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White Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago VII

  (Item #: chicachica7_1909) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on three sides, and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) fourth, this was one of the best copies of Chicago VII from our most recent shootout
  • These pressings have real depth to the soundfield, full-bodied, present vocals, and lovely analog warmth
  • 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 (Quiet Vinyl)

Chicago
Chicago VII

  (Item #: chicachica7_1910) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • With four seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album, a vintage pressing like this one is the way to go
  • 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 Transit Authority

  (Item #: chicachica1_1908) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding pressing of the band's debut album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • 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
  • 4 stars: "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."
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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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Super Hot Stamper

Chicago
Chicago VII

  (Item #: chicachica7_1904) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • With four seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album, a vintage pressing like this one is the way to go
  • 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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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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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 II

The Poster Boy for Bad Planning in the Studio

  (Item #: chicachica2_bad_planning) 



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

There is one major problem with the sound of this album -- too many overdubs, meaning too many generations of tape on too many instruments. There are easily three and four generations of tape on some of the tracks, probably more, all causing compression and a loss of transient information. When the drums sound like cardboard boxes being hit with wet noodles it's because they recorded them early on and then bounced their tracks down to another track and then bounced that track down to another track until what's left sounds like an cassette tape you made of a song playing on the radio. Yes, it's that bad.

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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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