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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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White Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1907) 

Our Price: $699.99

  • 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
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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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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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Tea for the Tillerman

  (Item #: steveteafo_1907_3) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • 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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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1906) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • 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

Willie Nelson
Stardust

  (Item #: nelsostard_1906_9) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • With Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides of this exceptionally well-recorded album, this copy surely qualifies as an Audiophile Demo Disc, the best copy to hit the site in years!
  • From the first few moments of the title track you'll be blown away by the in-the-room immediacy of The Man himself
  • This copy is hi-res without sacrificing the Analog warmth that makes the recording so exceptional, especially for one from 1978
  • 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..."
See all of our Willie Nelson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Burt Bacharach
Casino Royale

  (Item #: bachacasin_1906) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • 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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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..."


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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

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1905_3) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A superb Demo Disc Quality pressing - all four sides earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades
  • Buzzing helicopters, ringing telephones, clicking typewriters and so on happen RIGHT THERE in the room with you
  • James Guthrie labored mightily to make this one as big, bold and immersive as any Prog Rock recording we know of, and succeeded brilliantly
  • Rock & Pop Top 100 - "A triumph of production..." and indisputable proof that analog in 1979 could still be absolutely amazing
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_1902_1906) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.00 (You save $50.99 / 20%)


  • 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 (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..."
See all of our Miles Davis 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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White Hot Stamper

Dave Brubeck
Tonight Only!

  (Item #: brubetonig_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • 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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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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Super Hot Stamper

Eagles
Desperado

  (Item #: eagledespe_1905_1908) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • 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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Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
The Wall

  (Item #: pinkfthewa_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This wonderful copy of The Wall earned very good Hot Stamper grades or BETTER throughout
  • Buzzing helicopters, ringing telephones, clicking typewriters and so on happen RIGHT THERE in the room with you
  • James Guthrie labored mightily to make this one as big, bold and immersive as any Prog Rock recording we know of, and succeeded brilliantly
  • Rock & Pop Top 100 - "A triumph of production..." and indisputable proof that analog in 1979 could still be absolutely amazing
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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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
  • 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

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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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 (With Issues)

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_1808_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Triple Plus (A+++) sound on first side and Double Plus (A++) on the second, making this a truly killer copy!
  • Tons of ambience and Tubey Magic - this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • This copy gives Davis's horn breath and bite, revealing the sound of the real instrument as only the best pressings can
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "The most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made"
See all of our Miles Davis 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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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

Willie Nelson
Stardust

  (Item #: nelsostard_1906_1) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides of this exceptionally well-recorded album, this copy surely qualifies as an Audiophile Demo Disc - exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • 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..."
See all of our Willie Nelson 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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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

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

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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Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_1901) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • This Miles Davis pressing offers very good Hot Stamper sound from first note to last
  • This copy plays on exceptionally quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • 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, as one encounters a multitude of timbres, tonalities, and harmonic structures seldom found in the music called jazz."
See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (with Issues)

Harry Belafonte
Sings The Blues

  (Item #: belafsings_1901_1906) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • 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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Albeniz / Falla / Granados / Spain / Reiner

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: albenspain_2230) 



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

Spain has been an audiophile favorite for a very long time. Everybody should know it by now, what with both Chesky and Classic Records remastering it in the '90s, dismally of course, as neither of these companies showed the slightest sense that they understood how lackluster, if not downright awful, the products of their efforts turned out. No doubt Analogue Productions will see fit to ruin the recording the way they ruined Scheherazade.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz


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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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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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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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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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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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Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_2013) 



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

The Citizen Kane Suite on this album is to die for -- a real desert island disc for me. (The CD by the way is actually quite good. I have it in the car and play it often.)

The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from "Hangover Square") is superbly well recorded and a brilliant piece of music as well.

More of the music of Bernard Herrmann


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Bizet / Carmen - Bernstein (3 LP Box Set)

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: bizetcarme_1) 



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

TAS List. Three Minty looking DG German Import LPs with big, beautiful sound.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


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Bloch / Concerto Grosso #1 & #2 / Hanson

  (Item #: blockconce_90223) 



This is a famous TAS list record with amazing string sound! It's incredibly textured and dynamic. I can't imagine music more dramatic than this.

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

More Mercury Recordings


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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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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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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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Buffalo Springfield - Again

Extracting the Midrange Magic

  (Item #: buffaagain_wtlf) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts concerning music and recordings.

So many copies of this album sound so bad and play so poorly that most audiophiles have by now written it off as a lost cause. But we didn't. We kept at it, and our main motivation was the music.

Extracting the midrange magic from a album like this should be the goal of every right-thinking audiophile. Who cares what's on the TAS Super Disc List? I want to play the music that I love, not because it sounds good, but because I love it. And if the only way to find good sounding copies of typically poorly-mastered, beat-to-death records such as this one is to go through a big pile of them, well then, I guess that's what we'll have to do.

More Buffalo Springfield


 
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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: bachacasin_2008) 



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

TWO STUNNING SIDES! With sound like this, I now understand why this has been such a highly regarded long-term resident of the TAS Superdisc List. A copy like this IS a TRUE SUPERDISC -- but the average copy of this album is anything but. Who could take such harsh, grainy, thin, veiled, compressed sound seriously? What was Harry smokin’?

I can honestly and truthfully say that until we discovered the Hot Stampers for this album, I never thought this record deserved the praise Harry heaped upon it. Now I do. I once was blind but now I see, or something like that.

More Burt Bacharach


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Cat Stevens & TAS List Thoughts

Harry Pearson Is Losing It

  (Item #: stevemonab_tas) 



In an issue of The Absolute Sound from a few years back Harry revisited some of his favorite records from the old days. This was one of the ones mentioned, and he made the point that only the British originals sound any good. At one time there were four Cat Stevens albums on the TAS List, all British pressings EXCEPT for Mona Bone. Why? Because Mona Bone never sounds good on import vinyl, at least not on the dozen or so early imports I’ve come across.
More Mona Bone Jakon


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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Making Progress in Audio

  (Item #: steveteafo_progress) 



The following comments were written in 2004.

Hard Headed Woman is a song that has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years. If you've been making regular upgrades to your equipment and taking advantage of all the new technologies available at the front end, such as: vibration control, electromagnetic stabilization, better arms, better cartridges, better phono stages, better motors, fly wheels, Synchronous Drive Systems, better power cords, better power conditioning, to name just a few, you are no doubt able to reproduce this song much better than you were in the old days.

More Cat Stevens


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

25th Anniversary Island LP Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_25th) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

I remember years ago (1986 to be exact) when Acoustic Sounds was selling the then in-print 25th Anniversary Island pressing (10U, as I recall) for $15, claiming that it was a TAS List Super Disc. If you've ever heard that pressing, you know it has no business going anywhere near a Super Disc List. It's mediocre at best and has virtually none of the magic of the good original pressings.

More Teaser and the Firecat / More Cat Stevens


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Chabrier / Espana & Rimsky-Korsakov / Argenta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: chabrespan_6006_2013) 



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

This London Whiteback (CS 6006) TAS List Super Disc really IS a Super Disc, with SUPERB SUPER Hot Stamper sound on both sides. It easily bested the Blueback we put up against it, and most of the pressings of Ansermet's performance on London/Decca that we like (CS 6438).

What this album has going for it over the London/Decca with Ansermet is an out of this world Capriccio Espagnol, with the kind of orchestral color and excitement that rivals the composer's Scheherazade and arguably exceeds it, compressing as it does its bright orchestration into fewer than 15 minutes of unalloyed brilliance.

More of the music of Emmanual Chabrier (1841-1894)


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Chabrier / Espana - Argenta

Reviewed & Recommended

  (Item #: chabrespan_speakerscorner) 



Sonic Grade: B

This is a Speakers Corner Decca 180 gram LP reissue of the famous Argenta performance, a recording which can sound positively amazing on the right original London, but only about 2 out of 10 copies actually do. (And where in the world are you going to find 10 clean copies of a record that’s practically 50 years old?)

This pressing gets you most of the way there, on reasonably quiet vinyl, for a lot less money.

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

More of the music of Emmanual Chabrier (1841-1894)


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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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Chet Atkins - The Other Chet Atkins

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: atkinother_2015) 



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

A stunning Double Plus (A++) side one backed with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two. Rich and tubey with clarity and punch. Chet plays all acoustic on this amazing Living Stereo recording from 1960. Bill Porter All Tube engineering and a TAS Super Disc.

More Chet Atkins


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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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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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Classic Records

First Three Classical Releases
Debunked

  (Item #: classic_180_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame Pressings, Every One

I’m reminded of the nonsense I read in TAS and elsewhere in the mid-’90s regarding the reputed superiority of the Classic Records Living Stereo reissues. After playing their first three titles: 1806, 1817 and 2222 (if memory serves), I could find no resemblance between the reviews I read and the actual sound of the records I played. The sound was, in a word, awful. To this day I consider them to be the Single Worst Reissue Series in the History of the World.


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Contemporary Jazz

One of Our Favorite Jazz Labels for Truly Audiophile Sound

  (Item #: allcontemporary) 



Contemporary did not always have the best jazz music, but it's rare to find a recording of theirs with less than top quality sound.

Click HERE to see the Contemporary records (including Fantasy reissues) we currently have on the site for sale.

And HERE to see the Contemporary records we've reviewed to date.

Finally, click HERE to see a comprehensive alphabetical listing for all the Contemporary records we have reviewed in the past as well as those currently available,


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Dave Brubeck - Time Out

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brubetimeo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

When we did a shootout for this record way back in October of 2007 we took the opportunity to play the Classic Records 200 gram pressing. Maybe we got a bad one, who knows, but that record did not sound remotely as good as the real thing (6 eye or 360, both can be quite good). The piano sounded thin and hard, which was quite unexpected given the fact that we used to consider the Classic LP one of their few winners and actually recommended it.

More Dave Brubeck


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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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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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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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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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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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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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Dick Schory - Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp

Check Your Polarity!

  (Item #: schorbangb_LSP1866_2016) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

An amazing discovery from Better Records. Many copies of this album are REVERSED POLARITY on side two (the side with Buck Dance, one of the better tracks on that side and great for testing). Yes, once again you heard it here first, folks. We had two 4S copies of the album and both of them had side two out of polarity.

NEWSFLASH: 7s on side two is out of polarity too. Just played one today. There's practically no real top end extension until you reverse the polarity.

See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock


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Dick Schory - Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: schorbangb_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

What to listen for you ask? Top end, plain and simple. It's the RARE copy that really has the incredible extension of the side two we heard recently. The space, the clarity, the harmonic complexity -- perhaps one out of ten copies will show you a side two like that.

The highs are so good on this record you can use it as a setup tool. Adjust your VTA, tracking weight and the like for the most natural and clear top end, then check for all the other qualities you want to hear. You may just find yourself operating on a higher sonic plane than you ever thought possible.

See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock


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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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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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Dire Straits - Love Over Gold

What to Listen For

  (Item #: diresloveo_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Telegraph Road does something on this copy that you won't hear on one out of twenty pressings: It ROCKS. It's got ENERGY and DRIVE.

Listen to how hard Allan Clark bangs on the piano on side one -- he's pounding that piano with all his might. No other copy managed to get the piano to pop the way it does here, clear and solid. Wow, who knew? Maybe this is the reason HP put the record on the TAS Super Disc List. (I rather doubt he's ever heard a copy this good but who's to say?)

More Dire Straits


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Dopey Record Theories

Putting Bad Ideas to the Test

  (Item #: mitchcourt_theory) 



In a recent listing for one of our Hot Stamper 2-packs we noted that side two of record one has Joni sounding thin, hard and veiled. If you look at the stampers you can see it's obviously cut by the same guy (no names please!), and we're pretty sure both sides were stamped out at the same time of day since it's impossible to do it any other way. What accounts for the amazing sound of one side and the mediocre sound of its reverse? If your theory can't account for these huge differences in sound, your theory must be seen for what it is: hopelessly, fundamentally flawed. Mistaken. Inadequate. "Dopey" works too.
More Court and Spark


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Dvorak / Cello Concerto / Starker / Dorati

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: dvoracello_90303) 



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

This very nice looking Mercury Oval Label Living Presence LP has EXCELLENT SOUND -- the string tone is relatively sweet, and there's plenty of deep powerful bass on this particular pressing.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


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Eagles - Desperado

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: eagledespe_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series. This is the second-best sounding Eagles record of all time, no doubt thanks to the engineering of our man Glyn Johns. Of course, the best sound on an Eagles record is found on the first album. For whatever reason, that record was left off the TAS Super Disc list, even though we feel that both musically and sonically it beats this one by a bit.
More Eagles' albums


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Eagles - Desperado

Which Pressing Sounds Better, the Brit SYL or Domestic Asylum?

  (Item #: eagledespe_vs) 



Short answer: They both do, or more accurately, they both can sound better than the other. It all depends on how many of each you have.

Harry Pearson famously listed the SYL pressing of this album on his TAS List of Super Discs, but most of them sure don’t sound that super to us! Play enough of them though, and if you’re lucky you just might find one like the one we did -- a lovely Brit Import SYL pressing that has SUPERB SOUND on BOTH SIDES!

See more of our Eagles' albums


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Harry Belafonte - Sings The Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: belafsings_2016) 



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

If you're looking to demonstrate just how good 1958 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the record for you.

Naturally the vocals have to be the main focus on a Harry Belafonte record. He should sound rich and tubey, yet clear, breathy and transparent. To qualify as a Hot Stamper the pressings we offer must be highly resolving, not crude and ambience-challenged the way so many modern LPs seem to be. You should be able to hear every element of the recording, with the voice and instruments surrounded by the natural space of the studios in which the recording was made.

More Harry Belafonte


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Henry Mancini - A Warm Shade of Ivory

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: manciawarm_2010) 



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

With THE BEST side one we have ever played, backed with a side two that's very nearly as good, this is a very special copy indeed! This copy was getting everything right on side one. Wide and deep stage, smooth but textured strings, background vocalists who take breaths, room around the piano, clear attack, it's all here.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs. More about that later.

More Henry Mancini


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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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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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Holst / The Planets / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: holstplane_6734_2010) 



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

This 2-pack boasts White Hot Stamper sound on side two for the Mehta Planets. Yes, it IS possible. Side two shows you what this record is actually capable of -- big WHOMP, no SMEAR, super SPACIOUS, DYNAMIC, with an EXTENDED top. It beat every London pressing we threw at it, coming out on top for our recent shootout. Folks, we 100% guarantee that whatever pressing you have of this performance, this copy will trounce it.

But side one of this London original British pressing was awful. We wrote it off as NFG after about a minute; that's all we could take of the bright, hard-sounding brass of War.

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


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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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Joan Baez - Joan Baez

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: baez_joanb_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame from 1960.

This former member of the TAS list is the kind of recording that has everything going for it: Golden Age equipment in a live acoustic with a simple arrangement for voice and guitar (or two).

The purity and complete freedom from distortion allow the listener to imagine himself, to borrow a phrase, in the Living Presence of the performer. With a record this good it takes no effort whatsoever to suspend disbelief and imagine Joan and her guitar directly in front of you, a command performance if you will.

More Joan Baez


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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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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: mitchblue_wtlf) 



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

You’ve probably heard us say this before, but top quality copies of Blue are few and far between. 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.

More Joni Mitchell


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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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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Rhino / Warners Reviewed

  (Item #: mitchblue_debunk_2014) 



Sonic Grade: B-

In March of 2007 we remarked that we would not be carrying the new 180 gram Rhino pressing of Blue. We noted at the time:

Since Kevin and Steve are [perhaps erstwhile] friends of mine I won’t belabor its shortcomings. Let’s just say I think you can do better.
More on Joni Mitchell's Masterpiece, Blue


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Joni Mitchell - Court And Spark

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: mitchcourt_scorecard) 



Sonic Grade: B

The DCC -- Not Bad!

Steve's version is very musical; it's rich and natural sounding, which of course makes it very enjoyable. You can do a lot better but you sure can do a lot worse. Opaque, veiled, lifeless, dull sound is the norm for Court and Spark -- most copies are dead as a doornail. If they're not dead, they're likely to be thin and gritty. The DCC is a big improvement over the average domestic pressing. (The original Brit imports are fairly competitive with the DCC; the later Brits with the K catalog numbers suck as a rule.)

More Joni Mitchell


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Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2009) 



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

It was a tougher shootout than Blue has ever been around these parts, but after a MASSIVE shootout this week we managed to find a copy of Court and Spark with TWO AMAZINGLY GOOD SIDES and relatively quiet vinyl. Words can hardly convey how grueling the evaluation process was this time around. We played a huge number of copies to come up with a very small handful of exceptional pressings worthy of the Hot Stamper designation. In the end, it was worth all the trouble to hear a copy like this one, which gave us the warmth and richness we had hoped for without sacrificing any clarity or energy.

More Court and Spark


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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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Joni Mitchell Discography

  (Item #: alljonimitchell) 



1968 Song to a Seagull*
1969 Clouds*
1970 Ladies of the Canyon*
1971 Blue* -- Top 100
1972 For the Roses* -- Some of her best sound
1974 Court and Spark
1974 Miles of Aisles*
1975 The Hissing of Summer Lawns*
1976 Hejira*
1977 Don Juan's Reckless Daughter*
1979 Mingus*
1980 Shadows and Light*
1982 Wild Things Run Fast* -- TAS List but shouldn't be
1985 Dog Eat Dog
1988 Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
1991 Night Ride Home
More Joni Mitchell


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Khachaturian - Spartacus & Gayneh - Khachaturian

  (Item #: khachspart_6000) 



This is a Near Mint Decca In The Box British Import LP featuring Spartacus on side one and Gayaneh on side two with the Vienna Phil.

Side Two is the BEST EVER! Just play the Sabre Dance! This famous TAS List LP has a very good side one as well, 90 to 95% the best. This is a record that deserves its Superdisc ranking. It IS a superdisc!

More Classical Music on London


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Khachaturian / Masquerade Suite / Kondrashin (LSC 2398)

  (Item #: khachmasqu_0910) 



A distinguished member of our Hall of Fame.

DEMO DISC SOUND for this TAS List Shaded Dog, with each side earning an A++ grade and playing relatively quietly!

This is a BIG one folks, as most of you probably know already. It is not easy to find copies of this album with excellent sound and fairly quiet surfaces on both sides, and if you don't believe me than I encourage you to try. The violin is so sweet and full of rosiny texture here. The whole string section is full of Living Stereo magic. The soundstage is wide and deep, the overall sound rich and warm. The midrange is nothing short of magical.

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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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Massenet / Le Cid / Fremaux / City of Birmingham Symphony

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: masselecid_emi_2013) 



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

This is a record that clearly belongs on a Super Disc list; if Harry hadn't already put it there we certainly would have. (We would love to compile a Super Disc list of our own, but unless you have just the right copy of whatever title you find on the list, you may not have anything like Super Disc sound quality, so why a list at all? It creates more problems for audiophiles than it solves.)

More of the music of Jules Massenet (1842-1912)


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