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White Hot Stamper

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Cosmo's Factory

  (Item #: creedcosmo_1902_1907) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second - it doesn't get much better than this
  • The sound is incredibly present and punchy with great clarity, excellent bass, freedom from grain and real swamp rockin' energy
  • So many great songs: Run Through the Jungle, Lookin' Out My Back Door, Who'll Stop the Rain, etc.
  • A 5 star album and arguably the best record the band ever made: "...an album made during stress and chaos, filled with raging rockers, covers, and intense jams..."
More Cosmo's Factory / More Creedence


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Super Hot Stamper

Queen
A Night at the Opera

  (Item #: queennight_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This outstanding copy of Queen's fourth studio album earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is big and bold, with soaring choruses that really get loud and stay clean all the way through
  • Bohemian Rhapsody is killer on this side two, and if you've got the system to play it good and LOUD, you are in for a thrill
  • 5 stars: "But the appeal of A Night at the Opera is in its detailed, meticulous productions. It's prog rock with a sense of humor as well as dynamics, and Queen never bettered their approach anywhere else."
See all of our Queen albums in stock


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Count Basie - Basie Plays Hefti

Original Versus Reissue

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_emus) 



The original pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. It's (probably) just another Record Myth.

Basie was recording like a madman back in the late '50s and even all through the '60s. In 1958, the year of this release, he put out seven (7!) albums on the Roulette label. We've played quite a number of them over the years and found relatively few with audiophile quality sound.

Including the original Roulette pressing of this very title. We've only heard a few, and had only one for our shootout, but it was awful enough to make us swear off buying more, especially considering the prices vintage jazz albums are going for these days.

More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Plays Hefti

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • The first copy to hit the site in years and boy does our Shootout Winner here have STUNNING sound - it earned Triple Plus (A+++) grades from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • If all you've ever heard is the Roulette original (or the wacky MoFi, or whatever current Heavy Vinyl pressing is being made, this LP is guaranteed to be a REVELATION
  • Basie Plays Hefti catches Basie's band at the peak of their powers in 1958, and in this All Tube Recording you get every bit of the magic they made in the studio
  • "The Count Basie Orchestra was in top form for this set of Neal Hefti arrangements. Hefti had been one of the main architects of the new Basie sound of the '50s... "Cute" (heard here in its initial recording) became a standard."
More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
Animals

  (Item #: pinkfanima_1907_3) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An outstanding vintage UK copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Forget the dubby, small, flat, dead-as-a-doornail domestic pressings and the Heavy Vinyl - only these killer Brits have the Tubey Magical Midrange that lets Pink Floyd come alive in your listening room
  • "Of all of the classic-era Pink Floyd albums, Animals is the strangest and darkest, a record that's hard to initially embrace yet winds up yielding as many rewards as its equally nihilistic successor, The Wall."
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Pink Floyd
Animals

  (Item #: pinkfanima_1907_2) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An outstanding vintage UK copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too (for the most part)
  • Forget the dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl - only these Brits have the Tubey Magical Midrange that lets Pink Floyd come alive
  • "Of all of the classic-era Pink Floyd albums, Animals is the strangest and darkest, a record that's hard to initially embrace yet winds up yielding as many rewards as its equally nihilistic successor, The Wall. Animals is all extended pieces, yet it never drifts -- it slowly, ominously works its way toward its destination. For an album that so clearly is Waters', David Gilmour's guitar dominates thoroughly ...it surges with bold blues-rock guitar lines and hypnotic space rock textures."
More Animals


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White Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
Animals

  (Item #: pinkfanima_1907_1) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • This KILLER copy of Animals boasts insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • Forget the dubby, small, flat, dead-as-a-doornail domestic pressings and the Heavy Vinyl - only these killer Brits have the Tubey Magical Midrange that lets Pink Floyd come alive in your listening room
  • "Of all of the classic-era Pink Floyd albums, Animals is the strangest and darkest, a record that's hard to initially embrace yet winds up yielding as many rewards as its equally nihilistic successor, The Wall."
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto
Getz - Gilberto

  (Item #: getz_getzg_1903_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides, this is one of a small handful of copies to ever hit the site
  • Surprisingly present, immediate and REAL - musically and sonically, this is one of our favorite jazz albums
  • An All Time Bossa Nova classic that shows you just how lovely this music can sound when properly mastered and pressed
  • 5 stars: "Bossa nova's finest moment, Getz/Gilberto [brought] two of bossa nova's greatest innovators — guitarist/singer João Gilberto and composer/pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim — to New York to record with Stan Getz. The results were magic... One of those rare jazz records about which the purist elite and the buying public are in total agreement. Beyond essential."
More Stan Getz


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Schuller / Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee / Dorati

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: schulseven_2006) 



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

RFR1/ 2. DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND.

This record has the sound that Mercury is famous for: immediate, dynamic and spacious. This record lives up to the Mercury claim: You immediately feel as though you are in the Living Presence of the orchestra.

This is precisely the kind of record that Speakers Corner would not have a clue how to master. I'd stake my reputation on it, for what it's worth.

Classical Commentaries


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Super Hot Stamper (quiet vinyl)

Sarah Vaughan
Dreamy

  (Item #: vaughdream_1907) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this copy of Sarah Vaughan's 1960 release - exceptionally rare quiet vinyl too
  • Forget the honky originals - our killer Hot Stamper reissues of this 1960 All Tube Recording are rich and relaxed, just the way they should be
  • And please don't confuse the good reissues we offer from decades past with the mediocre crap being pressed today - there is no simply no comparison, not for sound anyway
  • "Trumpeter Harry 'Sweets' Edison contributes some soft, melodic trumpet but the focus is very much on the singer during such numbers as 'The More I See You,' 'Star Eyes,' 'My Ideal,' and 'Crazy He Calls Me.'"
See all of our Sarah Vaughan albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Aftermath

  (Item #: rolliafter_1907) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This stunning copy earned shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to them on both sides
  • Lady Jane, Under My Thumb and Mother's Little Helper are three of the best sounding tracks on side one - all are big, lively and solid here
  • Their first all-original album, 5 stars on Allmusic, and the earliest Must Own Stones album in our opinion
  • "The Rolling Stones finally delivered a set of all-original material with this LP, which also did much to define the group as the bad boys of rock & roll..."
See all of our Rolling Stones albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
Wish You Were Here

  (Item #: pinkfwishy_1907) 

Our Price: $649.99

  • An absolutely incredible copy of this Pink Floyd classic, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
  • Demo Disc Quality Floyd Magic -- bigger, richer, more dynamic, better bass and the list goes on!
  • 5 stars on Allmusic, a Top 100 title and one that is RIDICULOUSLY tough to find with sound this good and exceptionally quiet surfaces
  • "Showcasing the group's interplay and David Gilmour's solos in particular... the long, winding soundscapes are constantly enthralling."
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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The Who - Live at Leeds

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: who__livea_rocks_harder) 



The best copies of Live at Leeds just plain ROCK HARDER than other copies. Yes, they're bigger. Yes, they have more weight and whomp down low. Yes, they are smoother and more natural up top.

But what really sets them apart is their tremendous energy. The music EXPLODES out of the speakers and comes to life on the best copies of Live at Leeds like few records you have ever heard. When we find that kind of power and energy on a record, all other things being equal, we know their stampers are White Hot.

More Live at Leeds


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Super Hot Stamper

The Who
Live At Leeds

  (Item #: who__livea_1904_1907) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A hard-rockin' copy - this British Track pressing boasts powerful Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides
  • The recording is huge and lively with startling dynamics and in-the-room-presence like nothing you've heard
  • Drums so solid, punchy and present they put to shame 99% of the rock records on the planet
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl - no early British pressing will play any better than this one
  • Cited as the best live rock recording of all time by The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, the BBC Q magazine, and Rolling Stone. In 2003, it was ranked number 170 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
See all of our Who albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin III

  (Item #: ledze3_1907) 

Our Price: $749.99

  • With two incredible sides each rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it, this copy will lay waste to any pressing you've heard; super quiet vinyl too!
  • Drop the needle on Since I've Been Loving You, turn it up good and loud and Zep will be right there between your speakers for the live concert of a lifetime
  • Immigrant Song, Celebration Day and Tangerine are among the tracks that have truly awesome Demo Disc sound - the vinyl's fairly quiet too
  • 5 stars: "...Led Zeppelin III provided the band with the necessary room to grow musically. While there are still a handful of metallic rockers, III is built on a folky, acoustic foundation that gives the music extra depth."
See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Kraftwerk
Autobahn

  (Item #: kraftautob_1907_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Superb sound throughout for this fun TAS-approved album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings -- they're disappointing in the extreme
  • The RIGHT early import pressings have richness, transparency, space and presence not found anywhere else I tell you!
  • These imports are tough to find with the right sound and quiet surfaces - most copies we get in go straight to the trade-in pile
  • "The 22-minute title track became an international hit single and remains the peak of the band's achievements -- it encapsulates the band and why they are important within one track -- but the rest of the album provides soundscapes equally as intriguing. "
See all of our Arty Rock albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Art Pepper + Eleven
Modern Jazz Classics

  (Item #: peppemoder_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A big, bold, lively stereo copy of this exceptional Art Pepper release from 1960 - Triple Plus (A+++) on side one and Double Plus (A++) on two - reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • If you buy only one Large Group Hot Stamper jazz record from us, make it this one - the music is swingin' fun and the sound is going to be very impressive, especially if you own any modern reissue
  • Rich, warm and full-bodied, the brass is phenomenal on this pressing - here is the Tubey Magic of the originals without the problems that cause many originals to be opaque and uninvolving
  • A personal favorite - 5 stars: "This is a true classic. Essential music for all serious jazz collections."
See all of our Art Pepper albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds

  (Item #: beachpetso_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end AND exceptionally quiet vinyl, this pressing has the Pet Sounds you've been looking for
  • Play this against any and all versions you have - this will be the last Pet Sounds you buy (unless you decide to upgrade to a Triple Plus copy)
  • The Beach Boys revolutionized the popular music of the day with their genius for harmony, and a killer copy like this has their voices sounding the way they should
  • 5 stars: "The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound."
See all of our Beach Boys albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Sarah Vaughan
Dreamy

  (Item #: vaughdream_1904_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Insanely good sound throughout with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
  • Forget the honky originals - our killer Hot Stamper reissues of this 1960 All Tube Recording are rich and relaxed, just the way they should be
  • And please don't confuse the good reissues we offer from decades past with the mediocre crap being pressed today - there is no simply no comparison, not for sound anyway
  • "Trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison contributes some soft, melodic trumpet but the focus is very much on the singer during such numbers as "The More I See You," "Star Eyes," "My Ideal," and "Crazy He Calls Me.""
See all of our Sarah Vaughan albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Catch Bull At Four

(UK Island)

  (Item #: stevecatch_1902_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, this very specific UK pressing is absolutely amazing - the vinyl has issues though
  • Bigger, more dynamic, more lively, more present and just plain more EXCITING than anything we heard - that's why it won our shootout
  • This British pressing with the right stamper can show you the sweeter, tubier Midrange Magic that we is the hallmark of all the best Cat Stevens' recordings
  • "Though some of the lyrics retain Cat’s fanciful imagery... he shows a new emotional directness, especially on side two, the albums "down" side. This is reflected in Cat’s singing, which becomes more assured and more emotive with each album."
More Catch Bull at Four


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

The Rolling Stones
Aftermath

  (Item #: rolliafter_1904_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Both sides of this copy were outstanding, earning Double Plus (A++) grades for their Tubey Magical '60s British sound - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Lady Jane, Under My Thumb and Mother's Little Helper are three of the best sounding tracks on side one - all are lively and solid here
  • It's ridiculously tough to find copies that sound this good and play this quietly, which is why we so rarely have them up on the site
  • Their first album made up of all original material, 5 stars on Allmusic, and the first of a string of Must Own Stones albums
See all of our Rolling Stones albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

  (Item #: smithwhosa_1905x) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close it on both sides and one of the best copies from our most recent shootout
  • If you dig Oliver's Nelson's swingin' BIG BRASS as much as we do you are in for a treat with this stereo pressing
  • The best sides have the kind of analog richness, warmth, and smoothness that make listening to records so involving
  • Slaughter On Tenth Avenue is the monster track leading off here, and it swings the way Walk on the Wild Side does - like crazy, man!
More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Plays Hefti

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_1905c) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - super quiet vinyl too!
  • If all you've ever heard is the Roulette original (or the wacky MoFi, or whatever current Heavy Vinyl pressing is being made, this LP is guaranteed to knock your socks off
  • Basie Plays Hefti catches Basie's band at the peak of their powers in 1958, and in this All Tube Recording you get every bit of the magic they made in the studio
  • "The Count Basie Orchestra was in top form for this set of Neal Hefti arrangements. Hefti had been one of the main architects of the new Basie sound of the '50s... "Cute" (heard here in its initial recording) became a standard."
More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

The Byrds
Fifth Dimension

  (Item #: byrdsfifth_1903_1906-) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $99.00 (You save $50.99 / 34%)


  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this vintage Columbia 360 pressing from 1966 - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are balanced, clear and open with wonderful Sixties Folk Rock energy to spare
  • Many of their classics are here: Eight Miles High, Hey Joe, 5D (Fifth Dimension), Wild Mountain Thyme, Mr. Spaceman and more
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... its high points were as innovative as any rock music being recorded in 1966... For the originals, they devised some of the first and best psychedelic rock..."
More Byrds / More Hippie Folk Rock


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The Police - Outlandos d’Amour

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: policoutla_2018) 



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

One of the best copies to hit the site in quite a while - Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides. Few audiophiles (I'm guessing) know how well recorded this album is - you need just the right UK pressing to show you what's really on the tape.

What's amazing about this copy? There are SWEET HIGHS and AMBIENCE that we didn’t think were possible - and it ROCKS! Whatever it's doing, it sure doesn't take a pair of golden ears to hear it.

More Sting / The Police


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Super Hot Stamper

Roy Orbison
The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison

  (Item #: orbisallti_1905_1x) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side four and solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on the other three sides
  • The phenomenally talented Bill Porter recorded many of Orbison's classic songs from the early '60s that are found on this compilation
  • All four sides here sound the way you want them to, with richness, space and Tubey Magic to die for
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... no one conveys pain and longing more sublimely or succinctly than Roy Orbison. But his songs are also masterpieces of production: so technically precise that his deceptively simple tunes and lush melodies flow even more smoothly behind his desperate baritone croon and quivering falsetto."
See all of our Roy Orbison albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Dire Straits
Dire Straits

  (Item #: diresdires_1809_1906) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • Stunning shootout winning sound throughout, with both sides of this very special British pressing rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is shockingly rich, full and solid yet still incredibly clean, clear and open with fantastic energy - you will not believe all the space and ambience on this copy
  • A Better Records Rock & Pop Top 100 title, a True Demo Disc, and our favorite by the band for both sound and music - quiet vinyl too
  • "...the album is remarkably accomplished for a debut, and Dire Straits had difficulty surpassing it throughout their career."
See all of our Dire Straits albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Goats Head Soup

  (Item #: rolligoats_1902_1906) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last on this superb copy of Goats Head Soup - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee the sound is dramatically bigger, richer, fuller, and livelier than any pressing you have ever heard
  • Who knew the record could sound this good? Certainly not us - we had no luck with this album for years
  • "This may not be as downright funky, freaky, and fantastic as Exile, yet the extra layer of gloss brings out the enunciated lyrics, added strings, wah-wah guitars, explicit sex, and violence, making it all seem trippily decadent..."
See all of our Rolling Stones albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Johnny Cash
The Fabulous Johnny Cash

  (Item #: cash_fabul_1812_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding vintage stereo pressing with Double Plus (A++) sound for Cash's first album for Columbia - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are Tubey Magical yet clear, with plenty of energy and a lovely musical quality that's noticeably missing from many of the copies we've played over the years (and no doubt the Heavy Vinyl pressing)
  • For a country album from 1958, "Fabulous" is very well recorded, with consistently engaging songs sung from the heart
  • 4 1/2: "What makes it so entertaining are the songs themselves. From "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" and "Frankie's Man, Johnny" to "Pickin' Time" and "The Troubador," the album is filled with first-rate songs."
See all of our Johnny Cash albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald
The Duke Ellington Songbook, Vol. 2

  (Item #: fitzgsings_the_duke_1903_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides!
  • Forget the originals - like so many of the early songbook pressings, they suffer from painfully hard and honky mastering EQ (and gritty sounding vinyl)
  • We know whereof we speak when it comes to early Ella records - we've played plenty of them and found that most just don't sound very good
  • "Duke's spectacular catalog dazzles, and his sprightly, lush textures are transfigured under Fitzgerald's warm-timbred voice and elegant, precise delivery... each tune as familiar as it is delightful to hear in this new context."
See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jimi Hendrix
Axis: Bold As Love

  (Item #: hendraxisb_1906) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This outstanding import pressing of Hendrix's Axis: Bold As Love boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Huge and present, rich and full, with the kind of weight and electrified energy this problematical album almost never has
  • On Axis you need rich, full tonality and plenty of space up top if the music is going to work, and on those counts this copy delivers like nothing you've heard
  • 5 stars: "...a solid collection of great tunes and great interactive playing between himself, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, and the recording studio itself. "
See all our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

John Coltrane
Lush Life

  (Item #: coltrlushl_1906) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • One of the all-time great Coltrane albums returns to the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both side - exceptionally quiet too
  • Only recently did we chance upon the right pressing - the right era, the right label, the right stampers, the right sound
  • Bigger, richer, fuller, livelier and more present than any pressing you've ever heard or your money back
  • 4 stars: "Lush Life (1958) is among John Coltrane's best endeavors on the Prestige label. One reason can easily be attributed to the interesting personnel... The intimate setting is perfect for ballads such as the opener 'Like Someone in Love.'"
See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
For Your Pleasure

  (Item #: roxymforyo_1901_1906) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With two stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this UK LP came in just shy of our shootout winner
  • Roxy and their engineers and producers manage to capture a keyboard sound on their first two albums few bands in the history of the world can lay claim to
  • We've been working on this shootout for over ten years - here is one of the better copies we have to show for our effort
  • 5 Stars: "...another extraordinary record from Roxy Music, one that demonstrates even more clearly than the debut how avant-garde ideas can flourish in a pop setting."
More Roxy Music / More Brian Eno


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Super Hot Stamper

Nat "King" Cole
Love Is The Thing

  (Item #: cole_lovei_1905) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • A lovely pressing of this audiophile favorite, with Double Plus (A++) sound and fairly quiet vinyl on both sides to rival the best pop vocal recordings we know of
  • Nat himself sounds especially immediate and real, and the strings are much less of a problem here than they are on most pressings
  • If all you know of this album is the weirdly unnatural remix DCC did (on Analogue Productions vinyl too) this pressing will be nothing less than a revelation
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Nat King Cole's collaborations with Gordon Jenkins rank among the finest from either artist or arranger. 1957's Love Is the Thing remains the epitome of the pair's undeniable compatibility, and it topped the album charts for eight weeks."
See all of our Nat "King" Cole albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

The Police
Outlandos d’Amour

  (Item #: policoutla_1903_1905) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • One of the best copies to hit the site in quite a while - Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • Few audiophiles (I'm guessing) know how well recorded this album is - you need just the right UK pressing to show you what's really on the tape
  • Roxanne, So Lonely, Can't Stand Losing You all sound amazing on these Shootout Winning (or close to them) sides
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Although Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland were all superb instrumentalists with jazz backgrounds, it was much easier to get a record contract in late-'70s England if you were a punk/new wave artist, so the band decided to mask their instrumental prowess with a set of strong, adrenaline-charged rock, albeit with a reggae tinge. "
See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Sly & The Family Stone
Stand

  (Item #: slyanstand_1812_1905) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • With stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, this copy will be tough to beat - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Tired of the crude, congested, hard, harsh and otherwise unpleasant sound of most pressings? The solution is right here!
  • Stand, I Want To Take You Higher, Everyday People, You Can Make It If You Try -- what a killer lineup of songs
  • 5 stars: "Stand! is the pinnacle of Sly & the Family Stone's early work, a record that represents a culmination of the group's musical vision and accomplishment. Add to this a sharpened sense of pop songcraft, elastic band interplay, and a flowering of Sly's social consciousness, and the result is utterly stunning. "
See all of our Sly & The Family Stone albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
Way Out West

  (Item #: rolliwayou_1901_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent copy, earning Double Plus (A++) grades, or close to them, on both sides
  • This stereo pressing has superb 1957 Contemporary sound - big, open and natural throughout
  • The Contemporary 1957 sax sound is so smooth and tubey it will have you drooling
  • One of our favorite Rollins records, this copy will show you why we love the recordings of Roy DuNann
  • 5 Stars: "The timeless Way out West established Sonny Rollins as jazz's top tenor saxophonist"
See all of our Sonny Rollins albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Linda Ronstadt
The Stone Poneys Feat. Linda Ronstadt

  (Item #: ronststone_1710_1905) 

Our Price: $99.99
Sale Price: $59.00 (You save $40.99 / 41%)


  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our shootout for these later pressings - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Much more folk than pop, for the most part the sound here is tubey, rich and sweet
  • The originals from 1967 have never impressed us much - re-released when HLAW hit big, it features three great Linda solos
  • "It doesn't have "Different Drum," but the first Stone Poneys album is their folkiest and best, dominated by close harmonies and strong original material by the group's guitarists, Bob Kimmel and Ken Edwards."
See all of our Linda Ronstadt albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

John Coltrane
A Love Supreme

  (Item #: coltrloves_1905) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A superb sounding stereo copy - each side earned solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades or close to them
  • Here's the explosive improvisational energy that made A Love Supreme such a revelation in 1964 - even a reissue such as this one is hard to come by in good shape these days
  • 5 stars: "Trane's classic quartet of Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison stepped into the studio and created one of the most thought-provoking, concise, and technically pleasing albums of their bountiful relationship (not to mention his best-selling to date)... It is almost impossible to imagine a world without A Love Supreme having been made, and it is equally impossible to imagine any jazz collection without it."
See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Lou Reed
Transformer

  (Item #: reed_trans_1901_1905) 

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


  • 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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White Hot Stamper

Country Joe and The Fish
I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die

  (Item #: countifeel_1811_1905) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • You'll find Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it - As Good As It Gets in our experience - on both sides of this copy of the band's sophomore release
  • The best pressings with this label (you'll find out when the record arrives!) are the biggest, most open, most clear, and the least compressed, which makes them especially energetic and fun
  • Finding clean copies of Country Joe's albums is no walk in the park, but here's one, and it sounds great too
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Country Joe & the Fish's second album, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die", is quite similar to their first in its organ-heavy psychedelia with Eastern-influenced melodic lines..."
See all of our Country Joe & The Fish albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Richard and Linda Thompson
Hokey Pokey

  (Item #: thomphokey_1806_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $99.00 (You save $50.99 / 34%)


  • Excellent sound for this classic Richard and Linda Thompson album with both sides earning seriously good grades of Double Plus (A++) or BETTER - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Clearly one of the better copies in our shootout - much more body, punchier bass and more detail than most pressings
  • Everything you want in the sound of a good British Folk Rock album is here in abundance - enjoy!
  • Allmusic 4 Stars: "The Thompsons, from the opening Irish fiddle derivation of a Chuck Berry riff, through Linda's exquisite performance of "A Heart Needs a Home," to their cover of Mike Waterson's "Mole in a Hole" which closes the record, once again create a timeless amalgam of folk and rock..."
See all of our Richard Thompson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Milt Jackson & John Coltrane
Bags & Trane

  (Item #: jacksbagsa_1812_1905) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • You'll find outstanding sound on this vintage stereo pressing, with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades and playing fairly quietly
  • One of Tom Dowd's many excellent recordings of John Coltrane at the height of his powers - the sound is to die for
  • If you think the originals of Classic Jazz Albums such as this one are the only ones with the "right sound," this Hot Stamper pressing will surely be a revelation - it's guaranteed to MURDER any early pressing you play it against
  • 5 stars: "Vibraphonist Milt Jackson and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane make for a surprisingly complementary team on this 1959 studio session, their only joint recording."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Who
Who’s Next

  (Item #: who__whosn_1905) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • You'll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this UK Track pressing
  • Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as it gets for a well-cared-for, unscratched vintage UK copy (which is a great way to fly on Who's Next)
  • Exceptionally rich, lively and present with a strong bottom, this is a hard rockin' Who's Next like you will not believe
  • Here's the kind of record that rewards a system with plenty of low end and the ability to play at loud levels
  • 5 stars in Allmusic, a Top 100 Title, The Who's One True Rock Masterpiece, an album that rewards countless plays with pleasure
More Who's Next / More of The Who


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White Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Roxy Music

  (Item #: roxymroxym_1905) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first for this UK pressing - this is some of the most dynamic sound the band achieved - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Andy Hendriksen's engineering (over the course of a week!) is superb in all respects and practically faultless
  • A Top 100 album, the band's Masterpiece, and truly a Must Own Desert Island Disc of Glammy, Arty Rock
  • "Falling halfway between musical primitivism and art rock ambition, Roxy Music's eponymous debut remains a startling redefinition of rock's boundaries. Simultaneously embracing kitschy glamour and avant-pop, Roxy Music shimmers with seductive style and pulsates with disturbing synthetic textures."
Roxy Music


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A Frequently Asked Question

Aren't Hot Stampers just original pressings?

  (Item #: hot_stampers_faq_original_pressings) 



They certainly can be, but quite often they are not, which shouldn't come as a surprise to any serious record collector, and definitely not to any member of our listening crew. Reissues come out on top in our record shootouts fairly regularly.

Yes, most of the time the original will beat the reissue, but most of the time is far from always, and since we have to play a big pile of copies anyway (and always with the person doing the sound grading kept in the dark about the pressing being auditioned), why not evaluate both the originals and the reissues at the same time, and do so strictly on the merits?

More Straight Answers to Your Hot Stamper Questions


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Super Hot Stamper

Sarah Vaughan
Dreamy

  (Item #: vaughdream_1804_1904-) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • Forget the honky originals - our killer reissues of this 1960 All Tube Recording are rich and relaxed, just the way they should be
  • The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on these superb sides
  • "Trumpeter Harry 'Sweets' Edison contributes some soft, melodic trumpet but the focus is very much on the singer during such numbers as 'The More I See You,' 'Star Eyes,' 'My Ideal,' and 'Crazy He Calls Me.'" - Allmusic
See all of our Sarah Vaughan albums in stock


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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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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
The Bridge

  (Item #: rollibridg_1901_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout
  • This killer Living Stereo pressing is wonderfully Tubey Magical, full-bodied and solid, with note-like, clear bass
  • The brilliant Ray Hall engineered this Demo Disc quality recording using nothing but tubes back in 1962, and it's glorious to hear that sound in 2019 on modern hi-rez equipment
  • 4 1/2 stars: " Rollins explores four standards (including "Without a Song" and "God Bless the Child") plus two fiery originals (highlighted by the title cut). The interplay between Rollins and Hall is consistently impressive, making this a near-classic and a very successful comeback."
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White Hot Stamper

The Police
Reggatta de Blanc

  (Item #: policregga_1904) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this import took top honors in our recent shootout
  • Along with Ghost in the Machine, we think this album captures The Police at their songwriting and performing peak
  • Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Copeland’s kick really come to life here - you won't believe how BIG and powerful the bass is on this record
  • "Reggatta de Blanc stands the test of time as one of the greatest albums of the post-punk and new wave era, improving in almost every way upon The Police's debut album."
See all of our Police albums in stock


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Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: brownjacks_2018) 



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

Folks, this is an incredibly difficult album to find in audiophile playing condition. I can’t tell you how many copies we have to go through to find the one or two originals that are even passable, let alone with good sound. We buy them locally and off ebay whenever we see them and most of them go straight back to the seller, covered with scratches and full of groove damage just the way they arrived.

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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Chairman of the Board

  (Item #: basiechair_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy of Chairman Of The Board, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Forget the honky, hard-sounding Roulette originals, and of course the second-rate Classic Records pressing - this reissue is the way to go
  • From first note to last, this copy is big, clear, rich and lively, with huge amounts of space around the band
  • 4 1/2 stars: "This 1958 date for Roulette was a rare chance for the orchestra to perform on its own, and listeners to hear how powerful the band could be when its concentration was undiverted... The record is admittedly heavy on the blues, but it's a brassy, powerful vision of the blues... A dynamic date, it shows the "new testament" edition of Basie's orchestra in top form."
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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Roxy Music

  (Item #: roxymroxym_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This UK pressing earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - this is some of the most dynamic sound the band achieved - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Andy Hendriksen's engineering (over the course of a week!) is superb in all respects and practically faultless
  • A Top 100 album, the band's Masterpiece, and a Must Own Desert Island Disc of Glamorous Arty Rock
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Falling halfway between musical primitivism and art rock ambition, Roxy Music's eponymous debut remains a startling redefinition of rock's boundaries. Simultaneously embracing kitschy glamour and avant-pop, Roxy Music shimmers with seductive style and pulsates with disturbing synthetic textures."
More Roxy Music


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Super Hot Stamper

Poco
Poco

  (Item #: poco_poco_1812_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this copy of Poco's sophomore release - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This vintage reissue is guaranteed to beat the pants off any original you have ever heard
  • Here is the size, the space, the depth, the Tubey Magic and, most importantly, the ability to get good and loud the right way
  • There are two Must Own Poco releases, including the first album - we think this is clearly the more interesting of the two
  • 4 stars: "These songs represent the group's blend of country and rock at its finest and brightest... Poco is well worth owning by anyone interested in the early days of this particular band, and of country-rock in general."
See all of our Poco albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

John Coltrane
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

  (Item #: coltrjohnc_1903) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy of this classic Jazz Vocal album, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • 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 one of all time
  • "John Coltrane's matchup with singer Johnny Hartman works extremely well. Hartman was in prime form on the six ballads, and his versions of "Lush Life" and "My One and Only Love" have never been topped. Classic, essential for all jazz collections" - 5 stars
See all of our Coltrane albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
For Your Pleasure

  (Item #: roxymforyo_1903) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this UK LP is sure to be one of the best sounding Roxy Music records you'll ever play - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These sides are exceptionally rich and Tubey Magical - Roxy on record just does not get much better than this
  • We've been working on this shootout for over ten years - here is one of the better copies we have to show for our effort
  • 5 Stars: "...another extraordinary record from Roxy Music, one that demonstrates even more clearly than the debut how avant-garde ideas can flourish in a pop setting."
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Cat Stevens Catch Bull at Four

Sometimes There Really Is Just One Set of Magic Stampers

  (Item #: stevecatch_stampers) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.

As is sometimes the case, there is one and only one set of stamper numbers that consistently wins our Catch Bull At Four shootouts. We stumbled upon an out-of-this-world copy of the right pressing about two years ago, a copy took the recording to a level we had no idea could even be possible. (We were going to give it Four Pluses, and probably should have, but cooler heads prevailed.)

More Catch Bull at Four / More Cat Stevens


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Super Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Getz & Gilberto
Getz - Gilberto

  (Item #: getz_getzg_1902) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this is one of a small handful of copies to ever hit the site
  • Surprisingly present, immediate and REAL - musically and sonically, this is one of our favorite jazz albums
  • An All Time Bossa Nova classic that shows you just how lovely this music can sound when properly mastered and pressed
  • 5 stars: "Bossa nova's finest moment, Getz/Gilberto [brought] two of bossa nova's greatest innovators — guitarist/singer João Gilberto and composer/pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim — to New York to record with Stan Getz. The results were magic... One of those rare jazz records about which the purist elite and the buying public are in total agreement. Beyond essential."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Police
Reggatta de Blanc

  (Item #: policregga_1901x) 

Our Price: $99.99
Sale Price: $79.00 (You save $20.99 / 21%)


  • An outstanding copy of Reggatta de Blanc with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • The only Police album that has a real Guitar Solo, heard on the song "It's Alright For You"
  • Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Copeland’s kick really come to life here
  • "Reggatta de Blanc stands the test of time as one of the greatest albums of the post-punk and new wave era, improving in almost every way upon The Police's debut album."
See all of our Police albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Sly and the Family Stone
Greatest Hits

  (Item #: slyangreat_1902_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An outstanding pressing of this nearly perfect Sly record with two sides that both earned Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER for their sound
  • Real resolution to the sound, not the opacity and blur you would expect from a greatest hits compilation
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus - they didn't press them any quieter
  • "This summarizes their first four albums perfectly, adding the singles "Hot Fun in the Summertime," "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," and "Everybody Is a Star," possibly the loveliest thing they ever recorded... Greatest hits don't come better than this -- in fact, music rarely does."
See all of our Sly and the Family Stone albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jeff Beck
Truth

  (Item #: beck_truth_1707_1902) 

Our Price: $99.99
Sale Price: $79.00 (You save $20.99 / 21%)


  • 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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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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Super Hot Stamper

Shorty Rogers Big Band
Jazz Waltz

  (Item #: rogerjazzw_1802_1812) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • Killer sound for this fun Big Band music, with Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides - open and clear, with solid bass throughout
  • This is swingin' West Coast jazz at its best, and it plays on exceptionally quiet vinyl, a true Mint Minus throughout
  • Engineered by the great Bones Howe, a man who knows Tubey Magic like practically no one else in the world
  • 4 Stars on Allmusic - this Discovery reissue from 1981 positively murders every original we've played
See all of our Shorty Rogers albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Sly & The Family Stone
Stand

  (Item #: slyanstand_1812_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A killer sounding copy with Double Plus (A++) sound from the first note to the last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Stand, I Want To Take You Higher, Sing A Simple Song, Everyday People, You Can Make It If You Try - what a phenomenal lineup of songs
  • 5 stars: "Stand! is the pinnacle of Sly & the Family Stone's early work, a record that represents a culmination of the group's musical vision and accomplishment."
See all of our Sly & The Family Stone albums in stock


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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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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: tchaisym6_1009_2011) 



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

This remastered Victrola version of the original Living Stereo pressing (LSC 1901) is guaranteed to KILL any and all originals -- Shaded Dogs, White Dogs, Red Seals -- you name it, this pressing will beat the pants off of it, guaranteed. I've played many copies of the earlier RCAs and I have surely never heard one sound like this, with so much LIFE and CLARITY. Where is all the old cutter head distortion, congestion and frequency limiting? It's sure not here!

See more entries in our Originals vs. Reissues series


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tchaisym6_2012) 



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

Presenting a first for Better Records: a White Hot Stamper copy of this CORRECTLY remastered version of LSC 1901, which just happens to be a recording from the earliest days of stereo, 1955! It's guaranteed to KILL any and all original Shaded Dogs, as well as the more common reissues; White Dogs, Red Seals, Gold Seals, Victrolas, Classic Heavy Vinyl, you name it, this pressing will beat the pants off of it and in the process show you precisely what is wrong with each and every one of them.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Super Hot Stamper

The Byrds
Ballad of Easy Rider

  (Item #: byrdsballa_1712_1810) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • An excellent copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We're always blown away at just how much further the Top Copies like this one take the music -- a dramatic difference!
  • Both sides are rich and full with plenty of Tubey Magic and lovely present vocals
  • "Ballad of Easy Rider was the album where the new lineup really hit its stride." 4 stars
See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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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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Rossini / Overtures / Maag / PCO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rossiovert_2013) 



The London and Decca original pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that's just another Record Myth.

This Stereo Treasury pressing of Maag's 1958 recording is shockingly good in many ways. It sure doesn't sound like a budget reissue. If anything it sounds more original than the originals we played against it!

More of the music of Ottorino Rossini (1879-1936)


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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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Roy Orbison - The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: orbisallti_2018) 



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

The depth, the spaciousness, the richness -- this one has it all. It seems as though Bill Porter just does not know how to not make an amazing recording, whether for Monument or Living Stereo. Everything the guy touches is GOLD! Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality -- everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

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Leonard Cohen - New Skin For the Old Ceremony

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: cohennewsk_2018) 



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

Leonard Cohen was a poet long before he decided to pick up a guitar. Despite singing in a dry baritone over spare arrangements, Cohen is a gifted lyricist who captivates the listener. New Skin for the Old Ceremony may be Leonard Cohen's most musical album, as he is accompanied by violas, mandolins, banjos, and percussion that give his music more texture than usual. The fact that Cohen does more real singing on this album can be seen as both a blessing and a curse -- while his voice sounds more strained, the songs are delivered with more passion than usual.

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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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Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: schubsym9_decca_2013) 



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

Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson behind the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and wonderful World of the Great Classics reissue from 1976. This copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most pressings, regardless of age.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Liszt, Enesco, Smetana / Rhapsodies - Stokowski

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: lisztrhaps_2471_2010) 



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

This RCA Living Stereo White Dog LP has SUPERB SOUND!

I'm a big fan of this title. The string tone is rich and dark and just wonderful. If you want an exciting record with outstanding Living Stereo sound -- dynamic, with strings to die for, and an energetic performance, this is the one! Don't let the White Dog fool you. I doubt if the average Shaded Dog is any better. This record sounds just right to me. Listen to how clear and correct the triangle is.

See all of our Living Stereo albums in stock


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The Band - Moondog Matinee

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: band_moond_2017) 



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

Some great music is to be found here, and quite respectable sound on the "hotter" copies. ’Ain’t Got No Home’ and ’A Change Is Gonna Come’ are two personal favorites of the ten tracks here.

Both sides are tonally balanced from top to bottom, with more energy and space than others. The bass is huge, the brass rich, the all analog sound smooth and natural. It's no demo disc; it just sounds bigger, clearer, and more right than the other sides we played.

More by The Band


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Barbra Streisand - Je M'Appelle Barbra

'60s 360 Vs. '70s Red

  (Item #: streijemap_2015) 



For Barbra Streisand's early albums the original pressings on the 360 label have just got to be better, right?

Nope. It’s just another Record Myth. The best of the 360 pressings in our shootout did well, just not as well.

Our good later label pressings had all the richness and Tubey Magic of the 360s -- one really couldn't tell which pressing was on the turntable by the sound -- but had a bit more space, clarity and freedom from artificiality.

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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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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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Sly & The Family Stone - Stand

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: slyanstand_2017) 



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

Finally, a Triple Plus (A+++) copy of Sly’s classic Stand album from 1969, one of the few times that this album has EVER sounded the way it is supposed to! Man, most copies of this album just plain suck -- sonically of course.

Both sides here have lively punchy drums; a big soundfield, front to back and side to side; tonally correct vocals (which obviously are key and sound edgy and thin on most copies), and real resolution to the sound overall. Also just as importantly you lose the sibilance most copies suffer from and the smear on the horns goes away, thank goodness.

More Sly and the Family Stone


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Verdi / Rossini / Overtures and Intermezzos / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: varioover_1119_2016) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Plum Victrola pressing has GORGEOUS Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may have never heard. Yes, it's that good! Recorded in England by Decca in 1959, with Solti at the helm of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the music herein was originally released on the album Venice, LSC 2313, with a lovely die-cut cover. Six years later, still clearly in the Golden Age of Tubes, it was reissued on Victrola, and it would be hard to imagine it sounding any better than it does here. (We keep a noisy Venice as a ref but it sure doesn't sound like this pressing.)

More Living Stereo


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Paganini / Violin Concerto 1 & 2 / Menuhin

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: paganvioli_emi_2013) 



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

Another remarkable Demo Disc from the Golden Age of recording, in this case 1961, with the benefit of more modern mastering from the '70s, a combination that works wonders on this title, as you will hear from both of these White Hot sides.

The sound is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had our shootout winner with this copy.

More recordings featuring the violin


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Gilbert and Sullivan / Pirates of Penzance

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: gilbepirat_lon_2009) 



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

EXCELLENT sound on EVERY side, which means it is truly a Demo Disc. On virtually every side it has the kind of rich, sweet Decca/London sound over which we audiophiles have been known to drool. It's nothing short of AMAZING on the White Hot side -- so lively, rich and HUGE. This is a Top London pressing in every way.

And it just so happens that such superb sonics are found on a lowly budget reissue, the Jubilee London label, pressed in Holland no less! Thank goodness we don't judge records either by their labels, their country of manufacture or their pressing era.

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Genesis - Nursery Cryme

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: genesnurse_2011) 



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

This QUIET Super Hot Stamper is actually on the Charisma Blue label, not the original, but it gave our best Pink label copies a run for their money, with superb bass, real rock energy and lovely midrange transparency. For fans of the Classic Lineup involving Phil Collins and Steve Hackett -- this being the first album with them on board -- side one of this copy will show you a Nursery Cryme the likes of which you have never heard. (If you own the Classic Heavy Vinyl pressing you are really in for a shock. That pressing is a smeary lifeless mess next to this LP.)

More Genesis


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Traffic - Mr. Fantasy

Where's the Bass?

  (Item #: traffmrfan_pink) 



This Pink Label Original Island pressing has amazingly sweet, open, extended and transparent mids and highs. It has two major shortcomings: a lack of bass, and a fair amount of surface noise. If you can add a few dB around 50 cycles and can put up with some surface noise and scratches, you are guaranteed to hear some wonderful sound in the best tubey Island tradition.

Side two sounds better than side one; it has more bass and therefore is more tonally correct.

More Traffic


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Dopey Record Theories Part 2

Putting More Bad Ideas to the Test

  (Item #: book_2) 



A well-known audiophile expert once wrote the following, which I quote:

But just because you find a “360 Sound” label doesn't mean you have an “original” pressing. -1A is an original. Then -1B, etc. Past a certain number it goes to -1AA, etc. There's great variability to the sound of these different pressings with -1A being best, of course.

Of course!
More Dopey Record Theories


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Sly and the Family Stone - Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: slyangreat_2008) 



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

Finally, a Triple Plus side for Sly’s Greatest Hits album, the first time this album has EVER sounded the way it is supposed to! Man, most copies of this album just plain suck -- sonically of course. Musically I have to second the sentiments of the writer for AMG who noted: "Music is rarely as vivacious, vigorous, and vibrant as this, and captured on one album, the spirit, sound, and songs of Sly & the Family Stone are all the more stunning." So true.

More Sly and the Family Stone


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Poco - Poco

Are the Original Pressings the Best Sounding?

  (Item #: poco_poco_original) 



I've been a fan of this album since it came out in 1970, but I never thought that the original pressings were especially good sounding.

Turns out I was right -- the original Yellow Label Epic pressings leave much to be desired, so much so that we simply do not bother to pick them up anymore. Based on the results of this shootout I would say it's very unlikely we would offer you anything but a later label copy as a Hot Stamper. Ah, but which one? That's always the rub, isn't it? They all sound different, and most are nothing special.

See all of our Poco albums in stock


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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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The Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coup

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: beachlittl_2007) 



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

This Capitol reissue LP has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND. The Beach Boys’ voices are as clear and as sweet as you could ever wish for. I’d be really surprised if original pressings of this album are even remotely as good sounding. This album sounds like somebody threaded up the master tape and started up the record cutting lathe.

More Beach Boys


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Frank Zappa & The Mothers - Freak Out!

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: zappafreak_2010) 



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

No Demo Disc by any stretch, this Hot Stamper beat the pants off of what appears to be a true first pressing that we just happened to have on hand. Most pressings of this double album are just awful, if you can even find one that's clean enough to bother playing. Our copy here earned grades of A Plus on sides one, two and four, and a grade of A Double Plus on side three. No copy in our shootout earned a higher grade than A++, for the simple reason that we just can't find enough clean original copies with which to do a definitve shootout.

More Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture / Alwyn

Not Recommended Original

  (Item #: tchai1812_6038) 



This very nice looking London Blueback original LP with Little Sign of Play (LSOP) contains the famous Alwyn conducted performance of the 1812 Overture.

The sound leaves much to be desired; at best it would be likely to earn about a "C" grade, as the average classical record is not very good sounding and not even worth the bother to play it.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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The Beatles - With the Beatles

The Early Pressings Are the Best, Right?

  (Item #: beatlwitht_myth) 



Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

So many Parlophone copies would have you think With The Beatles is a gritty, edgy, crude recording -- especially if you made the mistake of buying an early pressing. The early pressings are consistently grittier, edgier and more crude than the later pressings we played.

So much for the old canard that Original Always Equals Better. When it comes to With The Beatles it just ain't so, and it doesn't take a State-of-the-Art system or pair of golden ears to hear it.

More With the Beatles


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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: griegpeerg_sts_2005) 



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

This is overall the best sounding pressing of the Fjeldstad / LSO we have ever played, with BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. For those of you who know your Londons, when you see the label on this LP you will no doubt be shocked: This is the last pressing in the world that one would expect to sound good.

Of course we here at Better Records don't give a sh*t about any such conventional wisdom / collector bias. We like audiophile quality sound and we don't give a damn where we find it. Up against the competition this copy was superb in practically every way, excelling with orchestral size, weight and energy like virtually no other.

More Edvard Grieg


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The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup

Live and Learn, A Lesson from 2011

  (Item #: rolligoats_2011) 



This is a classic case of Live and Learn.

We would agree with very little of what we had to say about Goat's Head Soup as a recording when we wrote about it back in 2011 -- and for the previous 35+ years since I first played a domestic original.

Having done a big shootout for the album in 2016 we now know there most certainly are great sounding pressings to be found, because we found some. The data are in, and now we know just how wrong we were. In our defense, let me just ask one question: Did anybody else know this record was well recorded? I can find no evidence to support anyone having ever taken such a contrarian position.

More Rolling Stones


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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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Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bernswests_2015) 



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

SUPERB sound can be found on these two Columbia stereo pressings of the Broadway Cast recording. This is a huge, spacious, natural, exciting All-Tube Golden Age recording that impressed us no end here at Better Records.

We heard an amazing sounding copy many years ago, and the only reason we haven't done the shootout since then is that we just couldn't find enough clean copies with which to do it. To be clear, we're not talking quiet vinyl, we're talking about not beat-to-death, not all-scractched-up vinyl. People loved this music and they played the hell out of it.

More of the music of (or music conducted or performed by) Leonard Bernstein


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 / Marche Slave and More / Alwyn

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: tchai1812o_decca_2015) 



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

A BEYOND White Hot Quadruple Plus side one - hear Tchaicovsky's 1812 in Demo Disc sound. This is the most exciting and beautifully played 1812 we know of, with the best sound ever to boot on this copy. This is an exceptional Decca remastering of a superb Golden Age recording on very good vinyl.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Schubert / The Trout Quintet / Curzon / Vienna Octet

Original Versus Reissue

  (Item #: schubtrout_6090_2013) 



This unusual 2-pack combines two very different pressings from very different eras to create a complete performance of The "Trout" Quintet with SUPERB Super Hot Stamper (or better) on both sides. One pressing, the one shown, is from the early '60s; the other is from 1982. How could an imported budget late reissue beat a superb Golden Age pressing on any side you ask? Well, the answer to that question is provided by the records we will send you.
More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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