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Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges - Back to Back

A Classic Records Winner

  (Item #: ellinbackt_classic_records) 



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

As I recall this was one of the better sounding Classic titles from their Verve series, and the music is excellent. Finding a clean original is no mean feat as I'm sure you can imagine.

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Duke Ellington - Yale Concert

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: ellinyalec_2018) 



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

There is some interesting mic placement going on with this recording. Some of the instruments seem to be off-mic, creating an unusual effect that has its charms.

Only one song was actually recorded live, Boola Boola. The rest of the material was taped in the studio and an audience dubbed in.

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Elvis Presley - Fun In Acapulco

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: preslfunin_2015) 



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

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

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

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Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan - Two Of A Mind

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: desmotwoof_2018) 



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

THIS is the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually IS a CD of this album, and youtube videos of it too, but those of us with good turntables could care less.

And if you have an especially good turntable and the system that goes with it, we think you will find a world of difference in the sound of our Hot Stamper early pressing and any of the Heavy Vinyl records being produced of this very title.

More Paul Desmond / More Gerry Mulligan


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Albert King - Live Wire - Blues Power

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: king_livew_2015) 



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

SUPERB SOUNDING and VERY QUIET! This Stax LP sounds amazing -- super low distortion, super transparent, clean, and clear. I don’t think you could find a better sounding, quieter copy than this no matter what you do!

This is the real deal folks. Most copies sure don't sound like this! It's one of the all time great live Blues albums!

See all of our Albert King albums in stock


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Donny Hathaway - Live

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: hathalive_2008) 



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

This live recording has YOU ARE THERE sound! It's so natural, rich and transparent, what is there to fault? The soundstage is wide and deep. Your speakers disappear and the music just flows into the room. It just does not get any better.

I've been playing this record regularly since I first heard it back in the mid-'90s and it never gets old. If I could take only one soul album to my desert island, it would be this one, no doubt about it.

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Earth, Wind & Fire - Gratitude

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: earthgrati_2010) 



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

OFF THE CHARTS SOUND on three out of four sides! Make no mistake: This is BY FAR the best copy of Gratitude we have ever played. No other copy in our shootout was the equal of this bad boy. This copy showed us a Gratitude we had no idea existed. Every once in a while you run across a record that has both sides mastered as good as they can be mastered, and this is very nearly one of those times -- for this double album only one side fell short out of four. That's ten and a half pluses all told. Nice job, Mastering Lab. You did Earth Wind and Fire proud.

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Sam Cooke - Hits of the '50s

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cookehitso_2017) 



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

An incredible sounding copy with two shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides. This is the way it must have sounded in 1960, in the New York studios where it was recorded, with legendary RCA engineer BOB SIMPSON behind the board.

If you want to hear one of the great vocalists from the '50s, in his prime, with top quality Living Stereo audiophile sound, this is album is guaranteed to do the trick.

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Grover Washington - Mister Magic

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: washimiste_2014) 



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

The typical pressing is murky, overly smooth and lacks energy. Many copies also suffer from serious congestion and veiling. No such problems here! You get tons of space and energy, along with balanced tonality and great presence.

A 4 1/2 star album in the All Music Guide. Washington is backed here by excellent players including Bob James, Phil Upchurch, Harvey Mason, Ralph MacDonald, Eric Gale and many more.

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Gene Ammons - Goodbye

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: ammongoodb_2010) 



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

If you want to know why Gene Ammons is considered one of the greats, skip the jam that starts out side one and go right to the ballad Alone Again (Naturally). Nobody played with more emotion than Gene Ammons.

More recordings engineered by Rudy Van Gelder


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Bola Sete - The Incomparable Bola Sete

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: sete_incom_2010) 



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

This is a Minty looking Fantasy LP with EXCELLENT SOUND. Bola Sete is one of my favorite guitarists, Latin or otherwise. Here he is joined by a very talented percussionist who brings authentic Brazilian feeling to this music. The real surprise here is Paul Horne on flute -- the music comes alive on the tracks on which he guests, such as 'Lamento De Negro'. If you like Latin guitar music, you can't go wrong here.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Sings The George Gershwin Song Book

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: fitzgsings_gershwin_1_2014) 



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

White Hot sound on side two of this original copy - shockingly good. Ella sounds rich, Tubey Magical and breathy -- this is a real Demo Disc. Side one is very good as well, nicely warm and rich by track two. Nelson Riddle's arrangements are especially interesting and artful throughout.

It is our opinion that the mono takes all the fun out of the Nelson Riddle's deliberately wide, spacious orchestral presentation surrounding Ella. Which is too bad: the mono pressings are five times as common as the stereo ones.

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June Christy - The Intimate Miss Christy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: chrisintim_2017) 



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

Both sides of this 1962 All Tube Recorded and Mastered record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout.

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Peter, Paul & Mary - See What Tomorrow Brings

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: peterseewh_2018) 



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

Peter, Paul & Mary records live and die by the quality of their midrange reproduction. These are not big-budget, high-concept mulit-track recordings. They're simple, innocent folk songs featuring exquisite vocal harmonies, backed by straightforward guitar accompaniment. If the voices aren't silky sweet and delicate, while at the same time full-bodied and present, let's face it -- you might as well be listening to something else. (As we say below, the average copy will have you looking for another record to put on.)

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Gregg Allman - Laid Back

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: allmalaidb_2017) 



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

We were surprised at how well recorded the album is, dramatically better than the Allmans' album from the same year, Brothers and Sisters. Full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with especially smooth, present vocals, this is the sound we love at Better Records.

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The Band - Moondog Matinee

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: band_moond_2017) 



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

Some great music is to be found here, and quite respectable sound on the "hotter" copies. ’Ain’t Got No Home’ and ’A Change Is Gonna Come’ are two personal favorites of the ten tracks here.

Both sides are tonally balanced from top to bottom, with more energy and space than others. The bass is huge, the brass rich, the all analog sound smooth and natural. It's no demo disc; it just sounds bigger, clearer, and more right than the other sides we played.

More by The Band


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Eric Clapton - Slowhand

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: claptslowh_2012) 



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

Great sound for one of our favorite Clapton albums! There are some excellent songs here, including Cocaine, Wonderful Tonight, and Lay Down Sally. As you may know, it is notoriously difficult to find good sound quality for this album. The typical pressing is just too dull and veiled to enjoy.

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Cannonball Adderley - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: addermercy_2017) 



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

I dropped the needle on a copy of this record a year or so ago and heard amazing you-are-there live jazz club sound, and, more importantly, a hot session from one of our favorite saxophone players of all time, the man who contributed mightily to the likes of Kind of Blue, Somethin' Else, Know What I Mean? and many more. For an Alto player Cannonball is just about as good as it gets.

Fast forward one year and we now have in our possession enough copies to do a proper shootout - originals and reissues on a variety of labels.

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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: belafbelaf_2006) 



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

Harry Pearson brought this record to the attention of audiophiles with his TAS list a long time ago, and rightfully so: it's an amazing recording.

We happen to love the music too, which makes it one of the most recommendable records we have ever offered. If you can find a better combination of demo disc sound, with music worth the hassle and expense of reproducing it properly, more power to you. We sure can't.

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Kenny Loggins - Celebrate Me Home

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: loggiceleb_2011) 



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

This WHITE HOT Stamper side one shows you just how good this record can sound, which is surprisingly good, considering how many copies of the album are just plain awful. Finally, most of the grit, grain and transistory opacity have fallen away, leaving in its place the rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical '70s sound one would expect.

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Billy Joel - Songs in the Attic

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: joel_songs_2007) 



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

DEMO DISC LIVE ROCK CONCERT SOUND, Baby! This one has it ALL. The sound has so many wonderful ANALOG qualities when you get a good copy -- the hash and hardness of the typical pressing just disappears, leaving surprisingly transparent and sweet sound on virtually every track. The WHOMP FACTOR here is off the scale. There are few studio recordings that have these kinds of dynamics. We forget how compressed most of them are. It takes a record like this to show you how much LIFE there is in LIVE MUSIC.

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Dave Brubeck - Countdown - Time In Outer Space

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: brubecount_2016) 



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

Clean and Clear, Yet Rich and Sweet. This copy managed to find the perfect balance of these attributes. You want that rare copy that keeps what is good about a Tubey Magical analog recording from The Golden Age of Jazz while managing to avoid the pitfalls so common to them: smear, lack of top end extension, opacity and blubber. To be sure, the fault is not with the recording (I guess; again, not having heard the master tape) but with the typically mediocre pressing.

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Robert Palmer - Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: palmesneak_2013) 



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

No doubt this is the best album Robert Palmer ever made. With Lowell George's unmistakable slide guitar and members of the Meters providing backup, as well as the amazing Bernard Purdie on drums, it's the only Robert Palmer release that consistently works all the way through as an album. The entire first side is excellent from top to bottom, with the title track being our favorite RP song of all time.

See all of our Robert Palmer albums in stock


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Arthur Lyman - Bwana A

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: lymanbwana_2011) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound, with a big stage, Tubey Magic and correct tonality from top to bottom. There's plenty going on at the extreme top - the rare copy that has it all!

Everywhere else the sound is tonally and timbrally Right On The Money. It's very lively, with tight, clear bass. Listen to how open the sound is. That sound is just not to be found on popular albums anymore.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgellaswingb_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.

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Rachmaninoff / Symphonic Dances / Johanos

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rachmsymph_2011) 



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

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

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


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The Everly Brothers - The Golden Hits of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: everlgolde_2018) 



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

Our original Gold Label stereo LP here has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s no doubt missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 50+ year old tapes. As good as that pressing may be, we guarantee that this one is dramatically more REAL SOUNDING. It gives you the sense that Phil and Don are right in the room with you.

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Ramsey Lewis Trio - The In Crowd

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: lewisincro_2017) 



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

If you want to know what jazz at an intimate nightclub would have sounded like in 1965, play this record - this is that sound.

This original Argo Blue Label Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in a real jazz club, this is the record for you.

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Wes Montgomery - The Alternative Wes Montgomery

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: montgalter_2010) 



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

This very nice looking Milestone Two-Fer LP with EXCELLENT sound has 14 unreleased alternate versions of songs recorded in a variety of settings by guitarist Wes Montgomery during his period with Riverside. In many cases, the versions here are dramatically different from the versions that appear on his original albums.

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Wes Montgomery - While We’re Young

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: montgwhile_2010) 



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

This Minty Milestone Two-Fer Promo Double LP set features material from two Wes Montgomery albums: The Incredible Jazz Guitar and So Much Guitar.

There's a reason Steve Hoffman chose So Much Guitar to do on Gold CD. It's a superb recording, and it sounds great here.

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

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: beachsurfi_2017) 



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

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

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Shelly Manne & His Friends - Bells Are Ringing

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: mannebells_2016) 



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

Side One

Rich and Tubey Magical in the best way, because it's still clear and spacious.

Side Two

Tight, deep bass and an extended top, with a solid piano in between, this side is hard to fault.

Better Than a Dream, the second track on this side, has one of the best sounding jazz pianos I have ever heard. My notes say "you cannot record a piano any better" and I stand behind that statement one hundred percent.

More Shelly Manne / More Andre Previn


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Miles Davis - In Person - Friday Night

Why Pick Nits?

  (Item #: davisinper_nits) 



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

Normally our notes for the sound of the records we are shooting out against each other fall into two categories: what the record is doing right and what the record is doing wrong. You'll note that in this case there was nothing wrong about the sound to write about.

The secret is TUBES - they work their magic on this music like nothing else can.

See more entries in our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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Paul Desmond - Skylark

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: desmoskyla_2012) 



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

An A+++ side one backed with an A+ to A++ side two, both on quiet vinyl! We just finished our first big shootout for this fun album that features Gabor Szabo on guitar and this was one of the best copies we heard, especially on the first side where nothing else could compare.

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Paul Desmond - Pure Desmond

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: desmopured_2011) 



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

WONDERFULLY RELAXED AND MUSICAL SOUND on this CTI pressing. We auditioned a large stack of copies and could not find a side two any better than this. The sax is breathy, the guitar sounds amazing, and the bass is KILLER. I doubt there's another copy out there with more energy, richness or fullness than this one.

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Luiz Bonfa - Softly...

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bonfasoftl_2017) 



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

There is a wonderful array of percussion on this record, so the top end of any pressing should ideally be extended, clear and sweet. Some pressings of Softly... have no real top end, which is the reason we have to do shootouts -- to find the copies that are actually mastered and pressed right, not just the ones that should have been because they have the right stampers or are on the right label.

On this record there's plenty of information above 12K I would guess -- all those delicate percussion instruments ring so sweetly, the highs have to be extending way up there.

See more recordings with especially Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars


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Mel Torme - Swings Shubert Alley

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tormeswing_2012) 



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

The first Hot Stamper copy of this great album to hit the site in many, many years! We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it's taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble!

The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Turn it up and Mel is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime! One of our very favorite male vocal albums, and this copy will show you why -- the sound and music are the tops.

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Various Artists - Stereo Sampler Vol. 1 (SRD-1)

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: variostereo_2012) 



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

This Mercury Sampler has SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on side one, or better -- who knows if this isn't as good as it gets? We can't find enough clean copies to test so we're sticking with A++ or better just to be safe. Either way, this is the BIG, BOLD classic Mercury sound. Let's Dance - David Carroll - from Let's Dance (SR-60001) has the sweet Tubey Magic of the best Living Stereos and the percussion excitement of Bang Baa-room and Harp!

See all of our Exotica albums in stock


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Ella Fitzgerald - Newport Jazz Festival Live at Carnegie Hall

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: fitzgnewpo_2007) 



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

This is a very good sounding live album, recorded when Ella Fitzgerald could still sing. Most of her stuff for Pablo which followed this leaves much to be desired in my opinion. This album is certainly not the equal of her best work from the '60s, but I'm guessing it's better than anything she did after this.

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Shorty Rogers & His Giants Bossa Nova

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: rogerbossa_2008) 



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

This QUIET Original Reprise LP has EXCELLENT sound -- rich, smooth and sweet. It’s wonderfully natural, and that’s a sound we love here at Better Records.

This is swingin’ West Coast jazz at its best. A highly recommended jazz album for those of you who care to explore artists out of the jazz mainstream.

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Sonny Rollins - Rollins (2 LPs)

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: rollirolli_2008) 



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

This Prestige Two-Fer Double LP boasts EXCELLENT SOUND, right up there with some the best sounding copies we’ve played. Three sides out of four sounded surprisingly good, which is three good sides more than the average copy can claim. Oddly enough, the stampers are identical. Sample to sample variation? Fresh off the stamper transparency? Who's to say? I can't explain it, but I know a better record when I play one. This copy is clearly more transparent, no pun intended. It's also been through our extensive cleaning process, which as you can imagine helps the sound immeasurably.

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Elton John - Too Low For Zero

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: john_toolo_2017) 



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

There's some real Tubey Magic on this album, along with breathy vocals, in-your-listening-room presence and plenty of rock and roll energy.

It's one of engineer Bill Price's best efforts behind the boards in the '80s, and Chris Thomas's production is State of the Art as usual.

More Elton John


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Elton John - Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: john_donts_2017) 



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

The tonality here is rich, tubey and warm. It doesn't get thick or murky as many copies have a tendency to do.

The amazing engineer KEN SCOTT (Ziggy Stardust, Magical Mystery Tour, Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century, Truth, Birds of Fire) is the man responsible for the sound here.

More Elton John


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The Zombies - The World of the Zombies

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: zombiworld_2017) 



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

The World of the Zombies is for all intents and purposes a reissue of their 1965 debut album, Begin Here, with a few track changes, the most important of which is the addition of Tell Her No.

The drums here are clear and punchy and the bottom end is solid. The vocals do not get too bright as they have a tendency to do on some copies.

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Gershwin / An American In Paris & Rhapsody In Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: gershrhaps_6091_2015) 



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

I’ve always loved these performances, but the shrill Columbia sound has been hard to get past. So many copies suffer from upper-midrangy, glary, hard sound and blary brass. I've come to accept that this is nothing more nor less than the "Columbia Sound," and as a consequence I rarely put much effort into surveying their prodigious catalog these days.

I won't say all that's changed; it really hasn't. The vast majority of Columbia classical pressings are still going to sound as awful as they have in the past.

More of the music of George Gershwin


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Haydn / Symphonies No. 89 & 90 / Somogyi

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: haydnsym89_westminster_2011) 



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

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

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


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Mark Levinson - Acoustic Recording Series, Volume 2

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: ravelvalse_levinson_2008) 



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

The sound on the record is excellent. It was engineered by Mark Levinson, on special equipment designed to create virtually noiseless ultra-low-distortion master tapes, without noise-reduction systems. It’s mastered by Robert Ludwig.

The first side contains Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales played on the piano by Lois Shapiro. Side two contains her performance of Haydn’s Sonata No. 49.

More Audiophile recordings


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Haydn / Symphonies No. 22 & 90 / Ansermet

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: haydnsym22_2012) 



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

Nearly White Hot Stamper sound (A++ to A+++) for side one of this early British Stereo Treasury pressing, which should not come as too much of a shock -- this is after all a vintage Golden Age performance by Ansermet and L'Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, a 1966 recording from the glorious Victoria hall in which so many of our favorite recordings were committed to analog tape through the all-tube chain Decca had perfected.

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


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Haydn / Symphonies 100 & 101

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: haydnsym100_vanguard_2010) 



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

The New York Times review for these performances called them "matchless" and we see no reason to disagree! With Super Hot Stamper sound for No. 100, "Military", we're confident you will have a very hard time finding better sound and music from Haydn than is found on this original Black Label Vanguard Stereophonic Demonstration Disc.

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


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Debussy & Ravel / String Quartet - Julliard String Quartet

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: debusquart_2413_2005) 



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

Near Mint SUPER RARE Demonstration Copy Shaded Dog of this Debussy and Ravel string quartet recording.

I haven't seen a clean one of these in probably close to ten years. This record looks like it has been played very little.

The sound is also very natural. Not bright or close miked -- much more the way it would actually be heard in a smaller more intimate setting.

More Living Stereo


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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchblue_2011) 



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

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING TRIPLE PLUS SOUND ON SIDE TWO with a side one that's nearly as wonderful! You’ve probably heard us say this before, but it is ridiculously tough to find great copies of Blue. It’s not just the toughest nut to crack in Joni’s catalog, it’s one of the most difficult albums in ALL OF POP MUSIC to get to sound right.

So when we find one like this, it’s a BIG DEAL. It’s got Off The Charts breathiness, delicacy, warmth and sweetness, and that’s just Joni’s voice. The sound of the ensemble throughout is amazingly natural, the recording so spacious.

More Joni Mitchell


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Various Composers - East of Suez

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: varioeasto_2012) 



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

Hot Stamper sound on this 101 Strings album, can you believe it? Then again, why shouldn't it have amazing Golden Age Stereo sound? It's recorded in the late '50s, using all tube equipment and probably a minimum of mikes -- there's no reason to assume the sound should be substandard just because the retail price of the record was only $1.98 (see second image).

More Exotica


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Morton Gould and His Orchestra - Baton & Bows

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: gouldbaton_2014) 



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

This Living Stereo Shaded Dog pressing has a great side two. As I'm sure you've found, many vintage pressings are dull and opaque. This one has tonally correct strings, as well as the top end and rosiny texture that's so often missing.

More Living Stereo



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Morton Gould and His Orchestra - Love Walked In

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: gouldlovew_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper (or better!) Living Stereo Shaded Dog pressing has SUPERB TUBEY MAGICAL Golden Age sound the likes of which you will not believe. (If you've bought some of our best Hot Stamper Living Stereo recordings then you will have no trouble believing it I'm sure.)

Side two displays some of the richest, most three-dimensional orchestral sound we have heard in quite some time. The fifth track is especially notable for a pizzicato arrangement that makes it a DEMO DISC track to beat them all. Plucked strings simply do not sound any better!

See more of our most Tubey Magical recordings


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Lou Reed - Transformer

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: reed_trans_2017) 



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

Transformer is an absolute tour de force of '70s Glam Rock / Classic Rock / Alternative Rock. You've got Lou Reed teamed up with David Bowie (in the producer's chair!), Mick Ronson, Herbie Flowers and Klaus Voorman, and on top of that the album was recorded at Trident and mixed by the great Ken Scott.

More Lou Reed / More David Bowie


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The Everly Brothers - The Very Best of the Everly Brothers

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: everlveryb_2014) 



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

This compilation contains some real Warners recordings (from after 1960, when they signed with the label) mixed with some re-recordings of their best classic Cadence material, to make an album with as many hits and great songs as a single album can hold.

In stereo, on the original WB Gold Label, with really quiet vinyl -- this is the one!

More Everly Brothers


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The Everly Brothers - The Everly Brothers Best

Reviewed in 2015

  (Item #: everlbest_2015) 



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

This is only the second Everly Brothers Hot Stamper to make it to the site, and I'm sure the reasons for that are not hard to fathom. I must look at fifty EB records for every one I buy, and even with a good scrubbing most of those are not going to pass muster.

More Everly Brothers


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Richard & Linda Thompson - Hokey Pokey

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: thomphokey_2017) 



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

This is one of R&L Thompson’s best albums, their second, following the luminous I Want to See the Bright Lights Shine from a year earlier. Rich and full-bodied, with big bass and gobs of studio ambience, this is the way this music was meant to be heard.

More Richard Thompson


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Dionne Warwick - Very Dionne

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: warwiveryd_2011) 



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

SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides of this original Scepter pressing, with QUIET VINYL no less. Folks, don't expect to see records like this coming to the site too often. We can't find them anymore in this kind of clean condition, so if you like the lovely Ms Warwick, consider taking this one home and giving her (the record, not Dionne) a spin on your table.

More Popular Vocal recordings


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Dionne Warwick - Soulful

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: warwisoulf_2008) 



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

There's a reason this record is on the TAS list, but you'd never know it by playing the average pressing. Most copies of this record just sound like an old Dionne Warwick record. You would never even know how magical this recording is by playing a copy that for all intents and purposes appears to be the pressing that Harry Pearson is recommending on his Super Disc list. The catalog number is the same; the sound is not. Unless you have at least half a dozen copies of this record -- and we had more than double that -- you have very little chance of finding even one exceptional side.

More Popular Vocal recordings


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Dionne Warwick - Dionne!

We're Throwing in the Towel

  (Item #: warwidionn_2015) 



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

Compiling the strongest material from the first four albums -- all produced by Burt Bacharach and Hal David -- somehow, against all odds if you stop to think about it, this Columbia record club exclusive pressing ended up being mastered exceptionally well, obviously from superb tapes.

More Popular Vocal recordings


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Stanley Turrentine - Jubilee Shouts

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: turrejubil_2005) 



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

Two Minty looking Blue Note LPs of two previously unreleased sessions featuring the great tenor saxophonist with Tommy Turrentine, Kenny Burrell, Horace Parlan, Sonny Clark and others.

If you want to hear Turrentine at his best, skip right to track two, the beautiful ballad Then I'll Be Tired Of You, featuring his brother Tommy on trumpet. The music is powerful and the sound is excellent.

More Stanley Turrentine


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Frank Sinatra - I Remember Tommy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sinatireme_2017) 



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

You'll find relaxed, rich, natural big band reproduction on this copy, with the trombones and woodwinds sounding especially good. Those of you who have a good selection of recordings from this era will recognize the glorious sound of vintage tubes, a sound that has been lost to the world for decades now, but one that is in full flower on this very record.

Frank is of course in top form and his voice on this album sounds about as good as it does on any recording you can find on our site.

More Frank Sinatra


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Sting - Bring on the Night

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: stingbring_2014) 



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

Sting said to Bring On The Night and who were we to argue? The sound is super punchy and present throughout with tons of energy. The better copies like this one give you more transparency and separation between the various bandmembers. Many copies had a sterile / dry quality, but this one remains rich throughout with more analog warmth. It's not easy to find copies of this one with four great sides that play quietly.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Sting - Mercury Falling

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: stingmercu_2013) 



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

We had some brand new, long out of print Universal Heavy Vinyl pressings of this Sting title sitting on the shelf and decided that, since this was one of the better pressings they'd remastered, perhaps a shootout was in order for fans of Der Stingle.

Sure enough no side of any copy sounded the same as the side of any other copy, which just goes to prove that, regardless of how carefully you master and press your records, there will always be sonic variations from copy to copy --if your stereo is capable of revealing them.

See all of our Sting albums in stock


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Little Milton - Blues’N Soul

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: miltoblues_2012) 



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

Pristine looking Stax LP with excellent sound and some really heartfelt Blues music.

This is a Stax reissue from 1982. My experience with the stuff that Fantasy remastered has been very good over the years. This is another winner.

"Milton's early-'70s output indeed began to walk the fine line between the blues and soul and includes the song Behind Closed Doors." -- AMG

More Soul, R&B and Blues


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Enoch Light - Reeds and Percussion

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: lightreeds_2014) 



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

This is one of the most phenomenal sounding records I have ever heard in my life. Take the best sound you ever heard from the best authentic Mercury classical record (not that Heavy Vinyl BS) and translate it into pop arrangements for clarinets, flutes, saxes, oboes, bassoons, and what do you have? Sound that leaps out of the speakers with absolutely dead on tonality.

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The Allman Brothers - Idlewild South

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: allmaidlew_2016) 



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

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

More Allman Brothers


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Van Halen - Van Halen

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: vanhavanha_2014) 



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 recently took the time to shoot out a bunch of original pressings of Van Halen's debut. I'm sure it won't come as much of a surprise to most of you that the average copy is, well, quite average sounding. Not bad, just mediocre. Not rockin' all that hard and not all that much fun. You know the kind of record I'm talkin' about.

More Van Halen


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The Pat Metheny Group - The Pat Metheny Group

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: methepatme_2016) 



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

This WHITE HOT Stamper side two of Metheny's debut, arguably his best album, lets the music come to LIFE in a way that no other pressing in our shootout managed to do. We don't know how you feel about ECM recordings in general but we tend to think they are pretty lifeless and boring. Not so here!

More Pat Metheny


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Chet Baker - Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bakerplays_2017) 



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

This is a wonderful Chet Baker record that doesn't seem to be getting the respect it deserves in the wider jazz world. You may just like it every bit as much as the Chet album, and that is one helluva record to compare any album to, in our estimation about as good as it gets in most respects.

More Chet Baker


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Miles Davis - Miles Davis

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: davismiles_2017) 



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

To the Jazz Fans of the World, we here present one of the best sounding jazz recordings we have ever had the privilege to place on a turntable. I cannot ever recall hearing a better sounding Rudy Van Gelder recording, and I have a theory as to why this tape is as good as it is: it's MONO.

WAY off the charts. Demo Disc Quality Sound of the Highest Order on the best tracks. The extension high and low sets these sides apart. The presence of the instruments and the space around them just cannot be beaten.

More Miles Davis


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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra Sings... of Love and Things

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatsinatra_sings_2015) 



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

The music is excellent as one can see from the track listing. It's hard to go wrong with these later Capitol Sinatra records. They're almost always a fun listen.

This album comprises the last group of singles Capitol released of Sinatra's music. Reprise had started in 1960 and the rest of Sinatra's music would come out on his own label. Somehow he managed to record and release six studio albums in 1962, with this compilation making a total of seven for the year. Even more remarkable, all seven of them made the Top Ten of the pop charts.

More Frank Sinatra


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Perez Prado - Pops and Prado

A Killer Bob Simpson Recording

  (Item #: pradopopsa_2016) 



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

A wonderful copy with a White Hot Stamper side two - unbelievably Tubey Magical and spacious. Side one was Super Hot and maybe a bit better - the top is extended, and the reverb is positively luscious. This is vintage analog at its best -- the magic really comes through on this pressing. Credit for the Demo Disc sound of this one must go to the amazing Bob Simpson, working in glorious Webster Hall.

BOB SIMPSON won the Grammy for engineering Belafonte at Carnegie Hall you may recall.



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Henry Mancini - More Music From ’Peter Gunn’

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mancimorem_2011) 



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

The Super Hot Stamper Sound found on side two of this original Living Stereo pressing will show you just how LIVELY and FUN this music can be! The sound is really JUMPIN', much more than the other copies we played (and this side one as well). You also get a healthy dose of Tubey Magic on both sides as befits Mancini recordings on RCA.

More Henry Mancini


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Henry Mancini - The Music From ’Peter Gunn’

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mancimusic_2010) 



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

This early White Dog pressing (4s-6s) has plenty of the Living Stereo Magic RCA was justly famous for back in 1958. Both sides earned a sonic grade of A+ to A++. (The best Hot Stamper copies of More Music from Peter Gunn show you just how well this kind of music can be recorded.)

Listen to all that crazy reverb on the piano and drums -- it may not be the most natural sound in the world but it's pretty cool when it's done this well.

More Henry Mancini


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Henry Mancini -The Mancini Touch

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mancimancini_touch_2010) 



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

This original Living Stereo pressing had nearly White Hot Stamper sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++, with the least amount of smear of any copy we played. (As you may know, smear and opacity are endemic to old Living Stereo pressings such as this.) The sound is SUPER 3-D. You're not going to believe all the ambience surrounding this room full of musicians, especially on the drums! We LOVE that sound. The DEPTH that can be heard in this recording is almost hard to believe.

More Henry Mancini


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Elvis Presley - It Happened At The World's Fair

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: preslithap_2017) 



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

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

More Elvis Presley


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Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: nelsoprett_2010) 



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

Imagine the sound of a Hot Stamper Stardust, but instead of Pop Standards you hear Willie, his voice still in its prime, singing Christmas songs, backed by similarly tasteful and understated arrangements. That's what you get on this copy of Pretty Paper in a nutshell.

Released just a year after Stardust in 1979, many of the same musicians are featured, as well as the same producer, the amazing Booker T.. And the most shocking thing of all is just how good the sound is.

More Willie Nelson


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Willie Nelson - Phases And Stages

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: nelsophase_2017) 



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

The first Hot Stamper copy of this great album to ever hit the site and it's one for the ages. It's taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble. The presence and immediacy here are outstanding. Turn it up and Willie is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. He's clearly one of our favorite male vocalists, and this superb copy will show you why.

More Willie Nelson


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Ornette Coleman - The Music of Ornette Coleman

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: colemmusic_2012) 



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

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

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

More Ornette Coleman


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Nat King Cole - Welcome To The Club

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cole_welco_2005) 



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

Capitol Records Original Multi-Color Label LP in excellent condition. The reason this Nat King Cole record is so good is simple -- he’s joined here by top jazz players from the big bands of the day. They make these sessions swing.

More Nat "King" Cole


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Nat King Cole - This Is Nat "King" Cole

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cole_thisi_2017) 



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

The presence and immediacy here of Nat King Cole's vocals are '50s Capitol Recording Magic at its best. Set the volume right and Nat is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. The selection of material and the contributions of all involved (Nelson Riddle among them) are hard to fault.

More Nat "King" Cole


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Michel Legrand - Legrand Jazz

Our Stereo Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: legralegra_2017) 



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

This album is more common in mono than stereo, but we found the sound of the mono pressing we played seriously wanting. It's dramatically smaller and more squawky and crude than even the worst of the stereo pressings we played.

We had a copy we liked years ago but that was years ago. We don't have that copy anymore and we don't have a stereo that sounds the way our old one did either. Here are some other records that we don't think sound very good in MONO.

More Michel Legrand


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Bob Dylan - Infidels

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: dylaninfid_2017) 



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

This is one of the better sounding Dylan records from the '80s. It's not exactly Blood on the Tracks, the only Dylan album we think is qualified to be on our Top 100 Rock and Pop List, but it sounds good for a record from this era.

More Bob Dylan


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Bob Dylan - Street-Legal

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: dylanstree_2017) 



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

This copy has an insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) side one backed with an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two.

Which breaks the rules a bit because most side twos earned a sonic grade that was about a half plus higher than the average copy's grade for side one. Side two most of the time just plain sounds better than side one, so when evaluating your copy be sure to check side two first to hear what is probably going to be the best sound on the album.

Here are some other albums with notable Side to Side Differences.

More Bob Dylan


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Red Garland Trio - Bright And Breezy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: garlabrigh_2017) 



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

If you have full-range speakers some of the qualities you may recognize in the sound of the piano are WEIGHT and WARMTH. The piano is not hard, brittle or tinkly. Instead the best copies show you a wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, smooth piano, one which sounds remarkably like the ones we've all heard countless times in piano bars and restaurants.

More Red Garland


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John Klemmer - Touch

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: klemmtouch_2010) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper copy of Touch is one of the best sounding records Mobile Fidelity ever made, and the ONLY record of theirs I know of that can't be beat by a standard real-time mastered pressing.

We’re talking DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND here. The spaciousness of the studio and the three-dimensional placement of the myriad percussion instruments and bells within its walls make this something of an audiophile spectacular of a different kind -- dreamy and intensely emotional.

More John Klemmer


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Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: milleflyli_2013) 



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

The hottest copy -- by far -- of Fly Like An Eagle to ever hit the site! We've been collecting these for years in hope of finding a knockout pressing, but shootout after shootout stalled. They pressed tons of copies of this album and most of them sound terrible -- grainy, dry and flat. We went into this shootout without high expectations this week, but we were BLOWN AWAY by the sound of the best copies. And here's one that just couldn't be beat, earning A+++ grades on BOTH SIDES. What a monster!

See all of our Steve Miller albums in stock


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The Rolling Stones - Black and Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: rolliblack_2016) 



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

This is in fact one of the better sounding "later period" (1976) Stones records we've played, that's if we're talking about the better copies of course, like this one. The best pressings however are big, open, dynamic and full-bodied, with exceptionally lively percussion. As always, credit goes to the recording engineers, Glyn Johns et al., as well as Lee Hulko at Sterling, the original mastering engineer (who's cut about as many good sounding records as anyone we can think of).

More Rolling Stones


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Elton John - Greatest Hits

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: john_great_2006) 



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

This is an EXCELLENT sounding British DJM pressing of Elton’s Greatest Hits, with all the tubey magic that that implies. These are the real tapes, folks, pressed on that see-thru purple DJM vinyl.

The sound of course varies from track to track. 'Your Song' and 'Saturday Night' are GREAT here. The other tracks on side one are good but not like those two.

More Elton John


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Marty Paich Big Band - What's New

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: paichwhats_2017) 



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

This is a wonderful example of the kind of record that makes record collecting FUN.

Albert Marx was the producer of the original sessions back in 1957. Fast forward to the '80s and Marx is now the owner of his very own jazz label, Discovery Records. Who would know the sound of the original tapes better than he? Working with Dave Ellsworth at KM, Marx has here produced one of the better jazz reissues we've heard in years.

More Marty Paich


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Mahler - Symphony No. 4 - Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: mahlesym4_6217_2017) 



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

Deep bass; rich, smooth strings, lots of lovely hall space - this copy was right up there with the best we heard, and clearly won the shootout for side two. You will hear immediately why this side two could not be beat - it's wonderful.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

More recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson

More recordings made in Kingsway Hall



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Judy Collins - Judy Collins #3

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: collijudyc_3_2007) 



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

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

More Judy Collins


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Rodrigo - Boieldieu / Harp Concertos / Zabaleta

Reviewed in 201

  (Item #: rodriharpc_2011) 



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

This White Hot Stamper pressing of DG's recording of Rodrigo's famous concerto for harp has amazing DEMO DISC SOUND, but only on side two. The harp is clear, with no smear whatsoever, but what's really shocking is how huge the soundstage is, and how much depth it has. While playing this side the speakers just disappeared and a huge concert hall appeared in their place! The harmonics of the harp are rendered superbly well. It's hard to imagine one could record a harp concerto better than this. It is superb in every way.


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Johnny Mathis - Heavenly

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: mathiheave_2017) 



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

This copy had all the Tubey Magical richness of the best coupled with the hardest thing to find on an old Columbia record: top end extension. Natural vocal reproduction is the sine qua non of a Johnny Mathis album - this pressing showed us just how good Columbia was back in 1959.

More Johnny Mathis


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Duke Ellington - Up In Duke's Workshop

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: ellinupind_2017) 



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

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

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

More Duke Ellington


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Bonnie Raitt - Streetlights

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: raittstree_2013) 



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

Our first Hot Stamper shootout for Bonnie Raitt's classic fourth album yielded a surprisingly good copy, this one, with practically unbeatable (nearly) White Hot Stamper sound on side two, backed with a Super Hot side one that easily put most of the other copies we played to shame. The first three songs on side one -- That Song About the Midway, Rainy Day Man, Angel from Montgomery -- represent some of the strongest material Bonnie ever got to work with, and they alone would serve to qualify this as a Must Own Bonnie Raitt album.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Bonnie Raitt - Luck of the Draw

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: raittlucko_2012) 



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

Here's the first (Super) Hot Stamper copy of Luck Of The Draw to ever hit the site! What took us so long? It's simple, most copies out there just plain don't deliver, and for a long time we weren't sure we'd ever have a copy that would be a clear enough winner over the DCC pressing to merit Hot Stamper status.

More Bonnie Raitt


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Bonnie Raitt - Bonnie Raitt

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: raittbonni_2013) 



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

The average Green Label Warner Bros. copy we played was lackluster to say the least. The words on some of my notes read flat, veiled, dry, dark, edgy: None too promising, but we persevered and found this one! The reissues we heard tended to be modern and thin. Definitely not our sound.

More Bonnie Raitt


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