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The Doobie Brothers - Stampede

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: doobistamp_2015_) 



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

The average copy of this album is compressed and congested, recessed and veiled, grainy and thin; in other words, it sounds like an old Doobie Brothers album. It takes a copy like this to show you just how good the Master Tape must really be. Most copies don't even hint at the sound you will hear on this record. And if we hadn't had plenty of copies to play with, we would never have known, now would we?

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Lee Morgan - Search For The New Land

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: morgasearc_2008) 



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

This QUIET, hard-to-find Blue Note Blue Label LP has EXCELLENT SOUND AND MUSIC! It’s transparent, open and spacious with deep, tight bass. The piano has nice weight to it and the trumpet has the right amount of bite. We never have enough of these around to do a full shootout, but based on my experience with this album I’m going to rate side one between solid A and A+ and side two A+. There may be a better copy out there somewhere, but good luck tracking it down.

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Astrud Gilberto / Walter Wanderley - A Certain Sadness...

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gilbecerta_2010) 



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

LOVELY SOUND AND EXCELLENT MUSIC on this unusually quiet, exceptionally good sounding Verve T-Label LP. We compiled enough of these to do a shootout and this was one of the better copies, earning A++ grades for both sides. It's full of energy with big time immediacy and wonderfully breathy female vocals. The organ sounds gorgeous!

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Miles Davis - Filles de Kilimanjaro

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: davisfille_2019) 



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

This Columbia 360 Label LP boasts rich, full-bodied, clear sound with the space and three-dimensionality that was difficult to find on the later pressings we played

This is one of the all-time classic progressive jazz albums, and a copy like this allows you to appreciate the contributions of Miles and his top-notch band (Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams and the great Ron Carter on most of the songs). This one's not as "out there" as Bitches Brew, but it gives you a taste of the various directions these guys would take in the years to come.

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Traffic- Mr. Fantasy

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: traffmrfan_2019) 



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

This early Pink Label import pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, making this one of the best copies to hit the site in many years, if not THE best. We used to think that The Best of Traffic had better sound, but in a head to head comparison with this very copy, we were proved WRONG. Big, full-bodied and lively, with huge amounts of space and off the charts Tubey Magic, the sound here is Hard to Fault.

More Steve Winwood


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Love - Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: love_love_2019) 



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

A classic from 1966, a combination of proto-punk and psychedelia featuring My Little Red Book, Hey Joe and more. The first Love album is without a doubt the punchiest, liveliest, most POWERFUL recording in the Love catalog. Engineered by none other than Bruce Botnick, here is the kind of massive bottom end weight and energy that we like to call WHOMP.

More Love


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Fiedler / Boston Tea Party

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: variobosto_2213_2010) 



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

This original Shaded Dog pressing has EXCELLENT SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON SIDE TWO, where you'll find a wonderful rendition of Hernando's Hideaway! The sound is excellent -- lively, full-bodied and super three-dimensional. Check out how great the castanets sound!

Side one is nothing special and a bit noisy in the right channel, so we're really only charging you for the strong side two. Hernando's Hideaway is really worth the price of admission alone, you'll see! As I'm sure you know by now, Fiedler on this sort of material is very hard to beat.

More Living Stereo


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JS Bach and Liszt / Organ Music / Richter

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: bach_organ_6172_2007) 



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

This is a Minty looking London Red Label LP with Virtually No Sign Of Play (VNSOP).

You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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JS Bach / Organ Music / Richter

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: bach_organ_6173_2007) 



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

This London Whiteback pressing of CS 6173 has SUPERB SOUND! Like its brother, CS 6172, recorded by Richter in 1954, probably on the same day, the sound of this early stereo 2 mic recording is amazingly spacious and rich.

Here's what I said about 6172; You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician manage to do.

More of the music of JS Bach (1685-1750)


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Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: dylanblond_2019) 



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

It takes a properly mastered, properly pressed copy like this one to get both Dylan's voice and harmonica -- two of the most critically important elements on any of his recordings -- to sound smooth, full-bodied and clear. Any pinched quality will be painfully obvious to the listener, and for that shortcoming you lose a lot of points here at Better Records. That said, upper-midrangy sound on any vintage Dylan record to one degree or another is almost always audible. The less the better, but none is really not an option.

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Boz Scaggs - Boz Scaggs

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: scaggbozsc_2018) 



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

This original pressing has two excellent sides, which is two more than the typical cardboardy, flat, thin, lifeless copy has. If you like your music dry and clean, try the remixed version, the CD, or perhaps there is a heavy vinyl version out there (at one-tenth the price). That's not our sound here at Better Records. The best recordings from the era do not have that sound, so when we find that kind of analog richness, sweetness and naturalness on a pressing such as this, we know the record is right.

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Andrew Gold - What's Wrong With This Picture?

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: gold_whats_2015) 



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

The best copies of Gold's sophomore release are incredibly rich, sweet and Tubey Magical. They also have tons of deep punchy bass and wonderfully breathy vocals.

If you own many Asylum records, you know this title is yet another example of classic Asylum Analog. Think of the sound of the Eagles first album and you won't be far off.

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Tom Waits - The Heart of Saturday Night

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: waitsheart_of_2017) 



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

Amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides! This music ain't for everyone, but when you find good sounding Tom Waits pressings like this one the sonics can be out of this world. It's tough to find clean copies of this stuff these days and even tougher to find ones that really deliver the way this one does. Bones Howe sure knew how to record this kind of music, and a copy like this will really let you appreciate his work.

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Bizet & Gounod / Ballet Music / Gibson

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: bizetballe_vics_2007) 



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

This RCA Plum Label Victrola LP has many shortcomings, but its strengths more than compensate for them. The MIDRANGE is pure MAGIC. The sweet, textured strings, the back of the stage percussion, the placement of the orchestral sections in the soundstage, the performance itself -- all combine to make you forget you are listening to an old, somewhat flawed record. What has been captured in the grooves of the vinyl allows the listener to do what few recordings can -- suspend his disbelief.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


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Gilbert & Sullivan - The Best Of... (3 LP Box Set)

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: gilbebest_of_gilbert_2006) 



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

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

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

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Astrud Gilberto - Gilberto With Turrentine

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: gilbegilberto_turrentine_2009) 



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

The music and sound on side two are OFF THE CHARTS! If you’re a fan of Sergio Mendes or Jobim you’re likely to really enjoy this music.

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Astrud Gilberto - Beach Samba

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: gilbebeach_2019) 



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

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

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

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Bruch & Mozart / Violin Concertos / Laredo - Mitchell

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bruchvioli_2010) 



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

Superb sound. The violin is wonderful on both sides. The Mozart is absolutely gorgeous; the best I''ve ever heard it.

The orchestra on the Bruch side gets a little congested in the louder passages, which is typical for records of this era.

Laredo plays these pieces beautifully. The Bruch is an especially romantic work and his violin sings sweetly and with deep emotion throughout. The Mozart is more spritely and he plays it with the light touch it requires. You will have a hard time finding a better violin concerto record. This ranks with the best of them.

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Bruch - Mozart / Violin Concertos / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: bruchvioli_2011) 



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

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

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

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Bruch / Scottish Fantasia - Oistrakh / Horenstein

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: bruchscott_2014) 



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

CS 6337. This Minty looking London Whiteback LP has THE MOST AMAZING SCOTTISH FANTASIA I have ever heard! Folks, it doesn't get any better than this. I would say this is one of the five best sounding violin recordings I have ever heard. Interestingly, the violin sound that we typically put up with is found on side two of this very album. It's easy to forget that there are actually records that sound like side one, and that side two really isn't the way an orchestra is supposed to sound.

More of the music of Max Bruch (1938-1920


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Mendelssohn & Prokofiev / Concertos / Heifetz / Munch

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mendevioli_2314_2011) 



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

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

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


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Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor / Discovery / Welch

  (Item #: bach_discovery_2009) 



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

This is an INCREDIBLY RARE Wilson Audio LP in IMMACULATE condition, with works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor and others. Click on the images of the record labels for a full track listing. This is actually an amazing sounding record. I’ve owned a copy for over 20 years. It's some of the best sounding organ music with the deepest bass I've ever heard.

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



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Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio - Red Gardenia

Reviewed in 2019

  (Item #: yamamredga_2019) 



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

Imagine a Three Blind Mice piano date recorded Direct-to-Disc -- that's the sound of this album. This is one of the few audiophile records worthy of the name. It's also five times as rare as Blues to East and the music is better. There are two Stevie Wonder songs given a wonderful piano trio arrangement here that are just out of this world.

More Direct to Disc recordings / More Audiophile recordings


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Vivaldi / The Four Seasons / Cremona Chamber Ensemble

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: vivalexcer_2009) 



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

This is a SUPERB sounding Sonic Arts Direct-to-Disc LP with Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. I gave this one rave reviews twenty years ago (when we could still find them) and I'm happy to see that the sound has held up just fine in the intervening decades. Recorded in a dry acoustic, immediacy and clarity are the sonic strengths of this side one. This is one of the most natural Direct-Disc I’ve heard in a long time. One could easily use it as Demo Disc, depending on your taste and system.

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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Takemitsu - Percussions in Colors

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: takempercu_2010) 



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

Superb sound!

"Rare 1978 audiophile limited edition Japanese lp with Sumire Yoshihara on percussion performing experimental works. The Ichiyanagi work has a unique graphical score and allows the performer to select different classes of percussion. Takemitsu's piece is based on a work of art in the form of a book made for the composer by Italian artist Bruno Munari. Takemitsu's score consists of this book and an accompanying set of musical instructions on how to interpret its abstract collages and designs. Includes extensive notes inside the gatefold cover."

More Direct to Disc recordings


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Tchaikovsky / Sleeping Beauty / Ansermet / 3 LP Box Set

  (Item #: tchaisleep_2304_2010) 



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

Big Decca sound! Powerful deep bass. Beautiful string tone and sharply articulated brass sound. This is a wonderful record. Ansermet is of course a master of the ballet. The performance here is outstanding, perhaps even definitive.

More music conducted by Ernst Ansermet (1883-1969)


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The Royal Ballet - Gala Performances - Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: varioroyal_6065_2005) 



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

This is a QUIET RCA Soria Shaded Dog Box Set with some of the BEST SOUND I HAVE EVER HEARD for this music on Disc One. This is truly DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND if what you are demonstrating is not the merely Hi-Fi, but the relaxed beauty and naturalness of what many consider to be the finest example of Living Stereo Magic brought to the greatest performances of ballet music ever committed to tape.

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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?

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Grofe / Grand Canyon Suite / Bernstein
  (Item #: grofegrand_6618_2009) 



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

This Minty Columbia Grey label Stereo LP is one of the most amazing copies ever! You will be hard pressed to find a better sounding Grand Canyon suite.

Bernstein’s Columbia recordings usually leave much to be desired. This is a notable exception. The normal Columbia shrillness is gone, replaced by sweet and liquid sound. I wish more of his records sounded like this one: I'd be picking them up left and right.

More of the music of Leonard Bernstein


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Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story (Broadway Cast)

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bernswests_broadway_2015) 



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

SUPERB sound can be found on these two Columbia stereo pressings of the Broadway Cast recording. This is a huge, spacious, natural, exciting All-Tube Golden Age recording that impressed us no end here at Better Records.

We heard an amazing sounding copy many years ago, and the only reason we haven't done the shootout since then is that we just couldn't find enough clean copies with which to do it. To be clear, we're not talking quiet vinyl, we're talking about not beat-to-death, not all-scractched-up vinyl. People loved this music and they played the hell out of it.

More of the music of (or music conducted or performed by) Leonard Bernstein


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America - History: America’s Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: amerihisto_2018) 



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

The big sound on both sides lets this Greatest Hits compilation hold its own against the originals. Side One has amazing CLARITY and PRESENCE, which is especially noticeable on the vocals. Side Two has plenty of bottom end that drives these songs with energy and life. Listen for the bells on 'Tin Man'; they have the correct transients and harmonics. You never quite get back all of the Tubey Magic of the originals, but the detail and richness are enough to make you fall in love with this high quality George Martin (re) production.

More America


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Vivaldi / The Four Seasons / I Solisti di Zagreb / Tomasow

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: vivalfours_vanguard_2012) 



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

Folks, we have some good news for those of you who have been waiting for one of the best sounding, most beautifully performed Four Seasons ever recorded. THIS IS IT! White Hot on both sides, I can't say the sound is better than the White Hot Shaded Dog pressing we heard in our recent shootout. It's certainly different, and one could easily make the case for either. Of course one's taste enters into the calculation, so choosing a clear winner is simply not possible with markedly superior pressings such as these.

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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Martin Denny - Exotica

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: dennyexotica_2011) 



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

This second label very quiet Liberty Stereo LP has at least Super Hot Stamper EXOTIC SOUND on both sides, with a side two that may be White Hot. It's hard to know for sure whether side two can get any better than this -- it's pretty darn amazing, some of the most Magically Delicious sound we played in our recent shootout.

Recorded in 1958, you can imagine there is a healthy amount of Tubey Magical richness and sweetness, although this second label copy seems to be cut a bit more cleanly and correctly than some of the first label Denny records we auditioned. The tonality is dead on the money, a quality that the most tubey recordings rarely exhibit; they can easily get overly lush and appear murky.


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Martin Denny - Exotica: Vol. 2

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: dennyexoti_2014) 



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

This Liberty '60s Label Stereo LP has Hot Stamper EXOTIC SOUND on both sides. The cover says it's The Ultimate in Transistorized Stereophonic Hi-Fidelity Sound, but I hear an awful lot of Tubey Magical richness and sweetness. The tonality is actually right on the money, a quality that the heavily tubey recordings rarely exhibit: they can easily get overly lush and turn murky.

More Exotica


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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_brightly_2017) 



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

The sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good! The space is HUGE and the sound so rich.

Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Ravel / Piano Concertos / Haas

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: ravelpiano_2012) 



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

This Philips recording from 1970 on exceptionally quiet Dutch vinyl has SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on side one for one of Ravel's best known piano works, the Piano Concerto in G. Most Philips records are much too thick, dull and opaque to be taken seriously, by us anyway. (In this respect they have many sonic attributes in common with Londons from the '70s and '80s.)

Dropping the needle on this pressing, however, was a pleasant surprise. It's big and spacious on side one, with zero smear on a piano that is both full and clear.

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


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Red Norvo Quintet - The Forward Look (UHQR)

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: norvoforwa_2015) 



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

White Hot on both sides, DEMO DISC QUALITY sound. Side one has some of the most realistic live jazz club sound you will ever hear. Side two is dynamic, huge and immediate like you few records we know. This is what an audiophile record is supposed to sound like - AMAZING.

More Audiophile recordings


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto / Grumiaux

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: beethvioli_grumiaux_2018) 



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

The reproduction of the violin here is superb -- harmonically rich, natural, clean, clear, resolving. What sets the truly killer pressings apart is the depth, width and three-dimensional quality of the sound, as well as the fact that they become less congested in the louder passages and don't get shrill or blary. The best copies display a Tubey Magical richness -- especially evident in the basses and celli -- that is to die for.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2018) 



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

Court and Spark deserves to be heard with all the clarity, beauty and power that only the best Hot Stamper pressings can convey.

What you hear is the sound of the real tape; every instrument has its own character because the mastering is correct and the vinyl -- against all odds -- managed to capture all (or almost all; who can know?) of the resolution that the tape had to offer.

More Court and Spark


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Prokofiev & Rachmaninoff / Piano Concertos / Janis - Kondrashin

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: prokopiano_90300_2019) 



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

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


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Don McLean - American Pie

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: mcleaameri_2018) 



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

An incredible 'Triple 'Triple' copy of American Pie giving you amazing sound for the famous title track. This Number One album from 1971 has KILLER sound on both sides. It's dynamic too -- the end of American Pie gets good and loud, with a very solid piano holding it all together.

Beware of copies that are thin, dry or edgy; they take much too much of the fun out of the music.

See all of our Don McLean albums in stock


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Eric Clapton - E.C. Was Here

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: claptecwas_2019) 



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

Check out Clapton's superb arrangements and performances of two of the best songs from his short-lived Blind Faith period: Presence of the Lord and Can't Find My Way Home. They're two of the highpoints on an album filled with good material that does not seem to get the credit it is due. I bought this album when it came out in 1975 and never really got into it. Of course I had an inferior domestic pressing and a stereo that couldn't have done the album justice anyway, but in my defense I would have to say that there really wasn't any such stereo system on the face of the earth; we still had a long way to go.

More Eric Clapton


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Dvorak / Cello Concerto / Fournier - Szell

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: dvoracello_fournier_2010) 



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

This Deutsche Grammophon German Import LP is especially warm and sweet for a DG record. The tape hiss here is exactly right, which tells me that the smooth sound that I’m hearing is what the tape actually recorded and the engineers wanted. The cello sound is wonderful with an especially woody tone and nice texture to the strings.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


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Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come

Our Six-Eye Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: davissomed_2019) 



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

We've found Red Label copies in the past that sound pretty darn good but this Six-Eye was a HUGE step up in class over the reissues this time around. It was not even close. This one is doing it all, with in-the-room presence, massive amounts of energy, clear, note-like bass and a rich, breathy quality to Miles's horn that is simply not to be found on most pressings, be they originals, reissues, on Heavy Vinyl, at 45 RPM or what have you.

More Miles Davis


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Nirvana - Nevermind

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: nirvanever_2019) 



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.

An incredible sounding record, especially on a White Hot Stamper such as this (which is why this copy sold for $849!). I might even go so far as to say it's better than practically anything recorded during the entire decade of the '90s. Man, when you've heard this record at its best, there is NOTHING like it. For the true Rock and Roll Audiophile Connoisseur, the man who will settle for nothing but the very best, we humbly offer this Nevermind Verified Hot Stamper, the ultimate head-banging experience.

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Dick Schory - Music To Break Any Mood

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: schormusic_2125_2019) 



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

This is the successor to Bang Baaroom, and as you can imagine it's music in the same percussive style, the major difference here being the addition of a giant gong which the producers justifiably take great pride in. This title is also at least 5 times as rare as LSP 1866; I haven't seen one of these in years!

Features standards Caravan, Fascinating Rhythm and Stranger In Paradise, among others.

More Dick Schory


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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra's Sinatra

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: sinatsinatras_2016) 



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

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

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Crosby, Stills and Nash - CSN

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: crosbcsn_2013) 



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

This original LP is clearly the best sounding side one of this album we have ever played. Most copies of CSN are unbelievably flat, harsh, thin and opaque.

Which means simply that our approach is the only one that offers any hope of success. With a large enough batch of copies, cleaned using the best fluids, on the best machines, it is possible to find a side one this good. Without a pretty big batch of well-cleaned pressings your chance of success is hardly worth calculating. Even with the best intentions, frustration is likely to set in long before a Hot Stamper as good as this one has much chance of being found.

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Stevie Wonder - Music of My Mind

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: wondemusic_2012) 



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

AMAZING A+++ SOUND and relatively quiet vinyl on BOTH sides of this early Stevie Wonder classic, an album that earned four-and-a-half big stars (out of five) in the All Music Guide. Anyone who has followed the site for a while (or tried the shootouts on their own) surely know how difficult it is to find Stevie Wonder records with excellent sound or quiet surfaces -- let alone both. This monster pressing should give you everything you ever hoped for from this music and then some!

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Gerry Mulligan - The Gerry Mulligan Songbook Vol. 1

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: mulligerry_2009) 



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

This original COLLECTOR QUALITY World Pacific Jazz LP has VERY GOOD sound and is EXCEPTIONALLY QUIET. Zoot Sims, Al Cohen, Lee Konitz and Allan Eager all play on this record. A pretty hot lineup if I do say so!

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Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: burremidni_2019) 



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

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

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Dusty Springfield - Dusty In Memphis

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: sprindusty_2011) 



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

The Gold Standard for Female Vocal Blue-Eyed Soul is here in White Hot Stamper form! It takes us AGES to pull together enough clean copies to get this shootout going, and this one was a HUGE step up from most of them. We're always looking for a killer pressing (who out there doesn't want to hear Son Of A Preacher Man sound great?) but it is difficult to find one that does half as many things right as this one does!


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Earl Fatha Hines - Fatha

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: hinesfatha_2008) 



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

This M&K Direct to Disc SMOKED the copy we played it against -- the difference was NIGHT and DAY! The sound is smoother, sweeter, and richer than we are used to hearing for this album. There''s lots of space around the drums, and the tuba sounds Right On The Money. You aren't going to believe how DYNAMIC this copy is -- when Fatha's really pounding on the keys, you're gonna jump out of your chair! The overall sound is clean, clear, lively, and super transparent. The edgy, hard piano sound that plagued our lesser copy is nowhere to be found.

More Direct to Disc recordings


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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."

More by The Doors


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Sonny Rollins - Sound of Sonny

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: rollisound_2007) 



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

Riverside White and Blue original 2 Mic Label Mono LP. Side one sounds like a typical old Riverside jazz record, but side two sounds EXCELLENT! I don’t know when I’ve heard an early Sonny Rollins record sound better. His horn is really full-bodied and dynamic and has amazing IMMEDIACY on some tracks. It makes side one sound sick in comparison.

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Rita Coolidge - It's Only Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: cooliitson_2019) 



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

We've been going through a number of Rita's albums lately, and with It's Only Love we feel we've discovered the best sounding of them all, and as luck would have it, it also happens to contain her best music. Fans of Linda Ronstadt's '70s music are going to find a lot of Tubey Magical sound to like here - this is a simply wonderful example of the kind of album that makes record collecting fun. John Haeny, the principal engineer for Rita and hubby Kris Kristofferson during the '70s, in fact worked on some of Linda's albums, as well as those by Judy Collins, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Little Feat and many others.

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Rita Coolidge - Nice Feelin’

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: coolinicef_2010) 



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

A very well recorded album. It’s easy to see why - two of the engineers are none other than Bruce Botnick and Glyn Johns. Al Kooper's here too.

It is amazing given the exposure Rita Coolidge obtained through the Mad Dogs & Englishmen soundtrack that her second album for A & M is such a cult item. Covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Graham Nash and participation by names like Al Kooper, Glyn Johns, Bruce Botnick, and Marc Benno should have made this record her breakthrough..." AMG

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Gerry Mulligan - Spring Is Sprung

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: mullisprin_2018) 



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

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

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Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto #3 / Janis / Dorati

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rachmpiano_90283_2013) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper (or better) original Colorback Mercury pressing is not only the BEST sounding copy we have ever heard, it also boasts the quietest side one we've experienced, playing mostly Mint Minus. For a fifty year old Mercury that is QUIET.

Not only is the sound amazing -- yes, it's on the TAS Super Disc list, and for good reason, a copy as good as this one really is a Super Disc -- but this copy has another vitally important characteristic that most copies of the record do not: virtually no Inner Groove Distortion.

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


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Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto #3 / Janis / Munch

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: rachmpiano3_1032_2007) 



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

Outstanding! Sounds just like the already very good shaded dog, in many ways better. (I don''t have that one around to compare anymore but this LP has that same natural, smooth sound, while being cut a bit cleaner.)

We have two copies of this Victrola, both with the same stamper numbers, and this is definitely the better of the two sonically. It has more presence, more transparency and better dynamics.

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


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Liszt - Preludes / Wagner - Various / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: lisztprelu_6298_2013) 



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

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

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

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


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Liszt & Weber / Ballade No. 2, Mephisto Waltz, more / Bar-Illan

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: lisztpiano_audiofon_2011) 



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

The Liszt side here actually has the best sound. This is one of the few audiophile-oriented recordings I have ever played that actually sounded NATURAL and CORRECT. This is a very real sounding piano; there are not many recordings that can capture that instrument's weight, but this one sure does.

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


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Count Basie - Kansas City 5

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: basiekansas_city_5_2016) 



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

Another amazingly well recorded Count Basie album, and this one is killer with Triple Triple grades. It's bigger, more solid and rich, with extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum that no other copy could match. First time on the site - a great session with a fresh sound for Basie, with Milt Jackson on vibes and Joe Pass on guitar.

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Rachmaninoff/ Piano Concerto #1/ Janis / Reiner

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: rachmpiano_1101_2005) 



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

This is a Minty RCA Victrola Plum Label LP. I used to think that the Classic was better than the Vic, and in some ways it may be, but I hear a lot of midrange magic on this LP that I don't think you can find on the Classic pressing.[No kidding.]

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


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Count Basie - Basie Plays Hefti

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: basiebaise_plays_2015) 



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

This is the followup to the smash Basie album The Atomic Mr. Basie, an album we would love to make available if we could ever find a clean, good sounding copy to play.

Side one is rich, tubey and lively, right up there with some of the best pressings we played.

Side two tends to start out a bit hot but by the second track it's fuller, smoother, and every bit as dynamic as anything on the album. The sound just keeps getting better from there, with the next track coming across especially big and clear.

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Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra - Viva Cugat

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: cugatvivac_6003_2011) 



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

This crazy Cugat record (is there any other kind?) is a BALL and has absolutely amazing Demo Disc quality sound on side two, better than Super Hot Stamper quality.

It sounds like Henry Mancini on speed, and the recording quality puts most of Mancini's records to shame to boot. This is Bachelor Pad music for those who like their Bachelor Pad to be FUN!

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Schuller / Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee / Dorati

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: schulseven_2006) 



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

RFR1/ 2. DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND.

This record has the sound that Mercury is famous for: immediate, dynamic and spacious. This record lives up to the Mercury claim: You immediately feel as though you are in the Living Presence of the orchestra.

This is precisely the kind of record that Speakers Corner would not have a clue how to master. I'd stake my reputation on it, for what it's worth.

Classical Commentaries


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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: belafbelaf_2019) 



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

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

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Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

What to Listen For

  (Item #: john_goodb_choruses) 



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

The richness, sweetness and freedom from artificiality is most obvious where you often hear it on a Pop Rock Big Production like GYBR: in the loudest, densest, most climactic choruses.

We set the playback volume so that the loudest parts of the record are as huge and powerful as they can possibly become without crossing the line into distortion or congestion.

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Neil Young - Comes A Time

Our Shootout Winning Copy from 2019

  (Item #: youngcomes_2019) 



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

Here's a copy of Comes A Time that actually delivers the kind of Tubey Analog Magic you get from the good pressings of his earlier albums.

This superb Demo Disc has been overlooked by the audiophile press for thirty years. The best sounding Neil Young records -- just look in our Hot Stamper listings to find them -- have Demo Disc sound to beat the band. I defy anyone to play me a better sounding record than Zuma or Gold Rush. Analog doesn't get any more magical.

More Comes a Time / More Neil Young


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Yes - The Yes Album

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: yes__yesal_2018) 



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.

Since this is Yes's Masterpiece, not to mention their most well-recorded album, that makes it pretty much a Must Own for anyone who loves their groundbreaking and enormously influential approach to the Extended Form.

More Yes Album / More Yes


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Bizet - L'arlesienne And Carmen Suites

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bizetcarme_2017) 



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

With a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side two and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side one, this pressing is one of the best sounding Carmen Suites we have ever heard. If you're looking to demonstrate just how good '60s All Tube Analog can be, this killer copy should be just the record to do it. This is only the second Carmen Suite to make it to the site, and it was worth the wait - the sound of this vintage Blueback is absolutely breathtaking. Recorded in 1961 using the amazing Decca Tree mic setup, it's yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


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JS Bach / Virgil Fox -The Fox Touch, Volume 1

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: bach_thefo_2010) 



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

[This review was written in 2010. Since then I have played copies of these Crystal Clear organ recordings and been much less impressed. The ambience is a fraction of what it should be, and the reason I know that is that the vintage organ recordings I play have dramatically more size and space than these audiophile pressings do. Live and Learn.]

Are we changing our tune about Audiophile records? Not in the least; we love the ones that sound right. The fact that so few of them do is not our fault.

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


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Yes - Close To The Edge

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: yes__close_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that are exceptionally Difficult to Reproduce.

TWO AMAZING SIDES rating Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it! It's not easy to find great sound for this album, but this copy really gets it right. You get plenty of rich Tubey Magic, AND plenty of space and clarity. This is truly one of the best copies we have played in a very long time.

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The Police - Outlandos d’Amour

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: policoutla_2018) 



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

One of the best copies to hit the site in quite a while - Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides. Few audiophiles (I'm guessing) know how well recorded this album is - you need just the right UK pressing to show you what's really on the tape.

What's amazing about this copy? There are SWEET HIGHS and AMBIENCE that we didn’t think were possible - and it ROCKS! Whatever it's doing, it sure doesn't take a pair of golden ears to hear it.

More Sting / The Police


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Armstrong & Ellington - An Historic Recording Event (1961)

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: armsthisto_2018) 



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

Insanely good sound throughout with both sides rating a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++).

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

More Louis Armstrong / More Duke Ellington


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Martin Denny - Exotic Percussion

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: dennyexoti_2011) 



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

This Liberty stereo LP has A++ DEMO DISC SOUND on side one, mated to a pretty darn good side two. The sound is very three-dimensional and has a wonderfully extended top end on this copy. The music just JUMPS out of the speakers. Soundstaging and depth are both superb.

Side two is not quite as open and transparent as side one but we still rate it an A+ for sound; it's far far better than the average copy of this record you can find, if you can find a clean one at all. Fans of TUBEY MAGIC, Golden Age Exotica or Bang, Baa-room & Harp should find much to like here.

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Martin Denny - A Taste of Honey

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: dennyatast_2010) 



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

This early stereo Liberty label pressing has BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. This is not just another exercise in Bachelor Pad Exotica; there is some fun, swingin' jazz here. The pianist -- whoever he is, he's uncredited along with the rest of the band -- has real jazz chops and sympathetic sidemen to play with.

The music is indeed excellent but the real thrill of course is to hear the richness and sweetness of a 1962 Tubey Magical pressing such as this one. Folks, as you well know, they don't make 'em like they used to.

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Boz Scaggs - Slow Dancer

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: scaggslowd_2018) 



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

This is an album of wonderful white soul music. As a bonus, it also happens to be very well recorded. The problem we ran into on copy after copy was a brighter than ideal tonal balance, hard vocals and, on those copies that don't extend fully on the top and bottom, a somewhat squashed, peaky midrange.

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Horace Silver Quintet - Doin’ The Thing

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: silvedoint_2019) 



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

This Minty Blue Note LP has EXCELLENT LIVE JAZZ SOUND! It’s rich, full, and tonally correct from top to bottom. Just listen to the cymbals on the track Doin’ The Thing -- you’ll hear how wonderfully extended the top end is.

"This live set (recorded at the Village Gate) finds pianist/composer Horace Silver and his most acclaimed quintet (the one with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Roy Brooks) stretching out on four selections, including his new song Filthy McNasty... [An] enjoyable and always funky hard bop session."

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Oscar Peterson Trio - The Trio - Live From Chicago

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: petertrio_2018) 



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

Peterson really puts on a great show. He's made an awful lot of records during his career and most of them aren't especially noteworthy. This album is clearly an exception to that rule. ("If You Could See Me Now" is another one.)

This pressing was a huge step up from the other copies we played in our recent shootout. This copy has the immediacy that puts you front and center at The London House for a great jazz show. Ray Brown is incredible on the bass here.

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The Rolling Stones - Stripped

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: rollistrip_2009) 



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

The best record The Rolling Stones made in the last 20 years! Superb (but very modern) sound.

All tracks recorded in performance at The Paradisco Club, Amsterdman, Holland; The Olympia Theatre, Paris, France; and rehearsals in Tokyo, Japan, Lisbon and Portugal.

More Rolling Stones


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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 this sound.

More Rolling Stones


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Paul McCartney & Wings - Wild Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mccarwildl_2010) 



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

This Apple UK Import LP has TWO outstanding sides! We were not all that familiar with the album going into this shootout, but after spending the day listening to copies like these we found ourselves LOVING IT!

Let's face it: finding good sounding McCartney records with the exception of the first album is practically impossible. From Ram on it's slim pickings, even on import. Most of those later albums sound like cassettes; they're as dead as the proverbial doornail. They bore us to tears.

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Shelly Manne & His Men - At The Blackhawk Vol. 2

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: manneatthe2_2008) 



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

WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! This Contemporary Yellow Label LP is West Coast Jazz at its best! The sound is SUPERB -- airy, open, and spacious with an STUNNINGLY GOOD bottom end. You won’t believe how ALIVE the bass sounds -- the depth and definition are OUT OF THIS WORLD! Each instrument here sounds just right -- weighty, percussive piano; punchy drums; and lovely leading edge transients on the brass. Contemporary got live nightclub jazz sound down to a T here.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan - Live Aliave

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: vaughlivea_2019) 



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

We just finished a big shootout for this bluesy live album, and this was one of just a handful of copies that impressed us from start to finish. Most copies we played were thick, murky, overly smooth and/or veiled, but this one almost never suffers in any of those areas. The sound is clean, clear, transparent and lively throughout.

This is one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s better albums. We've heard reissues on both heavy and regular vinyl, but I guarantee this will KILL them all or your money back.

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The Rolling Stones - Between The Buttons

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: rollibetwe_2018) 



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

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

More Rolling Stones


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Astrud Gilberto - Windy

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: gilbewindy_2018) 



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

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

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Various Artists - The Blues... A Real Summit Meeting

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: varioblues_2017) 



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

This is an excellent sounding Buddah Brown & Pink Label Double LP. Listen to ’Big Mama’ Thorton’s voice on this record -- it sounds like somebody forgot to put a limiter on her mic. It is without a doubt one of the most dynamic vocals I have ever heard on any record in my entire life. You feel like you are sitting front row center. Recorded live at Newport in New York, this is an OUTSTANDING blues album.

More B.B. King / More Muddy Waters


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Louis Armstrong - I’ve Got The World on a String

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: armstivego_2018) 



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

You may have seen Russell Garcia's name on one of the landmark recordings of the '50s: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's recording of Porgy and Bess for Verve in the previous year, 1959. Watch for copies coming to the site one of these days.

[One of these days has arrived -- click here to see the results.]

We've discovered some exceptional original and reissue pressings (as well as some that really do a disservice to the music and the engineers who recorded it. What else is new in the world of records?).

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Average White Band - Average White Band

Reviewed in 2018

  (Item #: averaavera_2018) 



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

Having done this shootout a number of times since we first discovered a hot sounding copy all the way back in 2007, it's hard to imagine this music sounding any better than this very copy. It's smooth, sweet, airy, open, spacious and ALIVE. The best sounding songs here truly have Master Tape Sound.

We've been playing this record for years, but until finding a very Hot copy back in 2007 we had no idea what a sonic monster it could be. The typical copy tends to be smeary, with sour horns and not very much energy.

More Average White Band


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Paul Simon - Graceland

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: simongrace_2019) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame and a record that ranks high on our recording ranks high on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale.

Super transparent and hi-res with no attendant sacrifice in low end or fullness, this is about as tonally balanced as Graceland gets. The top end is more delicate and extended, which was not true for most of the copies we played.

There's a much more pleasant smoothness here, standing in sharp contrast to the typically grainy, spitty copy, with more weight down low and more presence to Simon's vocals.

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Neil Young - Harvest

Our Shootout Winner in 2018

  (Item #: youngharve_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame since 2008.

Let's take a moment to acknowledge the string of superb studio albums Neil released from 1970 to 1976. Just look at these titles: After The Gold Rush, Harvest, On The Beach, Tonight's The Night, and Zuma.

I can't think of anyone else besides Zeppelin (first five titles) and The Beatles (you pick 'em!) who put out this many killer albums consecutively. We consider each of those albums a work of profound creativity, and we can proudly claim to have found copies of each with the sonic credentials to bring these masterpieces to life.

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Christopher Cross - Christopher Cross

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: crosschris_2019) 



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

A KILLER Shootout Winning copy! A+++ on both sides - this is As Good As It Gets for this Monster Album from 1979. This pressing is clearly fuller, bigger, more lively and more Tubey Magical than any other copy we played, and squarely in the best tradition of late-'70s pop productions. This one swept the Grammy awards, with great songs including Sailing, Ride Like The Wind and Never Be The Same - Michael McDonald's gorgeous harmonies are the icing on the cake.

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Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

We Loved This Copy So Much in 2005 We Asked $200 for It

  (Item #: youngafter_2005_) 



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

This is the story of how we discovered our very first killer copy of After the Gold Rush. What a thrill it was to finally hear the album sound so amazing, this after hearing so many mediocre copies over the years. It's records like this that made us eventually put 100% of our resources into finding records that sound like this one -- or better!

This is the way we heard After the Gold Rush in 2005. Embarrassingly, we liked it so much we compared it to the best DCC records we were selling back then, ouch!

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Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: rolliletit_2018) 



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

This is, IMHO, the second or third best record the Stones ever made. (Sticky Fingers is Number One, and either this or Beggar's Banquet comes in a strong second.) With this pressing we can now hear the power and the beauty of this superb recording.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I've mentioned how good this song sounds -- thanks to Glyn Johns, of course -- but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

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Rob Wasserman - Duets

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: wasseduets_2018) 



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

This rare and wonderful album from 1988 on the original MCA label offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout. In-the-room vocal presence (Jennifer Warnes is stunning on Leonard Cohen's Ballad Of The Runaway Horse) and tight, note-like bass are key to the best pressings.

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Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd - Jazz Samba

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: getz_jazz_samba_2016) 



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

TWO INCREDIBLE SIDES on unusually quiet vinyl! We just finished a big shootout for this great album and this copy was a KNOCKOUT. The sound is rich and full with good size to the soundfield. It's very tough to find good sounding Stan Getz records, so if you're a fan I think you'll be quite impressed with the sonics on this pressing. As for the music, it's top notch; All Music Guide gave it a Five Star rating and we agree wholeheartedly!

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Dire Straits - Communique

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: direscommu_2018) 



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

Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - the UK LPs are the only way to fly on Communique. If you're a fan of the band's debut release, you'll find much to like on this underappreciated follow up.

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The Rolling Stones - Some Girls

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: rollisomeg_2018) 



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

This is the Stones' last truly great album. All Music Guide gives it the same 5 star rating that they awarded Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, and Sticky Fingers. With hits like Miss You, Shattered, and Beast Of Burden it's easy to see why.

Most copies are too thin and too grainy for serious audiophile listening, but this one is a different story. It's not easy to find great sound for The Stones, so take this one home for a spin if you want to hear this band come to life in your very own listening room.

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