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White Hot Stamper

George Harrison
All Things Must Pass

  (Item #: harriallth_1906_1) 

Our Price: $699.99

  • With stunning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to it on four of the six sides, this early British box set of All Things Must Pass has sound that will be very hard to beat
  • It's incredibly rich and Tubey Magical, yet still clean and clear with lovely studio space and a solid bottom end
  • If you've struggled with domestic pressings and later imports or Heavy Vinyl reissues, your troubles are over - here is the sound you were looking for
  • "Without a doubt, Harrison's first solo recording is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements."
See all George Harrison

 
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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
White Album

  (Item #: beatlwhite_1907_2) 

Our Price: $699.99

  • 11 pluses out of a possible 12?! Folks, this Triple Plus White Hot White Album is just plain UNBEATABLE
  • Stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on all four sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Some of the most powerful and immersive Beatles sound you will ever hear -- you will be KNOCKED OUT
  • All four sides have stunning Demo Quality tracks including Dear Prudence, Blackbird, Yer Blues and Revolution
  • A 5 Star Album on Allmusic that is an absolute treasure on a copy like this one
More of The White Album / More by The Beatles


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White Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Hunky Dory

  (Item #: bowiehunky_1907) 

Our Price: $449.99

  • Bowie's pre-Ziggy Folk Rock masterpiece earned sonic grades of Triple Plus (A+++) on both sides of this White Hot 2-pack*
  • The best tracks on the album are Demonstration Quality - Oh You Pretty Things is a KNOCKOUT here
  • Rich, spacious and sweet, with a HUGE soundstage - drop the needle on Changes and listen to how dynamic it is
  • 5 stars: "On the surface, such a wide range of styles and sounds would make an album incoherent, but Bowie's improved songwriting and determined sense of style instead made Hunky Dory a touchstone for reinterpreting pop's traditions into fresh, postmodern pop music."
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

George Harrison
All Things Must Pass

  (Item #: harriallth_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • With superb Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER across all six sides, this early British box set of All Things Must Pass has sound that will be tough to beat - very quiet vinyl for this album too
  • It's rich and Tubey Magical, yet still clean and (fairly) clear with lovely studio space and a solid bottom end
  • If you've struggled with domestic pressings and later imports or Heavy Vinyl reissues, your troubles are over - here is the sound you were looking for
  • "Without a doubt, Harrison's first solo recording is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements."
More George Harrison


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White Hot Stamper

Mary Hopkin
Post Card

  (Item #: hopkipostc_1907) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it for both sides of this original Apple import pressing
  • These sides were doing everything right -- clean, clear and full-bodied with wonderfully breathy vocals and a solid bottom end
  • Engineered by Ken Scott, Donovan's "Lord of the Reedy River" is simply amazing on this copy
  • "Paul McCartney produced this debut album of twee but pretty, romantic pop-folk... the highlights are Donovan's "Lord of the Reedy River" and "The Honeymoon Song," which McCartney himself had sung with the Beatles way back in 1963 on the BBC..." - All Music, 4 1/2 Stars
More Hippie Folk Rock


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Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Hunky Dory

  (Item #: bowiehunky_1904_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This UK pressing of Bowie's pre-Ziggy Folk Rock masterpiece earned outstanding Double (A++) grades for sound
  • The best tracks on the album are Demonstration Quality - Oh You Pretty Things is a KNOCKOUT here
  • Rich, spacious and sweet, with a HUGE soundstage - drop the needle on Changes and listen to how dynamic it is
  • 5 stars: "On the surface, such a wide range of styles and sounds would make an album incoherent, but Bowie's improved songwriting and determined sense of style instead made Hunky Dory a touchstone for reinterpreting pop's traditions into fresh, postmodern pop music."
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Elton John
Madman Across The Water

  (Item #: john_madma_1908) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An outstanding copy of Madman with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from the first note to the last - and the vinyl is as quiet as we can find
  • A ridiculously tough album to find with the right sound and surfaces, which is why we so rarely have them on the site
  • The last of the classic albums Elton recorded at Trident, the best of which have more Tubey Magic than anything that came after
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The record remains an ambitious and rewarding work, and John never attained its darkly introspective atmosphere again."
See all of our albums by Elton John in stock


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White Hot Stamper

America
America

  (Item #: ameriameri_1902_1906) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This incredible copy of the band's debut album boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • One of our favorite Hippie Folk Rock albums - the instruments and voices seem to be right in your listening room
  • The Tubey Magical acoustic guitars on this record are a true test of stereo reproduction - thanks Ken Scott!
  • 4 stars: "America's debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg..."
More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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White Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Pin-Ups

  (Item #: bowiepinup_1903_1906_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A stunning copy of this Classic Bowie album from 1973 with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are huge, clear and rich with phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic, thanks to the engineering of Ken Scott
  • A really fun listen, with Bowie running through covers of his favorite 60s hits in true Demo Disc sound
  • Turns out he's a great interpreter, turning in passionate versions of songs by The Who, Pink Floyd, The Yardbirds and more
  • He brings a fresh perspective to this material, just as Bryan Ferry did so brilliantly on his first two solo albums
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Elton John
Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player

  (Item #: john_donts_1903_1907) 

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


  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) Shootout Winning side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two, this UK copy has a side one that cannot be beat
  • Forget the dubby, closed-in and transistory domestic pressings - here is the relaxed, rich, spacious, musical, lifelike sound that only the best imports can show you
  • Thanks to Ken Scott's brilliant engineering and Gus Dudgeon's production savvy, every song here sounds better than you imagined
  • 4 stars: "His most direct, pop-oriented album... a very enjoyable piece of well-crafted pop/rock."
See all our Elton John albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour

  (Item #: beatlmagic_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This vintage German pressing earned outstanding Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides - it's pressed on exceptionally quiet vinyl to boot
  • Some of the best Beatles sound money can buy - Geoff Emerick, Eddie Kramer and Ken Scott all deserve kudos for their fine work here
  • Wonderfully Tubey Magical sound for I Am The Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever, The Fool On The Hill, Baby You're A Rich Man, Penny Lane and more
  • Until you play one of these True Stereo German pressings, you can't have heard MMT sound as big and lively as this LP - we guarantee it
  • A Top 100 album and Psych Masterpiece that knocks us out every time we do the shootout for it
More Magical Mystery Tour / More by The Beatles


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
The White Album

  (Item #: beatlwhite_1907_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This British pressing earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on all four sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Some of the most powerful and immersive Beatles sound you will ever hear - we guarantee you have never heard the album sound as good as this copy does
  • "If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest song writers since Schubert, then next Friday - with the publication of the new Beatles double LP - should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making..." Right On!
More of The White Album / More by The Beatles


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Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Aladdin Sane

  (Item #: bowiealadd_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding vintage UK pressing of Bowie's 1973 post-Ziggy classic - both sides rate a Double Plus (A++) for sound
  • Remarkable for the richness, smoothness and warmth that the best Ken Scott Tube Recordings are well known
  • Plenty of Bowie Classics: Watch That Man; Aladdin Sane; Panic in Detroit; Cracked Actor; The Jean Genie; Lady Grinning Soul and more
  • "Bowie encyclopedist Nicholas Pegg describes it as "one of the most urgent, compelling and essential" of his releases."
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Space Oddity

  (Item #: bowiespace_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this is the right sound for Bowie's 1969 classic - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This superb pressing is full-bodied and lively, with solid and present vocals, as well as excellent clarity all around
  • Ken Scott engineered at Trident, and Rick Wakeman plays a mean mellotron on some tracks - what's not to like?
  • "Abandoning both the mod and Anthony Newley fascinations that marked his earlier recordings, Bowie delves into a lightly psychedelic folk-rock, exemplified by the album's soaring title track..."
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Lou Reed
Transformer

  (Item #: reed_trans_1901_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent sound for Lou Reed's Glam Rock Classic, Transformer - this copy earned seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides
  • Here is an import pressing with the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce
  • Transformer is an absolute tour de force of well-recorded Seventies Glam Rock / Classic Rock / Alternative Rock
  • 4 1/2 stars: "...Bowie and Ronson gave their hero a new lease on life -- and a solid album in the bargain."
More Lou Reed / More David Bowie


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Super Hot Stamper

Mary Hopkin
Post Card

  (Item #: hopkipostc_1907_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound for both sides of this original Apple import pressing
  • These sides are clean, clear and lively with wonderfully breathy vocals and a solid bottom end
  • Engineered by Ken Scott, Donovan's "Lord of the Reedy River" is simply amazing on this copy
  • "Paul McCartney produced this debut album of twee but pretty, romantic pop-folk... the highlights are Donovan's "Lord of the Reedy River" and "The Honeymoon Song," which McCartney himself had sung with the Beatles way back in 1963 on the BBC..." - All Music, 4 1/2 Stars
More Hippie Folk Rock


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Super Hot Stamper

Supertramp
Crime of the Century

  (Item #: supercrime_1906) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • A huge and powerful pressing of Supertramp's Masterpiece, offering outstanding Double Plus (A++) quality sound on both sides
  • Ken Scott engineered this one to have Cinerama-sized height, width and depth to rival the best albums you've ever heard
  • Clearly their Magnum Opus and a great leap forward, this album earned 4 stars in AMG and a permanent spot on our Rock & Pop Top 100 Album List
  • "The tuneful, tightly played songs, pristine clarity of sound, and myriad imaginative sound effects, helped create an album that Sounds magazine likened to 'Genesis, The Beach Boys...a smattering of [Pink] Floyd.'"
See all our Supertramp albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

America
America

  (Item #: ameriameri_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding early WB Green Label pressing of the band's debut album with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • One of our favorite Hippie Folk Rock albums - the instruments and voices will appear to be right in your listening room
  • The Tubey Magical acoustic guitars on this record are a true test of stereo reproduction - thanks Ken Scott!
  • 4 stars: "America's debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg..."
More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jeff Beck
Truth

  (Item #: beck_truth_1707_1902) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end for Beck's amazingly well recorded masterpiece - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Here is the Big Rock Sound and the kind of Powerful Rock Energy that we go crazy for here at Better Records
  • Really fun music - it's a blast to hear Rod Stewart fronting such a heavy rock band
  • Easily and by a wide margin the best sounding record Jeff Beck ever made - thanks Ken!
  • 5 Stars "...almost as groundbreaking and influential a record as the first Beatles, Rolling Stones, or Who albums."
See all of our Jeff Beck albums in stock


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America - America

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: ameriameri_2009) 



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

TUBEY MAGICAL practically MASTER TAPE SOUND on side one! A good sounding copy of this album is a real treat; a superb sounding copy like this one is an EXPERIENCE! We’ve been playing this album for years but I cannot recall a copy with a more extended top end than the ones here. The transparency is off the charts. Side one is natural, relaxed, musical, sweet, tonally correct from top to bottom and overflowing with Tubey Magic.

More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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America - America

Listening for Harmonically Correct Acoustic Guitars

  (Item #: ameriameri_listen) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The guitars on this record are a true test of stereo fidelity. As it says below, most of the pressings of this record do not get the guitars to sound right. They often sound veiled and dull, and on a copy with a bit too much top end they will have an unnatural hi-fi-ish sparkle.

This kind of sparkle can be heard on practically every record Mobile Fidelity made in the ’70s and ’80s.

More America / More Hippie Folk Rock


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David Bowie - Aladdin Sane

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: bowiealadd_2008) 



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

THE BIG BOWIE SOUND for this wonderful follow-up to Ziggy Stardust! We just finished shooting out a number of imports and domestic pressings of this album, and this British Orange Label pressing was THE KING -- on both sides! This one’s got the kind of "meat on the bones" sound that takes these great glam-rock songs to a whole new level! You won't believe how dynamic the sound is!

More David Bowie


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David Bowie - Hunky Dory

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: bowiehunky_2014) 



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

The sound is rich, spacious and sweet with a HUGE soundstage. Drop the needle on Changes and check out how dynamic it is. Side one is where the most popular material for this album is found (Changes, Life On Mars, Oh! You Pretty Things) so this copy definitely a great way to go on Hunky Dory.

More David Bowie


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David Bowie - Pin-Ups

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: bowiepinup_2009) 



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

We just finished our biggest-ever shootout for this fun Bowie album and this one was DRAMATICALLY better than most other copies. We played copies from all over the world -- England, Germany, France, Canada, and the good ol' USA -- and heard all kinds of bad sound. This one is no Demo Disc (I don't there's a copy in the world that would fit that description) but it's a HUGE step up over just about anything else you could expect to find. The sound is lively, natural, and smooth with all the tubey magic you could ask for.

More David Bowie


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David Bowie - Space Oddity

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: bowiespace_2014) 



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

One of the reasons the song "Space Oddity" sounds so amazing is that it was produced by none other than Gus Dudgeon, the man behind all the best Elton John records. It has Paul Buckmaster doing the string arrangements as well. His work on Elton's self-titled album is awe-inspiring; we know of none better.

More David Bowie


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David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bowiemanwh_2015) 



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

The sound is rich and full, just the way the Brits like it. The heavy compression that both Bowie and Scott favor works its magic at every turn, adding fatness and richness and lovely harmonics to the guitars and the drums.

More David Bowie


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David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: bowieziggy_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

The MoFi pressing is decent, probably better than the average domestic copy I suppose. The colorations and the limitations of their cutting system make it painful for me to listen to though, especially the sloppy bass. Compressed too. You can do worse but you sure can do a lot better.)

MoFi did two of the greatest Bowie albums of all time, Ziggy and Let's Dance, and neither one can hold a candle to the real thing. If you want to settle for a pretty poor imitation of either or both of those albums, stick with your MoFi. If you want to hear the kind of Demo Disc sound that Bowie's records are capable of, try a Hot Stamper.

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David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

Breaking the Price Barrier in 2007

  (Item #: bowieziggy_2007) 



The following is our 2007 commentary for the best Ziggy Stardust we had ever heard.

This RCA Import has DRAMATICALLY better sound than any Ziggy LP we’ve ever played here at Better Records. Whatever you think you know about the sound of this record, THINK AGAIN. The sound of this copy is so far beyond any expectation I had that hearing it was nothing short of a REVELATION. It's TWO FULL GRADES better than any copy we played in our shootout.

Ater hearing this copy we had to lower our grades for every other pressing we had played. This was a completely new standard.

More Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars


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David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

Our Shootout Winning Copy from 2011

  (Item #: bowieziggy_2011) 



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

Is this one of the Greatest Rock Albums of All Time? Unquestionably. It's the pinnacle of Glam Rock. Every track is superb; not a moment is less than stellar from beginning to end.

Is it Bowie's Masterpiece? Absolutely. No other Bowie record ranks higher in my book. No other Bowie record would command a similar price, regardless of its sonic merits.

Is it amazingly well recorded? You better believe it. This is not just Bowie's masterpiece; it's Ken Scott's as well. For BIG, BOLD, wall to wall, floor to ceiling sound, look no further.

More Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars


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Devo - Duty Now For The Future

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: devo_dutyn_2010) 



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

GET DEVOLVED! Here's one of the best copies of Devo's second album that we've ever heard. The average copy of this record barely hints at the sound that Ken Scott was clearly able to get on the tape. This one tells a different story, with serious weight down low, a ton of energy, loads of texture to the synths, and incredible clarity. We know most audiophiles aren't up for this crazy late '70s art rock, but the lucky man who takes this home is sure to get a thrill from it.

More albums engineered by Ken Scott


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Elton John - Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: john_donts_2017) 



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

The tonality here is rich, tubey and warm. It doesn't get thick or murky as many copies have a tendency to do.

The amazing engineer KEN SCOTT (Ziggy Stardust, Magical Mystery Tour, Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century, Truth, Birds of Fire) is the man responsible for the sound here.

More Elton John


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Elton John - Honky Chateau

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: john_honky_2007) 



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

This British Import Honky Chateau is THE BEST SOUNDING COPY WE’VE EVER HEARD -- BY FAR! We just finished a big shootout for this wonderful album, and this copy took top honors with MASTER TAPE SOUND!

More Elton John


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Elton John - Madman Across The Water

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: john_madma_2016) 



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

Shockingly good sound, the best sound for any copy that has ever made it to the site. This Madman is guaranteed to blow your mind. It certainly blew ours.

A ridiculously tough album to find with the right sound and reasonably quiet surfaces -- which is why we never have them on the site.

More Elton John


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Elton John - Madman Across The Water

What To Listen For

  (Item #: john_madma_wtlf) 



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

This is the last of the classic Elton John albums recorded at Trident, the best of which have more Tubey Magic than anything recorded afterwards. There are three amazing sounding Elton John records on our Top 100 list, two of them engineered by the estimable ROBIN GEOFFREY CABLE, Trident Studios’ house engineer in 1972.

More Elton John


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George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: harriallth_2018) 



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

To say that this one has been a long time coming would be an understatement! FINALLY, an incredible sounding copy of All Things Must Pass. Stunning shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all six sides (!).

It's also worth mentioning that this is one of the nicer boxes we've come across for this title. It's the thicker box which has stood the test of time a little better than the narrower version. Those are usually in pretty poor shape and we should know because we have a bunch of problematical boxes sitting right here.

More George Harrison / More Beatles


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Harry Nilsson - Son of Schmilsson

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: nilsssonof_2011) 



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

We had a great time shooting out a big stack of these, as we're just wild about Harry here at Better Records. Unfortunately, most copies out there are too dark and grainy to get all that excited about. Here's a copy that tells a much different story —both sides have good energy, smooth and sweet vocals, and nice extension up top. Drop the needle on Turn On Your Radio or The Lottery Song and we bet you fall in love with this one!

More Harry Nilsson


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Jeff Beck - Truth

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beck_truth_2016) 



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

One of the most surprising things we learned during this shootout was how well recorded the album is. It's yet another triumph from one of our favorite engineers, KEN SCOTT.

An interesting bit of trivia: most side twos earned a sonic grade that was a full plus higher than any given copy's grade for side one. Side two most of the time just plain sounds better than side one, so when evaluating your copy be sure to check side two first to hear what is probably going to be the best sound on the album.

More Jeff Beck


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Ken Scott

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allkenscott) 



KEN SCOTT is one of our favorite record engineers and producers. Click on the link to find the albums on our site that Ken worked on, along with plenty of our commentaries about the sound of his recordings.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Lou Reed - Transformer

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: reed_trans_2017) 



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

Transformer is an absolute tour de force of '70s Glam Rock / Classic Rock / Alternative Rock. You've got Lou Reed teamed up with David Bowie (in the producer's chair!), Mick Ronson, Herbie Flowers and Klaus Voorman, and on top of that the album was recorded at Trident and mixed by the great Ken Scott.

More Lou Reed / More David Bowie


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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: mahavbirds_rocks_harder) 



What do you hear on the best Hot Stampers of Birds of Fire?

They just plain ROCK HARDER than the other copies we played.

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 of Birds of Fire like nothing you have ever heard.

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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire

We Just Weren't Ready in 2013

  (Item #: mahavbirds_2013) 



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

This WHITE Hot Stamper Birds of Fire has a side one that will blow your mind. Turn this one up and prepare yourself for the kind of sound that perhaps one out of fifty records has to offer, with cymbal crashes that really crash, bass that threatens to move your house off its foundation, and the kind of jazz rock fusion POWER that few groups in the history of music have ever been capable of. It’s 100% guaranteed to bring your stereo to its knees. Was it really possible to encode this kind of energy onto a slice of vinyl decades ago? This side one proves it was.

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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire

What To Listen For

  (Item #: mahavbirds_wtlf) 



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

Birds of Fire as a recording is not about depth or soundstage or ambience. It's about IMMEDIACY, plain and simple. All the lead instruments positively jump out of the speakers -- if you are lucky enough to be playing the right pressing. This is precisely what we want our best Hot Stampers to do. The better they do it, the higher their grade.

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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Visions of the Emerald Beyond

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: mahavvisio_2014) 



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

On the first track of side one we will happily state for the record: no record rocks harder. When you hear Ponty's double-tracked violins explode out of each speaker on the first track you will know what we mean when we say this record is as big and as bold a recording statement as any you have ever heard.

It's yet another triumph from one of our favorite engineers, KEN SCOTT.

More Mahavishnu Orchestra


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Mary Hopkin - Post Card

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hopkipostc_2016) 



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

This British original pressing has a White Hot side two and a nearly White Hot side one. Side two is unbelievably huge and open in a way that no other side of any copy could touch. It's taken us close to ten years to find enough clean copies with which to do this shootout. Engineered by Ken Scott, Donovan's "Lord of the Reedy River" is simply amazing on this copy.


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Procol Harum - A Salty Dog (Best Of...)

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: procoasalt_2011) 



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

This is a very nice looking MFP British Import LP. The vinyl this title was pressed on tends to be somewhat noisy so all the click 'n' pop counters out there should probably steer clear of this one as we cleaned and played ten copies (!) and not one was better than Mint Minus Minus! But the sound tends to be quite good, which means that if you can stand a little surface noise you will be getting quite a bargain here. We love this music and think you will too.


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Supertramp - Crime of the Century

Ken Scott's Producing / Engineering Masterpiece

  (Item #: supercrime_2011) 



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

AMAZING White Hot Stampers for the greatest KEN SCOTT production in history. This is his (and the band’s) MASTERPIECE, and now we have a pressing that allows us to revel in the GLORY that is Crime of the Century!

This killer copy rates A+++ on BOTH sides. Wow is the only word I can think of to describe it.

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Supertramp - Crime of the Century

Loud Levels and Big Woofers

  (Item #: supercrime_loud) 



Yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

The bass on the best copies is AWESOME. Playing a Hot Stamper copy at loud levels with big woofers will have your house quaking. Add to that the kind of ENERGY that the better pressings have in their grooves and the result is an album guaranteed to bring most audiophile systems to their knees, begging for mercy.

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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: supercrisi_obsess) 



CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? 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 our other SUPERTRAMP albums.


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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: supercrisi_2013) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including an A+++ SIDE ONE! It's not the A&M Half Speed, and it's not a British pressing either. It's domestic folks, your standard plain-as-day A&M pressing, and we're as shocked as you are. Hearing this copy (as well as an amazing Brit; they can be every bit as good, in their own way of course) was a THRILL, a thrill that's a step up in "thrillingness" over our previous favorite pressing, the Half Speed.

The best of the best domestics and Brits are bigger, livelier, punchier, more clear and just more REAL than the audiophile pressing...

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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

Another Question: Original Is Better?

  (Item #: supercrisi_wtlf) 



This is an older listing that illustrates how We Was Wrong when we thought the best domestic copies were not competitive with the A&M Half-Speed or better British pressings.

We touch on other much-loved themes in this commentary, such as the myth that the original pressing is going to be better than a reissue or later stamper. On this album that is definitely not the case.

More Crisis? What Crisis?


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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

The Exception that Probes the Rule

  (Item #: supercrisi_review) 



This Hot Stamper A&M Half Speed today joins a VERY ELITE GROUP: Half-Speeds that hold their own in a head to head shootout against some of the BEST Hot Stamper Non-Audiophile pressings we can find. There are presently a total of three titles that fit the description: Dark Side of the Moon on MoFi, Crime of the Century on MoFi, and this title on A&M.

Most half-speed mastered records we throw on our table have us scratching our heads and asking, What the hell were they thinking? They SUCK! Tubby bass, recessed mids, phony highs, compression -- the list of bad qualities they almost all have in common is a long one. Playing these kinds of records on a properly set-up modern system is positively painful.

More Crisis? What Crisis?


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: beatlmagic_obsess) 



MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR 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 BEATLES albums.


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Are Your Cellists Digging In?

  (Item #: beatlmagic_walruscellos) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Over the last decade I Am The Walrus has evolved into a good test for side one, a fact that came as a complete surprise to me. As I was listening to the various copies in a shootout years ago I noted that the opening cellos and basses in the right channel were often tonally identical from copy to copy, but sounded quite a bit more lively and energetic on some pressings relative to others. Was it EQ? Level? Compression?

Why so much more passion from the players on some copies and not others?

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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: beatlmagic_depth) 



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

We discuss in detail what we're listening for and what the best copies seem to do so well that the run-of-the-mill copies simply do not. If you own a copy of the German MMT plays yours and listen for what we're listening for. It's all laid out in the track commentary.

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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: beatlmagic_2007) 



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

THE BEST SOUNDING MMT EVER! Hot Stamper copies of this album are a regular feature on this site, but we’ve NEVER heard one like this -- on EITHER side! We had no choice but to award this album the very rare grade of A++++ (Four Pluses!) on both sides.

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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

We Was Wrong (Circa the '80s)

  (Item #: beatlmagic_wrong) 



This is a VERY old and somewhat embarrassing We Was Wrong from a few years back.

This German pressing has dramatically different sound than that found on other Hot Stamper pressings of MMT we've had on the site. I used to be convinced that its sound was clearly superior to the regular German MMT LPs. Back in the late '80s and into the '90s this was the pressing that I was certain blew them all out of the water. We know better now. We call this version the "Too Hot Stamper" pressing -- the upper mids and top end are much hotter than they should be.

More Magical Mystery Tour


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The Beatles - The White Album

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlwhite_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with plenty of What to Listen For (WTLF) tips.

It's exceedingly difficult to find audiophile quality sound on The White Album. The Beatles were breaking apart, often recording independently of each other, with their own favorite engineers as enablers, and George Martin nowhere to be found most of the time. They were also experimenting more and more with sound itself, which resulted in wonderful songs and interesting effects. However, these new approaches and added complexity often result in a loss of sonic "purity."

More of The White Album


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