huge studio the music was recorded in is captured faithfully here. The height, width and depth of the staging here are extraordinary. We are not big soundstage guys here at Better Records, but we can't deny the appeal of the space to be found on a record as good as this.

More Tony Bennett


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Heart - Little Queen

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: heartlittl_2015) 



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

This is a Classic Rock Demo Disc to beat practically anything you could throw at it. Love Alive and Barracuda on this copy will deliver the full Rock and Roll Power of your system. If you've got The Big Sound, this is the record that will truly show it off.

Even though our graphic scale only goes to three pluses, you'll know the Four Plus sound on this side one the moment you hear it.

More Little Queen


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Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: peppemoder_2015) 



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

On a great copy such as this one, you can really pick out each of the musicians and follow them throughout the course of each song. When you're able to appreciate everyone's contributions, you can really get a better sense of how much work went into making this album. It's nothing short of epic!

This is one DYNAMIC jazz record -- drop the needle on any track and prepare yourself to be very impressed. The sound is full-bodied and energetic with tight bass, breathy brass, and lots of ambience.

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Art Pepper - Today

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: peppetoday_2015) 



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

Side two is huge, rich and energetic like no other. Side one was nearly as good, with especially rich, Tubey Magical sound. Musically this is the best of Pepper's later period, and exceptionally well recorded by Baker Bigsby. Today has been a personal favorite of mine for close to 30 years.

Side two of this copy is White Hot, which is where the extended ballad Patricia is, in our opinion the single most beautiful song Art Pepper ever recorded. It's ten solid minutes of emotion, at the end of which you may be as exhausted as he no doubt was. The big finish for the song is unbelievable on this copy.

More Art Pepper


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ZZ Top - Fandango

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: zztopfanda_2015) 



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

One of the qualities that we don't talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record's presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small -- they don't extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don't seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. They are often recessed as well, lacking presence and immediacy.

Other copies -- my notes for these copies often read "BIG and BOLD" -- create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They're not brighter, they're not more aggressive, they're not hyped-up in any way, they're just bigger and clearer.

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Kenny Burrell - God Bless The Child

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: burregodbl_2015) 



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

This is one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz records here at Better Records. A few others off the top of my head would be Wes Montgomery's California Dreaming (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington's All the King's Horses (1973) and Deodato's Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).

On a killer copy like this the sound is out of this world. Rich and full, open and transparent, this one defeated all comers in our shootout, taking the Top Prize for sound and earning all Three Pluses.

More Kenny Burrell


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Deep Purple - Made In Japan

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: deeppmadei_2015) 



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.

Machine Head Live? That would not be far off, and the fact they brought MARTIN BIRCH along with them all the way to Japan in order to engineer a live album that was only supposed to sell to the Japanese market (!) could not have been more fortuitous for us audiophiles.

More Deep Purple


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Count Basie - Basie Plays Hefti

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: basieplays_2015) 



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

This is the followup to the smash Basie album The Atomic Mr. Basie, an album we would love to make available if we could ever find a clean, good sounding copy to play.

Side one is rich, tubey and lively, right up there with some of the best pressings we played.

Side two tends to start out a bit hot but by the second track it's fuller, smoother, and every bit as dynamic as anything on the album. The sound just keeps getting better from there, with the next track coming across especially big and clear.

More Count Basie


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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra '65

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatsinat_2015) 



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

Is the title a play off of Capitol's gazillion selling Beatles '65? Only Frank really knows.

This original Green and Blue Reprise stereo pressing has the sound we look for -- big, rich and tubey. It does vary a bit from track to track but overall we found this copy to be quite enjoyable.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: frampframp_2015) 



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.

What a monster -- this White Hot Stamper Frampton Comes Alive boasts KILLER A+++ sound on sides one, two, and four and very strong A++ sound on side three! If you're looking for a top-shelf pressing of THE iconic Classic Rock Double Live Album, don't let this one pass you by. If you grew up with this album it's going to be a thrill to hear this copy rockin' on a big audiophile system.

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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.

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Neil Diamond - Stones

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: diamostone_2015) 



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

On the Hot Stamper copies that do have sweet and rich ANALOG sound, credit naturally belongs with Neil's go-to engineer, ARMIN STEINER. He was one of the engineers on Spirit's first album (a truly phenomenal recording from 1968), assisted on Ram, recorded some of the best sounding, most Tubey Magical Chart Topping Pop Rock for Bread in the early '70s, and, if that's not enough, has more than a hundred other engineering credits.

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Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: littltimel_2015) 



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

On the better copies the title track has Demonstration Quality Sound - the soundstage is huge and the multi-tracked vocal parts are energetic, clear and free from congestion and distortion. If your copy doesn't blow your mind on this song, try one of ours.

The next track, Rocket in My Pocket, kicks off with a big, fat drum sound that's present and punchy on the better copies. The album finishes with the controversial jazz-rock fusion of Day at the Dog Races, a song the band used to open their live act with in order to get in the groove. If the band wants to stretch out a bit, we don't have a problem with it.

See all of our Little Feat albums in stock


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Talking Heads - Fear of Music

Our First White Hot Stamper - 2015

  (Item #: talkifearo_2015) 



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

The Talking Heads and producer Brian Eno certainly weren't shy about adding multiple layers of effects and processing, and the average pressing of this record turns some of the more complicated parts into grainy mush. The material here is darker than the songs on the first two albums, so a copy that lacks any extension up top will have trouble bringing the music to life. The texture of Eno's synthesizers gives the music depth and character, and a copy with smear issues forsakes much of that. It takes a special pressing to make this music really work, but this one really gets it right.

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Men At Work - Business As Usual

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: menatbusin_2015) 



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

The only way to hear this album sound right is on Australian, Dutch, British and even Japanese vinyl. Yes, we have heard them all. We've liked about one out of every one hundred Japanese pressings we've played over the last twenty years. We were surprised to find that the Japanese copy of Business As Usual we played many years ago was pretty good, for what that's worth, and of course we can't be sure that on our current system with our current ears we would feel the same.

More Men At Work


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James Taylor - Flag

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: tayloflag_2015) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on both sides! From the opening notes you will be amazed at how good this album sounds. As far as JT's recordings go, it's right up there at the top. Like his album JT, which came just before this one, the best copies of this record are smooth, rich, punchy and have great bass.

A Top Recommendation from Better Records. This is a Must Own James Taylor record.

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John Coltrane - Standard Coltrane

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: coltrstand_2015) 



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

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

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

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The Outlaws - The Outlaws

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: outlaoutla_2015) 



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

It's easy to spot the good ones. They're big and rich, never thin nor harsh. They open up on the top end and go down deep on the bottom. They're smooth and full-bodied in the midrange. The guitars ring out. The energy of the performance drives the music the way you want it to.

In short, the best copies demonstrate what's good about All Amercan Analog Recording from the mid-'70s, the kind of sound the Doobies had for Toulouse Street, Linda Ronstadt for Simple Dreams and Steely Dan for Pretzel Logic. If you prefer the recordings of Diana Krall, Patricia Barber and Jennifer Warnes, this may not be your sound, but it sure is ours.


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Philippe Entremont - The Chopin I Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: chopichopi_2015) 



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

This is an undiscovered Columbia gem from 1970. Both musically and sonically this record is superb. Who knew Columbia could record a piano this well? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this! We know, we've played plenty, including a number of Entremont's Columbia records that don't sound too good to us. Maybe we need to find a Hot Stamper of some of the weaker titles, but it hasn't happened yet. A word of advice: avoid the piano concertos. We have yet to hear a good one. Those steely Columbia strings are far from our idea of good sound.

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)


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Neil Diamond - Hot August Night

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: diamohotau_2015) 



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

Our two White Hot sides here are bigger, richer, clearer, livelier and more tonally correct than the two others -- two others which are guaranteed to be bigger, richer, clearer, etc. than any sides of any copy you own or even any copy you have ever heard .

In fact, the sound here presents a textbook case of just what the basic elements we listen for would be, for Hot August Night as well as practically any other Classic Live Rock Album we might be playing. As we've said for years, none of this rocket science. It all boils down to critical listening to lots of copies played on top quality equipment -- no more, no less.

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The Donovan You Don't Know

In Concert

  (Item #: donovincon_2015) 



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

We discovered a while back just what an excellent recording this can be and now we know how magical the best copies can be. Only the very best copies delivered the kind of natural, immediate sound we were looking for.

There are a lot of Donovan records out there, but not a lot of them that sound like this! On top of that you get a great set of songs, including Mellow Yellow, Isle Of Islay, Celeste, and First There Is A Mountain (the song that became the main riff of the Allman Brothers' famous Mountain Jam). Get in touch with your inner flower child and spin a copy of this album full of trippy hippie magic!

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Seals & Crofts - Year of Sunday

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sealsyearo_2015) 



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

The best album by this duo - their strongest songwriting and arrangements. Nearly White Hot on side one, with vocals that are full-bodied, rich and solid.

A forgotten Classic from 1971, the album holds up very well forty plus years on.

See all of our Seals & Crofts albums in stock


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Cannonball Adderley - Bill Evans - Know What I Mean?

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: adderknoww_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Jazz Hall of Fame.

One of our favorite Cannonball Adderley albums here at Better Records, and the sound is killer on this copy. Both sides are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. We've never heard the record sound better, and that's coming from someone who's been playing the album since the '80s when it was first reissued in its current form.

These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their living, breathing presence on every track -- assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one.

More Bill Evans / More Cannonball Adderley


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Debussy / La Mer / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: debuslamer_6437_2015) 



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

We were impressed with the fact that this vintage London pressing excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, allowing the listener to inhabit the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way. Depth and transparency are key to losing yourself in the music, and this pressing offers plenty of both.

More Recordings from Victoria Hall


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Stravinsky / The Firebird / Dorati

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: stravfireb_90226_2015) 



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

White Hot Front Row Center sound on side one - amazingly lifelike. One listen to either side and you'll know this is one of the Top Mercury Titles of All Time. Dorati breathes life into the work as only he can. This is the first time the Mercury Firebird has ever made it to the site, and this copy is killer.

More of Stravinsky's music


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John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: coltrmyfav_2015) 



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

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

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Lee Morgan - The Cooker

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: morgacooke_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame from 1957(!)

Both sides are open, spacious and transparent, with a lovely and quite extended top end.

Just listen to the trumpet solo on ’A Night In Tunisia’; you can really hear the leading edge transients. The baritone sax played by the estimable Pepper Adams also sounds particularly nice throughout the record.

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Linda Ronstadt - What’s New

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: ronstwhats_2015) 



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

The sound is EXTRAORDINARILY rich, smooth, full-bodied and natural on both sides. We have never heard What's New sound like this.

With two White Hot sides this pressing gets two critically important elements of the recording more right than any copies we have ever heard: the strings in the orchestra, and, even more importantly for obvious reasons, Linda's voice. Both sides give you a much more natural sounding Linda than you have ever heard. She's fuller, sweeter, breathier, less spitty (some tracks more than others) and just plain less artificial than any others we played.

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John Mayall - Empty Rooms

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mayalempty_2015) 



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

With only keyboards, guitars, saxes and flutes -- the absence of a drummer is especially noteworthy -- the group creates a mystical, low-key atmosphere in the studio within which JM tells his stories. In other words, it's different. When it comes to John Mayall's recorded works, that's not a bad thing.

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Electric Light Orchestra - Ouf Of The Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: electoutof_2015) 



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

Did you know that most pressings are half-speed mastered by none of than MoFi's very own Stan Ricker?

The followup to their masterpiece, A New World Record, there are of course plenty of hits on this one too, Turn to Stone and Mr. Blue Sky among them.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Sky Is Crying

Beyond White Hot Stamper Sound

  (Item #: vaughskyis_2015) 



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

Little Wing ROCKS AS HARD on this Four Plus pressing as any song we have ever heard, with DEMO DISC SOUND to rival the greatest rock records of all time.

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Ray Charles - The Genius After Hours

Top Quality Remastering Was Possible in 1985

  (Item #: charlthege_remastering) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on records.

Proof positive that there is nothing wrong with remastering vintage recordings if you know what you're doing. These sessions from 1956 (left off of an album that Allmusic liked a whole lot less than this one) were remastered in 1985 and the sound -- on the better copies mind you -- is correct from top to bottom.

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Supertramp - Even In The Quietest Moments

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: supereveni_2015) 



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

A killer pressing! So much clearer, cleaner and more transparent than we remember from last time around, with more Tubey Magic too.

The bottom end is big and punchy, the top is smooth and sweet, and the vocals are present and breathy. On a transparent copy such as this the drums really punch through the dense mixes clearly, giving the music more life and energy. The piano sounds correct, the sax is full and breathy -- you'd be very hard-pressed to find better sound for this album than this. Very hard pressed indeed.

More Even in the Quietest Moments


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Sarah Vaughan - Sassy Swings Again

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: vaughsassy_2015) 



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

On side one note how far back in the mix Sarah's voice is. This is her in a big group setting with lots of horns and that group needs to be right in the thick of the action along with her for this music to work.

One of the warmest, richest, smoothest sides we played all day, hence the very high grade. Excellent space and dynamics as well.

More Sarah Vaughan


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Albert King - Live Wire - Blues Power

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: kind_livew_2015) 



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

SUPERB SOUNDING and VERY QUIET! This Stax LP sounds amazing -- super low distortion, super transparent, clean, and clear. I don’t think you could find a better sounding, quieter copy than this no matter what you do!

This is the real deal folks. Most copies sure don't sound like this! It's one of the all time great live Blues albums!

See all of our Albert King albums in stock


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Los Admiradores - Bongos / Flutes / Guitars

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: losadbongo_2015) 



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

First things first: one of the main bongo players is none other than Ray Barretto himself. You jazz guys out there will know exactly who that is, a man whose reputation for brilliant rhythmic contributions to some of the great jazz classic albums of the '60s is beyond dispute. One listen to Midnight Blue will do the trick. The man had a gift. And he is here joined by two other top players.

And of course the guitarist has to be the incomparable Tony Mottola, the man behind one of our favorite jazz guitar records of all time: Warm, Wild and Wonderful.

More Exotica


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Charles Mingus - Me Myself an Eye

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mingumemys_2015) 



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

If you hear something that sounds like Frank Zappa's music circa Waka Jawaka don't be surprised, we heard it too. Mingus and Zappa were both eccentric geniuses so it only makes sense that they arrived at some of the same musical ideas as they evolved as composers.

More Charles Mingus


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Joan Baez - 5

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: baez_5_2015) 



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

Natural, unprocessed, clear, breathy vocal reproduction is the key to any Joan Baez album, and this side two will clearly demonstrate just how well-recorded Joan's voice (and guitar) were by the Vanguard engineering team. We heard immediately that this side one was excellent. We had no idea the sound could get as good as it is on side two. It takes the sound and music to an entirely new level.

More Joan Baez


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Tony Mottola - Warm, Wild and Wonderful

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mottowarmw_2015) 



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

This is clearly one of the best sounding guitar records we've ever had the pleasure to play here at Better Records. Project 3 was an audiophile label in the truest and best sense of the word: a label that not only cared about the sound of their recordings, but actually proved they could produce title after title of the highest quality, equal or superior to anything on the market.

(This of course places them in stark contrast with the audiophile labels of the modern era, the last forty years say, which only on rare occasion produce records of any real quality, instead endlessly grinding out one mediocrity after another to the consternation of those of us who know the difference. But I digress.)


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Sonny Rollins - Alternate Takes

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: rollialter_2015) 



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

An absolutely killer pressing of one of our favorite jazz albums! The album is comprised of alternate takes from the Way Out West and Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders sessions, and as such there is a bit of sonic variation between these tracks and the ones on the actual albums. The best-sounding songs here, particularly the material from Way Out West, sound amazing!

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Dave Mason - It's Like You Never Left

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: masonitsli_2015) 



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

I was a big fan of this album when it came out in 1973, used to play it all the time in fact. Now I hear why - it's big and rich with a solid bottom end and a smooth, sweet top, perfect for the big but not especially sophisticated speakers (the Fulton J System) I had back in the day.

This album has the kind of sound that the typical CD just doesn't want anything to do with. Not that the Compact Disc couldn't pull it off -- there are good sounding CDs in the world -- but it doesn't seem to want to even try.

More Dave Mason


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Dave Mason - Certified Live

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: masoncerti_2015) 



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

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

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

More Dave Mason


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Oscar Peterson Trio - West Side Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: peterwests_2015) 



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

I've known this was a very well recorded album since I first heard the DCC gold CD back in the '90s.

It sounded great to me at the time -- I had nothing to compare it to -- but it sure didn't sound like this! This album is clearly one of the best jazz piano recordings I've ever played. In its own way it's every bit as good as that other landmark recording, The Three, from 1975.

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Carlos Montoya - From St. Lous to Seville

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: montofroms_2015) 



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

Ed Begley is the engineer here and he knocked this one out of the park. What an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording. Need a refresher course in tubey magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? This record is overflowing with it. Rich, clear, natural, sweet, overflowing with space and ambience, absolutely correct tonality -- it's all here.

The Rhythm Accompaniment is made up of three top players from New York. Sally Montoya noted at the time: "Carlos just recorded the first Flamenco jazz record for Victor, with Osie Johnson and Milt Hinton and Barry Galbraith on electric guitar. A most relaxed and informal session. The other musicians said it was unique in their experience."


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Edmundo Ros - New Rhythms of the South

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: ros__rhyth_2015) 



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

It's unfortunate that Edmundo Ros and his orchestra command so little respect these days from the general record buying public. As for audiophiles, it's doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. We at Better Records are doing our best to change all that, continuing with this, the second Ros title we've managed to find with amazing sound and music since the first one went up in 2013. It's one of the liveliest, best sounding Phase 4 titles we have heard in quite a while. Stampers simply do not get much hotter than these.


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Eric Clapton - Backless

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: claptbackl_2015) 



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

The true test for side two was the second track, the old blues song Early In The Morning. It's by far the best sounding track on the album, with huge space, rich bass, a fat snare and Tubey Magic to die for. This is the kind of sound that only the likes of Glyn Johns can get down on tape, live in the studio no doubt, and it made it easy to do the shootout for side two. The bigger, the richer, the tubier, the more transparent the better, and this copy took top honors on the side. It is THE track to demo with.

See all of our Eric Clapton and Cream albums in stock


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Queen - A Day At the Races

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: queenadaya_2015) 



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

TWO SUPERB A+++ SIDES! Big and lively, rich and full, clear and open, no other copy in our shootout impressed us as much as this one.

Most of the copies we played weren't even worth putting a grade on. We would feel horrible selling a record that we knew sounded as bad as those dogs. It may never be a Demo Disc, but on a White Hot Stamper copy like this it's a whole lot of fun!

More Queen


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Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: zappagrand_2015) 



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

The Tubey Magic found on the title cut is really something to hear. The Grand Wazoo now gets my vote as the best sounding record Zappa ever made (along with Absolutely Free).

More Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention


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George Benson - White Rabbit

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bensowhite_2015) 



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

We recently conducted another extensive shootout for White Rabbit and it was a BLAST. It always is. Benson and his funky jazz all-stars buds (Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and Airto to name a few) tear through some great material here, and on both sides of this copy the sound as KILLER.

If you want to hear the best George Benson record we know of, this is the one. The Grammy-winning Breezin' from 1976 is a perfectly good album but it's quite a bit more commercial than the earlier White Rabbit here from 1972, his first album to make the top ten on the jazz charts.

More George Benson


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Henry Mancini - Our Man In Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: manciourma_2015) 



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

This Minty RCA Living Stereo LP (LSP 2604) has AMAZINGLY Three-Dimensional Tubey Magical Living Stereo Sound on on both sides. Most original LSP pressings, of this or any other LSP title, do not begin to recreate the Studio Wizardry found on this pressing. This wonderful recording rivals the best Chet Atkins and Bob and Rays in all their delicious Cinerama glory.

Thank Al Schmitt for delivering top quality sound on this all tube 1963 recording!

See all of our Henry Mancini albums in stock


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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra Sings... of Love and Things

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatsings_2015) 



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

The music is excellent as one can see from the track listing. It's hard to go wrong with these later Capitol Sinatra records. They're almost always a fun listen.

This album comprises the last group of singles Capitol released of Sinatra's music. Reprise had started in 1960 and the rest of Sinatra's music would come out on his own label. Somehow he managed to record and release six studio albums in 1962, with this compilation making a total of seven for the year. Even more remarkable, all seven of them made the Top Ten of the pop charts.

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Frank Sinatra - All Alone

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatallal_2015) 



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

The biggest issue with Reprise-era Sinatra is always grit and grain, and we're happy to report that this superb pressing has very little of either.

Also it's often the case that the strings may seem a bit shrill or smeary (or both; smear itself can actually make the strings sound shrill). The more harmonically correct and rosiny the string tone the better, obviously.

More Frank Sinatra


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Frank Sinatra - No One Cares

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatnoone_2015) 



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

Those of you looking for vintage, quiet, great sounding Sinatra albums may be waiting a very long time for a copy of this title. Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit worse is going to be about the best we can do. After more than twenty years of searching we know what to expect, and to expect a quiet early pressing at this late stage of the game is surely a recipe for disappointment. We do the best we can with what we have to work with. The sound here is not perfect but it is quite a bit better than most of the copies you may find in the bins, and certainly a lot quieter.

More Frank Sinatra


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Frank Sinatra - Come Dance With Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatcomed_2015) 



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

Get ready to swing with the Chairman of the Board on this incredible White Hot Stamper pressing of this classic album from 1959! This is one of the more fun Sinatra albums we've had the pleasure of playing around here, and this is a copy that delivers BIG TIME. Billy May and his orchestra back Frank with wonderful arrangements here, and a copy like this lets you appreciate everyone's hard work. The brass blasts on side two are to die for!

More Frank Sinatra


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Chet Atkins - The Other Chet Atkins

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: atkinother_2015) 



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

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

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Various Artists - Destination Stereo

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: variodesti_fame) 



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

Side one is White Hot, with some of the best 1959 Living Stereo we've ever heard. Explosive dynamics, HUGE space and size, with unerringly correct tonality, this is a Demo Disc like no other. When "in -the-know" audiophiles discuss soundstaging and depth, they had better be talking about a record that sounds like this. Shockingly real - proof positive that the cutting systems of the day are capable of much better sound than we normally assume.

More Living Stereo


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Roxy Music - Country Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: roxymcount_fame) 



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

Many of the best songs Ferry ever wrote and Roxy ever played are on this album. Musically it's right up there with the first album and Siren, both early '70s Art Rock landmarks.

In our experience the right British original Sunray (Pink Rim) Island pressing will always win the shootout if you have a good pile of copies to play. There are some bad sounding Island LPs out there, so don’t assume the Sunray is the answer. It’s potentially the right answer. Without at least five copies in hand you won't know for sure whether the copy you like is truly a Hot Stamper or not-that-hot-of-a-stamper.

More Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry


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Leonard Bernstein - Conducts Symphonic Dances...

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bernssymph_fame) 




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

One of the great Columbia recordings. I suspected it might have been done at the legendary 30th St studios in New York but I was wrong, Manhattan Center's huge stage served as the venue. Either way the sound is no less glorious.

More of the music of (or music conducted or performed by) Leonard Bernstein


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Marty Robbins - Hawaii's Calling Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: robbihawai_fame) 



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

Hearing this kind of Tubey Magical, tonally correct, rich, sweet, spacious sound is nothing less than a THRILL. The Analog sound of this pressing makes a mockery of even the most advanced digital playback systems, including the ones that haven't been invented yet. I'd love to play this for Neil Young so he can see what he's up against. Good Luck, Neil, you're going to need it.

More Marty Robbins


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Jimmy Dean - Everybody's Favorite

with Plenty of '60s Tubey Magic

  (Item #: dean_every_tubey_magic) 



Here is the kind of Tubey Magical richness records routinely offered in 1963. Don Law produced Everybody's Favorite down in Nashville so it's the real deal all right. If you liked our killer Marty Robbins' Hot Stampers you most likely will get a big kick out of this one too. A forgotten sound? Not at Better Records it isn't.

If you need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings, we have just the ticket. The records linked HERE are positively dripping with it.


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The Who - Who By Numbers

More Bass or More Detail, Which Is Right?

  (Item #: who__whoby_wtlf_2015) 



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

With Doug Sax mastering from the real tape, you get a Rock Solid Bottom End like you will not believe. Talk about punchy, well-defined and deep, man, this record has BASS that you sure don't hear too often on rock records.

More by The Who


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Dave Brubeck - Bossa Nova USA

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: brubebossa_fame) 



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

Who knew? Not us and not anybody else it seems. We are not aware that any of the audiophile cognoscenti have ever taken this recording seriously, but that just goes to show how uninformed -- or perhaps more likely underinformed -- they've always been.

Gems such as this sit undiscovered even after thousands of pages of audiophile record reviews have been written. Then, along come a handful of guys in Thousand Oaks, California many years later, 52 to be exact, and reveal to the world a heretofore all but unknown yet nonetheless amazing Brubeck record.

See all of our Dave Brubeck albums in stock


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Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: blackblack_2015) 



Yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

We played the album very loud, as loud as we could, and still we wanted more volume! That's what a good record is all about -- the louder you play it the better it sounds.

If you like the raw, rockin’ sound of early Zep, you should have a blast with this album. It's a shockingly good recording, and the music is of course as heavy as it gets for 1970.

See all of our Black Sabbath albums in stock


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Richard & Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights

The Best Sounding Record of the Decade?

  (Item #: thompshoot_2015) 



Without a doubt this is the best record Richard and Linda Thompson ever made together, possibly the best record Thompson was ever involved with, but it also holds one other important distinction, one of great interest to us audiophiles: it's the BEST SOUNDING record he (they) ever made as well.

As I was playing the finalists for side two (at ear-splitting levels I might add) an odd thought crossed my mind. Where had I heard this kind of monstrous, punchy bass and these soaring, perfectly distorted guitars, so big and so powerful, before? There was something about the sound - the awesome energy, the freedom from compression or spatial restraint of any kind - that was strangely familiar from another shootout.

More Richard Thompson


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Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bernswests_fame) 



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

SUPERB sound can be found on these two Columbia stereo pressings of the Broadway Cast recording. This is a huge, spacious, natural, exciting All-Tube Golden Age recording that impressed us no end here at Better Records.

We heard an amazing sounding copy many years ago, and the only reason we haven't done the shootout since then is that we just couldn't find enough clean copies with which to do it. To be clear, we're not talking quiet vinyl, we're talking about not beat-to-death, not all-scractched-up vinyl. People loved this music and they played the hell out of it.

More of the music of (or music conducted or performed by) Leonard Bernstein


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The Fleetwood Mac You Don't Know

Kiln House

  (Item #: fleetkilnh_know) 



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.

Kiln House is one of the all-time great Fleetwood Mac albums. It’s the first they recorded after Peter Green left. With Green gone Jeremy Spencer’s influence came to the fore. He was apparently quite a fan of Buddy Holly. His songs are straightforward and unerringly melodic.

More Fleetwood Mac


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