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1955

A Tough Year to Find Top Quality Recordings on Quiet Vinyl

  (Item #: 1955) 



1955 may have been a wonderful year for music, but it sure is hard to find records from that era in audiophile playing condition, which explains why we have so few on the site. More's the pity!

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1955. You can probably count them on the fingers of one hand.

And HERE to see the records from 1955 that we've reviewed to date, a not especially large group but at least the quality is high.


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1956

Another Tough Year to Find Top Quality Recordings on Quiet Vinyl

  (Item #: 1956) 



1956 may have been a wonderful year for music, but it sure is hard to find records from that era in audiophile playing condition, which explains why we have so few on the site. More's the pity!

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1956. You can probably count them on the fingers of one hand.

And HERE to see the records from 1956 that we've reviewed to date, a not especially large group but at least the quality is high.


  more Info











1957

A Great Year for Music, Especially Jazz Music

  (Item #: 1957) 



When you look closely at all the great records that were released that year -- some of which can even be purchased as Hot Stampers on this very site -- you may come to agree with us that 1957 was a wonderful year for music.

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1957 (which at the time of this writing is only a handful I'm afraid).

And HERE to see the records from 1957 that we've reviewed, a substantially larger group as you can imagine.


  more Info











1958

A Great Year for Top Quality Recordings of Timeless Music

  (Item #: 1958) 



When you look closely at all the great records that were released that year -- some of which can even be purchased as Hot Stampers on this very site -- you may come to agree with us that 1958 was a wonderful year for music.

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1958.

And HERE to see the records from 1958 that we've reviewed, a substantially larger group as you can imagine, more than 100 in fact.


  more Info











1959

A Great Year for Top Quality Recordings of Timeless Music

  (Item #: 1959) 



When you look closely at all the great records that were released that year -- some of which can even be purchased as Hot Stampers on this very site -- you may come to agree with us that 1959 was a wonderful year for music.

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1959.

And HERE to see the records from 1959 that we've reviewed, a substantially larger group as you can imagine, over 100 in fact.


  more Info











Adam / Giselle / Wolff

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: adam_gisel_2301) 



A Living Stereo record from the Golden Age of Classical Recordings, in this case 1959.

It may not be in the top tier of Living Stereo titles, but it is a lovely one nonetheless and quite rare.

More Living Stereo


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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
In San Francisco

  (Item #: adderinsan_1805_1901) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this groundbreaking live jazz album - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound on this Riverside Stereo LP is shockingly good for a live album, and the vinyl is as quiet as we can find it
  • Cannonball joins forces here with his brother, cornetist Nat Adderley, at The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco, to create an album Orrin Keepnews lauded as, "the birth of contemporary live recording"
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Both Cannonball and Nat Adderley play with stunning, bluesy brilliance here... Outside of Somethin' Else, Adderley's 1958 masterpiece, In San Francisco may be the saxophonist's defining moment."
See all of our Cannonball Adderley albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Somethin' Else

  (Item #: addersomet_1803_1904) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Outstanding sound throughout with both sides rating a solid Double Plus (A++) - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A triumph for Rudy Van Gelder, a Top Blue Note title, and as much a showcase for Miles Davis as it is for Cannonball
  • The best copies of this album set a standard that practically no other jazz record we're aware of can meet
  • 5 stars: "Both horn players are at their peak of lyrical invention, crafting gorgeous, flowing blues lines."
  • "...signs of Milesian influence are the calm, conversational delivery of the title track and the newfound lyricism in Adderley’s playing that followed from his nightly experience at the trumpeter’s side."
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Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: addersomet_2013) 



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

A+++ SOUND, giving you a KILLER copy of one of the most beloved Blue Note albums ever! The music here is stunning -- as I'm sure most of you know, this is as much a showcase for Miles Davis as it is for Cannonball himself -- but the good news for audiophiles is that it's also one of the BEST SOUNDING BLUE NOTE ALBUMS we know of! When you hear it on a copy like this, it's just about As Good As It Gets.

More Cannonball Adderley / More Miles Davis


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Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: addersomet_classic) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

There are certainly some incredible sounding original pressings of this album out there, but who has the resources it takes to find one? Most of the original Blue Notes we come across these days turn out to have mediocre sound, and many of them have severely damaged inner grooves. Even the mintiest looking copies often turn out to be too noisy for most audiophiles, Blue Note vinyl being what it is.

More Cannonball Adderley / More Miles Davis


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Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else

Rudy Van Gelder Outdoes Himself

  (Item #: addersomet_setting_the_record) 



After doing this shootout, the current consensus here at Better Records is that this album deserves to hold three -- count 'em, three -- somewhat related titles:

One, The Best Sounding Blue Note record we have ever played.

Two, The Best Sounding Jazz Record we have ever played.

Three, Rudy Van Gelder's Best Engineering (based on the copies we played).

More Cannonball Adderley / More Miles Davis


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Albeniz / Falla / Granados / Spain / Reiner

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: albenspain_2230) 



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

Spain has been an audiophile favorite for a very long time. Everybody should know it by now, what with both Chesky and Classic Records remastering it in the '90s, dismally of course, as neither of these companies showed the slightest sense that they understood how lackluster, if not downright awful, the products of their efforts turned out. No doubt Analogue Productions will see fit to ruin the recording the way they ruined Scheherazade.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz


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Our Favorite Studios (First of a Series)

Columbia 30th Street Studios

  (Item #: allcolumbia30th) 



Columbia 30th Street Studios is one of our favorite recording venues. Click on the link above to find our in-stock Hot Stamper pressings of albums recorded at that location from 1949 to 1981. The list of recordings made there stretches from West Side Story to Kind of Blue, all the way up to Pink Floyd's The Wall in 1979. (Who knew?)
More Recording Venues We Love


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Contemporary Jazz
Albums in Stock

  (Item #: allcontemporary) 



Visit this link to find our in-stock Contemporary Jazz label albums.


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Fred Plaut

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allfred_plaut) 



FRED PLAUT is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Fred Plaut engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

More of our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers


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Gordon Jenkins

One of Our Favorite Arrangers

  (Item #: allgordon_jenkins) 



GORDON JENKINS is one of the All Time Greats.

He's the man behind the scenes for Nilsson's Must Own classic, A Little Touch Of Schmillson in The Night, a Desert Island Disc for yours truly. His work for Nat King Cole is beyond fault.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers series


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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Kenneth Wilkinson

  (Item #: allkenneth_wilkinson) 



KENNETH WILKINSON is one of our favorite engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Kenneth Wilkinson engineered albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Recordings made in Kingsway Hall


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Marty Paich

One of Our Favorite Arrangers

  (Item #: allmarty_paich) 



MARTY PAICH is one of our favorite arrangers. Some of the better albums showcasing Marty's arrangements are Spirit’s first release (1967), Art Pepper Plus Eleven (1959), Ella Swings Lightly (1958) and Whisper Not (1966), and the amazing The Hi-Lo’s And All That Jazz (1958). Copies or commentaries for all of them can be found on our site.
See more entries in our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers series


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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Rhett Davies

  (Item #: allrhettdavies) 



RHETT DAVIES is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Rhett Davies engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

Davies recorded some of our favorite albums of all time and we want to pay tribute to this unsung hero, a man who has brought so much joy and pleasure to audiophiles through albums like those listed below.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis and the All Stars
The Best of Louis Armstrong

  (Item #: armstbesto_1902_2) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides here are incredibly clean, clear, full-bodied and lively with lots of space around all of the players
  • "The sextet, including veterans Peanuts Hucko on clarinet and Trummy Young on trombone, relaxes into a perfect New Orleans groove, allowing Armstrong to stretch out to especially good effect on the haunting dirge "St. James Infirmary" " - All Music
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
I've Got The World On A String

  (Item #: armstivego_1810_1901) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This outstanding pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Russell Garcia's orchestral arrangements and Louis Armstrong's sublime interpretations of The Great American Songbook are a match made in heaven
  • Classic Records remastered this title back in their heyday, but if you have any doubts that our Hot Stamper will murder it we encourage you to do the shootout for yourself
  • "Armstrong finds the essence of each tune, bending and projecting them with his patented joie de vivre and gravel-voiced warmth every time."
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
I've Got The World On A String

  (Item #: armstivego_1901) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An insanely good sounding original pressing with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side one
  • One of the best copies from our most recent shootout (especially on the first side) - the sound is big, full, lively and spacious
  • Russell Garcia's orchestral arrangements and Louis Armstrong's sublime interpretations of The Great American Songbook are a match made in heaven
  • "Armstrong finds the essence of each tune, bending and projecting them with his patented joie de vivre and gravel-voiced warmth every time."
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: armstivego_2009) 



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

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.

I have no idea what I would think of their version these days -- well, to be honest I do have some idea of what I would think of it -- but their version is at least good enough to make the case that Russell Garcia's orchestral arrangements and Louis Armstrong's sublime skills interpreting The Great American Songbook are a match made in heaven.

More Louis Armstrong


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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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Chet Atkins / Chet Atkins in Hollywood

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: atkininhol_1993_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as nothing special, tonally fine but low-rez and lacking space, warmth and above all Tubey Magic. I don't think I've ever played an original that didn't sound better, and that means that the best grade to give Classic's pressing is probably a D for below average.

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins - Chet Atkins In Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: atkininhol_2007) 



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

This Minty looking RCA Victor LP has an AMAZING SIDE TWO backed with a great side one. Side two is full of the tubey magic that’s missing from the Classic Records version and it has a wonderfully extended top end. Side one lacks some of the top end extension found on side two but the first track has that tubey Nashville sound that we love here at Better Records. The rest of the side is pretty damn good as well.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs.

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins / Chet Atkins in Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: atkininhol_2008) 



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

DEMO DISC SOUND! Exceptionally quiet and ususually clean for a record of its age! TAS List of course, and full of Living Stereo Magic. You can feel the cool air of the studio the minute the needle hits the groove!

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins - Mister Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: atkinmiste_2009) 



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

This RCA Living Stereo LP is as TUBEY MAGICAL as it gets. It seems as though Bill Porter just doesn't know how to not make a Living Stereo record with shockingly good sound. Practically anything the guy touches is GOLD!

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins - Mister Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: atkinmiste_2011) 



This RARE Minty looking RCA Living Stereo LP is as TUBEY MAGICAL AS IT GETS. It seems like Bill Porter just doesn’t know how not to make an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording. Everything the guy touches is GOLD! Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality -- everything that we listen for in a great record is here. Note how the record has that Bill Porter extra dB or two of bottom end -- his signature sound.
More Chet Atkins


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JS Bach / The Goldberg Variations / Glenn Gould

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: bach_goldb_2011) 



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

Interesting record. The first side sounds about like what one would expect from an old Columbia six-eye mono piano recording -- not bad but not particularly good either, with a tonally correct but rather small and distant piano in the middle of a big room.

Imagine our surprise and delight when we flipped the record over and heard a shockingly ROBUST, CLEAR and PRESENT piano, sounding pretty much -- if one were to close one's eyes -- like a real piano in a practice hall. We call it at least Super Hot Stamper sound. Without more copies to compare it to, this may be for all practical purposes As Good As It Gets.

More of the music of JS Bach


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JS Bach and Liszt / Organ Music / Richter

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: bach_organ_6172) 



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

This is a Minty looking London Red Label LP with Virtually No Sign Of Play (VNSOP).

You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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JS Bach / Organ Music / Richter

  (Item #: bach_organ_6173) 



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

This London Whiteback pressing of CS 6173 has SUPERB SOUND! Like its brother, CS 6172, recorded by Richter in 1954, probably on the same day, the sound of this early stereo 2 mic recording is amazingly spacious and rich.

Here's what I said about 6172; You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician manage to do.

More of the music of JS Bach (1685-1750)


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JS Bach / Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Martzy

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: bach_sonat_2012) 



This Minty British "Sitting Angel" pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, reproducing accurately the sound of a solo violin in what sounds to us like a fairly lively and resonant rehearsal hall. Perhaps accurately is not the right word, since obviously none of us have ever set foot in whatever room the music was recorded in. "Realistic" might be a better choice in that regard, since the sound is believable for what we would expect that room might have contributed to the sound we hear on the pressing in hand.

Interestingly, the sound on side two is a tad better than side one -- the violin is more present and warm, the room less resonant (in a good way).

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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Super Hot Stamper

Chet Baker
Chet

  (Item #: bakerchet_1810_1902) 

Our Price: $199.99
Sale Price: $149.00 (You save $50.99 / 25%)


  • With Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides and fairly quiet vinyl, this is one of the better copies from our most recent shootout
  • This wonderful album of ballads has Mile Davis' rhythm section supporting Chet and other greats such as Kenny Burrell and Bill Evans
  • These guys are playing live in the studio and, on a copy that sounds this clear, you can really feel their presence on every track
  • "...this Riverside issue captures the gifted but troubled trumpeter at his best. It might even qualify as Baker's most satisfying and representative recording."
See all of our Chet Baker albums in stock


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Chet Baker - Chet

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bakerchet_2017) 



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

Chet is one of the best sounding Chet Baker records we've ever played, although that's not saying much because finding good Chet Baker records is like finding hen's teeth these days. The albums he did for Pacific Jazz in the '50s can be wonderful but few have survived in audiophile playing condition. The Mariachi Brass albums are as awful as everyone says -- we know, we've played them too. The album he recorded for CTI in 1974, She Was Too Good To M, is excellent and will be coming to the site again soon I hope.

More Chet Baker


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Chet Baker - It Could Happen To You

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: bakerchetb_2010) 



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

This is a very nice looking RARE original Riverside LP. Side one has good sound but side two really shows you how WONDERFUL this record is. The sound on side two is rich, full and transparent with lots of tubey magic. Hard to imagine it could get much better.

More Chet Baker


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Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Phil Urso - Picture Of Heath

A Killer Copy from 2005

  (Item #: bakerpictu_2005) 



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

This is an exceptionally nice original Pacific Jazz Black Label Mono LP with SUPERB SOUND. Pure Pleasure just did a 180g reissue of this album, but the real thing is THE REAL THING! This copy has the PRESENCE, the DYNAMICS and the LIFE of real jazz. I can't think of a more fun west coast jazz session that sounds as good outside of the best Contemporary records. This one gets a top recommendation.

More Chet Baker / More Art Pepper


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Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Phil Urso - Picture Of Heath

Pure Pleasure Debunked

  (Item #: bakerpictu_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Putatively remastered from the original analogue master tapes by that notorious hack Ron McMaster at Capitol Studios, this pressing is dramatically flatter and less musical than any original pressing (or Japanese pressing!) that we have ever played. The CD may very well be better.

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

More Chet Baker / More Art Pepper


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Chet Baker & Art Pepper - Playboys

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bakerplayb_2015) 



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

Side one is White Hot, side two nearly so, and both contain swingin' West Coast Jazz from 1956. These 1983 reissues on Boplicity are dynamic and lively, perfectly suited to the energy of the music. The 1956 All Tube mono recording here has this Hot/Cool jazz sounding the way it should.

More Chet Baker / More Art Pepper


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Super Hot Stamper

Chet Baker
Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe

  (Item #: bakerplays_1901_1) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Big, rich, smooth, open, natural, with plenty of tight bass - what's not to like? This copy is killin' it
  • Some of the best jazz guys of the day back up Chet on this one: Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Bill Evans, Herbie Mann and more
  • "...the timelessness of the melodies, coupled with the assembled backing aggregate, make Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe (1959) a memorable concept album."
See all of our Chet Baker albums in stock


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Chet Baker - Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bakerplays_2017) 



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

This is a wonderful Chet Baker record that doesn't seem to be getting the respect it deserves in the wider jazz world. You may just like it every bit as much as the Chet album, and that is one helluva record to compare any album to, in our estimation about as good as it gets in most respects.

More Chet Baker


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Chairman of the Board

  (Item #: basiechair_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy of Chairman Of The Board, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Forget the honky, hard-sounding Roulette originals, and of course the second-rate Classic Records pressing - this reissue is the way to go
  • From first note to last, this copy is big, clear, rich and lively, with huge amounts of space around the band
  • 4 1/2 stars: "This 1958 date for Roulette was a rare chance for the orchestra to perform on its own, and listeners to hear how powerful the band could be when its concentration was undiverted... The record is admittedly heavy on the blues, but it's a brassy, powerful vision of the blues... A dynamic date, it shows the "new testament" edition of Basie's orchestra in top form."
More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie & Joe Williams
Memories Ad-Lib

  (Item #: basiememor_1812_1902) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb vintage stereo pressing with Double Plus (A++) sound from the first note to the last and fairly quiet vinyl
  • This is one of the few Joe Williams records we've been able to find with audiophile sound and surfaces - it's taken us years to get even one shootout going, but it produced this great copy, so we think it was worth it!
  • "Williams' vocals seem effortless throughout the date... highlights include the easygoing swinger "The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)" and a foot-tapping "Honeysuckle Rose."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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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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Count Basie - Basie Plays Hefti

Original Versus Reissue

  (Item #: basieplays_versus) 



The original pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. It's (probably) just another Record Myth.

Basie was recording like a madman back in the late '50s and even all through the '60s. In 1958, the year of this release, he put out seven (7!) albums on the Roulette label. We've played quite a number of them over the years and found relatively few with audiophile quality sound.

Including the original Roulette pressing of this very title. We've only heard a few, and had only one for our shootout, but it was awful enough to make us swear off buying more, especially considering the prices vintage jazz albums are going for these days.

More Count Basie


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Beethoven / Concerto No. 4 / Rubinstein / Krips

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: beethconce_2123_2011) 



This Super Hot Stamper pressing has superb RCA Living Stereo sound, with an exceptionally clear, solid, tonally correct piano.

We recently did a major shootout for all of Beethoven's Piano Concertos, pulling pressings from the three major Golden Age labels -- RCA, London, Mercury -- and this Fourth came out near the top of the heap. Most pressings of Rubinstein's Beethoven concertos simply do not have this kind of open, big and bold sound. Side one earned a grade of A++ and side two was actually a bit better at A++ to A+++. That makes this a very special piano recording indeed.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Famous Beethoven Overtures / Munchinger

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: beethfamou_6053_2011) 



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

This British London Blueback original pressing has better than A+ Hot Stamper sound on both sides. The music is lively and well-played, as one would expect from the venerable Karl Munchinger leading the Vienna Phil.

The sound is quite good but very different for each of the two sides. For more on the sound please see our notes below.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / The Five Beethoven Concertos / Rubinstein

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: beethfiveb_6702_2011) 



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

This original Shaded Dog Five Disc Box Set (LSC 6902) contains all five of Beethoven's Piano Concertos, with sound that's predictably all over the map, from White Hot to Not-So-Hot and every grade in between. Yes folks, we actually listened to every one of these sides in a shootout with other RCA, London and Mercury pressings of the same music.

The best sound in the set was clearly the Third Piano Concerto, which had sides that were Super Hot and White Hot.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven/ Piano Concerto No. 3 - Gamba

  (Item #: beethpc3_gamba) 



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

CS 6096 Blueback LP. This is one of the RAREST and BEST Londons I have ever heard. I think this is the first copy I ever played and it's absolutely WONDERFUL. The sound is London at its best. What's especially striking is the quality of the piano -- it's absolute perfection. The quiet vinyl actually lets you hear the quietest piano parts clearly, no mean feat when it comes to Golden Age recordings. I don't know of a better Beethoven 3rd -- this one sets the standard for me.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Septet In E Minor / Members of the Vienna Octet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: beethsepte_6132_2012) 



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

We rarely put the effort into finding top quality pressings of chamber music that we do for the large orchestral works favored by audiophiles, works such as Scheherazade and The Planets. However, if more of them sounded as good as this one, and played as quietly, we would be more than happy to do just that.

My first note on side one is "HTF" -- Hard To Fault, for the sound was both rich and sweet, with easily recognized, unerringly correct timbres for all seven of the instruments which are heard in the work. The legendary 1959 Decca Tree microphone setup had worked its magic once again.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Frames of Reference, Carefully Conducted Shootouts and Critical Listening

  (Item #: beethsepte_shootouts) 



The sound we were hearing on this copy during a recent shootout was both rich and sweet, with easily recognized, unerringly correct timbres for all seven of the instruments heard in the work. The legendary 1959 Decca Tree microphone setup had worked its magic once again. And, as good as it was, we were surprised to discover that side two was actually even better! The sound was more spacious and more transparent. We asked ourselves, how is this even possible?

Hard to believe but side two had the sound that was TRULY Hard To Fault. This is precisely what careful shootouts and critical listening are all about. If you like Heavy Vinyl, what exactly is your frame of reference? How many good early pressings could you possibly own, and how were they cleaned?

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Beethoven / Symphony #1 and #8 / Ansermet

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: beethsym1-8_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper side one London Whiteback LP (CS 6388) gives you a wonderful sounding Beethoven First Symphony. It's rich, sweet and Tubey Magical in the tradition of all the best Ansermet recordings from the era.

Unfortunately the second side with the 8th Symphony is awful -- hard, shrill and definitely not worth your time.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven - Symphony #6 / Monteux

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: beethsym6_2316_2005) 



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

1S/ 6S Immaculate looking RCA Shaded Dog.

This is a lovely sounding record, with a smooth, natural top end, the opposite of a hi-fi spectacular. Some may find it dull, but it's actually correct.

Monteux has a wonderful feel for this symphony. His Beethoven in general is actually quite good. This music belongs in any serious collection. String tone is everything in the Pastoral, and Living Stereo gives you the string tone rarely found elsewhere.

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


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Beethoven / Symphony #6 (Pastoral) / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beethsym6_6160_2016) 



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

In our opinion this is the best sounding Beethoven 6th Symphony ever recorded. It is the most beautiful of them all, and has long been my personal favorite of the nine Beethoven composed.

Ansermet's performance is clearly definitive to my ear as well. The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, possibly of all time; more amazing sounding recordings were made there than any other hall we know of. There is a richness to the sound that exceeds all others, yet clarity and transparency are not sacrificed in the least.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Symphony No. 9 / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beethsymp9_2016) 



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

The is the best recording of the Beethoven 9th Symphony we have ever played here at Better Records

Ansermet's performance is clearly definitive to my ear as well. The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, possibly of all time; more amazing sounding recordings were made there than any other hall we know of.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Symphony 6 ’Pastoral’ / Monteux

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: beethsymph6_1070_2012) 



Both sides of this Plum Victrola have better than Hot Stamper sound (A+ to A++), on this lovely sounding Living Stereo recording from 1959. The top end is smooth and natural, the opposite of a hi-fi spectacular. Some may find it dull, but it's actually correct -- live music doesn't really have the top end that orchestral recordings usually do.

Monteux has a wonderful feel for this symphony. His Beethoven in general is actually quite good. String tone is everything in the Pastoral, and here the Living Stereo engineers give you the rich, resonant strings rarely found on other labels.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Symphony #7 / Reiner

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: beethsymph7_0411) 



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

This somewhat rare and fairly quiet White Dog pressing has lovely vintage Golden Age sound from 1958, comparable to the sound you hear on many early Londons and RCAs from that era.

On both sides the famous Living Stereo soundstage is wide and deep as usual.

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


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_2011) 



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

This White Dog Living Stereo pressing has SUPERB sound on side one. It's alive and immediate in a way that the Shaded Dogs almost never are. Listen to the violin! Again, the Classic pressing of this recording does not present the listener with the sound of a real, wood instrument bowed by horsehair in physical space. This copy does.

The White Dog pressing we are offering here is not as rich as the better Shaded Dog pressings we played in our shootout but in some ways the brighter, more forward presentation actually works to its advantage.

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


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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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Beethoven / Violin Concerto in D / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

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

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Super Hot Stamper

Harry Belafonte
Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

  (Item #: belafbelaf_1901_2) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This White Dog stereo (not Living Stereo) pressing has superb Double Plus (A++) sound or very close to it on all four sides
  • You'll hear a very large group of musicians bring their wonderful energy to this music, all backing Harry live on stage in real time and in ANALOG
  • HP made his reputation bringing this kind of live-in-your-listening-room record to the attention of the audiophile public, and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude
  • 5 stars: "The granddaddy of all live albums, this double-LP set captures the excitement of a Harry Belafonte concert at the height of his popularity."
See all of our Harry Belafonte albums in stock


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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: belafbelaf_2006) 



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

Harry Pearson brought this record to the attention of audiophiles with his TAS list a long time ago, and rightfully so: it's an amazing recording.

We happen to love the music too, which makes it one of the most recommendable records we have ever offered. If you can find a better combination of demo disc sound, with music worth the hassle and expense of reproducing it properly, more power to you. We sure can't.

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Super Hot Stamper (with Issues)

Harry Belafonte
Sings The Blues

  (Item #: belafsings_1901_issues) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding Living Stereo pressing of Belafonte's 1958 release, with solid Doulbe Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Belafonte Sings the Blues is surely one of the most amazing Male Vocal Albums we've ever played - the sound is breathtakingly real
  • This copy is guaranteed to have the authentic 1958 All Tube Analog sound that no reissue will ever be able to reproduce
  • A criminally underrated album - Harry Belafonte's performance and the brilliant sound the RCA engineers were able to capture are both first rate throughout
See all of our Harry Belafonte albums in stock


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Harry Belafonte - Sings The Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: belafsings_2016) 



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

If you're looking to demonstrate just how good 1958 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the record for you.

Naturally the vocals have to be the main focus on a Harry Belafonte record. He should sound rich and tubey, yet clear, breathy and transparent. To qualify as a Hot Stamper the pressings we offer must be highly resolving, not crude and ambience-challenged the way so many modern LPs seem to be. You should be able to hear every element of the recording, with the voice and instruments surrounded by the natural space of the studios in which the recording was made.

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Super Hot Stamper

Tony Bennett & Count Basie
Strike Up The Band

  (Item #: bennestrik_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on this Emus pressing of Count Basie and Tony Bennett's 1959 classic collaboration
  • The originals we have played are uniformly horrible sounding compared to these wonderful reissues - the tonality here is Right On The Money
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... the pairing between Bennett and Basie remains impressive. The band raves through tunes like "With Plenty Of Money And You," and Bennett matches them, drawing strength from the bravura arrangements, while band and singer achieve a knowing tenderness on "Growing Pains." This is an album well worth owning..."
See all of our Tony Bennett albums in stock


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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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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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Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bernswests_2015) 



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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Bizet / Symphony in C Major / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: bizetsymph_2011) 



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

This Decca Ace of Diamonds pressing of Ansermet's 1961 recording has SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides. The Symphony in C, which takes up the whole of side one, is BIG and LIVELY, which is just the kind of sound that makes us swoon here at Better Records. Live music IS big and lively, so why shouldn't the best records be?

The second movement has a sublimely gorgeous oboe part you must hear. The whole side is wonderfully spacious, with real depth.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


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Bizet / Symphony in C Major / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bizetsymph_2012) 



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

This London pressing of Ansermet's 1961 recording has SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides. The Symphony in C, which takes up the whole of side one, is BIG and LIVELY, which is just the kind of sound that makes us swoon here at Better Records. Live music IS big and lively, so why shouldn't the best records be? The bottom end has real power on this copy, the way live music does.

We like our recordings to have as many Live Music qualities as possible, and those qualities really come through on a record such as this when reproduced on the full-range speaker system we use.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


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Bob and Ray - Throw a Stereo Spectacular

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bobanthrow_2010) 



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

It's been nearly two years but the waiting is over -- we've found another copy of the famous Bob and Ray on Living Stereo with DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Without a doubt this is the best sound I have ever heard for side one of this album. The sound here is so amazing I'm willing to go out on a limb and make the following recklessly bold statement. Buck Dance on this pressing has the most extended, natural and harmonically correct high frequencies I have ever heard from my speakers (or anyone else's for that matter).

More Living Stereo


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Luiz Bonfa - Amor!: The Fabulous Guitar of Luiz Bonfa

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: bonfaamor_2005) 



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

Atlantic Black Label LP with lovely sound! This is a famously rare and collectible jazz record by the amazing Brazilian guitarist Luiz Bonfa.

1958, the year this record was made, was a very good year for quality recordings of all types of music.

Click here to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1958 and here to see the records from 1958 that we've reviewed, a substantially larger group as you can imagine, more than 100 in fact.


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Borodin / Symphony No. 2 - Martinon

  (Item #: borodsym2_rca) 



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

This Minty looking RCA Living Stereo LP has AMAZING SOUND. It''s everything a Living Stereo record should be -- warm and rich with lots of depth and silky highs. The lower strings on this record are hands down some of the best I've ever heard. They're so rich and textured. Out of all the Decca recorded RCAs I've had the pleasure (or misfortune as the case may be!) of listening to, this is definitely one of the top dogs.

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Borodin / Symphonies 2 & 3 / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: borodsymph_6126_0712) 



This White Hot Stamper pressing has DEMO QUALITY sound of the HIGHEST ORDER on fairly quiet vinyl no less. We've long considered the album one of the greatest of all the Decca / London recordings, but this pressing takes the sound beyond even our high expectations.

There is simply nothing in the sound to fault. Where is the slightly dry and midrangy quality in the upper strings that so many Londons from this era suffer from? It's nowhere to be found on this side one. And it's not as though our stereo was hiding that quality, because some of it creeps into the sound on this very side two (which is why it earned a slightly lower grade of A++).

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall


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Borodin / Symphonies 2 & 3 / Ansermet

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: borodsymph_6126_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C?

A decent Speakers Corner Decca.

The Speakers Corner heavy vinyl reissue of this title is not bad, but like all reissues it lacks the weight found on this original. I remember it being a little flat and bright. I haven't played it in years so I could easily be wrong. The glorious sound I hear on the best pressings is not the kind of thing I hear on 180 gram records by Speakers Corner, or anybody else for that matter.

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

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall


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Brahms / Piano Concerto No. 2 / Gilels / Reiner

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: brahmpiano2_2010) 



This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.

This Very Nice Plum Label Victrola has excellent sound -- sweet and spacious -- but only if you reverse your absolute phase. The vinyl is quiet and, most importantly, this is arguably the greatest performance of all time. The LSC might be a tad better overall; they're so darn rare it's hard to know.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms / Sonata #3 in F Minor / Rubinstein

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brahmsonat_2459_2011) 



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

This exceptionally rare Shaded Dog pressing has AMAZING sound on side one, A+++, with side two rating a nearly as good sonic grade of A++. I can't recall the last time I played a solo piano recording that was this transparent and lively. It's shockingly realistic; this is what a piano sounds like in performance.

Well, almost. Rubinstein's recordings never manage to convey all the weight of a real concert grand piano -- as if any home stereo could anyway -- but this recording is still relatively full-bodied. What it is more than anything else is REAL sounding. You will quickly forget that you are listening to a record at all.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms / Variations And Fugue On A Theme By Handel / Katchen

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: brahmvaria_6158_2008) 



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

Near Mint copy with excellent sound! Superb piano tone for these solo pieces and very quiet vinyl add up to a wonderful listening experience. This surprisingly quiet British vinyl is going to be hard to beat by other Golden Age labels. (Finding solo piano recordings on RCA or Mercury from this era that play quietly is practically impossible.)

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brahmvioli_1903_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Classic reissue of LSC 1903 is a disaster: shrill, smeary and unmusical.

The best Heifetz records on Classic were, if memory serves, LSC 2734 (Glazunov), LSC 2603 (Bruch) and LSC 2769 (Rozsa). They aren't nearly as offensive as the others. If you can pick one up for ten or twenty bucks, you might get your money's worth depending, I suppose, on how critically you listen to your classical records.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms Violin Concerto

Is the 1s Pressing Always the Best?

  (Item #: brahmvioli_1903_myth) 



This early Shaded Dog pressing of a 1958 recording has surprisingly good Super Hot stamper sound on side two. On the second side the sound opens up and is very sweet, with the violin becoming much more present and clear. The whole of side two is transparent with an extended top. Usually the earliest Living Stereo titles suffer from a lack of top end extension, but not this one.

Maybe the 1S is that way. For some reason audiophiles tend to think that the earliest cuttings are the best, but that's just another Record Myth in our experience, easily refuted if you've played hundreds of these Living Stereo pressings and noted which stampers sound the best and which do not.

More recordings featuring the violin


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Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Monteux

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: brahmvioli_2281_2007) 



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

DEMO QUALITY SOUND!.

One of the most amazing violin concerto records I have ever heard! Makes most of the Heifetz records pale in comparison. The performance is sublime as well.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Bread - Manna

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: breadmanna_2013) 



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

Presented for your listening pleasure, an original pressing of Manna, Bread's third album, with Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides. Side one rocks with the best of them -- yes, Bread can rock; just play Let Your Love Go to see what I mean.

Side two boasts sweet and rich 1971 ANALOG sound, a credit to engineer ARMIN STEINER (who was also one of the engineers on Spirit's first album, assisted on Ram and has more than a hundred other engineering credits).

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Thinking About the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars

of Bread and Cat Stevens

  (Item #: breadmanna_thoughts) 



In many ways this recording is state-of-the-art. Listening to the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars on the best copies brings back memories of my first encounter with an original Pink Label Tea for the Tillerman. Rich, sweet, full-bodied, effortlessly dynamic-- that sound knocked me out twenty-odd years ago, and here it is again.

Of course I've always been a sucker for this kind of well-crafted pop. If you are too then a Hot Stamper copy of Manna will no doubt become a treasured demo disc in your home as well.

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Bread and Elektra Analog

A Double-Edged Sword that Cuts Both Ways (Uh, Don't They All?)

  (Item #: breadmanna_wtlf) 



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

Manna has the clear signature of Elektra from the late '60s and early '70s. It's unmistakably ANALOG, but that double-edged sword cuts both ways. Richness and Tubey Magic (the kind you had in your old '70s stereo equipment) often comes at the expense of transparency, clarity, speed and transient information (the things your '70s equipment probably had more trouble with).

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Britten - Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

A Cisco Recommended LP

  (Item #: brittyoung_8373) 



Sonic Grade: B

No Classic Records RCA (or Mercury or anything else for that matter) ever sounded like this! Cisco here jumps to the head of the pack, taking a superb Golden Age Capitol recording and bringing it to life again on quiet vinyl, improving the sound in the bargain, as originals of this title only hint at the sound captured on the tapes.

No transistory upper midrange hardness and glare spoil the fun here. But watch out: this record will bring most systems to their knees. Make sure everything is singing along before you drop this one on the platter.

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Super Hot Stamper

Dave Brubeck
Brubeck a La Mode

  (Item #: brubealamo_1904_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Superb sound throughout with both sides earning a solid Double Plus (A++) or better
  • The overall sound here is super rich and full with plenty of energy
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout with both sides playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "One of Brubeck's three recordings of the 1959-61 period... The music generally swings and there are some fine solos..." - All Music
See all of our Dave Brubeck albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Dave Brubeck
Countdown - Time In Outer Space

  (Item #: brubecount_1901) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A KILLER 6-Eye original stereo pressing of this wonderful recording, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • An incredibly Tubey Magical disc, exactly what would be expected with Teo Macero producing and Fred Plaut engineering in the Jazz Golden Age
  • Reasonably quiet playing surfaces considering that we're dealing here with a more than 50 year old Six Eye Columbia pressing
  • 4 Stars: "One of Dave Brubeck's more adventurous albums... Highly recommended along with Brubeck's other Time recordings."
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Super Hot Stamper

Dave Brubeck
Countdown - Time In Outer Space

  (Item #: brubecount_1901_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Another wonderful Black Print 360 Columbia stereo pressing from Brubeck and company, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Golden Age Tubey Magical jazz sound, exactly what would be expected with Teo Macero producing and Fred Plaut engineering
  • Reasonably quiet playing surfaces considering that we're dealing here with a vintage Columbia pressing
  • 4 Stars: "One of Dave Brubeck's more adventurous albums... Highly recommended along with Brubeck's other Time recordings."
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Dave Brubeck - Countdown - Time In Outer Space

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: brubecount_2016) 



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

Clean and Clear, Yet Rich and Sweet. This copy managed to find the perfect balance of these attributes. You want that rare copy that keeps what is good about a Tubey Magical analog recording from The Golden Age of Jazz while managing to avoid the pitfalls so common to them: smear, lack of top end extension, opacity and blubber. To be sure, the fault is not with the recording (I guess; again, not having heard the master tape) but with the typically mediocre pressing.

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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.

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Dave Brubeck - Time Changes

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: brubetimec_2010) 



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

Side one is solid and warm. Note that the sax and piano are lively and present on track three, one of the better sounding tracks and one we used to test with in our shootout.

On side two of many copies the orchestra sounded dry, and sometimes aggressive when loud, but on this copy the sound stayed smooth and full. Note how breathy Desmond's sax is.

See all of our Dave Brubeck albums in stock


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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Further Out's Engineering

When Less Is More

  (Item #: brubetimef_engineering) 



FRED PLAUT is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. His work on Time Further Out speaks for itself -- we think it's the best sounding Brubeck recording of them all.

We could find no information about the venue for this recording. It might be the Columbia Studios known as "The Church" -- that would explain the amazing sound quality of the album -- but it may just be Plaut's engineering prowess in another location that makes this some of the best sound to be found on any Brubeck record.

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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: brubetimeo_2011) 



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

STUNNING A+++ SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES! Breathtakingly spacious and transparent, this copy has the big three-dimensional soundstage that makes this record such a joy to listen to. The piano has weight and heft, the drums are big and dynamic, and everything is relaxed and sweet -- in short, this copy does everything we want it to.

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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: brubetimeo_2014) 



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

This time around no other copy of Time Out could touch our good Six Eye Stereo pressings -- they were in a league of their own.

If you've been with us for a long time you may remember that this was not always the case. We used to really like some 360s as I recall, as well as the original mono pressing. This time around, not so much.

This time around most everythings's different. Allow us to explain.

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Dave Brubeck - Time Out

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brubetimeo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

When we did a shootout for this record way back in October of 2007 we took the opportunity to play the Classic Records 200 gram pressing. Maybe we got a bad one, who knows, but that record did not sound remotely as good as the real thing (6 eye or 360, both can be quite good). The piano sounded thin and hard, which was quite unexpected given the fact that we used to consider the Classic LP one of their few winners and actually recommended it.

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Bruch / Scottish Fantasy / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bruchscott_2603_0412) 



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

WHITE HOT Stamper sound for the Bruch side of this original RCA Shaded Dog, one of the best Heifetz concerto titles of all time. (I'm trying to think of a Heifetz title that sounds better and coming up blank.)

This was our shootout winner on side two, beating all comers, earning our highest grade, the full Three Pluses (our blue ribbon, gold medal, and best in show all wrapped into one). The sound is nothing short of DEMO DISC QUALITY.

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Super Hot Stamper

Donald Byrd
The Cat Walk

  (Item #: byrd_catwa_1904) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Donald Byrd's brilliant 1962 release finally arrives with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder once again for capturing the jazz energy of this superbly sympathetic ensemble
  • These sides are lively and fun, with the kind of sound the man consistently managed to get on tape, and other engineers struggled to find
  • 4 stars: "Donald Byrd and baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams worked together on several recordings between 1958 and 1961, and The Cat Walk (released on LP in 1962) is among the best. Byrd's playing throughout is typically sleek and lyrical, and Adams' sturdy, husky baritone sound is the perfect counterbalance, making The Cat Walk an essential Byrd purchase."
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Super Hot Stamper

Donald Byrd
House of Byrd

  (Item #: byrd_house_1903) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Two rare Donald Byrd albums in one, both with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The Tubey Magic is fully intact, making these two albums sound just the way 1956 RVG jazz should
  • Composed of two superb LPs, 2 Trumpets and The Young Bloods, these wonderful pressings capture some of Byrd's best sound
  • "Art and Donald are in fine form, and if there is any competition it serves only to increase the musical yield."
  • "... These blowing sessions (typical of Prestige's albums of the 1950s) have their enjoyable moments with Farmer and Woods taking overall solo honors.
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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

The Amazing Sounding Mono Copy We Played in 2005

  (Item #: cartejazzg_2005) 



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

This Contemporary Yellow Label Mono LP has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! If you like the sound of Contemporary Records, you won’t find a better example than this! Midrange magic doesn’t get anymore magical. I don’t care who remasters this record, I don't think they can do it as well as it was done in 1958.

I haven't heard the new 45 RPM version, but I seriously doubt that it sounds like this. It wouldn't be done on vintage tube cutting equipment, and that sound is the sound we love here at Better Records.

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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: cartejazzg_2011) 



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

HUGE DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! This Contemporary LP sounds AMAZING -- it has a wide and open soundfield that really allows you to hear into the music. Drop the needle on track three (Carter’s Own ’A Walkin’ Thing’) to hear these guys really swinging! The sound is so natural, and it really jumps out of the speakers. This knocked our original Stereo Records pressing out of the ballpark -- it wasn't even close.

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