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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: belafbelaf_2019) 



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

From an audiophile point of view, you get to hear live musicians and all the energy they bring to this music, all on the stage at the same time: strings, brass, percussionists and Harry Belafonte front and center. Tube mics (and not too many of them), a tube tape recorder, RCA's superb engineering and all-tube mastering chain ensure that the "breath of life" is captured intact. I know of no better live popular vocal recording on the planet.

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The Beatles - Beatles For Sale

A Forgotten Rock and Pop Classic

  (Item #: beatlforsa_forgotten) 



The Beatles' Forgotten Rock and Pop Classic.

We had a lot of fun reading The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, which details the band's studio history from 1962 - 1970. In the book, George Martin mentions that he felt this album was a rush job and that he has trouble listening to it to this day. As much respect as we have for The Fifth Beatle, we couldn't disagree more. For Sale is simply wonderful.

As we played copy after copy for our shootout, the more enjoyable these 14 Folk Rock songs became. Repeated listening to track after track only enhanced our appreciation. And as is always the case, stumbling upon the Shootout Winning copy was a thrill that allowed us to hear more in the music than we ever thought possible.

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The Rolling Stones - Between The Buttons

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: rollibetwe_2018) 



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

An insanely good pressing with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last - one of the best copies to hit the site in many years. This is classic '60s Stones sound, courtesy of Dave Hassinger, working in L.A. (RCA) and London (Olympic + Pye). If you're looking for the ideal combination of Tubey Magical richness and transparency, this copy is one of the few that will show it to you.

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Roy Orbison - Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: orbisgreat_2019) 



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

You'll find oustanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this Monument stereo pressing. The amazingly talented Bill Porter recorded many of Orbison's classic songs from the early '60s that are found on this compilation. Only a copy this good shows you how phenominal these timeless songs can sound - rich, open, clear, solid and musical.

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Julie London - Calendar Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: londocalen_2019) 



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

This Julie London 1956 Classic makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too. Both of these mono sides have plenty of Tubey Magic - they're fuller, more musical and more natural than most any other copy we played. Julie's voice sounds particularly nice on this copy - intimate, rich and warm, just as the way we like her to sound.

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It’s A Beautiful Day - It’s A Beautiful Day

  (Item #: itsabitsab_2012) 



This Super Hot Stamper Red Label pressing gives you most of the 360 Label's rich, Tubey Magical sound, and that's saying a lot; most red label pressings of this record are absolute junk. In fact, about half of the side ones are in MONO -- how about that! Who knew, right?

Going through our clean 360 label pressings (which aren't cut quite as loud by the way so watch out when doing your own shootouts), we found one that was better and one that was worse. Others were just too noisy. This red label pressing was BY FAR THE BEST of the red label reissues, with A++ sound on both sides that frankly took us by surprise. As we so often say, Who knew? Now that we've heard red labels that sound this good we are on the hunt! They can be found, and they're usually not in trashed condition the way the 360s are.

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Julie London - Lonely Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: londolonel_2017) 



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

A Knockout recording of female vocal with guitar: Triple Plus (A+++) on the first side, seriously good Double Plus (A++) on the second. Julie is in the room with you - intimate, breathy and Tubey Magical like practically nothing you've ever heard. For late night listening this is surely one of the best Sultry Female Vocal recordings ever made - you won't believe how real the sound is.

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Julie London - Julie

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: londojulie_2016) 



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

Stunning Julie London sound! We are constantly picking up Julie London records, whatever we can find, in the hopes that we'll stumble upon one that sounds like this. Usually we aren't so lucky, but man is this one something! If you love jazzy female vocal records, you're going to flip out over this pressing.

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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

What a Record!

  (Item #: londojulie_is_2016) 



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

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

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Hampton Hawes - Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: hawesevery_volume_3_2013) 



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

This hard-to-find '70s Contemporary reissue pressing of the 1956 mono recording has EXCELLENT sound, with both sides earning grades of A+ to A++. We don't run into Hawes' LPs the way we used to, so it was indeed a delight to find enough copies of this album to do a shootout.

Note how correct the sound of the instruments is on both sides. This is the unquestionably the hallmark of any Contemporary recording: correct instrumental timbre.

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Hampton Hawes - Four!

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: hawesfour_2019) 



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

Four! finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with stellar Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last. The timbre of the instruments in this brilliant jazz quartet is so spot-on it makes all the hard work and money you've put into your stereo more than pay off. Roy DuNann engineered some of the best sounding records we have ever heard - here's a textbook example of what the audiophiles at Contemporary were able to achieve in the studio.

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Julie London - Make Love To Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: londomakel_2018) 



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

This outstanding original Liberty Turquoise mono pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) grades, or close to them, on both sides. Thanks to superb engineering and vintage All Tube mastering, this 1957 LP is wonderfully rich and sweet, with a breathy, intimate Julie London performing live in your listening room. It's also pressed on unusually quiet vinyl - Mint Minus Minus, with no issues to speak of - they don't come quieter.

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Miles Davis - Green Haze

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: davisgreen_2018) 



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

A superb sounding Mono pressing with Double Plus (A++) sound or better on all four sides. The sound is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience - talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This Prestige Two-Fer simply combines two complete Miles Davis titles recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in 1955 - 'The Musings of Miles' and 'Miles.'

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John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: coltrloves_2018) 



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

The original Impulse pressings on the brown and orange label are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that plays into one of the biggest canards in all of record collecting, that the first pressings are always the best sounding.

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Roy Orbison - The Orbison Way

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: orbisorbis_2018) 



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

Only the second copy to ever hit the site and boy is it KILLER -- Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it throughout. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this Tubey Magical record for you.

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Billie Holiday - All Or Nothing At All

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: holidallor_2018) 



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

A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish, on quiet vinyl to boot. This is one of the best sounding Billie Holiday records we have ever heard - it's even a clear step up from the originals we had on hand. This 2 LP set features most of the tracks from the original release plus another handful of recordings from the same period (1955-1956)

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Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: minguahum_2018) 



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

This freakishly good 360 beat our best 6 Eye Stereo original, not to mention every other pressing in our shootout as well - darn quiet too. Another amazing 30th Street Studio recording by the legendary Fred Plaut - if you like Kind of Blue, here's another album with that sound (same year, same studio, same engineer).

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Nat King Cole - Nat King Cole Sings/ George Shearing Plays

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: cole_nat_king_cole_sings_2013) 



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

Excellent sound on both sides! We picked up a bunch of pressings of this great collaboration album featuring the vocals of Nat King Cole and the piano work of George Shearing. The better pressings like this one are wonderful sonically, putting Cole's voice right up front with lots of breath and texture. It's very tough to find great sound for Nat King Cole, so here's a rare chance to hear what he can sound like on a strong pressing.

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Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'

Our Shootout Winner from 2009 in Mono

  (Item #: dylantimes_2009) 



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

This 360 Label Original Columbia Mono LP, complete with the rare lyric sheet, has two LOVELY sounding sides that rate A++ or better. I was actually a big fan of the Sundazed Mono, but this has more of that Tubey Magic, richness, and overall naturalness that you find on old records, qualities that seem to be sorely lacking on even the best 180 gram remasterings. MoFi also did this record and ruined it in the process (shocker!).

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Frank Sinatra - Only The Lonely

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: sinatonlyt_2015) 



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

It is TOUGH to find a good sounding Only The Lonely, but this pressing really delivers. Frank's vocals sound present, breathy, and full -- just the way they need to.

We get asked about Sinatra records all the time, but we hardly ever find stuff good enough to list on the site. And when we manage to, this stuff tends to get snapped up QUICKLY. Everyone needs a good Sinatra record or two in their collection, maybe this is the one for you?

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Miles Davis - Workin’ And Steamin’

Our Shootout Winning Mono from 2018

  (Item #: davisworki_2018) 



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

A MONSTER Double Album that simply could not be beat - three of the four sides earned our highest sonic grade of Triple Plus (A+++). The best sounding tracks here can hold their own with ANY Miles Davis vinyl we've ever heard, and that's a whole lot of Mile Davis albums. You might be surprised that a reissue can beat the originals, but one play of this pressing should be enough to remove all doubt.

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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 2

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: londojulie_is_2_2017) 



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

The notes I took during this shootout lay out just how impressed I was with the sound of this remarkable copy:

Wide stereo. Big Bass. Swingin'. Just the right amount of reverb. Tonal perfection. The stereo kills the mono (on this album, on the copies we played anyway).

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Duke Ellington - Newport Jazz Festival 1958

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ellinnewpo_2011) 



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

If you are a fan, this record will be a thrill. If you’re unfamiliar with the Duke's music, I can't imagine a better introduction than this.

This LP also includes Gerry Mulligan's only performance with the Ellington band. Paul Gonsalves's saxophone performance is superb and worth the price of the album alone. The clarinet parts on Princess Blue are out of this world -- Ellington at his best!

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Cannonball Adderley - Cannonball's Bossa Nova

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: addercanno_2018) 



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

These originals are by far the best way to go, in stereo of course, putting Cannonball's breathy, melodic sax right between your speakers, with the rest of the band - including Sergio Mendes on keys - spread out around him. Truly an undiscovered gem in the Adderley catalog - the audiophiles here at Better Records were digging both the music and especially the superb sound. Another top quality recording from the superbly talented Ray Fowler, the house engineer for Riverside and the man behind many of the best Thelonious Monk and Cannonball Adderley recordings done for that great jazz label.

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Ella Fitzgerald - The Johnny Mercer Song Book

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgsings_mercer_2017) 



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

The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the many highlights to be found on the songbook series. By the time this album came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs worth of songbooks - this was the last, going out on a high note. Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In - Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You.

See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Sarah Vaughan - Dreamy

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: vaughdream_2018) 



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

The original release for Dreamy is on Roulette, a label we have often found to have problems in the sound department (not to mention notoriously bad vinyl). The originals we've played over the years have much too much honk and hardness in the midrange to be taken seriously, at least by us anyway, and certainly not at these prices. When we stumbled upon these good Emus reissues, the skies opened up and the sun shone down upon Sarah's wonderful 1960 album of ballads as it had never done before.

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Simon & Garfunkel - Wednesday Morning, 3 AM

The Right 360 Pressing Is King

  (Item #: simonwedne_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.

We played a big stack of copies recently and ran into all kinds of problems. Some were dull, some were spitty, many were smeared, and far too many were gritty.

The later pressings didn't solve any of these problems. In fact, none of the Red Label copies we've ever played sounded good enough on either side to merit a Hot Stamper grade. If you want good sound for this album, 360 stereo pressings seem to be the only way to go. The mono pressings we played were painfully bad.

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Frank Sinatra - That's Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: sinatthats_2018) 



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

This original Reprise LP has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from the later reissues. It gives you the sense that Frank Sinatra is right in front of you.

He's no longer a recording -- he's a living, breathing person. We call that "the breath of life," and this record has it in spades. His voice is rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality. You immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there's no "sound" to distract you.

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Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan - Two Of A Mind

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: desmotwoof_2018) 



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

THIS is the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually IS a CD of this album, and youtube videos of it too, but those of us with good turntables could care less.

And if you have an especially good turntable and the system that goes with it, we think you will find a world of difference in the sound of our Hot Stamper early pressing and any of the Heavy Vinyl records being produced of this very title.

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June Christy - The Intimate Miss Christy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: chrisintim_2017) 



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

Both sides of this 1962 All Tube Recorded and Mastered record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout.

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Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: belafbelaf_2006) 



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

Harry Pearson brought this record to the attention of audiophiles with his TAS list a long time ago, and rightfully so: it's an amazing recording.

We happen to love the music too, which makes it one of the most recommendable records we have ever offered. If you can find a better combination of demo disc sound, with music worth the hassle and expense of reproducing it properly, more power to you. We sure can't.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgellaswingb_2017) 



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

The sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good! The space is HUGE and the sound so rich.

Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

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The Everly Brothers - The Golden Hits of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: everlgolde_2018) 



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

Our original Gold Label stereo LP here has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s no doubt missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 50+ year old tapes. As good as that pressing may be, we guarantee that this one is dramatically more REAL SOUNDING. It gives you the sense that Phil and Don are right in the room with you.

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Ramsey Lewis Trio - The In Crowd

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: lewisincro_2017) 



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

If you want to know what jazz at an intimate nightclub would have sounded like in 1965, play this record - this is that sound.

This original Argo Blue Label Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in a real jazz club, this is the record for you.

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The Beach Boys - Surfin' U.S.A.

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: beachsurfi_2017) 



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

It's hard to find great sounding Beach Boys records, so when first we heard a Hot Stamper of this title we were blown away. The sound is big, open, rich and full, with the performers front and center (as well as left and right). The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than others by a long shot.

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Sonny Rollins - Rollins (2 LPs)

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: rollirolli_2008) 



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

This Prestige Two-Fer Double LP boasts EXCELLENT SOUND, right up there with some the best sounding copies we’ve played. Three sides out of four sounded surprisingly good, which is three good sides more than the average copy can claim. Oddly enough, the stampers are identical. Sample to sample variation? Fresh off the stamper transparency? Who's to say? I can't explain it, but I know a better record when I play one. This copy is clearly more transparent, no pun intended. It's also been through our extensive cleaning process, which as you can imagine helps the sound immeasurably.

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Dave Brubeck Trio Featuring Gerry Mulligan - Compadres

Stick with Stereo on This One

  (Item #: brubecompa_mono) 



Stick with stereo on this album. The Mono pressings -- at least the ones we've played -- aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time). The mono is dramatically smaller, more recessed and more lifeless than even the worst of the stereo pressings we played.

Here are more records we don't think sound very good in MONO.

Here are some titles that have the potential to sound amazing in MONO.

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The Everly Brothers - The Very Best of the Everly Brothers

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: everlveryb_2014) 



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

This compilation contains some real Warners recordings (from after 1960, when they signed with the label) mixed with some re-recordings of their best classic Cadence material, to make an album with as many hits and great songs as a single album can hold.

In stereo, on the original WB Gold Label, with really quiet vinyl -- this is the one!

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The Everly Brothers - The Everly Brothers Best

Reviewed in 2015

  (Item #: everlbest_2015) 



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

This is only the second Everly Brothers Hot Stamper to make it to the site, and I'm sure the reasons for that are not hard to fathom. I must look at fifty EB records for every one I buy, and even with a good scrubbing most of those are not going to pass muster.

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Frank Sinatra - I Remember Tommy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sinatireme_2017) 



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

You'll find relaxed, rich, natural big band reproduction on this copy, with the trombones and woodwinds sounding especially good. Those of you who have a good selection of recordings from this era will recognize the glorious sound of vintage tubes, a sound that has been lost to the world for decades now, but one that is in full flower on this very record.

Frank is of course in top form and his voice on this album sounds about as good as it does on any recording you can find on our site.

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The Rolling Stones - Out of Our Heads

Mono or Stereo?

  (Item #: rollioutof_mono) 



On this London LP, even though it says the record is electronically re-processed stereo, the songs we heard on side one were dead mono.

Here are some records that we think sound amazing in MONO.

Here are some records that we don't think sound very good in MONO.

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Miles Davis - Miles Davis

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: davismiles_2017) 



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

To the Jazz Fans of the World, we here present one of the best sounding jazz recordings we have ever had the privilege to place on a turntable. I cannot ever recall hearing a better sounding Rudy Van Gelder recording, and I have a theory as to why this tape is as good as it is: it's MONO.

WAY off the charts. Demo Disc Quality Sound of the Highest Order on the best tracks. The extension high and low sets these sides apart. The presence of the instruments and the space around them just cannot be beaten.

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Michel Legrand - Legrand Jazz

Our Stereo Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: legralegra_2017) 



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

This album is more common in mono than stereo, but we found the sound of the mono pressing we played seriously wanting. It's dramatically smaller and more squawky and crude than even the worst of the stereo pressings we played.

We had a copy we liked years ago but that was years ago. We don't have that copy anymore and we don't have a stereo that sounds the way our old one did either. Here are some other records that we don't think sound very good in MONO.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Like Someone In Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzglikes_2017) 



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

The space is HUGE and the sound so rich. The vocals have dramatically less hardness and the orchestra -- especially on side two -- is not brash for once.

Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

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Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'

Our Shootout Winner from 2016 in Mono

  (Item #: dylantimes_2016) 



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

This amazing Mono pressing is the first Triple Triple copy to ever hit the site! Both A+++ sides are incredibly rich and warm, with dynamics and smoothness to the harmonica you almost never hear. As impressive as the best stereo copies can be, the mono version is our preferred mix for the album.

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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."

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Ella Fitzgerald - Sings the Harold Arlen Song Book #2

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: fitzgsings_arlen_2_2016) 



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

The first Harold Arlen Song Book to hit the site, and with sound like this it's going to be very hard to beat. White Hot on side two, Super Hot on side one, Ella is especially rich, Tubey Magical and breathy throughout. Look at the great songs on Volume 2: Come Rain Or Come Shine, It's Only A Paper Moon, One For My Baby, Get Happy, I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues, Over The Rainbow and more.

See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_lightly_2017) 



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

Exceptionally lovely All Tube sound from 1958, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by our man, Marty Paich. Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo - these were the days when Ella was on top of the world.

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Frank Sinatra - Sinatra and Swingin' Brass

Skip the Mono

  (Item #: sinatswingin_brass_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).

A public service from the record loving audiophiles here at Better Records.

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Oscar Peterson - We Get Requests

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: peterweget_2017) 



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

This is the way it must have sounded inside the RCA Studios in New York way back in 1964, not the club shown on the cover. The legendary RCA engineer BOB SIMPSON was behind the board.

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Peggy Lee - Pass Me By

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: lee__passm_2017) 



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

If you're a fan of vintage female vocals - the kind with no trace of digital reverb - you may get quite a kick out of this one. And unless I miss my guess you'll be the first and only person on your block to own it! (That's not a bad thing considering the average person's taste in music and sound these days.)

More Popular Vocal recordings


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Cream - Fresh Cream

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: creamfresh_2017) 



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

After playing this copy and the other ones that came close, this music sounds so much better than I ever thought it could, it's given me a whole new appreciation for the album. I've grown to love it, and consider it one of the all time greats. It's probably my favorite Cream record now. That's what a good copy can do.

More Cream


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Lou Rawls - Live!

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: rawlslive_2014) 



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

This is one of the best live vocal recordings we know of, but only a great copy like this will bring that sound to your stereo. Lou is live, singing his heart out in a small club that exists between, behind and maybe even around your speakers. If you can reproduce the three-dimensional space of this club well you are in for a real treat.

The songs are great, the musicians are brilliant, the sound is amazing -- what else could you ask for?

This album was a late addition to our 2014 update of our Rock and Pop Top 100 list. or live soul-infused vocals we know of none better.

See all of our Lou Rawls albums in stock


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Sonny Rollins - Taking Care of Business

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: rollitakin_2010) 



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

This is a Prestige Demo Two-Fer Double LP.

Big, full-bodied, MONO jazz sound at its BEST. This is what classic ’50s jazz is supposed to sound like! These transfers from 1978 by David Turner are in tune with the sound of these recordings. There's not a trace of phony EQ on this entire record, and the vinyl plays nice and quiet.

This Two-Fer includes all of Tenor Madness and most of Work Time and Tour De Force. Top jazz players such as Ray Bryant, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Kenny Drew, Max Roach and Paul Chambers can be heard on the album.

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Red Garland Trio - Groovy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: garlagroov_2017) 



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

This Triple Triple (A+++) pressing recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in '56/'57 in mono is RICH and REAL like you will not believe. This very record has the best sound and the best music we have ever heard on any Red Garland album.

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Dvorak & Glazounov / Violin Concertos - Milstein

Hopelessly Outclassed by the Stereo LP

  (Item #: dvoravioli_milstein_mono) 



Stick with stereo on this album. The Mono pressings -- at least the ones we've played -- aren't worth anybody's time (scratch that: any audiophile's time).

Here are some other records that we don't think sound very good in MONO.

Here are some we think can sound amazing in MONO.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)


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Ray Brown - And The All-Stars Band - Cannonball Adderley

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: brownwitht_2017) 



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

These two sides offer bigger brass, more transparency and more presence than any other sides we played! This may become one of your favorite big band albums to demo or test with. Or you can just enjoy the hell out of it if you prefer. So transparent and tonally correct, this is a killer sounding copy. We put this one right up there with the best of the Verve jazz titles we've done to date.

This is the kind of HUGE, RICH sound that Ray Hall engineered with tubes back in 1962, and it's glorious to hear in 2017.

See all of our Ray Brown albums in stock


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The Rolling Stones - Rolled Gold

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rollirolle_2011) 



We took the best first LP and mated it to the best second LP from the set to create the overall Shootout Winner with EIGHT, count 'em, eight total pluses over the four sides! And side one was WHITE HOT. We certainly didn't expect to hear sound like that on a 1975 compilation of classic Stones hits such as this; most Stones compilations are awful sounding in our experience. Played Hot Rocks lately?

But these tracks have the potential to be taken from something very close to the real master tapes, a subject we discuss in one of our dirty little secret commentaries.

More Rolling Stones


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Frank Sinatra - Close To You

Sounds Great in Mono

  (Item #: sinatclose_2010) 



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

This nice looking Capitol Rainbow Label pressing has SUPERB SINATRA SOUND! His voice is PERFECTION. Rich, sweet, and completely free of phony EQ (Mobile Fidelity take note!), this record will put a living, breathing Sinatra between your speakers. Normally I'm not a big fan of these slower, ballady Sinatra records, but he's so good here, it's difficult to find fault with music and sound like this.

More Frank Sinatra


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The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beachsurfe_2016) 



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

If you've ever played an original pressing of the album you know what a sonic mess it is. There may be some good sounding copies out there but we've never heard one and remain skeptical in the extreme as to the possibility. Ever heard a top quality early Beatles Capitol pressing? Me neither.

More Beach Boys


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Miles Davis - Porgy and Bess

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: davisporgy_2012) 



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

WOW! This Original Six Eye Stereo pressing does EVERYTHING we ever hoped for from this great album! We've been searching for a killer copy of this one forever but without much luck. Here's the first one to ever hit the site, and it is a MONSTER. Both sides have KILLER A+++ sound -- super tubey magical and tonally balanced with real depth to the soundfield.

More Miles Davis


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Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: davisbirth_2017) 



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

Birth Of The Cool in White Hot Stamper form! We've been trying to find copies of this classic music from 1949-1950 that really delivered in an audiophile sense, but as you might imagine it was one tough task. We checked out Mono and Stereo copies, Originals and Reissues... basically anything we could get our hands on. It wasn't easy and it wasn't cheap, but we managed to find a pressing here that delivers excellent sound throughout.

More Miles Davis


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Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come

Our Outstanding Reissue from 2014

  (Item #: davissomed_2014) 



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

The first Hot copy of this classic to hit the site in over five years! Side one rates A++ to A+++ -- super open and transparent with amazing immediacy.

This Red Label reissue DESTROYED the similar copies we played it against, and was also surprisingly competitive with our Super Hot (and Super Noisy) Six Eye ref copy. Most of these later pressings have superior clarity (compared to the earlier ones) but lack nearly all of the tubey magic. This one’s amazingly clean and clear, but still delivers on the tubey qualities -- it’s richer, warmer, and sweeter than any other Red Label pressing we played.

More Miles Davis


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Doc Evans - Traditional Jazz

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: evanstradi_2010) 



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

If you're a fan of Traditional Jazz, what normally would be referred to nowadays as Dixieland Jazz, you will have a very hard time finding a record that sounds as good as this one. The energy, the size, the dynamic power of every instrument is captured with such fidelity it will put the lie to most of what passes for Modern Good Sounding Jazz.

This is the real Audiophile Label, not just some label that's making records to appeal to audiophiles, and there is a world of difference between the two.

1956 - It Was a Very Good Year


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Peggy Lee - Guitars Ala Lee

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: lee_guita_2016) 



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

Full-bodied sound, open and spacious, bursting with life and energy -- these are the hallmarks of our Truly Hot Stampers. If your stereo is cookin' these days this copy of Guitars Ala Lee will be an unparalleled Sonic Treat.

We guarantee that no heavy vinyl pressing, of this or any other album, has the kind of analog magic found here.

More Peggy Lee


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Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: dylanhighw_2012) 



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

This 360 Label pressing has a SUPERB A+++ SIDE ONE backed with a strong A++ side two. We had a big stack of 360s and Red Labels with good stampers to compare, and this copy had a side one that could not be beat. It's got big time immediacy, tons of energy, loads of tubey magic and exceptional clarity. The bottom end is punchy with real weight and the soundfield is open, spacious and so transparent.

More Bob Dylan


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The Hi-Lo’s - And All That Jazz

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: hilosandal_2012) 



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

This Columbia Six-Eye LP has TWO STUNNING SIDES, easily the best we heard in our entire shootout! This is a superb recording, and a copy like this is a true Demo Disc. The vocals are perfection, and every instrument sounds correct and REAL here, with the transparency and clarity to put you right there with the players.

More Pop & Jazz Vocal LPs


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Paganini / Violin Concerto 1 & 2 / Ricci (LL 1215)

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: paganconce_2010) 



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

This is one of the MOST AMAZING VIOLIN RECORDINGS in the history of the world. For sheer violin virtuosity it doesn't get any better than this. Ricci and London in the early '50s cannot be beat! This is a true Demo Disc with music of the highest caliber, and I'm betting whoever takes this one home will be THRILLED.

Both sides are dynamic, full-bodied, lively and sweet. This is a vintage London mono recording of the '50s and consequently has some limitations in terms of bandwidth and of course soundstage, but the luscious midrange more than makes up for both. The violin is REAL in a way that few other recordings manage to make it.

More recordings featuring the violin


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John Lee Hooker - House of the Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: hookehouse_2013) 



This 1959 Black Label (Unbreakable!) original deep groove Chess mono LP has some seriously good Super Hot Stamper sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of At Least A++. My notes for the sound of the third track read "very real". You get the feeling that whatever John Lee Hooker played and sang on that day in 1959 ended up on this record sounding just the way he performed it, live to one-track.
See all of our John Lee Hooker albums in stock


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Jimmy Smith - Bashin'

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: smithbashi_2012) 



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

Bashin' is back after a two and a half year hiatus, and it's back with a vengence -- both sides here are Super Hot, with some of the best sound we have ever heard for the album. In the past we've complained about "Rudy Van Gelder’s somewhat over the top echo-drenched brass", but on a copy such as this there is nothing to complain about!

More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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Barney Kessel - Vol. 3: To Swing Or Not To Swing

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: kessetoswi_2017) 



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

This Early Contemporary Yellow Label Mono LP sure has AMAZING SOUND!

Man, this music is a blast when it sounds this good. I don’t think there’s a whole lot you could do to make this music sound any better! It’s one of the best early mono Contemporary LP I’ve ever played. It's so tubey magical and Kessel's guitar sound is out of this world.

More Barney Kessel


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Barney Kessel - Music to Listen to Barney Kessel By

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: kessemusic_2017) 



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

This Triple Triple (A+++) mono pressing blew everything else out of the water - nothing could touch it! How can you beat a Roy DuNann recording of five reeds, piano, guitar and a rhythm section that includes Shelly Manne and Red Mitchell? The timbre of the instruments is so spot-on it makes all the hard work and money you've put into your stereo more than pay off.

The Demo Disc sound on this copy is really something to hear - all tube, live-to-two-track direct from the Contemporary studio.

More Barney Kessel


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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

The Amazing Sounding Mono Copy We Played in 2005

  (Item #: cartejazzg_2005) 



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

This Contemporary Yellow Label Mono LP has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! If you like the sound of Contemporary Records, you won’t find a better example than this! Midrange magic doesn’t get anymore magical. I don’t care who remasters this record, I don't think they can do it as well as it was done in 1958.

I haven't heard the new 45 RPM version, but I seriously doubt that it sounds like this. It wouldn't be done on vintage tube cutting equipment, and that sound is the sound we love here at Better Records.

More Benny Carter


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Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgclaph_2017) 



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

The first "Triple Triple" MONO copy to ever hit the site -- A+++ from start to finish. Our knockout mono pressing here was fuller, more natural and more involving than any copy we heard in our shootout. with immediacy to put Ella practically in the room with you, it's her performance that really comes to life. It's our single Favorite Female Vocal album here at Better Records, one that gets better with each passing year.

Check out what the lucky owner of this copy had to say about it.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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The Yardbirds - Roger The Engineer

Our Mono Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: yardbroger_2012) 



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

This is one of the few Mono mix albums that really justifies the claims made for the superiority of mono mixes in general. Just listen to the vocals on side one: they're right up front and centered the way they should be in any good pop song. On the stereo version, they're off to the left and down in level. They have no power over there! It robs the song of its focus.

More Yardbirds


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Walter Wanderley - Rain Forest

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: wanderainf_2015) 



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

Spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. White Hot on side one where the big hit Summer Samba can be found. A huge seller in its day, both the sound and the music are crazy fun. A Classic 1966 Rudy Van Gelder All Tube Analog recording with Demo Disc sound.

More Exotica


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Michel Legrand - Legrand Jazz

Our Mono Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: legralegra_2007) 



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

This original Six Eye Mono Hot Stamper is THE NEW ALL-TIME CHAMPION LEGRAND JAZZ! It has a LIFE and IMMEDIACY that is not usually found on any pressing of this album -- mono or stereo. It’s the kind of difference that can be heard from another room.

More Michel Legrand


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Donovan - Catch The Wind

Superb in Mono

  (Item #: donovcatch_2010) 



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

The sound when summed to mono is natural, with a correct top end. This is some of the best of the early, folky Donovan from 1965.

We were less than impressed with the sound of this electronically reprocessed album in stereo, but were very pleasantly surprised when we hit the mono button on our EAR phono stage. The weird, phasey top end disappeared almost completely on side two, and Donovan's voice and guitar sounded pretty darn right to us by the second track (the first track on side two is a mess).

See all of our Donovan albums in stock


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Nat King Cole - Let's Face The Music

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: cole_letsf_2013) 



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

Rich and tubey vocals on exceptionally quiet vinyl. Swingin' Billy May Big Band arrangements. Nat plays the Hammond organ on no less than five tracks.

All the copies we played were stereo. We've had very poor luck with mono Nat King Cole records (for albums that were recorded in stereo) and tend to avoid them.

See all our Nat King Cole albums in stock


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Spirit - Spirit

Sundazed Mono Reviewed

  (Item #: spirispiri_sundazed) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Sundazed record reviewed and found wanting.

As usual, the Sundazed only hints at the real sound of the recording. We recommended it back at the day; it's tonally correct, so for fifteen bucks you are getting your fifteen bucks worth and probably not a dime's more. We just cannot take this kind of sound seriously these days. Once you've heard the real thing, this pressing just won't do.

More Spirit


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Spirit - Spirit

The Mono Rocks

  (Item #: spirispiri_mono_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame, not for the best Hot Stamper stereo copies, but for this amazing MONO.

This killer pressing from 2010 has almost EVERYTHING you want from this '60s Psych Pop Masterpiece -- the energy, presence and sheer rock and roll POWER made a mockery of every stereo copy we played.

Want a glimpse into the kind of energy the band was generating in the studio? Drop the needle on Fresh Garbage, the opening track of this amazing mono pressing, and you will hear this band come alive in a way you never imagined you'd ever hear them.

More Spirit


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Frank Sinatra - Sings Days of Wine and Roses & more

Judging Books and Covers

  (Item #: sinatdayso_2016) 



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

Presented with the less-than-captivating cover and title of Days of Wine and Roses, we were put off by our first impression; that of a budget thrown-together compilation, brought even lower by the fairly generic shot of Old Blue Eyes on the cover. We didn't think an album that looked like this could possibly contain the swinging (or deeply emotional, both are fine with us) Sinatra music we've grown to love from his best Capitol- and Reprise-era releases.

More Frank Sinatra


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Frank Sinatra - Look To Your Heart

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: sinatlookt_2016) 



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

Triple Plus (A+++) on side one, with a side two that is right up there with it - outstanding sound quality from first note to last. This copy was the fullest, richest and smoothest, with the best bass and most natural vocals of any we played. Recorded from 1953-1955, this mono collection of singles and such gives us Old Blue Eyes in his Capitol-period prime.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Shelly Manne - Sounds Unheard Of!

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: mannesound_2009) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper Black Label Original Contemporary pressing has SUPERB sound on BOTH sides. All that stuff we tend to say about the original tube-mastered Contemporary pressings being fat and dull does not apply here whatsoever. This record is mastered beautifully, we real transient attacks to all the percussion. When Shelly bangs on the bass drum it goes Ka-Boom and really rattles the walls. As a Demo Disc this one is pretty hard to beat!

More Shelly Manne


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Barney Kessell - Easy Like

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: kesseeasyl_2005) 



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

This is an original Mono Contemporary Yellow Label DEMO LP. If you can stand some surface noise this is a very good sounding LP. The sound is good; however, it's almost impossible to find quiet pressings of these old Contemporary albums. This is about as quiet as they get.

More Contemporary jazz


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Shelly Manne and Friends - My Fair Lady

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mannemyfai_2012) 



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

This Contemporary Black Label LP is FULL OF TUBEY MAGIC! The sound is lively and dynamic with tighter bass than the typical old Contemporary pressing. Five big stars in the All Music Guide!

More Shelly Manne


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JS Bach / The Goldberg Variations / Glenn Gould

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: bach_goldb_2011) 



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

Interesting record. The first side sounds about like what one would expect from an old Columbia six-eye mono piano recording -- not bad but not particularly good either, with a tonally correct but rather small and distant piano in the middle of a big room.

Imagine our surprise and delight when we flipped the record over and heard a shockingly ROBUST, CLEAR and PRESENT piano, sounding pretty much -- if one were to close one's eyes -- like a real piano in a practice hall. We call it at least Super Hot Stamper sound. Without more copies to compare it to, this may be for all practical purposes As Good As It Gets.

More of the music of JS Bach


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June Christy - Something Cool

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: chrissomet_2016) 



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

We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it's taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble!

The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Get the volume just right and June will be standing between your speakers and putting on the performance of a lifetime. This is one of our three or four favorite female vocal albums (along with Clap Hands, Julie Is her Name and not many others!) and this amazingly good copy will show you why -- the sound and music are As Good As It Gets.

More June Christy


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The Concert Sinatra

Yes, It Took Us Ten Years to Do Two Shootouts for This Album

  (Item #: sinatconce_2017) 



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

If you're looking for quiet vinyl and good sound on this title I don't think we will have anything for you for the foreseeable future. But of course you never know, we could luck into some killer copies on any one of our regular record hunting days. It's pure luck to find any early stereo copy in good shape, let alone one that has the right stampers, the right sound and good surfaces. Each of our last two shootouts took us five years to make happen if that tells you anything.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Nat King Cole - Sings Hymns and Spirituals

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: cole_sings_2016) 



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

The sound is big, open, rich and full. The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than most, by a long shot. Very few records out there give you the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from this pressing, particularly on side one.

More Nat "King" Cole


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John Coltrane - John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrjohnc_2016) 



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

An outstanding copy of this classic Jazz Vocal album, with superb sound throughout. The sound is huge and spacious with richness and Tubey Magic like nothing you've heard. I defy you to find a Male Vocal record produced in the last thirty years that can hold a candle to this one sonically or musically. A wonderful collaboration between a horn player and a singer, perhaps the greatest of all time.

More John Coltrane / More Johnny Hartman


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Sarah Vaughan - The Lonely Hours

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: vaughlonel_2016) 



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

Wonderfully warm, big and clear, not to mention exceptionally dynamic, this copy shows the listener just how good the master tape must be.

Not only could no other copy touch it; as far as I can tell it's the only copy with two sides good enough to put on the site!

More Sarah Vaughan


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The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: beachpetso_2014) 



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

We've obviously been at this Hot Stamper business for a long, long time. Well folks, today is the day that an amazing A+++ copy of Pet Sounds finally makes it onto the site (we've found a few before, but they always sold before they got a chance to be listed!). I'm not sure if you want to hear the story of how we finally found these good pressings or just snap this one up before the next man does -- I think we all know this record isn't going to last long here!

More Beach Boys


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June Christy - This Is June Christy

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: christhisi_2016) 



This wonderful recording from 1958 is a distinguished member of the Better Records Popular Hall of Fame.

It's very rare that a Shootout Winning copy of a June Christy album from the late '50s would have vinyl this quiet. Can't recall the last time that happened, or if it ever has.

Both sides of this '50s All Tube Recorded and Mastered record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout.

More June Christy


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Jesse Belvin - Mr. Easy

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: belvimreas_2016) 



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

Zero distortion. zero smear, huge amounts of space and breathy rich vocals - what's not to like? Marty Paich and Art Pepper lend a hand, and with Al Schmitt behind the board the sound is 1960 Living Stereo Tubey Magic at its finest.

More Living Stereo


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Hampton Hawes - Vol 2: The Trio

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hawesvol2t_2016) 



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

This Triple Plus (+++) pressing from '55/'56 mono tapes is EVERYTHING that's good about mono. The size, the weight, the solidity, the clarity, the energy, the rhythmic drive - it's all here and more. This killer pressing has the best sound and the best music we have ever heard on any Hampton Hawes album.

More Hampton Hawes


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Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

Balancing the Vocal, Strings and Rhythm

  (Item #: holidladyi_2016) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.

The better copies reproduce clearly what to our minds are the three most important elements in the recording -- strings, rhythm, and vocal -- and, more importantly, the are reproduced properly balanced with one another.

The monos, as you might expect, balance the three elements well enough, but the problem with mono is that the vocals and instruments are jammed together in the center of the soundfield, layered atop one another.

More Billie Holiday


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Miles Davis - Quiet Nights

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: davisquiet_2016) 



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

A Miles Davis - Gil Evans classic, and only the second to hit the site in five years. Fred Plaut engineered the sessions, which here sound rich, warm, and smooth, with excellent presence. Gil Evans conducts the orchestra, adding a lovely feel reminiscent of Sketches Of Spain.

More Miles Davis


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The Rolling Stones - No. 2

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: rollino2_2016) 



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

The best word I could use to sum up both the sound and the music on this record is HONEST. If you want to hear how early Rolling Stones records sound when they sound right, this is the ticket. This is the real sound of the early, early Stones.

Probably what any modern engineer would want to do to the album would only end up making it worse. It is what it is and that’s good enough for us.

More Rolling Stones


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Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins - Sonny Meets Hawk

Great in Mono

  (Item #: rollisonny_2010) 



WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album with good sound and quiet surfaces, but this pressing is a MONSTER. We’re generally not big fans of Mono recordings, but for this music it is really doing the job. It gives you mindblowing presence to the brass and real weight to the bottom end.
More Sonny Rollins


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