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Super Hot Stamper

Eagles
Desperado

  (Item #: eagledespe_1905_10) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This outstanding copy of the band's sophomore release boasts Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This original White Label Asylum pressing has huge amounts of Tubey Magic, a strong bass foundation, and plenty of space around the guitars and voices - man, that is our sound!
  • This is the second-best sounding Eagles record of all time, no doubt thanks to the engineering of our man Glyn Johns
  • "A solid country-rock classic... the music stands the test of time, especially when Desperado is heard in its entirety, from start to finish."
See all of our Eagles albums in stock


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Rachmaninoff - Symphonic Dances - Johanos

(Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: rachmsymph_athena) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Heavy Vinyl Classical LP debunked.

This Minty looking Athena LP shows Virtually No Sign of Play (VNSOP). A famous recording, now long out of print, it received rave reviews when it was released! (We quote many of them below.) This album is a member of the TAS Super Disc list, but we found the sound awfully opaque, smeary, slow and compressed, the kind of bad "analog" sound that Doug Sax brought to the early AP releases.

Check here to read more of our Classical Music Reviews .

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Super Hot Stamper

Willie Nelson
Stardust

  (Item #: nelsostard_1910_1) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them on both sides of this exceptionally well-recorded album, this copy surely qualifies as an Audiophile Demo Disc
  • From the first few moments of the title track you'll be blown away by the in the room presence of The Man himself
  • This copy is hi-res without sacrificing the Analog warmth that makes the recording so special
  • 5 stars: "Stardust showcases Nelson's skills as a musician and his entire aesthetic — where there is nothing separating classic American musical forms, it can all be played together — perhaps better than any other album..."
More Willie Nelson


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White Hot Stamper

Dire Straits
Love Over Gold

  (Item #: diresloveo_1910) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • A stunning UK import copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides - reasonably quiet vinyl too (for this album anyway)
  • Incredibly punchy, dynamic, transparent, spacious and musical throughout - you won't believe how good this copy sounds
  • These top quality copies of Love Over Gold are far more natural than the any pressing you have ever heard
  • "Certainly a quantum leap from the organic R&B impressionism of the band's early LPs and the gripping short stories of Making Movies, Love Over Gold is an ambitious, sometimes difficult record that is exhilarating in its successes and, at the very least, fascinating in its indulgences." - Rolling Stone
More Dire Straits


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1906_1910) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A stunning copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The sound is rich, warm and natural with wonderful transparency, ambience and loads of Tubey Magic
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably her Best Sounding Album
  • Court and Spark recently joined Blue on our updated Top 100 Rock and Pop List for 2019
  • 5 stars: "[A] remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last."
More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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Professor Johnson’s Astounding Sound Show

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: varioprofe_2011) 



This is a rare and IMMACULATE Reference Records 45 RPM LP with No Sign Of Play (VNSOP). The record was Half-Speed mastered by Stan Ricker and pressed in West Germany.

This record has been on Harry Pearson's TAS List!

More Audiophile recordings


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Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2018) 



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

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

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

More Court and Spark


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White Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1910) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Superb sound, with a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two - exceptionally quiet vinyl too (except for a couple of marks that play lightly)
  • What's good about ANALOG is what's good about this album - the sound is rich, warm and natural, with boatloads of Tubey Magic
  • Musically this is one of our two or three favorite Joni albums, and it's unlikely the sound of the best copies can be beat either, thanks to the brilliant engineering of Henry Lewy!
  • 5 stars: "[A] remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last."
More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Tea for the Tillerman

  (Item #: steveteafo_1907_3_1909) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This superb UK Pink Rim Label Island pressing of TFTT - The Pinnacle of British Folk Rock from 1970 - earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • This import is ALIVE with musical energy and Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may never have experienced
  • The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely - we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time (so this is your chance!)
  • 5 Stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100
More Cat Stevens / More Hippie Folk Rock


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Super Hot Stamper (with issues)

Carole King
Tapestry

  (Item #: king_tapes_1909) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This copy of Carole King's beloved Tapestry boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • This killer Ode Stereo pressing is wonderfully Tubey Magical, full-bodied and solid, with note-like, clear bass
  • This album is clearly Carole's masterpiece - it's loaded with great songs, and they all sound fantastic here
  • 5 stars: "...an intensely emotional record, the songs confessional and direct; in its time it connected with listeners like few records before it, and it remains an illuminating experience decades later."
More Carole King


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White Hot Stamper (with issues)

Cat Stevens
Tea for the Tillerman

  (Item #: steveteafo_1909_2) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • This superb UK Pink Rim Label Island pressing of TFTT - The Pinnacle of British Folk Rock from 1970 - earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to them on both sides
  • This import is ALIVE with musical energy and Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may never have experienced
  • The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely - we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time (so this is your chance!)
  • 5 Stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100
More Cat Stevens / More Hippie Folk Rock


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Super Hot Stamper

Ry Cooder
Jazz

  (Item #: coodejazz_1909_2) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This superb copy of Ry Cooder's classic 1978 release earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • Exceptionally spacious and three-dimensional, as well as relaxed and full-bodied - this pressing was a noticeable step up over many of the copies we played
  • The Audiophile Pressings of this album are a disgrace - THIS is the way it should sound
  • "The complexity of the material on Jazz, as well as the arrangements by Joseph Byrd, dictate that this is Cooder's most polished and orchestrated effort to date."
More Ry Cooder


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Ry Cooder
Jazz

  (Item #: coodejazz_1909_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With two Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the best we've heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner
  • These are the stampers that always win our shootouts, and when you hear the big, rich, clear sound of this pressing, you will know why
  • The Audiophile Pressings of this album are a disgrace - THIS is the way it should sound I tell you!
  • "Beginning with his self-titled debut in 1970, Ry Cooder's records seemed to be as much history lesson as they were entertainment. Not because Cooder was trying to club you over the head with this stuff; he simply gravitated to great songs, no matter what the era or genre. Here he pays homage to some of the early tunes and masters of jazz... "
More Ry Cooder


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Hot Stamper

Eagles
Desperado

  (Item #: eagledespe_1909) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This very good copy of the band's sophomore release boasts Hot Stamper sound on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The sound on this early Asylum pressing is wonderful -- big, lively, open and clear with Tubey Magical richness that only these good early pressings can show you
  • This is the second-best sounding Eagles record of all time, no doubt thanks to the engineering of our man Glyn Johns
  • "A solid country-rock classic... the music stands the test of time, especially when Desperado is heard in its entirety, from start to finish."
More Eagles


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White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Lionel Richie
Can't Slow Down

  (Item #: richicants_1903_9) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Stunning sound throughout with both sides rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it
  • Rich, smooth and natural, the sound here is guaranteed to please - recall that the 12" of All Night Long was on the TAS List back in the day (and yes, I used to sell it!)
  • "In 1999, Q magazine included Can't Slow Down on its list of the best Motown records of all time and stated, "Production values are high, his songwriting craft is at its peak and at least one track - the global smash 'All Night Long' - is an anthem to good times that makes the heart sing and feet twitch.""
See all of our Lionel Richie albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Ry Cooder
Jazz

  (Item #: coodejazz_1909) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Off the charts sound for this classic Ry Cooder album - both sides earned our top grade of Triple Plus (A+++)
  • These are the stampers that always win our shootouts, and when you hear them you will know why - the sound is big, rich and clear
  • A one-time TAS List Super Disc that proves its worth on this Shootout Winning copy
  • "The complexity of the material on Jazz, as well as the arrangements by Joseph Byrd, dictate that this is Cooder's most polished and orchestrated effort to date." -- Allmusic
More Ry Cooder


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White Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Tea for the Tillerman

  (Item #: steveteafo_1909_1) 

Our Price: $799.99

  • This superb UK Pink Rim Label Island pressing of TFTT - The Pinnacle of British Folk Rock from 1970 - earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to them on both sides
  • This import is ALIVE with musical energy and Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may never have experienced
  • The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely - we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time (so this is your chance!)
  • 5 Stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100
More Cat Stevens / More Hippie Folk Rock


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Super Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1909) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides or better, this copy of The Wall is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other pressing you've heard or your money back
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of Floyd's groundbreaking magnum opus from 1979, this is the way to go
  • The Wall demands big, bold, explosively dynamic ANALOG sound, and here is a copy that delivers on that promise
  • Grungy electric guitars, breathy vocals, HUGE punchy drums, earth-shaking bass and room-filling ambience are all here like you've never heard before
  • We proudly hold up The Wall as one of the best sounding rock recordings of all time - this is the copy that really makes our case
More Pink Floyd


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White Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1907_9) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • KILLER sound — eleven pluses out of a possible twelve on this insanely good copy of The Wall!
  • Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on sides one, three and four, and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second side
  • The Wall DEMANDS big, bold, explosively dynamic sound, and this copy delivers on that promise in spades
  • Grungy electric guitars, breathy vocals, HUGE punchy drums, earth-shaking bass and room-filling ambience are all here like you've never heard before
  • We proudly hold up The Wall as one of the best sounding rock recordings of all time - this is the copy that really makes our case
More Pink Floyd


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Super Hot Stamper

Burt Bacharach
Casino Royale

  (Item #: bachacasin_1906_9) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A superb original stereo copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - exceptionally QUIET vinyl for this album too
  • A record that has its share of problems, but if you've got the system for it (huge, heavily tweaked, fast, free from obvious colorations and capable of tremendous resolution), this copy is sure to impress
  • A TAS List favorite that sounds amazing on a the right early pressing and dramatically better than any Heavy Vinyl reissue that's we know of
  • "The more recognizable and certainly more straightforward side of Bacharach is here, too, on the Dusty Springfield smash 'The Look of Love.' This is one of Bacharach's best soundtracks..."
More Burt Bacharach


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Super Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Kind of Blue

  (Item #: daviskindo_1909) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An outstanding pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The pure embodiment of the big-as-life, spacious and timbrally accurate 30th Street Studio Sound Fred Plaut was justly famous for
  • Space, clarity, transparency, and in-the-room immediacy are some of the qualities to be found on this pressing - it's guaranteed to beat any copy you've ever heard
  • 5 stars: "KOB isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence."
More Kind of Blue / More Miles Davis


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Super Hot Stamper

Art Garfunkel
Breakaway

  (Item #: garfubreak_1909) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound and exceptionally quiet vinyl from start to finish, this pressing of Garfunkel's sophomore solo release will show you just how good this TAS Super Disc can sound in analog
  • Top sound for some of the best tracks: My Little Town, I Only Have Eyes for You, 99 Miles from L.A. and more
  • Superb space and clarity with a smoothness missing from most copies - the keyboards are full and rich, the guitars ring sweetly
  • Richard Perry went for the Big Sound here and he got it -- this copy will show you just how well recorded the album really is
More Art Garfunkel


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Super Hot Stamper

David Crosby
If I Could Only Remember My Name

  (Item #: crosbifico_1905_8) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With two seriously good sides each rating a Double Plus (A++) or very close to it, this is an outstanding copy of Crosby's first album, and the vinyl is as quiet as gets
  • Traction in the Rain on this killer side two sounds amazing, it's one of the most hallucinogenic tracks of all time
  • TAS List and Top 100 - one of the best sounding rock records ever made - Stephen Barncard's engineering masterpiece
  • "The songs range from brief snapshots of inspiration to the full-blown, rambling western epic "Cowboy Movie," and there are absolutely no false notes struck or missteps taken." 4 1/2 stars
More David Crosby / More Hippie Folk Rock


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White Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Kind of Blue

  (Item #: daviskindo_1908) 

Our Price: $699.99

  • A stunning copy with KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • The pure embodiment of the big-as-life, spacious and timbrally accurate 30th Street Studio Sound Fred Plaut was justly famous for
  • Space, clarity, transparency, and in-the-room immediacy are some of the qualities to be found on this pressing - it's guaranteed to beat any copy you've ever heard
  • 5 stars: "KOB isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence."
More Kind of Blue / More Miles Davis


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark (Quiet Vinyl)

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1903_1908) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $99.00 (You save $50.99 / 34%)


  • An outstanding early pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades for sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • It's rich, warm and natural with wonderful transparency, loads of ambience and - this is key - Tubey Magic
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably The Best Sounding Record She Ever Made
  • 5 stars: "A remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last."
More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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White Hot Stamper

Carole King
Tapestry

  (Item #: king_tapes_1908) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • This KILLER copy of King's beloved Tapestry earned top honors -- Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides
  • Both sides are big, full and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and open - you will hear that the dark veils of most copies have finally been lifted
  • This album is clearly Carole's masterpiece - it's loaded with great songs, and they all sound fantastic here
  • 5 stars: "...an intensely emotional record, the songs confessional and direct; in its time it connected with listeners like few records before it, and it remains an illuminating experience decades later."
See all of our Carole King albums in stock


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Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto #3 / Janis / Dorati

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rachmpiano_90283_2013) 



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

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

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

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


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Wild Things Run Fast

  (Item #: mitchwildt_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding copy of Joni's superb 1982 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Her last great record and a personal favorite - fortunately for us audiophiles, this copy is spacious, open and much less "modern" sounding than most - great energy too
  • Famously included on the TAS Super Disc List and, on a wonderful copy like this one, you can hear exactly why it made the cut
  • "... Joni Mitchell achieved more of a balance between her pop abilities and her jazz aspirations, meanwhile rediscovering a more direct, emotional lyric approach. The result was her best album since the mid-'70s." [Hear hear!]
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Blue

  (Item #: mitchblue_1907) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Outstanding sound throughout for arguably Joni's greatest album with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades
  • Full-bodied and balanced with the kind of smooth musicality that's not always easy to find for Blue
  • A Better Records Top 100 title that belongs in any audiophile music collection worthy of the name
  • 5 stars: "Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell's songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity..."
More Blue / More Joni


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White Hot Stamper

Dave Brubeck
Tonight Only!

  (Item #: brubetonig_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This superb Brubeck recording, with Carmen McRae on vocals, finally returns to the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • This Six-Eye Stereo pressing was richer and tubier and just plain more musical than every other copy we played (which is exactly why it won the shootout)
  • The first of three collaborations between Brubeck and McRae in the early '60s
  • Billboard notes that "Brubeck teams up with canary Carmen McRae on this package and the results are eminently tasteful and listenable".
  • Every reviewer on Amazon for this album (on CD of course) gave it Five Stars - how often does that happen?
See all of our Dave Brubeck albums in stock


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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: belafbelaf_2019) 



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

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

More Harry Belafonte


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Super Hot Stamper

Harry Belafonte
Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

  (Item #: belafbelaf_1907) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This White Dog stereo (not Living Stereo) pressing has superb Double Plus (A++) sound or very close to it on all four sides
  • You'll hear a very large group of musicians bring their wonderful energy to this music, all backing Harry live on stage in real time and in ANALOG
  • HP made his reputation bringing this kind of live-in-your-listening-room record to the attention of the audiophile public, and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude
  • 5 stars: "The granddaddy of all live albums, this double-LP set captures the excitement of a Harry Belafonte concert at the height of his popularity."
See all of our Harry Belafonte albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Lionel Richie
Can't Slow Down

  (Item #: richicants_1905_1_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding copy of Richie's second solo studio album, with solid Double Plus (A++) very ANALOG sound from start to finish - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, smooth and natural, the sound here is guaranteed to please - recall that the 12" of All Night Long was on the TAS List back in the day (and yes, I used to sell it!)
  • 4 1/2 stars: "In 1999, Q magazine included Can't Slow Down on its list of the best Motown records of all time and stated, "Production values are high, his songwriting craft is at its peak and at least one track - the global smash 'All Night Long' - is an anthem to good times that makes the heart sing and feet twitch.""
See all of our Lionel Richie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Kraftwerk
Autobahn

  (Item #: kraftautob_1907_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Superb sound throughout for this fun TAS-approved album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings -- they bored us to tears
  • The RIGHT early import pressings have richness, transparency, space and presence not found anywhere else I tell you!
  • These imports are tough to find with the right sound and quiet surfaces - most copies we get in go straight to the trade-in pile
  • "The 22-minute title track became an international hit single and remains the peak of the band's achievements -- it encapsulates the band and why they are important within one track -- but the rest of the album provides soundscapes equally as intriguing. "
See all of our Arty Rock albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A wonderful Miles Davis Columbia Six Eye stereo pressing with superb Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout, just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • With the amazing All Tube Analog chain Columbia was using back in 1960, the sound is sublimely Tubey Magical, yet big and clear, with almost no trace of smear
  • Balanced, tonally correct and undistorted, this 30th Street recording is a showcase for Columbia's engineering prowess
  • 5 stars: "Sketches of Spain is the most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made. To listen to it in the 21st century is still a spine-tingling experience..."
More Miles Davis


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_1903_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This superb Miles Davis Columbia Six Eye stereo pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • AND, you'll be happy to know that at Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus this is clearly one of the QUIETEST original pressing we have ever played
  • This copy gives Davis's horn breath and bite, revealing the sound of the real instrument as only the best pressings can
  • Balanced, clear and undistorted, this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • 5 stars: "Sketches of Spain is the most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made. To listen to it in the 21st century is still a spine-tingling experience..."
More Miles Davis


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Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: straualsos_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Can you believe this bright and phony sounding piece of junk was once on the TAS Super Disc List? Sad, isn't it? At least Harry had the good sense to delete it way back in the '80s, along with all the rest of the awful MoFi's that were on it at the time.

Hey, I sure liked a lot of my MoFi's in the '80s too. Thank god I didn't have my own Super Disc list at the time. It would be every bit as embarrassing as Harry's list is these days, of that you can be sure.

See all of our Classical albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Jerry Read Smith & Tom Fellenbaum
The Strayaway Child

  (Item #: smithstray_1906) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This superb collaboration has been a member of the TAS Super Disc List for decades, and here it is with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This copy is surprisingly spacious, full-bodied and natural, with few of the problems that plagued most of the pressings we played
  • The sound of Smith's dulcimer is enchanting here, with a nice extended top end and plenty of space around all the instruments
  • "The full, shimmering waterfall of Jerry Read Smith's hammered-dulcimer playing takes center stage, flowing together with a sumptuous variety of accompanying instruments..."
See all of our Jerry Read Smith albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Harry Belafonte
Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

  (Item #: belafbelaf_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This Living Stereo pressing has Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on sides one and three, and superb Double Plus (A++) sound on sides two and four
  • You'll hear a very large group of musicians bring their wonderful energy to this music, all backing Harry live on stage in real time and in ANALOG
  • HP made his reputation bringing this kind of live-in-your-listening-room record to the attention of the audiophile public, and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude
  • 5 stars: "The granddaddy of all live albums, this double-LP set captures the excitement of a Harry Belafonte concert at the height of his popularity."
See all of our Harry Belafonte albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1906) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A stunning copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The sound is rich, warm and natural with wonderful transparency, ambience and loads of Tubey Magic
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably her Best Sounding Album
  • 5 stars: "[A] remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last."
More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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White Hot Stamper

Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_1902_1906) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side for the Citizen Kane Suite!) and Double Plus (A++) on the second; one of the best copies to hit the site in many years
  • The brass is huge on Citizen Kane, with accurate timbre - side two offers rich strings and a powerful, weighty piano for the Concerto Macabre
  • By far the single best Bernard Herrmann disc we know of - A Must Own for any serious audiophile
  • After playing records for 50+ years this is still some of the most emotionally moving music I've ever heard
See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (with Issues)

Harry Belafonte
Sings The Blues

  (Item #: belafsings_1901_1906) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • An outstanding Living Stereo pressing of Belafonte's 1958 release, with solid Doulbe Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Belafonte Sings the Blues is surely one of the most amazing Male Vocal Albums we've ever played - the sound is breathtakingly real
  • This copy is guaranteed to have the authentic 1958 All Tube Analog sound that no reissue will ever be able to reproduce
  • A criminally underrated album - Harry Belafonte's performance and the brilliant sound the RCA engineers were able to capture are both first rate throughout
See all of our Harry Belafonte albums in stock


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Forgotten Rock and Pop Classics

  (Item #: forgotten_rock_classics) 



The link below will take you to a group of albums that you may not know all that well, but that are long-standing favorites of ours here at Better Records. After selling high quality pressings of rock and pop music for more than 30 years, it is our opinion that these are the albums that have truly stood the test of time.

Depending on your tastes they may very well have the kind of music and sound that would fit well with the rest of your Hot Stamper collection, and provide you with hours of pleasurable listening for many years to come.

They may be mostly forgotten now, but we consider them Rock and Pop Classics.

Take a few home and give them a spin. With our 100% Money Back, No-Questions-Asked Satisfaction Guarantee, what exactly have you got to lose?


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Super Hot Stamper

Carole King
Tapestry

  (Item #: king_tapes_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This copy of Carole King's beloved Tapestry boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • This killer Ode Stereo pressing is wonderfully Tubey Magical, full-bodied and solid, with note-like, clear bass
  • This album is clearly Carole's masterpiece - it's loaded with great songs, and they all sound fantastic here
  • 5 stars: "...an intensely emotional record, the songs confessional and direct; in its time it connected with listeners like few records before it, and it remains an illuminating experience decades later."
See all of our Carole King albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Lionel Richie
Can't Slow Down

  (Item #: richicants_2019) 


  • An outstanding copy of Richie's second solo studio album, with solid Double Plus (A++) very ANALOG sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, smooth and natural, the sound here is guaranteed to please - recall that the 12" of All Night Long was on the TAS List back in the day (and yes, I used to sell it!)
  • 4 1/2 stars: "In 1999, Q magazine included Can't Slow Down on its list of the best Motown records of all time and stated, "Production values are high, his songwriting craft is at its peak and at least one track - the global smash 'All Night Long' - is an anthem to good times that makes the heart sing and feet twitch.""
See all of our Lionel Richie albums in stock


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Gershwin / All the Works for Orchestra / Slatkin / Siegel

Not Recormmended

  (Item #: gershallth_2010) 



A Hall of Shame 3 Record set that had us asking: Why would anyone want to own this awful set? TAS List or no TAS List, the performances are much too slow for my taste.
More of the music of George Gershwin


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Respighi / Ancient Airs and Dances / Dorati

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: respiancie_90199_2011) 



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

Both sides of this TAS List early Colorback RFR copy have SUPER Hot Stamper sound, so much richer and sweeter and less strident than the typical copy you might find. (I must admit the Mercury approach to sound has not worn as well as I might have hoped. When it comes to the Big Three from the Golden Age, these days we prefer London, followed by RCA, then Mercury.)


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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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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchblue_2011) 



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

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

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

More Joni Mitchell


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Dionne Warwick - Soulful

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: warwisoulf_2008) 



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

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

More Popular Vocal recordings


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Prokofiev / Love for Three Oranges Suite / Dorati

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: prokolovef_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

Dreadful sound. The Mercury series on Classic is a disaster.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs. Why, I cannot begin to understand.

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


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John Klemmer - Touch

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: klemmtouch_2010) 



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

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

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

More John Klemmer


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Bob and Ray - Throw a Stereo Spectacular

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bobanthrow_2010) 



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

It's been nearly two years but the waiting is over -- we've found another copy of the famous Bob and Ray on Living Stereo with DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Without a doubt this is the best sound I have ever heard for side one of this album. The sound here is so amazing I'm willing to go out on a limb and make the following recklessly bold statement. Buck Dance on this pressing has the most extended, natural and harmonically correct high frequencies I have ever heard from my speakers (or anyone else's for that matter).

More Living Stereo


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: crosbifico_2016) 



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

BEYOND TRIPLE TRIPLE! This Top Copy had a side one that blew us away enough to earn FOUR Pluses!

Here it is, folks... a TRUE ROCK DEMO DISC! A White Hot Stamper copy such as this will show you why we've long considered it one of the All Time Top Ten Rock Albums for Sound and Music. You will not believe how Tubey Magical and three-dimensional this album can be when you have a pressing with this kind of sound. The harmonic complexity and extension on the acoustic guitars are absolutely stunning!

More David Crosby


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Arnold / English, Scottish and Cornish Dances

Reviewed in 2015

  (Item #: arnolengli_2015) 



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

This SUPER RARE Lyrita-mastered title is a member of HP’s famous TAS Super Disc list. It includes Eight English Dances, Four Scottish Dances and Four Cornish Dances.

The sound is uncolored and natural, with a mid-hall perspective, and very little multi-miking to be heard, all to the good.

See more entries in our Classical Commentary series


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Debussy / Iberia - Reiner

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_2005) 



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

This is a wonderful sounding Shaded Dog pressing. Side two is especially dynamic.

This has long been considered one of the Living Stereo triumphs. The spaciousness and tonal correctness is legendary.

This copy does not have the prodigious bass of some that I've heard. The Classic reissue has plenty of deep bass, but it's shrill and hard and altogether unpleasant, so the better bass comes at a steep price.

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Offenbach / Gaite Parisienne / Fiedler

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: offengaite_1817_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

Another Classic Records LP found wanting.

The last time I played the Classic I thought it was a smeary mess, as awful as their awful Scheherazade (both shamefully on the TAS List as I recall). If I were to play it today I'm guessing it would join the other Classic Records entries in our Hall of Shame.

I love Fiedler's performance and the 1954 two track RCA Living Stereo sound but finding an original Shaded Dog pressing in clean condition under $500 with the right stampers (something above 10 as a rule) is all but impossible nowadays.

More of the music of Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)


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Mahler / Das Lied Von Der Erde / Solti / CSO

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: mahledasli_555_2006) 



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

This Minty Decca pressing from 1972 sounds WONDERFUL -- another Kenneth Wilkinson/ Gordon Parry triumph.

This recording is part of the Solti Decca Silver Jubilee, celebrating the 25th year of Solti's collaboration with Decca.

(He started in 1947!) The Beethoven 9th on the TAS List, one of the all time great Beethoven recordings, is also part of that series. Judging by those two records, it appears that Decca still had their act together in 1972, long after other labels were producing garbage.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler


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Rozsa / Music From the Film Ben Hur

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: rozsabenhu_2010) 



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

This TAS List Super Hot Stamper pressing of one of the greatest and most famous Orchestral Blockbuster Soundtracks ever recorded more than lives up to our expectations for Decca Phase 4. This is Phase 4 done RIGHT.

As with all the best Herrmann releases, the huge size and scope you hear is the sound of orchestral music recorded in glorious ANALOG!

See all of our Phase 4 albums in stock


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Ry Cooder - Jazz

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: coodejazz_2007) 



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

This is one of the BEST COPIES WE’VE EVER HEARD! We’re talking MASTER TAPE SOUND on side two, which is very open and spacious and EXCEPTIONALLY TRANSPARENT. There’s so much detail and texture, it blew us away -- and should do the same to you.

More Ry Cooder


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Falla / Nights In the Gardens of Spain/ Argenta

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: fallanight_6046_2011) 



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

DEMO QUALITY SOUND from 1959 on this famous TAS List Super Disc recording. This copy of CS 6046 has an especially good Falla side, with Super Hot Stamper sound and fairly quiet vinyl. The Rodrigo side is no slouch either, earning a grade of A+, although it could certainly use more top end (which was the case last time we did a shootout with this title as I recall).

The Falla side is amazingly natural sounding; the string tone is Right On The Money, something that cannot be said of most vintage Living Stereos and Mercury pressings.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


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Grace Williams / Fantasia On Welsh Nursery Tunes / Groves

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: willifanta_2012) 



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

Super Hot Stamper sound for this TAS List title, containing the most famous piece for which Grace Williams is known. The sound is BIG and RICH, two adjectives we rarely apply to a '70s EMI. Big maybe -- lots of EMI's are big, but the reason you see so few EMI Hot Stampers on our site is that they are usually big in a vague, phasey way, which is a sound I frankly have never seen the need to take seriously, TAS Listing or no TAS Listing. (Screen speakers tend to sound that way to me, and I've never been a fan of them either.)

But rich -- now that's a sound we do like! It's also not shrill and hard like most EMI's. Instead it's transparent, lively and tonally correct from top to bottom.


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Rachmaninov / The Bells / Previn

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: rachmbells_3284_2008) 



This is a Minty EMI original looking pressing of the famous TAS List title. You will have a very hard time finding a nicer one than this!

Since it is such a famously well-regarded recording we decided to clean it up and gave it a spin. Side one has sweet string tone and a super-extended top end, and it plays very quiet.

Side two is not quite as good; it's fuller but lacks the extension on the top that side one has in spades. It's also quiet at mostly Mint Minus. (EMIs from this period are almost never quieter than that.)

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


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Beethoven / 'Appassionata' / Kamiya

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: beethappas_2010) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

A famous resident of the TAS list, this album mixes beautiful music with lovely, solid piano tone, the best of both worlds for audiophiles. A friend of mine tells me that Kamiya plays this piece exactly the way Horowitz did, and that's probably a good thing. Good luck finding a Horowitz recording that sounds like this.

See more of our Direct to Disc recordings


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

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: gilbebesto_2006) 



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

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

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

More Gilbert & Sullivan


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For Pete’s Sake, What’s Wrong With Blue?

Thoughts on "The Definitive Vinyl" Version

  (Item #: mitchblue_letter_2) 



In 2007 a customer took issue with our summary rejection of the new Blue.

Tom,

I find it curious you are not carrying the new Joni Mitchell Blue vinyl issue. Even to the point of saying you can do better... for 25 bucks? After clicking on the LP cover and reading the comments from over the years it makes me wonder what your agenda really is. I paid $250 for a wonderful WLP and this Rhino issue smokes it, even as good as it is. I even have a Cd cut from this mastering session off the analog FLAT, not Dolby tapes and this vinyl even beats it.... of course just my opinion.

More Blue


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Forgotten Jazz Classics

  (Item #: forgotten_jazz_classics) 



The link below will take you to a group of jazz albums that you may not know all that well, but have turned into favorites of ours. Depending on your tastes they might just have the kind of music and sound that would make a good fit with the rest of your Hot Stamper collection, and serve to provide you with hours of pleasurable listening for years to come.

They may be mostly forgotten now, but we consider them JAZZ CLASSICS nonetheless, well deserving of another look.

With our 100% Money Back, No Questions Asked Satisfaction Guarantee, what have you got to lose?

Welcome To Better Records

More Commentary Sections of Interest



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Saint-Saens - Piano Concerto No. 2

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: saintconce_2234_2011) 



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

Harry Pearson put this recording on his TAS List of Super Disc LPs, and with good reason -- the sound is wonderfully relaxed and natural. This is no Hi-Fi Spectacular, as is the case with so many of the records on his list. (Hey, we like our Demo Discs every bit as much as he does; just not the same ones. SR 90006 and LSC 2225 on Classic? Really?)

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens


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Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic of LSC 2222 is all but unlistenable on a highly resolving system. The opacity, transient smear and loss of harmonic information and ambience found on Classic's pressing drives us right up the wall. Who can sit through a record that sounds like that? Way back in 1994, long before we had anything like the system we do now, we were disparaging the "Classic Records Sound" in our catalogs.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Holst / British Band Classics Vol. 2 / Fennell

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: holstbriti_90197_2016) 



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

Side one big, full and dynamic, with horns and winds that are never screechy. (Side two of this first LP is very screechy and not at all to our liking.)

Side two of the second record has the sound of live music. Huge space, clear yet rich, this is the sound we were looking for!

More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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Anderson / The Music of Leroy Anderson Vol. 3 / Fennell

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: andermusic_90400_2011) 



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

Volume Three (SR 90400) of Anderson's recordings for Mercury with Fennell conducting has long been a favorite or ours here at Better Records. The first volume is of course on the TAS Super Disc list, and when you get a good copy of it you will have no trouble believing it is a Super Disc. But so is this one, provided you play the right pressing of course.

More Orchestral Recordings


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Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mussopictu_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The shrillness, the hardness, the sourness, the loss of texture to the strings, the phony boosted deep bass -- this is the kind of sound that makes my skin crawl. After a minute or two I’ve had it. And the performance is dreadful as well.

HP put this on his TAS List? Yes he did!

More Pictures at an Exhibition


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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussopower_2011) 



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

This Shaded Dog pressing of the famous TAS List Super Disc title has TWO AMAZING SIDES, including a side two that is White Hot! We have never heard a copy with such a huge hall sound and so much weight down low. As we said last time we did a shootout for this title in 2007: "DEMO DISC QUALITY ORCHESTRAL SOUND like you will not believe. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this for huge orchestral dynamics and energy."

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Ravel / Rachmaninoff / The Reiner Sound / Reiner / CSO

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: ravelreine_2183_2010) 



Wow, the first nice Reiner Sound on Shaded Dog to make it to our site. Why? Because the few copies we've run across that looked decent enough to clean and play were just too noisy to enjoy. Not many copies have survived the bad turntables of their day with all their top end and inner grooves intact, but we're proud to say that this one has!

This former TAS List record really surprised us on two counts. First, you will not believe how DYNAMIC the recording is. Of all the classical recordings we've played lately I would have to say this is THE MOST DYNAMIC of them all.

More of the music of Maurice Ravel


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: crosbifico_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

What do you get with Hot Stampers compared to the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue? Dramatically more warmth, sweetness, delicacy, transparency, space, energy, size, naturalness (no boost on the top end or the bottom, a notable failing of the Classic); in other words, the kind of difference you almost ALWAYS get comparing the best vintage pressings with their modern remastered counterparts, in our experience anyway. The Classic is a nice record, a Hot Stamper is a MAGICAL one.

More David Crosby


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Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto / Szeryng - Munch

Not Recommended

  (Item #: tchaivioli_2363_2005) 



1S/ 1S Shaded Dog.

The violin is very immediate sounding on this recording, maybe too much so. The sound of the orchestra is where this record falls short.

It's congested, thin and shrill in places. The right copy of Heifetz's performance on LSC 1992 is overall a much better record. Some may prefer Szeryng's way with this famous piece, which is a matter of taste of course. If you're listening for just the performance and the sound of the violin, you may find this record to be more acceptable.

More Living Stereo


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Chet Atkins / Chet Atkins in Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: atkininhol_2008) 



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

DEMO DISC SOUND! Exceptionally quiet and ususually clean for a record of its age! TAS List of course, and full of Living Stereo Magic. You can feel the cool air of the studio the minute the needle hits the groove!

More Chet Atkins


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Chet Atkins - Chet Atkins In Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: atkininhol_2007) 



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

This Minty looking RCA Victor LP has an AMAZING SIDE TWO backed with a great side one. Side two is full of the tubey magic that’s missing from the Classic Records version and it has a wonderfully extended top end. Side one lacks some of the top end extension found on side two but the first track has that tubey Nashville sound that we love here at Better Records. The rest of the side is pretty damn good as well.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs.

More Chet Atkins


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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: griegpeerg_sts_2005) 



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

This is overall the best sounding pressing of the Fjeldstad / LSO we have ever played, with BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. For those of you who know your Londons, when you see the label on this LP you will no doubt be shocked: This is the last pressing in the world that one would expect to sound good.

Of course we here at Better Records don't give a sh*t about any such conventional wisdom / collector bias. We like audiophile quality sound and we don't give a damn where we find it. Up against the competition this copy was superb in practically every way, excelling with orchestral size, weight and energy like virtually no other.

More Edvard Grieg


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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Speakers Corner Reviewed / VTA Advice

  (Item #: griegpeerg_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: C+

The Fjeldstad has long been one of our favorite performances of Peer Gynt here at Better Records.

This record is handy for VTA set-up as well, a subject discussed below in our listing from 2010.

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)


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Bernard Herrmann - The Fantasy Film World of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: herrmfanta_2008) 



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

Two AMAZING SOUNDING DEMO DISC LPS for the price of one! We’ve mated the HOTTEST SIDE ONE of one copy with the HOTTEST SIDE TWO of another to produce the best sounding complete Fantasy Film World we have ever heard. A+++ sound, with the kind of orchestral power that few recordings in the history of the world can lay claim to. There's a reason this record is on the TAS Superdisc list -- if any LP should be called a Superdisc, this one should. (With Phase Four sound you might even call it a Super-Duper-Disc.)

More Bernard Herrmann


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Winds In Hi-Fi / Fennell / EWE

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: variowinds_90173_2010) 



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

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY. Famous TAS list LP! Superb sound; Mercury knows how to capture the bite of the brass. Fennel made a number of band music recordings for Mercury. He's a master of this sort of sweet and lyrical Wind Music.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs.

More of our best Orchestral Recordings


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Art Garfunkel - Breakaway

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: garfubreak_2016) 



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

Both sides are transparent, open, and spacious, with dramatically more life and energy than the typical pressing. The bottom end on this copy is surprisingly meaty as well, with far more punch than most of the pressings we played.

The keyboards are full and rich, the guitars ring just right. This copy is killer in practically every way. You will be hard-pressed to imagine it sounding much better than it does here.

More Art Garfunkel


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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: brubetimeo_2011) 



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

STUNNING A+++ SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES! Breathtakingly spacious and transparent, this copy has the big three-dimensional soundstage that makes this record such a joy to listen to. The piano has weight and heft, the drums are big and dynamic, and everything is relaxed and sweet -- in short, this copy does everything we want it to.

More Dave Brubeck


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Schumann & Grieg / Piano Concertos / Lupu / Previn / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: schumpiano_6840_2008) 



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

This is an EXCELLENT SOUNDING London pressing of the famous TAS list LP. I've never heard a quieter copy. Usually these are noisy as hell and this one plays dead quiet most of the time, and Mint Minus the rest. HP was right: the Grieg here has the best sound. The piano is amazingly well recorded; the sound is rich and powerful. The orchestra sound better on the Grieg as well; it's slightly more compressed and leaner on the Schumann side.


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Peter, Paul & Mary - Peter, Paul and Mary

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: peterpeter_2007) 



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

TUBEY MAGICAL MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! We just finished a huge shootout for this album with Gold Labels, Green Labels and even a few later labels, and this EXCEPTIONALLY QUIET Gold Label copy was the Champion... for BOTH SIDES!

More Peter, Paul and Mary


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Stravinsky / Song Of the Nightingale / Reiner

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: stravsongo_2150_2009) 



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

The Hot Stamper pressing has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND for the Stravinsky piece that takes up side two, the one on the TAS Super Disc List. The sound is BIG and BOLD, stretching from wall to wall, and so transparent you can clearly hear all the way to the back of the stage and then some. Trust me, few Shaded Dog pressings sound like this one!

Normally we list this record under Prokofiev, but, as usual, the Prokofiev side of this copy is not very good sounding. (In fact I've never liked the sound of Reiner's Lt. Kije. It always sounded hard and sour like a bad DG to me.)

More of the music of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)


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Rodgers / Slaughter on Tenth Avenue / Fiedler

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: rodgeslaug_2294_2015) 



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

This record is so good on side two it almost left me speechless. How is this title not on the TAS List? Why is it not one of the most sought-after recordings in the RCA canon?

Beats the hell out of me. But wait just one minute. Until a month ago I surely had no idea how good this record could sound, so how can I criticize others for not appreciating a record I had never taken the time to appreciate myself?

More music conducted by Arthur Fiedler (1894-1979)


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Chet Atkins / Caribbean Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: atkincarib_2011) 



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

This RCA Living Stereo LP has an A++ side two! It's rich, warm and sweet with great transparency and clear transients -- if it had just a bit more top it would be right up with the very best copies. Side one is not quite up to the same standards, and is very noisy. The vinyl plays about Mint Minus Minus on side two, but its a rare copy that plays any quieter.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs.

More Chet Atkins


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Turntable Set Up Advice

Using Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_setup) 



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

There are loud vocal choruses on many tracks, and more often than not at their loudest they sound like they are either breaking up or threatening to do so. I always assumed it was compressor or board overload, which is easily heard on Down to You. On the best copies there is no breakup -- the voices get loud and they sound clean throughout.

More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: rollistick_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a joke. It’s so compressed, lifeless, and lacking in bottom end that it would hardly interfere with even the most polite conversation at a wine tasting. I consider it one of the worst sounding versions ot the album ever made. It’s an Audiophile Record in the worst sense of the word.

More Sticky Fingers


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Henry Mancini - Hatari!

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mancihatar_2009) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper pressing is one of the BEST COPIES we’ve ever played! Both sides earned very high A Double Plus honors, beating practically all the other copies we played it against. The sound is relaxed, natural, and musical, with an incredibly sweet top end.

The overall sound is airy, open, spacious, and SUPER transparent. The brass on this copy also sounds just right: breathy with a nice bite, avoiding most of the blare-y quality we heard on so many other pressings. (There is a touch of smear on even the best copies; this one is no different.)

More Henry Mancini


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Giorgio Moroder - Cat People Soundtrack

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: morodcatpe_2008) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES of the TAS List SuperDisc! We just finished a big shootout for this album, and this knockout copy took top honors on both sides with A+++ sound from start to finish. Drop the needle on any track for some of the best sounding synthesizers you'll ever hear!

More David Bowie


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Joan Baez - Farewell, Angelina

Our Hot Copy from 2005

  (Item #: baez_farew_2005) 



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

Very nice fairly original Vanguard LP with EXCELLENT SOUND.

These early Black Label Vanguard pressings are actually better in some ways than the 180 gram reissue, as good as that one is. Of course, they all vary in their sound. But listen especially to tracks two and six on the first side to hear a more natural sounding Joan.

Side two normally lacks top end and sounds dull on most of the copies I have heard. This copy is actually quite good -- not perfect but a lot closer to the mark than others. Listen to the second track to hear Joan at her best. Her voice is breathy and sweet, exactly the way it should be.

More Joan Baez


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Dire Straits - Love Over Gold

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: diresloveo_2010) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! This copy is a FLUKE -- we guarantee you have never heard a copy sound even remotely this good. We sure haven't, and we've probably played fifty or more. This copy found itself running way ahead of the pack and never looked back. Two A+++ sides back to back -- what are the chances?

More Dire Straits


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Respighi / Pines Of Rome / Maazel

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: respipines_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: C

We were only slightly impressed with the Speakers Corner pressing of this album, writing at the time: "The famous TAS List recording. Very good sound. You can do better but it's not easy. This work is just too difficult to record."

We have never done a Hot Stamper shootout of the album but hope to soon.

More recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson


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Joni Mitchell - Wild Things Run Fast

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mitchwildt_2013) 



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

One of our favorite Joni Mitchell albums. A Desert Island disc for me & one of the few good reasons to listen to new music in the '80s.

My personal Must Own Joni Mitchell list includes: The First Album (side one only), Blue, Court & Spark and Wild Things Run Fast.

More Joni Mitchell


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Brahms / Hungarian Dances / Dvorak / Slavonic Dances

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: brahmhunga_6198_2011) 



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

The London pressing of this music used to be on the TAS List but appears to have been dropped at some point over the years. Not that I would notice what comes and goes on HP's list, as I do not hold it in as high a regard as most audiophiles I have met over the years. For some reason there were those who tended to think it definitive or consistent. I can assure you it is neither.

The Brahms here (side one) is nothing special on this copy, but the Dvorak is SUPERB, sounding much better than the other Bluebacks we played and the Stereo Treasury copies as well. With Reiner at the helm both sides are lively and fun.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: crosbifico_2008) 



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

THE ULTIMATE PSYCH ROCK DEMO DISC! Both sides are shockingly transparent with tight bass, silky highs, full-bodied vocals and TONS of Tubey Magic.

More David Crosby


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British Band Classics Vol. 2

The First Classical Record I Bought as an Audiophile

  (Item #: holstbriti_golden_import) 



British Band Classics Volume Two was the first Mercury classical LP I ever bought. After hearing it at an audiophile friend's house I went down to Tower Records and found one in the bin. I think the price was $3.99 for the Golden Import pressing, which of course was the only one available. That was what I had heard, so I had no idea that the original even existed, let alone sounded better and would one day sell for many hundreds of dollars. This was the '70s, when you could walk into a record store and buy new records, and long before HP created a feeding frenzy for vintage Mercs.
More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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