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White Hot Stamper

Bruch - Scottish Fantasia / Mendelssohn - Violin Con. - Campoli

  (Item #: mendevioli_15015_1910) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • As good as the Mendelssohn is on side one - with Double Plus (A++) sound it would have to be excellent indeed - the crowning glory of this disc is the Scottish Fantasy on side two
  • It's some of the best sound we have ever heard for the work, right up there with our longtime favorite, the Heifetz on Living Stereo (LSC 2603)
  • One of the truly great 1959 All Tube Kenneth Wilkinson "Decca Tree" recordings in Kingsway Hall, captured faithfully in all its beauty on this very disc
  • Referring to the Mendelssohn, Gramophon noted: "[Campoli's] virtuosity in the finale are as self-evident as is the excellence of the accompaniment under Sir Adrian Boult. There are many felicitous touches and the distinguished soloist plays magnificently throughout."
More of the music of Max Bruch (1938-1920)


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White Hot Stamper

Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult

  (Item #: debusclair_1907_9) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A KILLER sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • These sides are incredibly rich, sweet and full-bodied yet still very clean, clear and spacious; Demo Disc sound throughout!
  • I can't imagine a more beautiful record, both in terms of the programme and the sound; this record is a wonderful example of what the Decca recording engineers (Kenneth Wilkinson in this case) were able to capture on tape
  • This is the exact same recording as the famous Living Stereo Clair De Lune, LSC-2326, but with a couple of extra tracks included
See all of our Debussy albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_1902_6_11) 

Our Price: $199.99
Sale Price: $169.00 (You save $30.99 / 15%)


  • Amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side for the Citizen Kane Suite!) and Double Plus (A++) on the second; one of the best copies to hit the site in many years
  • The brass is huge on Citizen Kane, with accurate timbre - side two offers rich strings and a powerful, weighty piano for the Concerto Macabre
  • By far the single best Bernard Herrmann disc we know of - A Must Own for any serious audiophile
  • After playing records for 50+ years this is still some of the most emotionally moving music I've ever heard
See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult

  (Item #: debusclair_1907_10) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • These sides are rich, sweet and full-bodied yet still very clean, clear and spacious; Demo Disc sound throughout!
  • I can't imagine a more beautiful record, both in terms of the programme and the sound; this record is a wonderful example of what the Decca recording engineers (Kenneth Wilkinson in this case) were able to capture on tape
  • This is the exact same recording as the famous Living Stereo Clair De Lune, LSC-2326, but with a couple of extra tracks included
See all of our Debussy albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture / Marche Slave and More / Alwyn

  (Item #: tchai1812o_decca_1812_1906_9) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades or BETTER from start to finish - hear Tchaicovsky's 1812 with Demo Disc sound - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The 1812 is found on the better sounding side here - with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound this British LP is guaranteed to rock your world
  • This UK pressing is BIG, lively, clear, open and resolving of musical information like no copy of the 1812 you've heard
  • The two coupling pieces, Marche Slave and the Capriccio Italien, also have rich, powerful, weighty brass and lower strings
  • The most exciting and beautifully played 1812 we know of - we encourage you to compare this to the best recording in your collection
More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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White Hot Stamper

Stravinsky / Petrushka / Danon / Royal Philharmonic

  (Item #: stravpetru_rdg_1910) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two, this is a Petrushka that is guaranteed to blow your mind (just as it blew ours)
  • As good as the famous Dorati recording for Mercury may be - assuming you have one that sounds as good as the best copies can - we still this Readers Digest pressing to be superior in all the most important ways, as well as being the Mercury equal in performance
  • One listen to this famous Kenneth Wilkinson Decca tree recording with the Royal Philharmonic and you'll see why we could find no competition for it
  • The biggest problem with these wonderful recordings is the vinyl - no copy played better than Mint Minus Minus to EX++
More of the music of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)


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Super Hot Stamper

Sibelius / Symphony #2 / Barbarolli

  (Item #: sibelsym2_rdg_1910) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Double Plus (A++) Front Row Center sound or BETTER on both sides - the best Sibelius Second Symphony on vinyl we know of
  • One listen to this famous Wilkinson recording and you'll see why it's one of the most lauded RDG titles in all of their illustrious canon
  • The biggest problem with these wonderful recordings is the vinyl - this is the only copy which played Mint Minus Minus on any side
  • "The Second Symphony has retained an extraordinary popularity for its individualistic tonal language, dark wind coloring, muted string writing, simple folk-like themes, and distinctly "national" flavor that are all Sibelian to the core."
More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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White Hot Stamper

Sibelius / Symphony #2 / Barbarolli

  (Item #: sibelsym2_rdg_1910_1ex) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two this is a stunning copy - the best Sibelius Second Symphony on vinyl we know of
  • One listen to this famous Wilkinson recording and you'll see why it's one of the most lauded RDG titles in all of their illustrious canon
  • "The Second Symphony has retained an extraordinary popularity for its individualistic tonal language, dark wind coloring, muted string writing, simple folk-like themes, and distinctly "national" flavor that are all Sibelian to the core."
More Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Albeniz / Suite Espanola / De Burgos

What to Listen For

  (Item #: albensuite_wtlf) 



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

Wow, is this record ever DYNAMIC! I would put it in the top 2 or 3 percent of the most dynamic recordings we have played over the course of the last twenty five years. It also has tons of DEPTH. The brass is at the far back of the stage, just exactly where they would be placed in the concert hall, which greatly adds to the realism of the recording.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz


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Ballet Favorites / Ansermet (VICS-1066)

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: varioballe_2011) 



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

This RCA Plum Label Victorla has an AMAZING SOUNDING side one -- it's unbelievably spacious and three-dimensional with depth that goes on for DAYS.

Side one earned its two pluses with the kind of spacious, rich, sweet sound you've come to expect from Super Hot Stampers. Note the correct sounding tape hiss -- a dead giveaway that the highs are going to be correct. (Funny tape hiss is the hallmark of Classic Records and Mobile Fidelity, a dead giveaway that their highs will be phony and boosted.)

See more music conducted by Ernst Ansermet


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Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_2013) 



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

The Citizen Kane Suite on this album is to die for -- a real desert island disc for me. (The CD by the way is actually quite good. I have it in the car and play it often.)

The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from "Hangover Square") is superbly well recorded and a brilliant piece of music as well.

More of the music of Bernard Herrmann


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Brahms / Piano Concerto #1 / Curzon / Szell

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: brahmpiano_6329_2006) 



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

This is a Near Mint London Whiteback Import LP with an excellent side one. Side one sounds about as good as this record can sound -- smooth and sweet with a natural top end and plenty of deep bass. Side two is not quite as magical.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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Brahms / Piano Concerto #1 / Curzon / Szell

Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: brahmpiano_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

One of the better Speakers Corner Deccas. We haven't played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

"One of the best of the Speakers Corner heavy vinyl reissues. As you may know they have gone way downhill lately. Haven't played this LP in a while but I remember liking it quite a bit."

More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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Brahms / Variations And Fugue On A Theme By Handel / Katchen

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: brahmvaria_6158_2008) 



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

Near Mint copy with excellent sound! Superb piano tone for these solo pieces and very quiet vinyl add up to a wonderful listening experience. This surprisingly quiet British vinyl is going to be hard to beat by other Golden Age labels. (Finding solo piano recordings on RCA or Mercury from this era that play quietly is practically impossible.)

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Monteux

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: brahmvioli_2281_2007) 



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

DEMO QUALITY SOUND!.

One of the most amazing violin concerto records I have ever heard! Makes most of the Heifetz records pale in comparison. The performance is sublime as well.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Brahms and Dvorak / Serenades / Kertesz

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brahmseren_6594_2011) 



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

This London Whiteback LP (CS 6594) has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which is where the Dvorak Serenade for 10 wind instruments, cello and bass can be found. It has lovely space and depth, with dead on tonality and lots of Tubey Magic.

If you love the sound of wind instruments (and who doesn't? British Band Classics springs immediately to mind as one of the most enjoyable classical recordings I own), then this just may be the classical chamber recording for you.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


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Bruch - Mozart / Violin Concertos / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: bruchvioli_2011) 



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

Both sides of this Shaded Dog pressing of Heifetz and the New Symphony Orchestra of London have sound that earned the quite respectable sonic grades of A+ to A++.

Side one is tonally correct and lively, but suffers from a bit of the all-too-common tube smear, no doubt from the mastering chains and record presses that were in use at the time. (Most modern mastering chains and record presses are, to our ears, even worse, so this is not to denigrate the engineers at RCA in any way. It's simply to say that with Tubey Magic you often get tubey smear.)

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Bruch / Scottish Fantasy / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bruchscott_2603_2012) 



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

WHITE HOT Stamper sound for the Bruch side of this original RCA Shaded Dog, one of the best Heifetz concerto titles of all time. (I'm trying to think of a Heifetz title that sounds better and coming up blank.)

This was our shootout winner on side two, beating all comers, earning our highest grade, the full Three Pluses (our blue ribbon, gold medal, and best in show all wrapped into one). The sound is nothing short of DEMO DISC QUALITY.

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: debusclair_2326_2011) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

This Shaded Dog LP has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND, if what you're demonstrating is not a Hi-Fi spectacular, but rather a sublime presentation of a truly sweet and natural string section of an orchestra, presented here on analog disc created more than fifty years ago.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Elgar / Enigma Variations / Monteux / LSO

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: elgarenigm_1107_2007) 



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

Near Demo quality. Outstanding sound. One of the best Enigma Variations around. The Brahms on the second side is also a treat. Better than the LSC if my experience from many years ago still holds up.

See more recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson

See more recordings made in Kingsway Hall



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Elgar / Enigma Variations / Monteux / LSO

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: elgarenigm_2418_2011) 



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

This famous Shaded Dog, containing two superb performances by Monteux and the LSO, has many of the Golden Age strengths and weaknesses we know well here at Better Records, having played literally hundreds upon hundreds of these vintage pressings over the last twenty years or so.

Both sides earned sonic grades of at least A+ to A++ (with side one being just a bit better than that but maybe not quite A++). The sound is rich and sweet and full of Living Stereo Magic!

See more recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson


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Elgar/ Pomp & Circumstance / LPO / Solti

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: elgarpompa_7072) 



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

Near Demo Quality. Solti is magnificent here. This record has even better sound than the famous Barbarolli. Another Wilkinson/ Kingsway winner.

It would be demo quality if it were recorded in '67 instead of '77; it doesn't quite hang together in the climaxes the way an earlier recording would.


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Grieg / Piano Concerto - Curzon / Boult

Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: griegpiano_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

One of the better Speakers Corner Deccas. We haven't played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in the '90s when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

"One of the best Deccas -- superb sound and music that belongs in your life!"

This performance also includes Franck's "Variations Symphoniques" and Litolff''s "Scherzo from Concerto Symphonique, Op. 102".

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)


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Holst / The Planets / Solti / LPO

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: holstplane_solti) 



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

This is a fairly quiet, excellent sounding Decca in the Box Purple Label British import LP. This is the same performance, the same recording that Mobile Fidelity remastered (510), but, thankfully, this copy sounds A WHOLE LOT BETTER!

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


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Ibert / Divertissement / Martinon

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: ibertdiver_2011) 



This London LP has a very good A+ to A++ side two. Lively and not too bright with nice space and clarity, the Jeux D'Enfants is very enjoyable. Le Rouet D'Omphale (the Spinning Wheel) which follows is even better! Natural and dynamic with rich strings, the tonality is wonderfully balanced.

Performed with the Paris Conservatory Orchestra under Jean Martinon, this record also features Bizet's Jeux D'Enfants and Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre and Le Rouet D'Omphale.

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens


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Kodaly / Hary Janos Suite / Kertesz

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: kodalharry_6417_2010) 



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

This is a SUPERB recording, a real sleeper in the world of audiophile pressings. The sound is BIG, BOLD and DYNAMIC as practically any classical record you can name. And the distortion level is vanishingly small as well.

This British pressing has an AMAZING SIDE ONE (A++) backed with an excellent side two (A+), both on very quiet vinyl! I'm a big fan of this music and here's a pressing that really delivers. Side one of the album has the complete Suite, and with Super Hot Stamper sound this copy is guaranteed to knock you out. One of the top Kertesz recordings on London.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Kingsway Hall


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Mahler - Symphony No. 4 - Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: mahlesym4_6217_2017) 



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

Deep bass; rich, smooth strings, lots of lovely hall space - this copy was right up there with the best we heard, and clearly won the shootout for side two. You will hear immediately why this side two could not be beat - it's wonderful.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

More recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson

More recordings made in Kingsway Hall



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Mahler / Das Lied Von Der Erde / Solti / CSO

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: mahledasli_555_2006) 



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

This Minty Decca pressing from 1972 sounds WONDERFUL -- another Kenneth Wilkinson/ Gordon Parry triumph.

This recording is part of the Solti Decca Silver Jubilee, celebrating the 25th year of Solti's collaboration with Decca.

(He started in 1947!) The Beethoven 9th on the TAS List, one of the all time great Beethoven recordings, is also part of that series. Judging by those two records, it appears that Decca still had their act together in 1972, long after other labels were producing garbage.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler


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Mendelssohn / Scotch Symphony / Maag

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: mendescotc_6191_2011) 



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

Both sides of this record have that classic Decca chocolatey, rich, sweet sound. It''s not for everybody, it''s probably not the sound one would hear in a concert hall, but we love it and so do many audiophiles.

The performance here by Maag is legendary and definitive. The sound is perfectly suited for this music, with massed strings to die for. This is classic Tubey Magical Decca orchestral sound. If you want immediacy, buy a Mercury. If you want luscious, rich string tone, this London should be right up your alley.

More of the music of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)


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Mozart / Notturno in D Major For 4 Orchestras / Maag

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mozarnottu_6133_0311) 



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

This London title has long been a favorite of ours here at Better Records, and this Blueback copy does not disappoint (except in the area of condition, see the notes below). Side one, much like the amazing Mozart record we listed today, is spacious and three-dimensional like you will not believe. I would rank it in the Top Five Per Cent of all classical recordings in respect of those qualities. You can hear into the soundstage on this pressing like few recordings you own, we guarantee it.

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Mozart / Sinfonia Concertante / Oistrakh (Igor and David)

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: mozarsinfo_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

A fairly good Speakers Corner Decca.

Years ago we wrote that the following: "One of the best of the Decca reissues! EXCELLENT SOUND for these pieces, written for violin, viola and orchestra." Can't be sure we would still feel that way but I'm guessing this is a good record at the price.

See more of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


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Mozart / Symphonies No. 40 & 41 / Giulini

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mozarsym40_6225_2012) 



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

Full brass; full, rich, tonally correct strings; smooth higher up, never screechy -- what's not to like? It was the best side one we heard all day.

More of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


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Mozart / Symphonies No. 40 & 41 / Giulini

Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: mozarsym40_6225_reviewed) 



Sonic Grade: B?

A fairly good Speakers Corner Decca. They released this title on Heavy Vinyl in 1998; it was one of the few Speakers Corner classical recordings we used to carry and recommend.

We knew it sounded good, but up until recently, when we started collecting and playing the better Deccas and Londons, we sure didn't know it could sound like one of our Hot Stampers!

More of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Awesome In Mono

  (Item #: mussopower_mono) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

This is the kind of record that the mono cartridge owners of the world worship. And for good reason. But you don't need to have a mono cartridge to hear how good -- in fact, how much BETTER -- this copy sounds than most of the stereo pressings out there.

I found out about mono classical records one day when I got a mono copy of The Power Of The Orchestra, VCS 2659. It sounded better than any stereo recording of that work I had ever heard. All the instruments were so much more solid sounding, so palpable, so free from distortion, that it made me recognize for the first time what the mono record lovers of the world were talking about.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Awesome In Stereo (2007)

  (Item #: mussopower_2007) 



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

DEMO DISC QUALITY ORCHESTRAL SOUND like you will not believe. We put two top copies together to bring you the ultimate-sounding Pictures At An Exhibition. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this for huge orchestral dynamics and energy.

One side of each copy rates A Triple Plus -- our highest sonic grade. The sound is out of this world.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Mussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussopower_2011) 



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

This Shaded Dog pressing of the famous TAS List Super Disc title has TWO AMAZING SIDES, including a side two that is White Hot! We have never heard a copy with such a huge hall sound and so much weight down low. As we said last time we did a shootout for this title in 2007: "DEMO DISC QUALITY ORCHESTRAL SOUND like you will not believe. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this for huge orchestral dynamics and energy."

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Offenbach / Gaite Parisienne / Gounod / Faust Ballet / Solti

A Waste of Money

  (Item #: offengaite_6216) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing.

Great cover, awful sound.

More of the music of Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)


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Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

Kenneth Wilkinson

  (Item #: allkenneth_wilkinson) 



KENNETH WILKINSON is one of our favorite engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Kenneth Wilkinson engineered albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Recordings made in Kingsway Hall


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Rachmaninoff / Concerto No. 2 / Katchen / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rachmconce_2011) 



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

Folks, what we are offering here is THE SLEEPER Hot Stamper pressing of all time. Side one earned an amazingly good grade of A++ with side two every bit as good. The buyer of this album is going to be SHOCKED when he sees what pressing it is.

For those of you who cherish pressings for their best sound and performances -- as opposed to the typical audiophile collector who prefers the "right" original labels on his records, of course produced only in the "right" countries -- this is the record for you.

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)


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Ravel, Saint-Saens et al. / Tzigane, Havanaise / Kyung-Wha Chung

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: raveltziga_7073_2012) 



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

This 1979 London original English pressing of violin showpieces has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which came as a bit of a shock to us after playing side one, which is as congested and opaque as one would expect from such a late London recording. Side two is fabulous -- full-bodied, rich and sweet. Even though it may have been recorded in 1977, the engineer is Kenneth Wilkinson, and the hall is Kingsway -- not many bad recordings can be attributed to either.

More of the music of Maurice Ravel


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Respighi / Pines Of Rome / Maazel

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: respipines_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

MoFi’s version of this recording (#507) is one of the worst sounding classical records they ever made, and that’s saying something, because most of their classical catalog is awful. Thin, bright, with sloppy bass and completely unnatural string tone -- the MoFi makes the typical Classic Record sound good! And that’s REALLY saying something.

More recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson


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Respighi / Pines Of Rome / Maazel

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: respipines_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: C

We were only slightly impressed with the Speakers Corner pressing of this album, writing at the time: "The famous TAS List recording. Very good sound. You can do better but it's not easy. This work is just too difficult to record."

We have never done a Hot Stamper shootout of the album but hope to soon.

More recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson


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Rossini / Overtures / Maag / PCO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rossiovert_2013) 



The London and Decca original pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that's just another Record Myth.

This Stereo Treasury pressing of Maag's 1958 recording is shockingly good in many ways. It sure doesn't sound like a budget reissue. If anything it sounds more original than the originals we played against it!

More of the music of Ottorino Rossini (1879-1936)


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Schubert / Great C Major Symphony / Krips

Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: schubsym9_2045_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

One of the better Speakers Corner Deccas. We haven't played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in the '90s when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

"Superb sound with a great performance to match. A TOP TOP TITLE in every way. This performance has never been equaled and probably never will be (on any format I can stand to listen to!)"

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

An Excellent Copy We Heard in 2013

  (Item #: schubsym9_2013) 



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

Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson at the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and quite wonderful Ace of Diamonds reissue from 1967. With a Super Hot side two, this copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most copies.

What was most striking about this shootout, our first for the Krips / LSO performance of the work, was how poorly the original London Bluebacks fared when going head to head with the best vintage reissues.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: schubsym9_decca_2013) 



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

Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson behind the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and wonderful World of the Great Classics reissue from 1976. This copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most pressings, regardless of age.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

The Early London Pressings Are Awful

  (Item #: schubsym9_2061_shame) 



Sonic Grade: F

Presenting another member of our Hall of Shame.

What was most striking about this shootout was how poorly the original London Bluebacks fared when going head to head with the best vintage reissues. In fact, they were so obviously inferior I doubt we would have even needed another pressing to know that they would not possibly be competitive.

The two we had were crude, flat, full of harmonic distortion, and both had clearly restricted frequency extremes. I remember liking the Blueback pressings I played ten or twenty years ago.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Sibelius / Finlandia / Mackerras / London Proms

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: sibelfinla_15159_2015) 



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

A shocking Stereo Treasury sleeper with a superb Shaded-Dog-beating side one. Side one is nearly White Hot - it's exceptionally transparent and dynamic. Real Demo Disc sound and music on side one - spectacular works played with feeling.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Sibelius / Symphony #2 / Barbarolli

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: sibelsym2_rdg_2017) 



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

A truly extraordinary recording mastered beautifully but pressed on vinyl that has never been known for its quiesecece (if I can get by with that ten cent word).

The strings are clear and textured, yet rich and full-bodied. The bottom is big and weighty. The horns are tubey and full-bodied and never screech through even the most difficult passages.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Stravinsky / The Rite of Spring / Monteux / Paris Con.

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: stravriteo_2085_2013) 



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

The ULTIMATE Rite of Spring has arrived. This early pressing takes the sound of the recording to a place we never thought it could go. With Four Pluses (A++++) it's more than a full grade better than any copy to ever make it to the site. After hearing this copy we had to lower the grade on our supposedly White Hot (but too noisy to sell) reference LP.

The space and dynamic power of the sound of this side one were something we had never heard before on Stravinsky's groundbreaking work. Lush when quiet, clear and undistorted when loud, not one Rite of Spring in a hundred can do what this record can!

More of the music of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)


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TAS List Thoughts on Albeniz

Where on The List Is This Record?

  (Item #: albeniberi_tas) 



Another nail in the coffin for HP’s TAS List. The fact that questionable entries such as Reiner’s Pines of Rome make the cut, and an amazing recording such as this doesn’t, should tell you everything you need to know concerning the value of such an incomplete list.

This is truly DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Records simply do not get any more spacious, open, transparent, rich and sweet.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 / Marche Slave and More / Alwyn

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: tchai1812o_decca_2015) 



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

A BEYOND White Hot Quadruple Plus side one - hear Tchaicovsky's 1812 in Demo Disc sound. This is the most exciting and beautifully played 1812 we know of, with the best sound ever to boot on this copy. This is an exceptional Decca remastering of a superb Golden Age recording on very good vinyl.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture - Alwyn

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: tchai1812_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

Excellent, one of the best of the Deccas. Better sound by far than the Classic with Reiner, although of course the original of that record is quite good. You may get better results if you reverse your absolute phase when playing this record. It's been a while since I did it so better to check it yourself and see how you like it each way.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture / Alwyn

Not Recommended Original

  (Item #: tchai1812_6038) 



This very nice looking London Blueback original LP with Little Sign of Play (LSOP) contains the famous Alwyn conducted performance of the 1812 Overture.

The sound leaves much to be desired; at best it would be likely to earn about a "C" grade, as the average classical record is not very good sounding and not even worth the bother to play it.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Tchaikovsky / Nutcracker Suites 1 & 2 / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tchainutcr_6097_2012) 



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

This is an AMAZINGLY well recorded performance of one of the most famous ballets, probably the most famous, ever committed to analog tape. Enchanting music and sound combine on this copy to make one seriously good Demo Disc, if what you are trying to demonstrate is how relaxed and involved vintage analog can make you feel.

A record like this lets you get lost in the world of its music, and what could be more important in a recording than that?

More Tchaikovsky


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Tchaikovsky / The Nutcracker - Ansermet

(Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: tchainutcr_2092) 



Sonic Grade: B?

Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in the '90 when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

"Superb! New records just don’t sound any better! This is the complete Nutcracker Ballet as conducted by Ansermet for Decca, a record that sets a standard of performance and sound that is unlikely ever to be equaled, and almost certainly not to be surpassed."

More music conducted by Ernst Ansermet (1883-1969)


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Ted Heath - Shall We Dance

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: heathshall_2016) 



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

One of the best sounding records we have ever played, the Gold Standard for Tubey Magical Big Band. Both sides are huge, rich, weighty and dynamic like few records you have ever heard. Three elements create the magic here: Kingsway Hall, Kenneth Wilkinson and the Decca "Tree" microphone setup.

More Big Band Jazz


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Ted Heath - Swings In High Stereo

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: heathswing_2010) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper has DEMO QUALITY SOUND. Just listen to Heath's arrangement of My Funny Valentine on side one, or Big Ben, the second track on side two, for audiophile Big Band sound. Many consider Ted Heath's early London recordings to be some of the best big band ever recorded. The American big bands rarely got the kind of sound that the Decca engineers were able to achieve on records like this. For one thing they didn't have Kingsway Hall, Kenneth Wilkinson or the Decca "Tree."

See all of our Large Jazz Ensemble albums in stock


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The Royal Ballet - Gala Performances

Classic Records Repress - Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: royalgalap) 



Sonic Grade: C or Better

Probably a fairly good Classic Records album. When I played this record years ago I thought it was one of the better Classic RCA titles. You can be sure it won't sound like the original -- no Classic record does -- but it might be pretty good all things considered (since the original sells for well over a thousand dollars!). Ansermet is the king of the ballet here and the Decca engineers do him proud.

Classical music conducted by Ernst Ansermet


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Verdi / Rossini / Overtures and Intermezzos / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: varioover_1119_2016) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Plum Victrola pressing has GORGEOUS Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may have never heard. Yes, it's that good! Recorded in England by Decca in 1959, with Solti at the helm of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the music herein was originally released on the album Venice, LSC 2313, with a lovely die-cut cover. Six years later, still clearly in the Golden Age of Tubes, it was reissued on Victrola, and it would be hard to imagine it sounding any better than it does here. (We keep a noisy Venice as a ref but it sure doesn't sound like this pressing.)

More Living Stereo


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