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Super Hot Stamper

James Taylor
JT

  (Item #: taylojt_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding copy of an exceptionally well-recorded album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is surprisingly present and punchy with great clarity, excellent bass, and classic James Taylor energy
  • The big hits Your Smiling Face and Handy Man both sound great here - thanks Val Garay!
  • 4 stars: "JT was James Taylor's best album since Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon because it acknowledged the darkness of his earlier work while explaining the deliberate lightness of his current viewpoint, and because it was his most consistent collection in years."
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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Jackson Browne
The Pretender

  (Item #: brownprete_1806_1905) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound AND exceptionally quiet vinyl on both sides make this a Pretender that will rock with the best of them
  • This vintage pressing is well balanced, yet big and lively, with such wonderful clarity in the mids and highs as well as deep punchy bass and a big open and spacious soundfield
  • Five Stars in Rolling Stone, one of their Top 500 Albums, and a true classic from 1976
  • Without a doubt the best sounding record Jackson Browne ever made - this is the pressing that backs up everything we say and more
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Super Hot Stamper

Jackson Browne
The Pretender

  (Item #: brownprete_1907) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This outstanding pressing of JB's fourth studio album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • One of the all time great rock / pop Demo Discs -- the best copies are so rich and full-bodied they make most rock records sound positively anemic
  • Five Stars in Rolling Stone, one of their Top 500 Albums, and a true classic from 1976
  • Without a doubt the best sounding record Jackson Browne ever made - this is the pressing that backs up everything we say and more
See all of our Jackson Browne albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

James Taylor
Dad Loves His Work

  (Item #: taylodadlo_1905) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Dramatically bigger, clearer and richer sounding than most, with a far more accurate and natural tonal balance
  • One of our favorite JT albums and perhaps his most underrated, with a great set of songs including Stand and Fight and Summer's Here
  • 4 stars on Allmusic: "James Taylor bounced back from the spotty Flag with this all-original album led by his collaboration with J.D. Souther on "Her Town Too," his biggest pop hit since "Handy Man," and his biggest non-cover hit since his first, "Fire And Rain," in 1970."
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Super Hot Stamper

Linda Ronstadt
Simple Dreams

  (Item #: ronstsimpl_1903) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides for Linda's best sounding recording - the only one of hers on our Top 100
  • The sound is huge, solid and present with big punchy drums on both sides - we love Val Garay's engineering!
  • Tremendous energy and top-quality musicianship characterize practically every track on this wonderful record
  • "The consistently adventurous material and Ronstadt's powerful performance makes the record rival Heart Like a Wheel in sheer overall quality."
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Andrew Gold - Andrew Gold

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gold_andre_2010) 



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

As audiophiles we all know that sound and music are inseparable. My comments for this side two note how spacious and present and full of energy it is. After dropping the needle on a dozen or so copies, all originals by the way, you KNOW when the music is working its magic and when it's not.

As with any pop album there are always some tracks that sound better than others, but when you find yourself marvelling at how well-written and well-produced a song is, you know that the sound is doing what it needs to do. It's communicating the Musical Values of the material. This Hot Stamper copy brings Andrew Gold's music to LIFE.

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Andrew Gold - What's Wrong With This Picture?

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: gold_whats_fame) 



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

The best copies of Gold's sophomore release are incredibly rich, sweet and Tubey Magical. They also have tons of deep punchy bass and wonderfully breathy vocals.

If you own many Asylum records, you know this title is yet another example of classic Asylum Analog. Think of the sound of the Eagles first album and you won't be far off.

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Bonnie Raitt - The Glow

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: raittglow_2012) 



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

After a nearly two year hiatus, finally, a Top Copy makes it to the site. Side one here is nearly White Hot (A++ to A+++), which means it finished just a half step behind our shootout winner. It's got that big, rich, solid ANALOG Val Garay (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt) sound that we go crazy for here at Better Records (where the records are still made from analog tapes, even if it's only because there aren't any other kind to make them from!).

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Jackson Browne - The Pretender

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: brownprete_2015) 



Amazing A++++ (Four Plus) sound, so good we rated it beyond our usual top grade of Triple Plus. Without a doubt it's the best sounding Jackson Browne record ever made, and this copy backs up everything we say and more.

Side one was super transparent, with breathy, present vocals. What really blew us away on this one is the sheer size and openness of the soundfield. We were so impressed that we went beyond our usual top grade of A+++, something we rarely do. But when a copy like this comes along and sets a new standard for an album's sonic potential, there's nothing else we CAN do!

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James Taylor - Dad Loves His Work

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: taylodadlo_2011) 



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

This Hot Stamper original Columbia is THE KING, the Best Sounding Copy we have ever played -- the sound was OUT OF THIS WORLD! In fact, side two went so far beyond what we've come to expect from this album that we had to award it the rare Four Plus (A++++) grade.

The soundstage and depth on our Hot Stamper copies is HUGE -- this is without a doubt the most spacious recording by James Taylor we've ever heard. If you want your speakers to disappear, replaced by a huge studio full of musicians playing their hearts out, this is the album that can do it.

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James Taylor - Dad Loves His Work

His Most Underrated Album? Sadly, the Answer Is Yes

  (Item #: taylodadlo_underrated) 



This is one of our favorite James Taylor albums here at Better Records, a Forgotten Classic from 1981. It's the last album written and performed by this hugely talented man that bears much resemblance to the genius of his early work. It's steeply, steeply downhill after DLHW. (Case in point: His specials for PBS of the last few years are a positive cure for insomnia, with every song slowed down and all the energy drained from the material.)

But he still had fire in his belly when he made this one -- one listen to Stand and Fight is all the evidence you need; the song rocks as hard as anything the guy ever did. And it's got plenty of cowbell, always a good sign.

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James Taylor - Dad Loves His Work

What to Listen For

  (Item #: taylodadlo_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.

The soundstage and depth on our Hot Stamper copies is HUGE -- this is without a doubt the most spacious recording by James Taylor we've ever heard. If you want your speakers to disappear, replaced by a huge studio full of musicians playing their hearts out, this is the album that can do it. But of course there's a lot more to the sound of the best copies than a big soundstage. Tonality is key.

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James Taylor - Flag

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: tayloflag_2015) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on both sides! From the opening notes you will be amazed at how good this album sounds. As far as JT's recordings go, it's right up there at the top. Like his album JT, which came just before this one, the best copies of this record are smooth, rich, punchy and have great bass.

A Top Recommendation from Better Records. This is a Must Own James Taylor record.

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James Taylor - JT

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: taylojt_depth) 



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

The good copies REALLY ROCK on a song like Honey Don't Leave L.A. or I Was Only Telling A Lie, yet have lovely, sweet transparency and delicacy on the ballads such as Another Grey Morning or There We Are.

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James Taylor - JT

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: taylojt_2007) 



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.

SUPERB SOUND FROM START TO FINISH! Both sides have MASTER TAPE SOUND. With six plusses between the two sides it sure doesn’t get much better than this copy!

And don't think we're kidding about turning up your volume and rockin' out to songs like Honey Don't Leave L.A. and I Was Only Telling a Lie. Those are real rock songs and they show that old JT can rock with the best of them when he wants to.

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Linda Ronstadt - Greatest Hits - Volume 2

DCC Reviewed

  (Item #: ronstgreat_dcc) 



Sonic Grade: C

As much as I admire Steve Hoffman’s work for DCC, on this title the DCC is not as good as the best domestic copies. The best domestic pressings are leaner and meaner than the DCC, and just plain more fun. The DCC sounds thick in the midrange and fat in the bass, although some of that boost in the bass could have been used to the advantage of some of the domestic pressings we played. 1 DB or so at 50-60 cycles would help, but the DCC has a boost in the middle and upper bass that causes the bass to sound bloated next to a good pressing.

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Linda Ronstadt - Hasten Down The Wind

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: ronsthaste_2015) 



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

This copy is huge, rich and lively, with Linda's vocals reproduced to near perfection.

The sound is rich, smooth, full-bodied and natural on both sides. In other words, this is Classic Analog from the '70s, recorded by none other than Val Garay, one of our favorite engineers.

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Linda Ronstadt - Heart Like A Wheel

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ronstheart_2011) 



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

This original Capitol Orange Label LP has TWO SUPERB sides, with side two earning our top grade of A+++ for its White Hot sound! And side one was nearly as good at A++ to A+++. These are the highest grades we are awarding to any copy on the site, folks. It doesn't get any better. The sound is uncharacteristically smooth, sweet, clear and Tubey Magical, light years from the grungy grit and grain that plagues most copies of Heart Like a Wheel.

Things are different since our last big shootout back in 2009. We learned a lot about the record and have added plenty of new commentary to back it up. If you're a fan check it out.

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Linda Ronstadt - Heart Like a Wheel

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: ronstheart_obsess) 



HEART LIKE A WHEEL is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it!

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 LINDA RONSTADT albums.


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Linda Ronstadt - Heart Like A Wheel

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: ronstheart_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: C

This pressing beats the typical Capitol LP, which is an aggressive, grainy piece of crap. Take my word for it: I easily have 30-40 copies of this album, and I can tell you from years of experience that it is extremely difficult to find good sounding pressings of this music. Cisco has done a service to the audiophile community by producing a very enjoyable LP of this, Linda’s masterpiece. It’s music that belongs in your collection. (If you have the bread, check out our Hot Stamper copies, guaranteed to kill any modern pressing -- including this one -- or your money back.)

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Linda Ronstadt - Heart Like A Wheel

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: ronstheart_depth) 



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

A key test on either side was to listen to all the multi-tracked guitars and see how easy it was to separate each of them out in the mix. Most of the time they are just one big jangly blur. The best copies let you hear how many guitars there are and what each of them is doing.

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Linda Ronstadt - Living In The USA

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: ronstlivin_2015) 



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

Both sides here are rich and smooth yet still clean and clear, precisely the kind of sound we've come to expect from the team of Val Garay and Peter Asher in the '70s. The bass is deep and punchy, the keyboards tubey rich, and the whole of the ensemble displays both energy and conviction on this top quality batch of songs.

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Linda Ronstadt - Prisoner In Disguise

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: ronstpriso_2010) 



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

Val Garay (JT, Simple Dreams) does it again! Both sides of this Asylum pressing have SUPERB SOUND, and side one I would go so far as to say has MASTER TAPE SOUND.

Side one is simply OFF THE CHARTS. It’s super-transparent; the clarity is amazing, and from the moment the needle hits the groove you hear the kind of stunning immediacy that brings Linda right INTO your listening room! This is EXACTLY the kind of sound a pop record is supposed to have. This copy gives it to you big time, on both sides.

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Linda Ronstadt - Simple Dreams

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ronstsimpl_2011) 



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

Clearly this is one of Linda's best albums, and I would have to say, based on my fairly extensive experience with her recorded output, that it is in fact THE BEST SOUNDING record she ever made. I love Heart Like a Wheel, but it sure doesn't sound like this, not even on the Triple Plus copies that win our shootouts.

Kudos once again must go to VAL GARAY, the man behind so many of our favorite recordings: James Taylor's JT (a Top 100 title), Andrew Gold, Prisoner In Disguise, etc.

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Linda Ronstadt

The Middle of the Midrange Is Key

  (Item #: ronstpriso_midrange) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Here's what we learned when doing our recent shootout: many copies sounded like they were half-speed mastered. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a lot of things. In this case, these half-speed sounding ones had a little something phony added to the top of Linda's voice, they had a little bit of suckout right in the middle of the midrange, the middle of her voice, and they had an overall diffuse, vague quality, with sound that lacked the SOLIDITY we heard on the best pressings.

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Linda Ronstadt's HLAW

... Everything That You Say Is True!!... I Was Amazed...

  (Item #: ronstheart_letter_0815) 



Our new customer Joel took the time to tell us how much the information and commentary our site inspires him to find great LPs. He found one on our site as a matter of fact: a Hot Stamper Heart Like a Wheel!
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Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sealssumme_2017) 



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

This copy had a side one that could not be beat. The vocals were especially clear and breathy.

Speaking of stampers, all our best copies had the same numbers and letters in the dead wax, which -- contrary to popular opinion -- doesn't happen all that often but does from time to time.

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