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White Hot Stamper

Brian Eno
Before And After Science

  (Item #: eno__befor_1801_1806) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A stunning sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides have that rare combination of silky highs and deep low end that make any record magical
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on both sides
  • 5 stars: "Ranks alongside the most essential Eno material."
See all of our Brian Eno albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Talking Heads
More Songs About Buildings and Food

  (Item #: talkimores_1803_1806) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • An unbeatable Shootout Winning Triple Triple (A+++) copy for More Songs, The Talking Head's One True Masterpiece
  • Never before have you heard these songs sound as BIG, BOLD and ALIVE! Take Me to the River rocks like you won't believe
  • Eno produced, Rhett Davies engineered, every track is (psycho) killer - a Must Own from 1978
  • 5 stars: "Brian Eno brought a musical unity that tied the album together, especially in terms of the rhythm section, the sequencing, the pacing, and the mixing."
More Talking Heads / More Brian Eno


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Super Hot Stamper

Dire Straits
Dire Straits

  (Item #: diresdires_1805) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Both sides of this very special British pressing earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades for sound
  • Shockingly rich, full and solid with fantastic energy - you will not believe all the space and ambience on this copy
  • A Better Records Rock & Pop Top 100 title, a True Demo Disc, and our favorite by the band for both sound and music
  • 4 stars: "...the album is remarkably accomplished for a debut, and Dire Straits had difficulty surpassing it throughout their career."
See all of our Dire Straits albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
These Foolish Things

  (Item #: ferrythese_1803_1805) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • One of the best copies to ever hit the site, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to it on both sides
  • This original UK Island pressing is bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, clearer, and with better bass - it knocked us out
  • Outside of the first three Roxy albums, there is simply no recording by the band that as good as the first three Bryan Ferry solo projects
  • "Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name... Wrapping up with a grand take on "These Foolish Things" itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist." - All Music
See all of our Bryan Ferry albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
Another Time, Another Place

  (Item #: ferryanoth_1803) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Triple Plus (A+++) on side two, Double Plus (A++) on side one, this is one of the best copies to ever hit the site
  • The British Island originals are the only way to go, and this one just plain trounced most of the others we played
  • Tubey Magical, rich, smooth, sweet - everything that we listen for in a great record is on display for everyone to hear
  • Allmusic: "Ferry and company, plus various brass and string sections, turn on the showiness enough to make it all fun."
See all of our Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Brian Eno
Before And After Science

  (Item #: eno__befor_1801_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent sounding copy with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Rich, full and lively yet still pretty clean and clear with plenty of bottom end weight
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on both sides
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "Ranks alongside the most essential Eno material."
See all of our Brian Eno albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
Boys and Girls

  (Item #: ferryboysa_1802) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this classic Ferry album from 1985
  • This copy was super big, full and lively with plenty of presence and bottom end weight
  • On this record, bigger bass and punchier drums make all the difference in the world
  • "Instead of ragged rock explosions, emotional extremes, and all that made his '70s work so compelling in and out of Roxy, Ferry here is the suave, debonair if secretly moody and melancholic lover, with music to match..."
More Bryan Ferry / More Roxy Music


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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Avalon

  (Item #: roxymavalo_1801_1805) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus sound (A++) from first note to last and relatively quiet vinyl on this British pressing
  • Copies that are exceptionally open, clear, and resolving are the ones that present the music as it was meant to be heard
  • Credit Rhett Davies with creating the sonic space capable of clearly displaying so many singers, instruments, and effects
  • "Ferry was never this romantic or seductive, either with Roxy or as a solo artist, and Avalon shimmers with elegance in both its music and its lyrics." 5 stars
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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Flesh + Blood

  (Item #: roxymflesh_1803_2) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it form start to finish -- big, clean and clear with plenty of bottom end weight
  • Credit as always goes to the brilliant engineering of Roxy's go-to guy, Rhett Davies
  • Flesh + Blood from 1980 is the precursor to Avalon, with much the same style and sound
  • Some of Roxy's best material and biggest hits are here, on exceptionally quiet British vinyl too
See all of our Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Manifesto

  (Item #: roxymmanif_1801_1806) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A killer copy of Manifesto, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER and relatively quiet vinyl
  • Big, rich and lively throughout - the Tubey Magic on this early UK pressing will show you just how good this album can sound
  • We've been wanting to do this shootout for a while now - this is the first copy to hit the site since 2012
  • "The songs ending each side fade out with real grace and leave you hanging, wanting more — drenched in a romance out of reach." Rolling Stone
See all of our Roxy Music albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Talking Heads
More Songs About Buildings and Food

  (Item #: talkimores_1802) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound throughout for More Songs, The Talking Head's One True Masterpiece
  • Both sides here are big and full with a massive bottom end and tons of energy; Take Me to the River rocks like you won't believe
  • Eno produced, Rhett Davies engineered, every track is (psycho) killer - a Must Own from 1978
  • 5 stars: "Brian Eno brought a musical unity that tied the album together, especially in terms of the rhythm section, the sequencing, the pacing, and the mixing."
More Talking Heads / More Brian Eno


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Super Hot Stamper

801
801 Live

  (Item #: 801__live_1802) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides of this killer original British pressing - this copy rocks!
  • This record will bring the concert experience right into your living room, if you have the system for it
  • Eno and Manzanera created this Art Rock Masterpiece with the help of Rhett Davies' brilliant engineering
  • A Must Own Rock & Pop Top 100 title, not to mention Desert Island Disc for yours truly
  • "This album marks probably one of the last times that Eno rocked out in such an unself-consciously fun fashion, but that's not the only reason to buy it: 801 Live is a cohesive document of an unlikely crew who had fun and took chances."
See all of our Brian Eno albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
Another Time, Another Place

  (Item #: ferryanoth_1803_1) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • With solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish, this was one of the better copies from our recent shootout
  • The overall sound here is big, full and lively with a huge bottom end and lots of energy and presence
  • The Island imports are the only way to go, and this copy will show you why!
  • Allmusic: "Ferry and company, plus various brass and string sections, turn on the showiness enough to make it all fun."
See all of our Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
Bete Noire

  (Item #: ferrybeten_1710) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An exceptional pressing, with Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Both sides of this hit-packed 1987 Ferry UK pressing are big, rich and tubey - dramatically fuller than most of the others we played
  • Kiss & Tell and The Right Stuff are two of the bigger bangers here, and they both sound the way they should - big and clear
  • Four Stars in AMG: "Bete Noire sparkles as the highlight of Ferry's post-Roxy solo career... Here, his trademark well-polished heartache strikes a fine balance between mysterious moodiness and dancefloor energy..."
More Roxy Music / More Bryan Ferry


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Hot Stamper

Brian Eno
Before And After Science

  (Item #: eno__befor_1804_) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • You'll find very good Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this copy of Before and After Science
  • A real Desert Island disc for yours truly and a Must Own album, along with Taking Tiger Mountain, for those of us who grew up on and still appreciate the better Art Rock of the '70s
  • 5 stars: "The music on Before and After Science at times resembles Another Green World ("No One Receiving") and Here Come the Warm Jets ("King's Lead Hat") and ranks alongside both as the most essential Eno material."
See all of our Brian Eno albums in stock


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801 - 801 Live

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: 801__live_2007) 



The best Island copies of this album ROCK HARDER than practically any record we've ever played. If you have the system for it, this one will bring a Live Art Rock concert right into your living room!

It's right at the top of the list of my Favorite Albums -- a Desert Island Disc if ever there was one. I stumbled across it more thirty years ago and I've loved it ever since. It all started when a college buddy played me the wildly original Tomorrow Never Knows from the album and asked me to name the tune. Eno's take is so different from The Beatles version that I confess it took me an embarrassingly long while to catch on.

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801 Live

It's All About the Bass (Except for that One Time When It Wasn't)

  (Item #: 801__live_listen) 



What's especially interesting about this copy is that we went crazy for it even though it did not have the best bass of the copies we played, which, as you will see below, clearly contradicts what we had previously written. We thought that the copies with the best bass had the best everything else too, but that was not what we heard this time around.

THIS copy got the music to work its magic, and it did it with most, but not all, of the bass of the best. Not sure how to explain it. Rules were made to be broken maybe?

More Phil Manzanera & Roxy Music


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Are You a Detail Freak?

At Better Records We Call that Pitfall Number 1

  (Item #: 801__live_detail) 


Is that where the music is -- in the details? Brighter ain’t necessarily better; most of the time it’s just brighter.

This album isn't about clarity. It's about the sound of a live Rock and Roll concert. It's about the raw power of one of the most phenomenal rhythm sections to ever be captured in performance.

More Phil Manzanera / More Brian Eno


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Brian Eno

His First Four Albums Are Best on Import, Right?

Well, Almost...

  (Item #: eno__befor_myth) 



All four? Not quite. The idea that all of Eno's early albums sound the best on import vinyl is just another Record Myth.

You can read all about it below. Scroll down to check out the free bonus Critical Listening Exercise too.

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Bryan Ferry - Another Time, Another Place

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: ferryanoth_2016) 



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

Both sides are blessed with the kind of early '70's Tubey Magical Analog Sound that's been lost to the world of recorded music for decades -- decades I tell you!

Nobody can manage to get a recording to sound like this anymore and it seems as if no one can even remaster a recording like this anymore, if our direct experience with scores of such albums counts as any sort of evidence.

See all of our Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music albums in stock


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Bryan Ferry - Bete Noire

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: ferrybeten_2013) 



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

The domestic pressings are Direct Metal Mastered, the imports are not. Not being mastered DMM did not seem to confer any real benefit to the sound, which to us was a bit counterintuitive, but that's the reason we do shootouts, so we know the actual sound of the vinyl rather than the sound our biases would lead us to expect.

More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music


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Bryan Ferry - Boys And Girls

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: ferryboysa_2009) 



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

This domestic pressing has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND on side two! It's the best we’ve ever heard the album -- super high-resolution transparency coupled with amazing immediacy. And talk about energy -- the sound here positively JUMPS out of the speakers!

This side two blew our minds with its distortion-free sound, transparency and its punchy, note-like bass. The recording space is wall to wall HUGE, with amazing depth and three-dimensionality that's only hinted at by most of the pressings we played. It's meaty and punchy down low and there's plenty of extension up top.

More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music


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Bryan Ferry - Boys And Girls

What to Listen For

  (Item #: ferryboysa_wtlf) 



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

The song Valentine is a key test for side two. Note how processed Ferry's vocals are; on the best copies they will sound somewhat bright. The test is the background singers; they should sound tonally correct and silky sweet. If Ferry sounds correct, they will sound dull, and so will the rest of the side. That processed sound on his vocal is on the tape. Trying to "fix" it will ruin everything.

More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music


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Dire Straits - A Tour de Force by Rhett Davies

We Knew It Back in 2007

  (Item #: diresdires_davies) 



This Vertigo British pressing of Dire Straits’ wonderful debut has ABSOLUTELY THE BEST SOUND for this album we have ever heard. Folks, this one just can’t be beat. AGAIG is our shorthand for As Good As It Gets, and that’s an understatement when it comes to the sound of this copy. It blew the doors off every record we put up against it; every Vertigo pressing, regardless of country of manufacture or era. If you're looking for The World Champion, this copy holds the title and is very unlikely to be giving it up any time soon.
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Dire Straits - Dire Straits

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: diresdires_2011) 



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

The best side one we've ever heard, so freakishly impressive that we awarded it the rare A++++ (Four Plus) grade! On top of that, side two earned an A++ grade and the vinyl plays unusually quietly -- solid Mint Minus throughout. This is probably the best Dire Straits album (certainly our favorite) and definitely their best sounding album; on a copy like this one it has the power to BLOW YOUR MIND. Water Of Love, Down To The Waterline and Six Blade Knife are all STUNNING on this pressing.

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Dire Straits - Dire Straits

Phonogram Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: diresdires_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

This has to be one of the worst sounding copies of Dire Straits' first album we have ever played. There are plenty of bad sounding pressings of this album around -- most of the domestic copies we've auditioned over the years were pretty awful -- so we really can't give it an F. (The 10cc title from this same series wasn't half bad, FYI; certainly not the joke this pressing is.)

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Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: eno__takin_listen) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

This album is all about sound, pure sound itself if you will: the sound of the instruments, their textures, and the textures of the soundscape Eno has created for them.

With the subtle harmonics of Eno's treated sounds captured onto vinyl intact, the magic of the experience far exceeds just another batch of catchy songs with clever arrangements. It truly becomes an immersive experience; sounds you've never heard in quite that way draw you into their world, each sound more interesting than the next.

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Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: eno__takin_2011) 



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

This is Eno's Masterpiece as well as a Desert Island Disc for yours truly. On the right pressing this is a Twisted Pop Demo Disc like nothing you have ever heard. If you have a big speaker and the kind of high quality playback that is capable of unraveling the most complicated musical creations, with all the weight and power of live music, this is the record that will make all your audio effort and expense worthwhile.

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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: genesselli_2012) 



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

TWO EXCELLENT SIDES on this Charisma Import pressing! This is only the second Hot Stamper copy of Selling England By The Pound to EVER hit our site, and with both sides rating at least A++, it's a monster! It's beyond difficult to find good sounding copies of the early Genesis albums, but we managed to pull together enough clean copies to get this shootout going and eventually found a few copies that got the job done. The overall sound is big, open, transparent and tubey.

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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Rhett Davies

  (Item #: allrhettdavies) 



RHETT DAVIES is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Rhett Davies engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

Davies recorded some of our favorite albums of all time and we want to pay tribute to this unsung hero, a man who has brought so much joy and pleasure to audiophiles through albums like those listed below.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Phil Manzanera - Diamond Head

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: manzadiamo_2010) 



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

This White Hot Stamper English Import has the BIGGEST, BOLDEST SOUND we have ever heard for this album! If this copy doesn't wake up your stereo nothing ever will.

Like its brother, 801 Live, this album is an amazing SONIC BLOCKBUSTER, with sound that positively leaps out of the speakers.

More Phil Manzanera and Roxy Music


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Phil Manzanera - Diamond Head

Rhett Davies Truly Awesome Engineering Masterpiece

  (Item #: manzadiamo_masterpiece) 



You may recall reading this bit about RHETT DAVIES engineering on Dire Straits' debut:

"...until something better comes along, THIS IS HIS MASTERPIECE. It has to be one of the best sounding rock records ever made, with Tubey Magic mids, prodigious bass, transparency and freedom from hi-fi-ishness and distortion like few rock recordings you have ever heard."

Well, something better has now come along, and it's called Diamond Head.

More Phil Manzanera and Roxy Music


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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.

TWO EXCELLENT SIDES on this British Sunray Island pressing. SSTTA is very hard to find nowadays, but we managed to put together a big enough stack to make a shootout possible, and this copy acquited very well indeed -- it was miles ahead of the typical pressing. As is usually the case with these originals, the vinyl is a bit noisier than ideal at Mint Minus Minus.

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.


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Roxy Music - Avalon

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: roxymavalo_depth) 



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

The best British original Super DeLuxe pressings of Avalon are sweet and silky, big and lively, with the kind of sound that drives us audiophiles wild -- which of course it the main reason this album was on Extra Heavy Rotation at most stereo stores back in the day.

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Roxy Music - Avalon

A Simply Vinyl Mastering Success? Or Is It?

  (Item #: roxymavalo_scorecard) 



Sonic Grade: B (I'm guessing)

[These notes were written many years ago, which means that even we may not agree with some or all of the commentary.]

This version just plain KILLS most domestic copies and probably quite a few Brit ones too. Simply Vinyl did a superb job here.

Correction: an unnamed mastering engineer at the label did a superb job. Simply Vinyl isn’t in the business of mastering ANYTHING. They leave that up to the pros at the record labels. Sometimes those guys screw it up and sometimes they get it right.

More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music


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Roxy Music - Avalon

For Your Information

  (Item #: roxymavalo_jpn) 



This Minty looking Japanese Import LP is substantially better than any domestic copy we've ever played. It's not in the same league as our Hot Stamper pressings, but it's pretty good all the same. Side two is ever so slightly dull when compared to side one.
More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music


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Roxy Music - Flesh + Blood

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: roxymflesh_2013) 



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

The British Original Polydor Super Deluxe pressings are the only way to go on this album. No domestic pressing or other import was better than passable; we know, we played them. The British LP is cut by one of my favorite mastering houses in England, which no doubt accounts -- at least partly -- for the excellent sound.

See all of our Roxy Music albums in stock


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Roxy Music

Rhett Davies, Yanick Etienne and the Making of Avalon

  (Item #: roxymavalo_avalon) 



I consider Roxy Music to be one of the greatest Art Rock bands in the history of the world. The general public and most audiophiles would no doubt cast their vote for AVALON as the band's masterpiece. (The long and involved story of the making of the album can be seen below.) I much prefer their eponymous first album, Stranded, Country Life and Siren to the more "accessible" music found on Avalon. To be fair, that's splitting hairs, because any of those five titles are absolute Must Own Albums that belong in any serious popular music collection.
More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music


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Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: talkimores_2009) 



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

THE BEST SIDE ONE WE'VE EVER HEARD -- BAR NONE! I will stop short of awarding it more than three pluses, because the recording certainly has its share of limitations, but never before have we heard these songs sound so BIG, BOLD and ALIVE! Side two is darn good as well, rating a very strong A++. If you thought you'd never hear a truly great pressing of this album, here's the copy that will prove you wrong!

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Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food

What to Listen For

  (Item #: talkimores_wtlf) 



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

With Our Love turned out to be one of our favorite tests for side one. The picking of the rhythmic guitar in the intro told us just about everything we needed to know about smear, veiling and resolution. On most copies the instrument is simply blurry, the notes mashed together. When you've got a copy with its transients intact, resolving properly and clearly right there in front of you, you have the makings of a Hot Stamper side one.

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The B-52s - Wild Planet

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: b-52swildp_2016) 



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

This recording, like the band's first album, reminded me of a really good Don Landee / Ted Templeman production, the kind you hear on JT or Simple Dreams or the better Doobie Brothers albums -- with a difference.

Like the abovementioned albums, everything is laid out clearly: there's a space created for every part of the frequency spectrum from the lowest lows to the highest highs, with nothing crowding or interfering with anything else. The production is professional, clean, clear and REAL sounding everywhere you look.

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