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Duke Ellington - Masterpieces By Ellington

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: ellinmaste_2018) 



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

We've known about this wonderful album for decades, since first got hold of a red label copy from the '70s. Although not in the league with the best 6 eye pressings, even that late reissue had enough Columbia magic left in its grooves to impress the hell out of me.

And the fact that a jazz album recorded in 1950 was still in print more than twenty years later is testament to the lasting power of Ellington's music. As Kenny Burrell would say, "Ellington Is Forever."

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Eagles - Desperado

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: eagledespe_2010) 



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

This Original Asylum White Label Pressing has a STRONG A++ side one backed with a KILLER A+++ side two! It's been a couple of weeks since we finished our big shootout for this great album and I still can't get over how amazing this copy sounded. Most copies are too compressed to ever really come to life, but this one is big, bold and dynamic with lots of energy. The bottom end is positively killer on this one.

More Eagles' albums


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Eagles - Desperado

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: eagledespe_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series. This is the second-best sounding Eagles record of all time, no doubt thanks to the engineering of our man Glyn Johns. Of course, the best sound on an Eagles record is found on the first album. For whatever reason, that record was left off the TAS Super Disc list, even though we feel that both musically and sonically it beats this one by a bit.
More Desperado / More Eagles


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Eagles - Desperado

Which Pressing Sounds Better, the Brit SYL or Domestic Asylum?

  (Item #: eagledespe_vs) 



Short answer: They both do, or more accurately, they both can sound better than the other. It all depends on how many of each you have.

Harry Pearson famously listed the SYL pressing of this album on his TAS List of Super Discs, but most of them sure don’t sound that super to us! Play enough of them though, and if you’re lucky you just might find one like the one we did -- a lovely Brit Import SYL pressing that has SUPERB SOUND on BOTH SIDES!

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Eagles - Eagles

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: eagleeagle_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy or copies of The Eagles amazingly well recorded first album.

The Eagles first album is without a doubt Glyn Johns' masterpiece -- rock records just don't sound any better! It's exactly the kind of record that makes virtually ANY Audiophile Record pale in comparison. EVERYTHING you could ask for as an audiophile is all here and more.

More of the Eagles' first album


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Eagles - Eagles

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: eagleeagle_2011) 



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

A WHITE HOT side one that was so darn good, we had to break our own rules and give it FOUR BIG PLUSES -- A++++! This side one is a DEMO DISC like you will not believe. When the big chorus comes in on Take It Easy -- one of the toughest tests for side one -- you will be amazed by how energetic and downright GLORIOUS these boys can sound. Believe us when we tell you, it's the rare copy that can pass that test.

More of the Eagles' first album


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Eagles - On The Border

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: eagleonthe_2008) 



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

TWO STUNNING SIDES on this British SYL pressing. You Never Cry Like A Lover and The Best Of My Love have SUPERB Glyn Johns Demo Disc Sound. The LIFE and ENERGY of this copy are going to knock you out of your seat! Most copies left us with a headache, but this one had us begging for more!

More Eagles' albums


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Edmundo Ros - Latin Hits I Missed

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ros__latin_2011) 



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

It's unfortunate that Edmundo Ros and his orchestra command so little respect these days from the general record buying public. As for audiophiles, it's doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. We at Better Records are doing our best to change all that, continuing with this, the second Ros title we've managed to find with amazing sound and music since the first one went up in 2013. It's one of the liveliest, best sounding Phase 4 titles we have heard in quite a while. Stampers simply do not get much hotter than these.

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Edmundo Ros - Ros On Broadway

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: ros__onbro_2009) 



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

Edmundo Ros and his orchestra don't command much respect these days from the general record buying public. As for audiophiles, it's doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. But we at Better Records are going to change that, starting with this very record, because it's one of the best sounding records we have ever heard. Stampers just do not get any HOTTER than these!

From the perspective of a level playing field, I cannot think of a single rock record that sounds as BIG and DYNAMIC, nor one that is as spacious and clear, as is the side two of this London Blueback. As good as the best German pressings of Dark Side of the Moon may be, shockingly good in fact, this recording is clearly more exciting and lifelike, with instrumental timbres that are uncannily accurate.


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Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: electnewwo_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

As a result of Jeff Lynne's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production approach, it will be the rare copy that provides enough transparency and resolution to bring out all the elements in these incredibly dense mixes, strings included. But when you find a copy that does, what a THRILL it is. This is the band's MASTERPIECE in my humble opinion. For audiophiles ELO on LP doesn't get any better.

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Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: electnewwo_2008) 



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

Even though I am not the world's biggest ELO fan, I am a HUGE fan of this album, which is why I’m so happy to have finally found one with AMAZING SOUND, on both sides! The British originals are the only ones that can convey the sweet TUBEY MAGIC of the British Master Tapes. The string tone on the average domestic copy is shrill and smeary; too little of the critically important texture remains after the master tapes have been dubbed and the copies sent to America for mastering.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_brightly_2017) 



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

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

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

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Elton John - Madman Across The Water

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: john_madma_2016) 



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

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

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

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Elton John - Madman Across The Water

What To Listen For

  (Item #: john_madma_wtlf) 



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

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

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Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection

Elton's Masterpiece

  (Item #: john_tumbl_2012) 



The best copies of this album are so good they belong on the list of the Ten Best Sounding Rock Records of All Time, how about that!

This copy really delivers on the sound side — you get stunning immediacy, big-time presence, tons of depth to the soundfield, full-bodied vocals, amazing transparency, and BOATLOADS of Tubey Magic. Elton John fans, today is your lucky day. The vocals are full and present, with not a trace of the phony EQ that plagues the typical pressing. The entire mix is stunningly high-res, with no attendant sacrifice in richness or Tubey Magic.

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Elvis Presley - Elvis Is Back!

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: preslelvis_is_back_2015) 



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

What a great Elvis album. Fever is the killer jam on the first side and the material throughout is of very high quality.

Finding clean real Elvis records -- not those crappy compilations and vault-leftovers, but real Elvis albums from his golden period when he was the true King of Pop (sorry Michael) -- has never been a walk in the park. We do the best we can.

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Elvis Presley - Fun In Acapulco

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: preslfunin_2015) 



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

Finding clean real Elvis records -- not those crappy compilations and vault-leftovers, but real Elvis albums from his golden period when he was the true King of Pop (sorry Michael) -- has never been a walk in the park. We do the best we can.

Fortunately there are some reissues from the '60s and '70s that have the potential for excellent sound. This is clearly one of them. The originals we see are a lost cause; they're practically always scratched and full of groove damage. We'd be lucky to find a clean one every five or ten years nowadays.

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Elvis Presley - It Happened At The World's Fair

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: preslithap_2017) 



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

This pressing has the glorious sound of 1963 in its grooves. It has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.

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Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: eno__takin_listen) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

This album is all about sound, pure sound itself if you will: the sound of the instruments, their textures, and the textures of the soundscape Eno has created for them.

With the subtle harmonics of Eno's treated sounds captured onto vinyl intact, the magic of the experience far exceeds just another batch of catchy songs with clever arrangements. It truly becomes an immersive experience; sounds you've never heard in quite that way draw you into their world, each sound more interesting than the next.

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Eric Dolphy - Copenhagen Concert

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: dolphcopen_2010) 



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

Rarely have I heard a string bass sound better than it does here. The flute is equally gorgeous. They could record a live jazz concert this well in 1961? Apparently.

Although this is only our second Hot Stamper listing for the album, I've known about Dolphy's legendary Copenhagen Concert for close to thirty years. When an audiophile hears a bass clarinet reproduced the way it is on this record he is very unlikely to forget it.

Do the originals sound as good as these '70s pressings? Not a clue. Never ran into a clean one in my life.

See all of our Eric Dolphy albums in stock


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Esquivel and Other Vintage Recordings

What to Listen For

  (Item #: esquiinfin_2015) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your vintage '50s and '60s All Tube recordings.

Folks, I can tell you right now most original LSP pressings, of this or any other Living Stereo Popular title, do not begin to recreate the Studio Wizardry found on this album. The sound rivals the best Chet Atkins albums and Bob and Rays in all their delicious three-dimensional Cinerama staging.

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Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: fleetfleet_2012) 



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

In 2012 we noted that this WHITE HOT copy of Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled album has some of THE BEST SOUND WE HAD EVER HEARD, not only for this album, but for the band itself. As good as the best copies of Rumours are, they don’t really sound like this. Until we started doing these shootouts in about 2006 we had no idea this album was remotely this well recorded. There are layers and layers of subtle instrumental textures and recording effects throughout 1975's Fleetwood Mac that we had never even suspected were there. Then we played this copy.

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Fleetwood Mac - Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: fleetpeter_2014) 



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

We won't be surprised if you don't have this one in your collection. Let's face it, who in his right mind would keep throwing good money after bad, buying up one bad sounding copy after another in the hopes that someday one of them would sound good?

We would! Why shouldn't we? We get paid good money to do that kind of dirty work, and beyond the money, we get the THRILL of being the first to play these wonderful records, full of the music we love. (Not too many Hot Stamper shootouts get done for bands and albums we don't like. Who could get motivated enough to sit through copy after copy of some Audiophile Bullshit LP?)

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Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: fleetrumou_2010) 



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

White Hot Stampers for Rumours with UNBELIEVABLY GOOD SOUND (and quiet vinyl) FROM START TO FINISH! Folks, if you’re looking for a Demo Quality version of one of the most beloved pop albums of all time, this is the record for you! Side one was so darned good that we had to bust out the rare A++++ (Four Plus) grade, and side two is just about as amazing. It certainly ain’t a cheap record, but it’s beyond difficult to find copies of this classic with two sides that sound like this and play quietly.

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Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: fleetrumou_depth) 



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

The best copies exhibit the kind of presence, bass, dynamics and energy found only on the kind of Super Demo Discs we rave about here endlessly: the BS&Ts, Stardusts, Zumas and the like. When you get a good copy of this record, it is a Demo Disc. Who knew? Who even suspected? The grooves don't lie, and these grooves have a lot to say.

More Rumours / More Fleetwood Mac


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Frank Sinatra - Strangers In The Night

What to Listen For

  (Item #: sinatstran_wtlf) 



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

What to listen for you ask? The superb engineering of LEE HERSCHBERG and EDDIE BRACKETT! The sound is, in a word, luscious.

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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: zappahotra_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

One quality that the best copies always have, and the Classic reissue has none of, is Tubey Magic. The Classic is clean, and at first that seems like a neat trick since the originals tend to be a bit murky and congested. But it's clean like a CD is clean, in all the wrong ways. This is analog? You could've fooled me.

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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: zappahotra_2012) 



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

It takes us YEARS to find copies that sound like this. Bernie’s version for Classic beats a lot of copies out there, but it can’t hold a candle to this one!

I've been listening to Hot Rats since I was in high school. It's still remarkably fresh and original, even now. This is not music for the faint of heart. Audiophiles who prefer a steady diet of Patricia Barber and her like will find little of interest here. But for those of you who want to explore something completely original and a bit "out there," this should be right up your alley -- and be sure to check out Waka Jawaka too.

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Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: zappagrand_2015) 



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

The Tubey Magic found on the title cut is really something to hear. The Grand Wazoo now gets my vote as the best sounding record Zappa ever made (along with Absolutely Free).

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Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo

What to Listen For

  (Item #: zappagrand_wtlf) 



The Tubey Magical keyboards at the start of The Grand Wazoo are amazing sounding on the best copies. How Zappa ever decided to go digital when he managed to record so well in analog (from time to time, let's be honest) is beyond me.

Problems?

Smear on the horn transients are always an issue on this album (and Zappa's previous big band album, Waka/Jawaka). After that we would say a lack of top end is the other most common shortcoming we hear. To find a copy that's not dull and smeary is no mean feat.

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Frank Zappa - Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: zappawease_2013) 



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

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES! Nothing else in our shootout could touch this copy. The sound is incredibly BIG and BOLD throughout with shocking clarity, amazing presence, and wonderful transparency.

If you’re not already a Zappa fan, be warned that experimental song structures, feedback, dirty lyrics, avant garde jazz freakouts and gas mask solos (yes, you read that right) all figure into the mix here. I don’t know of anyone else who could shape that all into one amazing, fairly cohesive LP except for Zappa.

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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: genesatric_2014) 



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

GENESIS AT LAST! We've been trying to find Hot Stamper copies of this album for years, but it is BEYOND DIFFICULT to find copies of this album that sound great and play quietly. Here's an amazing Trick Of the Tail that absolutely blows the typical pressing out of the water!The sound is BIG, BOLD and OPEN, breaking free from the grainy and cloudly qualities that screw up the average copy.

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Gerry Mulligan - And His Concert Jazz Band On Tour

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: mulliandhi_2016) 



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

White Hot on side two, nearly White on side one, this live album is crazy good sounding on this copy. Huge space, size and clarity, with Tubey Magical richness befitting its 1960 recording dates. On the second track of side two the swingin' Zoot Sims is as immediate and real as any sax player can be.

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Gerry Rafferty - City To City

Our First White Hot Stamper - 2011

  (Item #: raffecityt_2011) 



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

The BEST SOUNDING City to City to EVER hit our site -- White Hot on side one backed with a nearly White Hot side two, which means that the chances of finding an overall better sounding copy than this are vanishingly small, even for us.

In addition, we are especially delighted to report that not only is the sound better than ever, the music is too. The album as a whole, unlike so much of what came out in 1978 (Do Ya Think I'm Sexy asks Rod Stewart, followed by stony silence) does not seem to have dated in the least, with the possible exception of the big hit Baker Street, which is arguably somewhat over the top...

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Gerry Rafferty - City To City

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: raffecityt_2012) 



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

This Gerry Rafferty White Hot Stamper LP has THE BEST SIDE ONE WE'VE EVER HEARD. So good in fact that we had to go above and beyond our usual top grade of three pluses and award this amazing copy a huge A++++! It's guaranteed to put to shame any UK import you may have. Since those are the only pressings with any hope of sounding good, it simply means that we are very confident in the sound of this copy.

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Gershwin / An American In Paris & Rhapsody In Blue / Bernstein

What To Listen For

  (Item #: gershrhaps_6091_wtlf) 



This original Six Eye LP has the smooth brass and full-bodied strings that allow this wonderful music to astound the listener.

Smooth and solid, not brash or blary, what really impressed about the sound here was how full it was, yet it was never thick or murky. Instead it was transparent in the lower mids and below, and that sound was just glorious after listening to too many thin and brash pressings. The piano is solid, rich, high-rez and very percussive -- there is no tubey Old School smear to be heard, and that too was a surprise.

More of the music of George Gershwin


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Gershwin / An American In Paris & Rhapsody In Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: gershrhaps_6091_2015) 



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

I’ve always loved these performances, but the shrill Columbia sound has been hard to get past. So many copies suffer from upper-midrangy, glary, hard sound and blary brass. I've come to accept that this is nothing more nor less than the "Columbia Sound," and as a consequence I rarely put much effort into surveying their prodigious catalog these days.

I won't say all that's changed; it really hasn't. The vast majority of Columbia classical pressings are still going to sound as awful as they have in the past.

More of the music of George Gershwin


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Gino Vannelli - Powerful People

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: vannepower_2014) 



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

This is some of the best sound we heard in our shootout, coming in right behind our winning sides. Few copies were as BIG and BOLD as this, and that is unquestionably our sound.

Overall this copy is far richer and fuller than most, and that's a big deal on Powerful People, an album which is almost always pure midrange -- no bottom, no top, just midrange. Until we did this shootout I wasn't sure we would ever find a copy with any real bass or top end. For that very reason we had more than once abandoned this project in past years.

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Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners

Greatest "Copy" Ever

  (Item #: nash_songs_2015) 



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

WHOA! We've paired up two FOUR PLUS sides to create this stunning 2-pack with mindblowing Demo Quality sound for the whole album. These A++++ sides will show you just how amazing it can sound: super full-bodied, rich, warm and natural.

Please note that we award this very special grade so rarely that we don't even have a graphic to represent it in our sonic grade box. The scale usually only goes to three pluses, but these two sides went up to four!

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Hall and Oates - Abandoned Luncheonette

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: hallaaband_2008) 



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

If you’re looking for a big production pop record that jumps out of your speakers, is full of TUBEY MAGIC, and has consistently good music, look no further. Until I picked up one of these nice originals, I had no idea how good this record could sound. For an early '70s multi-track pop recording this is about as good as it gets (AGAIG as we like to say). It's rich, sweet, open, natural, smooth most of the time -- in short, it's got all the stuff we audiophiles LOVE.

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Hall and Oates

Tubes Vs. Transistors

  (Item #: hallaaband_tubes) 



Hot Stamper pressings of this album have the sound of TUBES. I’m sure it was recorded with transistors, judging by the fact that it was made after most recording studios had abandoned that old technology, so how did they accomplish such a feat?
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Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

Jump into the Fire with Harry Nilsson

  (Item #: nilssschmi_wtlf) 



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

Jump Into The Fire is one of the best tests we used for side two. Copies that are too smooth make the "just bass and drums" intro sound thick and smeared. Too bright and the vocals will tear your head off. The "just right" copies rock from the start and never get too far out of control, even when Harry does. The best we can hope for is that the loudest vocal parts stay tolerable. Believe me, it is not that easy to find a copy that's listenable all the way through, not at the high volume I play the record at anyway!

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Henry Mancini - Charade

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mancichara_2013) 



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

This Living Stereo RCA LP has TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES, giving you a healthy dose of the Living Stereo Tubey Magic we love here at Better Records. As is usually the case with Mancini's records, some tracks sound far better than others. Charade is a particularly good sounding song on side two, with superb reproduction of both female and male voices, rich and sweet in the best tradition of RCA from the Golden Age. More good stuff on side two? Drop the needle on Latin Snowfall to hear exactly what I’m talking about.

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Henry Mancini - Our Man In Hollywood

Making More Progress in Audio

  (Item #: manciourma_vta) 



The story of our recent shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about.

In our previous listings we noted:

This is one of those odd records in which the variation in sound quality from track to track is dramatic. Take the first two tracks on side one -- they suck. They sound like your average LSP Mancini album, the kind I have suffered through far too many times. And that means bad bad bad.

See all of our Henry Mancini albums in stock


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Henry Mancini - Our Man In Hollywood

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: manciourma_2015) 



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

This Minty RCA Living Stereo LP (LSP 2604) has AMAZINGLY Three-Dimensional Tubey Magical Living Stereo Sound on on both sides. Most original LSP pressings, of this or any other LSP title, do not begin to recreate the Studio Wizardry found on this pressing. This wonderful recording rivals the best Chet Atkins and Bob and Rays in all their delicious Cinerama glory.

Thank Al Schmitt for delivering top quality sound on this all tube 1963 recording!

See all of our Henry Mancini albums in stock


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James Taylor - Sweet Baby James

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: taylosweet_depth) 



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

This White Hot Stamper is GUARANTEED to BLOW YOUR MIND, as James himself so famously sings on Steamroller here, and you can be sure that he never heard it sound any better on playback than it does here. This is truly Master Tape Sound -- transparent, present and Tubey Magical, the kind of sound that only the best pressings from the era can lay claim to. If you've got the stereo to play it, this record may become your new favorite Demo Disc. Yes, it's that good.

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James Taylor - Sweet Baby James

Our Shootout Winner for 2008

  (Item #: taylosweet_2008) 



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

It took three days, sixty seven copies, and multiple rounds, but SWEET BABY JAMES HOT STAMPERS ARE BACK! Both sides of this bad boy are DEMO QUALITY and ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. Add in the fact that the vinyl is unusually quiet, and you’ve got one heck of a copy here!

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

Do the Choruses of She Has Funny Cars Hold Up?

  (Item #: jeffesurre_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

Before we get into the sound of Surrealistic Pillow, I'd like to point out that Hot Stampers for this title -- and the shootouts that allow us to find them -- are becoming increasingly rare. I'd be surprised if we can even find enough clean copies to play once a year nowadays. As unfortunate as it may be it is nevertheless a reality. With clean Led Zeppelin RL pressings frequently commanding $1000 and up on ebay, you can be pretty sure we won't have many of those to sell you in the months and years to come either.

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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: jeffesurre_2009) 



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

An OFF THE CHARTS side one with more tubey magic than you probably ever imagined! We always have fun playing a great copy of the psychedelic ’60s masterpiece, because the sound gives you so many of the qualities we love about good ol’ analog. No one’s recording albums any more with this kind of richness, sweetness, and warmth, that’s for sure! Drop the needle on My Best Friend or Today to hear that trippy Sixties San Francisco sound at its best.

More Jefferson Airplane


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Jethro Tull - Stand Up

Notes from 2009

  (Item #: jethrstand_2009) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

Our last shootout for Stand Up was over a year ago, early in 2008. By some good fortune we have been able to find a number of fairly clean early British pressings, with both Pink and Sunray labels, as well as some very good sounding domestics. (Yes, they are out there. Few and far between and probably not the ones you would think to buy but out there nonetheless. Buy enough of them and clean them right and you will find some too.)

More Stand Up


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Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

Ruthless When It Comes to Accuracy

  (Item #: jethrthick_wtlf) 



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

From 2009 to 2010 this was our single go-to record for testing and tweaking the system.

Although we now use an amazing copy of Bob and Ray (the big band version of The Song of the Volga Boatmen located therein has to be the toughest test we know of bar none), we could easily go back to using TAAB. It's absolutely ruthless when it comes to the slightest hint of artificiality in the sound of the system.

More Thick As a Brick


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Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: hendrelect_2014) 



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.

Sides three and four of this bad boy are OFF THE CHARTS, earning our top grade of A+++. Side three manages to combine superb transparency and presence with rich Tubey Magic and a strong, rockin' low end -- not an easy balance to strike! The guitars here, obviously one of the main draws on a Hendrix album, sound phenomenal.

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Jimi Hendrix - Rainbow Bridge

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: hendrrainb_2009) 



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

THE NEW ALL-TIME CHAMPION FOR SIDE ONE! We played over a dozen copies this week, split evenly between domestics and Brit imports -- and this bad boy absolutely MURDERED the competition.

Drop the needle on Dolly Dagger or Pali Gap and prepare to be floored! You won’t believe the big-time presence, the mindblowing energy, or the massive WHOMP factor! This copy has the tightest bass we’ve ever heard for this album, plus an unbelievable amount of Tubey Magic.

More Jimi Hendrix


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Jimmy Dean - Everybody's Favorite

with Plenty of '60s Tubey Magic

  (Item #: dean_every_tubey_magic) 



Here is the kind of Tubey Magical richness records routinely offered in 1963. Don Law produced Everybody's Favorite down in Nashville so it's the real deal all right. If you liked our killer Marty Robbins' Hot Stampers you most likely will get a big kick out of this one too. A forgotten sound? Not at Better Records it isn't.

If you need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings, we have just the ticket. The records linked HERE are positively dripping with it.


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John Klemmer - Straight from the Heart

Listening for the Tubey Magic

  (Item #: klemmstrai_wtlf) 



The best copies give you dynamics and immediacy like you have rarely heard outside of the live event. Hell, this record IS live; it's live in the studio. It's a direct to disc recording, what else could it be?

There is simply nothing in the way of the music. If you have the system for it, you can recreate the live sound of this session in a way that few other recordings would ever allow you to do.

This copy had one quality not heard on most of the others: Tubey Magic. The sound is rich and full-bodied, practically free of grit and grain - this is the kind of sound one hears occassionally on the best tube equipment and practically nowhere else. Of course this is an all-transistor affair, but tubey sound is what ended up on the record, so go figure.

More John Klemmer


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John Klemmer - Straight from the Heart

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: klemmstrai_2010) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Nautilus Direct-to-Disc recording is an AMAZING Demo Disc, and what’s more, it’s actually REAL JAZZ -- a remarkably unusual combination in the Audiophile World, in my experience anyway. This copy takes the sound of this recording -- and the music along with it -- to another level. YOU WON'T BELIEVE how good this record sounds.

More John Klemmer


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Johnny Hartman - I Just Dropped By To Say Hello

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: hartmijust_2013) 



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

Folks, the best Stereo Impulse pressings are so Tubey Magical, RICH yet CLEAR, and above all shockingly natural, I defy you to find a Male Vocal record produced in the last thirty years that can hold a candle to it (outside of the Coltrane-Hartman record from the year before of course).

The Bennett-Evans record we love so much here at Better Records would qualify as a contender, but that album was recorded in 1975. And it doesn't have half the Tubey Magic this Hartman album from 1963 does.

More Johnny Hartman


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Johnny Mathis - Heavenly

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: mathiheave_2017) 



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

This copy had all the Tubey Magical richness of the best coupled with the hardest thing to find on an old Columbia record: top end extension. Natural vocal reproduction is the sine qua non of a Johnny Mathis album - this pressing showed us just how good Columbia was back in 1959.

More Johnny Mathis


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Joni Mitchell - For The Roses

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchforth_2011) 



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

This is probably the most underrated Joni Mitchell album, both in terms of sonics and music. It seems that everyone wants a great copy of Blue or Court And Spark, but this album ranks right up there with them and does not deserve to be overlooked.

More Joni Mitchell


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Judy Collins - Wildflowers

1967 Elektra Tape Vs Vinyl - Where's the Tubey Magic?

  (Item #: colliwildf_wtlf) 



We were surprised that so few copies had the Tubey Magical qualities that we've come to expect from Elektra in 1967. The label was home to two very well-recorded (by none other than Bruce Botnick) bands at the time, The Doors and Love. What happened here? John Haeny, the engineer, worked on Waiting for the Sun, which is an amazing sounding Doors album on the right pressing. Why so few great sounding Wildflowers?
More Judy Collins


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Julie London - Julie

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: londojulie_2016) 



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

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

More Julie London


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

What a Record!

  (Item #: londojulie_is_2016) 



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

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

More Julie London


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

What to Listen For

  (Item #: londojulie_is_wtlf) 



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

On side one listen to how rich the bottom end is on Barney Kessel's guitar. The Tubey Magic on this side is off the charts. Some copies can be dry, but that is clearly not a problem on this one. The naturalness of the presentation puts this album right at the top of best sounding female vocal albums of all time.

More Julie London


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Julie London - Lonely Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: londolonel_2017) 



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

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

More Julie London


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June Christy - Gone For The Day

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: chrisgonef_2010) 



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

Side two of this White Hot Stamper June Christy record on the original Capitol Turquoise label is AMAZING, both musically and sonically. It has all the TUBEY MAGIC we know these old records are famous for, but this copy gives you something you may never have heard on a vintage pressing before: real frequency EXTENSION, both high and low. Who knew an old record could have extended highs like these and such deep bass?

I can honestly say I have never heard any June Christy record sound as good as this copy does.

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June Christy - The Misty Miss Christy

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: chrismisty_2006) 



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

This very nice looking Capitol LP has SUPERB SOUND. It’s RICH, SWEET and full of TUBEY MAGIC. It could use a bit more top end but other than that it’s hard to imagine June sounding much better than she does here.

More June Christy


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King Crimson - Lizard

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: kingclizar_2018) 



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

  • Incredible sound throughout with both sides of this copy winning our recent shootout and in the process earning our top grade of Triple Plus (A+++). Every bit the sonic equal of the first album, if you colorful Big Production Jazzy Prog Rock (with mellotron!) is your thing you can't go wrong here.
    More King Crimson


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  • Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

    Classic Records Debunked

      (Item #: ledzehouse_classic_records) 



    Sonic Grade: F

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

    We can describe the sound in two words: ridiculously bright. Honestly, what more need be said?

    Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings for comparison purposes. After all, these Classic LPs are what many -- perhaps most -- audiophiles consider superior to other pressings.

    More Houses of the Holy


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    Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

    Listening in Depth

      (Item #: ledzehouse_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 Led Zeppelin's momentous 1973 release, Houses of the Holy.

    You really get an understanding of just how much of a production genius Jimmy Page was when you listen to a copy of Houses with the kind of resolution and transparency found on our best copies. To take just one example, just listen to how clearly the multi-tracked guitars can be heard in the different layers and areas of the soundstage. On some songs you will have no trouble picking out three, four and even more guitars playing, each with its own unique character.

    More Houses of the Holy


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    Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

    Our 4 Plus Shootout Winner from 2010

      (Item #: ledzehouse_2010) 



    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.

    A TRULY STUNNING COPY of this classic album! Both sides here are rich, warm and full-bodied with tons of energy and presence. It just doesn't get much better than this, folks! We gave side two a Four Plus grade -- note that we don't even have a graphic for that! -- and side one was also very strong.

    More Houses of the Holy


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    Led Zeppelin - III

    Our Shootout Winner from 2008

      (Item #: ledze3_2008) 



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

    It is INCREDIBLY difficult to find knockout copies of Zep III -- of the dozen-plus copies we auditioned, this British Import Plum & Orange pressing was the only one with two superb sides, with an AGAIG A+++ side two and a side one that's just half a step behind at A++ - A+++. Folks, when I tell you that it is no mean feat to find a decent copy of this album, I am not joking around.

    More Led Zeppelin


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    Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I

    Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: ledze1_2014) 



    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.

    It's hard to imagine any copy beating this one! The vinyl is Mint Minus throughout, and the sound is INSANELY GOOD! The chances of finding these surfaces with this sound -- we'll let you do the math. If you're a fan of this album - and who isn't - this is the copy you want. Side one blew our minds and earned a grade of A++++!

    More Led Zeppelin 1


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    Led Zeppelin III

    Proof that Jimmy Page Was a Brilliant Producer

      (Item #: ledze3_page) 



    The startling resolution and transparency found on the best copies of Zep III let you hear every element in the huge soundfield that Jimmy Page designed for his recordings. They allow you to appreciate every carefully placed instrument and the remarkable sonic detail to be discovered as each track unfolds.

    The size, space, energy and clarity of the hottest Hot Stamper copies are surely what make possible a more profound appreciation of the singular effort that went into these recordings. Along with the kind of Master Tape Sound found on the best pressings comes a deeper appreciation of the remarkable skills of one of rock's true production geniuses, Jimmy Page.

    More Led Zeppelin


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    Lena Horne & Gabor Szabo - Lena & Gabor

    Now That's a Good Sounding Drum Kit!

      (Item #: hornelenaa_wtlf) 



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

    This is the most realistic drum kit I have heard on a non-jazz album in my life. The drum sound on the first track is exactly the sound we all know from hanging around small clubs and our friends' garage bands. There is simply no audible processing on any part of the kit. The drums are centered behind the vocals and lead instruments, with what sounds like to me the barest of miking, surrounded by just the right amount of unbaffled studio space.

    See all of our Gabor Szabo albums in stock


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    Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story (Broadway Cast)

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: bernswests_broadway_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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    Liszt, Khatchaturian et al. / Fiedler / BPO

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: lisztliebe_2546_2015) 



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

    Breathtaking 1961 Living Stereo sound on side two - huge, open and Tubey Magical as all get out. Living Stereo Hot Stampers mean the hall is huge, the strings rich and sweetly textured. Vaughan Williams' arrangement of Fantasia On "Greensleeves" is especially lovely here. Fiedler and his Boston Pops play these 8 shorter pieces with great gusto and skill.

    See more recordings conducted by Arthur Fiedler


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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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    Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington - The Great Reunion (1963)

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: armstgreat_2017) 



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

    With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this original stereo copy simply could not be beat. So big, so rich, so Tubey Magical, we guarantee you have never heard Louis Armstrong sound remotely as good as he does here. We remember the Classic pressing as being a very good sounding record, but make no mistake, this is a GREAT sounding one.

    More Louis Armstrong / More Duke Ellington


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    Love - Love

    Our Shootout Winner from 2008

      (Item #: love_love_2008) 



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

    You'd never know it from those dull Sundazed reissues, but the right pressings of Love's albums are full of Tubey Magic! With Bruce Botnick at the controls you can expect a meaty bottom end and BIG rock sound, and this recording really delivers on both counts, and this copy captures all of the magic. Big speaker guys (like yours truly) are going to get a LOT out of this copy.

    More Love


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    Luiz Bonfa - Softly...

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: bonfasoftl_2017) 



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

    There is a wonderful array of percussion on this record, so the top end of any pressing should ideally be extended, clear and sweet. Some pressings of Softly... have no real top end, which is the reason we have to do shootouts -- to find the copies that are actually mastered and pressed right, not just the ones that should have been because they have the right stampers or are on the right label.

    On this record there's plenty of information above 12K I would guess -- all those delicate percussion instruments ring so sweetly, the highs have to be extending way up there.

    See more recordings with especially Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars


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    Martin Denny - A Taste of Honey

    Our Shootout Winner from 2010

      (Item #: dennyatast_2010) 



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

    This early stereo Liberty label pressing has BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. This is not just another exercise in Bachelor Pad Exotica; there is some fun, swingin' jazz here. The pianist -- whoever he is, he's uncredited along with the rest of the band -- has real jazz chops and sympathetic sidemen to play with.

    The music is indeed excellent but the real thrill of course is to hear the richness and sweetness of a 1962 Tubey Magical pressing such as this one. Folks, as you well know, they don't make 'em like they used to.

    More Martin Denny


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    Martin Denny - Exotic Percussion

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: dennyexoti_2011) 



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

    This Liberty stereo LP has A++ DEMO DISC SOUND on side one, mated to a pretty darn good side two. The sound is very three-dimensional and has a wonderfully extended top end on this copy. The music just JUMPS out of the speakers. Soundstaging and depth are both superb.

    Side two is not quite as open and transparent as side one but we still rate it an A+ for sound; it's far far better than the average copy of this record you can find, if you can find a clean one at all. Fans of TUBEY MAGIC, Golden Age Exotica or Bang, Baa-room & Harp should find much to like here.

    More Martin Denny


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    Martin Denny - Exotica

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: dennyexotica_2011) 



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

    This second label very quiet Liberty Stereo LP has at least Super Hot Stamper EXOTIC SOUND on both sides, with a side two that may be White Hot. It's hard to know for sure whether side two can get any better than this -- it's pretty darn amazing, some of the most Magically Delicious sound we played in our recent shootout.

    Recorded in 1958, you can imagine there is a healthy amount of Tubey Magical richness and sweetness, although this second label copy seems to be cut a bit more cleanly and correctly than some of the first label Denny records we auditioned. The tonality is dead on the money, a quality that the most tubey recordings rarely exhibit; they can easily get overly lush and appear murky.


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    Martin Denny - Exotica: Vol. 2

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: dennyexoti_2014) 



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

    This Liberty '60s Label Stereo LP has Hot Stamper EXOTIC SOUND on both sides. The cover says it's The Ultimate in Transistorized Stereophonic Hi-Fidelity Sound, but I hear an awful lot of Tubey Magical richness and sweetness. The tonality is actually right on the money, a quality that the heavily tubey recordings rarely exhibit: they can easily get overly lush and turn murky.

    More Exotica


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    Martin Denny - Forbidden Island

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: dennyforbi_fame) 



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

    This original looking Liberty Black Label Stereo LP has White Hot Stamper WONDERFULLY EXOTIC SOUND. This copy is so super spacious and sweet it's positively dripping with ambience. It’s EXACTLY the kind of sound you expect from Denny and his Island bandmates.

    More Martin Denny


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    Martin Denny - Primitiva

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: dennyprimi_1111_1) 



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

    This original looking and fairly quiet Liberty Black Label Stereo LP has Super Hot Stamper EXOTIC SOUND on both sides. The cover says it's The Ultimate in Transistorized Stereophonic Hi-Fidelity Sound, but I hear an awful lot of Tubey Magical richness and sweetness -- maybe not quite as much as some of the best early Denny recordings, but plenty nevertheless. The tonality is actually dead on the money, a quality that the most tubey recordings rarely exhibit; they can easily get overly lush and turn murky.

    More Martin Denny


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    Martin Denny - Quiet Village

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009

      (Item #: dennyquiet_2010) 



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

    This Superb sounding Hot Stamper copy of Quiet Village has a lot in common with the other Bachelor Pad / Exotica titles we've listed over the years, albums by the likes of Esquivel, Dick Schory, Edmundo Ros, Arthur Lyman and others.

    But c'mon, nobody really buys these records for the music (although the music is thoroughly enchanting). It's all about the Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation, the wacky 3-D sound effects (of real birds and otherwise) and the heavily percussive arrangements. In all of these areas and more this record does not disappoint.

    More Martin Denny


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    Martin Denny - The Versatile Martin Denny

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009

      (Item #: dennyversa_2009) 



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

    This early stereo Liberty label pressing has BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. This is not just another exercise in Bachelor Pad Exotica; there is some fun, swingin' jazz here. Martin Denny on piano has real jazz chops and sympathetic sidemen to play with.

    More Martin Denny


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    Marty Robbins - Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: robbigunfi_2014) 



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

    TWO SUPERB TRIPLE PLUS SIDES, with the kind of '50's Tubey Magical Analog Sound that's been lost to the world of recorded music for decades -- decades I tell you! Nobody can manage to get a recording to sound like this anymore and it seems as if no one can even remaster a recording like this anymore, if our direct experience with scores of such albums counts as any sort of evidence.

    More Marty Robbins


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    Marty Robbins - Hawaii's Calling Me

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: robbihawai_2015) 



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

    Hearing this kind of Tubey Magical, tonally correct, rich, sweet, spacious sound is nothing less than a THRILL. The Analog sound of this pressing makes a mockery of even the most advanced digital playback systems, including the ones that haven't been invented yet. I'd love to play this for Neil Young so he can see what he's up against. Good Luck, Neil, you're going to need it.

    More Marty Robbins


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    Mastering I Left My Heart In San Francisco

    Tubes, Sure, But Are They Any Good?

      (Item #: benneileft_reissues) 



    We played a few decent sounding reissues from the '70s that may eventually make it to the site. Again and again my notes made it clear that those pressings could have used more tubes in the mastering chain.

    On this record, like so many others you may have read about on the site, the right amount of TUBEY MAGIC -- and by that we mean a very healthy amount -- makes all the difference. Now keep in mind that we are talking about 1962 tubes, not the stuff that engineers are using today to make "tube-mastered" records. Modern pressings barely hint at the Tubey Magical sound of a record like this, if our experience with hundreds of them serves as a guide.

    More Tony Bennett


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    Michael Jackson - Off The Wall

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: jacksoffth_2016) 



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

    ABSOLUTELY STUNNING SOUND for this White Hot Stamper pressing!

    Side two cannot be beat, and side one is not far behind. Both have the BIG M.J. SOUND that jumps from the speakers and fills the room. We've never a copy that was so full of ANALOG MAGIC!

    More Off the Wall


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    Michael Jackson's Off The Wall Vs. Thriller

    Which Album Has the Real Tubey Magic?

      (Item #: jacksoffth_wtlf) 



    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.

    Off the Wall has better sound than Thriller you say?

    Yes. As consistently brilliant as Thriller may be musically -- it is the biggest selling album of all time after all -- speaking strictly in terms of sonics the best copies of Off the Wall are substantially sweeter, tubier, more natural, richer, and more ANALOG than Thriller.

    See all of our Michael Jackson albums in stock


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    Miles Davis - In A Silent Way

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: davisinasi_2016) 



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

    Sit down with this record, draw the blinds, and you’ll hear why AMG gave it 5 Stars. Perhaps it’s the extended solos from John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock Wayne Shorter, and Davis himself. Perhaps it’s the slippery, spiraling nature of these signature jazz fusion epic pieces. Perhaps it’s the grooves that Tony Williams and Dave Holland spin, slowly at first, building later in each of the LP’s mesmerizing tracks.

    See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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    Morton Gould and His Orchestra - Love Walked In

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: gouldlovew_2011) 



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

    This Super Hot Stamper (or better!) Living Stereo Shaded Dog pressing has SUPERB TUBEY MAGICAL Golden Age sound the likes of which you will not believe. (If you've bought some of our best Hot Stamper Living Stereo recordings then you will have no trouble believing it I'm sure.)

    Side two displays some of the richest, most three-dimensional orchestral sound we have heard in quite some time. The fifth track is especially notable for a pizzicato arrangement that makes it a DEMO DISC track to beat them all. Plucked strings simply do not sound any better!

    See more of our most Tubey Magical recordings


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    Nat "King" Cole - Love Is The Thing

    The Breatkthrough We Were Waiting For

      (Item #: cole_lovei_2016) 



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

    Love Is The Thing has long been one of the best sounding Nat "King" Cole recordings we had auditioned over the years. With a large variety of copies to play, including some interesting "finds" among them, we now know it actually is The Best. We have never heard the man sound better than he does on the hottest copies of this very album.

    More Nat "King" Cole


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    Nat King Cole - The Very Thought Of You

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: cole_veryt_2016) 



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

    The presence and immediacy here of Nat King Cole's vocals are '50s Capitol Recording Magic at its best. Set the volume right and Nat is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. The selection of material and the contributions of all involved are hard to fault.

    More Nat "King" Cole / More Albums Arranged by Gordon Jenkins


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    Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

    An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

      (Item #: youngafter_2011) 



    This amazing copy of AFTER THE GOLD RUSH is a member of our Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

    It's an album we admit to being just a bit obsessed with. We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands -- maybe a bit too much time on your hands -- please feel free to check out our commentaries.

    This link will take you to all of our other NEIL YOUNG albums.


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    Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

    Listening in Depth

      (Item #: youngafter_depth) 



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

    Folks, a Hot Stamper collection of the Greatest Records of All Time would not be complete without a knockout copy of After the Gold Rush. That’s why it's been a Better Records All Time Top Ten Rock Title right from the start. We built our reputation on finding Demo Disc Quality recordings like this. Who else can offer you a copy of the album that delivers this kind of ANALOG MAGIC?

    More After the Gold Rush


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    Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

    We Loved This Copy So Much in 2005 We Asked $200 for It

      (Item #: youngafter_2005_) 



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

    This is the story of how we discovered our very first killer copy of After the Gold Rush. What a thrill it was to finally hear the album sound so amazing, this after hearing so many mediocre copies over the years. It's records like this that made us eventually put 100% of our resources into finding records that sound like this one -- or better!

    This is the way we heard After the Gold Rush in 2005. Embarrassingly, we liked it so much we compared it to the best DCC records we were selling back then, ouch!

    More After the Gold Rush


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