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1970

For Rock and Pop 1970 Might Just Be the Best Year of Them All

  (Item #: 1970) 



1970 turned out to be a great year in music.

Tea for the Tillerman, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Moondance, Alone Together, Tumbleweed Connection, Sweet Baby James, After the Goldrush, The Yes Album, McCartney, Elton John, His Band And Street Choir, Deja Vu, Workingman's Dead, Tarkio, Stillness, Let It Be -- need I go on?

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1970.

And HERE to see the records from 1970 that we've reviewed.


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The Brilliant Recorded Legacy of

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young

  (Item #: allcsny) 



Recordings featuring the work of David Crosby
Recordings featuring the work of Stephen Stills
Recordings featuring the work of Graham Nash
Recordings featuring the work of Neil Young

Some of our favorite engineers worked on the albums of these four men, principally Bill Halverson, as well as...


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The Allman Brothers - Idlewild South

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: allmaidlew_2016) 



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

The first Top Copy to ever hit the site! Double Plus (A++) on side one, Triple Plus (A+++) on side two. Easily the group's best sounding studio recording and especially impressive on a copy like this. Drop the needle on Midnight Rider or In Memory Of Elizabeth Read to hear what this copy can do. You get lots of extension here both up top and down low that makes the overall sound far more engaging and musical than what you'd hear on practically any pressing you can find.

More Allman Brothers


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The Beatles - The Blue Album

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: beatl1967-1) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

I used to like these British compilations; I raved about them in fact. Now I find them too bright. If you have a treble control or a very smooth system you may find them enjoyable.

More of The Beatles


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The Beatles - The Blue Album

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: beatl1967_2010) 



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

This is a WONDERFUL SOUNDING early German Import 2 LP set -- pressed on fairly quiet vinyl to boot! We are on record as finding the British pressings of 1967-1970 too bright; certainly most of them are anyway. This German set has much more natural sound to my ear -- it's RICH, SMOOTH and SWEET, with plenty of tubey magic and little of the grain and grunge of the Brits. (The original domestic pressings, as anyone who has ever played one can attest, mastered at Sterling no less, are absolutely godawful.)

More of The Beatles


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The Beatles - Let It Be

Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: beatlletit_180_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl Beatles LP debunked.

At the end of a recent shootout for Let It Be (June 2014) we decided to see how the 2012 Digitally Remastered Heavy Vinyl pressing would acquit itself when played against the 12 (yes, twelve!) British copies we had just spent hours critically auditioning.

More Let It Be


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The Beatles - Let It Be

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: beatlletit_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: B or B-

Although I haven't played my copy in quite a while -- it might have been as far back as 2007 or 2008 if memory serves -- I recall that it struck me as one of their better titles.

All things considered, it's actually pretty good, assuming your copy sounds like mine (an assumption we really can't make of course -- no two records sound the same -- but for the purposes of this review we're going to assume it anyway). I would give it a "B" or "B-". It can't hold a candle to the real thing, but at least MoFi didn't ruin it like they did with so many of the other Beatles albums.

More on Let It Be


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The Beatles - Let It Be

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: beatlletit_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about the business of critically evaluating copies of Let It Be.

This is the first time we've discussed individual tracks on the album. Our recent shootout, in which we discovered a mind-boggling, rule-breaking side one, motivated us to sit down and explain what the best copies should do on each side of the album for the tracks we test with. Better late than never I suppose.

More on Let It Be


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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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Bernstein / The Music of Leonard Bernstein / Rogers

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bernsmusic_2012) 



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

This London Phase 4 British import has some of the most SPECTACULAR sound I have ever heard reproduced from disc. The sound is so BIG and BOLD that it handily puts to shame 95% or more of all the Golden Age Shaded Dogs, London Bluebacks, Mercury Living Presence's, EMI's and Decca's we've ever played. If we had a Classical Top 100 list, this record would belong in a Top Ten taken from it, right near the top judging by what I heard when I played it.

More of the music of Leonard Bernstein


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The Music of Leonard Bernstein

Hot Stampers Revealed

  (Item #: bernsmusic_stampers) 



Looking to pick up a Hot Stamper locally on your own? Easy -- all the best Decca and London copies (UK pressed only of course) are 1L on both sides. I suppose it's only fair to point out that all the worst copies are 1L on both sides, the reason being that all the copies are 1L on both sides, regardless of how they sound. And here you thought we were actually trying to be helpful.

But we are being helpful. We're being honest with you. Stamper numbers are often misleading. They're misleading in the same way that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The numbers only tell a part of the story, and more often than not they tell the wrong part of the story.

More from our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: blackblack_2015) 



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

We played the album very loud, as loud as we could, and still we wanted more volume! That's what a good record is all about -- the louder you play it the better it sounds.

If you like the raw, rockin’ sound of early Zep, you should have a blast with this album. It's a shockingly good recording, and the music is of course as heavy as it gets for 1970.

More Black Sabbath


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Black Sabbath - Paranoid

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: blackparan_2018) 



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

A stunning early WB Green Label pressing with shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish. The first "Triple Triple" copy of Paranoid to hit the site in a long long time -- that's how tough these are to come by! This copy has the kind of energy, presence, and fullness needed to bring the best out of this hard rock / heavy metal classic.

More Black Sabbath


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Blood, Sweat & Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears 3

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bloodbloo3_2012) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side one shows you just how good Roy Halee's engineering used to be, comparable to his brilliant work on BS&T's previous album, the one we extol to this day as (probably) the best sounding rock record ever made. (Dark Side of the Moon is its only competition in my mind. Both are staggering in every way.)

This side one has the BIG JAZZ-ROCK sound -- stretching from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, with energy and power that only a handful of albums can begin to compete with.

More Blood, Sweat & Tears


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David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bowiemanwh_2015) 



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

The sound is rich and full, just the way the Brits like it. The heavy compression that both Bowie and Scott favor works its magic at every turn, adding fatness and richness and lovely harmonics to the guitars and the drums.

More David Bowie


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Bread - On The Waters

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: breadonthe_2012) 



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

Hot Stampers have finally been discovered for the most consistent and BEST SOUNDING of the Bread albums (not counting the Best of Bread compilation, one of our long time favorites here at Better Records, but a compilation nevertheless). This is the record that put their heavily Beatles-inflected Pure Pop on the map, and at the top of the charts with their Number One hit single Make It With You.

More Pure Pop for Now People


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: brewetarki_2012) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side one of our beloved Tarkio, Brewer and Shipley's Folk Rock Masterpiece, is without a doubt the BEST SOUND we have ever heard on any pressing bar none. This side sets a standard that no other copy on any side could touch. True, we awarded a Triple Plus grade to an amazing side two copy, but this side one is still the better of the two. We could easily have called it Four Pluses but chose to go with the simpler A+++ and this explanation.

However you frame it, this side is OFF THE CHARTS in a big way. It's amazingly rich, yet clear and transparent as any we played -- what a combination!

More Brewer and Shipley


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: brewetarki_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Tarkio.

This Bay Area Hippie Folk Rock has a lot in common with The Grateful Dead circa Workingman's Dead and American Beauty (the latter recorded by the same engineer, Stephen Barncard), and like those superbly well-recorded albums, it lives or dies by the reproduction of its acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies.

More Brewer and Shipley


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Do All the Robert Ludwig Mastered Copies Have Hot Stampers?

  (Item #: brewetarki_RL) 



Even though all the original Pink Label pressings are mastered by Robert Ludwig, they have a marked tendency to be dull, thick and opaque. The sound is just too smooth. The best copies however have the top end and the transparency to let you hear all the guitar and vocal harmonics, surrounded by the large acoustic of the studio.

This time around we discovered something new: one specific stamper that seemed to be the only one with the potential for an extended top end. This special stamper did not always fare well; some copies with it were mediocre. We have always found this to be the way with the "right" stampers; they often let us down and sometimes they really let us down hard.

More Brewer and Shipley


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Britten - The Suites for Cello / Rostropovich

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brittsuite_6617_2011) 



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

This solo Cello recording on London from 1970 has Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides, with a cello that might not be realistically portrayed, but is certainly portrayed POWERFULLY.

Honestly, we kid you not, the cello occupies all the space between the speakers, which, being about seven feet apart, makes for a cello that's seven feet wide!


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The Byrds - Untitled

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: byrdsuntit_2016) 



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

WOW! The best pressing to ever hit the site, and it's Triple Plus (A+++) on ALL FOUR SIDES. The overall sound is really rich, full-bodied, and open with impressive transparency and presence. Features a 16 minute Eight Miles High on the live disc that just kills -- especially on a lively copy like this.

More of The Byrds


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Ray Charles - The Best Of

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: charlbesto_2007) 



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

This Atlantic anthology White Label Promo has EXCELLENT SOUND. Like any compilation the sound varies from track to track, but most of the material here sounds WONDERFUL! Both sides play quietly, mostly Mint Minus throughout.

More Ray Charles


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Ray Charles - Love Country Style

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: charllovec_2007) 



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

This ABC White Label Promo LP is one of the BEST SOUNDING Ray Charles records we have ever heard! This is analog at its best: rich, warm and sweet with tons of TUBEY MAGIC.

More Ray Charles


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Chicago - Chicago II

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: chicachica2_2010) 



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

Chicago-Loving Audiophiles of the World, gather round, this is the week we took on one of the toughest challenges in all of Analog Rockdom -- Chicago II.

Ever played one? Then you know that the average copy of this album is an unmitigated DISASTER. The smeary sub-gen brass alone is enough to drive you from the room.

More Chicago


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Chicago - Chicago II

360 Original or Red Label Reissue?

  (Item #: chicachica2_360_vs_red) 



Both can be good. I did the shootout (TP) and often tried to guess the label for the copy I was hearing, for fun more than anything else. I have to admit that my batting average was not much better than chance.

The 360s tend to be a little fuller and smearier, but plenty of red label copies sound that way and some 360s don't, so trying to match the sound to the label was even more pointless than usual.

When comparing pressings in a shootout it's too late for the label to have any predictive value. We've already bought the records, cleaned them all up and now just want to know what they actually sound like -- not which ones might be the best, but which ones are the best.

More Chicago


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Chicago - Chicago II

The Poster Boy for Bad Planning in the Studio

  (Item #: chicachica2_bad_planning) 



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

There is one major problem with the sound of this album -- too many overdubs, meaning too many generations of tape on too many instruments. There are easily three and four generations of tape on some of the tracks, probably more, all causing compression and a loss of transient information. When the drums sound like cardboard boxes being hit with wet noodles it's because they recorded them early on and then bounced their tracks down to another track and then bounced that track down to another track until what's left sounds like an cassette tape you made of a song playing on the radio. Yes, it's that bad.

More Chicago


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Philippe Entremont - The Chopin I Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: chopichopi_2015) 



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

This is an undiscovered Columbia gem from 1970. Both musically and sonically this record is superb. Who knew Columbia could record a piano this well? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this! We know, we've played plenty, including a number of Entremont's Columbia records that don't sound too good to us. Maybe we need to find a Hot Stamper of some of the weaker titles, but it hasn't happened yet. A word of advice: avoid the piano concertos. We have yet to hear a good one. Those steely Columbia strings are far from our idea of good sound.

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


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Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: claptericc_2013) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES RATING AT OR NEAR A+++! Man, what a revelation to hear this old favorite sound so incredibly rich and open. And at Mint Minus on both sides, this one is exceptionally quiet to boot! You'll have a VERY difficult time finding one that plays this quietly and sounds this good lying around in the bins, that's for sure.

More Eric Clapton and Cream


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A Classic of Classic Rock

The Heart and Soul of Better Records

  (Item #: claptericc_classic_rock) 



We had a killer pressing a few years back which sounded a whole lot better than I ever thought the album could sound. Man, what a revelation to hear an old favorite -- a Forgotten Classic --sound so amazingly spacious and sweet.

I've been playing this album since 1970, the year it came out. Back then my collection was made up of albums by The Beatles, The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills and Nash, America, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Chicago, James Taylor, Spirit, The Band, Loggins and Messina, Blind Faith, Bread, The Who ...

More Eric Clapton


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Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton

Good Horns, Probably Good Everything

  (Item #: claptericc_wtlf) 



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

The sound of the horn arrangements backing practically every song on the album are key to the quality of the pressing and mastering. Blurry, smeary, leading-edge-challenged horns are the kiss of death on this album, as are grainy, gritty, transistory ones. When the horns have clarity, correct tonality, plenty of space around them and a solid, full-bodied sound, probably every other instrument in the soundscape will too.

More Eric Clapton and Cream


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Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: cockemaddo_2012) 



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

This original A&M 2 LP pressing has FOUR EXCELLENT SIDES, including a shootout-winning A+++ SIDE TWO!

We did not give out a lot of top grades on this record -- Super Hot is WAY better than most of what we heard (which to be honest was just not very good, a subject we discuss below). Overall this is the best copy to ever hit the site, boasting plenty of soulful rock and roll energy.

More Joe Cocker


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Ry Cooder - Ry Cooder

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: cooderycoo_2014) 



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

The music reminds me a lot of early Little Feat, which is a good thing. The sound is somewhat similar as well, which is to say that it is natural and musical, nothing like the hyped-up hi-fi sound of his TAS-listed album Jazz -- and that's a good thing as well.

There are some great songs here, including My Old Kentucky Home, One Meat Ball and How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live. It may even be his best album.

More Ry Cooder


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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: creedcosmo_2015) 



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

Clean copies of the album are rare enough as it is; good sounding clean copies are as rare for this title as for practically any we offer.

Fortunately we've made some strides of late finding the "right' pressings for this band, and with better cleaning technologies we are finding that the better copies such as this one are sounding the way we want our Creedence records to sound.

More Creedence Clearwater


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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo’s Factory

Analogue Productions Debunked

  (Item #: creedcosmo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D-

Years ago a customer sent me his copy of the Analogue Productions LP (mastered by Hoffman and Gray) in order to carry out a little shootout I had planned among the five copies I could pull together: two MoFi's, the Fantasy ORC reissue, a blue label original, the AP, and another reissue.

Let’s just say there were no real winners, but there sure were some losers.

More Creedence Clearwater Revival


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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Pendulum

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: creedpendu_2012) 



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

This copy will THRASH any copy you put it up against. This will be especially true if you put it up against the Analogue Productions Heavy Vinyl from years back, which will undoubtedly sound thick, opaque, airless and congealed next to a properly mastered Fantasy original such as this.

More Creedence Clearwater


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: crosbdejav_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES -- Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than this. To say this copy murders the competition is the understatement of the year. There is only ONE stamper that gives you the Deja Vu magic from top to bottom and this is it. [We know now that that isn't true.]

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


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Our Four Plus Side Two from 2016

  (Item #: crosbdejav_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame

We award this copy's side two our very special Four Plus A++++ grade, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a recording to a level never experienced by us before, a level we had no idea could even exist. We estimate that less than one per cent of the Hot Stamper pressings we come across in our shootouts earn this grade. You can't get much more rare than that.

More Deja Vu


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30 Years of Bad Sounding Deja Vu's

Wiped Away in an Instant!

  (Item #: crosbdejav_30years) 



A testimonial from a customer for his Hot Stamper Deja Vu discusses what it takes to get good sound from your stereo. (Hint: it's a good sounding record, duh.)

I have come to a conclusion - no matter whether I had the best $50,000 amps in the world or a $29,000 phono supply or the $150,000 Wilson Alexandria speakers or all that other incredible stuff that audiophiles lust for - not one of those items can make a shit record sound anything but like a shit record. There is no overcoming the original source material that you play on your stereo system.

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


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

A Review of the Classic Records Pressing

  (Item #: crosbdejav_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

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

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


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How to Find a Hot Stamper Deja Vu

Hint: Ignore Conventional Wisdom

  (Item #: crosbdejav_conventionalwisdom) 



A testimonial from a customer for his Hot Stamper Deja Vu provides a forum for the discussion of just what are the higher fidelity pressings.

Never make the mistake of confusing Better Sounding pressing with More Original pressing; they have nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to do with each other. It’s just another Record Collecting Canard. The audio world is full of them.

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


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

A Tale of Two MoFi Pressings

  (Item #: crosbdejav_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F (or not!)

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Just for fun about 10 years ago I pulled out a MoFi pressing of Deja Vu I had laying around. I hadn't played their version in a long time. I could have gone a lot longer without playing it, because what I heard was pretty disappointing. Playing their record confirmed all my prejudices. The highs sizzled and spit. The heart of the midrange was recessed and sour.

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


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: crosbdejav_obsess) 



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

For their second album, Crosby, Stills and Nash added Neil Young to their roster and proceeded to record what we consider to be one of the Ten Best Sounding Rock Records of all time.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Latest Developments

  (Item #: crosbdejav_wrong_2016) 



There are two areas in which we would like to amend some of the previous comments we've made about Deja Vu. The first has to do with early pressings. Many years ago we wrote the following:

As we noted in previous commentary, the originals are uniformly awful. Want some inside info on stampers to avoid, free of charge? C and D are pretty bad news most of the time.

Although that's still true -- Deja Vu is a very difficult album to find with good sound no matter what stampers you have -- we now know that there are very good sounding copies, Shootout Winning copies in fact, with early stampers.

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


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - So Far

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: crosbsofar_2012) 



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

We've put together two Shootout Winning White Hot Stamper sides to give you the ultimate So Far. It took two separate records to do it, however, as most copies of the album do not rise above the level of mediocre, and mediocre is not what we sell here at Better Records.

The killer sides here sound like they are made from the MASTER TAPE. They trounced any and all comers during the shootout. No other copies earned Three Pluses, only these two.

More So Far / More CSN&Y


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - So Far

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: crosbsofar_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of So Far.

For example, on Find the Cost of Freedom the best copies have DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND. You could say everything that needs to be said about the beauty of analog with this one track alone. It's not even two minutes long, but it's two really wonderful minutes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the height of their powers. The voices should sound as sweet and as silky as any CSN three part (four part?) harmony you have ever heard. This song rivals Helplessly Hoping for vocal blend.

More So Far


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VTA Adjustment

Helplessly Hoping to Get It Right

  (Item #: crosbsofar_wtlf) 



This listing from 2005 (!) contains commentary about Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA) adjustment using the track Helplessly Hoping from a Hot Stamper pressing of CSN’s So Far.
More So Far / More CSN&Y


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Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Music Does the Driving

  (Item #: crosbstillsandnash_overview) 



Of course it's easy to argue that finding good sound on an album with two or more members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, in any configuration, has never been easy. It's the rare copy of either of the first two albums that's even listenable, and the CSN album from 1977 doesn't sound nearly as good as any of the first three Crosby/Nash albums. Which simply means that the "good" sound of our Hot Stamper copies is far better than what most audiophiles own of any of these guys in combination.
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Miles Davis - At Fillmore

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: davisatfil_2010) 



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

This is an Original Columbia 2 LP set on QUIET vinyl with tonally CORRECT sound. The music found here was recorded in the wake of Davis’ highly influential fusion opus Bitches Brew. Keith Jarrett is featured on organ along with a band that includes Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland. It culls tracks from a four night stay at the Fillmore East in 1970.

More Miles Davis


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Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: davisbitch_2009) 



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

STUNNING MASTER TAPE A+++ SOUND ON SIDES ONE AND FOUR. We had no idea this music could sound anywhere near this good; every Hot Stamper shootout we had tried before this week was a complete bust. It’s not an easy album to find in clean condition, let alone a copy that sounds like this and plays quietly throughout! If jazz-fusion is your bag, sides one and four of this copy will take you on a trip like few other records could. You can hear right in to the soundfield, and you can be sure that there’s a whole lot going on in there.

More Miles Davis


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Derek and The Dominos - Layla

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: dereklayla_listen) 



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

The best copies of Layla are Tubey Magical, energetic, and tonally balanced. Most importantly, they sound CORRECT; you get the sense that you are hearing the music exactly as the band intended. The best sounding tracks have presence, clarity, and transparency like you have never heard -- that is, unless you've gone through a pile of copies the way we do.

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Derek and the Dominos - Layla (2 LPs)

Remastering the Remaster (and Keeping It a Secret)

  (Item #: dereklayla_SVLP_revisited) 



NEWSFLASH! [circa 2010]

Noticing that this title had recently come back into print, and remembering that we used to like the SVLP of Layla, we decided to order a current copy of the album from SIMPLY VINYL. Soon enough it came in, we played it, and we were pretty shocked to hear that the damn thing sounded just plain AWFUL.

Was I wrong about it before? Only one way to know. I pulled out my old Review Copy from way back when it first came out and sure enough that early pressing sounded dramatically BETTER than the new one. The stampers were completely different of course; someone had remastered it recently and ruined it.

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The Dillards - Copperfields

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: dillacoppe_2013) 



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

For the first time on the site, Hot Stamper sound for The Dillards! Those of you who enjoy the country-fried style of the Flying Burrito Bros., Gram Parsons or The Byrds will probably get a lot out of this one. We paired up our best sounding side one with our most impressive side two to create this QUIET A+++ / A++ 2-pack. Great sounding pressings for this band are tough to come by, so don't let this one slip past you if you're a fan!

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Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: dixoniamth_2013) 



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

TWO EXCELLENT SIDES for this Red Label pressing, including a shootout-winning, A+++ side one. The sound here is big and open, with the kind of life and presence we just don't hear on the typical pressings. And the material is TOP NOTCH -- Dixon was one of the blues' greatest songwriters, responsible for Spoonful, Hoochie Coochie Man, Little Red Rooster, Back Door Man and other songs you've probably heard your favorite classic rock band covering.

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Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

What to Listen For

  (Item #: dixoniamth_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.

It was pretty easy to separate the men from the boys in this shootout. A quick drop of the needle on each side would immediately answer our number one question: "How BIG is the sound?" The copies that lacked top end extension or heft in the bottom end were just too uninvolving. This is the BLUES, baby -- you think it's supposed to sound small and distant?

Another problem we ran into on many copies was excessive smoothness. When a copies was overly rich or smeary, it usually lacked the "gritty" feel that music like this should have.

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The Doors - Morrison Hotel

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: doorsmorri_2018) 



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

Rich, big and full-bodied, with clarity and energy to spare, this is the way you want to hear the Doors' Bluesy Rock. Roadhouse Blues, Waiting For The Sun and Maggie McGill are KILLER on this pressing - all you Doors fans are gonna flip. Circus Magazine praised it as "possibly the best album yet from the Doors" and "Good hard, evil rock, and one of the best albums released this decade."

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The Doors - Morrison Hotel

Rhino / Universal Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorsmorri_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D (at best)

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

A few years back we played the 180 gram reissue of Morrison Hotel. Initially we thought it pretty good, but the longer it played, the more its artificiality became apparent -- and annoying. Just listen to the vocals -- they're all wrong. Jim Morrison has one of the richest and most distinctive voices in the history of rock. When it doesn't sound like the guy I've been listening to for close to forty years, something is very, very wrong.

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Bob Dylan - New Morning

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: dylannewmo_2010) 



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

Side one of this Columbia pressing is RIGHT ON THE MONEY! That's where the great song If Not For You is found, and on this copy it is SMOKIN'. There's tons of energy, real texture to the vocals, and more presence than we heard elsewhere. Check out that BIG bottom end! This side earned our top A+++ grade.

Side two is strong as well, earning a plus and a half -- A+ to A++, as we say. The sound is clean, clear and transparent, but not quite as lively or present. It's still better than many of the copies we played against it.

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Duke Ellington - Up In Duke's Workshop

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: ellinupind_2017) 



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

The notes for this shootout winning side one read: "lively, big, present, with great bass" and that's the way we like our Big Band to sound!

The first track on side two is not quite up to the standard set by some of the other pieces here but by track two or three all is well sound-wise.

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Emerson Lake & Palmer

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: emersemers_2008) 



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

TWO SUPERB SIDES! We just finished a MAJOR shootout for this great album, and this Top Copy is going to make an AMAZING Demo Disc for the Lucky Man who takes it home! If you’ve got the system to play this one loud enough, with the bass power this album demands, you are in for a treat. The organ that opens side two will rattle the foundation of your house if you're not careful. This music really needs that kind of megawatt reproduction to make sense. It's big bombastic prog that wants desperately to rock your world. At moderate levels it just sounds overblown and silly. At loud levels it actually WILL rock your world.

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Emerson Lake & Palmer

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: emersemers_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

The Brit copies may take top honors for side one ("sweetness, openness, tubey magic, correct tonality, presence without aggressiveness, well-defined note-like bass, extended airy highs") but the Hot Stamper Cotillion copies KILL on side two. They really ROCK, with greater dynamic contrasts and seriously prodigious bass, some of the best ever committed to vinyl.

The Brits tend to be a bit too "pretty" sounding. They're too polite for this bombastic music. This music needs the whomp down below and lots of jump factor to work its magic.

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Bill Evans - Montreux II

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: evansmontr_2014) 



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

This vintage CTI pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the audience at the live show, this is the record for you. It's what Live Jazz Recordings are known for -- this sound.

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The Fleetwood Mac You Don't Know

Kiln House

  (Item #: fleetkilnh_know) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame, a Forgotten Classic, and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

Kiln House is one of the all-time great Fleetwood Mac albums. It’s the first they recorded after Peter Green left. With Green gone Jeremy Spencer’s influence came to the fore. He was apparently quite a fan of Buddy Holly. His songs are straightforward and unerringly melodic.

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Aretha Franklin - Spirit In The Dark

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: frankspiri_2012) 



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

Two incredible sides -- an A+++ side one backed with an A++ to A+++ side two -- for one of the best sounding albums Aretha recorded! We've done a ton of Aretha shootouts over the years and I'd put this one up with Amazing Grace as her top titles for sound. Everything we wanted from this music, this copy was DOIN' IT, plain and simple. It's lively, open, present and natural. The soundfield is big and spacious and the bottom end is killer. Aretha fans, you won't want to miss out on this one!

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Free - Fire and Water

on a Mythical Pink Island

  (Item #: free_firea_myth) 



Free’s Third Album on the Original British Island Pink Label — Wow!

Found one at a local record store a while back. It was the first one I’d ever seen in nice enough condition to buy. Checking the dead wax was a bit of a shock though. Guess where it was mastered. Right here in the good old U S of A. In fact, at one of the worst mastering houses of all time: Bell Sound in New York.

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Grand Funk Railroad - Closer To Home

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: grandclose_2013) 



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

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES, giving you As Good As It Gets sound for this hard-rockin' album! We just finished a shootout for this album, and most pressings were off our table in moments. The difference between this and the rest of our copies was NIGHT AND DAY! If you're a fan of this album, you are going to flip out when you hear this copy.

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The Grateful Dead - American Beauty

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: grateameri_2009) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND MOSTLY QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES, BABY! We went through all of 2008 without finding a single Hot Stamper copy of this great album, but today I am pleased to report that American Beauty Hot Stampers are back in stock at Better Records! Drop the needle on any track on either side -- I guarantee you’ve never heard this band sound so good, or your money back.

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Grateful Dead - American Beauty

Hot Stamper MoFi

  (Item #: grateameri_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

This is a very nice looking Mobile Fidelity LP with SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND. The transparency and presence in the midrange is OUT OF THIS WORLD. The bass actually sounds in control on this copy, there''s no typical bloated MOFI bass to be found here. This is the best sounding Mobile Fidelity American Beauty we have ever heard. It's not perfect by any means, but it's hugely better than we expected.

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The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: grateworki_2012) 



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

STUNNING MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE TWO, as good as it gets! I don’t think you could ask any more from this music than what this magical side two gives you -- breathy vocals with mindblowing immediacy; incredible depth and width to the soundfield; rich, round bass with real WEIGHT; a silky, extended top end; tons of ambience; tons of tubey magic and so on. It’s also open, spacious, and super transparent. The sound positively JUMPS out of the speakers and fills the room. Black Peter is INSANELY GOOD on this side -- you’re gonna flip when you hear it.

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The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

Watch for Strain in Jerry's Voice

  (Item #: grateworki_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

High Time tells you the most about the sound of side one on any given copy. If the pressing in question is lean, bright, grainy, transistory or aggressive in any way, Jerry Garcia's voice will sound strained. Far from a professionally trained singer, he's already straining to some degree on even the best copies.

More Grateful Dead / More Hippie Folk Rock


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The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

Rhino Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: grateworki_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The 2003 Rhino reissue on heavy vinyl of Workingman's Dead is absolutely awful. It sounds like a bad cassette. The CD of the album that I own is superb, which means that the tapes are not the problem, bad mastering and pressing are.

More Grateful Dead / More Hippie Folk Rock


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George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: harriallth_2018) 



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

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

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

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Jimi Hendrix - Crash Landing

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hendrcrash_2016) 



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

TWO GREAT TRIPLE PLUS SIDES on this original Reprise pressing! This is one of those somewhat controversial posthumous Hendrix albums, but it's hard to argue with the quality of the best tracks on here, like the great Message To Love. I'm not going to go out on a limb and say this is a must-own album, but Hendrix fans will certainly find much to like here. We played a big stack of copies and most of them weren't worth our time; a copy like this one lets you appreciate Jimi's craft without mediocre sound getting in the way.

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Jimi Hendrix - Hendrix In The West

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: hendrinthe_2013) 



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

We're still surprised at how well recorded the album is, and a pressing like this allows you to really hear the live Jimi Guitar God Magic.

Rock and roll Legend EDDIE KRAMER, the man who engineered these live recordings, really knocked it out of the park. Drop the needle on Little Wing and you are going to be FLOORED.

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Lena Horne & Gabor Szabo - Lena & Gabor

Now That's a Good Sounding Drum Kit!

  (Item #: hornelenaa_wtlf) 



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

This is the most realistic drum kit I have heard on a non-jazz album in my life. The drum sound on the first track is exactly the sound we all know from hanging around small clubs and our friends' garage bands. There is simply no audible processing on any part of the kit. The drums are centered behind the vocals and lead instruments, with what sounds like to me the barest of miking, surrounded by just the right amount of unbaffled studio space.

See all of our Gabor Szabo albums in stock


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Freddie Hubbard - Red Clay

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: hubbaredcl_2012) 



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

This original CTI pressing has two wonderful sides, including an AMAZING A+++ SIDE TWO! This side two has amazingly good Demo Disc sound. RVG knocked this one out of the park, that's for damn sure.

Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and the song Red Clay is possibly the funkiest jazz track he ever got down on tape. At 12 minutes in length it is a transcendentally powerful experience -- and the bigger your speakers and the louder you turn them up the more moving that experience is going to be!

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Humble Pie - Humble Pie

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: humblhumbl_2014) 



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

Both sides here are Super Hot - solid, big and fat with grungy guitars. Exceptionally quiet vinyl on both sides, mostly Mint Minus. A classic Glyn Johns rock recording from 1970 - he was really on a roll at the time. If you like a big bottom end on your rock records, this is the album for you.

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Jethro Tull - Benefit

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: jethrbenef_2008) 



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

This WONDERFUL original Island Chrysalis Brit LP has AMAZING SOUND! This is the BEST sounding copy we’ve ever heard, better than any of the other Island imports! A Triple Plus AGAIG sound on side one and nearly as good on side two. Quiet too!

Both sides were the winners in this shootout, and the vinyl was some of the quietest we played. This is THE ONE! There are many sonic problems with this recording, but most of them disappear when you get a truly Hot Stamper copy like this one.

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Jethro Tull - Benefit

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: jethrbenef_2016) 



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

WHOA! The best copy of Benefit to hit the site in OVER EIGHT YEARS! The sound is big, rich, tubey and solid with excellent transparency,

Discovering these very special British pressings - don't ask! - allowed us to get good sound and quiet vinyl on Benefit for the first time in the history of Better Records.

More Benefit / More Jethro Tull


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Antonio Carlos Jobim - Tide

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: jobimtide_2008) 



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

GREAT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! We’ve been trying our hardest to find a Jobim record with Hot sound, because we love the music so much. It’s taken some time, but we’ve finally found a few magnificent copies of Tide -- and this one’s the champ!

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Elton John - Elton John

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: john_elton_2011) 



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

This original DJM British pressing has a SUPERB Demo Disc Quality side two and a wonderful A++ side one! You could easily play a hundred records from the '70s and not hear one that sounds this good. The richness and sweetness of this side have to be heard to be believed. We would be very surprised if this copy didn't become your favorite Elton John record -- it's an absolute knockout.

As is usually the case for this album and specifically these Brit DJM pressings, the vinyl is a bit noisy -- Mint Minus Minus with constant moderate surface noise under the music.

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Elton John - Elton John

180g Universal & Simply Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: john_elton_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: F

Both Hall of Shame Pressings.

A dismal effort on the part of both these companies.

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

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Elton John - Elton John

Live and Learn

  (Item #: john_elton_learn) 



A classic case of Live and Learn. Scroll down to read what we learned from our recent shootout. To illustrate how the game is played we’ve copied some of the previous commentary into this listing to show the change in our understanding from 2004 to today.

Folks, if you’re looking for Classic Rock that appeals to adults with sophisticated tastes forty plus years after it was made, this is the album for you.

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Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection

Elton's Masterpiece

  (Item #: john_tumbl_2012) 



The best copies of this album are so good they belong on the list of the Ten Best Sounding Rock Records of All Time, how about that!

This copy really delivers on the sound side — you get stunning immediacy, big-time presence, tons of depth to the soundfield, full-bodied vocals, amazing transparency, and BOATLOADS of Tubey Magic. Elton John fans, today is your lucky day. The vocals are full and present, with not a trace of the phony EQ that plagues the typical pressing. The entire mix is stunningly high-res, with no attendant sacrifice in richness or Tubey Magic.

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Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: john_tumbl_2015) 



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

A side two for the ages -- it beat our best Ref Copy to earn a Four Plus (A++++) grade. Both sides are stunning with superb Demo Quality sound: huge, rich, spacious, dynamic and lively. An incredible recording and longtime member of our Top 100 -- our pick for Elton's very best music and sound.

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King Crimson - Lizard

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: kingclizar_2008) 



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

This is a SUNRAY Island Records label British Import LP with No Bar Code -- an Early Pressing. We can’t imagine Lizard sounding much better than this. Both sides have sweet and open sound. A++ all the way -- rich, warm, and transparent!

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King Crimson - Lizard

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: kingclizar_2018) 



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

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

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: kinkslolav_2013) 



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

    EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES, A+++ for the first and A++ for the second -- I don't remember ever hearing a better copy! This is the first copy to make it to the site in over three years, and there were only a small handful to hit the site before that. It's hard to find clean early Kinks pressings, and it's much tougher to find ones like this that actually sound good!

    Now this obviously ain't the best sounding album in the world, but this copy sure sounds better than the ones we played it against. The sound is lively, clean, transparent and natural. Most importantly, it sounds CORRECT.

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    Led Zeppelin - III

    Our Shootout Winner from 2008

      (Item #: ledze3_2008) 



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

    It is INCREDIBLY difficult to find knockout copies of Zep III -- of the dozen-plus copies we auditioned, this British Import Plum & Orange pressing was the only one with two superb sides, with an AGAIG A+++ side two and a side one that's just half a step behind at A++ - A+++. Folks, when I tell you that it is no mean feat to find a decent copy of this album, I am not joking around.

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    Led Zeppelin - III

    Classic Records Debunked

      (Item #: ledze3_classic_records) 



    Sonic Grade: F

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

    Ridiculously bright and harsh, we are proud to say this was one of the Classic Zep releases that we never carried on the site (along with II and Houses, both of which stink).

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    Led Zeppelin III

    Proof that Jimmy Page Was a Brilliant Producer

      (Item #: ledze3_page) 



    The startling resolution and transparency found on the best copies of Zep III let you hear every element in the huge soundfield that Jimmy Page designed for his recordings. They allow you to appreciate every carefully placed instrument and the remarkable sonic detail to be discovered as each track unfolds.

    The size, space, energy and clarity of the hottest Hot Stamper copies are surely what make possible a more profound appreciation of the singular effort that went into these recordings. Along with the kind of Master Tape Sound found on the best pressings comes a deeper appreciation of the remarkable skills of one of rock's true production geniuses, Jimmy Page.

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    John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: lennoplast_2016) 



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

    The first Top Copy to ever hit the site and it's a Triple Triple, with both sides earning our top A+++ grade. An absolute knockout on the better copies; here it's super clean, clear, punchy, full-bodied and solid. Working Man's Hero, Love, Mother -- classic Lennon tracks, all with superb sound.

    See all of our John Lennon albums in stock


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    Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: lightifyou_2014) 



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

    Exceptionally good sound -- the best we have yet to hear on a Lightfoot album. We were certainly surprised and quite pleased with the sound of the better copies, so watch for more of Gordon Lightfoot's music coming to the site as we work through his classic catalog from the '70s.

    One of the top guys at Warners, LEE HERSCHBERG recorded (with Gary Brandt) and mixed the album, along with a number of others by Gordon Lightfoot.

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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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    Dave Mason - Alone Together

    Our Shootout Winner from 2012

      (Item #: masonalone_2012) 



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

    Alone Together appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time. It is a surely a MASTERPIECE that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There's not a scrap of filler here. The recording by Bruce Botnick (mix by Al Schmitt) is hard to fault as well.

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    Dave Mason - Alone Together

    MCA Heavy Vinyl Debunked

      (Item #: masonalone_debunk) 



    Sonic Grade: D

    A Hall of Shame pressing. I confess I actually used to like and recommend the Heavy Vinyl MCA pressing. Rest assured that is no longer the case. Nowadays it sounds as opaque, ambience-challenged, lifeless and pointless as the rest of its 180 gram brethren.

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    John Mayall - Empty Rooms

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: mayalempty_2015) 



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

    With only keyboards, guitars, saxes and flutes -- the absence of a drummer is especially noteworthy -- the group creates a mystical, low-key atmosphere in the studio within which JM tells his stories. In other words, it's different. When it comes to John Mayall's recorded works, that's not a bad thing.

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    Paul McCartney - McCartney

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: mccarmccar1_2013) 



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

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

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

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    Paul McCartney - McCartney

    British Artist, British Pressing... Right?

      (Item #: mccarmccar1_myth) 



    Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

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

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    Paul McCartney Testimonial

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

      (Item #: mccarmccar1_testimonial) 



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

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

    More Paul McCartney and Wings


      more Info











    Sergio Mendes - Stillness

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: mendestill_2013) 



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

    TWO AMAZING SIDES, including a BETTER THAN WHITE HOT A++++ SIDE TWO! That's right folks, four pluses! This is an incredibly well-recorded album and a member of our Top 100, in fact. The soundfield itself has a three-dimensional quality that will absolutely blow you away. If you are looking for DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND with music every bit as good, look no further - this record is for you.

    More Sergio Mendes


      more Info




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