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1967

Featuring Landmark Albums by The Beatles, The Doors, Hendrix, The Moody Blues et al.

  (Item #: 1967) 



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 1967 was an AMAZING year for Rock music.

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1967.

And HERE to see the records from 1967 that we've reviewed, a substantially larger group as you can imagine, more than 80 at the time of this writing.


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The Association - Insight Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: associnsig_2010) 



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

The sound of the Sixties will fill your room like never before -- wall to wall, floor to ceiling, with layers upon layers of depth. You would be very hard pressed to find a pop rock recording from 1967 that sounds as good as a Hot Stamper Insight Out. (Sgt. Pepper comes to mind, but what else?) Can you imagine the Mamas and the Papas or The Jefferson Airplane with this kind of rich, sweet, open, textured, natural, tonally correct recording quality?

More of The Association


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The Association - Insight Out

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: associnsig_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

The real stars of Windy (and the album itself) are Hal Blaine and Joe Osborne, the famous session drummer/ bass player team from The Wrecking Crew who create the driving force behind these songs. Osborne's web site puts Windy front and center as the first track demonstrating what a top rhythm section can do for a pop song. This whole album can be enjoyed simply for the great drum and bass work, not to mention the sound that both instruments are given by the Master of Tubey Magical Pop Recording, Mr. BONES HOWE.

More of The Association


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Chet Atkins - Class Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: atkinclass_2013) 



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

This RCA original pressing from Nashville, circa 1967, has DEMO DISC quality sound from start to finish, first note to last. Class Guitar is more or less a solo session from 1967, concentrating mostly on classical guitar pieces, with a few pop and jazz hits of the day thrown in for the sake of variety. Chet's good buddy and main man Jerry Reed joins him on rhythm guitar on some tracks. Both sides have plenty to offer the discriminating audiophile, with the spaciousness, clarity, tonality and freedom from artificiality that are the hallmark of the best Living Stereo recordings.

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins - Class Guitar

A Great Sounding Dynagroove Record from 1967

  (Item #: atkinclass_dynagroove) 



Having played dozens of Chet Atkins titles over the last few years, we can say with confidence that sometime in the mid-'60s the quality of the sound becomes somewhat more hit and miss with each passing year. But it was always hit and miss before then, just less hit and miss. The man was making three or four albums a year back then. They can't all be good.

So, in the world of Chet Atkins (and recording artists the world over), it's win a few, lose a few. This, we are happy to report, is one of the clear winners. I doubt any of his other albums from 1967 sound as good as this one. (One day we will surely find out.)

More Chet Atkins


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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: bachacasin_2008) 



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

TWO STUNNING SIDES! With sound like this, I now understand why this has been such a highly regarded long-term resident of the TAS Superdisc List. A copy like this IS a TRUE SUPERDISC -- but the average copy of this album is anything but. Who could take such harsh, grainy, thin, veiled, compressed sound seriously? What was Harry smokin’?

I can honestly and truthfully say that until we discovered the Hot Stampers for this album, I never thought this record deserved the praise Harry heaped upon it. Now I do. I once was blind but now I see, or something like that.

More Burt Bacharach


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White Hot Stamper

Burt Bacharach
Reach Out

  (Item #: bachareach_1912) 


  • A KILLER copy of Reach Out, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • This copy was super full-bodied and dynamic with real weight down low, nice bite to the brass, tons of energy and a lot of Tubey Magic.
  • Tons of hits - The Look Of Love, Message To Michael, Alfie, What The World Needs Now, I Say A Little Prayer and more
  • Engineering by Phil Ramone (Casino Royale) and Henry Lewy (Sergio Mendes, Joni Mitchell) each doing their own tracks - compare and contrast for yourself
  • "[Reach Out] present[s] Bacharach's vision of his work at its most straightforward, and it is enjoyable on its own terms, as a snapshot of his own sensibilities at that time."
See all of our Burt Bacharach albums in stock


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Burt Bacharach - Reach Out

What to Listen For

  (Item #: bachareach_wtlf) 



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

What to listen for? Brightness, Blare, Lifelessness, Smear.

We played a good-sized stack of these recently, but not many of them sounded like this one. The majority of copies had a tendency to be bright, which is MURDER when the horns start blaring at the levels we like to play our records at.

In addition there are plenty of copies out there that lack energy, while others suffer from transient smearing, clearly audible on the brass.

More Burt Bacharach


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Joan Baez - Joan

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: baez_joan_2014) 



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

In 1967 Vanguard still knew how to record pure, rich, sweet, Tubey Magical analog. Some of these tracks are amazing sounding. Once a year we run across a clean stereo copy of this album. (With such complex arrangements we don't feel the mono could do the album justice. You may feel otherwise.)

This pressing appears to be the original stereo label, although with so many Vanguard labels -- dozens by my count -- this could easily be an early reissue. The paste-on rough cardboard back is a good sign of its age.

More Joan Baez


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: beatlmagic_2007) 



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

THE BEST SOUNDING MMT EVER! Hot Stamper copies of this album are a regular feature on this site, but we’ve NEVER heard one like this -- on EITHER side! We had no choice but to award this album the very rare grade of A++++ (Four Pluses!) on both sides.

More Magical Mystery Tour


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: beatlmagic_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the Magical Mystery Tour.

We discuss in detail what we're listening for and what the best copies seem to do so well that the run-of-the-mill copies simply do not. If you own a copy of the German MMT plays yours and listen for what we're listening for. It's all laid out in the track commentary.

More Magical Mystery Tour


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: beatlmagic_obsess) 



MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR 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 - Magical Mystery Tour

Are Your Cellists Digging In?

  (Item #: beatlmagic_walruscellos) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Over the last decade I Am The Walrus has evolved into a good test for side one, a fact that came as a complete surprise to me. As I was listening to the various copies in a shootout years ago I noted that the opening cellos and basses in the right channel were often tonally identical from copy to copy, but sounded quite a bit more lively and energetic on some pressings relative to others. Was it EQ? Level? Compression?

Why so much more passion from the players on some copies and not others?

More Magical Mystery Tour


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

We Was Wrong (Circa the '80s)

  (Item #: beatlmagic_wrong) 



This is a VERY old and somewhat embarrassing We Was Wrong from a few years back.

This German pressing has dramatically different sound than that found on other Hot Stamper pressings of MMT we've had on the site. I used to be convinced that its sound was clearly superior to the regular German MMT LPs. Back in the late '80s and into the '90s this was the pressing that I was certain blew them all out of the water. We know better now. We call this version the "Too Hot Stamper" pressing -- the upper mids and top end are much hotter than they should be.

More Magical Mystery Tour


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The Beatles - Past Masters Volumes 1 & 2

Digital Remastering at its Worst

  (Item #: beatlpastm_2010) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

The '90s import pressings of this album are bright and aggressive and very digital sounding, but if you want better sounding versions of these songs you're gonna have to buy a lot of albums to find them.

All the songs that aren't on the original 13 British albums, so for those of you with the MOFI Beatles box, this gives you all the tracks you don't have.


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The Beatles Heavy Vinyl Sgt. Pepper’s

Well, I Guess If You Don't Know Any Better...

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_180_debunk_2015) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

You might agree with some reviewers that EMI's engineers did a pretty good job with the new Pepper. In the March 2013 issue of Stereophile Art Dudley weighed in, finding little to fault on this title but being less impressed with most of the others in the new box set. His reference disc? The MoFi UHQR! Oh, and he also has some old mono pressings and a domestic Let It Be. Now there's a man who knows his Beatles. Fanatical? Who wouldn't be? We're talkin' The Beatles for Chrissake.

More Sgt. Pepper


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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_2005) 



Drumroll please... FREAKISHLY GOOD SOUND ON BOTH QUIET SIDES! This White Hot Sgt. Pepper’s is absolutely stunning with huge amounts of LIFE, ENERGY, PRESENCE, and IMMEDIACY! The huge soundfield will fill up your living room -- and then some!

Side One is a TUBEY MAGICAL MONSTER! We rate the first two tracks an A++ because the bass is a bit more bloated than we would like. But in true champion form, the bass tightens up during "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" to earn its THIRD PLUS and to show the world what tonal balance sounds like. The top end is silky and delicate with lots of extension. The vocals here are virtually strain free, which is a miraculous feat for any Beatles album.

More Sgt. Pepper


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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

UHQR Debunked

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

We charge hundreds of dollars for a Hot Stamper Sgt. Pepper, which is a lot to pay for a record. But consider this: the MoFi UHQR typically sells for more than the price we charge and doesn’t sound as good.

Of course the people that buy UHQRs would never find themselves in a position to recognize how much better one of our Hot Stampers sounds in a head to head shootout with their precious and oh-so-collectible UHQR. They assume that they’ve already purchased the Ultimate Pressing and see no need to try another.

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers on LP

Practical Advice on What Pressings to Avoid

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_rules) 



Chris, our erstwhile customer, sent us a letter a while back describing his search for a good sounding Sgt. Pepper.

The first thing that comes to mind when reading his letter is that many record collecting rules were broken in going about his search the way he did. But then I thought, What rules? Whose rules? Where exactly does one find these rules? If one wants to avoid breaking them they need to be written down someplace, don’t they?

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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Beethoven / Piano Sonatas / Backhaus

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: beethsonat_6535_2008) 



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

CS 6535. This is the best sounding Backhaus LP I've ever heard. The piano is natural and full bodied, as would be expected from the Decca engineers of the day. They were still making good records in 1967, when RCA had gone Dynagroove.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Big Brother & The Holding Company

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: bigbrbigbr_2016) 



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

This album has got that trippy '60s San Francisco sound, no doubt about it. Those of you who are familiar with Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow or the early Grateful Dead albums know what I'm talking about. Like you might expect from this mixture of blues and psychedelic rock, the sound can be a bit raw. That's surely the way the band wanted you to hear it, and this copy gives you, more than anything else, the right sound for this music.

More Janis Joplin


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Buffalo Springfield - Again

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: buffaagain_2007) 



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

This original Plum and Tan Atco label Hot Stamper pressing has TWO AMAZING SIDES and fairly quiet vinyl. A Double Plus (A++) Sound and Mint Minus vinyl makes the copy the Black Swan of this shootout, that’s for sure.

You have never heard a better pressing of what many consider to be Buffalo Springfield's Masterpiece, Buffalo Springfield Again. We guarantee this copy will blow your mind or your money back! Only one side of one copy had better sound, and that one was noticeably noisier, so we crowning this one King of the Buffalo Springfield Again Shootout for 2007.

More Buffalo Springfield


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Buffalo Springfield - Again

Extracting the Midrange Magic

  (Item #: buffaagain_wtlf) 



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

So many copies of this album sound so bad and play so poorly that most audiophiles have by now written it off as a lost cause. But we didn't. We kept at it, and our main motivation was the music.

Extracting the midrange magic from a album like this should be the goal of every right-thinking audiophile. Who cares what's on the TAS Super Disc List? I want to play the music that I love, not because it sounds good, but because I love it. And if the only way to find good sounding copies of typically poorly-mastered, beat-to-death records such as this one is to go through a big pile of them, well then, I guess that's what we'll have to do.

More Buffalo Springfield


 
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The Byrds - Younger Than Yesterday

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: byrdsyoung_2015) 



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

It ain't easy to find great sounding copies of this album on decent vinyl, but we managed to get a hold of a hot one here. White Hot in fact. Not only that, but the vinyl's pretty darn quiet! The sound is very tubey with excellent transparency and serious immediacy.

Most Byrds’ records are far from audiophile demo discs. However, what the best originals and '70s reissues give you is relatively good sound.

More of The Byrds


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The Byrds - Younger Than Yesterday

Sundazed Mono Debunked

  (Item #: byrdsyoung_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

We can’t recommend this title. It’s thin, flat and dead in the midrange, with little of the magic of the originals. I suppose if you can’t find anything better, it will do in a pinch...

See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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Canned Heat - Canned Heat

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: cannecanne_2019) 



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

The sound is present, lively and tonally correct, with rich, Tubey Magical vocals that are only found on these good vintage pressings. These "authentic renderings" of blues covers include classics such as Muddy Waters' Rollin' and Tumblin' and Robert Johnson's Dust My Broom.

More Canned Heat


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Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe as Milk

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: captasafea_2007) 



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

This very nice looking Buddha reissue LP is not an audiophile recording, but of course it was never meant to be one. It reminds me quite a bit of Frank Zappa’s first album ’Freak Out.’ This copy sounds as good as any copy we’ve ever played.

And it was produced by Richard Perry way back in '67!

More Captain Beefheart


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Chopin / The Mazurkas / Rubinstein / 3 LP Box Set

Reviewed in 2004

  (Item #: chopimazur_6177_2004) 



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

There’s some wonderful music and wonderful sound in here. The stamper should be the same with better vinyl. Side 2, Cuts 3, 4 & 5 are gorgeous! This music has so much soul, and shows Rubinstein at his greatest. Brailowsky on Columbia is also fabulous. You can't go wrong with either one. A beautiful set that belongs in your collection. Chopin's music is sublime, as anyone who saw The Pianist knows full well.

I had the opportunity to hear Lincoln Mayorga himself perform these works from memory in a church not far from here. I am no expert on these works but I thought he played them about as well as they could be played.

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


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Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Leonard Cohen

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cohensongs_of_leonard_2017) 



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

Get ready for some serious goosebumps! If this White Hot copy of Songs Of Leonard Cohen doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will. This copy is a HUGE step up from the typical pressing, with the kind of rich, full tonality and open, transparent soundfield we just don't hear often enough on this album.

More Leonard Cohen / More Singer Songwriter albums


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Ornette Coleman - The Music of Ornette Coleman

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: colemmusic_2012) 



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

WONDERFUL SOUND and QUIET VINYL on both sides! We played a stack of these and this was clearly one of the better copies, rating above A+ on both sides. This one has the old RCA tubey magic, that's for sure! The sound is rich, full, natural and warm throughout. I bet you don't have anything like this in your collection -- it's a very cool record!

If you're looking for something different that sounds great and have a taste for adventurous music, give this one a try. We certainly enjoyed it.

More Ornette Coleman


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Judy Collins - Wildflowers

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: colliwildf_2013) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side one was clearly the best we heard in our most recent shootout -- the sound is rich and full, yet Judy's voice comes across as especially clear and breathy. Yes, vintage analog pressings can do it all, with a naturalness that no modern LP or CD can begin to equal, making this side one the obvious choice for those who want to hear just how good Wildflowers gets.

More Judy Collins


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Judy Collins - Wildflowers

Hits That Are Made from Dub Tapes

  (Item #: colliwildf_dubby_hits) 



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

Both Sides Now, the Top Ten hit that finally put Judy on the map, is clearly made from a dub tape and doesn't sound as good as the songs that follow it on side two. Hey, it happens. Maybe it sounds right on the Greatest Hits? You could try one. We have trouble selling greatest hits albums so you'll have to do your own digging on that one.

More Judy Collins


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Judy Collins - Wildflowers

1967 Elektra Tape Vs Vinyl - Where's the Tubey Magic?

  (Item #: colliwildf_wtlf) 



We were surprised that so few copies had the Tubey Magical qualities that we've come to expect from Elektra in 1967. The label was home to two very well-recorded (by none other than Bruce Botnick) bands at the time, The Doors and Love. What happened here? John Haeny, the engineer, worked on Waiting for the Sun, which is an amazing sounding Doors album on the right pressing. Why so few great sounding Wildflowers?
More Judy Collins


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Copland / Billy the Kid / Johanos

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: coplabilly_2010) 



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

AN AMAZING RODEO and an EVEN BETTER BILLY THE KID! We are BIG fans of this performance and this copy will show you exactly why. Side one (Rodeo) rates A++; it is clear and dynamic with an unusually three-dimensional soundfield, giving the instruments their own space and allowing you to hear right INTO the music. Side two (Billy The Kid) earned top A+++ honors with serious weight down low, a wonderfully sweet top end, more texture to the strings and HUGE dynamics.

More of the music of Aaron Copland (1900-1990)


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Country Joe & The Fish - Electric Music For The Mind...

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: countelect_2014) 



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

First, a little background on the general sound of Electric Music For The Mind and Body, the band's debut and an album that is widely considered a true psych masterpiece. Most copies of the album have a unfortunate tendency to be boosted in the midrange, and on top of that they are often veiled and lack space.

Both sides here do a much better job in these areas than most of what we played, which, frankly, was not too good. These sides may not be perfect but they communicate the music well and that counts for a lot in our world.

See all of our Country Joe & The Fish albums in stock


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Cream - Disraeli Gears

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: creamdisra_2016) 



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

This copy’s got the kind of tubey analog sound you need for this music -- it’s warm, rich, smooth, and pretty much free of the nasty grain that gets in the way on most pressings. There’s good extension up top, and the bottom end is meaty and well-defined.

The lesson we learned is that when the extremes are properly transferred to the vinyl, the middle will take care of itself.

More Cream / More Eric Clapton


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Cream - Disraeli Gears

Live and Learn

  (Item #: creamdisra_wrong) 



Our latest shootout for Cream's classic second album provided proof positive that We Was Wrong when we said:

No reissue we've ever played sounded especially good and none likely ever will.

Ah, but some do! We would love to tell you exactly what to look for so that you can go find one for yourself, but that's bad for business as I'm sure you can see. Let's just say there will be at least one later reissue of the album with very good grades coming soon to a site near you.

More Eric Clapton and Cream


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Miles Davis - Sorcerer

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: davissorce_2010) 



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

STUNNING, TOP QUALITY SOUND on this A+++ side two! We played a bunch of these recently and didn't hear any other side twos quite like this one! It's got more energy, more presence, and more body than we heard anywhere else. Drop the needle anywhere and listen to how open, transparent and spacious it is. The soundfield is HUGE -- bigger, wider, and deeper than on any other copy we played. Everything sounds natural, balanced and correct. The bass has texture, the piano has weight, the brass has the right amount of bite and so on.

More Miles Davis


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Debussy / Ravel - Piano Works - Moravec

Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: debuspiano_athena) 



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

This long out of print Athena LP is one of my favorite audiophile records of all time. It was recorded in 1967 and remastered by a real mastering engineer, Robert Ludwig, a man who knows the sound of an acoustic piano about as well as anyone ever will. He did scores of Vox recordings and knows the sound of classical music inside and out.

Athena, like Chesky, is an Audiophile BS Label of the worst kind; most of their stuff is ridiculously artificial sounding. This is the only record of theirs that I can recommend. You will have a very hard time finding these piano pieces sounding any better than they do here.

More of the music of Claude Debussy (1862-1918)


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Donovan - A Gift From a Flower To a Garden

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: donovagift_2011) 



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

Side one of this two record box set has Wear Your Love Like Heaven in Super Hot stamper sound, with some of the most natural vocal reproduction we heard in our entire shootout. Many copies had "hyped-up" phony sound -- fine for the old consoles and radios of the day (1967) but not too enjoyable on the modern, much more revealing rigs we use today. The tonality of the midrange -- where the guitars and vocals are found of course -- must be correct for this music to work. This copy does a very respectable job on three of the sides, and that's not easy to do.

More Donovan


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The Doors - The Doors

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: doorsdoors_2007) 



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

THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF THIS ALBUM WE’VE EVER HEARD! This Elektra Gold Label SLAUGHTERED the DCC, MURDERED the MoFi, and DECIMATED every last pressing we played it against! You aren’t going to believe all the TUBEY MAGIC on this copy!

More by The Doors


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The Doors - The Doors

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: doorsdoors_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: B

We used to like the Doors First album on DCC back when it came out in the late '90s; it sure beat the MoFi and every other pressing I had around, including the original gold label Elektra pressings. But much water has gone under that bridge. There have been countless audio revolutions, the improved record cleaning technologies we tout at every turn. Without them old records just sound like old records, and the DCC pressing will be better.

But with them, and lots of other changes, the right original stomps all over the DCC.

More by The Doors


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The Doors - The Doors

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: doorsdoors_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

If anyone still thinks that pressing is anything but a bad joke played on the audiophile public -- so sucked out in the midrange, bass-shy and compressed to death -- that person has a way to go in this hobby. A very long way. You can hear how bad it sounds from another room.

But wait a minute. I liked the MoFi just fine when it came out. I guess I had a way to go in this hobby too. That was back in the early ’80s. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in the last twenty five plus years. I’m pretty sure we can offer you a better record now.

See more of The Doors' albums


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The Doors - The Doors

Rhino / Universal Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorsdoors_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

What a mess. Imagine listening to this album with a two inch thick velvet curtain placed over your speakers -- that's the sound of this remastered record! How bad does a stereo have to be in order to disguise the fact that this is one of the worst Classic Rock reissues in the history of the world? I don't know and I sure don't want to find out.

More by The Doors


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The Doors - The Doors

What to Listen For

  (Item #: doorsdoors_wtlf) 



What to Listen For? you ask?

ENERGY and RAW POWER. Few audiophiles have any idea how well recorded this album is, simply because most pressings don't do a very good job of encoding the life of the master tape onto the vinyl of the day, regardless of whether that day is in 1967 or 2017.

The first Doors album is without a doubt the punchiest, liveliest, most powerful recording in the entire Doors catalog.

More by The Doors


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The Doors - Strange Days

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: doorsstran_2011) 



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

This is THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF STRANGE DAYS to EVER hit the site! We've only found one or two copies that were in the same league as this one, and they went directly into the hands of our best longtime customers who had been waiting patiently for a killer pressing. Side one rated between A++ and A+++ and side two earned top A+++ honors.

More Strange Days / More by The Doors


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The Doors - Strange Days

Rhino and DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: doorsstran_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: DCC: B / Rhino: C

It’s not easy for us to find copies of Strange Days that outperform the DCC, but our best Hot Stampers beat it handily. We also put our original copies up against the 180g version from the Doors Box Set and it was an absolute bloodbath. We understand that a well-known reviewer likes the sound of those Doors pressings but we here at Better Records prefer to set higher standards. We think you deserve better, and at these prices the record had better deliver a world of sound that the heavy vinyl pressing can only hint at.

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Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: dylanjohnw_2016) 



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

SUPERB SOUND and UNUSUALLY QUIET VINYL on both sides -- I don't think we've ever had a copy this amazing! Both sides earned our Top Grade of A+++. This copy has the bass, fullness & vocal presence that are hard to come by for this album. The title track, Dear Landlord, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, All Along the Watchtower and I Pity The Poor Immigrant are just some of the most memorable songs here.

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Philippe Entremont - Ritual Fire Dance

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: fallaritua_2011) 



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

An undiscovered gem from 1967 on 360 Columbia! Side two of this record blew our minds with its White Hot Stamper sound. Musically and sonically this record is nothing short of wonderful. Who knew? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this!

Tchaicovsky, Liszt, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart -- these shorter pieces and excerpts were composed by those with the greatest gift for melody, men who've produced works that have stood the test of time, enchanting audiences over the centuries with works of such beauty and charm.

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


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Ella Fitzgerald - Whisper Not

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: fitzgwhisp_2006) 



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

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST ELLA FITZGERALD RECORDS I’ve heard in a very long time! I’m telling you, this is Ella at her best! Having just played a lovely sounding copy of Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie, an album that tends to err on the bright side, I now realize that this album has the opposite problem -- it's a little bit smoother in places than it should be. Of course that's a much more tolerable problem than the reverse.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Whisper Not

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: fitzgwhisp_2016) 



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

Both sides of this original stereo pressing are White Hot - Triple Plus all the way! Breathy, tubey, big and clear, this is the best sound we have ever heard for Whisper Not. Superb engineering from the man behind so many great sounding Verve records, Val Valentin. "These fine-tuned arrangements also provide the perfect launching pad for Fitzgerald to place her own stamp on material associated with other singers."

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Aretha Franklin - Aretha Arrives

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: frankareth_2012) 



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

This Atlantic Green & Blue label pressing has TWO GOOD SIDES on relatively quiet vinyl. We pulled together enough clean copies for a big shootout recently and most of them sounded the way you'd probably expect -- thin, bright, and grainy. This copy did a much better job of communicating the music, giving you the kind of life and energy this music needs to work its magic.

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Astrud Gilberto - Beach Samba

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: gilbebeach_2019) 



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

The soundstage is huge, and the overall quality of the recording is big and bold like you will not believe. Creed Taylor (the CTI man) produced, Don Sebesky and Deodato did the arrangements, and Val Valentin engineered - what's not to like?

"This 1967 Verve LP has the breezy bossa novas and sambas Astrud was famed for, but also a Lovin' Spoonful duet with her young son and some seriously impressive scatting, too." - Amazon

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Astrud Gilberto - Windy

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: gilbewindy_2018) 



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

Forget whatever Heavy Vinyl imposter is in print - this vintage Verve stereo pressing has the kind of High-Rez Tubey Magical Midrange that's the only way to bring Astrud's music to life in your very own listening room.

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Glazounov / The Seasons / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: glazueaso_6509_2014) 



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

This London Whiteback LP (CS 6509) has a Super Hot Side Two, flowing with Decca / London richness and sweetness. As we've said on the site many times, the London pressings with catalog numbers that start with 6400 and 6500 are some of the best recordings we've ever played.

Side two gives you that sound. There are two lovely Concert Waltzes that complete the program and they are just wonderful here, with quiet vinyl to boot.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall


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Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: hendrareyo_2014) 



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

STUNNING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It is no easy task trying to find good copies of this album (or any Hendrix album, really). This one is absolutely killer. The bottom end is big and weighty, the top is open and transparent, and there's plenty of rich, full tubey magic. It's going to be incredibly hard to find a pressing that comes anywhere close to this one.

No matter what version you've been playing, we guarantee you'll be blown away by the energy and punch on this one.

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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hendraxisb_2016) 



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

What a copy! Super rich and full-bodied with a wide, tall soundstage and plenty of punch, this is exactly the right sound for this music. It sure ain't easy to find good-sounding Hendrix records, and most copies of Axis are positively painful. You need rich, full tonality and plenty of space up top if this album is going to work, and on those counts this copy certainly delivers!

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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Classic Records Mono Debunked

  (Item #: hendraxisb_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

One of the worst things the dummies at Classic ever did. Flat and dry with no tubey magic whatsoever. It positively screams "CHEAP REISSUE."

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Holst / The Planets / Boult

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: holstplane_2011) 



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

This 1967 recording of the work has one very special quality that's not often heard on classical vinyl -- THE FEEL OF LIVE MUSIC. This is also something you will not often hear us say about EMI recordings from the late '60s and '70s. (Unlike HP and most audiophiles in the '70s, we find EMI's recordings leave a lot to be desired, lacking in warmth, with a thin, sour, overly clear presentation. Great for muddy equipment but bad news on higher resolution modern rigs.)

Super Hot Stampers on both sides means this Planets can take on any pressing you have of the piece and show you what you've been missing out on all these years.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: jeffesurre_2009) 



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

An OFF THE CHARTS side one with more tubey magic than you probably ever imagined! We always have fun playing a great copy of the psychedelic ’60s masterpiece, because the sound gives you so many of the qualities we love about good ol’ analog. No one’s recording albums any more with this kind of richness, sweetness, and warmth, that’s for sure! Drop the needle on My Best Friend or Today to hear that trippy Sixties San Francisco sound at its best.

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

We Found a Good Sounding Orange Label Pressing

  (Item #: jeffesurre_2010) 



This QUIET orange label (!) pressing has surprisingly good sound, some of the best sound we have ever heard for that more-often-than-not dismal second label in fact. It actually beat a few of our black label originals, with more tubey magic and less distortion and harshness than we expect from these later pressings.

We always have fun playing this psychedelic ’60s masterpiece. The sound -- problematical as it may be -- gives you so many of the qualities we love about good ol’ analog. No one’s recording albums these days with this kind of richness, sweetness, and warmth, that’s for sure. Drop the needle on My Best Friend or Today to hear that trippy Sixties San Francisco sound at its best.

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: jeffesurre_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Sour and opaque, a major disappointment. You can do worse -- hence the D -- but why would you? Just keep buying clean early stereo pressings until you find a good one. The DCC is not worth the vinyl it's pressed on.

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (Mono)

Sundazed Reviewed

  (Item #: jeffesurre_debunk_sundazed) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Back around 2000 I spent a fair amount of time comparing this pressing with both an RCA 1S Black Label original, two different RCA Orange Label reissues, and the DCC 180 gram pressing. To make a long story short, if you're willing to buy this record for the songs that really sound amazing on it, like "Today", then you should try one.

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

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

Do the Choruses of She Has Funny Cars Hold Up?

  (Item #: jeffesurre_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

Before we get into the sound of Surrealistic Pillow, I'd like to point out that Hot Stampers for this title -- and the shootouts that allow us to find them -- are becoming increasingly rare. I'd be surprised if we can even find enough clean copies to play once a year nowadays. As unfortunate as it may be it is nevertheless a reality. With clean Led Zeppelin RL pressings frequently commanding $1000 and up on ebay, you can be pretty sure we won't have many of those to sell you in the months and years to come either.

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

What to Listen For

  (Item #: jeffesurre_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.

The best copies of Surrealistic Pillow have three things in common.

1) Low Distortion, 2) Driving Rock and Roll Energy and 3) Plenty of Tubey Magic.

It's the exceedingly rare copy that has all three. The more of each of these qualities any given pressing has, the higher the sonic grades we will award it.

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Antonio Carlos Jobim - Wave

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: jobimwave_2011) 



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

This A&M / CTI Brown Label LP is the first Hot Stamper copy to hit the site in many years! It’s noticeably more TRANSPARENT than most copies. You really HEAR INTO THE MUSIC on this LP in a way that just doesn't happen on the typical pressing. Side one is tonally correct and natural with good size and big bass -- we gave it an A++.

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Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: king_bornu_2007) 



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

This original Stax LP has AMAZING sound. You could not make this record sound any better. We really liked the Sundazed copy of this record until we heard this bad boy. It MURDERS the Sundazed! It has more life, energy and natural presence. We always suspected that a good original pressing would be better than the Sundazed but we had no way of knowing since all the copies we ever saw were beat to death. This is the first clean copy of this record I've seen in 20 years.

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Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign

Sundazed Debunked

  (Item #: king_bornu_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C

Commenting about the first Hot Stamper pressing of this album ever to come our way, we noted:

This original Stax LP has AMAZING sound. You could not make this record sound any better. We really liked the Sundazed copy of this record until we heard this bad boy. It MURDERS their pressing! It has far more life, energy and natural presence than the Heavy Vinyl pressing. We always suspected that a good original would be better but we had no way of knowing since all the copies we saw were beat to death. This is the first clean copy of this record I’ve seen in 20 years.


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The Kinks - Something Else

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: kinkssomet_2009) 



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

This Original Reprise Tri-Color Steamboat Label pressing is one of the best sounding Kinks records we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing here at Better Records. It sounds nothing like the typically dull and smeary domestic Kinks LPs we are used to hearing. The overall sound is lively, musical, and natural. Drop the needle on No Return for wonderful sound and music -- it’s got a bit of a Jobim vibe.

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Liszt - Les Preludes / Wagner - Various / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: lisztlespr_6529_2013) 



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

This London UK pressing (not the Decca as shown in the picture) vinyl from 1967 has Hot Stamper sound on both sides. Some of what we've always liked about Decca/London from the period (mid- to late-'60s, in this case 1967) can be heard on this pressing: transparency; the texture on the strings; the natural timbre of the instruments.

These London pressings are quite hard to find in our experience. The music is wonderful throughout, perhaps the reason that so few of these have found their way to the record bins here in L.A.

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


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Liszt - Preludes / Wagner - Various / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: lisztprelu_6298_2013) 



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

This Unboxed Decca Deep Groove UK pressing on heavyweight vinyl from 1967 has Super Hot Stamper sound on side one. This is the side that has Les Preludes in its entirety, and what a powerful piece of music it is.

Much of what we like about Decca/London from the period (mid- to late-'60s, in this case 1967) can be heard on this pressing: the wonderful transparency; the richly textured lower strings; the natural timbre of the instruments. If only side two sounded as good!

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


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Love - Da Capo

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: love_dacap_2010) 



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

ONE OF THE BEST SIDE ONES WE'VE EVER HEARD on unusually quiet vinyl! Since side two is just one long track that we just can't get too worked up about, this is EXACTLY the kind of copy we'd want to own. We had a chance to shootout a handful of copies recently and didn't hear anything that could compete with side one of thie Elektra Gold Label Original Pressing. We are HUGE fans of Love and side one has three of our favorite songs by the band: Stephanie Knows Who, Orange Skies and Seven & Seven Is. Get ready to rock out with this one!

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Love - Love and Forever Changes

Sundazed Debunked

  (Item #: love_love_sundazed) 



Sonic Grade: F

Two Hall of Shame titles, another two Sundazed records debunked.

We got hold of a minty original pressing of the first Love album recently, so in preparation for the commentary I pulled one of the Sundazed pressings off the shelf, (Forever Changes, the only one we ever bothered to sell), cracked it open and threw it on the turntable.

Gag, what a piece of crap. When I had auditioned them all those years ago (2002) it was -- I'm not kidding -- the best of the bunch.

More Love


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Love - Revisited

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: love_revis_2018) 



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

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

See all of our Love albums in stock


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The Lovin' Spoonful - John Sebastian Songbook, Vol. 1

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: lovinjohns_2017) 



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

Great sound for some the biggest hits of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band I wouldn't have expected to hear sound good on vinyl if I lived to be a hundred, and yet, here it is. This is one of the rare cases where, in our experience, the hits compilation sounds BETTER than the original records. Why? Who knows? We don't pretend to have all the answers. What we do have (that no one else has, if that's not too obvious) are the records that back up the claims we make for them.

See all of our The Lovin' Spoonful albums in stock


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Lovin' Spoonful - The Very Best of the Lovin' Spoonful

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: lovinveryb_2013) 



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

As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) White Hot Stamper sound for some of the biggest hits of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band I wouldn't expect to hear sound good on vinyl if I lived to be a hundred, and yet, here it is! This pressing changes EVERYTHING.

This copy lets you hear versions of Younger Girl, Didn't Want to Have to Do It, Daydream, You Didn't Have to Be So Nice, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?, and Do You Believe in Magic? with the kind of sonics never thought possible, not by us anyway. This copy is truly a revelation. And side two ain't too shabby either.

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Paul Mauriat / More Mauriat

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: maurimorem_2012) 



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

Paul Mauriat -- you may remember him for his big hit "Love Is Blue" which hit Number One in 1968 -- must have been a very busy man in 1967 when this album came out -- he released six that year! I would bet that most of them do not sound very good -- hell, side two of this album doesn't even sound good -- but side one sure does.

We gave it a sonic grade of A++ for the better sounding tracks on that side. It's Super Hot all right, 3-D and Tubey Magical like you will not believe. If you have a big, rich, even lush-sounding system, this record is going to blow your mind!


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Sergio Mendes - Equinox

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mendeequin_2011) 



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

This Original A&M pressing has one of THE BEST SIDE ONES WE’VE EVER HEARD backed with a side two that's nearly as amazing! The sound is DEMO DISC QUALITY from start to finish, first note to last. Side two was no slouch either, with A Double Plus sound, very nearly as good as we heard but falling just a tad shy of the best in the loudest passages. These old Sergio Mendes records can be VERY DYNAMIC, and only the best of the best will allow those dynamics to explode naturally, with the kind of ease that you only hear in analog.

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Sergio Mendes - Equinox

Botnick and Levine Knocked This One Out of the Park

  (Item #: mendeequin_botnick) 



The music is of course wonderful, but what separates Sergio from practically all of his '60s contemporaries is the AMAZING SOUND of his recordings. Like their debut, this one was engineered by the team of Bruce Botnick and Larry Levine. Botnick is of course the man behind the superb recordings of The Doors, Love and others too numerous to mention.
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Thelonious Monk - Straight, No Chaser

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: monk_strai_2015) 



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

Side two of this 360 pressing from 1967 is nearly White Hot -- what a recording! If you want to hear just how good Monk's great big rich piano sounds, look no further.

Rudy Van Gelder, eat your heart out. This is the piano sound Rudy never quite managed. Some say it's the crappy workhorse piano he had set up in his studio. Others say it was just poorly miked. Rather than speculating on something we know little about (good pianos and the their miking) let's just say that Columbia had the piano, the room and the mics to do it right as you can easily hear on this very record.

See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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Wes Montgomery - A Day In The Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: montgdayin_2010) 



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

THE BEST SIDE ONE WE'VE EVER HEARD on quiet vinyl nonetheless, giving you White Hot A+++ sound for Montgomery's great cover of A Day In The Life! This was the only copy that absolutely nailed it for that tough track -- top end extension, tons of tubey magic, loads of energy, huge three-dimensional sound and more. The big orchestral ending, where most copies fall apart, sounds EXCELLENT here. The brass and winds sound KILLER.

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The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: moodydayso_2011) 



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

WOW -- two stunning Triple Plus sides and quiet vinyl throughout for what is probably the definitive Moody Blues album! It's the first album to showcase their signature mixture of classical music and psychedelic rock. It is TOUGH to find copies of this album that sound correct and play quietly, but both sides here really get it right.

The orchestral passages for the first time actually sound CORRECT, with the kind of textured strings, airy woodwinds and three-dimensional soundstaging you would hear on a real classical recording from the era, can you believe it? Playing this copy you can!

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The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: moodydayso_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C

The MoFi pressing has a boosted top end, making everything sparkle and causing the string tone for the orchestral parts to become exceedingly hi-fi-ish. In our Hot Stamper commentary we noted:

The sound is fundamental to the experience. The strings of the orchestra sound as sweet as any Decca, the soundstage wide and deep as any symphonic recording. For those of you who still think Mobile Fidelity is the king on this one, here’s a record that demonstrates what truly natural highs really are. The Moodies used Decca’s classical engineers, not their pop ones, and those guys know what orchestral instruments actually sound like.


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Mozart & Turina / The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mozarheife_2957_2012) 



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

This is a Super Hot Stamper Two-Pack that comprises a White Dog RCA original for side one and a Red Label reissue for side two, for the simple and obvious reason that the "bad" sides of each of these LPs are not nearly as good as the "good" sides. When you play the weaker sides you will no doubt appreciate why we felt it was appropriate to bundle two very different records together to make a truly SUPERB one.

More recordings featuring the violin


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Mozart / Mendelssohn - The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mozarheife_3048_2011) 



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

The Mozart side of this Red Seal pressing from 1968 sounds AMAZING. I have never heard better staging for a chamber work of this kind. All five instruments are so clearly set apart from each other and tonally correct (for the most part) that it is nothing less than fascinating to be able to follow each instrument as it weaves its way through the score. If you've suffered through the horrendously sour and screechy recordings Heifetz and Piatigorsky are known for in audiophile circles -- LDS 2513 and LDS 6159, you will be glad to know that this side one sounds NOTHING like them.

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


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Mozart / Eine Kleine Nachtmusik / Walter

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mozarklein_2010) 



This Odyssey budget pressing has long been favorite of ours here at Better Records. It's too bad that most of them don't sound very good, with the shrill, hard string tone we've come to expect from Columbia in the '60s. Fortunately this pressing does not have that problem! We played a number of these recently, and this copy was the best of them all on BOTH sides! Side one is really rich and warm with lovely, smooth strings that don't get shrill. It's very hard to believe that there's a much better sounding copy out there. Side one of course has the complete Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.


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Mussorgsky, Borodin, et al. / Orchestral Showpieces / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussonight_2011) 



This London Whiteback LP recorded in 1967 (CS 6503) has DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side two. Solti is the man for this music! He's on fire with this fiery material and the London engineers do him full justice -- at least they do on side two. (Side one has a long scratch and cannot be played.)

Don't go looking for the Tubey Magic of an earlier era. What you get instead is super low distortion, full bandwidth sound with deep powerful bass and lovely transparency. THIS is the way you want to hear Russian Orchestral Showpieces -- played with verve and dynamically ALIVE.

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


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Mussorgsky et al. / Night On Bare Mountain CS 6785 / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mussonight_6785_2012) 



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

Released as Romantic Russia by Decca in 1967, this London can also be found with a different cover and a different catalog number, CS 6503.

DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side one -- in some ways. Don't go looking for the Tubey Magic of an earlier era. What you get instead is super-low distortion, full-bandwidth sound with deep powerful bass and more transparency than most later Londons.

Solti is clearly the man for this music! He's on fire with this fiery material. THIS is the way you want to hear Russian Orchestral Showpieces -- played with verve and dynamically ALIVE.

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


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Mussorgsky - Ravel / Pictures at an Exhibition / Ashkenazy

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussopictu_6559_2011) 



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

This original London pressing of the solo piano version of Pictures has uncannily natural piano reproduction, which is why we are awarding this side one our highest sonic grade, A Triple Plus.

The fact that the recording takes place in Kingsway Hall in 1967 no doubt plays a large part in the superb sound. The hall is bigger here than on other copies, the piano even more solidly weighted, yet none of this comes at the expense of the clarity of the playing. There is no smear, allowing both the percussive aspects of the piano and the extended harmonics of the notes to be heard clearly and appreciated fully.

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


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The Dirty Little Secret of the Record Biz Part 3

Hits That Are Made from Dub Tapes

  (Item #: nevermind_3) 


The sound of some songs on some greatest hits albums can be BETTER than the sound of those very same songs on the best original pressings.

How can that be you ask, dumbfounded by the sheer ridiculousness of such a statement? Well, dear reader, I'll tell you. It's a dirty little secret in the record biz that sometimes the master for the presumptive Hit Single (or singles) is pulled from the album's final two track master mix tape and used to make the 45 single, the idea being that the single is what people are going to hear on the radio and want to buy, or, having heard it sound so good on the radio, go out and buy the album.

More from our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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Roy Orbison - Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: orbisgreat_2019) 



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

You'll find oustanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this Monument stereo pressing. The amazingly talented Bill Porter recorded many of Orbison's classic songs from the early '60s that are found on this compilation. Only a copy this good shows you how phenominal these timeless songs can sound - rich, open, clear, solid and musical.

More Roy Orbison


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Peter, Paul & Mary - Album 1700

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: peteralbum1700_2009) 



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

LOVELY MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE TWO, plus unusually quiet vinyl throughout! Side one is excellent as well, earning an A+ - A++ grade in our big shootout this week. We went through a big stack of Gold Label originals and various Green Label pressings and we didn’t hear a better sounding side two on any of them. Check out the extended top end, the stellar transparency, and the superb clarity -- that’s what we like to hear on this album!

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Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: pinkfpiper_2014) 



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

Rich, Tubey Magical and full-bodied with a big, solid bottom. The energy is phenomenal, with tremendous separation between the instruments and real depth to the soundfield. This is the sound of the Master Tape, make no mistake about it.

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Prokofiev / Scythian Suite & The Prodigal Son - Ansermet

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: prokoscyth_6538_2006) 



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

This is a London Whiteback LP with SUPERB SOUND on both sides. It's immediate, dynamic, very low distortion, spacious, and relatively sweet. The bass deserves special mention here. You rarely hear recordings from the '50s and early '60s, the kind of LPs that were mastered with tubes of course, having this kind of truly deep punchy bass. As this album was recorded in '67 and mastered relatively soon thereafter, the cutting equipment capable of inscribing deep bass onto a slab of vinyl was widely available. For this piece of music it's almost mandatory to get good solid low end.

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)


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Rachmaninoff / Symphonic Dances / Johanos

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rachmsymph_2011) 



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

This famously good sounding Vox pressing has been remastered a number of times, but you can be sure that the Hot Stamper we are offering here will beat any of those modern pressings by a wide margin in any area that has to do with sound (surfaces are another matter).

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


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The Rolling Stones - Between The Buttons

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: rollibetwe_2018) 



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

An insanely good pressing with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last - one of the best copies to hit the site in many years. This is classic '60s Stones sound, courtesy of Dave Hassinger, working in L.A. (RCA) and London (Olympic + Pye). If you're looking for the ideal combination of Tubey Magical richness and transparency, this copy is one of the few that will show it to you.

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The Rolling Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: rollitheir_2007) 



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

HARD ROCKIN’ STONES MAGIC AND QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES! We’ve never heard another copy of this album that sounded as amazing as this one. Both sides took top honors in our shootout -- A+++ for side one, and A++ - A+++ for side two.

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Linda Ronstadt - The Stone Poneys Featuring Linda Ronstadt

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: ronststone_2015) 



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

White Hot on side one, and by far the best sound we heard in our shootout for these 1975 pressings.The originals from 1967 have never impressed us. Much more folk than pop, for the most part the sound here is tubey, rich and sweet. Re-released when HLAW hit big, this album features three great Linda solos.

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Edmundo Ros - Latin Hits I Missed

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ros__latin_2011) 



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

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

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

An Excellent Copy We Heard in 2013

  (Item #: schubsym9_2013) 



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

Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson at the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and quite wonderful Ace of Diamonds reissue from 1967. With a Super Hot side two, this copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most copies.

What was most striking about this shootout, our first for the Krips / LSO performance of the work, was how poorly the original London Bluebacks fared when going head to head with the best vintage reissues.

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


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