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White Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago V

  (Item #: chicachica5_1711_1809) 

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


  • An incredible Triple Plus (A+++) side one backed with an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two - quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is especially rich, full and warm, with big bass, lively brass and multi-tracked vocals that are breathy and clear
  • 4 stars on Allmusic and one of their best sounding albums, the last to be recorded at Columbia's famed 30th Street studios
  • Their first Number One, and The Biggest Selling Album of 1972 (!), spending nine weeks at the top of the charts
See all of our Chicago albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago VII

  (Item #: chicachica7_1805_1808) 

Our Price: $199.99
Sale Price: $169.00 (You save $30.99 / 15%)


  • With 9.5 pluses out of a possible 12, this is one of the better copies of Chicago VII to hit the site in quite a while
  • All four sides are exceptionally big, open and lively, just the right sound for this album
  • Happy Man, (I've Been) Searchin' So Long and Wishing You Were Here (with Beach Boys backing vox) are the big hits here
  • "It was Peter Cetera who made the biggest strides on Chicago VII, composing his two most impressive songs thus far, Happy Man and "Wishing You Were Here" (#11), a lush ballad (signs of the future) that features three of The Beach Boys on backing vocals and which became a big hit in late 1974."
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Super Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago II

  (Item #: chicachica2_1710_1806) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent sound throughout with all four sides rating an exceptionally good grade of Double Plus (A++) or BETTER
  • Big, rich, and present throughout, with real rock and roll energy, just the right sound for this album
  • One of the toughest classic rock albums to find good sound for, bar none - a tough nut to crack
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The contents of Chicago II underscore the solid foundation of complex jazz changes with heavy electric rock & roll that the band so brazenly forged on the first set."
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Super Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago Transit Authority

  (Item #: chicachica_1802_1806) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A killer pressing with three Double Plus (A++) sides, with the other one close behind
  • These sides boast some of the best sounding, boldest arrangements for a horn-based rock band we've ever heard
  • Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, I'm A Man and Questions 67 and 68 are simply incredible here
  • "In April of 1969, the four sides of Chicago Transit Authority unleashed a formidable and ultimately American musical experience... an unheralded synthesis of electric guitar wailin' rock & roll to more deeply rooted jazz influences and arrangements."
See all of our Chicago albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago V

  (Item #: chicachica5_1712_1807) 

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


  • Superb Big and Bold Chicago sound can be heard on both of these Double Plus (A++) sides - quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is especially rich, full and warm, with big bass, lively brass and multi-tracked vocals that are breathy and clear
  • 4 stars on Allmusic and one of their best sounding albums, the last to be recorded at Columbia's famed 30th Street studios
  • Their first Number One, and The Biggest Selling Album of 1972 (!), spending nine weeks at the top of the charts
See all of our Chicago albums in stock


  more Info










Super Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago VII

  (Item #: chicachica7_1803_1808) 

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


  • With 8 pluses out of a possible 12, this is one of the better copies of Chicago VII from our most recent shootout
  • All four sides are super big and solid with great bass and lots of energy, just the right sound for this album
  • Happy Man, (I've Been) Searchin' So Long and Wishing You Were Here (with Beach Boys backing vox) are the big hits here
  • "It was Peter Cetera who made the biggest strides on Chicago VII, composing his two most impressive songs thus far, Happy Man and "Wishing You Were Here" (#11), a lush ballad (signs of the future) that features three of The Beach Boys on backing vocals and which became a big hit in late 1974."
See all of our Chicago albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago Transit Authority

  (Item #: chicachica1_1710_1810) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • Our favorite Chicago album in every way - all four sides earned Hot Stamper grades and are guaranteed to impress
  • Some of the boldest arrangements for a horn-based rock band ever, standing toe to toe with their labelmates, Blood Sweat And Tears
  • Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, I'm A Man and Questions 67 and 68 sound big and bold here
  • "In April of 1969, the four sides of Chicago Transit Authority unleashed a formidable and ultimately American musical experience... an unheralded synthesis of electric guitar wailin' rock & roll to more deeply rooted jazz influences and arrangements."
See all of our Chicago albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago V

  (Item #: chicachica5_1802) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • You'll find very good Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this Chicago classic
  • This copy plays on relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • 4 stars on Allmusic and one of their best sounding albums, the last to be recorded at Columbia's famed 30th Street studios
  • Their first Number One, and The Biggest Selling Album of 1972 (!), spending nine weeks at the top of the charts
See all of our Chicago albums in stock


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Amazing Demo Discs for Bass

Peter Cetera and Chicago

  (Item #: chicachica1_bass) 



First in a series of Demo Discs for Bass.

Talk about beefy bass; this album is the poster boy for rock solid bottom end. When you have a copy of Chicago's first album with a hot side three you have a Bass Demo Disc LP that's going to rock your world, not to mention the foundation of your house. (How they managed to get the bass so right and screw up so many other things I will never know.)

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Cannonball Adderley Quintet - In Chicago

Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: adderinchi_reviewed) 



Sonic Grade: C? B?

A fairly good Speakers Corner jazz album.

Years ago we wrote the following: "This one has excellent sound (in that left-right jazz of the fifties kind of way)." We can't be sure that we would still feel the same way. My guess is that this is still probably a good record if you can get one the 30 bucks we used to charge for it.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.

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Chicago - Chicago II

360 Original or Red Label Reissue?

  (Item #: chicachica2_360_vs_red) 



Both can be good. I did the shootout (TP) and often tried to guess the label for the copy I was hearing, for fun more than anything else. I have to admit that my batting average was not much better than chance.

The 360s tend to be a little fuller and smearier, but plenty of red label copies sound that way and some 360s don't, so trying to match the sound to the label was even more pointless than usual.

When comparing pressings in a shootout it's too late for the label to have any predictive value. We've already bought the records, cleaned them all up and now just want to know what they actually sound like -- not which ones might be the best, but which ones are the best.

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Chicago - Chicago II

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: chicachica2_2010) 



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

Chicago-Loving Audiophiles of the World, gather round, this is the week we took on one of the toughest challenges in all of Analog Rockdom -- Chicago II.

Ever played one? Then you know that the average copy of this album is an unmitigated DISASTER. The smeary sub-gen brass alone is enough to drive you from the room.

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Chicago - Chicago III

We Give Up -- For Now

  (Item #: chicachica3) 



This is a very nice looking Columbia Promo 2 LP set with Very Little Sign of Play (VLSOP). Don't hold your breath for a Hot copy of this album -- we just attempted a shootout and came up empty-handed. I doubt we'll ever find a copy that does what we want it to. Still, this one has been through our extensive cleaning process and should sound better than the average uncleaned copy lying around in the bins.
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Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: chicachica1_depth) 



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

The average copy of this album is an unmitigated DISASTER. The smeary brass alone is enough to drive anyone from the room. To a list of its faults you can confidently add some or all of the following: 1) blobby, blurry, out of control bass; 2) opaque veiled mids; 3) rolled off highs, or no highs, whichever the case may be, common to virtually every pressing you find (cont.)

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Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority

Our Shootout Winner for 2008

  (Item #: chicachica1_2008) 



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.

This is the BEST SOUNDING CHICAGO RECORD we have EVER heard, and that includes not just this first album, but ANY Chicago album. This is the kind of album that most audiophiles would be sorely tempted to give up on. Who can blame them?

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Chicago - Chicago V

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: chicachica5_2016) 



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

Triple Triple! The best copy to ever hit the site - Saturday In The Park is really rockin' this side two. Both of these amazing A+++ sides are rich, full and warm - the brass has tremendous power and energy. 4 stars on Allmusic and one of the best sounding albums in their massive catalog, the last they recorded at Columbia's 30th Street studios

  • Their first Number One, and The Biggest Selling Album of 1972 (!), spending nine weeks at the top of the charts.
    See all of our Chicago albums in stock


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  • Chicago - Chicago VI

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: chicachica6_2016) 



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

    The background vocals on these sides are super-breathy and clear, a far cry from the typically smeary, dark voices we heard on most of the pressings we played, all originals in this case.

    More often than not the brass lacks bite and presence, but these sides had the Chicago horns leaping out of the speakers. What is a Chicago record without great horns? Without that big bold sound you may have something, but it sure ain't Chicago.

    See all of our Chicago albums in stock


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    Chicago - Chicago VII

    Our Shootout Winner from 2008

      (Item #: chicachica7_2008) 



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

    This is the BEST Chicago VII we’ve ever played! Three of the sides rated better than A Double Plus (A++), which is LIGHT YEARS AHEAD of the typical pressing of this album. Finding great sounding Chicago records is not easy, which is why you rarely see them on the site. (Most copies of the second album are so bad sounding they defy understanding. I've heard Edison cylinders with more fidelity.) But some of their records are very well recorded, this being one of them, and even though the shootouts for double albums are twice as hard (duh), for Chicago we do them, and for only one reason: WE LOVE THIS MUSIC.

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    Chicago and The Hottest Stampers

    Are You a Thrillseeker Too?

      (Item #: chicachica7_thrill) 



    When it comes to sound, I'm a Thrillseeker. I want to hear it LOUDER and BETTER, with more ENERGY and EXCITEMENT, and the reason I spent so many hundreds, even thousands, of hours working on my stereo is that that kind of sound doesn't happen by accident. You have to work your ass off to get it. And spend a lot of money. And dig through a lot of dusty record bins buying LPs until you find one that sounds the way you want it to.

    I don't play records to drink wine and smoke cigars. I play records to ROCK. Whether the music is rock, jazz or classical, I want to feel the power of the music just as you would feel it at the live event. To me that means big speakers and loud levels. We played Chicago VII as loud as we could...

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    Chicago Transit Authority on MoFi

    Or Is It The Glade Spray Mist Septet?

      (Item #: chicachica1_letter) 



    Our good customer Roger wrote to tell us of his Chicago shootout which included the MoFi, some later pressings and our Hot Stamper. Here is his story.

    HI Tom

    Got a chance to listen to your Chicago Transit Authority hot stamper and compare it to regular US and MFSL pressings. It has been a while since I last listened to this recording, but I listened to a lot of Chicago; Blood, Sweat, and Tears; and The Ides of March when I was in high school and college. I loved this music back then, as short-lived as it was, unfortunately.

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    Debussy / La Mer / Reiner

    Reviewed in 2005

      (Item #: debuslamer_2462_2005) 



    A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame from 1961.

    1S RCA Shaded Dog. This is an exceptionally good sounding copy, full of that RCA Living Stereo magic. Excellent performance from Reiner as well. On a work like La Mer the timbre of the instruments is critical to the enjoyment of the piece, as they often play solo and in small groupings. This record captures those qualities perfectly.

    This record also includes Strauss' Don Juan, which never sounds good on this title and is best left unplayed.

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    Oscar Peterson Trio - The Trio - Live From Chicago

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009

      (Item #: petertrio_2009) 



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

    Boy, these original Strobe Label (and T label) Verve pressings are sure all over the map. If there’s one jazz label that gets an F for consistency, it’s Verve. And they typically get an F (or at best a D) for mastering as well, since good sounding Verve pressings are few and far between. I guess that should not come as much of a surprise to many of our long time customers, but to hear how bad some of these pressings are mastered is nevertheless pretty shocking. One of the Strobe label copies we played had such a boosted top end it was positively distorted. (The RIAA curve does not allow that kind of top end boost without causing serious problems.)

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    Oscar Peterson Trio - The Trio - Live From Chicago

    What to Listen For

      (Item #: petertrio_wtlf) 



    What to Listen For? you ask?

    Some copies are poorly mastered, so poorly that Ray Brown's bass all but disappears from the trio! Other copies made Thigpen's snare sound hard and too forward in the mix. This is obviously just a mastering EQ problem, since the good copies, such as this one, get all those elements to balance beautifully.

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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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    Tchaikovsky / Excerpts from The Nutcracker / Reiner / CSO

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: tchainutcr_2328_2013) 



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

    This RCA reissue pressing of LSC 2328 has some of the BEST SOUND we have ever heard for The Nutcracker, and we've played them by the dozens, on the greatest Golden Age labels of all time, including the likes of Mercury, RCA and London. In a somewhat (but not too) surprising turn of events, the reissue pressing we are offering here beat all the originals and early reissues we could throw at it. Finally, this legendary Mohr/Layton production can be heard in its full glory!

    If you like your Nutcracker exciting and dynamic, this is the copy for you.

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