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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.


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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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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 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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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 - 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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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/ 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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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 ’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 / 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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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.

More Harry Belafonte


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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: belafbelaf_2019) 



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

From an audiophile point of view, you get to hear live musicians and all the energy they bring to this music, all on the stage at the same time: strings, brass, percussionists and Harry Belafonte front and center. Tube mics (and not too many of them), a tube tape recorder, RCA's superb engineering and all-tube mastering chain ensure that the "breath of life" is captured intact. I know of no better live popular vocal recording on the planet.

More Harry Belafonte


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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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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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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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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 / 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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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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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.

More Dave Brubeck


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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.

More Dave Brubeck


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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.

More Dave Brubeck


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Benny Carter - Swingin’ The ’20s

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: carteswing_2012) 



STUNNING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES -- we've never played a better copy! The immediacy and presence of this copy will BLOW YOU AWAY -- it’ll put a swingin’ jazz quarter right in your living room. There’s plenty of extension on the top end anchored by some nice deep bass. The tonality is Right On The Money, and the overall sound is open and spacious with lots of room around the instruments.

We finally built up enough copies of this great album to do a shootout, our first since March 2008 which ought to tell you something about the used record market these days, and this one was the White Hot champion on BOTH sides. This copy had most of the Tubey Magic of the originals we played, with all of the amazing clarity and freedom from distortion of the later pressings -- the best of both worlds.

More Benny Carter


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Chabrier / Espana & Rimsky-Korsakov / Argenta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: chabrespan_6006_2013) 



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

This London Whiteback (CS 6006) TAS List Super Disc really IS a Super Disc, with SUPERB SUPER Hot Stamper sound on both sides. It easily bested the Blueback we put up against it, and most of the pressings of Ansermet's performance on London/Decca that we like (CS 6438).

What this album has going for it over the London/Decca with Ansermet is an out of this world Capriccio Espagnol, with the kind of orchestral color and excitement that rivals the composer's Scheherazade and arguably exceeds it, compressing as it does its bright orchestration into fewer than 15 minutes of unalloyed brilliance.

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


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Chabrier / Espana - Argenta

Reviewed & Recommended

  (Item #: chabrespan_speakerscorner) 



Sonic Grade: B

This is a Speakers Corner Decca 180 gram LP reissue of the famous Argenta performance, a recording which can sound positively amazing on the right original London, but only about 2 out of 10 copies actually do. (And where in the world are you going to find 10 clean copies of a record that’s practically 50 years old?)

This pressing gets you most of the way there, on reasonably quiet vinyl, for a lot less money.

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

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


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Chopin / The Chopin Scherzos / Rubinstein

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: chopichopi_2368_2008) 



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

This is an RCA Living Stereo reissue LP with EXCELLENT SOUND. The strengths of this particular LP are not hard to hear: super quiet vinyl, which no original would have, and super transparent mids and highs, again something that no original (in our experience) has ever had.

Like most of Rubinstein's records on RCA, there is no real weight to the piano, but at least on this pressing the smear and noise common to practically every original is GONE!

Lovely music too.


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Nat King Cole - Sings Hymns and Spirituals

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: cole_sings_2016) 



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

The sound is big, open, rich and full. The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than most, by a long shot. Very few records out there give you the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from this pressing, particularly on side one.

More Nat "King" Cole


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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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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: coltrgiant_2009) 



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

This Atlantic Stereo LP has EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! As everyone should know by now, a killer copy like this is the exception, not the rule.

Side one had wonderful energy and the kind of full-bodied sound that is key to keeping the saxophone from tearing your head off when it really gets going. If you know anything about this music you know that Coltrane builds up a head of steam on practically every track on the album. He is blasting away here and it is a thrill to be sure.

More Giant Steps


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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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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Live and Learn

  (Item #: coltrgiant_learn) 



A classic case of Live and Learn. Previously we had written:

The extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum is what really sets the best copies apart from the pack. All the top end and that deep bottom and simply not to be found on most copies, and never on even the best originals in our experience. The cutters back then just couldn't cut it.

Now, having heard some amazing originals, we know that the vintage mastering equipment of the day was perfectly capable of getting all the top, all the bottom, and tons of Tubey Magic besides onto the vinyl.

More John Coltrane


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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Rhino Debunked

  (Item #: coltrgiant_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: D

Mastered by Kevin Gray, this record has ''modern'' sound, which is to say it's clean and tonally correct for the most part, but it's missing the Tubey Magic the originals and the good reissues both have plenty of. Any properly mastered, properly pressed '70s copy on the red and green label will be richer, fuller, sweeter, and just plain more enjoyable than this 180 gram version. It's below average, which is why it merits a D.

That said, "Giant Steps" is not an easy record to find in good condition, because any serious jazz lover would have played it plenty. It is inarguably one of John Coltrane's greatest achievements.

More John Coltrane


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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Rhino 45 RPM 2 Disc Set Debunked

  (Item #: coltrgiant_rhino_45) 



Sonic Grade: F

The sound of the new 45 RPM 2 disc version cut by Bernie Grundman sounds thick and dull, much like the Deja Vu he remastered years ago for Classic Records.

As is the case with so many of the Heavy Vinyl reissues released these days, the studio ambience you hear on these pressings is a pitiful fraction of the ambience the real pressings are capable of revealing, the ones mass-produced by Atlantic, original and reissue alike. We're not sure why audiophiles have trouble noticing such an obvious shortcoming but it and others like it sure don't get by our crack listening panel here at Better Records too often.

More John Coltrane


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Xavier Cugat - Chile Con Cugie

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: cugatchile_2014) 



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

Amazing nearly White Hot stamper sound on side two. It's so big and fun, jumping with energy in a huge space. 1959 Living Stereo three-dimensionality from Webster Hall. Lots of exotica percussion and rhythm make for fun stereo listening.

More Living Stereo


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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Our First KOB Hot Stamper - June 2005

  (Item #: daviskindo_2005) 



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

This Columbia Red Label LP has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND!

Call me crazy, but I DON’T THINK YOU CAN CUT A BETTER SOUNDING KIND OF BLUE THAN THIS ONE!

I’m fully aware of how outrageous a statement that is, considering the fact that this is a '70s Red Label reissue. But I've long known of amazing sounding Kind Of Blue reissues.

More Miles Davis


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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Our A++++ Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: daviskindo_2013) 



This Shootout Champion and Hall Of Fame pressing has TWO AMAZING SIDES. Side one was so mindblowingly good that we awarded it our extra-special Four Plus (A++++) rating, and side two was almost as good, earning our standard top grade of A+++! This is one of the very best copies we've ever heard, and we have literally played more than a HUNDRED copies of this album over just the last five years.
More Miles Davis / More John Coltrane / More Bill Evans


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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: daviskindo_obsess) 



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

We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands -- maybe a bit too much time on your hands -- please feel free to check out our commentaries, dating all the way to back to 2005 when we heard our first killer red label copy (or, I should say, when we first heard a killer red label copy reproduced correctly).

More Miles Davis / More John Coltrane


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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

White Hot on the '70s Red Label? Can You Really Be Serious?

  (Item #: daviskindo_wtlf) 



When it comes to Miles Davis' jazz classic Kind of Blue, the 6-eye originals are of course the best sounding, right?

Nope. It’s just another Record Myth. Based on scores of pressings it has been our experience that the best sound for this album is found on standard domestic Red Label pressings from the '70s. I'm fully aware of how outrageous a statement that may seem to those who believe that original pressings are always superior, but we've long known of top of the heap, can't be beat Kind Of Blue reissues, going on more than twenty years now.

More Miles Davis


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Miles Davis - Porgy and Bess

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: davisporgy_2012) 



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

WOW! This Original Six Eye Stereo pressing does EVERYTHING we ever hoped for from this great album! We've been searching for a killer copy of this one forever but without much luck. Here's the first one to ever hit the site, and it is a MONSTER. Both sides have KILLER A+++ sound -- super tubey magical and tonally balanced with real depth to the soundfield.

More Miles Davis


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Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: debusclair_2326_2011) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

This Shaded Dog LP has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND, if what you're demonstrating is not a Hi-Fi spectacular, but rather a sublime presentation of a truly sweet and natural string section of an orchestra, presented here on analog disc created more than fifty years ago.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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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 & Johnny Hodges - Back to Back

A Classic Records Winner

  (Item #: ellinbackt_classic_records) 



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

As I recall this was one of the better sounding Classic titles from their Verve series, and the music is excellent. Finding a clean original is no mean feat as I'm sure you can imagine.

More Duke Ellington


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Duke Ellington - The Ellington Suites

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: ellinellin_2013) 



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

  • An A++ side one, an A+++ side two and quiet vinyl throughout make this copy an Ellington LP that is sure to impress! Side one of this album features a piece called "The Queen's Suite" that was recorded in 1959. On this A++ side, you get stunningly Tubey Magical late '50s jazz sound -- something that's almost impossible to come by on any recording made after that.

    1976 Grammy Award Winner for Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band.

    More Duke Ellington


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  • Bill Evans - Everybody Digs Bill Evans

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: evansevery_2017) 



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

    Everybody Digs Bill Evans is one of the better sounding Bill Evans records we've played lately. Both sides are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct.

    These three guys -- Sam Jones is on the bass and Philly Joe Jones on the drums -- are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track -- assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one.

    More Bill Evans


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    The Everly Brothers - The Everly Brothers Best

    Reviewed in 2015

      (Item #: everlbest_2015) 



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

    This is only the second Everly Brothers Hot Stamper to make it to the site, and I'm sure the reasons for that are not hard to fathom. I must look at fifty EB records for every one I buy, and even with a good scrubbing most of those are not going to pass muster.

    More Everly Brothers


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    Falla / Nights In the Gardens of Spain/ Argenta

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: fallanight_6046_2011) 



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

    DEMO QUALITY SOUND from 1959 on this famous TAS List Super Disc recording. This copy of CS 6046 has an especially good Falla side, with Super Hot Stamper sound and fairly quiet vinyl. The Rodrigo side is no slouch either, earning a grade of A+, although it could certainly use more top end (which was the case last time we did a shootout with this title as I recall).

    The Falla side is amazingly natural sounding; the string tone is Right On The Money, something that cannot be said of most vintage Living Stereos and Mercury pressings.

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


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    Ella Fitzgerald - Sings The George Gershwin Song Book

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: fitzgsings_gershwin_1_2014) 



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

    White Hot sound on side two of this original copy - shockingly good. Ella sounds rich, Tubey Magical and breathy -- this is a real Demo Disc. Side one is very good as well, nicely warm and rich by track two. Nelson Riddle's arrangements are especially interesting and artful throughout.

    It is our opinion that the mono takes all the fun out of the Nelson Riddle's deliberately wide, spacious orchestral presentation surrounding Ella. Which is too bad: the mono pressings are five times as common as the stereo ones.

    More Ella Fitzgerald


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    Gershwin / An American In Paris & Rhapsody In Blue

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: gershrhaps_6091_2015) 



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

    I’ve always loved these performances, but the shrill Columbia sound has been hard to get past. So many copies suffer from upper-midrangy, glary, hard sound and blary brass. I've come to accept that this is nothing more nor less than the "Columbia Sound," and as a consequence I rarely put much effort into surveying their prodigious catalog these days.

    I won't say all that's changed; it really hasn't. The vast majority of Columbia classical pressings are still going to sound as awful as they have in the past.

    More of the music of George Gershwin


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    Gershwin / An American In Paris & Rhapsody In Blue / Bernstein

    What To Listen For

      (Item #: gershrhaps_6091_wtlf) 



    This original Six Eye LP has the smooth brass and full-bodied strings that allow this wonderful music to astound the listener.

    Smooth and solid, not brash or blary, what really impressed about the sound here was how full it was, yet it was never thick or murky. Instead it was transparent in the lower mids and below, and that sound was just glorious after listening to too many thin and brash pressings. The piano is solid, rich, high-rez and very percussive -- there is no tubey Old School smear to be heard, and that too was a surprise.

    More of the music of George Gershwin


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    Gilbert & Sullivan / Overtures / Ward

    Our Shootout Winner from 2008

      (Item #: gilbeovert_1198_2008) 



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

    DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND on side one!

    If you like records that are ALIVE, with music that JUMPS out of the speakers, this LP is for you. You will have a hard time finding a better sounding record.

    More Gilbert & Sullivan


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    Gilbert and Sullivan / Overtures / Ward

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009

      (Item #: gilbeovert_2302_2009) 



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

    SUPERB sound on side one, which earned our coveted Super Hot Stamper sonic grade for its rich, sweet Living Stereo sound, the kind we audiophiles have been in love with since we heard our very first one, if experience is any guide. This is a Top Shaded Dog in practically every way.

    More Gilbert & Sullivan


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    Gilbert and Sullivan / Overtures / Ward

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: gilbeovert_2302_2011) 



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

    SUPERB sound on BOTH sides, with side two earning our coveted White Hot Stamper sonic grade for the kind of rich, sweet Living Stereo sound that we audiophiles love. The sound is nothing short of amazing on the White Hot side. This is a Top Shaded Dog in every way.

    That lovely texture on the strings tells you that the pressing itself is partly responsible for the superb sound -- the lack of smear being a pressing issue, not a mastering or recording one. For naturalness, this one earns a score of ten out of ten.

    More Gilbert & Sullivan


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    Morton Gould and His Orchestra - Baton & Bows

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: gouldbaton_2014) 



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

    This Living Stereo Shaded Dog pressing has a great side two. As I'm sure you've found, many vintage pressings are dull and opaque. This one has tonally correct strings, as well as the top end and rosiny texture that's so often missing.

    More Living Stereo



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    Edvard Grieg on Vinyl

    These Four Didn't Make the Grade

      (Item #: grieg_edvard) 



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

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

    Hot Stamper pressings of Grieg's Music

    Pressings of Grieg's Music We've Reviewed



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    Grieg / Peer Gynt Suites / Fiedler (LSC 2125)

    Reviewed in 2008

      (Item #: griegpeerg_2125_2008) 



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

    Red Seal pressing with EXCELLENT SOUND!

    Fiedler is wonderful here, which is to be expected. What's unusual about this Red Seal is how good the sound is. It's extremely transparent and tonally correct. It sounds to me like a flat transfer. Some tubey colorations would be nice, especially in the louder passages. The sound also lacks a bit of weight in the bottom end. But these faults are mostly made up for by the tremendous clarity and freedom from distortion that this pressing has. I doubt if the Shaded Dog has those qualities.

    More Living Stereo


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    Coleman Hawkins / Ben Webster - Encounters

    Classic Records Reviewed

      (Item #: hawkiencou_classic_records) 



    Sonic Grade: B

    Probably a fairly good Classic Records jazz album. Years ago we wrote:

    "A top top jazz title! This is one of our favorite Classic Records LPs from the old days when we were selling Heavy Vinyl. We haven't played this record in a long time but we liked it very much when it was in print in the '90s."

    We can't be sure that we would still feel the same way. My guess is that this is still a fairly good record if you can get one for the 30 bucks we used to charge.

    More Coleman Hawkins


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    Coleman Hawkins - Hawk Eyes

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: hawkihawke_2016) 



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

    This 1960 Saxophone Ballad session from 1960 has to be seen as yet another recording triumph for Rudy Van Gelder

    The best pressings of these OJC and Prestige reissues from the '70s and '80s sound like the vintage jazz albums they emulate, and sometimes they even beat the originals at their own Tubey Magical game. They can be every bit as rich, sweet and spacious as their earlier-pressed brethren in our experience.

    See all of our Coleman Hawkins albums in stock


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    Ted Heath - Shall We Dance

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: heathshall_2016) 



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

    One of the best sounding records we have ever played, the Gold Standard for Tubey Magical Big Band. Both sides are huge, rich, weighty and dynamic like few records you have ever heard. Three elements create the magic here: Kingsway Hall, Kenneth Wilkinson and the Decca "Tree" microphone setup.

    More Big Band Jazz


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    Holst / British Band Classics Vol. 2 / Fennell

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: holstbriti_90197_2016) 



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

    Side one big, full and dynamic, with horns and winds that are never screechy. (Side two of this first LP is very screechy and not at all to our liking.)

    Side two of the second record has the sound of live music. Huge space, clear yet rich, this is the sound we were looking for!

    More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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    John Lee Hooker - House of the Blues

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: hookehouse_2013) 



    This 1959 Black Label (Unbreakable!) original deep groove Chess mono LP has some seriously good Super Hot Stamper sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of At Least A++. My notes for the sound of the third track read "very real". You get the feeling that whatever John Lee Hooker played and sang on that day in 1959 ended up on this record sounding just the way he performed it, live to one-track.
    See all of our John Lee Hooker albums in stock


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    Lena Horne & Harry Belafonte - Porgy and Bess

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: horneporgy_2014) 



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

    A Living Stereo knockout! We often forget to spend time with records like this when there are Zeppelin and Floyd records to play. We've always enjoyed Belafonte At Carnegie Hall, but when we've dug further into his catalog we've been left cold more often than not. However, when we finally got around to dropping the needle on a few of these we were very impressed by the music and BLOWN AWAY by the sound on the better pressings.

    More Harry Belafonte / More Lena Horne


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    Hovhaness / Sym. #4 / Giannini #3 / Eastman Wind Ensemble

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: hovhasym4_2016) 



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

    These symphonies for winds are an audiophile delight. Mercury is famous for their wind band recordings and this is clearly one of their best.

    The idea of a symphony performed only by wind instruments (with added harp and percussion) is novel, to me anyway, and I found the music nothing short of enchanting. One of the first wind recordings I fell in love with decades and decades ago was British Band Classics on Mercury with the EWO under Fennell. Whenever a copy comes in I play it and fall in love with it all over again. You may feel the same about this very record.


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    What We Listen For

    Timbre, Richness, Tubey Magic and Freedom from Artificiality

      (Item #: kessebarne_listen) 



    This Home Audio Exercise entry was inspired by the wonderful qualities of the Contemporary recording you see pictured, qualities brought to our attention while doing a shootout of various pressings of the album in early 2009.

    We addressed a number of issues in our commentary: first and foremost what we were listening for on the album (and what we were hearing). A bit of mono versus stereo (in this case both can be good). This is followed by some Audiophile Equipment bashing.

    More Contemporary jazz


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    Barney Kessel - Barney Kessel Plays Carmen (Stereo)

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: kessebarne_stereo_2014) 



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

    This original Black Label Contemporary stereo LP has a STUNNING side two! Barney Kessel Plays Carmen is one of our favorite jazz guitar recordings of all time, and on a copy like this the sound is absolutely KILLER.

    As you can see from looking at the condition notes, this copy is quieter than any other we have listed to from our recent shootout. Fifties jazz doesn't play much better than this copy right here.

    More Barney Kessel


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    Barney Kessel - Carmen

    Transparency Is Key

      (Item #: kessebarne_transparency) 



    The best Hot Stamper Original Yellow Label Mono pressings have the Tubey Magic we've come to expect from Contemporary circa 1958, with that warm, rich, full-bodied sound that most engineers can't begin to understand. However, some pressings in our shootout managed to give us an extra level of transparency and ambience that the original pressings rarely do.

    There's a room around this drum kit. So many copies don't show you that room, not if they have the full sound that a copy like this does. (It's amazing all the detail you can hear in a leaned-out record, but what good is that? The sound is leaned out! If you like that sound buy the OJC or the CD. Leave these wonderful originals to those of us who know the sound we're after.)

    More Contemporary jazz


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    Barney Kessel - Some Like It Hot

    Our Shootout Winner from 2005

      (Item #: kessesomel_2005) 



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

    Original Contemporary Black Label Stereo LP from 1959 with DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND!

    For those of you who appreciate the sound that Roy DuNann and, in this case, Howard Holzer, were able to achieve in the ’50s at Contemporary Records, this LP will be a Must-Own unless you already have it. Their stuff just doesn't get any better than this. Tubey magic, richness, sweetness, dead on timbres from top to bottom -- this is a textbook example of their sound at its best.

    More Barney Kessel


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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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    Henry Mancini -The Mancini Touch

    Our Shootout Winner from 2010

      (Item #: mancimancini_touch_2010) 



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

    This original Living Stereo pressing had nearly White Hot Stamper sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++, with the least amount of smear of any copy we played. (As you may know, smear and opacity are endemic to old Living Stereo pressings such as this.) The sound is SUPER 3-D. You're not going to believe all the ambience surrounding this room full of musicians, especially on the drums! We LOVE that sound. The DEPTH that can be heard in this recording is almost hard to believe.

    More Henry Mancini


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    Henry Mancini - More Music From ’Peter Gunn’

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: mancimorem_2011) 



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

    The Super Hot Stamper Sound found on side two of this original Living Stereo pressing will show you just how LIVELY and FUN this music can be! The sound is really JUMPIN', much more than the other copies we played (and this side one as well). You also get a healthy dose of Tubey Magic on both sides as befits Mancini recordings on RCA.

    More Henry Mancini


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    Henry Mancini - The Music From ’Peter Gunn’

    Our Shootout Winner from 2010

      (Item #: mancimusic_2010) 



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

    This early White Dog pressing (4s-6s) has plenty of the Living Stereo Magic RCA was justly famous for back in 1958. Both sides earned a sonic grade of A+ to A++. (The best Hot Stamper copies of More Music from Peter Gunn show you just how well this kind of music can be recorded.)

    Listen to all that crazy reverb on the piano and drums -- it may not be the most natural sound in the world but it's pretty cool when it's done this well.

    More Henry Mancini


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    Shelly Manne & His Friends - Bells Are Ringing

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: mannebells_2016) 



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

    Side One

    Rich and Tubey Magical in the best way, because it's still clear and spacious.

    Side Two

    Tight, deep bass and an extended top, with a solid piano in between, this side is hard to fault.

    Better Than a Dream, the second track on this side, has one of the best sounding jazz pianos I have ever heard. My notes say "you cannot record a piano any better" and I stand behind that statement one hundred percent.

    More Shelly Manne / More Andre Previn


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    Shelly Manne & His Friends - Bells Are Ringing

    What to Listen For

      (Item #: mannebells_wtlf) 



    Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

    I have a very long history with this album, dating back close to twenty years. My friend Robert Pincus first turned me on to the CD, which, happily for all concerned was mastered beautifully. We used it to test and tweak my stereo and many of those that were owned by friends.

    More Shelly Manne / More Andre Previn


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    Shelly Manne and Friends - My Fair Lady

    Our Shootout Winner from 2012

      (Item #: mannemyfai_2012) 



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

    This Contemporary Black Label LP is FULL OF TUBEY MAGIC! The sound is lively and dynamic with tighter bass than the typical old Contemporary pressing. Five big stars in the All Music Guide!

    More Shelly Manne


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    Johnny Mathis - Heavenly

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: mathiheave_2017) 



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

    This copy had all the Tubey Magical richness of the best coupled with the hardest thing to find on an old Columbia record: top end extension. Natural vocal reproduction is the sine qua non of a Johnny Mathis album - this pressing showed us just how good Columbia was back in 1959.

    More Johnny Mathis


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    Mendelssohn & Prokofiev / Concertos / Heifetz / Munch

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: mendeconce_2314_2011) 



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

    This BETTER than Super Hot Stamper (A++ to A+++) White Dog pressing has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND on side one for the Mendelssohn concerto! It really has the Breath of Life. On top of that it's quiet, playing mostly Mint Minus, something that we don't run into too often with fifty year old Living Stereo pressings! Now I see why Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List. Most copies do not sound remotely as good as this one on side one. (Side two is a step down; it would almost have to be.)

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


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    Mendelssohn & Prokofiev / Concertos / Heifetz / Munch

    Classic Records Debunked

      (Item #: mendeconce_2314_classic_records) 



    Sonic Grade: F

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

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

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


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    Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um

    Our Shootout Winner from 2008

      (Item #: minguahum_2008) 



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

    This Columbia Six Eye pressing is THE BEST COPY OF THIS ALBUM WE’VE EVER HEARD! We were lucky enough to acquire a few clean copies over the last few months, and this was the best sounding of them all. It’s got that tubey magical late-’50s jazz sound: the brass is incredibly full-bodied, the bottom end has real weight, and the overall sound is amazingly rich and warm. Clean early pressings of this album go for big bucks in stores and on eBay these days with no guarantee whatsover of good sound. This one isn’t cheap either but at least you know that it’s going to sound wonderful.

    More Charles Mingus


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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).

    More Charles Mingus


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    Carlos Montoya - From St. Lous to Seville

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: montofroms_2015) 



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

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

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


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    Mozart / Quintet - Piano + Winds & Trio

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009

      (Item #: mozarquint_6109_fame) 



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

    Yes, you can expect to find White Hot DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND on side one of this Blueback pressing (CS 6109), possibly the best sound Decca/London ever achieved in the chamber music format. It's hard to imagine these five instruments sounding much better than they do here. And the sound for the Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Viola on side two is nearly as good, earning a sonic grade of A++.

    The record is vastly underrated in the famous Moon/ Grey book. No doubt they had a mediocre stamper -- how many copies of every title could they possibly have played? -- but this is anything but.

      more Info











    Mozart / Symphonies No. 39 & 36 / Bohm

      (Item #: mozarsym39_dg_0210) 



    This is not your typical DG, and as far as we're concerned that's a good thing! If you end up with this copy you may find yourself agreeing with us that it actually sounds pretty much like a good RCA pressing from the era, with the kind of rich, sweet sound that the best RCAs are famous for, and rightly so.

    The sound on side one is spacious and sweet, with good texture to the strings, far from the smeared, hard, steely sound that so many DG pressings suffer from. And side two is even better! More transparent, with better texture and even richer sound.

    More of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


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    Gerry Mulligan Quartet - What Is There To Say?

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: mulliwhati_2016) 



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

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

    More Gerry Mulligan


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    Offenbach / Gaite Parisienne / Boston Pops / Fiedler

    Reviewed in 2008

      (Item #: offengaite_2267_2008) 



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

    12s Hot stampers. The best sounding copy I’ve ever heard.

    Jim Mitchell is famous for pointing out that many of the RCA's that were re-recorded a few years later are inferior to their earlier counterparts. This record is no exception. LSC 1817 is an amazing record. This record is merely good, with depth, soundstaging, nice string tone, etc., but not the kind of sonic fireworks to be found on the 1954 2-track recording that RCA first did of this work. A very good Sabre Dance as a bonus, check it out! It's the lead off track on Destination Stereo (LSC 2307) for good reason: it sounds great.

    More of the music of Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)


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    Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics

    Black Label Original with Very Good Sound (!)

      (Item #: peppemoder_2008) 



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

    SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON THIS BLACK LABEL ORIGINAL! Clean early copies like these don’t grow on trees, and ones that actually sound good are even more difficult to find. The sound is full-bodied and energetic with more tubey magic than the average later copies.

    As tends to be the case with these Black Label copies, the bass could stand to be tighter. The later copies offer an extra degree of resolution, but we know some people prefer these early copies for their richness and sweetness (which, as we've written about extensively, comes at price).

    More Art Pepper


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    Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: peppemoder_2015) 



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

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

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

    More Art Pepper


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    Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics

    Our Shootout Winner from 2008

      (Item #: peppemoder_yellow_2008) 



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

    Oh Yeah! This Contemporary Yellow Label LP DESTROYED the competition in our big shootout this week, rating ABOVE A++ on BOTH SIDES. We didn’t hear better sound for either side on any other copy we played. Drop the needle on any track and prepare yourself to be BLOWN AWAY! The sound is full-bodied and energetic with tight bass, breathy brass, and lots of ambience.

    More Art Pepper


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    Perez Prado - Pops and Prado

    A Killer Bob Simpson Recording

      (Item #: pradopopsa_2016) 



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

    A wonderful copy with a White Hot Stamper side two - unbelievably Tubey Magical and spacious. Side one was Super Hot and maybe a bit better - the top is extended, and the reverb is positively luscious. This is vintage analog at its best -- the magic really comes through on this pressing. Credit for the Demo Disc sound of this one must go to the amazing Bob Simpson, working in glorious Webster Hall.

    BOB SIMPSON won the Grammy for engineering Belafonte at Carnegie Hall you may recall.



      more Info











    Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: previwests_2016) 



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

    This superb sounding Black Label Stereo Contemporary pressing has close to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on side two. Side one earned a Double Plus, which makes this by far the best copy to ever hit the site and a great way to hear this classic piano trio swingin' in 1959. This is yet another Demo Disc for Contemporary, more brilliant work from house engineer Roy Dunann.

    More Andre Previn / More Shelly Manne


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    Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

    MoFi Reviewed

      (Item #: previwests_mofi) 



    Sonic Grade: B-

    Another MoFi LP reviewed.

    I played this record a while back -- it's one of the Mobile Fidelity's I remember liking from the old days -- and sure enough it still sounds good. It does not have the phony boosted bottom and top that most MoFis do. Since it's such a well recorded album, the sound is very impressive. Also the music is great. This is one of Previn's best piano trio records. And Shelly Manne drums up a storm here.

    More Andre Previn


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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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    Rachmaninoff / Concerto No. 2 / Katchen / Solti

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: rachmconce_2011) 



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

    Folks, what we are offering here is THE SLEEPER Hot Stamper pressing of all time. Side one earned an amazingly good grade of A++ with side two every bit as good. The buyer of this album is going to be SHOCKED when he sees what pressing it is.

    For those of you who cherish pressings for their best sound and performances -- as opposed to the typical audiophile collector who prefers the "right" original labels on his records, of course produced only in the "right" countries -- this is the record for you.

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


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    Rachmaninoff & Liszt / Favorite Classics for Piano / Pennario

    Reviewed in 2014

      (Item #: rachmfavor_2014) 



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

    White Hot Stamper sound on side two of this solo piano recording. It's big, rich and above all REAL sounding, with natural studio space. The legendary soloist Leonard Pennario is presented here at the height of his powers. Superb choice of material, from Clair De Lune to Liebestraum to the Hungarian Rhapsody No . 2.

    On the rare Stereo pressing of course -- we want to hear all that studio space reproduced, just as your two ears would have heard it (more or less).

    More of Franz Liszt's music in stock


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    Ravel, Falla, Weber & Berlioz - Alborado..., Bolero, more

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: ravelboler_6077_2011) 



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

    Side two here has a SUPERB sounding Bolero, and an EVEN BETTER Alborado del Gracioso, possibly the best we have ever heard. True A Triple Plus sound.

    As you probably know, Bolero is very hard to find on vinyl properly performed with audiophile quality sound. The sound of Bolero here is excellent: very natural, not harsh at the end where the trombones comes in, and the not too compressed. (This is probably the biggest problem with most recordings of the work. Compression makes the quieter parts ravishingly open and clear, and positively ruins the climax with distorted compressor overload.)

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


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    Ravel / Daphnis et Chloé / Monteux / LSO

    Reviewed in 2012

      (Item #: raveldaphn_6147_0213) 



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

    Nearly White Hot Stamper sound on this superb London Blueback pressing make it quite possibly the best complete Daphnis et Chloe we have ever heard.

    Both sides here are BIG, with the space and depth of the wonderful hall that the LSO perform in. From my research it appears that John Culshaw may have produced the album, which surely accounts for the huge size and space, not to mention quality, of the recording. The sound is dynamic and tonally correct throughout. Without more copies on hand we feel it's best to hold back half a plus on the sonic grade. That said, it's clearly the best Daphnis et Chloe we've ever heard.

    More of the music of Maurice Ravel


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    Respighi / Ancient Airs and Dances / Dorati

    Reviewed in 2011

      (Item #: respiancie_90199_2011) 



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

    Both sides of this TAS List early Colorback RFR copy have SUPER Hot Stamper sound, so much richer and sweeter and less strident than the typical copy you might find. (I must admit the Mercury approach to sound has not worn as well as I might have hoped. When it comes to the Big Three from the Golden Age, these days we prefer London, followed by RCA, then Mercury.)


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