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White Hot Stamper

The Police
Outlandos d’Amour

  (Item #: policoutla_1903_1908) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • 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

The Police
Reggatta de Blanc

  (Item #: policregga_1904_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • 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 Sting / Police albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

The Police
Synchronicity

  (Item #: policsynch_1907_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This stunning pressing of the band's final studio album boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • Clearly better than every other pressing we played - when you can hear it sound this good you may just come to appreciate how good the music is
  • Every Breath You Take and Wrapped Around Your Finger are amazingly big, rich and Tubey Magical here
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Few other albums from 1983 merged tasteful pop, sophistication, and expert songwriting as well as Synchronicity did, resulting in yet another all-time classic."
See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Police
Synchronicity

  (Item #: policsynch_1903_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This superb pressing of the band's final studio album boasts Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout - just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Dramatically better than practically every other pressing we played - super lively, full-bodied and clear with real extension up top and down low
  • Every Breath You Take and Wrapped Around Your Finger are amazingly big, rich and Tubey Magical here
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Few other albums from 1983 merged tasteful pop, sophistication, and expert songwriting as well as Synchronicity did, resulting in yet another all-time classic."
See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (quiet vinyl)

The Police
Ghost in the Machine

  (Item #: policghost_1906_11) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both side, this vintage UK pressing sounds rich, smooth and sweet - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Some of the band's most sophisticated hits: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Invisible Sun, Spirits In The Material World, and more
  • Hugh Padgham took over engineering duties for Ghost and The Police's next album, resulting in a dramatic improvement in the quality of their recordings
  • "This album has more variety than the menu in a Bangkok brothel. In particular, Sting's voice has taken on a new depth and fresh maturity. The opening song, 'Spirits In The Material World', may have what sounds like a dumb title, but the song is a dream of close harmonies and nicely understated drums." Record Mirror
More Sting / Police


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Super Hot Stamper

Sting
Ten Summoner's Tales

  (Item #: stingtensu_1909) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This copy of Sting's fourth solo album boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades from first note to last
  • Engineer/Producer Hugh Padgham once again achieved his trademark sound in the studio - Spacious, Lively and Powerful
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... his best solo record. In places, it's easily as pretentious as his earlier work, but that's undercut by writing that hasn't been this sharp and melodic since the Police, plus his most varied set of songs since Synchronicity... as an album, Ten Summoner's Tales is more consistently satisfying than anything else in his catalog."
More Sting


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

John Coltrane
More Lasting Than Bronze

  (Item #: coltrmorel_1812_7_12) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This superb Prestige Two-Fer offer outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Compiled from two nearly complete Classic albums, Lush Life and Coltrane, this collection boasts masterful sound - thanks RVG!
  • Full-bodied, energetic, and tonally correct from top to bottom and, these pressings are guaranteed to bring Coltrane's music to life
  • "Rarely does a single performance uncover the essence of an artist with such aptness. The well-crafted melody is treated above all with dignity, which may be part of the reason it remains flawless."
See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Sting
Bring on the Night

  (Item #: stingbring_1906_9) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding copy of Sting's epic double album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all four sides AND exceptionally quiet vinyl
  • Sting and his jazzy pals work through a good portion of his extensive catalog, including both Police songs and solo tracks
  • "Sting really got carried away with the idea that his supporting crew for Dream of the Blue Turtles was a real jazz band, and technically, he was kind of right … the loose, rather infectious performances show what Sting was trying to achieve with his debut."
See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Sting
The Dream Of The Blue Turtles

  (Item #: stingdream_1908) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This killer copy boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sonic grades or BETTER on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Sting surrounded himself with legitimate jazz musicians and together they've created an album that gives you the loose, relaxed feel of jazz mixed with Sting's distinct pop sensibility
  • Exceptionally big, full-bodied and musical, with exceptional presence for the most important element of the recording, Sting's voice
  • 4 Stars: "Sting incorporated heavy elements of jazz, classical, and worldbeat into his music, writing lyrics that were literate and self-consciously meaningful... he proves that he's subtler and craftier than his peers."
See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Police
Ghost in the Machine

  (Item #: policghost_1910) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades or close to them on both side, this vintage pressing sounds rich, smooth and sweet
  • Some of the band's most sophisticated hits: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Invisible Sun, Spirits In The Material World, and more
  • Hugh Padgham took over engineering duties for Ghost and The Police's next album, resulting in a dramatic improvement in the quality of their recordings
  • "This album has more variety than the menu in a Bangkok brothel. In particular, Sting's voice has taken on a new depth and fresh maturity. The opening song, 'Spirits In The Material World', may have what sounds like a dumb title, but the song is a dream of close harmonies and nicely understated drums." Record Mirror
More Sting / Police


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Super Hot Stamper

The Police
Reggatta de Blanc

  (Item #: policregga_1907_10) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding pressing of the band's sophomore release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Tubey Magical smooth sound is key to the best copies, and this copy delivers, with the analog richness the music needs
  • Along with Ghost in the Machine, we think this album captures The Police at their songwriting and performing peak
  • "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 Sting / Police albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Police
Outlandos d’Amour

  (Item #: policoutla_1903_1908_) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding UK pressing, boasting excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • SO much better than any domestic pressing - here is the spaciousness, clarity and resolution that no American copy can offer
  • Until we discovered the right import pressings of this album we had no idea that it could sound remotely as good as it does here
  • Packed with hits - Roxanne, So Lonely, Can't Stand Losing You - and they are all rockin' like crazy
  • 4 1/2 stars: "...a set of strong, adrenaline-charged rock, albeit with a reggae tinge... unquestionably one of the finest debuts to come out of the '70s punk/new wave movement."
See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

John Coltrane
More Lasting Than Bronze

  (Item #: coltrmorel_1909) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This superb Prestige Two-Fer offer outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom
  • Compiled from two nearly complete Classic albums, Lush Life and Coltrane, this collection boasts masterful sound - thanks RVG!
  • Full-bodied, energetic, and tonally correct from top to bottom and, these pressings are guaranteed to bring Coltrane's music to life
  • "Rarely does a single performance uncover the essence of an artist with such aptness. The well-crafted melody is treated above all with dignity, which may be part of the reason it remains flawless."
See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock


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Billie Holiday - Songs for Distingue Lovers

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: holidsongs_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: B?

Probably a fairly good Classic Records jazz album.

Back in the day we noted that: "This is one of the best Billie Holiday records around" and we stand by that statement.

By the way, we have never had a Hot Stamper pressing of the album on the site because we simply cannot find enough clean copies with which to do a shootout!

For thirty bucks the price of this Heavy Vinyl pressing has to be seen as a bargain.

More Billie Holiday


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Holst - The Planets

Testing with Mars and Saturn

  (Item #: holstplane_emi_wtlf) 



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

Mars on the first side and Saturn on the second present serious challenges for any vinyl pressings you may own. Generally speaking, the White Hot copies tend to have a bit more top end extension, and/or more lower end weight. Let's get to the specifics of the two movements we feel are the best test for The Planets as a whole.

More of Gustav Holst's music


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Jellyfish's Bellybutton

Not a Perfect Recording, a Good One for Testing Though

  (Item #: jellybelly_test_2016) 



Now She Knows She's Wrong -- another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

I spent quite a few hours tuning up the stereo with side two of the album, specifically the song Now She Knows She's Wrong, with its glockenspiel, loudly clanging tubular bells and yelling chorus at the end.

It's exceedingly hard to get everything right at the same time: the energy, the deepest bass, the extension at the very top of the top end, the greatest transparency, just to mention a few of the main ones. There are always trade-offs, and being able to balance the trade-offs against the gains in these areas and others is a real test of your critical listening skills.

See more records that rank high up on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale


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Lincoln Mayorga & Distinguished Colleagues - Volume III

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mayorvolumeIII) 



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

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

See all of our Lincoln Mayorga albums in stock


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Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues (S9)

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mayor_volume_1_2010) 



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

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

More Direct to Disc recordings


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Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues

Implore You to Turn Up Your Volume

  (Item #: mayor_volume_1_loud) 



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

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

See all of our Direct to Disc recordings in stock


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Sting - Nothing Like The Sun

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: stingnothi_2018) 



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

Sting's killer double album from 1987 arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound for sides one and three and outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on sides two and four. The sound here is clearly bigger, richer, fuller, and livelier than any other contender in our recent shootout. Features phenomenal contributions from legendary musicians, including Andy Summers, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and Hiram Bullock.

See all of our Sting albums in stock


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Sting - Bring on the Night

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: stingbring_2014) 



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

Sting said to Bring On The Night and who were we to argue? The sound is super punchy and present throughout with tons of energy. The better copies like this one give you more transparency and separation between the various bandmembers. Many copies had a sterile / dry quality, but this one remains rich throughout with more analog warmth. It's not easy to find copies of this one with four great sides that play quietly.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Sting - Mercury Falling

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: stingmercu_2013) 



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

We had some brand new, long out of print Universal Heavy Vinyl pressings of this Sting title sitting on the shelf and decided that, since this was one of the better pressings they'd remastered, perhaps a shootout was in order for fans of Der Stingle.

Sure enough no side of any copy sounded the same as the side of any other copy, which just goes to prove that, regardless of how carefully you master and press your records, there will always be sonic variations from copy to copy --if your stereo is capable of revealing them.

See all of our Sting albums in stock


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Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: stingtensu_2019) 



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

I was selling new, import vinyl back when this record came out in 1993. Most new Pop and Rock albums were only released on CD and Cassette in America by then, so the only way to get a record like this on vinyl was to buy the import. The problem is that now, looking back, there wasn't enough demand on either side of the pond for the labels to produce more than a small run of vinyl. With supply having a hard time keeping up with demand, the price naturally goes up, up and away, typically around a hundred bucks for a copy of unknown and often dubious quality

I agree with the Allmusic writer that this is his best album.

See all of our Sting albums in stock


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Sting - The Dream Of The Blue Turtles

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: stingdream_2016) 



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

This album has long been a favorite among audiophiles and it's pretty easy to see why. What Sting does here with jazz music is very similar to what Paul Simon later did with African music on Graceland. Sting surrounded himself with legitimate jazz musicians and together they've created an album that gives you the loose, relaxed feel of jazz mixed with Sting's distinct pop sensibility. There are elements of worldbeat, reggae and soul here as well, but the album never feels disjointed; Sting managed to pull it all together to create a sound that is somehow unique and familiar at the same time.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Testing New Paradigms and Old

  (Item #: paradigms) 



It is our strongly held belief that if your equipment (regardless of cost) or your critical listening skills do not allow you to hear the kinds of sonic differences among pressings we describe, then whether you are just getting started in audio or are a self-identified audio expert writing for the most prestigious magazines and websites, you still have a very long way to go in this hobby.

Purveyors of the old paradigms -- original is better, money buys good sound -- may eventually find their approach to records and equipment unsatisfactory (when it isn't just plain wrong), but they will only do so if they start to rely more on empirical findings and less on convenient theories and received wisdom.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Rubber Soul


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The Police - Ghost in the Machine

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: policghost_2009) 



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

Ghost In The Machine is a VERY tough album to get to sound right, but this pressing absolutely NAILED IT on side one. I’m talking about A+++, As Good As It Gets, Master Tape Quality Sound -- and you Police fanatics are going to flip when you hear it. We’ve been scooping up copies with various stampers that have shown promise in the past, but unfortunately most of them we played did nothing for us.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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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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The Police - Reggatta de Blanc

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: policregga_2014) 



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

This A&M LP has PUNCHY LOW-END that really drives this rhythmically charged music! Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Stewart Copeland’s kick drum really come to life on this White Hot Stamper domestic pressing.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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The Police - Synchronicity

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: policsynch_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Synchronicity.

The choruses get LOUD and are so POWERFUL on the best copies they make a mockery of most of the pressings out there. This is a Big Speaker Record if ever there was one.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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The Police - Synchronicity

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: policsynch_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

WHITE HOT STAMPERS on side two! That gives you amazing sound for Every Breath You Take, King Of Pain, and Wrapped Around Your Finger! It’s been about a while since we last found Hot Stampers for this album, mostly because so many copies just plain suck. The sound on this one is meaty and punchy down low.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: policzenya_2016) 



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

The first White Hot copy to hit the site in almost TEN YEARS! And it's a monster, with both sides earning our Top Grade of Triple Plus (A+++). The sound is dramatically bigger, present and livelier than the average pressing.

See all of our Sting / Police albums in stock


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Whomp Factor on Little Queen

Testing Tips You Can Try at Home

  (Item #: heartlittl_wtlf) 



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

Heart's Little Queen has long been a favorite Test Disc. It works especially well as a test for something we here at Better Records like to call Whomp Factor -- the energy found at the low end of the frequency spectrum. Some call it slam, we prefer whomp.

More Little Queen


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Wire Testing

with Jethro Tull and His Friend Aqualung...

  (Item #: jethraqual_test_) 



... who seems to have a rather nasty bronchial condition...

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Like Heart's Little Queen album, Aqualung presents us with a Demo Disc / Test Disc that really puts a stereo through its paces, assuming it’s the kind of stereo that’s designed to play an album like Aqualung.

Not many audiophile systems I’ve run across over the years were capable of reproducing the Big Rock Sound this album requires, but perhaps you have one and would like to use the album to test some of your tweaks and components. I used it to show me how bad sounding some of the audiophile wire I was testing really was.

More Jethro Tull


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