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AC/DC - Back In Black

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: acdc_backi_fame) 



If you love HUGE drums, meaty guitars, and monster riffs as much as we do, you’re going to freak out over the MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES. Moments after dropping the needle we heard a prominent low octave to the intro bells that we hadn’t noticed on other copies. We kept our fingers crossed and waited for the band to kick in, hoping for some serious bottom end power. And man oh man, it was there all right! I am pleased to report that the whomp factor on this copy was nothing short of MASSIVE.

I ask you, what album from 1980 sounds better than Back in Black?

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The Allman Brothers - Eat a Peach

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: allmaeatap_2008) 



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

THE ALLMAN’S MASTERPIECE CONQUERED AT LAST! I don’t think you could find a more tubey magical Southern Rock record than this! We just shot out a huge stack of these double LPs, no mean feat, and this Original Capricorn pressing manhandled the competition, rating A++ or better on ALL FOUR SIDES. Not only that, but the vinyl plays mostly Mint Minus throughout -- exceptionally quiet for an old Allman Brothers record.

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Conducting Your Own Shootouts

How Novel Patterns Emerge

  (Item #: ambroambro_2014) 


When you sit down to play ten or twelve copies of an album, one right after the other, patterns in the sound are going to emerge from that experience, patterns which would be very likely to pass unnoticed when playing one copy against another or two over the course of the twenty or thirty minutes it would take to do it.

In the case of this album, the pattern we perceived was simply this: About one or two out of that dozen or so will have punchy, solid, rich, deep bass. (There is a huge amount of bass on the recording, so recognizing those special copies is not the least bit difficult if you have a full-range speaker and a properly treated room.)

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Jeff Beck - Truth

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beck_truth_2016) 



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

One of the most surprising things we learned during this shootout was how well recorded the album is. It's yet another triumph from one of our favorite engineers, KEN SCOTT.

An interesting bit of trivia: most side twos earned a sonic grade that was a full plus higher than any given copy's grade for side one. Side two most of the time just plain sounds better than side one, so when evaluating your copy be sure to check side two first to hear what is probably going to be the best sound on the album.

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Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: blackblack_2015) 



Yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

We played the album very loud, as loud as we could, and still we wanted more volume! That's what a good record is all about -- the louder you play it the better it sounds.

If you like the raw, rockin’ sound of early Zep, you should have a blast with this album. It's a shockingly good recording, and the music is of course as heavy as it gets for 1970.

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David Bowie - Aladdin Sane

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: bowiealadd_2008) 



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

THE BIG BOWIE SOUND for this wonderful follow-up to Ziggy Stardust! We just finished shooting out a number of imports and domestic pressings of this album, and this British Orange Label pressing was THE KING -- on both sides! This one’s got the kind of "meat on the bones" sound that takes these great glam-rock songs to a whole new level! You won't believe how dynamic the sound is!

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David Bowie - David Live

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bowiedavid_2010) 



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

The best copies have Live Rock and Roll Energy like you will not believe. The band is ON FIRE. These are the A List players of the day and they gell like a band that's been together for years. The sonic treats include multiple horn players (David Sanborn KILLS on almost every track, and the baritone sax and oboe are rendered beautifully ) and multiple percussionists, all-male chorus background vocals, the seering fuzzed-out guitar leads of Earl Slick, piano and Mellotron by Mike Garson, the amazing Herbie Flowers on bass -- the list goes on.

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In the Market for New Speakers?

See How Well They Handle the Energy of Far More Drums

  (Item #: brubetimef_exercise) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The drum solo Joe Morello lets loose on Far More Drums is one of the best on record. I was playing that very song recently and it occurred to me that it is practically impossible for a screen or panel speaker of any nature to reproduce the sound of those drums properly, regardless of how many subs you have.

Most of the music is not in the deeper bass anyway. It’s the whack of instruments whose energy is in the lower midrange and midrange that a screen speaker will struggle with, while a good large-driver dynamic speaker seems to handle the energy in that range with ease.

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Phil Collins - Face Value

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: collifacev_2007) 



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

This Minty British LP has two AMAZING SIDES! Song after song, Collins’ songwriting and musicianship shine with this breakout record. The sound on these Hot Stampers is VIBRANT! Side one has SUPERB extention on the top, PUNCHY BASS and excellent texture on the drums and percussion. Side two has BIG SOUND with really spacious strings and vocals.

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Phil Collins - Face Value

Whomp Factor

  (Item #: collifacev_whomp) 



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.

Until we heard some of the better copies we were simply not able to appreciate just how important good bass definition and serious weight down low are to the sound of this record. When the bass is wooly or thin, as it is on so many copies -- not clear, not deep, not full enough -- it throws the rest of the mix off. When the bass is huge and powerful the music itself becomes huge and powerful.

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Elvis Costello - Punch The Clock

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: costepunch_2008) 



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

The bottom end is as punchy, well-defined and powerful as they come. There's plenty of low-end on this record; regrettably most copies suffer from either a lack of bass or a lack of bass definition. I can't tell you how much you're missing when the bass isn't right on this album. (Or if you have the typical bass-shy audiophile speaker, yuck.) When the bass is lacking or ill-defined, the music seems labored; the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs blur together, and the band just doesn't swing the way it's supposed to.

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What We Listen For on Elvis Costello's Trust

The Bass Is (Almost) All

  (Item #: costetrust_listen) 



There’s a TON of low-end on this record; regrettably, most copies suffer from either a lack of bass or a lack of bass definition. I can’t tell you how much you’re missing when the bass isn’t right on this album. (Or if you have the typical bass-shy audiophile speaker, yuck.)

It’s without a doubt THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT of the sound on this album. When the bass is right, everything falls into place, and the music comes powerfully to life. When the bass is lacking or ill-defined, the music seems labored; the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs blur together, and the band just doesn’t swing the way it’s supposed to.

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Cream - Goodbye

Some of the Best Live Rock Sound Ever Recorded

  (Item #: creamgoodb_2016) 



When you get a good side one of Goodbye you'll hear exactly why we are calling it one of the Best Sounding Live Rock Albums of all time.

Goodbye has the Big Rock Sound that we go crazy for here at Better Records. The top copies just plain ROCK HARDER than all the others. Yes, they're bigger. Yes, they have more weight and whomp down low. Yes, they are smoother and more natural up top. But what really sets them apart is the tremendous Energy they contain in their grooves. The music EXPLODES out of the speakers and comes to life on the best copies like practically nothing you have ever heard.

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Cream - Wheels Of Fire

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: creamwheel_2007) 



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

It wasn’t easy, but we’ve cracked one of the toughest nuts around -- WHITE HOT STAMPERS FOR WHEELS OF FIRE! Sides one, two, and three on this RSO British LP have SUPERB SOUND AND QUIET VINYL! We’ve never heard White Room sound nearly as amazing as it does here -- you aren’t going to believe all the WHOMP!

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Deep Purple - Machine Head

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: deeppmachi_2013) 



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.

AMAZING HARD-ROCKIN' SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! We just finished another shootout for this rockin' classic and couldn't find another copy that even came close to this one. The sound is positively HUGE with real energy, presence and WHOMP. That's a BIG deal for this kind of music! This album makes our Top 100 list for one reason: it ROCKS like crazy.

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Deep Purple - Made In Japan

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: deeppmadei_2015) 



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.

Machine Head Live? That would not be far off, and the fact they brought MARTIN BIRCH along with them all the way to Japan in order to engineer a live album that was only supposed to sell to the Japanese market (!) could not have been more fortuitous for us audiophiles.

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Deep Purple - Made In Japan

What to Listen For

  (Item #: deeppmadei_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.

We've raved about a number of live albums over the years. Some of the better sounding ones that come readily to mind (in alphabetical order) are Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, David Live, Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Donny Hathaway Live, The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Performance - Rockin The Fillmore, Live Wire - Blues Power, Waiting For Columbus, Get Your Ya-Ya's Out and Live at Leeds. I would be proud to have any of them in my collection.

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Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are!

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: deeppwhodo_2011) 



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

This British Import Purple Records pressing has a GREAT side one, and AMAZING A+++ side two, and VERY QUIET VINYL throughout! I don't think you could find a better sounding side two no matter what you did. The sound here is BIG, BOLD and LIVELY with real weight down low and excellent presence. It really JUMPS out of the speakers and fills up the room! Side one is very good as well, with all of the qualities described above. It doesn't fully open up the way side two does, but it still slaughtered most of the copies we played it against.

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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.

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Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: emerspictu_2009) 



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

This Minty looking original Island British Import LP has some of the best sound we have ever heard for this album. This copy KILLED a bunch of other Brit imports we played it against. It wasn't even close. This pressing was so much more TRANSPARENT -- you could hear into the crowd in a way that no other copy managed to let you do. When the band started playing the sound was much more clear and present than the other Brit copies we played.

Great live sound thanks to EDDIE OFFORD.

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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 - Fleetwood Mac

A Demo Disc for Bass

  (Item #: fleetfleet_bass) 



Another in our series of Demo Discs for Bass.

One of the special qualities this album has is AMAZINGLY well-defined, punchy, deep BASS -- the kind you just never hear on most records (or most pressings of this album for that matter).

The bass is typically bloated on most copies of this album, something that is especially true for the MoFi. When you get a copy with note-like, properly balanced bass, the whole album works. Bass is the foundation of the music. When the bass is blubbery and ill-defined, the music itself sounds blurred. It loses its focus.

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Fleetwood Mac - Mystery To Me

Whomp Factor on "Why"

  (Item #: fleetmyste_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.

There is an amazing bass drum on this album that plays on selective tracks, most notably the song "Why", and it will shake the foundation and knock your knick-knacks right off their shelves if you've got the woofers (and the room) to play it right. I was using this record to demo my system in the mid-'70s. I had a pair of Fulton Js and they could really pump out the low end this record needs.

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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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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (Security)

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: gabrisecur_2009) 



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.

Our first Hot Stamper shootout for Security is finally here, and man does this album sound better than I remember it from back in the ’70s when I first played a copy. Stereos have come a long way since then, along with a host of other things that help records sound better, such as cleaning fluids, room treatments and all the rest.

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Dexter Gordon - One Flight Up

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: gordoonefl_2009) 



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

This Blue Note LP is without a doubt ONE OF THE BEST SOUNDING JAZZ RECORDS WE’VE EVER HEARD! We were auditioning a bunch of jazz records today (4/25/07), and when the needle hit the grooves on this one we were ABSOLUTELY BLOWN AWAY!

I can't think of one jazz record we've ever played here at Better Records with this kind of WHOMP! Everything here is so rich and full -- nothing like a typical Blue Note album.

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Heart - Little Queen

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: heartlittl_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 Little Queen.

One of the little tricks I used toward the end of my marathon Little Queen tweaking session from a few years back (which lasted more than six hours one Saturday evening, leaving me euphoric but exhausted) was to listen to the ending of Barracuda.

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Whomp Factor on Little Queen

Testing Tips You Can Try at Home

  (Item #: heartlittl_wtlf) 



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

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

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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.

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Holst / The Planets / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: holstplane_6734_2010) 



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

This 2-pack boasts White Hot Stamper sound on side two for the Mehta Planets. Yes, it IS possible. Side two shows you what this record is actually capable of -- big WHOMP, no SMEAR, super SPACIOUS, DYNAMIC, with an EXTENDED top. It beat every London pressing we threw at it, coming out on top for our recent shootout. Folks, we 100% guarantee that whatever pressing you have of this performance, this copy will trounce it.

But side one of this London original British pressing was awful. We wrote it off as NFG after about a minute; that's all we could take of the bright, hard-sounding brass of War.

More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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King Crimson - Lizard

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: kingclizar_2008) 



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

This is a SUNRAY Island Records label British Import LP with No Bar Code -- an Early Pressing. We can’t imagine Lizard sounding much better than this. Both sides have sweet and open sound. A++ all the way -- rich, warm, and transparent!

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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: ledze2_2017) 



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

This pressing just knocked us out from beginning to end -- this is the Zep II sound you want.

At least 80% of the copies we buy these days -- for many hundreds of dollars each I might add -- go right back to the seller. The biggest problem we run into besides obvious scratches that play and worn out grooves is easy to spot: just play the song Thank You at the end of side one. Most of the time there is inner groove damage so bad that the track becomes virtually unlistenable.

See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: ledze2_loud) 



It's official: we're inaugurating a Top Ten Best Sounding Rock / Pop Album List, and the first member to be inducted is none other than our old favorite, Led Zeppelin II.

It's also yet another in a very long line of records that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume. We're convinced Zep II has to be the hardest rocking album of all time. The best copies -- often with the same stampers as the not-as-good copies by the way -- have a LIFE and a POWER to them that simply cannot be found on other records.

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Led Zeppelin - Presence

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: ledzeprese_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.

A STUNNING side two (where Nobody's Fault But Mine can be found, one of the best Zep rockers of all time and the best reason to own this album), with MASSIVE room-filling size and rock ENERGY like you will not believe. How did they manage to get such rock and roll power into these grooves, the way they did on Zep II and IV? We can't even imagine, but it's there all right.

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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.

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Phil Manzanera - Diamond Head

Rhett Davies Truly Awesome Engineering Masterpiece

  (Item #: manzadiamo_masterpiece) 



You may recall reading this bit about RHETT DAVIES engineering on Dire Straits' debut:

"...until something better comes along, THIS IS HIS MASTERPIECE. It has to be one of the best sounding rock records ever made, with Tubey Magic mids, prodigious bass, transparency and freedom from hi-fi-ishness and distortion like few rock recordings you have ever heard."

Well, something better has now come along, and it's called Diamond Head.

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Dave Mason - Alone Together

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: masonalone_2012) 



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

Alone Together appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time. It is a surely a MASTERPIECE that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There's not a scrap of filler here. The recording by Bruce Botnick (mix by Al Schmitt) is hard to fault as well.

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Sergio Mendes - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mendesergi_2009) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND QUIET VINYL THROUGHOUT! Both sides are lively and transparent with super low distortion and lovely breathy vocals. The sound is Right On The Money all the way around -- superb clarity, mind-blowing transparency and tons of dynamics. This copy is ALIVE! The drums and percussion are powerful and punchy with lots of room around them, and the bass is PERFECTION. There's plenty of whomp and lots of extension on the top end. This side two really conveys a sense of the amazing performances of these great musicians. It's rich, full, smooth, sweet, open, spacious -- everything you'd expect from an A+++ / A+++ record.

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Sergio Mendes - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

Bruce Botnick and The Big Bottom End

  (Item #: mendesergi_botnick) 



What separates Sergio from practically all of his '60s contemporaries is the AMAZING SOUND of his recordings. The first album was recorded by the legendary BRUCE BOTNICK, the man behind the superb recordings of The Doors, Love and others too numerous to mention. This, in my opinion, is his Masterpiece. The Doors albums Bruce recorded represent some of his best work, but what Doors album sounds as good as Sergio's debut? I can't name one. [Actually I can: the first album, when you get the right pressing. It's out of this world.]
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Joni Mitchell - Miles Of Aisles

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: mitchmiles_2008) 



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

WONDERFUL LIVE SOUND AND GREAT MUSIC (of course) on this stunning double LP! We finally had a chance to do a big shootout for this album, and when you find one like this it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Not too many live albums have this kind of stunning, "you are there" immediacy! Turn down the lights, crank up the volume, and you'll be right there in the crowd as Joni and the LA Express (Tom Scott, Robben Ford, and the crew) knock out wonderful versions of some of her best material.

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Giorgio Moroder - Cat People Soundtrack

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: morodcatpe_2008) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES of the TAS List SuperDisc! We just finished a big shootout for this album, and this knockout copy took top honors on both sides with A+++ sound from start to finish. Drop the needle on any track for some of the best sounding synthesizers you'll ever hear!

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Big Speakers, Loud Levels and More Power to the Orchestra

  (Item #: mussopictu_6177) 



The darker brass instruments like tubas, trombones and french horns are superb here. Other Golden Age recordings of the work, as enjoyable as they may be in other respects, do not recreate the full weight of the brass, probably because of compression, limiting, tube smear, or some combination of the three.

The brass on this record has a power like no other. It's also tonally correct. It's not agressive. It's not irritating. It's just immediate and powerful the way the real thing is when you hear it live. That's what really caught my ear when I first played Ansermet's recording.

More Pictures at an Exhibition


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Prokofiev / Lt. Kije / Abbado

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: prokoltkij_33_2011) 



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

This German 33 RPM White Hot Stamper pressing of our favorite recording of Prokofiev's wonderful Lt. Kije Suite has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND. For starters, there are very few records with dynamics comparable to those found here. As this is my favorite performance of all time, with this kind of Demo Disc sound I cannot recommend the record any more highly.

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)


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Santana / Santana

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: santasant1_obsess) 



SANTANA 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.

Santana Albums with Hot Stampers

Santana Albums We've Reviewed



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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: stevemonab_depth) 



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

When you hear I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light on a Hot Stamper copy you will be convinced, as I am, that this is one of the greatest popular recordings in the history of the world. I don't know of ANY other album that has more LIFE and MUSICAL ENERGY than this one.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

Light, Medium or Heavy on the Congas?

  (Item #: stevetease_congamania) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises, in this case, a study in Congamania!

During the shootout for this record a while back we made a very important discovery, a seemingly obvious one but one that nevertheless had eluded us for the past twenty plus years (so how obvious could it have been?). It became clear, for the first time, what accounts for the wide disparity in ENERGY and DRIVE from one copy to the next. We can sum it up for you in one five letter word, and that word is conga.

See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: stewaevery_2016) 



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 knockout Top Copy, with a side one so jaw-droppingly amazing that we awarded it the rare Four Plus (A++++) grade. The sound is incredibly rich, full-bodied and open with excellent clarity -- you will be FLOORED.

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Rod Stewart - Never A Dull Moment

What to Listen For

  (Item #: stewanever_wtlf) 



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

Most copies tend to be dull, veiled, thick and congested, but the trick with the better pressings is being able to separate out the various parts with ease and hear right INTO the music.

Just listen to those meaty electric guitars, the note-like bass or that amazing snare drum sound with such a huge THWACK -- that's the raw power of rock n' roll, baby.

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10cc - The Original Soundtrack

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: tenccorigi_2009) 



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

WHAT A RECORD! Both sides are lively, energetic, super transparent and full of ambience. There’s more depth to the soundfield, more WHOMP to the bottom end and more texture to the instruments than you’re going to hear elsewhere. The bottom end is KILLER with some seriously meaty, well-defined bass. The drums sound AMAZING -- just listen to all that THWACK to the snare. The overall sound is BIG, BOLD, LIVELY, DYNAMIC, and POWERFUL -- in other words, As Good As It Gets!

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War - Deliver The Word

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: war__deliv_2019) 



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

WONDERFUL JAZZ / FUNK / SOUL SOUND from start to finish! We just finished our first big shootout for this fun album -- the All Music Guide calls it "a magical ride with plenty of surprises to keep the listener on his or her toes" and we couldn't agree more! This copy gives you punchy bass, airy flutes, hard-hitting percussion and loads of Tubey Magic. Most copies we played had too much hardness, edge, and honk, but this one is smooth, sweet and rich.

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War - Why Can’t We Be Friends

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: war__whyca_2007) 



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

This is a United Artists LP with DEMO DISC SOUND on BOTH sides. If you’re a fan of BIG DRUMS, with jump-out-of-the-speakers direct-to-disc sound quality, this is the album for you. Some of the best rock bass ever recorded can be found here -- punchy, note-like and solid as a rock. (Got subs? A concrete foundation under your listening room? Low Rider is a cinch to blow your mind!)

More War


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Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: warnefamou_2009) 



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

This Cypress pressing has AMAZINGLY GOOD SOUND on side one! With a grade of A++ to A+++ it's the highest rated side of any copy we have to offer this go around -- none of our other pressings could touch it on any side.

Why such a high grade? Simple. It's ALIVE! It's super transparent with a big, bold bottom end. The drums here are as good as they get -- punchy and powerful with lots of WHOMP and the sound of the skins being THWACKED.

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Weather Report - Sweetnighter

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: weathsweet_2015) 



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

Side two earned a grade of A+++, absolutely As Good As It Gets! The top end is fully extended here in a way the average copy barely hints at, and the overall sound is amazingly transparent and three-dimensional. The brass is full and rich, the percussion is lively and present, and the bass is weighty and defined.

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Weather Report - Sweetnighter

What to Listen For

  (Item #: weathsweet_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 surprised us most about the dozen or so copies that we played for this shootout was how wrong most copies of this album sound. They're SOUR in the midrange. On this kind of music, a sour midrange is the kiss of death. Those copies that aren't sour are frequently just plain dull. On a recording like this, so full of percussion -- which to be honest LIVES OR DIES on the quality of its percussion -- dullness is devastating.
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The Who - Live at Leeds

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: who__livea_2013) 



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.

TWO STUNNING A+++ SIDES! Get ready to rock out, as this is one of the BEST SOUNDING live albums ever recorded. Young Man Blues on a copy such as this has drums that are so solid, punchy and present they positively put to shame the drum sound on 99 out of 100 rock records you've ever played. Keith Moon lives on!

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The Who - Live at Leeds

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: who__livea_rocks_harder) 



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

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

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The Who - Who By Numbers

More Bass or More Detail, Which Is Right?

  (Item #: who__whoby_wtlf_2015) 



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

With Doug Sax mastering from the real tape, you get a Rock Solid Bottom End like you will not believe. Talk about punchy, well-defined and deep, man, this record has BASS that you sure don't hear too often on rock records.

More by The Who


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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 - Fragile

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: yes__fragi_2008) 



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.

MASTER TAPE SOUND! We doubt you’ve heard too many rock records that sound as AMAZING as this one. It’s dynamic, punchy and powerful, with the kind of super-low distortion sound that lets you really crank the levels, the louder the BETTER! How many Yes records will let you do that? THIS ONE WILL! That's what you get for your $750 -- the kind of sound that will blow your mind.

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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?

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After the Gold Rush Hot Stampers

People Just Love 'Em

  (Item #: youngafter_letters) 



From time to time our customers like to tell us just how much they are enjoying our Hot Stamper pressings, and we here at Better Records love to read the LETTERS they write. We've reprinted a few below.

An excerpt: "I don't always agree with everyone else on which record pressings sound best, but this record knocked my socks off."

After the Gold Rush


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Neil Young - Harvest

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: youngharve_depth) 



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

Many copies we played would work for the heavy songs and then fall short on the softer numbers. Others had gorgeous sound on the country-tinged numbers but couldn't deliever any whomp for the rockers. Only a select group of copies could hold their own in all of the styles and engage us from start to finish; we're pleased to present those exceptional pressings as the Hot Stamper copies of Harvest that so many of you have been begging for.

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