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Please note that we will be closed Saturday December 22nd through Tuesday January 1st.

If you would like to receive your order before Christmas, please make a note in your order comments and we will do our best to accommodate you. Any orders received after midday this Friday will not ship until the New Year.

Happy Holidays from the Better Records crew!

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Herb Alpert - Whipped Cream & Other Delights

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: alperwhipp_2013) 



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

TWO STUNNING SIDES rating at or near A+++ for this White Hot Stamper 2-pack! Most copies of this album either sound terrible or play too noisy to bother with -- finding one that does anything right is a chore. These two killer sides are a completely different story, with the kind of big, spacious soundstage and rich, full-bodied tonality that puts the typical pressing to shame.

More Herb Alpert


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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: bachacasin_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

Casino Royale under the sway of Bernie's penchant for bright, gritty, ambience-challenged sound? Not such a good match. There is no reissue, and there will never be a reissue, that will sound as good as a good original. (And I hope it would go without saying that most copies cannot begin to do what a real Hot Stamper original can.)

See all of our Burt Bacharach albums in stock


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Badfinger - Straight Up

The British 2 LP Remaster Is a Joke

  (Item #: badfistrai_apple_remaster) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This British 2 LP reissue was digitally remastered and contains alternate mixes of 6 songs on the 2nd record.

The whole series was awful sounding and should be avoided completely.

More Badfinger


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The Recordings of Chet Baker

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: baker_chet) 



These are just some of the recordings by Chet Baker that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Chet Baker Albums with Hot Stampers

Chet Baker Albums We've Reviewed



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The Band - The Band

Capitol Records Debunked

  (Item #: band_band_capitol_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

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

More from The Band


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The Band - The Band

Simply Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: band_band_svlp_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame Pressing

Made from an English dub tape, the Simply Vinyl pressing, like most British imports of albums by The Band, is pure mud. The exception is Music from Big Pink, which can actually sound quite good on British vinyl. The Simply Vinyl pressing of that album, however, is every bit as bad as this one. Both are a waste of money.

More from The Band


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The Band - Music From Big Pink

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: band_music_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

In 2012 the new MoFi put out another remastered Big Pink. Since their track record at this point is, to be honest, abysmal, we have not felt the need to audition it.

It's very possible, even likely, that they restored some of the bass that's missing from the originals. But bad half-speed mastered bass -- poorly defined, never deep and never punchy -- is that the kind of bass that would even be desirable?

More by The Band


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REO Speedwagon, 3 Dog Night, Abba

What Do These Bands Have in Common?

  (Item #: bands_1) 



These are just some of the recordings by REO Speedwagon, 3 Dog Night and Abba that we've auditioned over the years and found seriously wanting. Without going into album specifics we'll just say these releases contain bad music, bad sound, or both, and probably do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

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The Recordings of Count Basie

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: basie_count) 



These are just some of the recordings by Count Basie that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Count Basie Albums with Hot Stampers

Count Basie Albums We've Reviewed



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The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beachsurfe_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

I played the MoFi pressing of this record many years ago, some time back in the early '90s if memory serves, and at the time I could hardly believe that the good people of MoFi would release a record that was so ridiculously SPITTY. The sibilance is positively out of control, the result of their wacky cutting system and phony EQ.

But then I remembered that there has never been a title produced by these people with sound so bad that they would have cancelled its release,

More Beach Boys


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The Beatles - The Blue Album

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: beatl1967-1) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

I used to like these British compilations; I raved about them in fact. Now I find them too bright. If you have a treble control or a very smooth system you may find them enjoyable.

More of The Beatles


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The Beatles - Let It Be

Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: beatlletit_180_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl Beatles LP debunked.

At the end of a recent shootout for Let It Be (June 2014) we decided to see how the 2012 Digitally Remastered Heavy Vinyl pressing would acquit itself when played against the 12 (yes, twelve!) British copies we had just spent hours critically auditioning.

More Let It Be


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The Beatles - Past Masters Volumes 1 & 2

Digital Remastering at its Worst

  (Item #: beatlpastm_2010) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

The '90s import pressings of this album are bright and aggressive and very digital sounding, but if you want better sounding versions of these songs you're gonna have to buy a lot of albums to find them.

All the songs that aren't on the original 13 British albums, so for those of you with the MOFI Beatles box, this gives you all the tracks you don't have.


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The Beatles - Revolver

1981 Parlophone Mono Reissue

  (Item #: beatlrevol_mono) 



Sonic Grade: F

A great sounding record in stereo, potentially anyway, but this later reissue in mono is so awful it deserves a special place in our Hall of Shame.

My notes for side one: hard, sour, no bass. Side two: dumbass small mono, so unclear.

We love the mono mix of For No One, but not when it sounds like this! The only Beatles vinyl we offer on our site are stereo pressings. Our reasons for doing this are straightforward enough. (Continued below)

More Beatles


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Beethoven / Kreutzer Sonata / Heifetz / Rubinstein

Cisco Debunked

  (Item #: beethkreut_cisco_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex.

The Cisco pressing of LSC 2577 is not acceptable on any level. There is no violinist in front of you when you play their record. There is someone back behind your speakers under a thick blanket, and his violin sure doesn't sound very much like a real violin -- no rosiny texture, no harmonics, no real body. I am proud to say we rejected the record when it was released and never carried it. (The Cisco Peer Gynt was every bit as bad.)

More recordings featuring the violin


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Beethoven / 4th Movement of the Ninth Symphony / Mitzelfelt

  (Item #: beethodet0_65112) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Audiophile Recording debunked.

Can't find anything nice to say about this record.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven - Symphony #9 - Solti (2 LPs)

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beethsymph_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Bright phony string tone, MoFi's trademark sound for classical recordings. Anyone who has ever attended a concert knows that strings in real life simply do not sound anything like they do on these MoFi records.

The London pressing of this recording is no great shakes either; any pressing should be avoided.

More music by Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Symphony #4 / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: beethsymph4_2011) 



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

BOTH sides of this early Plum Label Victrola pressing earned a Super Hot Stamper sonic grade, with the kind of string tone only found on the best of the Living Stereo releases and other top quality Golden Age recordings. Here is the kind of sound that Classic Records could not ignore, even though it was only ever made available as part of RCA's budget reissue series, Victrola. Don't let its budget status fool you -- this pressing puts to shame most of what came out on the full price Living Stereo label.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto in D / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

It is an airless fraud, a cheap fake reproduction that's incapable of fooling anyone with two good ears, a properly set up stereo and a decent collection of Golden Age violin concertos.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Bennett & Evans - The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: benneevans_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

That weird boost around 10k that Stan Ricker liked to add to practically every record he mastered wreaks havoc on the sound of Tony Bennett's voice. I would be very surprised if the current in-print CD doesn't sound more tonally natural, and for us audiophile record lovers - not lovers of audiophile records, but guys who love records with audiophile sound - that's simply another nail in the coffin for one of the most laughably inept remastering labels in the history of that sad enterprise.

More Tony Bennett


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George Benson - Tell It Like It Is

A&M Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: bensotellit_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Half-Speed is pretty -- pretty lifeless if you ask me, in the way that so many Half-Speed mastered records are. It’s cut very clean, but until you play a good A&M pressing, you don’t know how much meat has been stripped from the bones. The best A&M pressings sound like a Rudy Van Gelder recording, which, of course, they are.

More George Benson


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Berlioz / A Berlioz Orchestra Spectacular

Another Dubby Klavier Mess of a Record

  (Item #: berliaberl_klavier) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Record and another Remastered Audiophile Pressing debunked. Eight spectacular shorter works including overtures, marches and excerpts from symphonic poems. Orchestral fireworks to make your stereo come alive.

But the sound is thick and opaque because the record was mastered from a copy tape, and not all that well anyway.


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Bernstein / The Music of Leonard Bernstein / Rogers

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bernsmusic_2012) 



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

This London Phase 4 British import has some of the most SPECTACULAR sound I have ever heard reproduced from disc. The sound is so BIG and BOLD that it handily puts to shame 95% or more of all the Golden Age Shaded Dogs, London Bluebacks, Mercury Living Presence's, EMI's and Decca's we've ever played. If we had a Classical Top 100 list, this record would belong in a Top Ten taken from it, right near the top judging by what I heard when I played it.

More of the music of Leonard Bernstein


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Blondie - Parallel Lines

Simply Vinyl & EMI 180 Debunked

  (Item #: blondparal_debunk_180) 



Sonic Grade: D

Both Hall of Shame Pressings

EMI and Simply Vinyl both released Heavy Vinyl versions of the album with little sonic success. I remember being underwhelmed by the Simply Vinyl version, the perfect example of the smeary sub-gen sound you get when a record is made from a dub tape. The EMI 180 was brighter and thinner and every bit as wrong in its own way. Choosing among them would have been difficult. The best choice: none of the above.

More Blondie


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Blood, Sweat & Tears on Speakers Corner

What The Hell Were They Thinking?

  (Item #: bloodchild_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This is the worst sounding Heavy Vinyl Reissue LP I have heard in longer than I can remember. To make a record sound this bad you have to work at it.

More Blood, Sweat & Tears


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Boston - Boston

MoFi Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: bostobosto_mfsl_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi Anadisc has the same problems that plague the whole series: turgid, thick, blobby, murky, mucky sound. A real slogfest. Audiophile trash of the worst kind. People still pay money for this kind of bad sound? Yes they do! Go to ebay and see the high prices these records are fetching. (This is equal parts shocking and disgusting.)

More Boston


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Brahms / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brahmvioli_1903_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic reissue of LSC 1903 is a disaster: shrill, smeary and unmusical.

The best Heifetz records on Classic were, if memory serves, LSC 2734 (Glazunov), LSC 2603 (Bruch) and LSC 2769 (Rozsa). They aren't nearly as offensive as the others. If you can pick one up for ten or twenty bucks, you might get your money's worth depending, I suppose, on how critically you listen to your classical records.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brewer & Shipley - Weeds

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: breweweeds_2017) 



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

It took two copies on two different labels to give you BETTER than Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the two sides of this 2-pack. These sides were beyond anything we had ever heard, with weight and Tubey Magic to put other records to shame. On the best copies the midrange is amazingly relaxed and natural, yet completely clear and present. This Bay Area Hippie Folk Rock has much in common with classic albums like Workingman's Dead and CSN's first.

See all of our Brewer & Shipley albums in stock


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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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Bruch / Scottish Fantasy / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: bruchscott_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

It should go without saying that a good original pressing kills the Classic reissue, and the Classic version is one of the better Classics. Still, it's no match for the real thing, not even close. The Classic is airless, smeary and low-rez, which means that all the subtleties of the music and the performance will be much more difficult to appreciate. For $30 it's not a bad record.

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Charlie Byrd - Byrd at the Gate

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: byrd_byrda_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

This is a title Mobile Fidelity ruined, and having just played an early Riverside LP I can see how their mastering approach was -- as is so often the case -- misguided to say the least. First off, the guitar and the drums on the original are tonally right on the money. They sound like bass and drums should. They sound, in a word, correct. Mobile Fidelity felt it necessary to brighten up both and the results are a phony sounding guitar and phony sounding drums, with tizzy cymbals thrown in for good measure.

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The Cars - Candy-O

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: cars_candy_debunk_2014) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

This Nautilus Half-Speed Mastered LP, like The Cars first album they did, is pure compressed muck. Another one of the worst half-speeds of all time. For those who are interested we've reprinted a customer's letter below as well.

More Candy-O


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The Cars - The Cars

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: cars_cars_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

This Nautilus Half-Speed Mastered LP is pure mud -- compressed; thick and congested, a disaster on every level, much like their atrocious remastering of Candy-O. If you own this Audiophile BS pressing (NR-14) and you can't hear what's wrong with it, you seriously need to consider revamping your system.

More of The Cars


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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

Analogue Productions Debunked

  (Item #: cartejazzg_ap_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Analogue Productions LP debunked.

You may remember that Acoustic Sounds did a version back in the '90s, which was a complete disaster. I haven't heard the new 45 RPM version, but I seriously doubt that it sounds like this. We have yet to hear a single Heavy Vinyl 45 that sounds any good to us, judged by the standards we set in our shootouts. (Actually the records themselves set the standards; we simply grade them on the curve they establish.)

More Benny Carter


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The Recordings of Benny Carter

These Three Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: carter_benny) 



These are just some of the recordings by Benny Carter that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Benny Carter Albums with Hot Stampers

Benny Carter Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











Chabrier / Espana and more / Paray

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: chabrespan_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

I much prefer Ansermet’s performances on London to those of Paray on Mercury. I know of none better. The famous Classic pressing of the Mercury is a grainy, gritty, shrill piece of crap.

More of the music of Emmanual Chabrier (1841-1894)


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Ray Charles & Betty Carter - Ray Charles & Betty Carter

DCC Clear Vinyl Pressing

  (Item #: charlraych_dcc_clear) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

This Dunhill Compact Classics LP pressed on CLEAR VINYL is one of DCCs earliest forays into analog production. Unfortunately it sounds like a bad CD. In fact, you can be sure that Hoffman's CD murders it in every way. Don't waste your money.

More Ray Charles


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Cheap Trick - At Budokan

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: cheapatbud_2017) 



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

This is the only Cheap Trick record that most casual fans should need. The live versions of 'Ain't That A Shame' and 'I Want You To Want Me' are AS GOOD AS IT GETS. Where would Classic Rock Radio be without catchy pop like this? Nowhere man!

More Cheap Trick


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Eric Clapton - At His Best

Not Recommended

  (Item #: claptathis) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

This pressing, along with the rest of the series, was mastered by Robert Ludwig. The sound may be as rich and full as we described it years ago, but the tapes RL had to work with were dubs, so the sound is not up to audiophile standards, not ours anyway.

More Eric Clapton


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Classic Records

First Three Classical Releases
Debunked

  (Item #: classic_180_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame Pressings, Every One

I’m reminded of the nonsense I read in TAS and elsewhere in the mid-’90s regarding the reputed superiority of the Classic Records Living Stereo reissues. After playing their first three titles: 1806, 1817 and 2222 (if memory serves), I could find no resemblance between the reviews I read and the actual sound of the records I played. The sound was, in a word, awful. To this day I consider them to be the Single Worst Reissue Series in the History of the World.


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The Recordings of John Coltrane

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: coltrane_john_) 



These are just some of the recordings by John Coltrane that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

John Coltrane Albums with Hot Stampers

John Coltrane Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











John Coltrane - Ole Coltrane

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrole_2016) 



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

Olé! Here's a great copy of a wonderful Coltrane album that we seriously enjoy but just don't see enough to keep in our regular rotation. And that's a shame, because these Top Copies are a THRILL to hear. Both sides give you an exceptionally strong bottom end, and with two bass players contributing on much of the album that is essential for this music. The overall sound is lively, dynamic, and very transparent.

More John Coltrane


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Cream - Fresh Cream

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: creamfresh_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

Compressed, thick, dull, opaque and completely lacking in ambience, almost any domestic or British original pressing will be better in almost every way. Read our Hot Stamper review below for the full story.

More Cream


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Cream - Heavy Cream

Not Recommended

  (Item #: creamheavy) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame Pressing.

Polydor Double LP mastered by Robert Ludwig. The tonal balance is right on the money, but of course, because this is a compilation, it is made from copies of the master tapes, not real master tapes themselves, so it will always have that blurry, smeary, opaque, airless, sub-generation tape quality to the sound (not unlike most of the Heavy Vinyl we audition).

The record contains 22 of Cream's best tracks compiled from all their live and studio albums.

More Eric Clapton and Cream


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Crosby, Stills & Nash on Nautilus

THE Most Bloated Bass in Half Speed History

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_nr_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

An audiophile record dealer (of course; who else?) once raved to me about Crosby Stills and Nash on Nautilus. I said "What are you talking about? That version sucks!" He replied "No, it’s great. Helplessly Hoping sounds amazing."

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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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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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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Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra - Viva Cugat

  (Item #: cugatvivac_6003_0511) 



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

This crazy Cugat record (is there any other kind?) is a BALL and has absolutely amazing Demo Disc quality sound on side two, better than Super Hot Stamper quality.

It sounds like Henry Mancini on speed, and the recording quality puts most of Mancini's records to shame to boot. This is Bachelor Pad music for those who like their Bachelor Pad to be FUN!

More Exotica


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Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic of LSC 2222 is all but unlistenable on a highly resolving system. The opacity, transient smear and loss of harmonic information and ambience found on Classic's pressing drives us right up the wall. Who can sit through a record that sounds like that? Way back in 1994, long before we had anything like the system we do now, we were disparaging the "Classic Records Sound" in our catalogs.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Deep Purple - Machine Head

180g Rhino LP Debunked

  (Item #: deeppmachi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

I’m guessing that very few people have ever heard this record sound good. The average copy is nothing special, but this one is a boring, lifeless mess so save your money.

More Deep Purple


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Deep Purple - Made in Japan

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: deeppmadei_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D-

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

Dead as a doornail sound. Disgraceful.

More Deep Purple


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Dire Straits - Dire Straits

Phonogram Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: diresdires_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

This has to be one of the worst sounding copies of Dire Straits' first album we have ever played. There are plenty of bad sounding pressings of this album around -- most of the domestic copies we've auditioned over the years were pretty awful -- so we really can't give it an F. (The 10cc title from this same series wasn't half bad, FYI; certainly not the joke this pressing is.)

More Dire Straits


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The Doobie Brothers - Minute By Minute

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: doobiminut_debunk) 




Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

You may remember reading on the site that we used to like the Nautilus Half-Speed of this title. Playing our Nautilus copy against the better domestic pressings made us wonder what the hell we must have been smoking. The Nautilus was awful -- veiled and compressed, with a lightweight bottom end. (The Nautilus of Threshold of a Dream is another one we used to like and boy does that record sound awful these days.)

See all of our Doobie Brothers albums in stock


  more Info











The Doors - The Doors

Rhino / Universal Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorsdoors_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

What a mess. Imagine listening to this album with a two inch thick velvet curtain placed over your speakers -- that's the sound of this remastered record! How bad does a stereo have to be in order to disguise the fact that this is one of the worst Classic Rock reissues in the history of the world? I don't know and I sure don't want to find out.

More by The Doors


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The Doors - L.A. Woman

German Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorslawom_debunk_2014) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

There is [was; it’s out of print now] a German 180 gram pressing of L.A. Woman which is [was] so bad, I am calling this commentary The Audiophile Apocalypse. The fact that some audiophiles and audiophile reviewers appear to like this pressing is a sign that, to me at least, The End Is Near, or May Be.

See more copies of The Doors' albums


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The Doors - Morrison Hotel

Rhino / Universal Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: doorsmorri_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D (at best)

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

A few years back we played the 180 gram reissue of Morrison Hotel. Initially we thought it pretty good, but the longer it played, the more its artificiality became apparent -- and annoying. Just listen to the vocals -- they're all wrong. Jim Morrison has one of the richest and most distinctive voices in the history of rock. When it doesn't sound like the guy I've been listening to for close to forty years, something is very, very wrong.

More by The Doors


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The Doors - The Soft Parade

Rhino Box Set Pressing Debunked

  (Item #: doorssoftp_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

A Gold Label original pressing blew out minds not long ago, after whichwe wrote "Need I even mention how much better this copy sounds than the 180g version from the Rhino Box Set, digitally remastered by Bernie Grundman? That thing is just awful, possibly the worst sounding pressing I have ever heard."

More of The Doors


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Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

Sundazed Mono Debunked

  (Item #: dylanhighw_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Sundazed record debunked.

I don’t think mono works for this album, so we never carried it nor recommended it.

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Electric Light Orchestra - On the Third Day

The British Imports Are Made from Dubs

  (Item #: electonthe_import) 



Sonic Grade: F

Presenting the newest member of our Hall of Shame.

It's obvious, or should be, that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports make it sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers. We know this because we had a bunch of them cleaned up for our shootout and they all sucked. We always buy Electric Light Orchestra records on import vinyl; those are the ones that sound the best, the domestic pressings time and again sounding as though they were mastered from dub tapes. But On The Third Day is proof that this is not always the case, just as Siren proves that the best Roxy Music albums are not always British.

More ELO


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Donald Fagen - Morph The Cat

Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: fagenmorph_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

Truly awful sound. Can't make any sense of it. Pure sludge.

More Donald Fagen


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Donald Fagen - The Nightfly

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: fagennight_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing.

More phony MoFi EQ on the top and sloppy bass. You can do a whole lot better and you sure won't have to try very hard to do it.

Yet another Mobile Fidelity Pressing Debunked. Our Audiophile Scorecard has plenty more where this one came from.

More Donald Fagen


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Falla / Nights In The Gardens Of Spain - De Burgos

Testament Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: fallanight_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

Another pointless Heavy Vinyl reissue, this time from Testament, with sound bad enough to qualify for our Hall of Shame. Dead as a doornail. Surely even the CD is better.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Orchestral Music Scorecard to read more about the latest winners and losers.

More music by Manuel de Falla


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Falla / Three-Cornered Hat / Argenta (CS 6050)

This Copy Sure Was a Letdown

  (Item #: fallathree_cs_6050) 



Sonic Grade: F

This London original pressing with 1K/1K stampers was so bright, dry, and shrill I could hardly stand to listen to it for more than the half a minute it took to realize it was not going to get any better. It's bad enough to go right into our Hall of Shame.

The copy we had back in 2010 was a very good sounding record. You can read all about it below.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


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Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - Ella and Basie!

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: D

A weak outing from Speakers Corner and a Hall of Shame pressing.

Their 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO -- brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Four that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



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The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Four More that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella_2) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Four More that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella_3) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











The Recordings of Ella Fitzgerald

Still More that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ella_4) 



These are just some of the recordings by Ella Fitzgerald that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Ella Fitzgerald Albums with Hot Stampers

Ella Fitzgerald Albums We've Reviewed



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Ella Fitzgerald - Misty Blue

Not Her Finest Hour

  (Item #: fitzgerald_ellasss) 



A Hall of Shame pressing from 1968.

The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (although some may vote for Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday). Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, Fitzgerald could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang. The one fault was that, since she always sounded so happy to be singing, Fitzgerald did not always dig below the surface of the lyrics she interpreted and she even made a downbeat song such as "Love for Sale" sound joyous. However, when one evaluates her career on a whole, there is simply no one else in her class." - AMG

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Nautilus Digitally Remastered Half Speed Debunked

  (Item #: fleetrumou_nautilus) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

Compressed and thin, for all I know the CD might be better than this barely passable audiophile pressing.

More Rumours


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Foreigner - Double Vision

MoFi Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: foreidoubl_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

There is a Mobile Fidelity Half-Speed Mastered version of this album currently in print, and an older one from the days when their records were pressed in Japan (#052).

We haven't played the latter in years; as I recall it was as lifeless and sucked-out in the midrange as some other famous MoFis of that period, notably The Doors (#051) and Trick of the Tail (#062). Is there any doubt that the new MoFi will be every bit as bad or worse?

More Foreigner


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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel

Debunked

  (Item #: gabrigabr1_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another addition to our Hall of Shame from one of our favorite whipping boys here at Better Records, the late but hardly lamented Classic Records.

Bernie Grundman's mastering approach for the first PG album is a disaster -- brighter and cleaner, which turns out to be precisely the wrong sound for the music.

More Peter Gabriel


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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel

Direct Disk Labs Debunked

  (Item #: gabrigabr1_dd_labs) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Half Speed Mastered Record that belongs in our Hall of Shame

The Direct Disk Labs half-speed here is thick, compressed and lifeless, though fairly rich. You could do worse I suppose, but too much of the life of the music will be lost when playing their remastered pressing.

More Peter Gabriel


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Peter Gabriel - Passion

Not Recommended (for Sound)

  (Item #: gabripassi) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. Never heard a copy sound good.

Based on what little I’ve heard of the Classic series, I’m going to bet this has better sound than the heavy vinyl reissue they did.

More Peter Gabriel


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Genesis - Abacab

Simply Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: genesabaca_svlp) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Simply Vinyl pressing debunked.

Dreadful sound.

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

More Phil Collins and Genesis


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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: genesatric_mfsl_debunk_2015) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

The last time I played the MoFi I could not believe how ridiculously COMPRESSED it was. On top of that, the midrange is badly sucked out (as is the case with most MoFi's) making the sound as dead as dead can be. You think 180 gram records are lifeless? Play this piece of crap and see just how bad an audiophile record can sound.

More Phil Collins and Genesis


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Genesis - Nursery Cryme

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: genesnurse_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic Heavy Vinyl pressing is a smeary lifeless mess next to one of our Hot Stamper pressings.

More Genesis


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The Recordings of Stan Getz

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: getz_stan) 



These are just some of the recordings by Stan Getz that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

More Stan Getz


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Astrud Gilberto - The Astrud Gilberto Album

Skip the Mono

  (Item #: gilbeastru_mono) 



Sonic Grade: F

A great sounding record in stereo, potentially anyway, but in mono the bad sound puts it firmly in our Hall of Shame.

Stick with stereo; the MONO pressings aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time).

Yet another public service from your record loving audiophile friends here at Better Records.

More Astrud Gilberto


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Dexter Gordon - One Flight Up

Cisco Debunked

  (Item #: gordoonefl_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex.

You will have a hard time finding any pressing that doesn't sound better than this "dubby" Cisco LP. (The DMM reissues are worse, but I can't think of any others offhand that would be. The CDs of course, but that's a case of apples and oranges.)

If smeared transients and zero ambience are your kind of sound, this is the record for you! If you want a real Blue Note, we may have some in stock.

More One Flight Up


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The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

Rhino Heavy Vinyl Debunked

  (Item #: grateworki_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

The 2003 Rhino reissue on heavy vinyl of Workingman's Dead is absolutely awful. It sounds like a bad cassette. The CD of the album that I own is superb, which means that the tapes are not the problem, bad mastering and pressing are.

More Grateful Dead


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Edvard Grieg on Vinyl

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: grieg_edvard) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Edvard Grieg that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place on our site, in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Hot Stamper pressings of Grieg's Music

Pressings of Grieg's Music We've Reviewed



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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad

Not Sounding So Good This Time Around

  (Item #: griegpeer_6049_2016) 



Sonic Grade: F

The originals we played in our recent shootout were bad enough to go right into our Hall of Shame.

We've loved the Blueback pressings in the past. This time, not so much -- too crude and opaque with jello for bass.

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)


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Grieg / Music From Peer Gynt / Fiedler

Cisco Debunked

  (Item #: griegpeerg_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex.

Pretty bad, on a par with the shrill crap Classic Records has been dishing out for years but in the opposite tonal direction: dull and deadsville.

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

See all pressings of Peer Gynt in stock


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Grieg & Liszt / Piano Concertos / Rubinstein

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: griegpiano_2011) 



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

The strings are RICH in the best Living Stereo tradition, but unlike so many classical pressings we play, the tubey magical string tone comes with virtually no tube smear. The textures and overtones are fully intact. This side may in fact be pretty much as good as it gets; we don't have enough copies to know just how good the recording can be, but it can't be too much better than this, because this side puts most Golden Age classical recordings to shame.

More of the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)


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Vince Guaraldi - Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus

45 RPM Acoustech Debunked

  (Item #: guarajazzi_acoustech) 



Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked from the consistently execrable Analogue Productions label, purveyors of bad sounding vinyl from day one.

More Vince Guaraldi


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Hall and Oates - Abandoned Luncheonette

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: hallaaband_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Those of you who have had the misfortune to play the MoFi LP know that they absolutely ruined this album. They boosted the hell out of the top end, the last thing in the world this recording needed.

Actually, that’s probably not true. People who collect MoFi records probably like the kind of phony sound found on the MoFi of this title.

More Hall and Oates


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Emmylou Harris - Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: harriquart_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

I comment below about the ridiculous sound of the MoFi pressing. When you have a recording that is already plenty bright, adding more top end and taking out more lower midrange is the last thing in the world you should be doing. Since that is standard operating procedure for MoFi (and other Half-Speed mastering outfits), that's exactly the approach they ended up taking.

More Emmylou Harris


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Coleman Hawkins - Hawkins! Alive!

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: hawkihawki_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The copy I auditioned back in 1995 had Hawkin's horn sounding squawky and sour. We never carried it. I liked many of their other jazz titles -- they did a better job with jazz than any other kind of music -- but this was not their finest hour. Unless I got a bad copy, always a possibility.

More Coleman Hawkins


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Heart - Little Queen

CBS Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: heartlittl_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

No slam, no real weight and no deep deep bass, just that 30-plus-cycles stuff and barely any of that, mostly 40 and up if you're lucky, and BLUBBERY. Another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing Debunked.

Our good customer Roger wrote to tell me how much better he liked our $100 Hot Stamper of Little Queen compared to his CBS Mastersound Half-Speed Mastered LP.

More Little Queen


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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Classic Records Mono Debunked

  (Item #: hendraxisb_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

One of the worst things the dummies at Classic ever did. Flat and dry with no tubey magic whatsoever. It positively screams "CHEAP REISSUE."

More Jimi Hendrix


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Bernard Herrmann on Vinyl

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: herrmann_bernard) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Bernard Herrmann that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place on our site, in your collection, and might even belong in a Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Hot Stamper pressings of Bernard Herrmann's Music

Various Pressings of Bernard Herrmann's Music We've Reviewed



  more Info











Bernard Herrmann - The Fantasy Film World of...

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: herrmfanta_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Obviously our customers know by now that a Hot Stamper London pressing is going to be far better than the Anadisq MoFi cut in the mid ’90s. How much better?

Words fail me.

That record was a complete disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn’t notice because they had nothing to compare to it.

More of the music of Bernard Herrmann


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Holst / The Planets/ Previn (2 45 RPM LPs)

Just Awful

  (Item #: holstplane_45) 



This Minty looking EMI 45 RPM Japanese Import 2 LP set with the OBI strip and Little Sign Of Play (LSOP) is widely considered one of the great Planets, but it's not, based on our playing of a copy we had years ago, which means it belongs in our Hall of Shame.

The best copies on British or Dutch EMI vinyl are clearly better than this "audiophile" pressing.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Holst / The Planets / Solti / LPO

MoFi (and UHQR) Debunked

  (Item #: holstplane_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: Regular MoFi LP: F / UHQR: D

Both Hall of Shame pressings.

We recently auditioned an excellent sounding Decca Purple Label British import LP, the same performance, the same recording that Mobile Fidelity remastered (#510), but, thankfully, it sounded A WHOLE LOT BETTER!

I just listened to both and a catalog of the faults of the MFSL pressing would be quite lengthy. I won’t waste your time listing them. Although this recording is not perfect, the Decca pressing shows it in its proper light.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Freddie Hubbard - First Light

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hubbafirst_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper original CTI pressing has a truly SUPERB side two that just put to shame most of what we played. Smeary blurred trumpet blasts? Not here. Nope, the transient bite and energy of the trumpet is as REAL as it gets.

Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and this pressing was one of the few in our shootout with the kind of high quality mastering that can do justice to his uniquely energetic, lightning fast jazz style.

More Freddie Hubbard


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Michael Jackson - Off The Wall

CBS Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: jacksoffth_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

Pure mud. No top end whatsoever!

See all of our Michael Jackson albums in stock


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The Recordings of Milt Jackson

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: jackson_milt) 



These are just some of the recordings by Milt Jackson that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Milt Jackson Albums with Hot Stampers

Milt Jackson Albums We've Reviewed



  more Info











Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

DCC Debunked

  (Item #: jeffesurre_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Sour and opaque, a major disappointment. You can do worse -- hence the D -- but it isn’t easy.

A Hall of Shame pressing and another DCC LP debunked.

More Jefferson Airplane


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Jellyfish - Bellybutton (Import w/ Bonus Live E.P.)

Dubby Import Pressing

  (Item #: jellybelly_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D-

A Hall of Shame pressing.

Made from dub tapes, smeary and veiled. Not our sound!

More Jellyfish


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