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White Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Sticky Fingers

  (Item #: rollistick_2006) 

Our Price: $799.99

  • A Sticky Fingers like you've never heard -- Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Finally, with the best vintage pressings we can hear the power and the beauty of this truly superb recording
  • A landmark Glyn Johns / Andy Johns recording, our favorite by the Stones, a Top 100 Title (of course) and 5 stars on Allmusic (ditto)
  • Q magazine said this was "the Stones at their assured, showboating peak ... A magic formula of heavy soul, junkie blues and macho rock."
  • 5 stars: "With its offhand mixture of decadence, roots music, and outright malevolence, Sticky Fingers set the tone for the rest of the decade for the Stones."
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White Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy

  (Item #: ledzehouse_2004_1) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • A stunning sounding copy that takes the sound of Houses of the Holy to a whole new level, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • Wall to wall, floor to ceiling Zeppelin Rock and Roll power - The Ocean explodes on this pressing like nothing you have ever heard
  • A Better Records Top 100 album (along with 4 other Zep titles), 5 Stars in AMG and a True Zeppelin Must Own Classic
  • The Tubey Magical acoustic guitars heard here should be a wake up call to every audiophile that trying to remaster this album is just not in the cards
  • "Jimmy Page's riffs rely on ringing, folky hooks as much as they do on thundering blues-rock, giving the album a lighter, more open atmosphere..."
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White Hot Stamper

Free
Tons of Sobs

  (Item #: free_tonso_1910_1_5) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • Crazy good Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close it from start to finish, this was clearly the best copy from our shootout - reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • This early UK Island pressing gave us exactly what we were looking for from these British Blues Rockers - it's smooth, weighty, and overflowing Tubey Magical richness
  • It's tough to find these imports in audiophile condition, which is why they only hit the site at most every two years or so
  • 4 1/2 stars: "...a blistering combination of youth, ambition, and experience that, across the course of their debut album, did indeed lay the groundwork for all that Zeppelin would embrace. ...Tons of Sobs has a density that makes Zeppelin and the rest of the era's rocky contemporaries sound like flyweights by comparison."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin III

  (Item #: ledze3_2002_6) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • With two killer Nearly Shootout Winning sides, each rating close to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++), this copy will lay waste to any pressing you've heard - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Drop the needle on Since I've Been Loving You, turn it up good and loud and Zep will be right there between your speakers for the live concert of a lifetime
  • Immigrant Song, Celebration Day and Tangerine are among the tracks that have truly awesome Demo Disc sound - the vinyl's very quiet too
  • 5 stars: "...Led Zeppelin III provided the band with the necessary room to grow musically. While there are still a handful of metallic rockers, III is built on a folky, acoustic foundation that gives the music extra depth."
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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy

  (Item #: ledzehouse_2004_6) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other copy of Houses you've heard and it plays as quietly as any copy ever will (and FAR BETTER than most)
  • Wall to wall, floor to ceiling Led Zeppelin power - this copy delivers like you will not believe, or your money back
  • A Better Records Top 100 album (along with 4 other Zep titles), 5 Stars in AMG and a True Zeppelin Must Own Classic
  • The Tubey Magical acoustic guitars heard here should be a wake up call to every audiophile that trying to remaster this album is just not in the cards
  • "Jimmy Page's riffs rely on ringing, folky hooks as much as they do on thundering blues-rock, giving the album a lighter, more open atmosphere..."
More Houses of the Holy


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin III

  (Item #: ledze3_2006) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Outstanding sound throughout with each side earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Huge, Tubey Magical and lively, with solid weight down low and lots of space around all the instruments, this copy is guaranteed to rock like nothing you have ever heard
  • Since I've Been Loving You, Gallows Pole, Tangerine and That's the Way are just a few of the tracks that have truly Demo Disc sound
  • "On their first two albums, Led Zeppelin unleashed a relentless barrage of heavy blues and rockabilly riffs, but Led Zeppelin III provided the band with the necessary room to grow musically. While there are still a handful of metallic rockers, III is built on a folky, acoustic foundation that gives the music extra depth."
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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy

  (Item #: ledzehouse_2005) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This early Robert Ludwig pressing earned Double Plus (A++) grades for their outstanding sound and they play on reasonably quiet vinyl to boot
  • Wall to wall, floor to ceiling Led Zeppelin power - this copy delivers like you will not believe, or your money back
  • A Better Records Top 100 album (along with 4 other Zep titles), 5 Stars in AMG and a True Zeppelin Must Own Classic
  • The Tubey Magical acoustic guitars heard here should be a wake up call to every audiophile that trying to remaster this album is just not in the cards
  • 5 stars: "Jimmy Page's riffs rely on ringing, folky hooks as much as they do on thundering blues-rock, giving the album a lighter, more open atmosphere..."
More Houses of the Holy


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Super Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Sticky Fingers

  (Item #: rollistick_2006_1ex) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This outstanding copy of Sticky Fingers boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Finally, with the best vintage pressings we can hear the power and the beauty of this truly superb recording
  • A landmark Glyn Johns / Andy Johns recording, our favorite by the Stones, a Top 100 Title (of course) and 5 stars on Allmusic (ditto)
  • Q magazine said this was "the Stones at their assured, showboating peak ... A magic formula of heavy soul, junkie blues and macho rock."
  • 5 stars: "With its offhand mixture of decadence, roots music, and outright malevolence, Sticky Fingers set the tone for the rest of the decade for the Stones."
More Rolling Stones


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Rolling Stones
It's Only Rock 'N' Roll

  (Item #: rolliitson_2001_6) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding early pressing of this Rolling Stones classic, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Here you will find sound quality that is both cleaner and clearer, with much less grit and grain - richness is also key to these better copies
  • The superbly talented Andy Johns engineered, so you can be sure that this is the sound the Stones were aiming for
  • "Throughout, the Stones wear their title as the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" with a defiant smirk, which makes the bitter cynicism of "If You Can't Rock Me" and the title track all the more striking, and the reggae experimentation... all the more enjoyable."
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Super Hot Stamper

Leon Russell
Leon Russell and the Shelter People

  (Item #: russeleonrussel_and_1910_6) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $129.99 (You save $20.00 / 13%)


  • This superb 2-pack offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on ridiculously-difficult-to-find original British vinyl
  • Engineered by Andy and Glyn Johns, this is Leon's best sounding album, especially on a copy that sounds as good as this one does
  • No other Leon Russell album has the richness, the sweetness, and the Tubey Magic of this, his second release from 1971
  • "Russell practically invented what might as well be called Okie rock -- with that shit-kicker Gospel sound, heavy on Baptist-revival piano and chorus [a template Elton John found more than a little useful for his first ten albums or so] - and it gets as good on this album as you'll ever hear."
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Super Hot Stamper

Renaissance
Renaissance

  (Item #: renairenai_1910_6) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $129.99 (You save $20.00 / 13%)


  • A killer copy of the band's debut album, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or better on both sides
  • This is an outstanding recording. And why shouldn't it be? It's engineered by Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin II and many more)
  • "The original group's debut album was a then-groundbreaking meld of progressive rock with classical and jazz influences... [it's] far druggier than the later group in its ambience (cofounders Keith Relf and Jim McCarty were the heavily psychedelic half of the final lineup of the Yardbirds, which made them anathema to Jimmy Page), but vocalist Jane Relf had a striking individual style, and the classical influence was unique for its time."
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Super Hot Stamper (quiet)

Leon Russell
Leon Russell & the Shelter People

  (Item #: russeleonrussel_and_1910_1) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this UK pressing - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Engineered by Andy and Glyn Johns, this is Leon's best sounding album, especially on a copy that sounds as good as this one does
  • No other Leon Russell album has the richness, the sweetness, and the Tubey Magic of this, his second release from 1971
  • "Russell practically invented what might as well be called Okie rock -- with that shit-kicker Gospel sound, heavy on Baptist-revival piano and chorus [a template Elton John found more than a little useful for his first ten albums or so] - and it gets as good on this album as you'll ever hear."
More Leon Russell


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Super Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
It's Only Rock 'N' Roll

  (Item #: rolliitson_2001) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • An outstanding early pressing of this Rolling Stones classic, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Here you will find sound quality that is both cleaner and clearer, with much less grit and grain - richness is also key to these better copies
  • The superbly talented Andy Johns engineered, so you can be sure that this is the sound the Stones were aiming for
  • "Throughout, the Stones wear their title as the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" with a defiant smirk, which makes the bitter cynicism of "If You Can't Rock Me" and the title track all the more striking, and the reggae experimentation... all the more enjoyable."
More Rolling Stones


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Andy Johns

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allandyjohns) 



ANDY JOHNS is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Andy Johns engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Andy Johns Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Andy Johns Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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Blind Faith - Blind Faith

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: blindblind_2010) 



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

This early British pressing SLAUGHTERED all the other pressings we played it against! It's the Blind Faith you’ve been waiting for: Tubey Magical, Transparent, full of Life and Energy -- dear friends, it’s all here! And the vinyl is some of the quietest we've ever heard for this album.

Sick of buying one harsh, thin, distorted, murky LP after another in a vain attempt to find a copy that reminds you of why you LOVED this record so much when it came out back in 1969?

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Humble Pie - Rock On

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: humblrocko_2009) 



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

This record is the very definition of TUBEY MAGIC. The sound is so rich and sweet it will make you want to take all your CDs and dump them in the trash, if you haven’t done so already.

This is the sound WE LOVE here at Better Records, assuming the pressing in question still maintains some degree of presence, immediacy and transparency. Records like this can easily get thick and muddy; think of the typically dull Who’s Next or Sticky Fingers and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

More Humble Pie / More Peter Frampton


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Jethro Tull - Stand Up

Notes from 2006

  (Item #: jethrstand_2006) 



This Island Pink Label Original British pressing has ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SOUND! We mention that there was a Sunray pressing that may have been even better, but I didn’t have this copy in hand to compare the Sunray to, so I can’t be sure that pressing was any better. This one sounds as good as any I've ever heard.

It's amazingly dynamic and powerful, yet full of tubey magic. I played almost ten different pressings of this record today (11/08/06): every domestic label variation and a handful of imports. This copy is clearly the best of the batch.

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Jethro Tull - Stand Up

Notes from 2009

  (Item #: jethrstand_2009) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

Our last shootout for Stand Up was over a year ago, early in 2008. By some good fortune we have been able to find a number of fairly clean early British pressings, with both Pink and Sunray labels, as well as some very good sounding domestics. (Yes, they are out there. Few and far between and probably not the ones you would think to buy but out there nonetheless. Buy enough of them and clean them right and you will find some too.)

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Jethro Tull's Stand Up

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: jethrstand_listen) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

It's very common for pressings of Stand Up to lack bass or highs, and more often than not they lack both. The bass-shy ones tend to be more transparent and open sounding -- of course, that's the sound you get when you take out the bass. (90 plus percent of all the audiophile stereos I've ever heard were bass shy, no doubt for precisely that reason: less bass equals more detail, more openness and more transparency. Go to any stereo store or audiophile show and notice how bright the sound is.)

Just what good is a British Classic Rock Record that lacks bass? It won't rock, and if it don't rock, who needs it? You might as well be playing the CD.

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Joni Mitchell - Shadows and Light

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchshado_2011) 



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

FOUR INCREDIBLE SIDES! We had a huge shootout for this famous double album and this copy blew our minds with a pair each of White Hot and Super Hot sides and quiet vinyl throughout. In the high-stakes game of Better Records Double Album Poker, that's a full house, my man! Sides one and three earned the A+++ grades while sides two and four were close behind at A++. This one gives you the kind of YOU ARE THERE immediacy and transparency that put you front and center for a late '70s jazzy Joni Mitchell show. Not too many copies will do that!

See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Led Zeppelin - Coda

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: ledzecode_2010) 



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.

TWO GREAT SIDES and QUIET VINYL on this Swan Song pressing, one of the few good sounding copies we've ever played. We just sat down with the dozen-plus copies of Coda that made it through our preliminary round and only found a few that were worth writing home around. Most copies are too dry, grainy, and/or dull to get excited about, but this one is a MONSTER.

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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzehouse_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

We can describe the sound in two words: ridiculously bright. Honestly, what more need be said?

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings for comparison purposes. After all, these Classic LPs are what many -- perhaps most -- audiophiles consider superior to other pressings.

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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: ledzehouse_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 Led Zeppelin's momentous 1973 release, Houses of the Holy.

You really get an understanding of just how much of a production genius Jimmy Page was when you listen to a copy of Houses with the kind of resolution and transparency found on our best copies. To take just one example, just listen to how clearly the multi-tracked guitars can be heard in the different layers and areas of the soundstage. On some songs you will have no trouble picking out three, four and even more guitars playing, each with its own unique character.

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Led Zeppelin - II

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze2_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

An absolute DISASTER -- ridiculously bright, ridiculously crude, in short, a completely unlistenable piece of garbage.

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings as a "reference". After all, the Classic pressings are considered by many -- if not most -- audiophiles to be superior to other pressings. If you don't believe me go to the forums and read for yourself.

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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 - IV

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: ledze4_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

We always have a great time doing Zep IV shootouts. It's one of those all-too-rare cases where amazing music and amazing sonics coexist on the same slab of vinyl. You just need to find the right slab, a proposition that turns out to be much harder than it sounds.

You probably know by now just how tough it is to find audiophile quality sonics on this album. Far too many copies just leave us cold, but the best pressings, whether British or domestic, are so good, and so much fun at the loud volumes we employ, that it ends up being worth all the time, trouble and expense it takes to wade through the vinyl dreck to find them.

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Led Zeppelin - IV

With This Copy You Better Be Ready to Rock

  (Item #: ledze4_2012) 



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.

We did a massive shootout in 2012 for Zep's beloved fourth album and this British pressing earned a nearly perfect score with some of the BIGGEST, BOLDEST, HARDEST Rockin' sound we have ever heard on the album. Without a doubt this is the best sounding IV side two we've ever played, with the biggest bottom of them all.

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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: ledze2_2017) 



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

This pressing just knocked us out from beginning to end -- this is the Zep II sound you want.

At least 80% of the copies we buy these days -- for many hundreds of dollars each I might add -- go right back to the seller. The biggest problem we run into besides obvious scratches that play and worn out grooves is easy to spot: just play the song Thank You at the end of side one. Most of the time there is inner groove damage so bad that the track becomes virtually unlistenable.

See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: ledze2_loud) 



It's official: we're inaugurating a Top Ten Best Sounding Rock / Pop Album List, and the first member to be inducted is none other than our old favorite, Led Zeppelin II.

It's also yet another in a very long line of records that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume. We're convinced Zep II has to be the hardest rocking album of all time. The best copies -- often with the same stampers as the not-as-good copies by the way -- have a LIFE and a POWER to them that simply cannot be found on other records.

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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Breaking Down the Engineers

  (Item #: ledzephysi_engineers) 



Four engineers worked on the various sessions for the tracks which would become Physical Graffiti. The songs for this sprawling double album were recorded over the course of five years (1970-1974) although the bulk of the work was done by Ron Nevison in January and February of 1974.

For a complete breakdown of who recorded what, see below.

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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: ledzephysi_2008) 



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.

Zep fans, rejoice -- PHYSICAL GRAFFITI HOT STAMPERS ARE HERE! We thought this day might never come. As you probably know by now, most copies of this album just plain suck!

More Physical Graffiti


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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzephysi_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

Tonally correct, which is one thing you can't say for most of the Zeps in this series, that's for sure. Those of you with crappy domestic copies, crappy imported reissues and crappy CDs, which is pretty much all there is of this recording, will not know what you're missing.

More Physical Graffiti / More Led Zeppelin


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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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Leon Russell - Leon Russell and the Shelter People

We Broke Through in 2017

  (Item #: russeleonrussel_and_2017) 



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

The domestic pressings of Leon Russell and the Shelter People that we'd auditioned over the years always seemed flat, dry, and closed-in. We know that sound well; it's the sound you hear on records that have been made from dubbed tapes (and it's the hallmark of the modern Heavy Vinyl reissue, truth be told). It bores us to tears, and had us questioning what we could possibly have seen in the album in the first place. What happened to the glorious sound of early '70s analog we were expecting to find?

More Leon Russell


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Renaissance - Renaissance

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: renairenai_2012) 



Prog fans take note: this is one AMAZING sounding recording.

And why shouldn't it be? It's engineered by ANDY JOHNS (Led Zeppelin II and many more) and produced by Paul Samwell-Smith (Cat Stevens!), so its audiophile credentials are more than in order. Some of the best recordings we have ever heard involved one of these guys, and on this one you get them both. That's almost too much production talent for one album.

More Prog Rock


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Spooky Tooth - Spooky Two

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: spookspook_2009) 



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

This very nice looking Island Sunray British Import LP has AMAZING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES (with caveats!). Side one is super rich and full of tubey magic. It can be ever so slightly grainy and strained but when the sound is this good who cares!? Andy Johns is the man behind the console here, which explains why the album is so well recorded. If you’re a fan of Black Sabbath you’ll find much to like here; this is psych rock at its best.

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Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills

Bill Halverson's Engineering Masterpiece?

  (Item #: stillsteph_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.

When all the elements are working together as they do here, the music on Steve Stills' first album is postively AMAZING. Until I hear something better, I'm going to have to call this BILL HALVERSON's Engineering Masterpiece.* Yes, on the best copies it's that good.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: stillsteph_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and a Forgotten Rock Classic.

Love the One You're With and Sit Yourself Down are to die for, but there's really not a bad track on the album. A triumph of engineering for Bill Halverson and Andy Johns - this and Deja Vu are the very definition of Big Production Rock.

More Stephen Stills


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Ten Years After - Cricklewood Green

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: tenyecrick_2010) 



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

This very nice looking original Deram British Import LP has that good old Heavy British Rock sound. It’s lively if a bit crude, but that’s pretty much the way these bands were recorded. The sound varies quite a bit from track to track, with some sounding noticeably better than others. Not much new there.

’Me and My Baby’ is a particularly good sounding song here. It sounds like it was recorded live in the studio, and it probably was!

More Ten Years After


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The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup

Live and Learn, A Lesson from 2011

  (Item #: rolligoats_2011) 



This is a classic case of Live and Learn.

We would agree with very little of what we had to say about Goat's Head Soup as a recording when we wrote about it back in 2011 -- and for the previous 35+ years since I first played a domestic original.

Having done a big shootout for the album in 2016 we now know there most certainly are great sounding pressings to be found, because we found some. The data are in, and now we know just how wrong we were. In our defense, let me just ask one question: Did anybody else know this record was well recorded? I can find no evidence to support anyone having ever taken such a contrarian position.

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The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: rolligoats_2016) 



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

The impossible has happened - we found a good sounding copy of Goats Head Soup, only 53 years after it was first released.

Why did it take us so long to find a killer copy? Let's just say the pressing is somewhat "off the beaten path" and leave it at that. We ran into it by accident during an attempted shootout not long ago, and it was so much better than the other records we were playing at the time that we had to postpone the shootout until we could find more of these specific pressings. It took some months but we managed to get a big pile of "happy accidents" together and the result was a gamechanging White Hot copy.

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The Rolling Stones - It’s Only Rock N’ Roll

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: rolliitson_2018) 



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

It's Only Rock 'N' Roll is no slouch if you get hold of a good one. It can be a bit gritty and grainy at times, but you gotta believe that's the sound the Stones heard in the booth and were totally cool with. Andy Johns engineered and he's made as many super-tubey, super-rich and super-smooth recordings as anybody this side of Bill Porter.

The Stones didn't want that sound this time around. The Stones wanted the sound of this pressing.

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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: rollistick_2019) 



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

This is the best record the Stones ever made (along with Let It Bleed and Beggars Banquet - all three have the potential for outstanding sound -- the trick is, as always, finding the right pressing).

The sound is exactly what you want from a Stones album: deep punchy bass and dynamic grungy guitars. This record is to be played loud like it says on the inner sleeve and the surface noise is to be ignored. The louder you play it, the less bothersome the noise will be. This album ROCKS and it was not made to be listened to in a comfy chair with a glass of wine.

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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: rollistick_depth) 



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

A QUICK TEST: The best copies have texture and real dynamics in the brass. The bad copies are smeared, grainy and unpleasant when the brass comes in. Toss those bad ones and start shooting out the good ones. Believe me, if you find a good one it will be worth all the work.

And don't forget to Turn Up Your Volume.

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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: rollistick_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a joke. It’s so compressed, lifeless, and lacking in bottom end that it would hardly interfere with even the most polite conversation at a wine tasting. I consider it one of the worst sounding versions ot the album ever made. It’s an Audiophile Record in the worst sense of the word.

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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

Worst Version Ever!

  (Item #: rollistick_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

This RTI 180g copy (with the zipper cover) is one of a series of five titles Bob Ludwig cut in the ’90s. According to the man, after cutting the record he chanced upon a consumer copy and was shocked to hear how bad it sounded.

It sounded, according to him, nothing like the record he had cut. Somehow they had botched the pressings and ruined the sound. How this could happen I can’t imagine.

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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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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: traffjohnb_2012) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side one is OUT OF THIS WORLD -- the new KING for this album! We played a huge number of pressings -- Pink Labels, United Artists originals and reissues -- and this side one was completely UNMATCHED. What put it in a league of its own? BIG ENERGY for one thing. Side one of this copy was jumping out of the speakers in a way that took us completely by surprise. We had a dozen clean copies, that's 24 sides, and this was the only one that showed us just how lively and clear that side one master tape must be.

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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die

Listen for Winwood's Left Hand

  (Item #: traffjohnb_wtlf_2015) 



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

We learned something new a few years back about John Barleycorn while playing an especially TRANSPARENT copy. This pressing made it clear -- really, for the first time -- exactly what Winwood was doing with his left hand on the piano during the song Glad.

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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: traffjohnb_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For as you critically evaluate your copy of John Barleycorn Must Die.

The toughest test on side two is the first track, Stranger to Himself. Getting the voices right is practically impossible. If the voices are full, smooth, yet breathy and clear, you have that rare copy that actually gets the midrange right. Not many do.

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