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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Three
The Three
(45 RPM)

  (Item #: threethree_45_1811) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Demo Disc Quality Sound - close to Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides
  • An incredibly dynamic and immediate recording the likes of which you may have never experienced in your listening room, so here's your chance!
  • And it's not the Direct Disc. It's better than the direct to disc. It's live to TAPE, mastered at 45 RPM
  • "You Are There" Live Music sound, almost impossible to come by on any other record
  • Sample, Brown and Manne here play the best piano trio jazz we have ever heard
More Shelly Manne / More Ray Brown


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Beethoven / 'Appassionata' / Kamiya

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: beethappas_2010) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

A famous resident of the TAS list, this album mixes beautiful music with lovely, solid piano tone, the best of both worlds for audiophiles. A friend of mine tells me that Kamiya plays this piece exactly the way Horowitz did, and that's probably a good thing. Good luck finding a Horowitz recording that sounds like this.

See more of our Direct to Disc recordings


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Brahms, Handel, Chopin - Lincoln Mayorga, Pianist

Reverse Your Polarity!

  (Item #: variobrahm_mayorga) 



This IMMACULATE Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP with Very Little Sign Of Play (VLSOP) is one of the best Sheffields. Lincoln Mayorga is an accomplished classical pianist: this is arguably his best work. (I had a chance to see him perform at a recital of Chopin's works early in 2010 and he played superbly -- for close to two hours without the aid of sheet music I might add.)

You might want to try reversing the phase when playing this LP; it definitely helps the sound, a subject we discuss below.

See more of our Direct to Disc recordings


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Chopin - Scherzo #2 - Auer

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: chopischer_2008) 



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

This is an IMMACULATE RCA Direct-to-Disc LP with SUPERB SOUND! This recording is every bit as good as the famous RCA Beethoven Direct Disc and ten times as rare. You will have a very hard time finding a better sounding solo piano recording.

More of the music of Chopin


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Dave Brubeck - A Cut Above

Not Recommended

  (Item #: brubeacuta_ddlabs) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This Direct Disk Labs Double LP is an exceptionally WELL-RECORDED Direct-to-Disc. The bass is punchy, the piano sounds tonally Right On The Money (ROTM) and the overall sound is lively and immediate. It’s one of the better sounding Direct-to-Discs we’ve played lately.

The music goes nowhere however, hence the grade.

More Dave Brubeck


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Dave Grusin - Discovered Again

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: grusidisco_2008) 



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

This Sheffield Direct to Disc pressing has AMAZING SOUND! Out of the six copies we played, this was the White Hot Stamper WINNER of our shootout with the kind of life and musical energy simply not to be found on the average Sheffield copy.

See more of our Audiophile recordings


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Flamenco Fever "Live Direct to Disc"

Reviewed in 2017

  (Item #: rosa_flamc_2017) 



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

Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides, this is a Direct to Disc Demo Disc like nothing you've heard. The sound is breathtakingly real - you are there in the club with the guitarist and these dancers. If you have the power to drive big speakers, the dynamics and bass transients of this copy are going to rock your world, literally.

More Audiophile recordings


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Glenn Miller Orchestra - The Direct Disc Sound of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: milledirec_2010) 



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

One of the all time GREAT Direct to Disc recordings. For sound and music this one is hard to beat. And the vinyl is as quiet as any you will find.

We went a bit overboard years ago when we wrote, "I don't think you can find a better sounding big band record on the planet." Well, we've heard plenty of amazing big band albums in the course of our Hot Stamper shootouts for the last five or ten years, albums by the likes of Basie, Zoot Sims, Ellington, Shorty Rogers, Ted Heath and others.

More Big Band Jazz


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Harry James & His Big Band - The King James Version

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: jameskingj_2008) 



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

This White Hot Stamper has the best side two we have ever heard! Side two fulfills the promise of the direct to disc recording approach in a way that few -- very few -- direct to disc pressings do. To be honest, the typical pressing of The King James Version leaves much to be desired. As a rule two areas are especially lacking: there is a noticeable lack of presence on most copies, causing the brass to get stuck in the speakers and lose its bite; and, every bit as bad, the sound is often just plain compressed, lacking energy and life. The musicians on most copies are just not giving it their all.

More Audiophile recordings


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John Klemmer - Straight from the Heart

Listening for the Tubey Magic

  (Item #: klemmstrai_wtlf) 



The best copies give you dynamics and immediacy like you have rarely heard outside of the live event. Hell, this record IS live; it's live in the studio. It's a direct to disc recording, what else could it be?

There is simply nothing in the way of the music. If you have the system for it, you can recreate the live sound of this session in a way that few other recordings would ever allow you to do.

This copy had one quality not heard on most of the others: Tubey Magic. The sound is rich and full-bodied, practically free of grit and grain - this is the kind of sound one hears occassionally on the best tube equipment and practically nowhere else. Of course this is an all-transistor affair, but tubey sound is what ended up on the record, so go figure.

More John Klemmer


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John Klemmer - Straight from the Heart

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: klemmstrai_2010) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Nautilus Direct-to-Disc recording is an AMAZING Demo Disc, and what’s more, it’s actually REAL JAZZ -- a remarkably unusual combination in the Audiophile World, in my experience anyway. This copy takes the sound of this recording -- and the music along with it -- to another level. YOU WON'T BELIEVE how good this record sounds.

More John Klemmer


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

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: bach_thefo_fame) 



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

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

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

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


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Laurindo Almeida - Virtuoso Guitar

An Awesome Direct to Disc Copy

  (Item #: almeivirtu_2011) 



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

Virtuoso Guitar is yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

This White Hot Crystal Clear 45 RPM Direct-to-Disc fulfills the promise of both the direct to disc recording medium AND the 45 RPM cutting speed so much in vogue these days. We had a big pile of these pressings to play through. When we came upon this one halfway through our shootout, it was so big, so clear, so dynamic, so energetic, so extended on the top and bottom, we almost could not believe what we were hearing especially compared to the others copies we played.


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Lee Ritenour - Friendship

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: ritenfrien_2008) 



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

This is a Minty looking JVC Japanese Direct-to-Disc LP complete with the original OBI strip. One of my all time favorite audiophile discs because this is real music worth listening to! The song Woody Creek is wonderful and reason enough to own this excellent album. The guitar of Lee Ritenour and the saxophone of Ernie Watts double up during a substantial portion of this song and the effect is just amazing.

More Audiophile recordings


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Lincoln Mayorga & Distinguished Colleagues - Volume III

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mayorvolumeIII) 



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

DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND on both sides of this AMAZING Hot Stamper! This Limited Edition Sheffield Lab Direct Disc recording has some of the best sound we have ever heard for this title. The sound doesn’t get any better than this, with CLARITY and that JUMP OUT OF THE SPEAKERS quality we desire from a Hot Stamper.

See all of our Lincoln Mayorga albums in stock


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Lincoln Mayorga - The Missing Linc

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mayormissi_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Hall of Fame.

Super Hot, and definitely not your typical Sheffield pressing. Some of them are aggressive, many of them are dull and lack the spark of live music, some of them have wonky bass or are lacking in the lowest octave -- they are prey to every fault that befalls other pressings.

Which should not be too surprising. Records are records. Pressing variations exist for every album ever made. If you haven't noticed that yet, start playing multiple copies of the same album, while listening carefully and critically.

More Lincoln Mayorga


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Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues (S9)

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mayor_volume_1_2010) 



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

WOW! Here's a stunningly good sounding and shockingly quiet copy of The Big One -- Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues' first Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP aka S9. We've been comparing and contrasting pressings of this album for a long time and this is one of the very best -- and QUIETEST -- copies we've ever had the good luck to stumble on. The sound is BIG, RICH and FULL OF ENERGY. We gave side one an A++ and side two our top grade of A+++. It is ridiculously tough to find this record anymore, let alone a pressing this amazing. Who knows when we'll find another copy, let alone one that sounds like this!

More Direct to Disc recordings


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Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues

Implore You to Turn Up Your Volume

  (Item #: mayor_volume_1_loud) 



S9 is hands down the best example of a recording that truly comes to life when you Turn Up Your Volume.

There's not much ambience to be found in their somewhat dead sounding studio, and very little high frequency boost to any instrument in the soundfield, which means at moderate levels this record sounds flat and lifeless. (You could say it has that in common with most Heavy Vinyl pressings these days, if you wanted to take a cheap shot at those records, which, to be honest, I don't mind doing. They suck; why pretend otherwise?)

See all of our Direct to Disc recordings in stock


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Mel Torme & Buddy Rich - Together Again For The First Time

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: tormetoget) 



This is a Century Direct-to-Disc featuring Mel Torme fronting the Buddy Rich Big Band. And it’s a pretty big band with four trumpets, three trombones, five saxes and a tuba! One of the best tracks is "Here’s That Rainy Day", with guest soloist Phil Woods. The beginning is just Mel and Phil, a duet of sorts, with a lovely sense of melancholy.
More Mel Torme


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Side One Is Actually In Phase (Usually)

And You Read It Here First (Probably)

  (Item #: grusidisco_phase) 



According to the liner notes, this album is reversed absolute phase. They tell you to switch the positive and negative at the speaker for the best transient response and spatial clarity. But get this: most side ones are NOT reversed phase!
See more of our Audiophile recordings


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Stockhausen / Noda - Zyklus & Eclogue

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: stockzyklu_2011) 



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

This Super Hot RCA 45 RPM Direct-to-Disc fulfills the promise of both the direct to disc recording medium AND the 45 RPM cutting speed so much in vogue these days. As with the Virtuoso Guitar record we listed today, the sound is simply SUPERB -- open, dynamic and distortion free. This is a real DEMO DISC, no doubt about it.

I've known this record had top quality sound for decades; we started way back in 1987 selling these kinds of audiophile pressings and this one was clearly a Top Title even back then. I'm happy to say that, unlike most of the audiophile pressings we used to sell, this title has actually gotten BETTER with time.

More Audiophile recordings


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Stoneground - Play It Loud

Bad Direct Disc Music & Sound

  (Item #: stoneplayi_crystal_clear) 



Sonic Grade: F

An awful Direct to Disc recording. The bad sound and pointless music -- this is the kind of crap we audiophiles used to put up with back in the '70s before we had much of a clue -- means that it clearly belongs in only one place on our site: the Hall of Shame.

More Direct to Disc recordings


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Takemitsu - Percussions in Colors

  (Item #: takempercu_fame) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

Superb sound!

"Rare 1978 audiophile limited edition Japanese lp with Sumire Yoshihara on percussion performing experimental works. The Ichiyanagi work has a unique graphical score and allows the performer to select different classes of percussion. Takemitsu's piece is based on a work of art in the form of a book made for the composer by Italian artist Bruno Munari. Takemitsu's score consists of this book and an accompanying set of musical instructions on how to interpret its abstract collages and designs. Includes extensive notes inside the gatefold cover."


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The Great Jazz Trio - Direct From L.A.

Reviewed in 2014

  (Item #: greatdirec_2014) 



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

The album features some excellent jazz with outstanding drum work by Tony Williams (one of our favorite drummers here at Better Records).

Albums with Ron Carter on bass / Tony Williams on drums


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The L.A. 4 - Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: lafou_pavan_dd) 



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

This is a Near Mint East Wind Japanese Import Direct-To-Disc LP with SUPERB SOUND. Most copies we come across are quite ticky. Thankfully that ain't the case here. This is an EXCEPTIONALLY QUIET copy!

More recordings engineered by Lee Herschberg


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The L.A. Four - Going Home

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: lafougoing_dd) 



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

This Minty looking East Wind Japanese Direct-to-Disc LP has AMAZING SOUND. The boys do a fantastic version of Greensleeves here, flawlessing switching idioms from swing to bossa nova to bop.

More recordings engineered by Lee Herschberg


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The Sheffield Drum Record

  (Item #: variosheff_drum_record) 



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

This Minty looking Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP has AMAZING SOUND. We played it against other pressings we had and this was clearly the winner. It's so lively with a wonderfully extended top and bottom. We rate it about A++ - A+++ on both sides.

The record features improvisations from Jim Keltner (one of the all-time great session drummers) and Ron Tutt (Elvis Presley’s studio drummer). The album is a member of the famous TAS list.

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The Three - The Three (33 RPM)

Our Direct Disc Copy from 2009

  (Item #: threethree_dd_2009) 



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

DEMO QUALITY, MASTER TAPE SOUND (!) on BOTH SIDES! Hey, wait a minute, this is the direct to disc version, there is no Master Tape. How can it have Master Tape Sound?

Simple. It's the RARE copy that actually sounds like this one. Most Eastwind pressings -- like pressings on any label -- do not convey all the information of the master tape that you know must exist because you HEAR it on some copies. Some Direct Discs have much more of the sound that was cut live directly onto the acetate than others. This is one of those, one of the ones with MUCH MORE SOUND!

More of The Three


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Thelma Houston - I’ve Got The Music In Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: houstivego_65702_2011) 



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

In our last shootout this White Hot Stamper tied for the best side two we have ever heard! In the final round it simply came down to the fact that the other copy was a little more clear, this one is a little richer. They were both so amazing we couldn't decide which we preferred so we gave them both White Hot Stamper grades.

More Audiophile recordings


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Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio - Blues to East

Reviewed in 2015

  (Item #: yamamblues_2015) 



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

On this album there's almost none of that "introspective noodling jazz" that the Japanese are infamous for. I love Midnight Sugar as much as the next guy, but too much of that kind of music is wearying.

Yamamoto's Trio wants to show that it can play good old fashioned straight ahead American piano jazz with the best of them. I hear echoes of Bill Evans in Yamamoto's playing. Supposedly he was a big Errol Garner fan as well.

More Audiophile recordings


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Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio -Red Gardenia

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: yamamredga_0311) 



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

This SUPER RARE very nice looking Philips Japanese Direct-to-Disc LP has excellent sound. The piano is especially dynamic and rich. Imagine a Three Blind Mice piano date recorded Direct-to-Disc -- that's the sound of this album.

More Audiophile recordings


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Vivaldi / Excerpts from The Four Seasons, More / Cremona Chamber Ensemble

  (Item #: vivalexcer_dd) 



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

This is a SUPERB sounding Sonic Arts Direct-to-Disc LP with Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. I gave this one rave reviews twenty years ago (when we could still find them) and I'm happy to see that the sound has held up just fine in the intervening decades. Recorded in a dry acoustic, immediacy and clarity are the sonic strengths of this side one. This is one of the most natural Direct-Disc I’ve heard in a long time. One could easily use it as Demo Disc, depending on your taste and system.

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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Vivaldi / The Four Seasons / Hayakawa (2 LPs)
(45 RPM)

  (Item #: vivalfours_45) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This RCA Direct-to-Disc 45 RPM Double LP has awful sound, with hard and shrill string tone. This is why we dislike Japanese pressings as a rule -- they sound like this audiophile piece of junk.

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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Vivaldi Ensemble / Vivaldi, The Beatles

Bad Direct Disc Music & Sound

  (Item #: vivalsprin_rdc-2) 



Sonic Grade: F

An awful Direct to Disc recording. The bad sound and pointless music -- this is the kind of crap we audiophiles used to put up with back in the '70s before we had much of a clue -- means that it clearly belongs in only one place on our site: the Hall of Shame.

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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