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1970

For Rock and Pop 1970 Might Just Be the Best Year of Them All

  (Item #: 1970) 



1970 turned out to be a great year in music.

Tea for the Tillerman, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Moondance, Alone Together, Tumbleweed Connection, Sweet Baby James, After the Goldrush, The Yes Album, McCartney, Elton John, His Band And Street Choir, Deja Vu, Workingman's Dead, Tarkio, Stillness, Let It Be -- need I go on?

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1970.

And HERE to see the records from 1970 that we've reviewed.


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Bill Halverson

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allbill_halverson) 



BILL HALVERSON is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers.

Not long ago we wrote that when all the elements are working together, the music on Steve Stills' first album is positively AMAZING. Until I hear something better, I'm going to have to call this Halverson's Engineering Masterpiece. Yes, on the best copies it's that good.

STOP THE PRESSES.

We have now heard something even better, an album from earlier in the same year in fact, Deja Vu. You can read all about it HERE.

More Engineers, Producers and Arrangers


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie Meets Oscar Peterson
The Timekeepers

  (Item #: basietimek_1709_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish, this copy was one of the best we heard in our most recent shootout
  • Basie and Peterson recorded five albums together, and this may very well be the best of the bunch, though I have yet to hear one that I didn't enjoy the hell out of
  • Wonderful engineering from the legendary Val Valentin, the man behind some of the best sounding jazz records of all time
  • "... this quartet date features the two pianos of Oscar Peterson and Count Basie collaborating and interacting on swing standards and blues. Any of their five albums together are worth acquiring."
More Count Basie / More Oscar Peterson


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Count Basie & Oscar Peterson - The Timekeepers

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: basietimek_2012) 



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

Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this Pablo original pressing of the Two Masters in a small group setting. Basie and Peterson recorded five albums together, and this may very well be the best of the bunch, though I have yet to hear one that I didn't enjoy. I wrote a rave review about this title when I first heard it more than ten years ago. If you like small group piano jazz -- here we're talking two pianists accompanied by Louie Bellson on drums and John Heard on bass -- this should be right up your alley.

More Count Basie / More Oscar Peterson


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Borodin, Glinka & Mussorgsky / Romantic Russia / Solti

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: borodroman_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

A well-known reviewer has many kind things to say about this pressing, but we think it sounds like a hi-fi-ish version of a '70s London, which means it's opaque and the strings are badly lacking in Tubey Magic. The bass is like jello on the MoFi, unlike the real London which has fairly decent bass.

More orchestral music conducted by Georg Solti


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Super Hot Stamper

Brewer & Shipley
Tarkio

  (Item #: brewetarki_1708_1902) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A consistently good pressing from start to finish, earning Double Plus (A++) grades for sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Tubey magical, rich and sweet, the album is the epitome of the glorious warm sound of a Stephen Barncard recording at its best
  • A Desert Island Disc for yours truly - if you love Hippie Folk Rock, e.g., American Beauty, this album might just knock you out
  • "Notable not just for the inclusion of "One Toke Over the Line" but also for the great back porch stoned ambience of the entire recording, this 1970 effort from the band is ripe with dope references and subversive humor."
More Hippie Folk Rock


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: brewetarki_2012) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side one of our beloved Tarkio, Brewer and Shipley's Folk Rock Masterpiece, is without a doubt the BEST SOUND we have ever heard on any pressing bar none. This side sets a standard that no other copy on any side could touch. True, we awarded a Triple Plus grade to an amazing side two copy, but this side one is still the better of the two. We could easily have called it Four Pluses but chose to go with the simpler A+++ and this explanation.

However you frame it, this side is OFF THE CHARTS in a big way. It's amazingly rich, yet clear and transparent as any we played -- what a combination!

More Brewer and Shipley


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Do All the Robert Ludwig Mastered Copies Have Hot Stampers?

  (Item #: brewetarki_RL) 



Even though all the original Pink Label pressings are mastered by Robert Ludwig, they have a marked tendency to be dull, thick and opaque. The sound is just too smooth. The best copies however have the top end and the transparency to let you hear all the guitar and vocal harmonics, surrounded by the large acoustic of the studio.

This time around we discovered something new: one specific stamper that seemed to be the only one with the potential for an extended top end. This special stamper did not always fare well; some copies with it were mediocre. We have always found this to be the way with the "right" stampers; they often let us down and sometimes they really let us down hard.

More Brewer and Shipley


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Super Hot Stamper (UK Polydor)

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton

  (Item #: claptericc_1904) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This killer early UK copy boasts Double Plus (A++) sonic grades for both sides AND exceptionally quiet vinyl - it's guaranteed to trounce whatever you've heard
  • An underrated Blues Rock masterpiece from 1970 - easily his best studio album outside of Layla - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 4 1/2 stars in the All Music Guide and a longtime Better Records favorite - almost every song is good, and many are superb
  • "Clapton turns out concise solos that de-emphasize his status as guitar god, even when they display astonishing musicality and technique."
See all of our Eric Clapton albums in stock


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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: coltrgiant_2009) 



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

This Atlantic Stereo LP has EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! As everyone should know by now, a killer copy like this is the exception, not the rule.

Side one had wonderful energy and the kind of full-bodied sound that is key to keeping the saxophone from tearing your head off when it really gets going. If you know anything about this music you know that Coltrane builds up a head of steam on practically every track on the album. He is blasting away here and it is a thrill to be sure.

More Giant Steps


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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Live and Learn

  (Item #: coltrgiant_learn) 



A classic case of Live and Learn. Previously we had written:

The extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum is what really sets the best copies apart from the pack. All the top end and that deep bottom and simply not to be found on most copies, and never on even the best originals in our experience. The cutters back then just couldn't cut it.

Now, having heard some amazing originals, we know that the vintage mastering equipment of the day was perfectly capable of getting all the top, all the bottom, and tons of Tubey Magic besides onto the vinyl.

More John Coltrane


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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Rhino 45 RPM 2 Disc Set Debunked

  (Item #: coltrgiant_rhino_45) 



Sonic Grade: F

The sound of the new 45 RPM 2 disc version cut by Bernie Grundman sounds thick and dull, much like the Deja Vu he remastered years ago for Classic Records.

As is the case with so many of the Heavy Vinyl reissues released these days, the studio ambience you hear on these pressings is a pitiful fraction of the ambience the real pressings are capable of revealing, the ones mass-produced by Atlantic, original and reissue alike. We're not sure why audiophiles have trouble noticing such an obvious shortcoming but it and others like it sure don't get by our crack listening panel here at Better Records too often.

More John Coltrane


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Super Hot Stamper

Cream
Goodbye

  (Item #: creamgoodb_1905) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • Both sides of this British pressing boast outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound - they really ROCK
  • The low end speed and energy on this copy are crazy good - it's like a Cream concert in your listening room
  • The best pressings, the ones that are full-bodied and smooth, let you crank the levels and reproduce the album good and loud the way it was meant to be heard - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • "The live music on the whole is better than that on Wheels of Fire, capturing the trio at an empathetic peak as a band."
See all of our Eric Clapton and Cream albums in stock


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Cream - Goodbye

Some of the Best Live Rock Sound Ever Recorded

  (Item #: creamgoodb_2016) 



When you get a good side one of Goodbye you'll hear exactly why we are calling it one of the Best Sounding Live Rock Albums of all time.

Goodbye has the Big Rock Sound that we go crazy for here at Better Records. The top copies just plain ROCK HARDER than all the others. Yes, they're bigger. Yes, they have more weight and whomp down low. Yes, they are smoother and more natural up top. But what really sets them apart is the tremendous Energy they contain in their grooves. The music EXPLODES out of the speakers and comes to life on the best copies like practically nothing you have ever heard.

More Cream


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Super Hot Stamper

Cream
Wheels of Fire

  (Item #: creamwheel_1902) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An outstanding copy of Wheels of Fire, with a Triple Plus (A+++) side four and solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on one, two and three - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • UK pressed. huge and rich, with plenty of low end and hard-rockin' energy - good luck finding another that sounds this good
  • For '60s power trio, you just can't do much better than the live material on this album
  • White Room, Sitting On Top Of The World, Politician, Born Under A Bad Sign -- this is the essence of British Blues Rock
  • "In almost every regard, Wheels of Fire is a terrific showcase for Clapton as a guitarist, especially on the first side of the live album with "Crossroads," a mighty encapsulation of all of his strengths."
More Eric Clapton and Cream


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
4 Way Street

  (Item #: crosb4ways_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Consistently outstanding sound for CSN&Y's classic live double album, with all four sides boasting solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it AND exceptionally quiet vinyl
  • This live album gives you the "naked" sound of the real thing - the real voices and the real guitars and the real everything else, in a way that would never happen again
  • Their brilliant engineer, Bill Halverson, worked his magic here, but only the best pressings let his genius shine the way this one does
  • Rolling Stone raves that "Crosby, Stills. Nash, and Young are all performers of unquestionable talent, and mostly because they stay out of each others' way, 4 Way Street must surely be their best album to date."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
4 Way Street

  (Item #: crosb4ways_1905_1) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Consistently outstanding sound for CSN&Y's classic live double album, with all four sides boasting solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it
  • This live album gives you the "naked" sound of the real thing - the real voices and the real guitars and the real everything else, in a way that would never happen again
  • Their brilliant engineer, Bill Halverson, worked his magic here, but only the best pressings let his genius shine the way this one does
  • Rolling Stone raves that "Crosby, Stills. Nash, and Young are all performers of unquestionable talent, and mostly because they stay out of each others' way, 4 Way Street must surely be their best album to date."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - 4 Way Street

What to Listen For

  (Item #: crosb4ways_wtlf) 



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

If the singers get hard and shrill in the louder passages, then what you have is a pretty typical pressing. Add grit and grain, smeared transients, opacity, surface noise and a lack of weight down low and you'll know why it takes us years to find enough copies to shoot out -- because this is what most pressings sound like.

See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Crosby Stills & Nash - Crosby Stills & Nash

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_2009) 



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

Here’s a big one that we know many of you are waiting for: WHITE HOT STAMPERS for both sides of CSN’s amazing debut album. I’m pretty sure we get more emails about this album than any other; everyone wants a great sounding copy, but they’re oh-so-hard to find, especially in clean condition.

We’ve paired up a MONSTER side one with an equally amazing side two to create this White Hot Stamper 2-Pack. We’ve noticed many of you steer clear of the 2-Packs, but this one is a STUNNER.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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Crosby Stills & Nash - Crosby Stills & Nash

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Crosby, Stills & Nash's first album.

Although millions of copies of this album were sold, so few were mastered and pressed well, and so many mastered and pressed poorly, that few copies actually make it to the site as Hot Stampers. We wish that were not the case -- we love the album -- but the copies we know to have the potential for Hot Stamper sound are just not sitting around in the record bins these days.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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Super Hot Stamper (with issues)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Deja Vu

  (Item #: crosbdejav_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb Big and Bold copy that earned seriously good sonic grades of Double Plus (A++) on both sides
  • The sound is HUGE -- lively, present and rich in a way that nothing you've heard can compete with
  • One of our all time favorite albums at Better Records and one that almost never sounds THIS good
  • 5 stars: "...this variety made Déjà Vu a rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners, while mass audiences reveled in the glorious harmonies and the thundering electric guitars..."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: crosbdejav_2007) 



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.

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES -- Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than this. To say this copy murders the competition is the understatement of the year. There is only ONE stamper that gives you the Deja Vu magic from top to bottom and this is it. [We know now that that isn't true.]

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Our Four Plus Side Two from 2016

  (Item #: crosbdejav_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame

We award this copy's side two our very special Four Plus A++++ grade, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a recording to a level never experienced by us before, a level we had no idea could even exist. We estimate that less than one per cent of the Hot Stamper pressings we come across in our shootouts earn this grade. You can't get much more rare than that.

More Deja Vu


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30 Years of Bad Sounding Deja Vu's

Wiped Away in an Instant!

  (Item #: crosbdejav_30years) 



A testimonial from a customer for his Hot Stamper Deja Vu discusses what it takes to get good sound from your stereo. (Hint: it's a good sounding record, duh.)

I have come to a conclusion - no matter whether I had the best $50,000 amps in the world or a $29,000 phono supply or the $150,000 Wilson Alexandria speakers or all that other incredible stuff that audiophiles lust for - not one of those items can make a shit record sound anything but like a shit record. There is no overcoming the original source material that you play on your stereo system.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

A Review of the Classic Records Pressing

  (Item #: crosbdejav_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP badly mastered for the benefit of credulous audiophiles.

If you bought the Classic Record Heavy Vinyl pressing, you should know by now how badly Classic Records ripped you off.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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How to Find a Hot Stamper Deja Vu

Hint: Ignore Conventional Wisdom

  (Item #: crosbdejav_conventionalwisdom) 



A testimonial from a customer for his Hot Stamper Deja Vu provides a forum for the discussion of just what are the higher fidelity pressings.

Never make the mistake of confusing Better Sounding pressing with More Original pressing; they have nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to do with each other. It’s just another Record Collecting Canard. The audio world is full of them.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

A Tale of Two MoFi Pressings

  (Item #: crosbdejav_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F (or not!)

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Just for fun about 10 years ago I pulled out a MoFi pressing of Deja Vu I had laying around. I hadn't played their version in a long time. I could have gone a lot longer without playing it, because what I heard was pretty disappointing. Playing their record confirmed all my prejudices. The highs sizzled and spit. The heart of the midrange was recessed and sour.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: crosbdejav_obsess) 



DEJA VU is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it.

We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands -- maybe a bit too much time on your hands -- please feel free to check out our commentaries.

This link will take you to all of our other Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums.


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The Turn Up Your Volume Test

Almost Cut My Hair

  (Item #: crosbdejav_volume_2014) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The only time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young actually sound like a real rock and roll band is on the track Almost Cut My Hair. According to Stephen Barncard, one of the engineers on Deja Vu, the track was actually recorded live in the studio. Boy, it sure sounds like it. The amount of energy the band generates on this one song exceeds the energy of the entire first album put together.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Latest Developments

  (Item #: crosbdejav_wrong_2016) 



There are two areas in which we would like to amend some of the previous comments we've made about Deja Vu. The first has to do with early pressings. Many years ago we wrote the following:

As we noted in previous commentary, the originals are uniformly awful. Want some inside info on stampers to avoid, free of charge? C and D are pretty bad news most of the time.

Although that's still true -- Deja Vu is a very difficult album to find with good sound no matter what stampers you have -- we now know that there are very good sounding copies, Shootout Winning copies in fact, with early stampers.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Super Hot Stamper

David Crosby
If I Could Only Remember My Name

  (Item #: crosbifico_1905) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • With two seriously good sides each rating a Double Plus (A++) or very close to it, this is an outstanding copy of Crosby's first album, and the vinyl is as quiet as gets
  • Traction in the Rain on this killer side two sounds amazing, it's one of the most hallucinogenic tracks of all time
  • TAS List and Top 100 - one of the best sounding rock records ever made - Stephen Barncard's engineering masterpiece
  • "The songs range from brief snapshots of inspiration to the full-blown, rambling western epic "Cowboy Movie," and there are absolutely no false notes struck or missteps taken." 4 1/2 stars
More David Crosby / More Hippie Folk Rock


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: crosbifico_2016) 



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

BEYOND TRIPLE TRIPLE! This Top Copy had a side one that blew us away enough to earn FOUR Pluses!

Here it is, folks... a TRUE ROCK DEMO DISC! A White Hot Stamper copy such as this will show you why we've long considered it one of the All Time Top Ten Rock Albums for Sound and Music. You will not believe how Tubey Magical and three-dimensional this album can be when you have a pressing with this kind of sound. The harmonic complexity and extension on the acoustic guitars are absolutely stunning!

More David Crosby


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name

What to Listen For

  (Item #: crosbifico_wtlf) 



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

Note how Crosby's voice is "chesty" -- some copies make him sound like he's all mouth and no diaphragm. When his voice is full-bodied and solid, that's when he sounds more like a real person and less like a pop recording of a person. All credit must go to Stephen Barncard.

More David Crosby


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - So Far

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: crosbsofar_2007) 



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

This Hot Stamper copy has SUPERB SOUND ON SIDE TWO -- the best we’ve ever heard. It sounds like it was made from the MASTER TAPE, and believe me, not many of them do. This LP killed any and all of the competition during this shootout; no other copy earned Three Pluses on Side Two. The sound is BIG and BOLD as it gets -- it practically LEAPS out of the speakers. That's what we call Hot Stamper sound. No other copy did that, on side two anyway. Side one has the highly-coveted unreleased material, so this copy, with "only" an excellent side one, is being priced somewhat more competitively and represents real value for money.

More So Far


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - So Far

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: crosbsofar_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of So Far.

For example, on Find the Cost of Freedom the best copies have DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND. You could say everything that needs to be said about the beauty of analog with this one track alone. It's not even two minutes long, but it's two really wonderful minutes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the height of their powers. The voices should sound as sweet and as silky as any CSN three part (four part?) harmony you have ever heard. This song rivals Helplessly Hoping for vocal blend.

More So Far


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Super Hot Stamper

Crosby / Nash
Whistling Down The Wire

  (Item #: crosbwhist_1902) 

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


  • An outstanding original pressing, Double Plus (A++) on both sides, with especially clear, breathy vocals - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The pair's third and best album, with notably better sound than Wind on the Water as well as some of their strongest songwriting
  • Finding good sound on an album with two or more members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, in any configuration, has never been easy
  • "The music has an urgent, almost raw feel, and it comes as no surprise to discover that most of the tracks were recorded "live" in the studio with very little overdubbing."
More David Crosby / More Graham Nash


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Crosby / Nash - Whistling Down The Wire

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: crosbwhist_2012) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES RATING AT OR NEAR A+++! This is the pair's third and best album, with better sound than Wind on the Water as well as their strongest songwriting. This is arguably a better CSN record than the album titled CSN from 1977. For one thing, the harmonies are superior, even without Stephen Stills. (Crosby and Nash were in big demand in the Rock and Pop world of the '70s for their impressive background vocal skills.) For another it's clearly a better recording.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young


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Super Hot Stamper

The Grateful Dead
American Beauty

  (Item #: grateameri_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding original Green Label copy with solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - this LP will show you just how good American Beauty can sound
  • One of Stephen Barncard's greatest recording achievements - the richness and smoothness are really something to hear
  • This album is the crowning glory of the Grateful Dead, their MASTERPIECE.
  • 5 Stars, Top 100, and a true Must Own - "... easily the masterwork of their studio output, and a strong contender for the best music the band ever made, even including the countless hours of live shows captured on tape in the decades that followed."
More Grateful Dead / More Hippie Folk Rock


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The Grateful Dead - American Beauty

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: grateameri_2009) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND MOSTLY QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES, BABY! We went through all of 2008 without finding a single Hot Stamper copy of this great album, but today I am pleased to report that American Beauty Hot Stampers are back in stock at Better Records! Drop the needle on any track on either side -- I guarantee you’ve never heard this band sound so good, or your money back.

More Grateful Dead


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White Hot Stamper

Albert King
Live Wire - Blues Power

  (Item #: king_livew_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • An insanely good copy of this Must Own Live Blues album, with Triple Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • Accept no substitutes - no reissue of the album can ever give you the energy, size and you-are-there presence that's on this disc
  • Finding originals with top quality sound and surfaces this quiet is quite a feat, but here one is - it plays Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "Live Wire/Blues Power is one of Albert King's definitive albums. Recorded live at the Fillmore Auditorium in 1968, the guitarist is at the top of his form throughout the record — his solos are intense and piercing... he makes Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" dirty and funky and wrings out all the emotion from "Blues at Sunrise.""
See all of our Albert King albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Albert King
Live Wire - Blues Power

  (Item #: king_livew_1812_1905) 

Our Price: $179.99
Sale Price: $149.00 (You save $30.99 / 17%)


  • An outstanding copy of this Must Own Live Blues album, with Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Accept no substitutes - no reissue of the album can ever give you the energy, size and you-are-there presence that's on this disc
  • This copy plays exceptionally well - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus - finding the originals with this kind of top quality sound and surfaces this quiet is getting harder every day
  • "Live Wire/Blues Power is one of Albert King's definitive albums. Recorded live at the Fillmore Auditorium in 1968, the guitarist is at the top of his form throughout the record — his solos are intense and piercing... he makes Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" dirty and funky and wrings out all the emotion from "Blues at Sunrise.""
More Albert King


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Super Hot Stamper

Dave Mason
Alone Together

  (Item #: masonalone_1810_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This outstanding copy of Mason's Masterpiece boasts solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Listen to how big and rich the dynamic chorus gets on the first track, Only You Know and I Know - what a thrill to hear it like that
  • A killer Bruce Botnick recording - Tubey Magical Analog, smooth and natural, with the whole production sitting on a rock solid bottom-end foundation
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Alone Together represents Dave Mason at his peak... everything comes together perfectly."
See all of our Dave Mason albums in stock


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Dave Mason - Alone Together

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: masonalone_2012) 



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

Alone Together appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time. It is a surely a MASTERPIECE that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There's not a scrap of filler here. The recording by Bruce Botnick (mix by Al Schmitt) is hard to fault as well.

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Dave Mason - Alone Together

MCA Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: masonalone_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. I confess I actually used to like and recommend the Heavy Vinyl MCA pressing. Rest assured that is no longer the case. Nowadays it sounds as opaque, ambience-challenged, lifeless and pointless as the rest of its 180 gram brethren.

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Mobile Fidelity

The Little Label That Couldn’t

  (Item #: mobilefidelity_debunk) 



MOBILE FIDELITY remastered a large number of classic Rock and Jazz albums. Some of them are good, some not so good, but they all have one thing in common: they sell for a lot more money than most other pressings. (Except ours of course!)

In my opinion the primary reason for this is that audiophiles as a whole still believe that MOFI’s meticulous care with their half-speed mastering approach, as well as the dead quiet Japanese vinyl they originally pressed on, are the Gold Standard of record production.

And their pressings often do sound better than run of the mill domestic product. But are they really the best version ever?


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Mussorgsky, Borodin, et al. / Orchestral Showpieces / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussonight_2011) 



This London Whiteback LP recorded in 1967 (CS 6503) has DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side two. Solti is the man for this music! He's on fire with this fiery material and the London engineers do him full justice -- at least they do on side two. (Side one has a long scratch and cannot be played.)

Don't go looking for the Tubey Magic of an earlier era. What you get instead is super low distortion, full bandwidth sound with deep powerful bass and lovely transparency. THIS is the way you want to hear Russian Orchestral Showpieces -- played with verve and dynamically ALIVE.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Rick Nelson - Garden Party

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: nelsogarde_2010) 



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

UNBELIEVABLE TUBEY ANALOG MAGIC on this very fun Rick Nelson album. Who woulda thunk it? We went through a big stack of these and couldn’t believe the wonderful DEMO QUALITY sound we heard on the best copies. It’s PURE AUDIOPHILE GOLD!

If you like the sound of albums engineered by Stephen Barncard (think Deja Vu, American Beauty and Tarkio for starters) then you are going to find much to like about the sound of this one. The country-tinged opening track, complete with pedal steel guitar, sounds amazing on a copy like this.


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Prince - Purple Rain

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: princpurpl_2017) 



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

The shootout winner for this album earned top grades and showed us a Purple Rain we had never heard before.

The best copies sound pretty much the way the best copies of most Classic Rock records sound: tonally correct, rich, clear, sweet, smooth, open, present, lively, big, spacious, Tubey Magical, with breathy vocals and little to no spit, grit, grain or grunge. That's the sound of analog, and the best copies of Purple Rain have that sound.

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Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: scaggsilkd_2011) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side one will BLOW THE DOORS OFF any Silk Degrees you have ever heard. Side one earned an A+++ grade with incredible clarity, a huge bottom end, silky sweet highs, and tons of energy. The strings have real texture, something you won't hear on too many pressings of this album. The mids are clear, the vocals are breathy and the piano is super solid.

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Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees

CBS Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: scaggsilkd_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing Hall of Shame.

Ran across this listing from all the way back in 2005. It takes shots at Badly Half-Speed Mastered records like this awful CBS audiophile pressing of Silk Degrees, as well as the audiophiles who complained about plain old domestic pressings at the time. I should know; I was one of them. Ouch.

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Hot Stamper

Stephen Stills
Stephen Stills

  (Item #: stillsteph_1802_1904-) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • A Stephen Stills classic, this pressing boasts Hot Stamper sound and relatively quiet vinyl on both sides
  • This is Stills' masterpiece and, when all the elements are working together on a good pressing, the music sounds amazing
  • A triumph of engineering for Bill Halverson and Andy Johns - this and Deja Vu are both landmarks of Big Production Rock
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Listening to this album three decades on, it's still a jaw-dropping experience, the musical equal to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu, and only a shade less important than either of them."
See all of our Stephen Stills albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Stephen Stills
Stephen Stills

  (Item #: stillsteph_1812_1904) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • An outstanding copy with Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to the last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is HUGE, lively, rich and tubey, with unusually high resolution for the big choruses on side one
  • Love the One You're With and Sit Yourself Down are to die for, but there's really not a bad track on the album
  • A triumph of engineering for Bill Halverson and Andy Johns - this and Deja Vu are both landmarks of Big Production Rock
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG: "Listening to this album three decades on, it's still a jaw-dropping experience, the musical equal to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu, and only a shade less important than either of them."
See all of our Stephen Stills albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Stephen Stills
Stephen Stills

  (Item #: stillsteph_1905) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, this copy of Still's amazing debut is as good as it gets
  • Love the One You're With and Sit Yourself Down are to die for, but there's really not a bad track on the album
  • A triumph of engineering for Bill Halverson and Andy Johns - this and Deja Vu are the very definition of Big Production Rock
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Listening to this album three decades on, it's still a jaw-dropping experience, the musical equal to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu, and only a shade less important than either of them."
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: stillsteph_2008) 



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

TWO YEARS LATER, Stephen Stills Hot Stampers are BACK! We’ve had an unbelievably hard time finding copies of this album that lived up to our expectations, prompting much of my crew to argue that it just could not be done. Folks, today is the day where the Doubting Thomases of Better Records are proven WRONG. We didn’t find copies that sounded just as good as I remembered -- no, we found copies that went BEYOND what I had hoped for. To the CSN(Y) fans who visit our site, and I know there are lots of you, prepare to be BLOWN AWAY. You are going to freak out over this record!

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Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: stillsteph_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and a Forgotten Rock Classic.

Love the One You're With and Sit Yourself Down are to die for, but there's really not a bad track on the album. A triumph of engineering for Bill Halverson and Andy Johns - this and Deja Vu are the very definition of Big Production Rock.

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Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills

Bill Halverson's Engineering Masterpiece?

  (Item #: stillsteph_wtlf) 



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

When all the elements are working together as they do here, the music on Steve Stills' first album is postively AMAZING. Until I hear something better, I'm going to have to call this BILL HALVERSON's Engineering Masterpiece.* Yes, on the best copies it's that good.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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Our Rock and Pop Top 100 List

  (Item #: top100) 



In 2014 we updated our Rock and Pop Top 100 with ten new titles -- it had been two years since the last update. Those of you who have yet to try one of our Hot Stampers would be well advised to start with something from this list, as a Hot copy of any of these albums is bound to be an ear-opening experience. Click on any of the titles below to find the Hot Stamper copies that are currently in stock.

You can see all of our in-stock Top 100 titles HERE.


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Rock and Pop Top 100

Our 2008 Edition

  (Item #: top100_2008_archive) 



Presenting the roughly one hundred BEST SOUNDING albums with the BEST MUSIC that we can actually FIND to put on the site. In other words, there are Hot Stampers of these albums either on the site or coming to the site, so those of you on our email list will be seeing many if not most of these titles sometime in 2008. (Those of you not on our email list will see whatever is leftover after the mailing.)

The list has gone through a number of changes already and will go through many more as we work through our schedule of Hot Stamper shootouts. Each of these listings is now a link to make it easy for you to find copies on the site that are actually in stock.

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Rock and Pop Top 100

Our 2011 Edition

  (Item #: top100_2011_archive) 



Presenting the roughly One Hundred BEST SOUNDING Albums with the BEST MUSIC that we can actually find to put on the site. In other words, there are Hot Stampers of these albums either on the site or coming to the site, so those of you on our email list will be seeing many if not most of these titles sometime in the coming months.


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The Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 for 2012

Not Just The Usual Suspects

  (Item #: top100_2012archive) 



It was a long time coming, but in 2012 we finally updated our Rock and Pop Top 100 with over a dozen new titles. Those of you who have yet to try one of our Hot Stampers would be well advised to start with something from this list, as a Hot copy of any of these albums is bound to be an ear-opening experience. Click on any of the albums below to find the Hot Stamper copies that are currently in stock.

You can see all of our in-stock Top 100 titles here.

Click here to sort the list alphabetically by artist.


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U2 - The Unforgettable Fire

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: u2___unfor_2011) 



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

Super Hot Stampers on side one, giving you excellent sound for the big hit "Pride (In The Name Of Love)", backed with an A+ side two! We had a big stack of these to compare and not too many of them were in a league with this one, particularly on the first side. Most copies are too dark and murky to really come to life, but this one is cleaner, clearer and more open throughout.

See all of our U2 albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Neil Young
Zuma

  (Item #: youngzuma_1903_1) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • These Double Plus (A++) sides of Neil's exceptionally well recorded 1975 Masterpiece are guaranteed to floor audiophiles and Neil Young fans alike - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Zuma captures a kind of garage band purity that makes practically any other studio album you own sound processed and desiccated in comparison
  • For a hard-rockin' Neil Young album with Demonstration Quality sound, you'll have a hard time finding a better choice than a Hot Stamper pressing of Zuma
  • A Must Own Top 100 Title - just drop the needle on Danger Bird or Cortez the Killer to have your mind blown!
See all of our Neil Young albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Neil Young
Zuma

  (Item #: youngzuma_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A very good copy of Neil's exceptionally well recorded 1975 Masterpiece with Hot Stamper sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The best sides are clean, clear and super spacious with a punchy bottom end and lots of bottom end weight
  • Zuma captures a kind of garage band purity that makes practically any other studio album you own sound processed and desiccated in comparison
  • A Must Own Top 100 Title - just drop the needle on Danger Bird or Cortez the Killer to have your mind blown!
See all of our Neil Young albums in stock


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Neil Young - Zuma

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: youngzuma_2011) 



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

The highest rated copy to ever hit the site, with Master Tape Sound on BOTH SIDES! This Reprise pressing has two INCREDIBLE SOUNDING (and QUIET) White Hot A+++ sides. If you are looking for a hard-rockin' Neil Young album that boasts Demonstration Quality sound powerful to blow away just about any rock record in your collection, this is the hot ticket. Everything you could ever wanted from this album is here. It is nothing short of a knockout!

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The Dynamic Energy of Neil Young and His Crazy Horse Pals

They're LIVE in the Studio

  (Item #: youngzuma_listen) 



Another in our series of Random Thoughts and observations on recording-related issues.

Hot Stampers are all about finding those rare and very special pressings that manage to represent the master tape at its best.

Notice I did not say ACCURATELY represent the master tape, because the master tape may have faults that need to be corrected, and the only way to do that is in the mastering phase. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that fidelity to the master tape should never be, and rarely is, the goal of the mastering engineer.

More Neil Young


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"In Defense of the Beginner..."

Shootouts Are a Bitch

  (Item #: youngzuma_shootout_letter) 



One of our good customers wrote to tell us of a shootout he conducted a while back. This is his story.

Tom:

In defense of the beginner audiophile: I am a spoiled owner of many of your Hot Stamper LPs. (So please don’t tell anyone where I live!) You endlessly bash us newbies as not being able to tell the difference in sound between two sides of a record. Fair enough – usually we can’t. In our defense, it is very difficult to tell differences between two sides of an album if BOTH sides sound like s__t! Where I come from this is the norm; two crappy sides.

See all of our Neil Young albums in stock


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