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War - Deliver The Word

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: war__deliv_2019) 



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

WONDERFUL JAZZ / FUNK / SOUL SOUND from start to finish! We just finished our first big shootout for this fun album -- the All Music Guide calls it "a magical ride with plenty of surprises to keep the listener on his or her toes" and we couldn't agree more! This copy gives you punchy bass, airy flutes, hard-hitting percussion and loads of Tubey Magic. Most copies we played had too much hardness, edge, and honk, but this one is smooth, sweet and rich.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: fitzgclaph_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D (at best)

There is no reissue, and there will never be a reissue, that will sound as good as a good original of Clap Hands. The Classic Heavy Vinyl Reissue is a disgrace; I would rather play the CD.

Long time customers know that I have been raving about this album from way back in 1990 or so - ever since I first heard it in fact. I consider it the finest female vocal album in the history of the world. I could go on for pages about this music. Suffice to say this is a record that belongs in every human being’s record collection.

Just not the Classic Records pressing of it.

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Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive

What to Listen For

  (Item #: frampframpton_comes_wtlf) 



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

What to listen for you ask? Dynamic, soaring guitar solos! On the best copies the guitar solos are the loudest parts of some songs, which, as everyone who's ever been to a rock concert knows, is exactly what happens in live rock music.

Not many live albums are mixed to allow the guitar solos to rock the way these do. Since Frampton is one of my favorite players, hearing his solos get loud on this album is nothing less than a thrill.

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Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: frampframpton_comes_2015) 



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

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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Eric Clapton - E.C. Was Here

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: claptecwas_2008) 



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

This is a Minty looking RSO Promo LP with the promotional DJ sticker listing suggested cuts for air play.

This album has SURPRISINGLY GOOD sound and even more suprisingly, GOOD MUSIC. Eric Clapton has made very few consistently good albums, considering his career is going on 40 years. 'Slowhand', 'Unplugged', and his first album come to mind. After that it's pretty slim pickins.

Now you can add this one to the list. This shows Clapton at his bluesy best. Two tracks from 'Blind Faith' are especially well done.

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Frank Sinatra and Count Basie - Sinatra At The Sands

What to Listen For

  (Item #: sinatatthe_wtlf) 



There is some edge on Sinatra's voice on every side of every copy; it's so common it's got to be on the tape. Those copies with less edge and grit on the vocals which are not overly smooth or dull tend to do very well in our shootouts.

Also, richness is very important. We look for a combination of rich, Tubey Magical sound that still maintains a fair amount of space, clarity, transparency and freedom from smear.

The original label pressings (always in stereo; the monos are really a joke) are richer and thicker as a rule.

The pressings with the orange two-tone labels tend to be thinner and clearer. A high percentage of them are much too modern sounding, bright and gritty, and when they are we throw them right in the trade-in pile.

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Billie Holiday - Songs for Distingue Lovers

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: holidsongs_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: B?

Probably a fairly good Classic Records jazz album.

Back in the day we noted that: "This is one of the best Billie Holiday records around" and we stand by that statement.

By the way, we have never had a Hot Stamper pressing of the album on the site because we simply cannot find enough clean copies with which to do a shootout!

For thirty bucks the price of this Heavy Vinyl pressing has to be seen as a bargain.

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Duke Ellington - Ellington Indigos

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: ellinindig_2018) 



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

This 6-Eye Stereo pressing blew us away with its superbly well recorded romantic big band jazz, of which Ellington was a master. Both sides of this pressing are huge, rich, tubey and clear. This is absolutely the right sound for this music. A near-perfect demonstration of just how good 1958 All Tube Analog sound can be - no modern record can hold a candle to a pressing as good as this one. If you like your jazz ballads performed with deep feeling, by a road-tested group of virtuoso players, this record is for you.

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Spooky Tooth - Witness

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: spookwitne_2007) 



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

This very nice looking Island Sunray British Import LP has GREAT SOUND on side one -- we rate it A++ or thereabouts. (There may be a copy out there that’s worthy of our Triple Plus grade and there may not; this is the first clean early British copy we’ve played and it sounded so good to us we didn’t think there was much room for improvement, on side one anyway. Hence the grade.)

Although it’s not Glyn Johns that engineered this album, it was recorded at Island and Olympic studios, both of which are top quality locations famous for producing some of the best sounding rock records in the history of the world.

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Spooky Tooth - The Last Puff

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: spooklastp_2018) 



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

"It's a good, solid effort that includes a burning cover of the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus." Unfortunately, Spooky Tooth didn't stay together to reap the rewards of this new combination of musicians."

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Spooky Tooth - It’s All About

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: spookitsal_2008) 



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

This lovely Island Sunray British Import LP has some of the BEST SOUND I’ve ever heard for this band. Glyn Johns has done it again! Side one is amazing -- super sweet and spacious, OVERFLOWING with tubey magic. If you love trippy pop as much as we do here at Better Records -- think Dark Side of the Moon, Taking Tiger Mountain, Ambrosia, Magical Mystery Tour, Thick As A Brick and the like -- you may find this one right up your alley.

The sound by Glyn Johns absolutely blew us away; not many records in the last thirty years have been recorded this well.

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The Doors - Alive, She Cried

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: doorsalive_2015) 



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

Most copies we played lacked bass in a big way, but this one's got the kind of strong bottom end that makes the music really work. The sound is richer and fuller than we heard elsewhere; many copies were so clean that they sounded like CDs. This one really communicates the energy of a Doors concert, which is exactly what we want from a live album. The clarity, presence, transparency and energy are superior to most of the other copies we played.

More by The Doors


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Otis Redding - Good To Me - Live at the Whisky A Go Go Volume 2

Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: reddigoodt_1993) 



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

This Stax British Import Mint Review copy is a Better Records highly recommended recording. If I had to choose one Otis Redding record to keep, this would be the one! As good as his studio albums are, the guy was MAGICAL live.

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Otis Redding - The Immortal Otis Redding

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: reddiimmor_2018) 



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

An incredible sounding copy with a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two. This vintage Plum and Tan label LP plays pretty darn quietly for an original Atco pressing - we've never heard one quieter.

What won our shootout was whichever copy had the least amount of grit and spit on Otis's vocals, the most space, the most natural and immediate presentation of the singer, along with the most correct tonality.

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George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: harriallth_2018) 



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

To say that this one has been a long time coming would be an understatement! FINALLY, an incredible sounding copy of All Things Must Pass. Stunning shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all six sides (!).

It's also worth mentioning that this is one of the nicer boxes we've come across for this title. It's the thicker box which has stood the test of time a little better than the narrower version. Those are usually in pretty poor shape and we should know because we have a bunch of problematical boxes sitting right here.

More George Harrison / More Beatles


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Anita Baker - Giving You The Best That I Got

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: bakergivin_2013) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Anita Baker LP has an AMAZING A+++ SIDE TWO and a great A+ - A++ side one, both very quiet, giving you excellent sound for this '80s soul classic! We remembered this as a good recording and were still surprised with how good the best copies sounded. All Music Guide gave it four out of five stars, calling it "far superior to most of 1988's uninspired R&B releases."

See all of our Soul and R&B albums in stock


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Love - Revisited

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: love_revis_2018) 



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

Two incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sides! We had a chance to shootout a handful of copies recently and didn't hear any other copies that could compete with this Elektra Original Pressing. We are HUGE fans of Love and this copy will show you why. Both sides are lively and full-bodied and the bottom end is KILLER throughout. In short, it's EXACTLY the sound you want for this music. Give it a chance and you'll hear for yourself!

See all of our Love albums in stock


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John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: coltrloves_2018) 



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

The original Impulse pressings on the brown and orange label are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that plays into one of the biggest canards in all of record collecting, that the first pressings are always the best sounding.

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Paul McCartney Testimonial

... Maybe I’m Amazed gave me goosebumps ...

  (Item #: mccarmccar1_testimonial) 



Rick sent us this letter recently after having played his first Hot Stamper, the first record he ever bought from us, how about that! At $300 it wasn’t cheap, but the best things in life never are, and certainly there is little in the world of audio that's cheap and much good. This is not a cheap hobby if you want to do it right, and even tons of money doesn't guarantee you will get good sound. It's far more complicated than that. To quote Winston Churchill, it takes "blood, toil, tears and sweat."

He went on to say "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs... Victory, however long and hard the road may be..."

More Paul McCartney and Wings


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Paul McCartney - McCartney

British Artist, British Pressing... Right?

  (Item #: mccarmccar1_myth) 



Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

In our experience, the real McCartney Magic is only found on the best domestic Apple pressings. We've never heard an import that knocked our socks off, and the later CBS issues are hardly worth the vinyl they're pressed on. Then again, many of the domestic Apples are garbage too. You've got to clean and play a whole lotta copies to find a copy with truly Hot Stamper sound.

More Paul McCartney and Wings


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Paul McCartney - McCartney

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mccarmccar1_2013) 



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

This stunning 2-pack of McCartney's solo debut has AMAZING A+++ SOUND FROM START TO FINISH! It's been AGES since we've heard a copy like this. Both sides have the kind of clarity, transparency and immediacy you need for this album to sound its best. Those qualities let you hear all the detail, nuance, and texture to the instruments that you just don't get on the average pressing.

Both of the copies in this 2-pack have one amazing side and one side that just didn't meet our standards, so we combined them to give you excellent sound for the entire album.

More Paul McCartney and Wings


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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzehouse_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

We can describe the sound in two words: ridiculously bright. Honestly, what more need be said?

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings for comparison purposes. After all, these Classic LPs are what many -- perhaps most -- audiophiles consider superior to other pressings.

More Houses of the Holy


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Leonard Bernstein - Conducts Symphonic Dances...

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bernsconducts_2015) 



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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Miles Davis - Miles In The Sky

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: davismiles_in_2014) 



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

WONDERFUL SOUND on both sides of this Columbia 360 Label pressing! We just finished a big shootout for this wonderful Miles Davis album and this copy was dramatically better sounding than most. Both sides have excellent bass, correct sounding brass, wonderful transparency and loads of tubey magic. The music is wonderful, Miles with his classic '60s quintet (Hancock, Shorter, Carter, Williams) with the addition of George Benson on one song.

Miles is backed by his classic '60s crew -- Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter & Tony Williams.

More Miles Davis


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Gershwin / All the Works for Orchestra / Slatkin / Siegel

Not Recormmended

  (Item #: gershallth_2010) 



A Hall of Shame 3 Record set that had us asking: Why would anyone want to own this awful set? TAS List or no TAS List, the performances are much too slow for my taste.
More of the music of George Gershwin


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Electric Light Orchestra - The Electric Light Orchestra

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: electelect_2012) 



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

A++ sound on both sides for the crazy and wonderful debut album from ELO, an album that almost never sounds good! We had a bunch of these on hand and put them to the test recently. Most of them did not have the kind of sound that we were hoping for, but with enough copies on hand we were able to find a couple of winners. This one had our highest rated side one (A++ was as far as we wanted to go) and one of the better side twos as well. It isn't a Demo Disc by any means but if you're a fan of the band I'm sure you'll be surprised at how much better a Super Hot Stamper like this one communicates the music.

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Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Live and Learn

  (Item #: youngevery_wrong) 



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

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

More Neil Young


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David Bowie - Let’s Dance

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: bowieletsd_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

With Let's Dance the name of the game is ENERGY, and boy does this copy have it! Both sides have the deep, punchy bass and sweet, extended highs that Bowie's music needs to come ALIVE. With that big bass and smooth top end this is one record you can turn up GOOD and LOUD without fear of fatique. On a big pair of dynamic speakers you will really get your money's worth from the best Hot Stamper pressings.

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Billie Holiday - All Or Nothing At All

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: holidallor_2018) 



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

A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish, on quiet vinyl to boot. This is one of the best sounding Billie Holiday records we have ever heard - it's even a clear step up from the originals we had on hand. This 2 LP set features most of the tracks from the original release plus another handful of recordings from the same period (1955-1956)

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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Shaded Dog Originals Suck

  (Item #: tchaisym6_1901) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

We've played at least three Shaded Dogs of LSC 1901 since 2011 and all three were AWFUL. A recent reissue showed us the light.

The size and scope of this recording is enormous, with the orchestral sections clearly staged wide and deep. Where is the old tube smear and compression and opacity? It must not be on the tape, because I hear no trace of it.

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


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: tchaisym6_1009_2011) 



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

This remastered Victrola version of the original Living Stereo pressing (LSC 1901) is guaranteed to KILL any and all originals -- Shaded Dogs, White Dogs, Red Seals -- you name it, this pressing will beat the pants off of it, guaranteed. I've played many copies of the earlier RCAs and I have surely never heard one sound like this, with so much LIFE and CLARITY. Where is all the old cutter head distortion, congestion and frequency limiting? It's sure not here!

See more entries in our Originals vs. Reissues series


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tchaisym6_2012) 



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

Presenting a first for Better Records: a White Hot Stamper copy of this CORRECTLY remastered version of LSC 1901, which just happens to be a recording from the earliest days of stereo, 1955! It's guaranteed to KILL any and all original Shaded Dogs, as well as the more common reissues; White Dogs, Red Seals, Gold Seals, Victrolas, Classic Heavy Vinyl, you name it, this pressing will beat the pants off of it and in the process show you precisely what is wrong with each and every one of them.

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


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Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto #2 / Cliburn / Reiner

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: rachmconce_2601_2011) 



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

We dropped the needle on side one of this lovely and quite rare Shaded Dog pressing and heard very good Living Stereo orchestral sound. We ended up giving it a sonic grade of A+ to A++.

When we flipped it over and heard the sound on side two, our jaws hit the ground (simultaneously? Can't say for sure). WOW! It's clearly one of the BEST piano concerto recordings we have ever had the pleasure of placing on our turntable. It puts to shame 98% of the piano recordings we've played over the years. Who knew LSC 2601 could sound so good?

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)


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B.B. King - Blues On Top Of Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: king_blues_on_top_2017) 



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

There were some gritty, thin copies in our shootout that took all the fun out of the music, but fortunately we found this killer pressing that had us really enjoying this batch of songs from The Master of the Blues himself, Mr. B.B. King.

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Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: minguahum_2018) 



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

This freakishly good 360 beat our best 6 Eye Stereo original, not to mention every other pressing in our shootout as well - darn quiet too. Another amazing 30th Street Studio recording by the legendary Fred Plaut - if you like Kind of Blue, here's another album with that sound (same year, same studio, same engineer).

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White Hot Stamper

West, Bruce & Laing
Why Dontcha

  (Item #: westbwhydo_2018) 


  • Stunning sound throughout with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and solid Double Plue (A++) sound on side two
  • Big, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with much smoother, noticeably more natural sound than practically any other copy we played
  • Include's the trio's biggest hit, "The Doctor", which sounds phenomenal on this White Hot Side one
  • "Their debut album, Why Dontcha, continued with the heavy blues and rock templates already familiar to fans of both Cream and Mountain... a wonderful effort by some amazingly talented musicians... Cream meets Mountain... put it on, and turn it up…loud." - Consequence of Sound
See all of our West, Bruce, & Laing albums in stock


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Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues

Implore You to Turn Up Your Volume

  (Item #: mayor_volume_1_loud) 



S9 is hands down the best example of a recording that truly comes to life when you Turn Up Your Volume.

There's not much ambience to be found in their somewhat dead sounding studio, and very little high frequency boost to any instrument in the soundfield, which means at moderate levels this record sounds flat and lifeless. (You could say it has that in common with most Heavy Vinyl pressings these days, if you wanted to take a cheap shot at those records, which, to be honest, I don't mind doing. They suck; why pretend otherwise?)

See all of our Direct to Disc recordings in stock


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Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues (S9)

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mayor_volume_1_2010) 



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

WOW! Here's a stunningly good sounding and shockingly quiet copy of The Big One -- Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues' first Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP aka S9. We've been comparing and contrasting pressings of this album for a long time and this is one of the very best -- and QUIETEST -- copies we've ever had the good luck to stumble on. The sound is BIG, RICH and FULL OF ENERGY. We gave side one an A++ and side two our top grade of A+++. It is ridiculously tough to find this record anymore, let alone a pressing this amazing. Who knows when we'll find another copy, let alone one that sounds like this!

More Direct to Disc recordings


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The Beatles Heavy Rubber Soul

Finally, MF and Better Records Can Agree on Something

  (Item #: beatlrubbe_heavy_vinyl) 



We are so excited to tell you about the first of the Heavy Vinyl Beatles remasters we've played! As we cycle through our regular Hot Stamper shootouts for The Beatles' albums we will be of course be reviewing more of them*. I specifically chose this one to start with, having spent a great deal of time over the last year testing the best vinyl pressings against three different CD versions of Rubber Soul.

The short version of our review of the new Rubber Soul vinyl would simply point out that it's awful, and, unsurprisingly, it's awful in most of the ways that practically all modern Heavy Vinyl records are: it's opaque, airless, energyless and just a drag.

More Rubber Soul


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Otis Redding - The Dock of the Bay

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: reddidocko_2017) 



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

This vintage Atco pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign of coming back.

More Otis Redding


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Gene Ammons / Sonny Stitt - Prime Cuts

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: ammonprime_2005) 



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

This Two-fer contains the complete albums: Boss Tenors and Boss Tenors in Orbit from 1962, two classic jazz recordings with EXCELLENT SOUND.

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Rossini / Overtures / Maag / PCO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rossiovert_2013) 



The London and Decca original pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that's just another Record Myth.

This Stereo Treasury pressing of Maag's 1958 recording is shockingly good in many ways. It sure doesn't sound like a budget reissue. If anything it sounds more original than the originals we played against it!

More of the music of Ottorino Rossini (1879-1936)


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King Crimson - Lizard

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: kingclizar_2018) 



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

  • Incredible sound throughout with both sides of this copy winning our recent shootout and in the process earning our top grade of Triple Plus (A+++). Every bit the sonic equal of the first album, if you colorful Big Production Jazzy Prog Rock (with mellotron!) is your thing you can't go wrong here.
    More King Crimson


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  • Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come

    Reviewed in 2005

      (Item #: colemshape_2005) 



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

    This minty avant-garde jazz record has AMAZING SOUND! The recording is by the famous engineer Bones Howe, the man behind some of the greatest pop and jazz recordings of all time. He gets some of that Rudy Van Gelder bite that we love, but with less distortion and more dynamic contrasts. Whether you'll like the music or not is another question -- this is free form jazz; not everybody's into it, that's for sure.

    More Ornette Coleman


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    Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - Ella and Basie!

    Reviewed in 2004

      (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_2004) 



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

    This early British import KILLS the Speakers Corner 180 gram reissue! I still like their version but this is what it should have sounded like: tonally much fuller and richer. The 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. I've never heard this album sound better and I doubt that it really can sound much better than this. This copy makes me want to turn it up as loud as the stereo will go and let those wonderful Quincy Jones arrangements come to life!

    More Ella Fitzgerald


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    Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - Ella and Basie!

    Speakers Corner Debunked

      (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_speakers_corner) 



    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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    Ella & Basie - Ella and Basie!

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_2018) 



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

    Take it from an Ella fan, you can't go wrong with this one. On the best pressings, the sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album with big band backup. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a good copy, but what you would really be demonstrating is music that the listener probably isn't familiar with, and that's the best reason to put on an old record.

    More Ella Fitzgerald / More Count Basie


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    Nat King Cole - Just One Of Those Things

    S&P (DCC) Reviewed

      (Item #: cole_justo_reviewed) 



    Sonic Grade: C+

    S+P's 180g reissue has some nice qualities, but it isn't especially natural, nor is it Tubey Magical the way the real Capitol pressings are. Ambience and instrumental textures are sorely lacking, although to be honest, considering how bad most Capitol pressings are, it's still a step up from the average copy sitting in your local store's used record bins.

    More Nat "King" Cole


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    Nat King Cole - Nat King Cole Sings/ George Shearing Plays

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: cole_nat_king_cole_sings_2013) 



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

    Excellent sound on both sides! We picked up a bunch of pressings of this great collaboration album featuring the vocals of Nat King Cole and the piano work of George Shearing. The better pressings like this one are wonderful sonically, putting Cole's voice right up front with lots of breath and texture. It's very tough to find great sound for Nat King Cole, so here's a rare chance to hear what he can sound like on a strong pressing.

    More Nat "King" Cole


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    Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009 in Mono

      (Item #: dylantimes_2009) 



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

    This 360 Label Original Columbia Mono LP, complete with the rare lyric sheet, has two LOVELY sounding sides that rate A++ or better. I was actually a big fan of the Sundazed Mono, but this has more of that Tubey Magic, richness, and overall naturalness that you find on old records, qualities that seem to be sorely lacking on even the best 180 gram remasterings. MoFi also did this record and ruined it in the process (shocker!).

    More Bob Dylan


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    Frank Sinatra - Only The Lonely

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: sinatonlyt_2015) 



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

    It is TOUGH to find a good sounding Only The Lonely, but this pressing really delivers. Frank's vocals sound present, breathy, and full -- just the way they need to.

    We get asked about Sinatra records all the time, but we hardly ever find stuff good enough to list on the site. And when we manage to, this stuff tends to get snapped up QUICKLY. Everyone needs a good Sinatra record or two in their collection, maybe this is the one for you?

    More Frank Sinatra


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    Berlioz / Music Of Berlioz / Martinon

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: berlimusic_15031_2011) 



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

    This English Stereo Treasury pressing (on an odd lookinig Orange label, with handwritten stampers I have never seen before) has a SUPERB side two and side one is almost as good! The original release is London CS 6101 and I doubt most copies of it would sound this good.

    This is Classic Old School Decca sound, rich and smooth with an exceptionally wide and deep soundstage. All the instruments are clear and have good texture, which is what one rarely hears on the most early pressings, which tend to be thick and dark. A little more top and this side two would have earned the full Three Pluses.

    More of the music of Hector Berlioz


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    Paul Desmond - Take Ten

    Our Shootout Winner from 2012

      (Item #: desmotaket_2018) 



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

    For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you're looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick.

    This vintage pressing is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you'll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.

    More Paul Desmond


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    Dave Brubeck Quartet - Newport 1958

    Reviewed in 2011

      (Item #: brubenewpo_2011) 



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

    This is a very nice looking Columbia Six-Eye LP. The sound here is actually pretty good, particularly on side one. It's open and present, relaxed and natural, with some nice weight to the piano and fairly tight bass. It's not exactly a knockout, but if you're looking for a musical and enjoyable copy this one should do the trick. Side two is almost as good, and both sides have been through our extensive cleaning process.

    More Dave Brubeck


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    Berlioz / Symphonie Fantastique / Fourestier

    Reviewed in 2010

      (Item #: berlisymph_2011) 



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

    This obscure French label stereo reissue of an original Omega recording from the '60s is SUPERB SOUNDING, without a doubt the best sound I have ever heard for the work. (The stereo is much better these days than it was years ago when we auditioned other pressings, so comparisons with those other, older records are practically pointless.)

    And the performance is Top Notch as well; I know of none better.

    More of the music of Hector Berlioz


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    John Coltrane - Giant Steps

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: coltrgiant_2016) 



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

    As you might expect, the original Blue and Green label pressings have -- potentially -- superb sound on Giant Steps, but somewhat surprisingly -- assuming you've heard a White Hot original copy -- the Red and Green label pressings can sound every bit as good.

    The Tubey Magical richness and warmth carried over into the '70s, at least on some copies of this title, and we're very glad they did, as finding clean original Coltrane albums from the early '60s is not so easy these days.

    More Giant Steps / More John Coltrane


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    Barney Kessel - Some Like It Hot

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: kessesomel_2018_) 



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

    This is absolutely the right sound for this music. There was simply nothing that could beat the Triple Plus side, in any area of reproduction. If you like the sound of relaxed, All Tube jazz recordings, you can't do much better than Some Like It Hot. Many of the copies we played suffered from blubbery bass and transient smearing, but the clarity and bass definition here are surprisingly good.

    More Barney Kessel


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    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

    A Review of the Classic Records Pressing

      (Item #: crosbdejav_classic_records) 



    Sonic Grade: F

    A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP badly mastered for the benefit of credulous audiophiles.

    If you bought the Classic Record Heavy Vinyl pressing, you should know by now how badly Classic Records ripped you off.

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


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    Peggy Lee - Latin ala Lee!

    S&P (Reviewed in the '00s)

      (Item #: lee__latin_S_and_P) 



    Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in the 2003 when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

    The Record of the Year for 2003. I know how crazy that sounds, but it's true! If you don't have a smile on your face fifteen seconds after playing track one, you better check your pulse, cuz, as the famous song has it: Jack, You Dead. Amazingly good sound, courtesy of a fabulous and painstakingly difficult remix by the mastering guru himself, Steve Hoffman. This is popular music for the previous generation -- but why should we be denied these long forgotten treasures?

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    Leon Russell - Leon Russell and the Shelter People

    We Broke Through in 2017

      (Item #: russeleonr_2017) 



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

    The domestic pressings of Leon Russell and the Shelter People that we'd auditioned over the years always seemed flat, dry, and closed-in. We know that sound well; it's the sound you hear on records that have been made from dubbed tapes (and it's the hallmark of the modern Heavy Vinyl reissue, truth be told). It bores us to tears, and had us questioning what we could possibly have seen in the album in the first place. What happened to the glorious sound of early '70s analog we were expecting to find?

    More Leon Russell


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    David Bowie - Young Americans

    Listening in Depth

      (Item #: bowieyoung_depth) 



    Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

    This is one of my favorite Bowie albums. Nobody seems to care about it anymore. They dismiss it as disco junk, but it actually has some of his best music on it. I especially like the song Win. David Sanborn's saxophone sounds like it's coming from 60 feet behind Bowie, a nice effect.

    More David Bowie


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    Martin Denny - Quiet Village

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009

      (Item #: dennyquiet_2010) 



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

    This Superb sounding Hot Stamper copy of Quiet Village has a lot in common with the other Bachelor Pad / Exotica titles we've listed over the years, albums by the likes of Esquivel, Dick Schory, Edmundo Ros, Arthur Lyman and others.

    But c'mon, nobody really buys these records for the music (although the music is thoroughly enchanting). It's all about the Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation, the wacky 3-D sound effects (of real birds and otherwise) and the heavily percussive arrangements. In all of these areas and more this record does not disappoint.

    More Martin Denny


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    Duke Ellington & Count Basie - The Count Meets the Duke

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: ellinfirst_2018) 



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

    Huge amounts of three-dimensional space and ambience, and rich Tubey Magic by the boatload - this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then. Quiet throughout - good luck finding a Six Eye Stereo pressing this nice on your own, they sure don't grow on trees.

    More Duke Ellington


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    Ten Years After - Ten Years After

    Reviewed in 2008

      (Item #: tenyetenye_2008) 



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

    I had no idea the band's first album was recorded this well. I expected it to sound something like an old Rolling Stones Decca -- tubey magical but plagued by a fair amount of compression, distortion and limited at both ends of the frequency spectrum.

    More Ten Years After


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    Linda Ronstadt - Silk Purse

    Reviewed in 2010

      (Item #: ronstsilkp_2010) 



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

    We played several copies of this album, and while it's no demo disc by any means, this copy was far and away the best sounding of the group. We can't quite bring ourselves to call it a Hot Stamper. Technically of course it is -- it's a pressing that's superior to all the others we've played -- but as the recording itself has some serious shortcomings we'll just call it a Pretty Good Stamper.

    More Linda Ronstadt


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    Louis Armstrong - I’ve Got The World on a String

    Classic Records Reviewed

      (Item #: armstivego_classic_records) 



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


    Sonic Grade: B (probably)

    I first heard this album on the wonderful Classic Records pressing from the '90s. I remember really enjoying the music and liking the sound of Bernie Grundman's remaster very much. We reviewed and recommended the album (along with Under the Stars) in our old paper catalogs.

    More Louis Armstrong


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    Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: monk_monks_dream_2013) 



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

    Full, rich, spacious, BIG and PRESENT, with almost no smear. This is Classic Columbia 360 Label sound from their legendary 30th Street studios.

    You may notice that very few Monk records go up on the site. We do occasionally find copies with Hot Stampers, but most of those sell directly to our best customers. We hope to be putting more up as time goes on. However, finding clean Monk with good sound is not as easy as it sounds (unless you are willing to pay the big bucks). We do have this one to offer, for those of you who prize adventurous jazz.

    See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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    Thelonious Monk - Monk's Blues

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: monk_monks_blues_2013) 



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

    WONDERFUL BIG BAND MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound -- natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT -- totally free of the "RVG squawk" we often hear on old Blue Notes. The clarity and transparency are superb throughout.

    More Thelonious Monk


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    Brahms / Sonata in D Minor / Laredo

    Reviewed in 2007

      (Item #: brahmsonat_2414_2007) 



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

    DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND for this incredibly rare Living Stereo violin record.

    This is the first copy I've ever seen. Side one, the Brahms Sonata, has very good sound and is played beautifully. When I dropped the needle on side two I went "Wow!"

    More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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    Brahms / Piano Concerto #2 - Van Cliburn / Reiner / CSO

    Reviewed in 2005

      (Item #: brahmpc2_2581_2005) 



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

    This White Dog pressing is the best sounding copy I've ever heard, much better than the earlier pressings! The piano doesn''t break up like it does on those, especially in the second movement. Finally the piano sounds right - solid and with the correct overtones. It goes without saying that this is an exceptionally good performance as well. One of the best of the Cliburn recordings.

    More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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    Brahms / Piano Concerto #1 / Curzon / Szell

    Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

      (Item #: brahmpiano_speakers_corner) 



    Sonic Grade: B

    One of the better Speakers Corner Deccas. We haven't played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

    "One of the best of the Speakers Corner heavy vinyl reissues. As you may know they have gone way downhill lately. Haven't played this LP in a while but I remember liking it quite a bit."

    More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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    Brahms / Piano Concerto #1 / Curzon / Szell

    Reviewed in 2006

      (Item #: brahmpiano_6329_2006) 



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

    This is a Near Mint London Whiteback Import LP with an excellent side one. Side one sounds about as good as this record can sound -- smooth and sweet with a natural top end and plenty of deep bass. Side two is not quite as magical.

    More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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    Brahms / Piano Concerto #2 / Bachauer

    Reviewed in 2012

      (Item #: brahmpiano_2012) 



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

    This original Maroon Label Mercury pressing has big and rich Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, with a a side one that's very nearly as good.

    In fact the piano itself on side one earned a grade of A++ for its amazingly present and real sound. It's the orchestra that's the problem, but that happens quite often with Mercury concerto records in our experience. We're just happy that side two sounds so good and that side one is clearly a big step up from the average copy.

    More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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    Brahms / Violin Concerto In D Major / Stern / Ormandy

    Reviewed in 2009

      (Item #: brahmconce_2009) 



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

    This very nice looking Columbia LP has SUPERB SOUND on side two. The violin is much sweeter than on side one and there's much less distortion during the loud passages. If we were grading this as a Hot Stamper we'd give it about an A+ - A++. And on top of all that, Isaac Stern, never one of my favorite performers, is actually wonderful here. He plays beautifully.

    See all pressings of Johannes Brahms' music in stock


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    Jimmy Witherspoon - Blues For Easy Livers

    Our Shootout Winner from 2012

      (Item #: witheblues_2012) 



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

    Stunningly natural sound on this great Jazz / Blues / Male Vocal album! We've been picking these up when we find 'em clean -- no mean feat, I assure you -- and this copy did just what we were hoping for! This is one of the better sounding Male Vocal LPs to hit our turntable in recent months and I bet the same will hold true for you if you take this copy home. Side one rated A++, side two was even better at A+++ and both sides were even relatively quiet for an old Prestige LP.

    See some of our best sounding Vocal records


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    Julie London - Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 2

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: londojulie_is_2_2017) 



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

    The notes I took during this shootout lay out just how impressed I was with the sound of this remarkable copy:

    Wide stereo. Big Bass. Swingin'. Just the right amount of reverb. Tonal perfection. The stereo kills the mono (on this album, on the copies we played anyway).

    More Julie London


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    JS Bach / Glenn Gould Plays Bach / Gould

    Reviewed in 2012

      (Item #: bach_parti_2012) 



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

    This 3 LP set on the early White Arrows 360 Label has three sides that earned sonic grades of Super Hot or better, with two sides being White Hot and pretty darn amazing for an old Columbia pressing (Columbia being an egregiously bad label when it comes to the sound of their classical records).

    This set is highly regarded in classical circles and does not sit in the used record bins for cheap, even in reissue form, which limits our ability to find them and try them. On top of that there are six sides to play for every copy, so if is very unlikely we will be able to find a better copy for you down the road than this one anytime soon. The surfaces are about Mint Minus Minus, not bad for a solo piano record but not exactly quiet either.


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    Duke Ellington - Interpretations of Peer Gynt & more

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: ellinselec_2014) 



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

    One of Ellington's most enjoyable classic collaborations with Billy Strayhorn.

    A++, huge, so big it really fills the room from wall to wall, floor to ceiling. Not many records can do that. Clear and hi-rez. It could use more richness -- that alone would earn it another plus.

    More Duke Ellington


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    Duke Ellington - Newport Jazz Festival 1958

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: ellinnewpo_2011) 



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

    If you are a fan, this record will be a thrill. If you’re unfamiliar with the Duke's music, I can't imagine a better introduction than this.

    This LP also includes Gerry Mulligan's only performance with the Ellington band. Paul Gonsalves' saxophone performance is superb and worth the price of the album alone. The clarinet parts on Princess Blue are out of this world -- Ellington at his best!

    More Duke Ellington


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    Duke Ellington - Masterpieces By Ellington

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: ellinmaste_2018) 



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

    We've known about this wonderful album for decades, since first got hold of a red label copy from the '70s. Although not in the league with the best 6 eye pressings, even that late reissue had enough Columbia magic left in its grooves to impress the hell out of me.

    And the fact that a jazz album recorded in 1950 was still in print more than twenty years later is testament to the lasting power of Ellington's music. As Kenny Burrell would say, "Ellington Is Forever."

    More Duke Ellington


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    Ella Fitzgerald - The Johnny Mercer Song Book

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: fitzgsings_mercer_2017) 



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

    The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the many highlights to be found on the songbook series. By the time this album came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs worth of songbooks - this was the last, going out on a high note. Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In - Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You.

    See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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    Beethoven / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: beethvioli_1992_2017) 



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

    The reproduction of the violin here is superb -- harmonically rich, natural, clean, clear, resolving. What sets the truly killer pressings apart is the depth, width and three-dimensional quality of the sound, as well as the fact that they become less congested in the louder passages and don't get shrill or blary. The best copies display a Tubey Magical richness -- especially evident in the basses and celli -- that is to die for.

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


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    Hampton Hawes - The Green Leaves of Summer

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: hawesgreen_2018) 



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

    This Contemporary Yellow Label LP has wonderful Contemporary All Tube sound, courtesy of the amazing engineering of Howard Holzer. The piano is right -- weighty and percussive with a full-bodied tone. The bass definition is superb. The clarity and transparency here are nothing short of breathtaking.

    See all of our Hampton Hawes albums in stock


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    Beethoven / Haydn / The Heifetz - Piatigorsky Concerts

      (Item #: beethheife_2770_2010) 



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

    This is a lovely sounding Red Seal pressing of cello and violin, with smooth, natural, tonally correct sound and correctly sized instruments, something you don't much on recordings of Heifetz, which tend to have huge violins and small orchestras. In these chamber works perhaps the engineers had an easier time of getting it right. The sound is transparent, spacious and three-dimensional in the best Living Stereo tradition.

    If you love the sound of the violin and cello, played by virtuosos of the highest order, this is the record for you!

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


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    Glazounov & Mozart / Violin Concertos / Heifetz/ Hendl

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: glazoconce_2734_2011) 



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

    Hot Stamper sound on side one of this Shaded Dog pressing, and even better sound on side two for these two important works of the basic repertoire.

    The presentation of the violin on side one is present, one could even say immediate. It's not quite as tubey magical as the better Heifetz pressings I have played, so we are keeping the grade at a fairly modest A+. Those with "tubier" systems may find it complements your sound better than it does mine.

    More recordings featuring the violin


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    Al Green - Let’s Stay Together

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: greenletss_2018) 



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

    It's rare that we have copies of this brilliant record up on our site, and it's not for a lack of effort on our end.

    It's tough enough to find any copies of Green's early LPs out in the bins, let alone clean copies with great sound. I wish we were able to find more copies of this album, because when you stumble on a good one it's an absolute thrill. The best pressings give you a big, spacious soundfield and put Green's vocals right up front. If you've got a pressing of your own around, throw it on for comparison's sake -- odds are pretty good that the sound will be dry and grainy, particularly on the strings.

    See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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    Al Green - I'm Still In Love With You

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: greenimsti_2018) 



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

    This is The Memphis Sound at its best -- big Hammond organs with whirring Leslie speakers, funky drums, punchy brass blasts, and lovely string arrangements.

    Al Green's singing is superb, of course, but one thing that really stands out after hearing the best Hot Stamper copies is the quality of the musicians' performances. The rhythm section on this album really drives the music. Just listen to the punchy kick drum and deep, note-like bass on a song like Love and Happiness -- the band is rockin'.

    See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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    Al Green - Greatest Hits

    Reviewed in 2006

      (Item #: greengreat_2006) 



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

    This Hi LP sounds JUST RIGHT to me. There aren’t enough copies floating around for me to shootout. I no longer have the DCC LP; I sold my test pressing long ago. I remember it sounded a bit thick, but that was on a very different stereo than the one I own today. It has been my experience that when I hear a really dead-on early pressing of a record like this, the 180g version will tend to come up short. If you own the DCC pressing, I guarantee this copy is better or your money back.

    See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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    Al Green - Explores Your Mind

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: greenexplo_2014) 



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

    Excellent soul sound! It's tough to find copies of these classic Al Green records that deliver sonically and play reasonably well, but we got a hold of a good one here. Green was right in his prime and a copy like this lets you hear just how wonderful a performer he was. You get all the detail and nuance to his voice and the clean, clear sound lets the horns and rhythm section come through. This copy gives you solid bass, excellent presence and lots of energy. Take Me To The River and Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy) both sound great.

    See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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    Al Green - The Belle Album

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: greenbelle_2011) 



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

    SUPER HOT STAMPERS and QUIET VINYL on BOTH sides of this fun '70s Al Green album! This AMG 4 Star-rated album is the last secular music Green put out for a long time, and it sure is funky! We played a ton of these and found that the best copies such as this one are incredibly lively, clear and fun!

    See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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    Anita Baker - Rapture

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: bakerraptu_2011) 



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

    TWO AMAZING SIDES! We just finished a HUGE shootout for this '80s R & B classic and found a ton of god-awful pressings and a small group of winners. When this album sounds bad, it can be PAINFUL. So many copies have harsh, grainy highs and hard, edgy vocals -- qualities that completely ruin the mood of this music. When I play a Cream record, it can be a little raw and still rock my world, but an Anita Baker record's gotta be smooth and sweet, and most of them aren't even close. This one gives you the RIGHT sound for this kind of music -- rich, warm and natural with lovely immediacy to the vocals.

    See all of our Soul and R&B albums in stock


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    Prokofiev / Violin Con. #1 & Lalo / Symphonie Espagnole - Milstein

    Reviewed in 2008

      (Item #: prokovioli_milstein_2008) 



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

    This fairly nice Milstein record has exquisite violin tone and of course the performance is magical. These comments only apply to the Lalo on side two. (Side one never sounds good on this album.)

    See all of our pressings with Nathan Milstein performing


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    Prokofiev / Symphony #5 / Martinon (LSC 2272)

    Reviewed in 2010

      (Item #: prokosym_5_2010) 



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

    This rare Shaded Dog pressing has an absolutely AMAZING side two. It's transparent, with sweet (yes, for the Prokofiev 5th!), smooth and rich strings. Listen to how natural the woodwinds sound on this side

    Side two here is the fluke, since most of the time this record sounds terrible. But now we know how well engineered it really is. We have the copy right here to prove it!

    See more pressings of Prokofiev's music in stock


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    Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: schubsym9_decca_2013) 



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

    Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson behind the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and wonderful World of the Great Classics reissue from 1976. This copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most pressings, regardless of age.

    More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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    Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

    The Early London Pressings Are Awful

      (Item #: schubsym9_2061_shame) 



    Sonic Grade: F

    Presenting another member of our Hall of Shame.

    What was most striking about this shootout was how poorly the original London Bluebacks fared when going head to head with the best vintage reissues. In fact, they were so obviously inferior I doubt we would have even needed another pressing to know that they would not possibly be competitive.

    The two we had were crude, flat, full of harmonic distortion, and both had clearly restricted frequency extremes. I remember liking the Blueback pressings I played ten or twenty years ago.

    More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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    Paganini / Concerto No. 1 / Rabin / Goossens

    Reviewed in 2011

      (Item #: paganconce_2011) 



    This is a rare and very nice looking Capitol LP with Very Little Sign of Play (VLSOP). The violin sounds rich and sweet, although the orchestral sound is a bit old school.
    More of the music of Niccolò Paganini


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    Liszt, Enesco, Smetana / Rhapsodies - Stokowski

    Reviewed in 2010

      (Item #: lisztrhaps_2471_2010) 



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

    This RCA Living Stereo White Dog LP has SUPERB SOUND!

    I'm a big fan of this title. The string tone is rich and dark and just wonderful. If you want an exciting record with outstanding Living Stereo sound -- dynamic, with strings to die for, and an energetic performance, this is the one! Don't let the White Dog fool you. I doubt if the average Shaded Dog is any better. This record sounds just right to me. Listen to how clear and correct the triangle is.

    See all of our Living Stereo albums in stock


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    Julie London - Julie... At Home

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: londojulie_at_home_2018) 



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

    If you're a fan of intimate female vocals - the kind without a trace of digital reverb - you should get quite a kick out of Julie... At Home. And unless I miss my guess you'll be the first and only person on your block to own it! (That's not a bad thing considering the average person's taste in music.)

    More Julie London


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    Vivaldi / 4 Bassoon Concertos / Walt

    Reviewed in 2011

      (Item #: vivalfourb_2353_2011) 



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

    This rare and mostly quiet Shaded Dog pressing has SUPERB sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of A++. To our surprise side two was even better; we called it A++ to A+++. It was surely one of the best sounding records we played in our classical shootouts that day. This is Golden Age Living Stereo sound at its Tubey Magical best.

    More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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    Milstein / Encores / Pommers

    Reviewed in 2009

      (Item #: variomilst_2009) 



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

    This original Rainbow Label Capitol pressing has D1 / D1 stampers (!) and the shrink still on the cover -- now how rare is that!? Copies in this condition regularly fetch $300-400 on ebay these days, some as much as $450, and it's highly unlikely that any of those sound as good as this one. (Unless those sellers use the same advanced cleaning fluids and techniques we do and have access to an $8000 record cleaning machine that is.)

    The sound is SUPERB, especially on side two, which we rated A Double Plus. Side two had a bit more presence and transparency than side one and that, along with quieter vniyl, kicked the grade up a notch. The third work on side two, a piece by Fritz Kreisler, is one of the highlights of the entire album.

      more Info




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