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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV

  (Item #: ) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • An outstanding Hard Rockin' Zep IV with excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • This copy is dramatically fuller and smoother than most, making it possible to get the volume up good and high where it belongs
  • Black Dog, Rock & Roll, Stairway, When the Levee Breaks and the rest - all sound better than you've ever heard them, guaranteed
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "Zeppelin fuse their majestic hard rock with a mystical, rural English folk that gives the record an epic scope."
See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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The Who

  (Item #: _Who) 


The Who albums in stock

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Hot Stamper 2-packs

Top Quality Sound from Start to Finish

  (Item #: 2-packs) 



Our unique Hot Stamper 2-packs combine two separate LPs, usually with Super Hot Stamper (or better!) sound for each side, giving you top quality sound for the entire album. In addition, on the two other sides you'll get a chance to hear what a more typical pressing (read: non-Hot Stamper) of the album sounds like.

Sometimes 2-packs include a record with two very good sounding sides, one of which has condition issues, but these are much more rare than the 2-packs we put up with records that just don't sound very good on one of their sides. Same vinyl, same press, very different sound. This is an undeniable reality in the world of records, at least for those of us who play them by the thousands. Our empirical findings may break all the rules -- rules shmules -- but that doesn't make them any less true.


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AC/DC - Back In Black

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: acdc_backi_fame) 



If you love HUGE drums, meaty guitars, and monster riffs as much as we do, you’re going to freak out over the MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES. Moments after dropping the needle we heard a prominent low octave to the intro bells that we hadn’t noticed on other copies. We kept our fingers crossed and waited for the band to kick in, hoping for some serious bottom end power. And man oh man, it was there all right! I am pleased to report that the whomp factor on this copy was nothing short of MASSIVE.

I ask you, what album from 1980 sounds better than Back in Black?

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Super Hot Stamper

AC/DC
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

  (Item #: acdc_dirty_1904_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound and exceptionally quiet vinyl on both sides of the band's 1976 release - one of the few copies to hit the site in many years!
  • These sides have plenty going on down low, real meat on the bones, all the life and energy you could ask for - pretty much everything that the average copy was lacking
  • 5 stars: "... it captured the seething malevolence of Bon Scott, the sense that he reveled in doing bad things, encouraged by the maniacal riffs of Angus and Malcolm Young who provided him with their most brutish rock & roll yet."
See all of our AC/DC albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley - Bill Evans
Know What I Mean?

  (Item #: adderknoww_1904) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this wonderful copy of one of our favorite Cannonball Adderley albums
  • 1961 recording technology coupled with the mastering technology used by the gifted George Horn results in top quality sound
  • These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track -- assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one
  • 4 stars: "It's hard to imagine any fan of mainstream jazz not finding much to love on this very fine recording."
See all of our Cannonball Adderley albums in stock


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Cannonball Adderley - Bill Evans - Know What I Mean?

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: adderknoww_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Jazz Hall of Fame.

One of our favorite Cannonball Adderley albums here at Better Records, and the sound is killer on this copy. Both sides are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. We've never heard the record sound better, and that's coming from someone who's been playing the album since the '80s when it was first reissued in its current form.

These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their living, breathing presence on every track -- assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one.

More Bill Evans / More Cannonball Adderley


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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

  (Item #: addermercy_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding 2-pack boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this 1965 release
  • One of the man's most enjoyable albums - the sound is bigger and livelier and above all balanced, avoiding many of the problems we heard on the originals
  • Joe Zawinul (Weather Report) wrote the title song, which became a big hit for Adderley (and later The Buckinghams), and he plays on the album
  • 5 Stars: "Adderley's irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well -- or with such tremendous musical rewards -- as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
See all of our Cannonball Adderley albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

  (Item #: addermercy_1905) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides of this 1965 release, one of the best copies from our shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of the man's most enjoyable albums - the sound is bigger and livelier and above all balanced
  • Joe Zawinul (Weather Report) wrote the title song, which became a big hit for Adderley (and later The Buckinghams), and he plays on the album
  • 5 Stars: "Adderley's irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well -- or with such tremendous musical rewards -- as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
See all of our Cannonball Adderley albums in stock


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Cannonball Adderley - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: addermercy_2017) 



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

I dropped the needle on a copy of this record a year or so ago and heard amazing you-are-there live jazz club sound, and, more importantly, a hot session from one of our favorite saxophone players of all time, the man who contributed mightily to the likes of Kind of Blue, Somethin' Else, Know What I Mean? and many more. For an Alto player Cannonball is just about as good as it gets.

Fast forward one year and we now have in our possession enough copies to do a proper shootout - originals and reissues on a variety of labels.

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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Somethin' Else

  (Item #: addersomet_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding sound throughout, with both sides of this 1958 release rating a solid Double Plus (A++)
  • A triumph for Rudy Van Gelder, a Top Blue Note title, and as much a showcase for Miles Davis as it is for Cannonball
  • The best copies of this album set a standard that practically no other jazz record we're aware of can meet
  • 5 stars: "Both horn players are at their peak of lyrical invention, crafting gorgeous, flowing blues lines."
  • "...signs of Milesian influence are the calm, conversational delivery of the title track and the newfound lyricism in Adderley’s playing that followed from his nightly experience at the trumpeter’s side."
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Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: addersomet_2013) 



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

A+++ SOUND, giving you a KILLER copy of one of the most beloved Blue Note albums ever! The music here is stunning -- as I'm sure most of you know, this is as much a showcase for Miles Davis as it is for Cannonball himself -- but the good news for audiophiles is that it's also one of the BEST SOUNDING BLUE NOTE ALBUMS we know of! When you hear it on a copy like this, it's just about As Good As It Gets.

More Cannonball Adderley / More Miles Davis


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Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: addersomet_classic) 



Sonic Grade: B?

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

There are certainly some incredible sounding pressings of this album out there, but who has the resources it takes to find one? Most of the Blue Notes we come across these days turn out to have mediocre sound, and many of them have severely damaged inner grooves. Even the mintiest looking copies often turn out to be too noisy for most audiophiles, Blue Note vinyl being what it is.

More Cannonball Adderley / More Miles Davis


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Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else

Rudy Van Gelder Outdoes Himself

  (Item #: addersomet_setting_the_record) 



After doing this shootout, the current consensus here at Better Records is that this album deserves to hold three -- count 'em, three -- somewhat related titles:

One, The Best Sounding Blue Note record we have ever played.

Two, The Best Sounding Jazz Record we have ever played.

Three, Rudy Van Gelder's Best Engineering (based on the copies we played).

More Cannonball Adderley / More Miles Davis


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Super Hot Stamper

Aerosmith
Get Your Wings

  (Item #: aerosgetyo_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding copy of Aerosmith's dynamic sophomore release boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom
  • This album launched the band's collaboration with Jack Douglas, who helped develop their distinctive sound and propel them from obscurity to stardom
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Get Your Wings, is where Aerosmith became Aerosmith ... it's where they shed much of their influences and developed their own trademark sound, it's where they turned into songwriters...they're doing their bloozy bluster better and bolder, which is what turns this sophomore effort into their first classic"
See all of our Aerosmith albums in stock


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Aerosmith -Toys in the Attic

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: aerostoysi_2011) 



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

Looking for killer sound for both sides of this fun album? You've come to the right place! This unusually lively pressing combines a stunning A+++ side one with an equally wonderful, giving you White Hot Stamper sound from start to finish! The transparency here is exceptional, allowing you to hear all the musician's contributions without the veiling and congestion that you get on most pressings. Sweet Emotion is a KNOCKOUT on this copy.


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Airto - Fingers

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: airtofinge_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

At times this record really sounds like what it is: a bunch of guys in a big room beating the hell out of their drums and singing at the the top of their lungs. You gotta give RVG credit for capturing so much of that energy on tape and transferring that energy onto a slab of vinyl.

Of course this assumes that the record in question actually does have the energy of the best copies. It's also hard to know who or what is to blame when it doesn't, since even the good stampers sound mediocre most of the time. Bad vinyl, worn out stampers, poor pressing cycle, it could be practically anything.

More Airto


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Airto - Fingers

Truly a Desert Island Disc

  (Item #: airtofinge_obsess) 



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

Fingers is one of our all time favorite records, a Desert Island disc to be sure. I've been playing this album for more than thirty years and it just keeps getting better and better. Truthfully it's the only Airto record I like. I can't stand Dafos, and most of the other Airto titles leave me cold. I think a lot of the credit for the brilliance of this album has to go to the Fattoruso brothers, who play keyboards, drums, and take part in the large vocal groupings that sing along with Airto.

More Airto


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Airto - Fingers

High Frequency Extension Is Key to the Best Pressings

  (Item #: airtofinge_wtlf) 



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

The best copies have the highs that are missing from so many of the CTI originals. When you play them against most copies there is an extension to the top end that you won't hear elsewhere. Since this album is heavy on percussion, that difference is critical. The HARMONICS of the percussion are critically important to the music. When they go missing it's as if the music seems to slow down, a strange effect but a fairly common one with rhythmically dense arrangements such as these.

More Airto


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Our Favorite Studios (First of a Series)

Columbia 30th Street Studios

  (Item #: allcolumbia30th) 



Columbia 30th Street Studios is one of our favorite recording venues. Click on the link above to find our in-stock Hot Stamper pressings of albums recorded at that location from 1949 to 1981. The list of recordings made there stretches from West Side Story to Kind of Blue, all the way up to Pink Floyd's The Wall in 1979. (Who knew?)
More Recording Venues We Love


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Don Sebesky

One of Our Favorite Arrangers

  (Item #: alldon_sebesky) 



DON SEBESKY is one of our favorite arrangers.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers series


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The Doobie Brothers Discography and Bio

  (Item #: alldoobiebrothers) 



The Doobie Brothers (1971)
Toulouse Street (1972)
The Captain and Me (1973)
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974)
Stampede (1975)
Takin’ It to the Streets (1976)
Livin’ on the Fault Line (1977)
Minute by Minute (1978)
One Step Closer (1980)
Farewell Tour (1983)
More Doobie Brothers


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EMI

Home to a Select Group of Our Favorite Classical Recordings

  (Item #: allemi) 



We've never been all that hot on EMI's orchestral recordings. We discuss the issue at some length below for those of you who may be interested. An excerpt:

We could never understand why audiophiles revered EMI the way they did back in the '70s. I chalk it up to the limitations of the equipment, bad rooms and poor record cleaning.

EMI Classical Albums with Hot Stampers

EMI Classical Albums We've Reviewed


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Fleetwood Mac Discography

  (Item #: allfleetwoodmac) 



1968 Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
1968 Mr. Wonderful
1969 Then Play On
1969 English Rose (compilation)
1969 Pious Bird of Good Omen (compilation)
1970 Kiln House
1971 Future Games
1971 Black Magic Woman (compilation)
1969 Greatest Hits
1972 Bare Trees
1973 Penguin
1973 Mystery to Me
1974 Heroes Are Hard to Find
1975 Fleetwood Mac
1977 Rumours
1979 Tusk
1980 Fleetwood Mac Live [bad sound]
1982 Mirage


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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Glyn Johns

  (Item #: allglynjohns) 



GLYN JOHNS is one of our favorite producers and engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Glyn Johns engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.

It was only about 2000 or so that we discovered what an amazing engineer and producer Glyn Johns is. A Hot Stamper of the first Eagles album (his masterpiece) on the original Asylum White Label blew my mind, produced and engineered by none other, so I quickly started looking around for other records he might have had a hand in. How about Who's Next. Let It Bleed. On The Border (my personal favorite Eagles album). Led Zeppelin's debut (my favorite Zep LP). A Nod Is As Good As A Wink. All his.

More Engineers, Producers and Arrangers


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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Kenneth Wilkinson

  (Item #: allkenneth_wilkinson) 



KENNETH WILKINSON is one of our favorite engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Kenneth Wilkinson engineered albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Recordings made in Kingsway Hall


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Ken Scott

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allkenscott) 



KEN SCOTT is one of our favorite record engineers and producers. Click on the link to find the albums on our site that Ken worked on, along with plenty of our commentaries about the sound of his recordings.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Super Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers Band
... At Fillmore East

  (Item #: allmaatfil_1904) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With four outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this Pink Label original is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other copy you've heard
  • This is one of the all-time great live albums, and with a copy like this one YOU ARE THERE at the Fillmore
  • The WHOMP factor here kicks up the excitement - here is the low-end foundation that lets the extended guitar jams work
  • 5 stars: "At Fillmore East is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians' interaction and playing... The pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock at its most elastic, bluesy, and jazzy."
See all of our Allman Brothers albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers
... At Fillmore East

  (Item #: allmaatfil_1905) 

Our Price: $449.99

  • With four insanely good sides, all rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it, this Pink Label original is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other copy you've heard, and the vinyl is as QUIET as it gets
  • This is one of the all-time great live albums, and with a copy like this one YOU ARE THERE at the Fillmore
  • The WHOMP factor here kicks up the excitement - here is the low end foundation that lets the extended guitar jams work
  • 5 stars: "At Fillmore East is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians' interaction and playing... The pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock at its most elastic, bluesy, and jazzy."
See all of our Allman Brothers albums in stock


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The Allman Brothers ... At Fillmore East

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: allmaatfil_2011) 



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

There was a time when we never dreamed we’d find a copy of this hard rockin’ live album with SUPERB SOUND and QUIET VINYL on all four sides, but we got a hold of a seriously hot one here! This is one of the all-time great live albums, and with a copy like this one YOU ARE THERE at the Fillmore!

More Allman Brothers


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Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers
Brothers and Sisters

  (Item #: allmabroth_1811) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • A very respectable copy, with each side earning Hot Stamper grades - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 4 stars on Allmusic and the band's commercial peak, featuring great songs as well as stellar guitar work from Dickie Betts
  • "The Allman Brothers Band's first new studio album in two years shows off a leaner brand of musicianship, which, coupled with a pair of serious crowd-pleasers, "Ramblin' Man" and "Jessica," helped drive it to the top of the charts for a month and a half and to platinum record sales."
See all of our Allman Brothers albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers
Brothers and Sisters

  (Item #: allmabroth_1901_1904) 

Our Price: $199.99
Sale Price: $149.00 (You save $50.99 / 25%)


  • An awesome pressing with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades on both sides, just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Dramatically better than practically every other pressing we played - super lively, full-bodied and clear with real extension up top and down low
  • 4 stars on Allmusic and the band's commercial peak, featuring great songs as well as stellar guitar work from Dickie Betts
  • "The Allman Brothers Band's first new studio album in two years shows off a leaner brand of musicianship, which, coupled with a pair of serious crowd-pleasers, "Ramblin' Man" and "Jessica," helped drive it to the top of the charts for a month and a half and to platinum record sales."
See all of our Allman Brothers albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

The Allman Brothers
Eat A Peach

  (Item #: allmaeatap_1803_1903) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides - these two discs are rockin' from first note to last
  • The heartfelt radio-friendly songs such as Melissa and Little Martha keep up the energy and add to the enjoyment factor
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl for this title -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • 5 stars: "The record showcases the Allmans at their peak, and it's hard not to feel sad as the acoustic guitars of "Little Martha" conclude the record, since this tribute isn't just heartfelt, it offers proof of Duane Allman's immense talents and contribution to the band."
See all of our Allman Bros. albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers
Eat A Peach

  (Item #: allmaeatap_1904) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides - these two discs are rockin' from first note to last
  • The heartfelt radio-friendly songs such as Melissa and Little Martha keep up the energy and add to the enjoyment factor
  • Decent vinyl for this title - Mint Minus Minus - if you would like a quieter copy we probably have one on the site
  • 5 stars: "The record showcases the Allmans at their peak, and it's hard not to feel sad as the acoustic guitars of "Little Martha" conclude the record, since this tribute isn't just heartfelt, it offers proof of Duane Allman's immense talents and contribution to the band."
More Eat a Peach


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The Allman Brothers - Eat a Peach

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: allmaeatap_2008) 



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

THE ALLMAN’S MASTERPIECE CONQUERED AT LAST! I don’t think you could find a more tubey magical Southern Rock record than this! We just shot out a huge stack of these double LPs, no mean feat, and this Original Capricorn pressing manhandled the competition, rating A++ or better on ALL FOUR SIDES. Not only that, but the vinyl plays mostly Mint Minus throughout -- exceptionally quiet for an old Allman Brothers record.

More Allman Brothers


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Gregg Allman - Laid Back

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: allmalaidb_2017) 



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

We were surprised at how well recorded the album is, dramatically better than the Allmans' album from the same year, Brothers and Sisters. Full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with especially smooth, present vocals, this is the sound we love at Better Records.

More Allman Brothers


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Pablo Jazz

One of Our Favorite Labels for Audiophile Sound Quality

  (Item #: allpablo) 



Visit this link to find our in-stock Pablo Jazz albums.

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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Rhett Davies

  (Item #: allrhettdavies) 



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

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

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Ron Nevison

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allronnevison) 



RON NEVISON is one of our favorite engineers. He recorded Bad Company's debut, a Top 100 album for us, as well as Straight Shooter. In 1973 he engineered Quadrophenia, taking the reins away from Glyn Johns after his success with the amazing Who's Next.

1977 saw him working on the sprawling mess that turned into Physical Graffitti.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Sergio Mendes Discography

  (Item #: allsergiomendes) 



1966 Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
1967 Equinox
1967 Look Around
1968 Fool on the Hill
1969 Crystal Illusions
1969 Ye-Me-Le
1970 Stillness
More Sergio Mendes


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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Stephen Barncard

  (Item #: allstephenbarncard) 



STEPHEN BARNCARD is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Click on his name to find our in-stock Stephen Barncard engineered albums, along with some of our commentaries for same.

Barncard is the recording engineer on Tarkio, one of our All Time Favorite Records. He's also the man behind one of the ten best sounding rock recordings we have ever played, If I Could Only Remember My Name.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Super Hot Stamper

Ambrosia
Ambrosia

  (Item #: ambroambro_1904) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • Spectacular Prog Rock sound explodes on this copy of the band's phenomenally well-recorded debut album, mixed by none other than Alan Parsons
  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout, this copy has the sound we were looking for - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Big Whomp Factor here - the bottom end is huge and punchy on this copy, like nothing you've heard
  • A Better Records All-Time Favorite & Top 100 Demo Disc: " Its songs skillfully blend strong melodic hooks and smooth vocal harmonies with music of an almost symphonic density."
See all of our Ambrosia albums in stock


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Conducting Your Own Shootouts

How Novel Patterns Emerge

  (Item #: ambroambro_2014) 


When you sit down to play ten or twelve copies of an album, one right after the other, patterns in the sound are going to emerge from that experience, patterns which would be very likely to pass unnoticed when playing one copy against another or two over the course of the twenty or thirty minutes it would take to do it.

In the case of this album, the pattern we perceived was simply this: About one or two out of that dozen or so will have punchy, solid, rich, deep bass. (There is a huge amount of bass on the recording, so recognizing those special copies is not the least bit difficult if you have a full-range speaker and a properly treated room.)

More Shootout Advice


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Ambrosia - Ambrosia

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: ambroambro_obsess) 



AMBROSIA is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it. It's also part of our extensive Listening in Depth series. There is no question that this band, their producers and their engineers sweated every detail of this remarkable recording. They went the distance. In the end they brought in Alan Parsons to mix it, and Doug Sax to master it. The result is a masterpiece, an album that stands above all others.
More Ambrosia


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Ambrosia

... finding the HOLY GRAIL copy...

  (Item #: ambroambro_testimonial) 



Our good customer Ed likes doing his own shootouts, and to that we say Hear Hear -- more power to ya. He had about a dozen copies of Ambrosia's debut on hand and thought he might actually have one or two that were pretty special. Then he popped for one of our Super Hot Stamper copies and heard why we've been such big fans of the album. Here is his story.
More Ambrosia


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Ambrosia - One Eighty

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: ambrooneei_2013) 



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

This is smooth, rich ANALOG at its best, easy on the ears as we like to say.

This is clearly the poppier side of Ambrosia, containing as it does two of their highest-charting mainstream hits, Biggest Part of Me (#3) and You're the Only Woman (#13). I myself of course prefer the proggy first two albums, falling as they do into the broad category of Art Rock where my favorite albums by Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Roxy Music, Supertramp, 10cc, later-period Beatles, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Traffic and so many others from the last forty-plus years can be found.

More Ambrosia


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Ambrosia - One Eighty

A Little Soft Rock Never Hurt Anybody, Right?

  (Item #: ambrooneei_soft_rock) 



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

One Eighty has an excellent mix of rock songs and softer pop ballads. The last track, Biggest Part Of Me, no matter how many times you may have heard it on the radio is an exceptionally well-produced (designed?) piece of songcraft that will tug at anyone's heartstrings, anyone who has a heart that is (if I may quote the title of the best song Burt Bacharach ever wrote). On a big audiophile system it should be both powerful and emotional.

More Ambrosia


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Super Hot Stamper

Ambrosia
Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled

  (Item #: ambrosomew_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them on both sides of this truly phenomenal '70s Big Rock Production - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The best sides have the trademark Alan Parsons sound, with huge amounts of space in the studio, and the kind of musical energy that made the first Ambrosia album (which he mixed) such a joy to play
  • This band, their producers, and their engineers sweated every detail of this remarkable recording
  • "There is an unusual dreamlike quality that pervades its work. The songs seem to be reaching the listener direct from some strange and beautiful realm of the unconscious. It is an experience rare in popular music today or at any time. " - Billboard
See all of our Ambrosia albums in stock


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Ambrosia - Somewhere I've Never Travelled

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: ambrosomew_2012) 



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

This SUPERB WHITE HOT STAMPER copy is our overall winner from the recent huge Hot Stamper shootout we did for Ambrosia’s second -- and second best -- album. Friends, it’s been a long time coming but, judging by this copy and the others which fared well, it was worth it. We LOVE this music.

Ambrosia is one of the few groups that has mastered the technique of being both far-out galactic in scope of vision and mainstream AM commercial in execution... There is an unusual dreamlike quality that pervades its work. The songs seem to be reaching the listener direct from some strange and beautiful realm of the unconscious. It is an experience rare in popular music today, or at any time.

Billboard, 1977



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Ambrosia and Its Elusive Hot Stampers

"Press on" - Sage Advice from Calvin Coolidge

  (Item #: ambrosomew_mistake_2014) 



“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge

If you substitute "finding Hot Stamper pressings" for the words "the human race" you will surely appreciate the point of this commentary.

More Ambrosia


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Super Hot Stamper

America
America

  (Item #: ameriameri_1805_1904) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An outstanding early WB Green Label pressing of the band's debut album with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of our favorite Hippie Folk Rock albums - the instruments and voices will appear to be right in your listening room
  • The Tubey Magical acoustic guitars on this record are a true test of stereo reproduction - thanks Ken Scott!
  • 4 stars: "America's debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg..."
More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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White Hot Stamper

America
America

  (Item #: ameriameri_1902_1904) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • This incredible copy of the band's debut album boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • One of our favorite Hippie Folk Rock albums - the instruments and voices seem to be right in your listening room
  • The Tubey Magical acoustic guitars on this record are a true test of stereo reproduction - thanks Ken Scott!
  • 4 stars: "America's debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg..."
More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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America - America

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: ameriameri_2009) 



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

TUBEY MAGICAL practically MASTER TAPE SOUND on side one! A good sounding copy of this album is a real treat; a superb sounding copy like this one is an EXPERIENCE! We’ve been playing this album for years but I cannot recall a copy with a more extended top end than the ones here. The transparency is off the charts. Side one is natural, relaxed, musical, sweet, tonally correct from top to bottom and overflowing with Tubey Magic.

More America


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America - America

Listening for Harmonically Correct Acoustic Guitars

  (Item #: ameriameri_listen) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The guitars on this record are a true test of stereo fidelity. As it says below, most of the pressings of this record do not get the guitars to sound right. They often sound veiled and dull, and on a copy with a bit too much top end they will have an unnatural hi-fi-ish sparkle.

(This kind of sparkle can be heard on practically every record Mobile Fidelity made in the ’70s and ’80s. Tea for the Tillerman, Sundown, Year of the Cat, Finger Paintings, Byrd at the Gate, Quarter Moon in a 10 Cent Town -- the list would be very long indeed, and these are just the records with prominent acoustic guitars!)

See all of our America albums in stock


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The Ames Brothers with Esquivel - Hello Amigos

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: amesbhello_2014) 



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

This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. This is vintage analog at its best, so rich and relaxed you'll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to "improve" upon it.

This recording is the very definition of The Sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, nor will any CD ever be able to capture what is in the grooves of this pressing.

1960 - It Was a Very Good Year


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Super Hot Stamper

Gene Ammons
Blue Gene

  (Item #: ammonblueg_1904) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This wonderful Prestige jazz classic boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of the best sounding Ammons records we know of - it's huge, rich and Tubey Magical, with a solid bottom end and energy to beat them all
  • Clean and clear and open are nice qualities to have, but rich and full are harder to come by on this record - this pressing has it all
  • "Some ballad performances in his oeuvre are a testament to an exceptional sense of intonation and melodic symmetry, powerful lyrical expressiveness, and mastery both of the blues and the bebop vernacular that can now be described as, in its own way, 'classical.'"
See all of our Gene Ammons albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Gene Ammons
The Gene Ammons Story: Gentle Jug

  (Item #: ammongenea_1901) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish for this Moodsville Classic - on fairly quiet vinyl too!
  • These two killer Rudy Van Gelder recordings capture the truly wonderful sound of Ammons' smooth, rich, breathy, bluesy sax
  • We love the reverb RVG placed on the drums here - it's sounds just right for a classic jazz album from the '60s
  • "...the tradition of the tenor ballad was fully defined by Gene Ammons and Ben Webster... this [album] is the source of a tradition. One of the absolute necessities to any jazz collection."
See all of our Gene Ammons albums in stock


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Joan Armatrading - Joan Armatrading

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: armatjoana_2008) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES! We’ve known for quite some time that this can be an amazing sounding record, but until this week we didn’t realize just how stunning the best copies can be! This one’s an absolute knockout -- side one earned the high grade of A++ while side two is As Good As It Gets!


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
The Essential Louis Armstrong

  (Item #: armstessen_1812) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • With solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout, this original stereo copy will be hard to beat
  • Big, rich, and Tubey Magical, Louis Armstrong has rarely sounded this good on record - we should know, we've played his albums by the score
  • This pressing boasts rich lower mids and nice extension up top, critical to getting the right sound for this vintage recording
  • "... a definitive look at the Louis Armstrong All-Stars in their later years, when Tyree Glenn was on trombone and the group was riding high from the success of "Hello Dolly."
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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Louis Armstrong - The Essential Louis Armstrong

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: armstessen_2017) 



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

We're always on the lookout for Louis Armstrong records with good sound. In our experience finding them is not nearly as easy as one might think. Far too many of his recordings are poorly recorded, with sound that simply can't be taken seriously -- fine for old consoles but not so good on modern audiophile equipment.

More Louis Armstrong


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington
The Great Reunion

  (Item #: armstgreat_1901_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $129.00 (You save $20.99 / 14%)


  • With two excellent sides each rating a solid Double Plus (A++), this vintage stereo pressing was one of the better copies in our most recent shootout
  • Both sides are big, spacious and absolutely jumping out of the speakers, with rich, smooth sound
  • We remember the Classic pressing as being a very good sounding record but make no mistake, this is a GREAT sounding one
  • 4 1/2 stars: "One of the best things about this configuration is the sound of the Duke’s piano - an underrated pianist, he seldom recorded in such an intimate context."
More Louis Armstrong / More Duke Ellington


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Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington - The Great Reunion

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: armstgreat_2017) 



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

With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this original stereo copy simply could not be beat. So big, so rich, so Tubey Magical, we guarantee you have never heard Louis Armstrong sound remotely as good as he does here. We remember the Classic pressing as being a very good sounding record, but make no mistake, this is a GREAT sounding one.

More Duke Ellington


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
I've Got The World On A String

  (Item #: armstivego_1810_1904) 

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


  • This outstanding pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Russell Garcia's orchestral arrangements and Louis Armstrong's sublime interpretations of The Great American Songbook are a match made in heaven
  • Classic Records remastered this title back in their heyday, but if you have any doubts that our Hot Stamper will murder it we encourage you to do the shootout for yourself
  • "Armstrong finds the essence of each tune, bending and projecting them with his patented joie de vivre and gravel-voiced warmth every time."
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
I've Got The World On A String

  (Item #: armstivego_1901) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An insanely good sounding original pressing with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side one
  • One of the best copies from our most recent shootout (especially on the first side) - the sound is big, full, lively and spacious
  • Russell Garcia's orchestral arrangements and Louis Armstrong's sublime interpretations of The Great American Songbook are a match made in heaven
  • "Armstrong finds the essence of each tune, bending and projecting them with his patented joie de vivre and gravel-voiced warmth every time."
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: armstivego_2018) 



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

You may have seen Russell Garcia's name on one of the landmark recordings of the '50s: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's recording of Porgy and Bess for Verve in the previous year, 1959. Watch for copies coming to the site one of these days.

[One of these days has arrived -- click here to see the results.]

We've discovered some exceptional original and reissue pressings (as well as some that really do a disservice to the music and the engineers who recorded it. What else is new in the world of records?).

More Louis Armstrong


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

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: armstivego_classic_records) 



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


Sonic Grade: B (probably)

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

More Louis Armstrong


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The Association - Goodbye, Columbus

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: assocgoodb_2009) 



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

This green label original pressing TROUNCED our other copies. Recorded by Bones Howe, the midrange is pure tubey magic! If you have the kind of system that brings out that quality in a recording, you will get a lot out of this one. It’s so good, it made me appreciate some of the instrumentals on the album which I had previously dismissed as filler. When you hear them sound this good, you can actually enjoy them!

You get rich, sweet, open, textured, natural, tonally correct sound here on side, A++ all the way! Side two is almost as good at A+, with some smear causing us to drop the grade.

And it’s quiet!



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Super Hot Stamper

The Association
Insight Out

  (Item #: associnsig_1901) 

Our Price: $99.99
Sale Price: $79.00 (You save $20.99 / 21%)


  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - Windy and Never My Love are simply amazing here - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The Tubey Magical sound, the lively, tight playing by The Wrecking Crew, not to mention some killer Chart Topping '60s pop, make this THE Association record to own
  • With this copy the Sound of the Sixties will fill your room like never before - wall to wall, floor to ceiling, with layers upon layers of depth
  • "The harmonies and choruses are among the most beautifully textured singing in a rock outfit this side of the Beach Boys."
See all of our Association albums in stock


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The Association - Insight Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: associnsig_2010) 



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

The sound of the Sixties will fill your room like never before -- wall to wall, floor to ceiling, with layers upon layers of depth. You would be very hard pressed to find a pop rock recording from 1967 that sounds as good as a Hot Stamper Insight Out. (Sgt. Pepper comes to mind, but what else?) Can you imagine the Mamas and the Papas or The Jefferson Airplane with this kind of rich, sweet, open, textured, natural, tonally correct recording quality?

More of The Association


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The Association - Insight Out

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: associnsig_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

The real stars of Windy (and the album itself) are Hal Blaine and Joe Osborne, the famous session drummer/ bass player team from The Wrecking Crew who create the driving force behind these songs. Osborne's web site puts Windy front and center as the first track demonstrating what a top rhythm section can do for a pop song. This whole album can be enjoyed simply for the great drum and bass work, not to mention the sound that both instruments are given by the Master of Tubey Magical Pop Recording, Mr. BONES HOWE.

More of The Association


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Chet Atkins - The Atkins-Travis Traveling Show

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: atkinatkin_2011) 



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

Somewhat better than Hot Stamper sound for this Chet Atkins record from 1974, recorded at the legendary (especially for audiophiles who appreciate naturalness) Nashville RCA Studios. There's plenty of Tubey Magic on both sides of this pressing, just a bit more than ideal in fact, as it can get a little thick at times. But the sound of these two pickers pickin' away is positively JUMPIN' out of the speakers, with that live-in-the-studio sound we love here at Better Records. We grade both sides A+ to A++. The sound was essentially the same on both sides, the differences not worth mentioning.

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.

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Chet Atkins - Travelin’

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: atkintrave_2011) 



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

This original White Dog Black Label RCA pressing may not say Living Stereo on the label, but it sure has the kind of Living Stereo sound we audiophiles have come to love. It's got the sound of RCA's Nashville studios and Bill Porter's engineering all over it, not to mention the kind of 1963 Tubey Magical Analog that would be long gone by the time the decade came to an end.

Along with George Harrison, who wrote the liner notes for Chet Atkins Picks on The Beatles, we're proud to call ourselves Chet Atkins fans.

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Audiophilia 101

What Kind of Audio Fool Was I?

  (Item #: audiophile101) 



Today’s audiophile seems to be making the same mistakes I was making as a budding audiophile more than thirty years ago. Heavy Viny, the 45 RPM 2 LP pressing, the Half-Speed Limited Edition -- aren’t these all just the latest audiophile fads, each with a track record progressively more dismal than the next?
See more commentaries on Record Collecting


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Mike Auldridge - Dobro

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: auldrdobro_2013) 



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

This is practically the only Bluegrass album we can honestly say we enjoy listening to. The sound is superb, with lots of picked instruments of every description, but what really sets this one apart is that the music is relaxed, not frenetic, drawing you in, not pushing you away. This is a great album, folks, one that belongs in your collection. If you're a fan of Chet Atkins this is probably a Must Own, and we are big fans of Chet here at Better Records.

More Mike Auldridge


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Better Records’
Record Collecting Axioms

  (Item #: axiom) 



In an old commentary for a shootout we did for Carole King’s Tapestry album we took shots at both the CBS Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile pressing and the Classic Heavy Vinyl Audiophile pressing, noting that both fell far short of the standard set by the Hot Stamper copies we'd discovered. This finding (and scores of others just like it) prompted us to promulgate the following axiom of audiophile record collecting, which we are calling...
See more commentaries on Record Collecting


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Super Hot Stamper

The B-52's
The B-52's

  (Item #: b-52sb-52s_1901) 

Our Price: $99.99
Sale Price: $79.00 (You save $20.99 / 21%)


  • With a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one and a side two that's close to it, this vintage pressing has plenty of analog magic in its grooves
  • Tubey Magic in 1979? Somehow they managed to pull it off. So dynamic too. What a recording!
  • A New Wave Classic and 5 stars in the All Music Guide: "These songs illustrated that the B-52's' adoration of camp culture... was a world view capable of turning out brilliant pop singles and, in turn, influencing mainstream pop culture... a hell of a good time."
See more of our B-52s albums in stock


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The B-52s - The B-52s

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: b-52sb-52s_2013) 



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

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES for this amazingly well-recorded album! We think some of you will bo shocked at just how good the sound can be. And you may or may not be surprised at just how FUN the music is! It's sure to be a future member of our Rock and Pop Top 100. (UPDATE: It has officially made the list.)

See more of our B-52s albums in stock


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JS Bach and Liszt / Organ Music / Richter

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: bach_organ_6172) 



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

This is a Minty looking London Red Label LP with Virtually No Sign Of Play (VNSOP).

You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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JS Bach / Organ Music / Richter

  (Item #: bach_organ_6173) 



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

This London Whiteback pressing of CS 6173 has SUPERB SOUND! Like its brother, CS 6172, recorded by Richter in 1954, probably on the same day, the sound of this early stereo 2 mic recording is amazingly spacious and rich.

Here's what I said about 6172; You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician manage to do.

More of the music of JS Bach (1685-1750)


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JS Bach / Glenn Gould Plays Bach / Gould

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: bach_parti_2012) 



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

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

This set is highly regarded in classical circles and does not sit in the used record bins for cheap, even in reissue form, which limits our ability to find them and try them. On top of that there are six sides to play for every copy, so if is very unlikely we will be able to find a better copy for you down the road than this one anytime soon. The surfaces are about Mint Minus Minus, not bad for a solo piano record but not exactly quiet either.


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JS Bach / Suite #2 / Janigro

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: bach_suite_2007) 



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

This is a 1S/ 1S Indianapolis pressing with A1 metal mothers from 1960 with sweet sound! Perfectly fitting for these Baroque pieces recorded in Italy.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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JS Bach / Virgil Fox -The Fox Touch, Volume 1

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: bach_thefo_fame) 



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

[This review was written in 2010. Since then I have played copies of these Crystal Clear organ recordings and been much less impressed. The ambience is a fraction of what it should be, and the reason I know that is that the vintage organ recordings I play have dramatically more size and space than these audiophile pressings do. Live and Learn.]

Are we changing our tune about Audiophile records? Not in the least; we love the ones that sound right. The fact that so few of them do is not our fault.

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


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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: bachacasin_2008) 



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. And by the way, does his copy sound as good as this one? I would bet money right now that this monster is clearly the better pressing.

See all of our Burt Bacharach albums in stock


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Burt Bacharach - Reach Out

What to Listen For

  (Item #: bachareach_wtlf) 



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

What to listen for? Brightness, Blare, Lifelessness, Smear.

We played a good-sized stack of these recently, but not many of them sounded like this one. The majority of copies had a tendency to be bright, which is MURDER when the horns start blaring at the levels we like to play our records at.

In addition there are plenty of copies out there that lack energy, while others suffer from transient smearing, clearly audible on the brass.

See all of our Burt Bacharach albums in stock


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Why Own a Turntable if You're Going to Play Mediocrities Like These?

  (Item #: bad180) 



This commentary was posted in 2007 and amended later with the statement that we would no longer be ordering new heavy vinyl titles starting in 2010. By 2011 we had eliminated them completely from our site. If you bought any Heavy Vinyl pressing from us, ever, now is the time to get rid of it and hear what a Hot Stamper can do for your musical enjoyment.

Three of the Top Five sellers this week (8/22/07) at Acoustic Sounds are records we found hard to like: Aja, Aqualung and Blue. Can you really defend the expense and hassle of analog LP playback with records that sound as mediocre as this Rhino pressing of Blue?


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Good Audio Advice

and Otherwise

  (Item #: badadvice) 



[This is an updated version of a commentary written in 2009.]

The latest Mapleshade catalog (Spring 09) has, along with hundreds of recommendations, this little piece of audio advice that caught my eye:

For much improved bass and huge soundstage, put your listening chair or sofa right against the wall behind you. Move your speakers in to 5’ in front of you and 7’ or more apart. No room treatments will yield this much bass improvement.

I literally had to read through it a couple of times to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but every time I read it it still said the same thing, so I know I can’t have been dreaming. This is crazy talk! What the hell is wrong with these people?
More Audio Advice


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Super Hot Stamper

Bad Company
Bad Company

  (Item #: badcobadco_1905) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • An outstanding copy of Bad Co's '70s classic debut with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it throughout
  • Both sides have wonderful sound - huge, present, punchy, lively, and Tubey Magical
  • A member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100, and a Must Own Classic Rock title from 1974
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Bad Company's 1974 self-titled release stands as one of the most important and accomplished debut hard rock albums from the '70s ... it was one of the most successful steps in the continuing evolution of rock & roll."
See all of our Bad Company albums in stock


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Bad Company - Bad Company

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: badcobadco_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and a recording that comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

MONSTROUS MASTER TAPE SOUND! The sound was JUMPING out of the speakers and filling the room.

Sometimes a copy is just BIGGER than the others - it's somehow physically wider and taller than other pressings, how we haven't a clue -- and that's exactly what this copy had more of than any other: SIZE. If you've never heard a rock record like this -- and knowing how rare they are it's more than possible -- you are in for a treat here.

More Bad Company


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Bad Company - Run With The Pack

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: badcorunwi_2013) 



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

SUPERB SOUND on Hot Stamper 2-pack! This is not an easy album to find with audiophile sound, and since our best sides were less impressive on their flipsides, we paired up these two copies to give you incredible sound for the album from first note to last.

Side two of the second record is the real deal, with BIG, RICH and ROCKIN' White Hot Stamper sound. Side one of the first record is nearly as good (A++ to A+++), boasting exceptional transparency, excellent balance and something we didn't hear on most copies: ENERGY.

More Bad Company


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Super Hot Stamper

Bad Company
Straight Shooter

  (Item #: badcostrai_1901_1) 

Our Price: $99.99
Sale Price: $69.00 (You save $30.99 / 31%)


  • An outstanding copy of Straight Shooter, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • If you're playing this one good and loud you'll feel like you're in the room with the boys as they kick out the jams
  • Take it from us, it is not easy to find a copy that's right, with size, clarity, balance and energy
  • 4 stars: "Vocalist and songwriter Paul Rodgers wrote two acoustic-based rock ballads that would live on forever in the annals of great rock history: 'Shooting Star' and the Grammy-winning 'Feel Like Makin' Love.'"
See all of our Bad Company albums in stock


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Bad Company - Straight Shooter

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: badcostrai_2009) 



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

We just finished a shootout for this hard-rockin’ album, our first since way back in January of ’08, and what we were hearing this time around BLEW OUR MINDS. This record got a whole lot better over the course of the last twenty months or so. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the drum sound on this record is the most present, punchy and realistic I have ever heard on a record.

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Straight Shooting with Bad Company

Check Out the Punch in the Snare

  (Item #: badcostrai_snare) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

In late 2009 we had just finished a shootout for this hard-rockin’ album, our first since January of ’08, and what we were hearing this time around BLEW OUR MINDS. This record got a whole lot better over the course of the last twenty months or so. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the drum sound on this record is the right up there with the most present, punchy and realistic I have ever heard on record.

I saw a friend’s band play recently in a small club and remember thinking how amazingly punchy the snare sounded (the sound coming from the live instrument itself and the club’s speakers) and this record has that kind of drum sound!.

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White Hot Stamper

Badfinger
Straight Up

  (Item #: badfistrai_1904) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A KILLER copy with stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • Rich, clear and lively, with 3-D studio space, this is the band's Masterpiece sounding right
  • On the best copies - like this one - the music just JUMPS out of the speakers
  • 4 1/2 stars: "There's absolutely no filler... everybody is in top form. "Baby Blue" is textbook power-pop — irresistibly catchy fuzz riffs and sighing melodies — and with its Harrison-esque slide guitars, "Day After Day" is so gorgeous it practically aches. This fine songwriting, combined with sharp performances and exquisite studio craft, make Straight Up one of the cornerstones of power-pop, a record that proved that it was possible to make classic guitar-pop after its golden era had passed."
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Super Hot Stamper

Badfinger
Straight Up

  (Item #: badfistrai_1904_2) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A KILLER copy with Double Plus sound (A++) or BETTER on both sides - if you choose to own only one Badfinger album, make it this one
  • Clean, clear and dynamic with real studio space and transparency, this is the way to hear the band's masterpiece - reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • The sound here just JUMPS out of the speakers, which is exactly what the best copies of the album are supposed to (but rarely) do
  • 4 1/2 stars: "This fine songwriting, combined with sharp performances and exquisite studio craft, make Straight Up one of the cornerstones of power-pop, a record that proved that it was possible to make classic guitar-pop after its golden era had passed."
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Badfinger - Straight Up

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: badfistrai_2010) 



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

This relatively quiet WHITE HOT STAMPER Straight Up is KILLER, with a A++ side one and an A+++ side two -- you can't do much better than that! Side two has Master Tape Sound, the kind that we like to call AGAIG -- As Good As It Gets. Both sides have the kind of PRESENCE in the midrange that most copies can't begin to compete with. The sound here just JUMPS out of the speakers, which is exactly what the best copies of the album are supposed to (but rarely) do. For fans of the band -- and Power Pop in general -- this is the Straight Up you have been waiting for!

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Badfinger - Straight Up

The British 2 LP Remaster Is a Joke

  (Item #: badfistrai_apple_remaster) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This British 2 LP reissue was digitally remastered and contains alternate mixes of 6 songs on the 2nd record.

The whole series was awful sounding and should be avoided completely.

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Badfinger - Straight Up

Porky Not So Prime Cut

  (Item #: badfistrai_porky) 



British Band, British Pressing... Right? Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

We had an original British pressing in our shootout, unbeknownst to me as it was playing of course. And guess where it finished: dead last. The most thick, congested, crude, distorted, compressed sound of ALL the copies we played. We love the work of Porky, Pecko, et al. in general, but once again this is a case where a British Band recorded in England sounds best on domestic vinyl. (McCartney on Apple is the same way.)

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Badfinger - Straight Up

What to Listen For

  (Item #: badfistrai_wtlf) 



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

The best sides have the kind of PRESENCE in the midrange that most copies can't begin to reproduce. The sound on the right pressings just JUMPS out of the speakers, which is exactly what the best copies are supposed to (but rarely) do.

This is Power Pop, plain and simple. The basics are what count: punchy drums, grungy guitars, present vocals, clear but full bass lines -- just the meat and potatoes of rock, no fancy sauces.

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Joan Baez - 5

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: baez_5_2015) 



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

Natural, unprocessed, clear, breathy vocal reproduction is the key to any Joan Baez album, and this side two will clearly demonstrate just how well-recorded Joan's voice (and guitar) were by the Vanguard engineering team. We heard immediately that this side one was excellent. We had no idea the sound could get as good as it is on side two. It takes the sound and music to an entirely new level.

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