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Miles Davis - Workin’ And Steamin’

Our Shootout Winning Mono from 2018

  (Item #: davisworki_2018) 



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

A MONSTER Double Album that simply could not be beat - three of the four sides earned our highest sonic grade of Triple Plus (A+++). The best sounding tracks here can hold their own with ANY Miles Davis vinyl we've ever heard, and that's a whole lot of Mile Davis albums. You might be surprised that a reissue can beat the originals, but one play of this pressing should be enough to remove all doubt.

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Duke Ellington & Count Basie - The Count Meets the Duke

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: ellinfirst_2018) 



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

Huge amounts of three-dimensional space and ambience, and rich Tubey Magic by the boatload - this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then. Quiet throughout - good luck finding a Six Eye Stereo pressing this nice on your own, they sure don't grow on trees.

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Ten Years After - Ten Years After

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: tenyetenye_2008) 



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

I had no idea the band's first album was recorded this well. I expected it to sound something like an old Rolling Stones Decca -- tubey magical but plagued by a fair amount of compression, distortion and limited at both ends of the frequency spectrum.

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Linda Ronstadt - Silk Purse

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: ronstsilkp_2010) 



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

We played several copies of this album, and while it's no demo disc by any means, this copy was far and away the best sounding of the group. We can't quite bring ourselves to call it a Hot Stamper. Technically of course it is -- it's a pressing that's superior to all the others we've played -- but as the recording itself has some serious shortcomings we'll just call it a Pretty Good Stamper.

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

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: armstivego_classic_records) 



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


Sonic Grade: B (probably)

I first heard this album on the wonderful Classic Records pressing from the '90s. I remember really enjoying the music and liking the sound of Bernie Grundman's remaster very much. We reviewed and recommended the album (along with Under the Stars) in our old paper catalogs.

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Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: monk_monks_dream_2013) 



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

Full, rich, spacious, BIG and PRESENT, with almost no smear. This is Classic Columbia 360 Label sound from their legendary 30th Street studios.

You may notice that very few Monk records go up on the site. We do occasionally find copies with Hot Stampers, but most of those sell directly to our best customers. We hope to be putting more up as time goes on. However, finding clean Monk with good sound is not as easy as it sounds (unless you are willing to pay the big bucks). We do have this one to offer, for those of you who prize adventurous jazz.

See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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Thelonious Monk - Monk's Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: monk_monks_blues_2013) 



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

WONDERFUL BIG BAND MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound -- natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT -- totally free of the "RVG squawk" we often hear on old Blue Notes. The clarity and transparency are superb throughout.

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Brahms / Sonata in D Minor / Laredo

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: brahmsonat_2414_2007) 



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

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND for this incredibly rare Living Stereo violin record.

This is the first copy I've ever seen. Side one, the Brahms Sonata, has very good sound and is played beautifully. When I dropped the needle on side two I went "Wow!"

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms / Piano Concerto #2 - Van Cliburn / Reiner / CSO

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: brahmpc2_2581_2005) 



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

This White Dog pressing is the best sounding copy I've ever heard, much better than the earlier pressings! The piano doesn''t break up like it does on those, especially in the second movement. Finally the piano sounds right - solid and with the correct overtones. It goes without saying that this is an exceptionally good performance as well. One of the best of the Cliburn recordings.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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Brahms / Piano Concerto #1 / Curzon / Szell

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: brahmpiano_6329_2006) 



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

This is a Near Mint London Whiteback Import LP with an excellent side one. Side one sounds about as good as this record can sound -- smooth and sweet with a natural top end and plenty of deep bass. Side two is not quite as magical.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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Brahms / Piano Concerto #2 / Bachauer

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: brahmpiano_2012) 



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

This original Maroon Label Mercury pressing has big and rich Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, with a a side one that's very nearly as good.

In fact the piano itself on side one earned a grade of A++ for its amazingly present and real sound. It's the orchestra that's the problem, but that happens quite often with Mercury concerto records in our experience. We're just happy that side two sounds so good and that side one is clearly a big step up from the average copy.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms / Violin Concerto In D Major / Stern / Ormandy

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: brahmconce_2009) 



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

This very nice looking Columbia LP has SUPERB SOUND on side two. The violin is much sweeter than on side one and there's much less distortion during the loud passages. If we were grading this as a Hot Stamper we'd give it about an A+ - A++. And on top of all that, Isaac Stern, never one of my favorite performers, is actually wonderful here. He plays beautifully.

See all pressings of Johannes Brahms' music in stock


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Jimmy Witherspoon - Blues For Easy Livers

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: witheblues_2012) 



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

Stunningly natural sound on this great Jazz / Blues / Male Vocal album! We've been picking these up when we find 'em clean -- no mean feat, I assure you -- and this copy did just what we were hoping for! This is one of the better sounding Male Vocal LPs to hit our turntable in recent months and I bet the same will hold true for you if you take this copy home. Side one rated A++, side two was even better at A+++ and both sides were even relatively quiet for an old Prestige LP.

See some of our best sounding Vocal records


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 2

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: londojulie_is_2_2017) 



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

The notes I took during this shootout lay out just how impressed I was with the sound of this remarkable copy:

Wide stereo. Big Bass. Swingin'. Just the right amount of reverb. Tonal perfection. The stereo kills the mono (on this album, on the copies we played anyway).

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JS Bach / Glenn Gould Plays Bach / Gould

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: bach_parti_2012) 



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

This 3 LP set on the early White Arrows 360 Label has three sides that earned sonic grades of Super Hot or better, with two sides being White Hot and pretty darn amazing for an old Columbia pressing (Columbia being an egregiously bad label when it comes to the sound of their classical records).

This set is highly regarded in classical circles and does not sit in the used record bins for cheap, even in reissue form, which limits our ability to find them and try them.

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


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Duke Ellington - Interpretations of Peer Gynt & more

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: ellinselec_2014) 



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

One of Ellington's most enjoyable classic collaborations with Billy Strayhorn.

A++, huge, so big it really fills the room from wall to wall, floor to ceiling. Not many records can do that. Clear and hi-rez. It could use more richness -- that alone would earn it another plus.

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Duke Ellington - Newport Jazz Festival 1958

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ellinnewpo_2011) 



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

If you are a fan, this record will be a thrill. If you’re unfamiliar with the Duke's music, I can't imagine a better introduction than this.

This LP also includes Gerry Mulligan's only performance with the Ellington band. Paul Gonsalves's saxophone performance is superb and worth the price of the album alone. The clarinet parts on Princess Blue are out of this world -- Ellington at his best!

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Duke Ellington - Masterpieces By Ellington

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: ellinmaste_2018) 



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

We've known about this wonderful album for decades, since first got hold of a red label copy from the '70s. Although not in the league with the best 6 eye pressings, even that late reissue had enough Columbia magic left in its grooves to impress the hell out of me.

And the fact that a jazz album recorded in 1950 was still in print more than twenty years later is testament to the lasting power of Ellington's music. As Kenny Burrell would say, "Ellington Is Forever."

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Cannonball Adderley - Cannonball's Bossa Nova

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: addercanno_2018) 



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

These originals are by far the best way to go, in stereo of course, putting Cannonball's breathy, melodic sax right between your speakers, with the rest of the band - including Sergio Mendes on keys - spread out around him. Truly an undiscovered gem in the Adderley catalog - the audiophiles here at Better Records were digging both the music and especially the superb sound. Another top quality recording from the superbly talented Ray Fowler, the house engineer for Riverside and the man behind many of the best Thelonious Monk and Cannonball Adderley recordings done for that great jazz label.

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Roy Orbison - The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: orbisallti_2018) 



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

The depth, the spaciousness, the richness -- this one has it all. It seems as though Bill Porter just does not know how to not make an amazing recording, whether for Monument or Living Stereo. Everything the guy touches is GOLD! Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality -- everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

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Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Love And Hate

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: cohensongs_of_love_2018) 



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

Audiophiles should go crazy for this one! On the best pressings, the sound is SO tubey magical with wonderful transparency and the kind of richness that you just won’t find on other copies.

More Leonard Cohen / More Singer Songwriter albums


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Leonard Cohen - Songs From A Room

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: cohensongs_from_2016) 



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

A stunning sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish. The sound on this 360 Label LP is incredibly big, clean and clear with a solid bottom end and lots of space around all of the instruments.

More Leonard Cohen / More Singer Songwriter albums


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Leonard Cohen - New Skin For the Old Ceremony

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: cohennewsk_2018) 



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

Leonard Cohen was a poet long before he decided to pick up a guitar. Despite singing in a dry baritone over spare arrangements, Cohen is a gifted lyricist who captivates the listener. New Skin for the Old Ceremony may be Leonard Cohen's most musical album, as he is accompanied by violas, mandolins, banjos, and percussion that give his music more texture than usual. The fact that Cohen does more real singing on this album can be seen as both a blessing and a curse -- while his voice sounds more strained, the songs are delivered with more passion than usual.

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Leonard Cohen - Live Songs

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cohenlives_2017) 



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

We had a big shootout for this live album, compiled from different shows Cohen performed in 1970 and 1972, and we're pleased to report that the sound was killer on both sides of this copy.

Drop the needle anywhere and you'll notice the impressive immediacy to the vocals, the clear transients on the guitars and the deep, note-like bass. Cohen's voice sounds just right here -- deep and gravely -- and the overall sound is rich, warm and full.

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Leonard Cohen - Death of a Ladies' Man

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: cohendeath_2018) 



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

What are the criteria by which a record like this should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and on and on down through the list.

More Leonard Cohen / More Singer Songwriter albums


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Ella Fitzgerald - The Johnny Mercer Song Book

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgsings_mercer_2017) 



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

The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the many highlights to be found on the songbook series. By the time this album came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs worth of songbooks - this was the last, going out on a high note. Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In - Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You.

See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Sarah Vaughan - Send In The Clowns

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: vaughsendi_2018) 



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

Sarah Vaughan's 1981 collaboration hits the site for the FIRST time and this pressing is KILLER - guaranteed to beat any copy you've ever heard. Basie's horns are really blastin' on this pressing. Sassy's remarkable vocal range and flexibility are on full display here, singing favorites including "I Got A Right To Sing The Blues," "When Your Lover Has Gone," and, of course, the title track.

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Live In Japan  (Item #: vaughlivei_2018) 



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

This album captures Vaughan's rich, playful style and transfixing vocal range like you've never heard before.

You may remember that Mobile Fidelity remastered this very album on CD, one of their very first releases, long before they came up with the idea of gold plating their discs and doubling the price. Some of those early discs were outstanding; I still own many of them to this day. That said, I don't think I ever played this particular title.

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Beethoven / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_2017) 



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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Sarah Vaughan - Dreamy

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: vaughdream_2018) 



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

The original release for Dreamy is on Roulette, a label we have often found to have problems in the sound department (not to mention notoriously bad vinyl). The originals we've played over the years have much too much honk and hardness in the midrange to be taken seriously, at least by us anyway, and certainly not at these prices. When we stumbled upon these good Emus reissues, the skies opened up and the sun shone down upon Sarah's wonderful 1960 album of ballads as it had never done before.

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Hampton Hawes - The Green Leaves of Summer

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: hawesgreen_2018) 



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

This Contemporary Yellow Label LP has wonderful Contemporary All Tube sound, courtesy of the amazing engineering of Howard Holzer. The piano is right -- weighty and percussive with a full-bodied tone. The bass definition is superb. The clarity and transparency here are nothing short of breathtaking.

See all of our Hampton Hawes albums in stock


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Beethoven / Haydn / The Heifetz - Piatigorsky Concerts

  (Item #: beethheife_2770_2010) 



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

This is a lovely sounding Red Seal pressing of cello and violin, with smooth, natural, tonally correct sound and correctly sized instruments, something you don't much on recordings of Heifetz, which tend to have huge violins and small orchestras. In these chamber works perhaps the engineers had an easier time of getting it right. The sound is transparent, spacious and three-dimensional in the best Living Stereo tradition.

If you love the sound of the violin and cello, played by virtuosos of the highest order, this is the record for you!

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


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Glazounov & Mozart / Violin Concertos / Heifetz/ Hendl

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: glazoconce_2734_2011) 



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

Hot Stamper sound on side one of this Shaded Dog pressing, and even better sound on side two for these two important works of the basic repertoire.

The presentation of the violin on side one is present, one could even say immediate. It's not quite as tubey magical as the better Heifetz pressings I have played, so we are keeping the grade at a fairly modest A+. Those with "tubier" systems may find it complements your sound better than it does mine.

More recordings featuring the violin


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Al Green - Let’s Stay Together

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: greenletss_2018) 



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

It's rare that we have copies of this brilliant record up on our site, and it's not for a lack of effort on our end.

It's tough enough to find any copies of Green's early LPs out in the bins, let alone clean copies with great sound. I wish we were able to find more copies of this album, because when you stumble on a good one it's an absolute thrill. The best pressings give you a big, spacious soundfield and put Green's vocals right up front. If you've got a pressing of your own around, throw it on for comparison's sake -- odds are pretty good that the sound will be dry and grainy, particularly on the strings.

See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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Al Green - I'm Still In Love With You

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: greenimsti_2018) 



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

This is The Memphis Sound at its best -- big Hammond organs with whirring Leslie speakers, funky drums, punchy brass blasts, and lovely string arrangements.

Al Green's singing is superb, of course, but one thing that really stands out after hearing the best Hot Stamper copies is the quality of the musicians' performances. The rhythm section on this album really drives the music. Just listen to the punchy kick drum and deep, note-like bass on a song like Love and Happiness -- the band is rockin'.

See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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Al Green - Greatest Hits

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: greengreat_2006) 



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

This Hi LP sounds JUST RIGHT to me. There aren’t enough copies floating around for me to shootout. I no longer have the DCC LP; I sold my test pressing long ago. I remember it sounded a bit thick, but that was on a very different stereo than the one I own today. It has been my experience that when I hear a really dead-on early pressing of a record like this, the 180g version will tend to come up short. If you own the DCC pressing, I guarantee this copy is better or your money back.

See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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Al Green - Explores Your Mind

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: greenexplo_2014) 



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

Excellent soul sound! It's tough to find copies of these classic Al Green records that deliver sonically and play reasonably well, but we got a hold of a good one here. Green was right in his prime and a copy like this lets you hear just how wonderful a performer he was. You get all the detail and nuance to his voice and the clean, clear sound lets the horns and rhythm section come through. This copy gives you solid bass, excellent presence and lots of energy. Take Me To The River and Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy) both sound great.

See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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Al Green - The Belle Album

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: greenbelle_2011) 



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

SUPER HOT STAMPERS and QUIET VINYL on BOTH sides of this fun '70s Al Green album! This AMG 4 Star-rated album is the last secular music Green put out for a long time, and it sure is funky! We played a ton of these and found that the best copies such as this one are incredibly lively, clear and fun!

See all of our Al Green albums in stock


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Anita Baker - Rapture

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: bakerraptu_2011) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES! We just finished a HUGE shootout for this '80s R & B classic and found a ton of god-awful pressings and a small group of winners. When this album sounds bad, it can be PAINFUL. So many copies have harsh, grainy highs and hard, edgy vocals -- qualities that completely ruin the mood of this music. When I play a Cream record, it can be a little raw and still rock my world, but an Anita Baker record's gotta be smooth and sweet, and most of them aren't even close. This one gives you the RIGHT sound for this kind of music -- rich, warm and natural with lovely immediacy to the vocals.

See all of our Soul and R&B albums in stock


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Prokofiev / Violin Con. #1 & Lalo / Symphonie Espagnole - Milstein

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: prokovioli_milstein_2008) 



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

This fairly nice Milstein record has exquisite violin tone and of course the performance is magical. These comments only apply to the Lalo on side two. (Side one never sounds good on this album.)

See all of our pressings with Nathan Milstein performing


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Prokofiev / Symphony #5 / Martinon (LSC 2272)

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: prokosym_5_2010) 



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

This rare Shaded Dog pressing has an absolutely AMAZING side two. It's transparent, with sweet (yes, for the Prokofiev 5th!), smooth and rich strings. Listen to how natural the woodwinds sound on this side

Side two here is the fluke, since most of the time this record sounds terrible. But now we know how well engineered it really is. We have the copy right here to prove it!

See more pressings of Prokofiev's music in stock


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

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: schubsym9_decca_2013) 



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

Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson behind the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and wonderful World of the Great Classics reissue from 1976. This copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most pressings, regardless of age.

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


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Liszt, Enesco, Smetana / Rhapsodies - Stokowski

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: lisztrhaps_2471_2010) 



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

This RCA Living Stereo White Dog LP has SUPERB SOUND!

I'm a big fan of this title. The string tone is rich and dark and just wonderful. If you want an exciting record with outstanding Living Stereo sound -- dynamic, with strings to die for, and an energetic performance, this is the one! Don't let the White Dog fool you. I doubt if the average Shaded Dog is any better. This record sounds just right to me. Listen to how clear and correct the triangle is.

See all of our Living Stereo albums in stock


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Julie London - Julie... At Home

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: londojulie_at_home_2018) 



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

If you're a fan of intimate female vocals - the kind without a trace of digital reverb - you should get quite a kick out of Julie... At Home. And unless I miss my guess you'll be the first and only person on your block to own it! (That's not a bad thing considering the average person's taste in music.)

More Julie London


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Vivaldi / 4 Bassoon Concertos / Walt

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: vivalfourb_2353_2011) 



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

This rare and mostly quiet Shaded Dog pressing has SUPERB sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of A++. To our surprise side two was even better; we called it A++ to A+++. It was surely one of the best sounding records we played in our classical shootouts that day. This is Golden Age Living Stereo sound at its Tubey Magical best.

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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Milstein / Encores / Pommers

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: variomilst_2009) 



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

This original Rainbow Label Capitol pressing has D1 / D1 stampers (!) and the shrink still on the cover -- now how rare is that!? Copies in this condition regularly fetch $300-400 on ebay these days, some as much as $450, and it's highly unlikely that any of those sound as good as this one. (Unless those sellers use the same advanced cleaning fluids and techniques we do and have access to an $8000 record cleaning machine that is.)

The sound is SUPERB, especially on side two, which we rated A Double Plus. Side two had a bit more presence and transparency than side one and that, along with quieter vniyl, kicked the grade up a notch. The third work on side two, a piece by Fritz Kreisler, is one of the highlights of the entire album.

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Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: previwests_2016) 



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

This superb sounding Black Label Stereo Contemporary pressing has close to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on side two. Side one earned a Double Plus, which makes this by far the best copy to ever hit the site and a great way to hear this classic piano trio swingin' in 1959. This is yet another Demo Disc for Contemporary, more brilliant work from house engineer Roy Dunann.

More Andre Previn / More Shelly Manne


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The Rolling Stones - Undercover

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: rolliunder_2018) 



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

Engineered by Chris Kimsey, if you know his work from Some Girls, Tattoo You, Frampton Comes Alive and the like, then you should have a good idea of what this album sounds like on the better copies such as this one.

More Rolling Stones


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Elton John - Madman Across The Water

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: john_madma_2016) 



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

Shockingly good sound, the best sound for any copy that has ever made it to the site. This Madman is guaranteed to blow your mind. It certainly blew ours.

A ridiculously tough album to find with the right sound and reasonably quiet surfaces -- which is why we never have them on the site.

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Van Morrison - Moondance

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: morrimoond_2018) 



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

Musically, the record Moondance most reminds me of is After The Gold Rush. Neil Young set out to make a commercial album that had nothing but strong songs built around catchy melodies, with the highest quality production values. What better describes Moondance? Every song is good, you can sing practically every one of them from memory, and in fact you'll probably feel like singing along with every one of them as they are playing. And the whole album is produced with some of the best sound that was available at the time. (Shelly Yakus engineered, his first time behind the board on a major project if Wikipedia is to be believed.)

More Van Morrison


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Stealers Wheel - Stealers Wheel

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: stealsteal_2018) 



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

Forget the dubby domestic pressings. Like so many British bands on the A&M label, when it came time to master the album for the domestic market, the people in charge (whoever they may have been) took the easy way out and simply ordered up a dub of the master tape to cut the album from.

Spooky Tooth, Procol Harum, Fairport Convention, (my beloved) Squeeze and too many others to think about all had their records ruined by sub-generation masters.

More Stealers Wheel / More Gerry Rafferty


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Eric Clapton - There's One In Every Crowd

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: claptthere_2017) 



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

Clapton's third solo studio album returns to the site for the first time in almost a year, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish. Balanced, musical and full throughout - this pressing is a big step up from many of the other copies we played. The sound and music here are very similar to 461 Ocean Boulevard, so if you're a fan of that title, you'll find much to like here.

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David Bowie - The Lodger

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: bowielodge_2014) 



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

White Hot Stampers for Lodger discovered -- this wasn't easy, folks! We've been trying to find a great sounding Lodger for years but it's taken us until now, which should tell you just how tough it is to get a killer copy of this album. This one has the best side one we've ever heard and a strong side two to boot.

More David Bowie / More Brian Eno


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Frank Sinatra - That's Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: sinatthats_2018) 



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

This original Reprise LP has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from the later reissues. It gives you the sense that Frank Sinatra is right in front of you.

He's no longer a recording -- he's a living, breathing person. We call that "the breath of life," and this record has it in spades. His voice is rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality. You immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there's no "sound" to distract you.

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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra '65

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sinatsinat65_2015) 



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

Is the title a play off of Capitol's gazillion selling Beatles '65? Only Frank really knows.

This original Green and Blue Reprise stereo pressing has the sound we look for -- big, rich and tubey. It does vary a bit from track to track but overall we found this copy to be quite enjoyable.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Miles Davis - At Fillmore

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: davisatfil_2010) 



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

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

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Miles Davis - Basic Miles

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: davisbasic_2018) 



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

We award this copy's side two our very special Four Plus A++++ grade, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a recording to a level never experienced by us before, a level we had no idea even existed.

More Miles Davis


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David Bowie - Scary Monsters

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: bowiescary_2018) 



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

This British 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 the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.

More David Bowie


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Gilbert and Sullivan / Overtures / Ward

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: gilbeovert_2302_2011) 



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

SUPERB sound on BOTH sides, with side two earning our coveted White Hot Stamper sonic grade for the kind of rich, sweet Living Stereo sound that we audiophiles love. The sound is nothing short of amazing on the White Hot side. This is a Top Shaded Dog in every way.

That lovely texture on the strings tells you that the pressing itself is partly responsible for the superb sound -- the lack of smear being a pressing issue, not a mastering or recording one. For naturalness, this one earns a score of ten out of ten.

More Gilbert & Sullivan


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Mel Torme - Live at Marty's

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tormelivea_2012) 



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

We just finished a shootout for this album and had a blast with the ol’ Velvet Fog. Many copies of this album are transistory, gritty and dry, but this one has got enough richness and warmth to smooth out those unpleasant qualities. The immediacy and presence throughout are going to KNOCK YOU OUT. Mel is gonna be in the room with you when you play this one good and loud.

More Popular Vocal LPs


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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.

More Duke Ellington


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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.

More Donny Hathaway


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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.

More Earth, Wind & Fire


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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.

More Living Stereo


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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.

More Grover Washington


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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.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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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.

More June Christy


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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.)

More Peter, Paul & Mary


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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.

More Harry Belafonte


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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.

More Kenny Loggins



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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.

More Billy Joel


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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.

More Dave Brubeck


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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.

More Exotica


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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.

More Everly Brothers


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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.

More Ramsey Lewis


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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.

More Wes Montgomery


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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.

More Wes Montgomery


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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.

More Beach Boys


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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.

More Paul Desmond


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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.

More Paul Desmond


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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.

More Mel Torme


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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.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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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.

More Shorty Rogers


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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.

More Sonny Rollins


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