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Super Hot Stamper

Steve Winwood
Back In The High Life

  (Item #: winwobacki_1901_7_5) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Both sides of this UK copy of Steve Winwood's Solo Masterpiece earned outstanding grades of Double Plus (A++) - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound of this early British pressing is guaranteed to be dramatically bigger, richer, fuller and smoother than anything you've heard
  • Higher Love with Double Plus sound? You're gonna love it! And there's really not a bad track on the album
  • "The first undeniably superb record of an almost decade-long solo career ... the passion long smoldering in his finest work explodes in the album-opening duet with Chaka Khan, Higher Love..." -- Rolling Stone
See all of our Steve Winwood albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

  (Item #: trafflowsp_1907_4) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding early pressing offering killer Double Plus (A++) sound quality or BETTER from start to finish
  • Low Spark is clearly one of the best sounding Proggy/Arty Rock records ever made - the space it recreates is huge
  • A Better Records Top 100 album and real Demo Disc on a pressing that sounds as good as this one does
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The commercial and artistic apex of the second coming of Traffic... The standout was the 12-minute title track, with its distinctive piano riff and its lyrics of weary disillusionment with the music business. "
See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Traffic
Mr. Fantasy

  (Item #: traffmrfan_1908_10_03) 

Our Price: $299.99
Sale Price: $249.99 (You save $50.00 / 17%)


  • This early Pink Label import pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, making this one of the best copies to hit the site in many years, if not THE best
  • We used to think that The Best of Traffic had better sound, but in a head to head comparison with this very copy, we were proved WRONG
  • Big, full-bodied and lively, with huge amounts of space and off the charts Tubey Magic, the sound here is Hard to Fault - thanks Eddie and Jimmy!
  • "Winwood is simply incredible. He has a top group of musicians with him and they have made an album which is one of the best from any contemporary group." - Rolling Stone, 1968
More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
Mr. Fantasy

  (Item #: traffmrfan_1908_03) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This Island import pressing boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • These sides are big, full-bodied and lively with plenty of extension on both ends - thanks Eddie!
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout, Mint Minus to Minus Minus - few copies will play remotely this well
  • "Winwood is simply incredible. He has a top group of musicians with him and they have made an album which is one of the best from any contemporary group." - Rolling Stone, 1968
More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Super Hot Stamper (Quieter Vinyl)

Traffic
John Barleycorn Must Die

  (Item #: traffjohnb_1912) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With two outstanding sides rating a Double Plus (A++) for sound, this copy has plenty of the richness so key to John Barleycorn - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These sides have the vintage analog sound we love - they're full-bodied and smooth, with plenty of Tubey Magic and gobs of studio space
  • Arguably their best album, certainly their most groundbreaking, original and involving - Low Spark would rank a close second
  • "...the band sounds utterly grounded. As the grooves percolate effortlessly along, it becomes clear that unity, not any technical skill, is what makes the music levitate."
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Traffic- Mr. Fantasy

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: traffmrfan_2019) 



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

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

More Steve Winwood


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Steve Winwood - Back In The High Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: winwobacki_2017) 



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

On some of the copies we played richness and warmth seemed to have been sacrificed for the sake of greater clarity. That's never been our sound, one of the reasons we do relatively few albums from the '80s, and we noticed that on the copies with that tonal balance it was much more difficult to become involved in the music.

The richer, warmer, smoother, more balanced copies presented no such problem. Their sound transported us into the world of music Winwood had created in these songs.

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Traffic - Mr. Fantasy

Where's the Bass?

  (Item #: traffmrfan_pink) 



This Pink Label Original Island pressing has amazingly sweet, open, extended and transparent mids and highs. It has two major shortcomings: a lack of bass, and a fair amount of surface noise. If you can add a few dB around 50 cycles and can put up with some surface noise and scratches, you are guaranteed to hear some wonderful sound in the best tubey Island tradition.

Side two sounds better than side one; it has more bass and therefore is more tonally correct.

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Traffic - Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: traffshoot_2015) 



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

Import versus domestic? You would be hard pressed to find better sound than on the best of these DOMESTIC pressings, and that includes Low Spark of High Heeled Boys!

We just finished a huge shootout for this album and didn't find a copy that could hold a candle to this one in the huge stack we played. This may not be the best Traffic album ever, but on a copy that sounds this good it's very enjoyable and certainly an impressive sonic spectacular.

See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Traffic - Traffic

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: trafftraff_2010) 



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

UNBELIEVABLE! Here's an Island Pink Label pressing of Traffic's self-titled second album that has a STUNNING side one, a GREAT side two, and plays close to Near Mint! It has been YEARS since we've had such a beautiful Pink Label copy, and I doubt we've ever heard a pressing on any label that could better this side one. The sound is as close to PERFECTION as we ever expect to hear for this music -- super tubey magical, unbelievably transparent and tonally correct from top to bottom.

More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Traffic- Mr. Fantasy

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: traffmrfan_2006) 



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

This British Sunray Label pressing has THE BEST SOUND I’VE EVER HEARD FOR THIS ALBUM! None of the Pink Label originals that we played had the deep, powerful, punchy bass that this pressing has, coupled with an extended, sweet top end.

This is one of the best sounding Traffic records ever made. Musically it’s hit or miss, but so is every other Traffic record, including my favorite, John Barleycorn. The best songs here are Heaven Is In Your Mind, Dear Mr. Fantasy, and Coloured Rain.

More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Traffic - Last Exit

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: trafflaste_2010) 



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

This QUIET British Import Island Sunray (Pink Rim) pressing has THE BEST SIDE TWO WE'VE EVER HEARD, which is where the two extended live cuts are found. We played a bunch of these recently (nothing but Brits, the only way to go for this album) and no side two could keep up with this one. It's got more extension up top, more weight down low, and more energy than we heard anywhere else.

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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: traffjohnb_2012) 



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

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

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Traffic - The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: trafflowsp_2008) 



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

HOLY COW! Side one of this British Island Sunray pressing BLEW THE DOORS off the competition in our big shootout. It took the music to an entirely new level for us, so we awarded it the very rare grade of A++++ -- that’s four pluses, my man!

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Traffic - Best Of Traffic

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: traffbesto_2011) 



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

This Island British Pink Label pressing has SOME OF THE BEST TRAFFIC SOUND YOU'LL EVER HEAR! We've been flipping out over Hot Stamper copies of this greatest hits comp for ages for a very simple, yet likely shocking, reason -- the sound on the best copies can be BETTER than the best original pressings! How can that be you ask, dumbfounded by the sheer ridiculousness of such a statement? Well, dear reader, I'll tell you. Follow me over the jump to find out.

More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Blind Faith - Blind Faith

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: blindblind_2010) 



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

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

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

More Blind Faith


 
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Traffic - The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: trafflowsp_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Of course our Hot Stamper pressings are going to be better than the Anadisq LP from the mid '90s. How much better? Words fail me. The MoFi was an out and out disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn't notice because they had nothing to compare it to. God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy a "common" pressing such as one of our domestic Islands.

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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: traffjohnb_depth) 



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

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

More Traffic / More Steve Winwood


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Advances in Playback Technology

More Than Blind Faith

  (Item #: blindblind_advances) 



In a 2007 commentary for the Hot Stamper pressing of Blind Faith we noted that

When it finally all comes together for such a famously compromised recording, it’s nothing less than a THRILL. More than anything else, the sound is RIGHT. Like Layla or Surrealistic Pillow, this is no demo disc by any stretch of the imagination, but that should hardly keep us from enjoying the music. And now we have the record that lets us do it.

More on Progress in Audio


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The Dirty Little Secret of the Record Biz Part 3

Hits That Are Made from Dub Tapes

  (Item #: nevermind_3) 


The sound of some songs on some greatest hits albums can be BETTER than the sound of those very same songs on the best original pressings.

How can that be you ask, dumbfounded by the sheer ridiculousness of such a statement? Well, dear reader, I'll tell you. It's a dirty little secret in the record biz that sometimes the master for the presumptive Hit Single (or singles) is pulled from the album's final two track master mix tape and used to make the 45 single, the idea being that the single is what people are going to hear on the radio and want to buy, or, having heard it sound so good on the radio, go out and buy the album.

More from our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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Blind Faith - Blind Faith

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: blindblind_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Our latest shootout this time around (07/09) left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for the MoFi pressing of Blind Faith, a textbook example of We Was Wrong.

It’s rich and sweet with SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND. MFSL did a masterful job with this one, I’d put it in the top 10 MOFIs of all-time!
I regret to say none of that is true.
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Traffic - Mr. Fantasy

25th Anniversary British Pressing

  (Item #: traffmrfan) 



This Minty looking Island 25th Anniversary British Import LP has SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND! I’d have to say it’s the best sounding record from this series I’ve ever heard. (Note that this is the British version and not the Italian one.)

I can't vouch for other copies of this record -- they may not sound as good as this one -- but this one has the bass that's missing from some of the Pink Label copies and is overall tonally Right On The Money (ROTM), with almost none of the transistory grain that you find on domestic pressings. If you don't want to spend the big bucks for a Hot Stamper, this is probably the next best way to go.

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