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1963

The Beatles Come to Town (and Plenty of Other Great Albums Are Released as Well)

  (Item #: 1963) 



When you look closely at all the great records that were released that year -- some of which can even be purchased in Hot Stamper form on this very site -- you may come to agree with us that 1963 was a wonderful year for music.

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1963.

And HERE to see the records from 1963 that we've reviewed, a substantially larger group as you can imagine.


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Cannonball Adderley - Cannonball's Bossa Nova

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: addercanno_2018) 



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

These originals are by far the best way to go, in stereo of course, putting Cannonball's breathy, melodic sax right between your speakers, with the rest of the band - including Sergio Mendes on keys - spread out around him. Truly an undiscovered gem in the Adderley catalog - the audiophiles here at Better Records were digging both the music and especially the superb sound. Another top quality recording from the superbly talented Ray Fowler, the house engineer for Riverside and the man behind many of the best Thelonious Monk and Cannonball Adderley recordings done for that great jazz label.

More Cannonball Adderley


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Louis Armstrong - The Essential Louis Armstrong

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: armstessen_2017) 



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

We're always on the lookout for Louis Armstrong records with good sound. In our experience finding them is not nearly as easy as one might think. Far too many of his recordings are poorly recorded, with sound that simply can't be taken seriously -- fine for old consoles but not so good on modern audiophile equipment.

More Louis Armstrong


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Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington - The Great Reunion (1963)

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: armstgreat_2017) 



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

With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this original stereo copy simply could not be beat. So big, so rich, so Tubey Magical, we guarantee you have never heard Louis Armstrong sound remotely as good as he does here. We remember the Classic pressing as being a very good sounding record, but make no mistake, this is a GREAT sounding one.

More Louis Armstrong / More Duke Ellington


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Chet Atkins - Travelin’

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: atkintrave_2011) 



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

This original White Dog Black Label RCA pressing may not say Living Stereo on the label, but it sure has the kind of Living Stereo sound we audiophiles have come to love. It's got the sound of RCA's Nashville studios and Bill Porter's engineering all over it, not to mention the kind of 1963 Tubey Magical Analog that would be long gone by the time the decade came to an end.

Along with George Harrison, who wrote the liner notes for Chet Atkins Picks on The Beatles, we're proud to call ourselves Chet Atkins fans.

More Chet Atkins


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JS Bach / Organ Music Volume 2 / Weinrich

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: bach_organ_2649_2011) 



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

This is an exceptionally quiet Shaded Dog pressing with SUPERB SOUND on side one. The organ is so big and relaxed sounding you can't help but forget you are in your listening room, not a church.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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JS Bach / Suites for Solo - Cello Two and Five / Starker (SR90370)

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: bach_suite_2010) 



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

EXCELLENT CELLO REPRODUCTION and MOSTLY QUIET VINYL on side one, where you get Bach's entire Suite No. 2 for Unaccompanied Cello. Side two has excellent sound as well but the vinyl is noisy so take this one at a bargain price and hear how wonderful solo cello can sound when recorded and mastered for maximum effect, live in your listening room!

The sound of Starker's cello here is HUMONGOUS -- it'll fill up your room, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling! It's also tonally correct from top to bottom, a quality we heard on NONE of the new Mercury heavy vinyl reissues.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)


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The Beach Boys - Endless Summer

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: beachendle_2015) 



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

Endless Summer in Hot Stamper form at last! We've been picking these up over the years and until now we hadn't found copies with the kind of consistently good sound we'd want to give Hot Stamper grades too. This time around, that finally changed! We finally tracked down a handful of copies that really delivered. Like any compilation, there are some tracks that sound better than others, but the best sounding tracks on here easily rank with any Beach Boys vinyl we've ever played.

More Beach Boys


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The Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coup

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: beachlittl_2007) 



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

This Capitol reissue LP has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND. The Beach Boys’ voices are as clear and as sweet as you could ever wish for. I’d be really surprised if original pressings of this album are even remotely as good sounding. This album sounds like somebody threaded up the master tape and started up the record cutting lathe.

More Beach Boys


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The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beachsurfe_2016) 



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

If you've ever played an original pressing of the album you know what a sonic mess it is. There may be some good sounding copies out there but we've never heard one and remain skeptical in the extreme as to the possibility. Ever heard a top quality early Beatles Capitol pressing? Me neither.

More Beach Boys


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The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beachsurfe_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

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

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

More Beach Boys


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The Beach Boys - Surfin' U.S.A.

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: beachsurfi_2017) 



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

It's hard to find great sounding Beach Boys records, so when first we heard a Hot Stamper of this title we were blown away. The sound is big, open, rich and full, with the performers front and center (as well as left and right). The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than others by a long shot.

More Beach Boys


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: beatlpleas_2007) 



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

We shot out over two dozen copies of Please Please Me -- German, British, and American pressings of various vintages. The best German copies such as this one stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. However, we did manage to find some wonderful Brit and domestic copies which will be making it to the site very soon.

More Please Please Me


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

Which Is More 3-Dimensional
Mono or Twin Track?

  (Item #: beatlpleas_3d) 



With all due respect to Sir George Martin, we've played a number of mono pressings of this album in the past twenty or so years and have never been particularly impressed with any of them. The monos jam all the voices and instruments together in the middle, stacking them one in front of the other, and lots of musical information gets mashed together and simply disappears in the congestion.

But is Twin Track stereo any better? Yes, when you do it the way Norman Smith did on Please Please Me.

More Please Please Me


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlpleas_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series, this time for The Beatles' amazing debut from 1963, Please Please Me.

The first Beatles record is nothing short of amazing. It captures more of the live sound of these four guys playing together as a rock and roll band than any record they ever made afterwards. (Let It Be gets some of that live quality too and makes a great bookend for the group.)

More Please Please Me


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: beatlpleas_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Half Speed reviewed.

By the way, if you own the MoFi LP, do yourself a favor and buy one of our Hot Stamper pressings. (Actually any good British import pressing will do.) What's the first thing you will notice other than correct tonality, better bass and a lot more "life" overall?

No spit! As we've commented elsewhere, because of the wacky cutting system they used, MoFis are full of sibilance.

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: beatlpleas_obsess) 



PLEASE PLEASE ME 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.

This link will take you to all of our other BEATLES albums.


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

What to Listen For

  (Item #: beatlpleas_wtlf_2014) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) on PPM.

The Beatles' first album is a recording overflowing with sonic qualities prized by audiophiles and music lovers alike: Tubey Magic, energy, immediacy, richness, breathy vocals; in short, all the stuff you will never hear -- or not hear to the same extent -- on anything but the best vintage analog vinyl LPs.

More Please Please Me


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The Beatles - With the Beatles

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: beatlwitht_2008) 



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

Here’s a BIG one for you Beatles nuts... the first A+++ / A+++ copy of With The Beatles to ever make it to the site!

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES! This is one of the toughest Beatles albums to get to sound right, as long-time readers of our site surely know. That's why we haven't listed a Hot Stamper for this album since late 2006 -- we just can't find them!

More With the Beatles


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The Beatles - With the Beatles

Original Liner Notes

  (Item #: beatlwitht_liner_notes) 



Fourteen freshly recorded titles – including many sure-fire stage-show favourites – are featured on the two generously filled sides of this record. The Beatles have repeated the successful formula which made their first ‘Please Please Me’ LP into the fastest-selling album of 1963. Again they have set eight of their own original compositions alongside a batch of ‘personal choice; pieces selected from the recording repertoires of the American R&B artists they admire most.
More With the Beatles


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The Beatles - With the Beatles

The Early Pressings Are the Best, Right?

  (Item #: beatlwitht_myth) 



Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

So many Parlophone copies would have you think With The Beatles is a gritty, edgy, crude recording -- especially if you made the mistake of buying an early pressing. The early pressings are consistently grittier, edgier and more crude than the later pressings we played.

So much for the old canard that Original Always Equals Better. When it comes to With The Beatles it just ain't so, and it doesn't take a State-of-the-Art system or pair of golden ears to hear it.

More With the Beatles


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Dave Brubeck - Bossa Nova USA

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: brubebossa_2015) 



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

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

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

See all of our Dave Brubeck albums in stock


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Dave Brubeck - Bossa Nova USA

Skip It in Mono

  (Item #: brubebossa_mono) 



Stick with stereo on this title; the MONO pressings aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time). If you see one for a buck at a garage sale, pick it up for the music, and then be on the lookout for a nice stereo original to enjoy for the sound.

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

See all of our Dave Brubeck albums in stock


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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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Bruch - Mozart / Violin Concertos / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: bruchvioli_2011) 



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

Both sides of this Shaded Dog pressing of Heifetz and the New Symphony Orchestra of London have sound that earned the quite respectable sonic grades of A+ to A++.

Side one is tonally correct and lively, but suffers from a bit of the all-too-common tube smear, no doubt from the mastering chains and record presses that were in use at the time. (Most modern mastering chains and record presses are, to our ears, even worse, so this is not to denigrate the engineers at RCA in any way. It's simply to say that with Tubey Magic you often get tubey smear.)

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: burremidni_2019) 



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

Both sides have that Midnight Blue magic -- superb transparency, plenty of deep bass, silky highs, and TONS of energy. The sound of the congas on this copy is wonderful -- so punchy with clearly audible transients and so much ambience, it sounded to us like Ray Barretto was right there in the room with us, over by the left speaker.

More Kenny Burrell


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Byrd et al. / An Evening Of Elizabethan Music / Bream

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: byrd_eveni_2011) 



This lovely RCA Living Stereo Soria Pressing (LDS 2656) has reasonably quiet vinyl and EXCELLENT SOUND on side one. (It's a little ticky but find me a Soria pressing that isn't.)

Side one is so transparent you feel as though you are truly in the presence of the musicians. (Try that with any, and I do mean any, heavy vinyl pressing on the planet. Veiled and opaque, none of them can transport you like a properly recorded and mastered vintage LP can.)

More Living Stereo


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Nat King Cole - Let's Face The Music

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: cole_letsf_2013) 



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

Rich and tubey vocals on exceptionally quiet vinyl. Swingin' Billy May Big Band arrangements. Nat plays the Hammond organ on no less than five tracks.

All the copies we played were stereo. We've had very poor luck with mono Nat King Cole records (for albums that were recorded in stereo) and tend to avoid them.

See all our Nat King Cole albums in stock


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Judy Collins - Judy Collins #3

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: collijudyc_3_2007) 



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

This is a Minty Elektra Red Label LP with two AMAZING sounding sides! Typical copies are dull and thin sounding, making Judy Blue Eyes’ beautiful voice sound honky and weak like she has a head cold. This copy is the remedy!

More Judy Collins


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John Coltrane - Impressions

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: coltrimpre_2012) 



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

BIG, BOLD JOHN COLTRANE SOUND -- ain't that something?! We had a big stack of pressings to compare and this one just blew us away, earning our top grade of A+++ for the first side and a strong A++ for the second. The clarity and transparency on this copy are mind-boggling, and the immediacy puts early '60s Coltrane blowing his brains out right there in your listening room!

More John Coltrane


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John Coltrane - John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrjohnc_2016) 



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

An outstanding copy of this classic Jazz Vocal album, with superb sound throughout. The sound is huge and spacious with richness and Tubey Magic like nothing you've heard. I defy you to find a Male Vocal record produced in the last thirty years that can hold a candle to this one sonically or musically. A wonderful collaboration between a horn player and a singer, perhaps the greatest of all time.

More John Coltrane / More Johnny Hartman


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John Coltrane - The Stardust Session

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrstard_2016) 



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

Superb sound quality courtesy of Rudy van Gelder (1958) and the brilliant mastering of David Turner (1972). The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on these incredibly Hot sides.

We were impressed with the fact that these pressings excel in so many areas of reproduction. What was odd about it -- odd to most audiophiles but not necessarily to us -- was just how rich and Tubey Magical the reissue can be on the right pressing.

More John Coltrane


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Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: davisbirth_2017) 



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

Birth Of The Cool in White Hot Stamper form! We've been trying to find copies of this classic music from 1949-1950 that really delivered in an audiophile sense, but as you might imagine it was one tough task. We checked out Mono and Stereo copies, Originals and Reissues... basically anything we could get our hands on. It wasn't easy and it wasn't cheap, but we managed to find a pressing here that delivers excellent sound throughout.

More Miles Davis


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Miles Davis - Quiet Nights

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: davisquiet_2016) 



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

A Miles Davis - Gil Evans classic, and only the second to hit the site in five years. Fred Plaut engineered the sessions, which here sound rich, warm, and smooth, with excellent presence. Gil Evans conducts the orchestra, adding a lovely feel reminiscent of Sketches Of Spain.

More Miles Davis


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Miles Davis - Seven Steps to Heaven

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: davisseven_2006) 



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

This Original Miles Davis record has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! I have never heard Miles Davis’ trumpet sound more real. The sound is as good as it gets. Columbia jazz records from this period are some of the best sounding jazz records ever made, and this is a perfect example of what is right with their recordings. The sound is rich, full, sweet, tonally right on the money, and lively as can be.

More Miles Davis


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Jimmy Dean - Everybody's Favorite

with Plenty of '60s Tubey Magic

  (Item #: dean_every_tubey_magic) 



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

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


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Debussy - La Mer - Munch

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: debuslamer_1041_2011) 



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

This late label Victrola pressing (VICS 1041) has EXCEPTIONALLY rich and sweet sound and a superb performance from Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony.

The richness of the strings, a signature sound for RCA in the Living Stereo era, is displayed here beautifully for fans of the classical Golden Age. It's practically impossible to hear that kind of string sound on any recording made in the last thirty years. It may be a lost art but as long as we have these wonderful pressings and the turntables to play them it is an art that will never be lost to us.

See more of Claude Debussy's music


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Martin Denny - The Versatile Martin Denny

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: dennyversa_2009) 



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

This early stereo Liberty label pressing has BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. This is not just another exercise in Bachelor Pad Exotica; there is some fun, swingin' jazz here. Martin Denny on piano has real jazz chops and sympathetic sidemen to play with.

More Martin Denny


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Paul Desmond - Take Ten

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: desmotaket_2018) 



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

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

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

More Paul Desmond


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Kenny Dorham - Una Mas

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: dorhaunama_2016) 



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

A fun and lively Blue Note, presented here with two especially hot sides and quiet vinyl!

After hearing a copy that blew us away a few years back, we went on the hunt for enough pressings to get this shootout off the ground. It wasn't easy -- run across many clean Kenny Dorham LPs recently? -- but we finally pulled it off and this copy really impressed the hell out of us compared to the others we had on hand to play.

More recordings by Rudy Van Gelder


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Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

Our Mono Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: dylanfreew_2016) 



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

This is a 2-pack of two Mono pressings, each with a killer Triple Plus (A+++) side. The White Hot sides are amazingly spacious, full-bodied, natural and clear with great presence. We greatly prefer the best Mono pressings to the best stereo copies, but they are very hard to come by.

This is our favorite of the early Dylan albums for both music and sound! We're picking up both mono and stereo copies when we see them clean (which is rare) but the best mono copies truly take this music to a whole new level.

More Bob Dylan


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Ray Ellis - Our Man On Broadway

Reviewed in 2015

  (Item #: ellisourma_2015) 



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

A DAZZLING TOUR OF THE BROADWAY SHOW SCENE... courtesy of Mickey Crofford's engineering in NYC's legendary Webster Hall. If we could only find more vintage pressings with this kind of fidelity and musical invention our job would be a lot easier. We have to play a huge stack of titles to find even one that can do what this copy is doing, and how many of those will be this quiet? One out of a hundred? Two hundred? The whole enterprise boggles the mind.

More Living Stereo


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Falla / Nights In The Gardens Of Spain - De Burgos

Testament Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: fallanight_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

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

More music by Manuel de Falla


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Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - Ella and Basie!

Reviewed in 2004

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_2004) 



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

This early British import KILLS the Speakers Corner 180 gram reissue! I still like their version but this is what it should have sounded like: tonally much fuller and richer. The 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO -- brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here. I've never heard this album sound better and I doubt that it really can sound much better than this. This copy makes me want to turn it up as loud as the stereo will go and let those wonderful Quincy Jones arrangements come to life!

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Ella & Basie - Ella and Basie!

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_2018) 



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

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

More Ella Fitzgerald / More Count Basie


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Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - Ella and Basie!

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

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

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Ella Fitzgerald - Misty Blue

Not Her Finest Hour

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ellasss) 



A Hall of Shame pressing from 1968.

The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (although some may vote for Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday). Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, Fitzgerald could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang. The one fault was that, since she always sounded so happy to be singing, Fitzgerald did not always dig below the surface of the lyrics she interpreted and she even made a downbeat song such as "Love for Sale" sound joyous. However, when one evaluates her career on a whole, there is simply no one else in her class." - AMG

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Aretha Franklin - Laughing On The Outside

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: franklaugh_2011) 



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

This Minty Original looking Columbia Two Eye Demo LP from 1963 has WONDERFUL sound. It’s sweet and spacious, and the vinyl plays quietly. I don’t think you could find either a better sounding copy of this record.

Aretha's records for Columbia feature a more pop-oriented sound than her later works. This is a great record for those interested in checking out the early roots of one of the greatest singers of all time!

More Popular Vocal recordings


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Stan Getz - Jazz Samba Encore

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: getz_jazz_samba_encore_2015) 



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

Yet another wonderful Getz Samba record, the third in the series. Some of our faourite music has this Samba syncopation: Sergio Mendes, first and foremost of course, but also Airto, and all the wonderful Getz albums from this period. Their enchanting Brazilian rhythms make their music fun.

See all of our Stan Getz albums in stock


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Stan Getz - Jazz Classics

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: getz_jazzc_2011) 



The album contains tracks culled from two different sessions featuring a very young Stan Getz. The sound on the tracks taken from a 1953 session with the Jimmy Raney quintet (tracks one and two on both sides) is amazing! Energetic, tonally balanced, clean and clear -- we've never heard a better sounding Stan Getz recording! Unfortunately, the tracks from the 1949 session with Terry Gibbs, while interesting historically, sound like old 78's -- not our cup of tea.
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Gilbert & Sullivan - The Best Of... (3 LP Box Set)

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: gilbebest_of_gilbert_2006) 



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

This is a Minty RCA Reader’s Digest 3 LP Box set with SUPERB SOUND! These recordings are DEMO DISC QUALITY.

HP put the Rachmaninoff Box on the TAS List, and when you get a properly mastered one, it belongs there. But this G&S box is every bit as good sonically. This may not be high brow classical music, but it's music that belongs in any record collection, and especially in an audiophile record collection, because the sound is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

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Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gordoourma_2010) 



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

AMAZING SOUND ON SIDE ONE, great sound on side two and quiet vinyl throughout. Most importantly, the music here is EXCELLENT. We shot out all the copies in the house, and nothing could hold a candle to this Blue Label pressing on side one.

The sound is lively and energetic with lots of DEEP, well-defined bass. This side one has the kind of bottom-end WHOMP that you don’t hear on too many Blue Note LPs. The overall sound is rich and full-bodied with lots of air in the brass. The sound really JUMPS out of the speakers!

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Herbie Hancock - My Point of View

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: hancomypoi_2017) 



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

TWO KILLER SIDES, dramatically better sounding than the other copies we played it against. Both sides here are incredible -- rich and warm with a huge bottom end and lots of space around the instruments. About as quiet as they come, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout.

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Johnny Hartman - I Just Dropped By To Say Hello

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: hartmijust_2013) 



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

Folks, the best Stereo Impulse pressings are so Tubey Magical, RICH yet CLEAR, and above all shockingly natural, I defy you to find a Male Vocal record produced in the last thirty years that can hold a candle to it (outside of the Coltrane-Hartman record from the year before of course).

The Bennett-Evans record we love so much here at Better Records would qualify as a contender, but that album was recorded in 1975. And it doesn't have half the Tubey Magic this Hartman album from 1963 does.

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Coleman Hawkins and Clark Terry - Back In Bean’s Bag

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: hawkibacki_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

We're not the least bit embarrassed to admit we used to like their version very much, and happily recommended it in our catalog back in the day.

Like many Classic Records, the master tapes are so good that even with their mediocre mastering -- and pressing: RTI's vinyl accounts for at least some of the lost sound quality, so airless and tired -- the record still sounds great, at least until you get hold of the real thing and hear what you are missing.

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Coleman Hawkins - Hawkins! Alive!

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: hawkihawki_2005) 



This Verve T Label Mono pressing DESTROYS the Classic Records reissue, hands down. Side one is lively, present, and dynamic, but a bit aggressive -- the horn can really bite when Hawk pushes it. Side two, however, sounds LOVELY. It's much smoother and very natural. This isn't an easy album to find in such gorgeous condition, and I bet you'd have a really tough time finding one that sounds as good as this one does on side two.
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Coleman Hawkins - Hawkins! Alive!

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: hawkihawki_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

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

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Haydn / Symphonies No. 89 & 90 / Somogyi

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: haydnsym89_westminster_2011) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side two (Symphony 90) is some of the BEST SOUND we have ever heard for any Haydn Symphony, and recently we heard some awfully good ones such as those performed by Dorati for Mercury. I rank these performances right up there with Dorati's, and on this side two I would have to say that the sound found on this early Westminster pressing (WST 17043) is EVEN BETTER than the sound of that Hot Stamper Merc. This pressing is nothing short of SUPERB in every way. Who knew?

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)


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Joe Henderson - Page One

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: hendepageo_2009) 



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

EXCELLENT SOUND ON SIDE ONE of this Highly Recommended Blue Note classic! This ’70s pressing has sound that’s sure to beat the pants off most other copies out there. Just listen to the sound of the percussion; on the earlier pressings it tends to be smeary, but that’s certainly not the case here! The overall sound is open and transparent with incredible presence. Turn up the volume and you’ll have a smokin’ jazz quintet tearing it up right there in your living room! I don’t think Henderson made a better album than this one, and I doubt it’ll be easy tol find another copy that sounds this good!


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Freddie Hubbard - The Body and Soul of Freddie Hubbard

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: hubbabodya_2017) 



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

The bluesy version of Willow Weep For Me on side one is WONDERFUL. The rich, full-bodied sax sound is Right On The Money. The overall sound is totally transparent with superb clarity. Scrapple From The Apple (also on side one) has a silky top end anchored with deep, well-defined bass.

We had good success with both '60s originals and later copies pressed in the '70s.

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Freddie Hubbard - The Body and Soul of Freddie Hubbard

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: hubbabodya_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

An outstanding Freddie Hubbard straight ahead jazz album on Speakers Corner vinyl that belongs in any jazz lover's collection.

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

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Illinois Jacquet - Illinois Jacquet

Classic Records - Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: jacquillin_17033_classic) 



Sonic Grade: C or Better

My guess is this is still a fairly good Classic Records jazz album. Years ago we wrote the following:

"This is actually one of the best Classic Jazz albums they released back in the '90s. Both the music and sound are excellent. Jacquet is one of the creators of the big soulful tenor sax sound. I don't know of anyone who does it better."

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

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Antonio Carlos Jobim - The Composer of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: jobimcompo_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.The sound is huge and spacious, with instruments popping out all over the place.

Credit engineer PHIL RAMONE for correctly capturing the sound of every instrument here: the guitars, piano, flutes, strings, drums, percussion instruments -- everything has the natural timbre of the real thing. I used to think this recording erred on the bright side, but not the Hot Stamper copies. They are tonally Right On The Money.

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Liszt / Sonata in B Minor & Other Pieces / Curzon

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: lisztsonat_6371_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper solo piano record is 1963 Decca recording technology at its finest (or would be if we had ten copies to shoot out and could find the White Hot Stamper pressing hidden among them). As it is, we are happy to have found this one, Super Hot on both sides, an amazingly realistic representation of a piano. You will have a hard time finding better.

And the music, especially on side two, is compelling and wonderful. This is classical music that will engage you at the deepest and most serious level. Widely considered Liszt's masterpiece, in Curzon's forceful hands it is not hard to understand why.

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


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Liszt / Sonata in B Minor & Other Pieces / Curzon

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: lisztsonat_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

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

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


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Henry Mancini - Charade

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mancichara_2013) 



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

This Living Stereo RCA LP has TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES, giving you a healthy dose of the Living Stereo Tubey Magic we love here at Better Records. As is usually the case with Mancini's records, some tracks sound far better than others. Charade is a particularly good sounding song on side two, with superb reproduction of both female and male voices, rich and sweet in the best tradition of RCA from the Golden Age. More good stuff on side two? Drop the needle on Latin Snowfall to hear exactly what I’m talking about.

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Henry Mancini - Our Man In Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: manciourma_2015) 



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

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

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

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Henry Mancini - Our Man In Hollywood

Making More Progress in Audio

  (Item #: manciourma_vta) 



The story of our recent shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about.

In our previous listings we noted:

This is one of those odd records in which the variation in sound quality from track to track is dramatic. Take the first two tracks on side one -- they suck. They sound like your average LSP Mancini album, the kind I have suffered through far too many times. And that means bad bad bad.

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Henry Mancini - The Pink Panther

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: mancipinkp_2008) 



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

Both sides are rich, sweet, and smooth. We didn't hear any other copies that could keep up with the presence and energy on BOTH sides here. The overall sound is airy, open, spacious, and SUPER transparent. The brass sounds AMAZING. You're not going to believe all the ambience, especially around the drums!

I gotta tell ya, this was quite a fun shootout. We obviously love finding the classic rock Hot Stampers, but this wonderful Mancini album was a nice change of pace.

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Thelonious Monk - Big Band and Quartet

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: monk_bigba_2015) 



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

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

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Thelonious Monk - Big Band and Quartet

The Glorious Sound of Tubes - 1963 Tubes, That Is

  (Item #: monk_bigba_tubes) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.

On this record, more than most, the tubes potentially make all the difference.

Keep in mind that we are referring specifically to 1963 tubes, not the stuff that engineers are using today to make "tube-mastered" records. Today's modern records barely hint at the Tubey Magical sound of a record like this, if our experience with hundreds of them is any guide. We, unlike so many of the audiophile reviewers of today, have a very hard time taking any of the new pressings seriously. We think our position is pretty clear, and we have yet to hear more than a stray record or two that would make us want to change our minds.

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Thelonious Monk - Criss-Cross

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: monk_criss_2009) 



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

WONDERFUL MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound -- natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT -- totally free of the RVG squawk. ’The clarity and transparency are superb throughout. AMG raves about the album and calls it prime Monk for any degree of listener and we couldn’t agree more.

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Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: monk_monks_dream_2013) 



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

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

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

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Wes Montgomery - Boss Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: montgbossg_2016) 



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

This is one of Wes Montgomery's best albums from his prime '60s period, if not THE best. Rich and full-bodied but clear and spacious, the 1963 All Tube Analog sound is perfect for Wes's organ trio format.

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Mozart / Sinfonia Concertante / Oistrakh (Igor and David)

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: mozarsinfo_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

A fairly good Speakers Corner Decca.

Years ago we wrote that the following: "One of the best of the Decca reissues! EXCELLENT SOUND for these pieces, written for violin, viola and orchestra." Can't be sure we would still feel that way but I'm guessing this is a good record at the price.

See more of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


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Mozart / Complete Wind Music Volume 2 / Brymer

Reviewed in 2004

  (Item #: mozarwind2_6347_2004) 



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

This record plays NM and sounds superb! A great London title.

This record includes Serenade in E Flat, Divertimento in E Flat and Divertimento in F and K.

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Gerry Mulligan - Spring Is Sprung

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: mullisprin_2018) 



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

With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides, it just doesn't get any better than this copy of Mulligan's superb sounding and Hard To Find 1963 release on the rare Philips label. Phil Ramone made sure the album would be exceptionally well-recorded, which it is! Big, rich, and Tubey Magical, here is Mulligan's quartet with the energy and clarity these classic jazz performances deserve.

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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Awesome In Stereo (2007)

  (Item #: mussopower_2007) 



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

DEMO DISC QUALITY ORCHESTRAL SOUND like you will not believe. We put two top copies together to bring you the ultimate-sounding Pictures At An Exhibition. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this for huge orchestral dynamics and energy.

One side of each copy rates A Triple Plus -- our highest sonic grade. The sound is out of this world.

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


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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussopower_2011) 



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

This Shaded Dog pressing of the famous TAS List Super Disc title has TWO AMAZING SIDES, including a side two that is White Hot! We have never heard a copy with such a huge hall sound and so much weight down low. As we said last time we did a shootout for this title in 2007: "DEMO DISC QUALITY ORCHESTRAL SOUND like you will not believe. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this for huge orchestral dynamics and energy."

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


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Mussorgsky - The Power of the Orchestra

Chesky Debunked

  (Item #: mussopower_chesky_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Record and another Remastered Audiophile Pressing debunked.

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

The Hot Stamper commentary below is for a pair of records that proves our case in the clearest possible way.

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


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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Awesome In Mono

  (Item #: mussopower_mono) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

This is the kind of record that the mono cartridge owners of the world worship. And for good reason. But you don't need to have a mono cartridge to hear how good -- in fact, how much BETTER -- this copy sounds than most of the stereo pressings out there.

I found out about mono classical records one day when I got a mono copy of The Power Of The Orchestra, VCS 2659. It sounded better than any stereo recording of that work I had ever heard. All the instruments were so much more solid sounding, so palpable, so free from distortion, that it made me recognize for the first time what the mono record lovers of the world were talking about.

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


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Offenbach & Chopin / Gaite Parisienne & Les Sylphides

Reverse Your Polarity

  (Item #: offengaite_rd_2016) 



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

Amazing in every way! The top end of this record is clear, clean and correct. No other copy sounded like this one on the first side. When you hear all the percussion instruments -- the tambourines, triangles, wood blocks and what-have-you -- you know instantly that they sound RIGHT.

The overall sound is very different from many of the other recordings of the work that we have offered in the past. Rather than smooth, rich and sweet, the sound here is big and bold and clear like nothing we have ever played.

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


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Art Pepper - Intensity

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: peppeinten_2008) 



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

Intensity is right -- this is some SERIOUSLY GOOD SOUNDING alto saxophone led quartet jazz. AMG was right to give this one 4 1/2 stars -- the musicianship is top notch and Pepper’s playing is INSPIRED throughout.

The real surprise was how well recorded this album from 1963 is. I can't recall a more DYNAMIC Contemporary. Pepper's sax gets seriously LOUD in some passages. This is very much a good thing. Not only is he totally committed to the music, but the engineers are getting that energy onto the record so that we at home can feel the moment to moment raw power of his expression.

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Peter, Paul & Mary - In The Wind

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: peterinthe_2017) 



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

This Gold Label stereo LP has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s no doubt missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from these 50+ year old tapes. It's been ages since we had any copies of this 1963 release, the one that helped get Dylan's career going, if you can imagine that.

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Peter, Paul & Mary - Moving

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: petermovin_2008) 



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

This White Hot Stamper [which sold for $400 in 2008 by the way] of Peter Paul & Mary’s MOVING absolutely DESTROYED the competition. No other copy we played rated as high as A++ on EITHER side; this one rates our top grade of A+++ on BOTH sides! The warmth and presence of the vocals on this copy are OFF THE CHARTS!

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Elvis Presley - Fun In Acapulco

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: preslfunin_2015) 



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

Finding clean real Elvis records -- not those crappy compilations and vault-leftovers, but real Elvis albums from his golden period when he was the true King of Pop (sorry Michael) -- has never been a walk in the park. We do the best we can.

Fortunately there are some reissues from the '60s and '70s that have the potential for excellent sound. This is clearly one of them. The originals we see are a lost cause; they're practically always scratched and full of groove damage. We'd be lucky to find a clean one every five or ten years nowadays.

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Elvis Presley - It Happened At The World's Fair

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: preslithap_2017) 



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

This pressing has the glorious sound of 1963 in its grooves. It has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.

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Rachmaninoff / Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini / Fiedler

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rachmrhaps_2678_2011) 



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

Side two here earned a seriously good sonic grade of A++ for the two shorter works by Franck and Litolff respectively. The top end is extended and the overall sound is quite clear and natural.

Side one is not quite up to the sound heard on side two. We rate it A+. It's a bit dark and there is some smear on the piano. However, this is a wonderfully well-recorded album, so even at one plus the sound is still quite respectable.

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


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

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: ravelboler_6367_2014) 



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

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

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

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


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Marty Robbins - Hawaii's Calling Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: robbihawai_2015) 



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

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

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Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins - Sonny Meets Hawk

Great in Mono

  (Item #: rollisonny_2010) 



WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album with good sound and quiet surfaces, but this pressing is a MONSTER. We’re generally not big fans of Mono recordings, but for this music it is really doing the job. It gives you mindblowing presence to the brass and real weight to the bottom end.
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Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins - Sonny Meets Hawk

Great in Stereo

  (Item #: rollisonny_2013) 



This is a TOP SHELF pressing, one of the most exciting jazz records we've heard in some time! We dropped the needle on side one of this RCA stereo pressing and were FLOORED. After evaluating it completely and awarding it our top grade of A+++, we flipped and were blown away to find that side two was every bit as good. And to top it all off, the vinyl plays quietly throughout.

Think about this -- due to the nature of our business we play tons of jazz vinyl every week, multiple pressings of multiple albums. And this record completely knocked us out.

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Saint-Saens et al. - Danse Macabre

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: saintdanse_2011) 



This is a Decca reissue that just happens to have the material found on one of the most famous and sought-after Shaded Dog pressings in the world, Witches' Brew, along with another track added, The Sorcerer's Apprentice conducted by Ansermet. (As a budget reissue they felt they needed to give you more music in order to get you to buy performances that were no longer current.)

This pressing is tonally much more natural from top to bottom. I used to think that it was the best way to hear the music on Witches' Brew. Like so much of what happens in the world of records, it is and it isn't.

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens


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Bola Sete - Tour De Force

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: sete_tourd_2011) 



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

My favorite Latin jazz guitar record of all time! DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND, too.

This pressing is tonally correct from top to bottom. As the old saying goes, it wasn't broke so don't try to fix it. Afficionados of the guitar or Latin music will find this record very satisfying in all respects. A top recommendation from Better Records.

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Bola Sete - Tour De Force

Analogue Productions Debunked

  (Item #: sete_tourd_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

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

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Sibelius / Symphony #2 / Barbarolli

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sibelsym2_rdg_2017) 



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

A truly extraordinary recording mastered beautifully but pressed on vinyl that has never been known for its quiesecece (if I can get by with that ten cent word).

The strings are clear and textured, yet rich and full-bodied. The bottom is big and weighty. The horns are tubey and full-bodied and never screech through even the most difficult passages.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Frank Sinatra - The Concert Sinatra

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: sinatconce_2010) 



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

This stereo pressing has SUPER HOT stamper sound on both sides, which means it was one of the best copies in our recent shootout, the first we've done since 2006 (!).

Folks, when we say that clean, good sounding Sinatra records are hard to come by, we are not kidding. It took us five years to find enough copies of this title to do a proper shootout. In that time an awful lot of bad LPs passed passed through our hands: the monos (never heard a good one), the reissues (ditto), imports, and, most commonly, original stereo pressings in beat-to-death condition. People loved Sinatra and played his records until the grooves were gone.

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The Concert Sinatra

Yes, It Took Us Ten Years to Do Two Shootouts for This Album

  (Item #: sinatconce_2017) 



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

If you're looking for quiet vinyl and good sound on this title I don't think we will have anything for you for the foreseeable future. But of course you never know, we could luck into some killer copies on any one of our regular record hunting days. It's pure luck to find any early stereo copy in good shape, let alone one that has the right stampers, the right sound and good surfaces. Each of our last two shootouts took us five years to make happen if that tells you anything.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra's Sinatra

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: sinatsinat_2016) 



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

This Sinatra release from 1963 has out of this world Triple Plus (A+++) sound practically from start to finish. Forget the reissues - the stereo original we are offering here is the only way to go for rich, tubey, dynamic, musical sound. Frank rerecorded some of his biggest hits in stereo for this album - the record is one Sinatra Classic after another.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


  more Info











Frank Sinatra - Sinatra's Sinatra

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: sinatsinatras_2016) 



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

This Sinatra release from 1963 has out of this world Triple Plus (A+++) sound practically from start to finish. Forget the reissues - the stereo original we are offering here is the only way to go for rich, tubey, dynamic, musical sound. Frank rerecorded some of his biggest hits in stereo for this album - the record is one Sinatra Classic after another.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


  more Info




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