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Super Hot Stamper

AC/DC
Back In Black

  (Item #: acdc_backi_1903_) 

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


  • With Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides, this Back in Black ROCKS like no other copy you've heard - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides play exceptionally well for a Robert Ludwig original, which is absolutely the only way to go on the album
  • Top 100, and if you turn it up good and loud, one of the biggest, boldest, hardest rockin' records ever made
  • 5 stars: "... tawdry celebration of sex is what made AC/DC different from all other metal bands — there was no sword & sorcery, no darkness, just a rowdy party, and they never held a bigger, better party than they did on Back in Black."
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Super Hot Stamper

AC/DC
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

  (Item #: acdc_dirty_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound 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."
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Super Hot Stamper

AC/DC
For Those About To Rock

  (Item #: acdc_forth_1901_1) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Once again Robert Ludwig delivers the Rock and Roll Power -- incredibly big, bold and full-bodied with a massive bottom end
  • Both sides are pressed on exceptionally quiet vinyl - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "On For Those About to Rock We Salute You, AC/DC’s best album, the case for the band’s talents is finally made with undeniable force and clarity. You want anthems? Here, they abound." - Rolling Stone
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Super Hot Stamper

AC/DC
Let There Be Rock

  (Item #: acdc_letth_1808_1901) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy with seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound - this is clearly the right sound for this guitar-fueled heavy rock
  • One of the better copies from our most recent shootout, the sound is big, full, lively and spacious with hard-rockin' energy to spare
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... as lean and mean as the original lineup ever got... this is a high-voltage, brutal record, filled with "Bad Boy Boogie... It has a bit of a bluesier edge than other AC/DC records, but this is truly the sound of the band reaching its peak... it's sweaty, dirty, nasty rock, music that is played to the last call and beyond, and they've rarely done that kind of rock better than they did here."
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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley and His Orchestra
African Waltz

  (Item #: adderafric_1903) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This copy of Cannonball's crazy-fun 1961 album offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • ALIVE with musical energy, there's also plenty of space for the players to occupy, a quality vital to this big group's big sound
  • "The surging, compelling, thoroughly earthy sound of this orchestra, led by CANNONBALL ADDERLEY and including as impressive a roster of jazz stars as has ever been assembled, has already been responsible for a major breakthrough on the musical front... Quickly and enthusiastically accepted by a wide public, it leaped almost overnight into the bestseller category."
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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Cannonball's Bossa Nova

  (Item #: addercanno_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An exceptionally rare and superb sounding early stereo pressing - it boasts Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • These originals are by far the best way to go, in stereo of course, putting Cannonball's breathy, melodic sax right between your speakers, with the rest of the band - including Sergio Mendes on keys - spread out around him
  • Truly an undiscovered gem in the Adderley catalog - the audiophiles here at Better Records were digging both the music and especially the superb sound
  • Another top quality recording from the superbly talented Ray Fowler, the house engineer for Riverside and the man behind many of the best Thelonious Monk and Cannonball Adderley recordings done for that great jazz label
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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
In San Francisco

  (Item #: adderinsan_1805_1901) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this groundbreaking live jazz album - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound on this Riverside Stereo LP is shockingly good for a live album, and the vinyl is as quiet as we can find it
  • Cannonball joins forces here with his brother, cornetist Nat Adderley, at The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco, to create an album Orrin Keepnews lauded as, "the birth of contemporary live recording"
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Both Cannonball and Nat Adderley play with stunning, bluesy brilliance here... Outside of Somethin' Else, Adderley's 1958 masterpiece, In San Francisco may be the saxophonist's defining moment."
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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."
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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

  (Item #: addermercy_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $129.99
Sale Price: $99.00 (You save $30.99 / 24%)


  • 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."
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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Somethin' Else

  (Item #: addersomet_1803_1904) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Outstanding sound throughout with both sides rating a solid Double Plus (A++) - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 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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Albeniz / Iberia - Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: albeniberi_2017) 



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

The sound of this copy is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had a real winner on our hands as soon as the needle hit the groove.

We were impressed with the fact that it excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, pulling the listener into the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)


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Albeniz / Suite Espanola / De Burgos

What to Listen For

  (Item #: albensuite_wtlf) 



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

Wow, is this record ever DYNAMIC! I would put it in the top 2 or 3 percent of the most dynamic recordings we have played over the course of the last twenty five years. It also has tons of DEPTH. The brass is at the far back of the stage, just exactly where they would be placed in the concert hall, which greatly adds to the realism of the recording.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz


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Super Hot Stamper

Mose Allison
Mose Alive!

  (Item #: allismosea_1808_1902) 

Our Price: $89.99

  • An outstanding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • Both sides are rich, full and tonally right on the money with a nice extended top end
  • Pretty darn quiet -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout, these are tough to find in this shape!
  • "Allison was one of the finest songwriters in blues of the 20th and early 21st centuries." - All Music Bio
See all of our Mose Allison albums in stock


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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
The Allman Brothers

  (Item #: allmaallma_1812) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent copy with seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them
  • The sound is clean, clear and open with the kind of fat bottom end that brings this Blues Rock to life
  • Exceptionally quiet -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout - they don't come quieter
  • 4 1/2 stars: "This might be the best debut album ever delivered by an American blues band, a bold, powerful, hard-edged, soulful essay in electric blues with a native Southern ambience. There isn't a bad song here, and only the fact that the group did even better the next time out keeps this from getting the highest possible rating."
See all of our Allman Brothers albums in stock


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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."
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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."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers
Brothers and Sisters

  (Item #: allmabroth_1901_1903) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • 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."
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The Allman Brothers - Brothers and Sisters

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: allmabroth_2011) 



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

A+++ sound on side one! It's bigger, punchier and livelier with more texture to the instruments than any other copy we played. Finding great sound for this album is no mean feat. This one is definitely not a Demo Disc -- no copy will truly be -- but it's a BIG step up from most of the copies we played. I don't think you could find better sound for the first side no matter what you did!

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Super Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers
Eat A Peach

  (Item #: allmaeatap_1803_1903) 

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


  • 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 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."
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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

The Allman Brothers
Idlewild South

  (Item #: allmaidlew_1904_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This original Atco pressing has outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout, with the kind of energy this music needs
  • Easily the group's best sounding studio recording and especially impressive on a copy like this - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Cue up Midnight Rider or In Memory Of Elizabeth Read to hear the Allman Brothers magic in these grooves
  • 5 stars "The best studio album in the group's history, electric blues with an acoustic texture, virtuoso lead, slide, and organ playing, and a killer selection of songs, including "Midnight Rider," "Revival," "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'," and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"..."
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Super Hot Stamper

Gregg Allman
Laid Back

  (Item #: allmalaidb_1812_1902) 

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


  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 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 on side two, this is the sound we love at Better Records
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "Recorded in the same year as the Brothers and Sisters album, this solo debut release is a beautiful amalgam of R&B, folk, and gospel sounds, with the best singing on any of Gregg Allman's solo releases."
See all of our Allman Brothers albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Gregg Allman
Laid Back

  (Item #: allmalaidb_1901_1903) 

Our Price: $299.99
Sale Price: $249.00 (You save $50.99 / 17%)


  • An astounding Triple Triple (A+++) copy that blew away every other pressing in our recent shootout
  • 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
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "Recorded in the same year as the Brothers and Sisters album, this solo debut release is a beautiful amalgam of R&B, folk, and gospel sounds, with the best singing on any of Gregg Allman's solo releases."
See all of our Allman Brothers albums in stock


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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

The Gregg Allman Band
Playin' Up A Storm

  (Item #: allmaplayi_1904) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • A surprisingly well-recorded album - the sound is exceptionally rich, smooth and natural in the best tradition of Seventies Analog
  • "Playin' Up a Storm is a well-made, expertly performed set of blues-rock, soul-pop, and straight-ahead rock & roll ...the thing that makes it one of Allman's best solo efforts is the terrific performances. Not only is he in fine voice, delivering each song with conviction, but his supporting band - featuring such luminaries as Dr. John and Bill Payne - is sterling."
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White Hot Stamper

The Gregg Allman Band
Playin' Up A Storm

  (Item #: allmaplayi_1904_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This stunning sounding 2-pack of the band's sophomore release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
  • A surprisingly well-recorded album - the sound is exceptionally rich, smooth and natural in the best tradition of Seventies Analog
  • "Playin' Up a Storm is a well-made, expertly performed set of blues-rock, soul-pop, and straight-ahead rock & roll ...the thing that makes it one of Allman's best solo efforts is the terrific performances. Not only is he in fine voice, delivering each song with conviction, but his supporting band - featuring such luminaries as Dr. John and Bill Payne - is sterling."
See all of our Greg Allman albums in stock


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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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Ambrosia - Ambrosia

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: ambroambro_2010) 



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

Here's another INSANELY GOOD pressing of my all-time favorite album, which is every bit as good sonically as it is musically! Side two in particular (A+++, As Good As It Gets!) has DEMO DISC quality sound with the kind of SONIC ENERGY that not one out of a hundred titles can lay claim to.

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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.
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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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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.

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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!)

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Super Hot Stamper

America
America's Greatest Hits

  (Item #: amerihisto_1809_1903) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An outstanding copy of America's 1975 release with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Both sides have amazing clarity and presence, which is especially noticeable on the vocals
  • THE BIG SOUND on both sides lets this Greatest Hits compilation hold its own against the originals
  • "An essential collection for fans who like their '70s folk with a pop sheen, loads of hooks, and top-drawer arrangements."
More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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America - History: America’s Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: amerihisto_2008) 



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

THE BIG SOUND on both sides lets this Greatest Hits compilation hold its own against the originals. Side One has amazing CLARITY and PRESENCE, which is especially noticeable on the vocals. Side Two has plenty of bottom end that drives these songs with energy and life. Listen for the bells on 'Tin Man'; they have the correct transients and harmonics. You never quite get back all of the tubey magic of the originals, but the detail and richness are enough to make you fall in love with this high quality George Martin (re) production.

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Super Hot Stamper

America
Homecoming

  (Item #: amerihomec_1804_1902) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $119.00 (You save $30.99 / 21%)


  • An outstanding copy of America's second album, boasting Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Side one is where practically all the best songs can be found, so this nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) copy is the way to go on Homecoming
  • Some of the most tubey, warm acoustic guitar reproduction you could ever ask for - this is the sound of real analog!
  • Ventura Highway sounds amazing here, as does everything else; it's a Demo Disc for acoustic guitars and vocals
More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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White Hot Stamper

America
Homecoming

  (Item #: amerihomec_1902) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A stunning copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides - the first such copy we've found in almost two years (!)
  • This is a simply wonderful Green Label original pressing - big, rich and Tubey Magical with excellent transparency and breathy harmony and lead vocals
  • Some of the most tubey and warm acoustic guitar reproduction you could ever ask for - this is the sound of real analog!
  • Ventura Highway sounds amazing here, as does everything else; it's a Demo Disc for acoustic guitars and vocals
More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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America - Homecoming

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: amerihomec_2009) 



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

This Warner Bros. Green Label Pressing is THE NEW HOMECOMING KING! The tubey analog magic of this recording is ABSOLUTELY OFF THE CHARTS. The mindblowing presence and immediacy of this copy will put the lovely voices and sweetly strummed guitars of this band right in front of you. They don't make records that sound like this anymore.

More America


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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
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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Anderson / Fiddle-Faddle and more / Fiedler

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: anderfiddl_2638_2011) 



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

This famous Fiedler / Boston Pops recording of Leroy Anderson's music has Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides! I frankly admit to never having taken this title seriously. I imagine few hard core Shaded Dog collectors have ever bothered to play it, which is their loss, not ours. It's very well recorded, with tons of Golden Age Living Stereo magic. Talk about BIG and RICH, both sides will show you exactly why modern audiophiles drool over these recordings. You simply cannot find this sound anywhere else.

More Living Stereo


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis and the All Stars
The Best of Louis Armstrong

  (Item #: armstbesto_1902_2) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides here are incredibly clean, clear, full-bodied and lively with lots of space around all of the players
  • "The sextet, including veterans Peanuts Hucko on clarinet and Trummy Young on trombone, relaxes into a perfect New Orleans groove, allowing Armstrong to stretch out to especially good effect on the haunting dirge "St. James Infirmary" " - All Music
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
The Essential Louis Armstrong

  (Item #: armstessen_1812) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • 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."
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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington
The Great Reunion

  (Item #: armstgreat_1901_2) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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 here are incredibly big, full-bodied, clean and clear with lots of deep punchy bass
  • We remember the Classic pressing as being a very good sounding record but make no mistake, this is a GREAT sounding one
  • "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.

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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
I've Got The World On A String

  (Item #: armstivego_1810_1901) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • 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 2009

  (Item #: armstivego_2009) 



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

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.

I have no idea what I would think of their version these days -- well, to be honest I do have some idea of what I would think of it -- but their version is at least good enough to make the case that Russell Garcia's orchestral arrangements and Louis Armstrong's sublime skills interpreting The Great American Songbook are a match made in heaven.

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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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The Association - Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: assocgreat_2008) 



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

The sound on this record is as good as this album gets. Don’t think you’re too cool to enjoy this ’60s pop rock. These songs are still a blast and very enjoyable. The sound on this record is as good as this album gets. Don't think you're too cool to enjoy this '60s pop rock. These songs are still a blast and very enjoyable.

I did a shootout with this copy and a later pressing just now, after having just listed a Gold Label Original LP of Insight Out, which allowed me to compare the sound of three different generations of Warner Brothers records.

More of The Association


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Super Hot Stamper

The Association
Insight Out

  (Item #: associnsig_1901) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • 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."
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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.

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Chet Atkins - Christmas with Chet Atkins

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: atkinchris_2006) 



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

This is a very nice looking RCA reissue LP with DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! I can’t believe how good this late reissue sounds! It may not have all of the tubey magic of the best originals, but it does have the tubey magic that Bill Porter recorded and that the RCA engineers managed to transfer accurately to this LP. I can tell you I'll never pass up another one of these. Without a doubt this has to be the best sounding Christmas record we have for sale.

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Chet Atkins - Class Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: atkinclass_2013) 



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

This RCA original pressing from Nashville, circa 1967, has DEMO DISC quality sound from start to finish, first note to last. Class Guitar is more or less a solo session from 1967, concentrating mostly on classical guitar pieces, with a few pop and jazz hits of the day thrown in for the sake of variety. Chet's good buddy and main man Jerry Reed joins him on rhythm guitar on some tracks. Both sides have plenty to offer the discriminating audiophile, with the spaciousness, clarity, tonality and freedom from artificiality that are the hallmark of the best Living Stereo recordings.

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Chet Atkins / Chet Atkins in Hollywood

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: atkininhol_1993_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as nothing special, tonally fine but low-rez and lacking space, warmth and above all Tubey Magic. I don't think I've ever played an original that didn't sound better, and that means that the best grade to give Classic's pressing is probably a D for below average.

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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.

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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!

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Chet Atkins - Mister Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: atkinmiste_2009) 



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

This RCA Living Stereo LP is as TUBEY MAGICAL as it gets. It seems as though Bill Porter just doesn't know how to not make a Living Stereo record with shockingly good sound. Practically anything the guy touches is GOLD!

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Chet Atkins - Mister Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: atkinmiste_2011) 



This RARE Minty looking RCA Living Stereo LP is as TUBEY MAGICAL AS IT GETS. It seems like Bill Porter just doesn’t know how not to make an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording. Everything the guy touches is GOLD! Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality -- everything that we listen for in a great record is here. Note how the record has that Bill Porter extra dB or two of bottom end -- his signature sound.
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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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Super Hot Stamper

Chet Atkins
Teensville

  (Item #: atkinteens_1802_1805) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • Both sides of this original Chet Atkins classic earned excellent Double Plus (A++) grades for sound and play on relatively quiet vinyl
  • This vintage stereo pressing is the first copy to hit the site - we've known this was a great sounding record for a very long time, and now we have a copy to prove it
  • Includes gobs and gobs of 1960 Living Stereo Tubey Magic - the record is just overflowing with it
  • "What shines through is Atkins' understated elegance. All of the numbers are arranged as pop instrumentals and his guitar playing is so tasteful..."
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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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Chet Atkins - Workshop

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: atkinworks_2010) 



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

DEMO QUALITY SOUND! That is, if what you're demonstrating is Living Stereo magic at its best. Certainly this is no sonic blockbuster. It's not trying to be. It's just more of that rich, sweet Bill Porter tubey magic from Nashville. Has there ever been a CD that sounds like this? If there is, I sure haven't heard it.

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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

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

  (Item #: b-52sb-52s_1901) 

Our Price: $89.99

  • 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."
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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.)

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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

Burt Bacharach
Reach Out

  (Item #: bachareach_1810) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout
  • This copy had extension high and low and dynamic power that greatly impressed us
  • Tons of hits - The Look Of Love, Message To Michael, Alfie, What The World Needs Now, I Say A Little Prayer and more
  • Engineering by Phil Ramone (Casino Royale) and Henry Lewy (Sergio Mendes, Joni Mitchell) each doing their own tracks - compare and contrast for yourself
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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.

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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.

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Super Hot Stamper

Bad Company
Straight Shooter

  (Item #: badcostrai_1901_1) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • 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.'"
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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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Joan Baez - Joan

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: baez_joan_2014) 



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

In 1967 Vanguard still knew how to record pure, rich, sweet, Tubey Magical analog. Some of these tracks are amazing sounding. Once a year we run across a clean stereo copy of this album. (With such complex arrangements we don't feel the mono could do the album justice. You may feel otherwise.)

This pressing appears to be the original stereo label, although with so many Vanguard labels -- dozens by my count -- this could easily be an early reissue. The paste-on rough cardboard back is a good sign of its age.

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Super Hot Stamper

Chet Baker
Chet

  (Item #: bakerchet_1810_1902) 

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


  • With Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides and fairly quiet vinyl, this is one of the better copies from our most recent shootout
  • This wonderful album of ballads has Mile Davis' rhythm section supporting Chet and other greats such as Kenny Burrell and Bill Evans
  • These guys are playing live in the studio and, on a copy that sounds this clear, you can really feel their presence on every track
  • "...this Riverside issue captures the gifted but troubled trumpeter at his best. It might even qualify as Baker's most satisfying and representative recording."
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Chet Baker - Chet

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bakerchet_2017) 



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

Chet is one of the best sounding Chet Baker records we've ever played, although that's not saying much because finding good Chet Baker records is like finding hen's teeth these days. The albums he did for Pacific Jazz in the '50s can be wonderful but few have survived in audiophile playing condition. The Mariachi Brass albums are as awful as everyone says -- we know, we've played them too. The album he recorded for CTI in 1974, She Was Too Good To M, is excellent and will be coming to the site again soon I hope.

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Chet Baker - It Could Happen To You

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: bakerchetb_2010) 



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

This is a very nice looking RARE original Riverside LP. Side one has good sound but side two really shows you how WONDERFUL this record is. The sound on side two is rich, full and transparent with lots of tubey magic. Hard to imagine it could get much better.

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Super Hot Stamper

Chet Baker
Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe

  (Item #: bakerplays_1901_1) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Big, rich, smooth, open, natural, with plenty of tight bass - what's not to like? This copy is killin' it
  • Some of the best jazz guys of the day back up Chet on this one: Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Bill Evans, Herbie Mann and more
  • "...the timelessness of the melodies, coupled with the assembled backing aggregate, make Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe (1959) a memorable concept album."
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Chet Baker - Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bakerplays_2017) 



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

This is a wonderful Chet Baker record that doesn't seem to be getting the respect it deserves in the wider jazz world. You may just like it every bit as much as the Chet album, and that is one helluva record to compare any album to, in our estimation about as good as it gets in most respects.

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Super Hot Stamper

Anita Baker
Rapture

  (Item #: bakerraptu_1901_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This quiet-storm classic earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER for sound on both sides and plays on exceptionally quiet vinyl to boot
  • Rapture is one of the best sounding recordings from the era - with all due respect to Whitney Houston, if I could only have one album of '80s female vocals, it would have to be this one
  • Key to the sound is richness and Tubey Magic, along with strong midrange presence, and on this Super Hot Stamper you get all three
  • 5 stars: "Rapture gave Baker one moving hit after another, including "Sweet Love," "Caught up in the Rapture," "Same Ole Love," and "No One in This World."
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Chet Baker - She Was Too Good To Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bakershewa_2017) 



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

We guarantee you have never heard this album -- or any later Chet Baker album -- sound as good as this one does.

There's so much life in these grooves. The sound jumps out of the speakers right into your lap. This kind of warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever. You have to go back to 1974 to find it!

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John Baldry - It Ain't Easy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: baldritain_2017) 



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

A few years ago while I was working on the site I had music on youtube playing. The song "Flying" came on from the It Ain't Easy album, and when the chorus came in I could not believe how big, rich and powerful it sounded -- this, on computer speakers!

I tracked down my copy of the album, the domestic Green Label WB pressing with a different cover you no doubt have seen in your local record store bin and threw it on the table for a quick listen. In moments it was obvious that my domestic original was a big step down sonically from what I imagined the source for the youtube video sound would have been.

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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Band
The Band

  (Item #: band_band_1810_1902) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sonic grades on both sides, this is a great sounding copy of an absolutely essential album
  • Big bass, rich meaty guitars and smooth silky vocals make this a Band album like you have never heard before.
  • Not only is the sound superb, but both sides here play Mint Minus Minus, about as quiet as we can find them
  • 5 stars: "The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal..."
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Hot Stamper

The Band
The Band

  (Item #: band_band_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Very good Hot Stamper sound is found on both sides of this essential album, on reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • With rich meaty guitars and smooth silky vocals, this is a Band second album that does this music proud
  • 5 stars: "The Band, the group's second album, was a more deliberate and even more accomplished effort... The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal..."
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The Band - The Band

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: band_band_2011) 



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

Holy mother of god, this is one KNOCKOUT copy of The Band's self-titled masterpiece! Both sides earned our top grade of A+++ and beat the pants off every other copy -- including quite a few RL-mastered originals -- in the shootout. On top of that, both sides play between Mint Minus and Mint Minus Minus, which is pretty dan quiet for this album. We love this music, but most copies out there have flimsy sound, trashed vinyl, or both. Here's the exceedingly rare copy that does just about everything right WITHOUT the typical crackly campfire surface noise!

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The Band - The Band

Capitol Records Debunked

  (Item #: band_band_capitol_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

Flat, compressed, no top end, no Tubey Magic, this is Ron McMaster’s work at its worst, helped along by the fact that he does not have the original master tape or even a copy of it to work with, but instead the new remix that was made a few years back because the original tape had been lost. And somehow reviewers like it!

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The Band - The Band

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: band_band_depth_) 



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

The best copies have no trace of phony sound from top to bottom. They're raw and real in a way that makes most pop records sound processed and wrong. Our best Hot Stampers have plenty of the qualities we look for in The Band. Energy, presence, transparency, Tubey Magic... you name it -- you will find it there. The biggest strength of this recording is its wonderful, natural midrange. And tons of bass.

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The Band - Moondog Matinee

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: band_moond_2017) 



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

Some great music is to be found here, and quite respectable sound on the "hotter" copies. ’Ain’t Got No Home’ and ’A Change Is Gonna Come’ are two personal favorites of the ten tracks here.

Both sides are tonally balanced from top to bottom, with more energy and space than others. The bass is huge, the brass rich, the all analog sound smooth and natural. It's no demo disc; it just sounds bigger, clearer, and more right than the other sides we played.

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The Band - Music From Big Pink

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: band_music_2012) 



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

This Capitol pressing has some of the best sound we've ever heard for this album! It’s beyond frustrating to try to find great sound for Big Pink -- most copies tend to be an absolute nightmare. The sound is rich, warm, sweet, and full-bodied with exceptional clarity and transparency. There's tons of ambience and you can really hear the sound of the room around the drums. The sound of the organ is AMAZING!

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Super Hot Stamper

The Band
Northern Lights - Southern Cross

  (Item #: band_north_1903) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout
  • These sides are bigger, more natural, warmer and more solid than most of the others we played
  • This is The Band's undiscovered gem, containing the most powerful tearjerker they ever wrote: "It Makes No Difference"
  • 4 stars: "...the Band's finest since their self-titled sophomore effort ... "Acadian Driftwood" stands out as one of Robertson's finest compositions, the equal to anything else the Band ever recorded."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Band
Rock Of Ages

  (Item #: band_rocko_1902_1) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Superb sound throughout with all four sides rating a solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The best copies are surprisingly TRANSPARENT -- just listen to all the "room" around the vocals on these four sides
  • A classic double live album with a consistently well-arranged and energetically performed set of songs
  • "It could be argued that it captured the spirit of the Band at the time in a way none of their other albums do." -- All Music, 4 stars
  • One of the few copies from our shootout that had no marks that play, a rarity for this title!
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