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The Everly Brothers - The Golden Hits of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: everlgolde_2018) 



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

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

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The Everly Brothers - The Very Best of the Everly Brothers

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: everlveryb_2014) 



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

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

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

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The Faces - Long Player

Their Best Sounding Album - Best Music Too

  (Item #: faceslongp_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.

We knew this album could sound good, but back in the day we sure didn't know it could sound like this. The best pressings of this album have amazing live-in-the-studio sound that conveys completely the raw power of one of the hardest rockin' bands of all time.

Both musically and sonically I don't think the group ever recorded a better album than this one.

More Rod Stewart and the Faces


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The Fleetwood Mac You Don't Know

The Self-Titled First Album & English Rose

  (Item #: fleetblack_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame and a Forgotten Classic from 1971.

You just can't write better songs than Love That Burns or Black Magic Woman, both of which can be found here. And Albatross, the mellow instrumental that closes out side four, was a Number One hit in the UK in 1969, can you believe it? It was backed on some releases by Need Your Love So Bad, another one of our all time favorite Fleetwood Mac songs. The band was on fire back when Peter Green was at the helm. These two LPs are proof enough.

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The Grateful Dead - American Beauty

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: grateameri_2009) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND MOSTLY QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES, BABY! We went through all of 2008 without finding a single Hot Stamper copy of this great album, but today I am pleased to report that American Beauty Hot Stampers are back in stock at Better Records! Drop the needle on any track on either side -- I guarantee you’ve never heard this band sound so good, or your money back.

More Grateful Dead / More Hippie Folk Rock


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The Hi-Lo's - All Over The Place

Reviewed in 2014

  (Item #: hilosallov_2014) 



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

Side two is nearly White Hot, with rich, natural vocal reproduction. This is the glorious sound of Columbia's All Tube chain in 1960. Marty Paich (the genius) is back conducting the orchestra for this set of standards.

More Popular Vocals


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The Hi-Lo’s - And All That Jazz

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: hilosandal_2012) 



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

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

More Pop & Jazz Vocal LPs


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The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: moodydayso_2011) 



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

WOW -- two stunning Triple Plus sides and quiet vinyl throughout for what is probably the definitive Moody Blues album! It's the first album to showcase their signature mixture of classical music and psychedelic rock. It is TOUGH to find copies of this album that sound correct and play quietly, but both sides here really get it right.

The orchestral passages for the first time actually sound CORRECT, with the kind of textured strings, airy woodwinds and three-dimensional soundstaging you would hear on a real classical recording from the era, can you believe it? Playing this copy you can!

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The Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: moodyinsea_2009) 



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

This Minty early Deram British Import LP has SOME OF BEST SOUND I HAVE EVER HEARD for this album. It has higher resolution, is more dynamic, sweeter and clearer than most copies, WITHOUT SACRIFICING the tubey-magical richness, warmth and lushness for which the Moody Blues recordings are justifiably famous. I’ll tell you this -- this pressing is correct from top to bottom, so present and alive, while still retaining all the richness and sweetness we expect from British Moody Blues records, that I find it hard to believe you can do any better, in this life anyway.

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The Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: moodyinsea_listen) 



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.

Achieving just the right balance of Tubey Magical, rich but not too rich "Moody Blues Sound" and transparency is no mean feat. You had better be using the real master tape for starters. Then you need a pressing with actual extension at the top, a quality rarely found on most imports. Finally, good bass definition is essential; it keeps the bottom end from blurring the midrange.

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The Moody Blues - On The Threshold Of A Dream

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: moodyonthe_2011) 



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

ONE OF THE BEST SIDE ONES WE’VE EVER HEARD! A pressing like this brings all the psychedelic Moody Blues magic to life in your living room. The richness, sweetness, and warmth on this one give you exactly the sound you want for this wild music.

You get LOVELY TUBEY MAGIC and SUPERB CLARITY on this Deram British Import LP! The sound is cleaner, clearer, richer, sweeter, and more present that you could have imagined in your wildest dreams!

More Moody Blues


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The Not So "Golden Age" of RCA, Mercury, London and more

  (Item #: rca_golden_age) 



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

We ran into a number of copies of this title that had what we like to call that "Old Record" sound, which is surprisingly common on even the most revered Golden Age labels, RCA included.

No top, no real bottom, congested climaxes and an overall shrillness to the sound -- we've played Living Stereos by the dozens that have these shortcomings and many more. Some audiophiles may be impressed by the average Shaded Dog pressing, but I can assure you that we here at Better Records are decidedly not of that persuasion. Something in the range of ten to fifteen per cent of the major label Golden Age recordings we play will eventually make it to the site. The vast majority just don't sound all that good to us.


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The Pentangle - The Pentangle

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: pentapentangle_2016) 



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

This is an honest-to-goodness Demo Disc. When for a (thankfully) brief time back in the '70s I was selling audio equipment, the song "Pentangling" was a favorite demo cut to play in the store. The sound of the string bass and snare drum are amazingly natural; I don't know of any other pop album from the era that presents the vibrant timbre of those two instruments better.

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The Rolling Stones - Aftermath

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: rolliafter_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

Lady Jane, Under My Thumb and Mother's Little Helper are three of the best sounding tracks on side one -- all three are lively and solid here. On side two Out of Time and I Am Waiting are especially well recorded.

DAVE HASSINGER rightly deserves the credit for the best sounding early Stones album -- this one.

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The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: rolliletit_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.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I've mentioned how good this song sounds -- thanks to Glyn Johns, of course -- but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. It's also our favorite test track for side one. The first minute or so clues you into to everything that's happening in the sound.

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The Supremes - Sing Rodgers and Hart

This Is a Motown Record?

  (Item #: supresingr_2015) 



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

What an amazing find! You could have knocked me over with a feather when this record started playing. Where was the awful Motown bright, gritty, distorted sound I'd been suffering through all my life? Certainly not on this copy.

The Tubey Magical richness is off the charts on this side one, with a healthy but not quiet equal dose on side two (hence the grade). As everyone knows by now (everyone who comes to our site at least), not every copy has the magic. Having access to a big pile of pressings is the only way to figure out just how much magic the grooves can contain.

More Popular Vocal recordings


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The Who - Quadrophenia

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: who__quadr_2012) 



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.

This may be the best sounding copy to ever hit the site - White Hot on 3 sides, and nearly White on the 4th! The sound is so BIG, rich, and powerful it will surely make you rethink the recording itself. When the sound is this immersive your experience of the music becomes breathtakingly REAL. One of the True Must Own Classics by the band.

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The Who - Quadrophenia

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: who__quadr_rocks) 



What do you hear on the best Hot Stampers of Quadrophenia?

The sine qua non of rock records is that they rock. The rock records that earn the highest grades here at Better Records are usually the ones that have the most energy and power. Transparency, Presence, Clarity, Tubey Magic, Sweetness and other favorites of the audiophile community are very important qualities in a record, but all of them pale in comparison to raw power when it comes to rock and roll.

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The Who - Quadrophenia

What to Listen For

  (Item #: who__quadr_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.

On the best copies the energy factor is OFF THE CHARTS. The highs are silky sweet, the bottom end is meaty, the drums are punchy and the vocals are present and tonally correct. The piano has real weight, the synths float breathily in the air, and there's wonderful three-dimensional depth to the soundfield.

See all of our Who albums in stock


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The Who - Tommy

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: who__tommy_2008) 



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

This British Track Black Label pressing DEMOLISHED our expectations for this album. I don’t think I’ve ever heard The Who sound this good.

Three out of four sides rate our top grade of A+++, and side three ain't far behind at A++. What do such high grades give you for this album? Tubey magical guitars, silky vocals with lots of texture, unbelievable weight to the bottom end, "you are there" immediacy, BIG drums sound, OFF THE CHARTS rock and roll energy, and shocking clarity and transparency.

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Thinking About the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars

of Bread and Cat Stevens

  (Item #: breadmanna_thoughts) 



In many ways this recording is state-of-the-art. Listening to the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars on the best copies brings back memories of my first encounter with an original Pink Label Tea for the Tillerman. Rich, sweet, full-bodied, effortlessly dynamic-- that sound knocked me out twenty-odd years ago, and here it is again.

Of course I've always been a sucker for this kind of well-crafted pop. If you are too then a Hot Stamper copy of Manna will no doubt become a treasured demo disc in your home as well.

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Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: benneileft_2015) 



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

Everything that's good about All Tube Vocal Recordings from the '50s and '60s is precisely what's good about the sound of this record.

The huge studio the music was recorded in is captured faithfully here. The height, width and depth of the staging here are extraordinary. We are not big soundstage guys here at Better Records, but we can't deny the appeal of the space to be found on a record as good as this.

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Tony Mottola - Warm, Wild and Wonderful

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mottowarmw_2015) 



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

This is clearly one of the best sounding guitar records we've ever had the pleasure to play here at Better Records. Project 3 was an audiophile label in the truest and best sense of the word: a label that not only cared about the sound of their recordings, but actually proved they could produce title after title of the highest quality, equal or superior to anything on the market.

This of course places them in stark contrast with the audiophile labels of the modern era, the last forty years say, which only on rare occasion produce records of any real quality.

More Exotica


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Traffic - Best Of Traffic

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: traffbesto_2011) 



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

This Island British Pink Label pressing has SOME OF THE BEST TRAFFIC SOUND YOU'LL EVER HEAR! We've been flipping out over Hot Stamper copies of this greatest hits comp for ages for a very simple, yet likely shocking, reason -- the sound on the best copies can be BETTER than the best original pressings! How can that be you ask, dumbfounded by the sheer ridiculousness of such a statement? Well, dear reader, I'll tell you. Follow me over the jump to find out.

More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die

Listen for Winwood's Left Hand

  (Item #: traffjohnb_wtlf_2015) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For.

We learned something new a few years back about John Barleycorn while playing an especially TRANSPARENT copy. This pressing made it clear -- really, for the first time -- exactly what Winwood was doing with his left hand on the piano during the song Glad.

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Traffic - Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: traffshoot_2015) 



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

Import versus domestic? You would be hard pressed to find better sound than on the best of these DOMESTIC pressings, and that includes Low Spark of High Heeled Boys!

We just finished a huge shootout for this album and didn't find a copy that could hold a candle to this one in the huge stack we played. This may not be the best Traffic album ever, but on a copy that sounds this good it's very enjoyable and certainly an impressive sonic spectacular.

See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Traffic - The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: trafflowsp_2008) 



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

HOLY COW! Side one of this British Island Sunray pressing BLEW THE DOORS off the competition in our big shootout. It took the music to an entirely new level for us, so we awarded it the very rare grade of A++++ -- that’s four pluses, my man!

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Various Artists - Destination Stereo

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: variodesti_2015) 



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

Side one is White Hot, with some of the best 1959 Living Stereo we've ever heard. Explosive dynamics, HUGE space and size, with unerringly correct tonality, this is a Demo Disc like no other. When "in -the-know" audiophiles discuss soundstaging and depth, they had better be talking about a record that sounds like this. Shockingly real - proof positive that the cutting systems of the day are capable of much better sound than we normally assume.

More Living Stereo


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Vince Guaraldi - Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus

Keeping the Players Together

  (Item #: guarajazzi_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises, here discussing the importance of transparency, ambience and resolution.

The arrangement of the players is straightforward, with the bass hard left, drums hard right (with leakage well to the left on the cymbals, but that's another story), and Guaraldi on piano in the center. (The first track of side two reverses this arrangement; why I have no idea.)

Here's the crazy thing about this recording: The best copies really connect up the space each of the players is in. I heard it during the shootout, and I can't recall if it actually happened more than once or twice, but I know I heard it. They are all live, they are all on the same soundstage, but on most copies you would hardly know it.

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What We Listen For

Timbre, Richness, Tubey Magic and Freedom from Artificiality

  (Item #: kessebarne_listen) 



This Home Audio Exercise entry was inspired by the wonderful qualities of the Contemporary recording you see pictured, qualities brought to our attention while doing a shootout of various pressings of the album in early 2009.

We addressed a number of issues in our commentary: first and foremost what we were listening for on the album (and what we were hearing). A bit of mono versus stereo (in this case both can be good). This is followed by some Audiophile Equipment bashing.

More Contemporary jazz


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Which Album by The Who Has the Best Sound?

We Think It's Tommy

  (Item #: who__tommy_sounds_best) 



I don't know of another Who album with such consistently good sound -- song to song, not copy to copy, of course. Just about every song on here can sound wonderful on the right pressing. If you're lucky enough to get a Hot Stamper copy, you're going to be blown away by the Tubey Magical Guitars, the rock-solid bottom end, the jumpin'-out-of-the-speakers presence and dynamics, and the silky vocals and top end. Usually the best we can give you for The Who is "Big and Rockin," but on Tommy, we can give you '60s analog magic like you will rarely hear in the decades to follow.

Acoustic guitar reproduction is key to this recording, and on the best copies the harmonic coherency, the richness, the body and the phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard in every strum.

More Tommy


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XTC - English Settlement

What to Listen For

  (Item #: xtc__engli_wtlf_2017) 



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

For Big Production Rock Albums like English Settlement there are some obvious problem areas that are often heard on at least one or two sides of practically any copy of this four sided album.

With so many heavily-produced instruments crammed into the soundfield, if the overall sound is at all veiled, recessed or smeared -- problems common to 90+% of the records we play in our shootouts -- the mix quickly becomes opaque, forcing the listener to work too hard to separate out the elements of interest.

A Big Speaker Record if ever there was one.


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Yes - The Yes Album

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: yes__yesal_2018) 



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.

Since this is Yes's Masterpiece, not to mention their most well-recorded album, that makes it pretty much a Must Own for anyone who loves their groundbreaking and enormously influential approach to the Extended Form.

More Yes Album / More Yes


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Yes, You Too Can Get an Old Buffalo Springfield Record to Sound This Good!

  (Item #: buffalastt_commentary) 



Not long ago we found a White Hot Stamper pressing of Last Time Around that really blew our minds. We were surprised to hear
...some of the breathiest, silkiest vocals we’ve ever heard on ANY Buffalo Springfield album, with startling presence and immediacy to boot! This side two had BY FAR the most energy and life of any side of any copy we've ever played. Man, does it ROCK.

Even as recently as 2010 we would not have expected to find that kind of sound on a vintage '60s pop/rock album. We know better now.

More Buffalo Springfield


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