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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV

  (Item #: ) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • An outstanding Hard Rockin' Zep IV with excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • This copy is dramatically fuller and smoother than most, making it possible to get the volume up good and high where it belongs
  • Black Dog, Rock & Roll, Stairway, When the Levee Breaks and the rest - all sound better than you've ever heard them, guaranteed
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "Zeppelin fuse their majestic hard rock with a mystical, rural English folk that gives the record an epic scope."
See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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Cannonball Adderley and His Orchestra - African Waltz

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: adderafric_2018) 



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

This copy of Cannonball's crazy-fun 1961 album offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or better. ALIVE with musical energy, there's also plenty of space for the players to occupy, a quality vital to this big group's big sound.

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White Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

  (Item #: addermercy_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides of this 1965 release, one of the best copies from our shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of the man's most enjoyable albums - the sound here is bigger and livelier than others we played, and above all it's balanced, avoiding the problems we heard on so many other pressings
  • Joe Zawinul (Weather Report) wrote the title song, which became a big hit for Adderley (and later The Buckinghams), and he plays on the album
  • 5 Stars: "Adderley's irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well -- or with such tremendous musical rewards -- as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
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Super Hot Stamper

Cannonball Adderley
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

  (Item #: addermercy_1910) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Exceptional Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this 1965 release, one of the better copies from our shootout
  • One of the man's most enjoyable albums - the sound here is bigger and livelier than most, and above all it's balanced, avoiding many of the problems we heard on other pressings
  • Joe Zawinul (Weather Report) wrote the title song, which became a big hit for Adderley (and later The Buckinghams), and he plays on the album
  • 5 Stars: "Adderley's irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well -- or with such tremendous musical rewards -- as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
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Cannonball Adderley - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: addermercy_2017) 



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

I dropped the needle on a copy of this record a year or so ago and heard amazing you-are-there live jazz club sound, and, more importantly, a hot session from one of our favorite saxophone players of all time, the man who contributed mightily to the likes of Kind of Blue, Somethin' Else, Know What I Mean? and many more. For an Alto player Cannonball is just about as good as it gets.

Fast forward one year and we now have in our possession enough copies to do a proper shootout - originals and reissues on a variety of labels.

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Super Hot Stamper

Aerosmith
Get Your Wings

  (Item #: aerosgetyo_1904) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This outstanding copy of Aerosmith's dynamic sophomore release boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom
  • This album launched the band's collaboration with Jack Douglas, who helped develop their distinctive sound and propel them from obscurity to stardom
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Get Your Wings, is where Aerosmith became Aerosmith ... it's where they shed much of their influences and developed their own trademark sound, it's where they turned into songwriters...they're doing their bloozy bluster better and bolder, which is what turns this sophomore effort into their first classic"
See all of our Aerosmith albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Aerosmith
Night In The Ruts

  (Item #: aerosnight_1908) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A KILLER copy of Night In The Ruts with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides of this original Columbia pressing are doing everything right -- big, rich and full-bodied yet still clean, clear and lively
  • Lauded by Steven Tyler as his favorite Aerosmith album, this collection includes "Mia," a lullaby Tyler wrote for his daughter
  • "Night in the Ruts is a surprisingly coherent and inspired album... it was definitely leaner and more focused than their last studio release." - All Music
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Super Hot Stamper

Aerosmith
Night In The Ruts

  (Item #: aerosnight_1908_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb copy of Night In The Ruts with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • Both sides of this original Columbia pressing are KILLER -- clean, clear, full-bodied and lively with plenty of bottom end weight
  • Lauded by Steven Tyler as his favorite Aerosmith album, this collection includes "Mia," a lullaby Tyler wrote for his daughter
  • "Night in the Ruts is a surprisingly coherent and inspired album... it was definitely leaner and more focused than their last studio release." - All Music
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Airto - Fingers

High Frequency Extension Is Key to the Best Pressings

  (Item #: airtofinge_wtlf) 



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

The best copies have the highs that are missing from so many of the CTI originals. When you play them against most copies there is an extension to the top end that you won't hear elsewhere. Since this album is heavy on percussion, that difference is critical. The HARMONICS of the percussion are critically important to the music. When they go missing it's as if the music seems to slow down, a strange effect but a fairly common one with rhythmically dense arrangements such as these.

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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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The Monty Alexander 7 - Jamento

What to Listen For - Percussion and Piano

  (Item #: alexajamen_wtlf) 



Another in our series of What to Listen For.

Clear piano notes, first and foremost. Any smear or loss of speed (a problem with hi-fi equipment since the beginning of time) detracts from the fun.

Next, the tonality of the best copies is rich and solid; accept nothing less.

And, finally, the proper reproduction of the percussion instruments is critically important to the energy and drive of the music. The better you hear them -- without losing the weight and richness of the piano -- the more you will enjoy your copy of the record.

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Super Hot Stamper

Ambrosia
Ambrosia

  (Item #: ambroambro_1907) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Spectacular Prog Rock sound explodes on this copy of the band's phenomenally well-recorded debut album, mixed by none other than Alan Parsons - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER, this copy has the sound we look for on Ambrosia's Masterpiece
  • Big Whomp Factor here - the bottom end is huge and punchy on this copy, like nothing you've heard
  • A Better Records All-Time Favorite & Top 100 Demo Disc: "Its songs skillfully blend strong melodic hooks and smooth vocal harmonies with music of an almost symphonic density."
See all of our Ambrosia albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Louis Armstrong
The Essential Louis Armstrong

  (Item #: armstessen_1812) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • With solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout, this original stereo copy will be hard to beat
  • Big, rich, and Tubey Magical, Louis Armstrong has rarely sounded this good on record - we should know, we've played his albums by the score
  • This pressing boasts rich lower mids and nice extension up top, critical to getting the right sound for this vintage recording
  • "... a definitive look at the Louis Armstrong All-Stars in their later years, when Tyree Glenn was on trombone and the group was riding high from the success of "Hello Dolly."
See all of our Louis Armstrong albums in stock


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Louis Armstrong - The Essential Louis Armstrong

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: armstessen_2017) 



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

We're always on the lookout for Louis Armstrong records with good sound. In our experience finding them is not nearly as easy as one might think. Far too many of his recordings are poorly recorded, with sound that simply can't be taken seriously -- fine for old consoles but not so good on modern audiophile equipment.

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

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: armstgreat_2017) 



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

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

More Louis Armstrong / More Duke Ellington


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Louis Armstrong - I’ve Got The World on a String

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: armstivego_2018) 



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

You may have seen Russell Garcia's name on one of the landmark recordings of the '50s: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's recording of Porgy and Bess for Verve in the previous year, 1959. Watch for copies coming to the site one of these days.

[One of these days has arrived -- click here to see the results.]

We've discovered some exceptional original and reissue pressings (as well as some that really do a disservice to the music and the engineers who recorded it. What else is new in the world of records?).

More Louis Armstrong


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Super Hot Stamper

The Association
Insight Out

  (Item #: associnsig_1901) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - Windy and Never My Love are simply amazing here - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The Tubey Magical sound, the lively, tight playing by The Wrecking Crew, not to mention some killer Chart Topping '60s pop, make this THE Association record to own
  • With this copy the Sound of the Sixties will fill your room like never before - wall to wall, floor to ceiling, with layers upon layers of depth
  • "The harmonies and choruses are among the most beautifully textured singing in a rock outfit this side of the Beach Boys."
See all of our Association albums in stock


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Chet Atkins - Mister Guitar

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: atkinmiste_2009) 



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

This RCA Living Stereo LP is as TUBEY MAGICAL as it gets. It seems as though Bill Porter just doesn't know how to not make a Living Stereo record with shockingly good sound. Practically anything the guy touches is GOLD!

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Burt Bacharach - Reach Out

What to Listen For

  (Item #: bachareach_wtlf) 



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

What to listen for? Brightness, Blare, Lifelessness, Smear.

We played a good-sized stack of these recently, but not many of them sounded like this one. The majority of copies had a tendency to be bright, which is MURDER when the horns start blaring at the levels we like to play our records at.

In addition there are plenty of copies out there that lack energy, while others suffer from transient smearing, clearly audible on the brass.

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Badfinger - Straight Up

What to Listen For

  (Item #: badfistrai_wtlf) 



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

The best sides have the kind of PRESENCE in the midrange that most copies can't begin to reproduce. The sound on the right pressings just JUMPS out of the speakers, which is exactly what the best copies are supposed to (but rarely) do.

This is Power Pop, plain and simple. The basics are what count: punchy drums, grungy guitars, present vocals, clear but full bass lines -- just the meat and potatoes of rock, no fancy sauces.

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Chet Baker & Art Pepper - Playboys

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: bakerplayb_2015) 



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

Side one is White Hot, side two nearly so, and both contain swingin' West Coast Jazz from 1956. These 1983 reissues on Boplicity are dynamic and lively, perfectly suited to the energy of the music. The 1956 All Tube mono recording here has this Hot/Cool jazz sounding the way it should.

More Chet Baker / More Art Pepper


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Super Hot Stamper

The Band
The Band

  (Item #: band_band_1909) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With superb Double Plus (A++) sonic grades or BETTER on both sides, this is an outstanding copy of an absolutely essential album
  • Big bass, rich meaty guitars and smooth silky vocals make this a Band album like you have never heard before
  • Not only is the sound superb, but both sides here play Mint Minus Minus, about as quiet as we can find them
  • 5 stars: "As had been true of the first album, it was the Band's sound that stood out the most... The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal..."
More of The Band


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Super Hot Stamper (with issues)

The Band
The Band

  (Item #: band_band_1910ex) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With superb Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides, this is an outstanding copy of an absolutely essential album
  • Big bass, rich meaty guitars and smooth silky vocals make this a Band album like you have never heard before
  • Energy, presence, transparency, Tubey Magic - you name it, you will find it here
  • 5 stars: "As had been true of the first album, it was the Band's sound that stood out the most... The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal..."
More of The Band


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The Band - The Band

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: band_band_depth_) 



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

The best copies have no trace of phony sound from top to bottom. They're raw and real in a way that makes most pop records sound processed and wrong. Our best Hot Stampers have plenty of the qualities we look for in The Band. Energy, presence, transparency, Tubey Magic... you name it -- you will find it there. The biggest strength of this recording is its wonderful, natural midrange. And tons of bass.

More from The Band


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The Band - Rock Of Ages

Turn Up Your Volume, Now It Rocks!

  (Item #: band_rocko_volume) 



Yet another record that really comes to life when you Turn Up Your Volume.

Most copies of this album do not have a boosted bottom or top, which means that at normal listening levels -- depending on how you define that term -- they can sound pretty flat. This is one album that needs to be turned up, obviously not to the levels of a live rock concert, but up about as loud as you can until you can get the bass and the highs to come out. We found ourselves adding more and more level in order to get the sound to come to life, and it was playing pretty loud before the sound was right.

See all of our The Band albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
88 Basie Street

  (Item #: basie88bas_1904_6_9ex) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This unusually strong copy of an exceptionally well-recorded classic boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • This is a Top Basie Big Band title in every way -- musically, sonically, you name it, 88 Basie Street has got it going on
  • With 18 pieces in the studio this is a real powerhouse - the sound is rich, powerful, dynamic and HUGE
  • 4 stars: "One of Basie's final albums, the very appealing title cut seems to sum up his career, a lightly swinging groove with a strong melody. Two small-group performances with guest Joe Pass on guitar add variety to a particularly strong set."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Big Band

  (Item #: basiebasie_big_band_1904_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An insanely good copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both sides are incredibly rich, lively and clear - musically and sonically this is one of the best Basie Big Band records!
  • Guaranteed to be dramatically livelier and more dynamic than any Basie title you've heard
  • Lots of tight, deep, note-like bass and mostly correct timbre for the brass throughout
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Big Band

  (Item #: basiebasie_big_band_1904_1908) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Musically and sonically this is one of the best Basie Big Band records!
  • Guaranteed to be dramatically livelier and more dynamic than any Basie title you've heard
  • Lots of tight, deep, note-like bass and mostly correct timbre for the brass throughout
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Count Basie - Basie Big Band

The Glorious Sound of Triple Flutes

  (Item #: basiebasie_big_band_wtlf) 



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

Check out the triple flutes on the first track on side two - on a copy like this you will hear some shockingly Tubey Magical, breathy, sweet, natural flutes. And there are three of them! Even large classical orchestras rarely have three flutes. The sound is to die for.

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Basie Big Band - Farmers Market Barbecue

First Among Equals, or The Best Pablo Ever?

  (Item #: basiefarme_first) 



Musically FMB is a Top Basie Big Band title in every way. This should not be surprising: many of his recordings for Pablo in the '70s and early '80s display the talents of The Count and his band of veterans at their best.

Sonically it's another story. Based on our recent shootout for this title, in comparison to the other Basie titles we've done lately we would have to say that FMB is the best Basie big band title we've ever played. Since so many Basie big band recordings are so good, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves; after all, we haven't done shootouts for all of his Pablo large group recordings. To be safe we'll just call this one First Among Equals.

More Count Basie


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The Beach Boys - Surf's Up

What to Listen For

  (Item #: beachsurfs_wtlf) 



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

What's magical about The Beach Boys? Their voices of course, what else could it be? It's not a trick question. Any good pressing must sound correct on their voices or it has no practical value whatsoever. A Beach Boys record with bad sound in the midrange -- like most of them -- is to us a worthless record.

When you drop the needle on a copy with gritty, spitty, harsh, shrill vocals, give up and move on. You have a bad pressing and no amount of cleaning or adjusting of the table can ever fix it.

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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Abbey Road

  (Item #: beatlabbey_1909) 

Our Price: $749.99

  • An exceptional copy of The Beatles' last and arguably greatest album, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Here's an Abbey Road that's big, rich, sweet and present, with strong energy, wonderfully breathy vocals and huge guitars
  • If you've heard the disastrous new pressing, then you know how important it is to play a real, vintage, analog pressing
  • A copy this good might just give you a new appreciation for one of the Greatest Rock Albums of All Time
  • 5 Stars, a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100, and a Desert Island Disc if ever there was one
More by The Beatles


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Super Hot Stamper (With Issues)

The Beatles
Abbey Road

  (Item #: beatlabbey_1909_3) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A wonderful copy of The Beatles' last and arguably greatest album, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • This early British pressing is guaranteed to be dramatically bigger, richer, fuller and smoother than anything you've heard
  • If you've heard the disastrous new pressing, then you know how important it is to play a real, vintage, analog pressing
  • A copy this good might just give you a new appreciation for one of the Greatest Rock Albums of All Time
  • 5 Stars, a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100, and a Desert Island Disc if ever there was one
More Abbey Road / More by The Beatles


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Abbey Road

  (Item #: beatlabbey_1910ex) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A superb copy of The Beatles' last and arguably greatest album, with exceptional Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides - coming in just behind our Mind Blowing Shootout Winner
  • Huge, spacious and detailed, with the Tubey Magic of a fresh tape - the way Abbey Road should be heard - not remixed and not remastered
  • If you've heard the disastrous new pressing, then you know how important it is to play a real, vintage, analog pressing
  • A copy this good might just give you a new appreciation for one of the Greatest Rock Albums of All Time
  • 5 Stars, a permanent member of the Rock and Pop Top 100, and a Desert Island Disc if ever there was one
More Abbey Road


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The Beatles - Abbey Road

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlabbey_depth) 



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

Those of you who follow the site (or do your own shootouts) know that it’s much tougher to find great copies of Abbey Road than it is for MMT or Please Please Me. Most of the copies we’ve played just aren’t good enough to put on the site. For whatever reasons -- probably because this recording is so complicated and required so many tracks -- Abbey Road is arguably the toughest nut to crack in the Beatles' catalog.

More Abbey Road


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The Beatles - A Hard Day’s Night

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlahard_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with plenty of advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of A Hard Day's Night.

On If I Fell, the Beatles vocals should sound warm, sweet, and clear. If they do, at the very least you have a contender, and possibly a winner. Not many pressings are going to bring out all the subtle qualities of both Paul and John's leads, as well as the wonderful harmonies they created so effortlessly (or at least seemed to).

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The Beatles - A Hard Day’s Night

It's (Almost) All About the Midrange

  (Item #: beatlahard_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 A Hard Day's Night.

This music has a HUGE amount of upper midrange and high frequency information. (Just note how present the tambourines are in the mixes.) If the record isn't cut properly, or pressed properly for that matter, the sound can REALLY be unpleasant.

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
A Collection of Beatles Oldies

  (Item #: beatlcolle_1906_10) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • With two outstanding sides each rating a Double Plus (A++) or BETTER, this copy was one of the better British pressings we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • An excellent source for many of the Beatles' greatest hits up to 1966 - with 8 songs per side you are geting a lot for your money with this one
  • Several tracks, including "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Day Tripper", "We Can Work It Out" and "Paperback Writer" were given their first stereo mixes for this very album
  • Surprisingly good sound for From Me to You, We Can Work It Out, Yesterday, I Feel Fine, and the list goes on
See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
A Collection of Beatles Oldies

  (Item #: beatlcolle_1908) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) Demo Disc quality sound throughout, this copy was the best British pressing we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • An excellent source for many of the Beatles' greatest hits up to 1966 - with 8 songs per side you are geting a lot for your money with this one
  • Several tracks, including "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Day Tripper", "We Can Work It Out" and "Paperback Writer" were given their first stereo mixes for this very album
  • Surprisingly good sound for From Me to You, We Can Work It Out, Yesterday, I Feel Fine, and the list goes on
More Beatles


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Hot Stamper

The Beatles
A Collection of Beatles Oldies

  (Item #: beatlcolle_1909) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two excellent Hot Stamper or better sides, this British pressing has a lot going for it - reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • A good source for many of the Beatles' greatest hits up to 1966 - with 8 songs per side you are geting a lot for your money with this one
  • Several tracks, including "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Day Tripper", "We Can Work It Out" and "Paperback Writer" were given their first stereo mixes for this very album
  • "The compilation provided the debut UK album release for the following singles tracks: "From Me to You", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "I Feel Fine", "Day Tripper", "We Can Work It Out" and "Paperback Writer"."
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The Beatles - Beatles For Sale

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlforsa_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of For Sale. We note that Words of Love is a tough track to get right:

There are some lively, jangly guitars behind the smooth voices. Many copies seem to sacrifice one for the other, leaving you with either irritating guitars or dull voices. The better copies get them both right.

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The Beatles - Help

Germans Versus Brits

  (Item #: beatlhelp_2011) 



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

We've heard some excellent German pressings before, but this time [circa 2011] nothing could match up to our best Brit copies. What the best British copies have is more of the TUBEY MAGIC that can typically be heard on early pressings, due no doubt to the fact that they are mastered with tube equipment.

More Help


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Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Let It Be

  (Item #: beatlletit_1811_1902) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • You'll find very good sound on this Hot Stamper German pressing of Let It Be from start to finish - quiet vinyl too
  • A late-period album with real rock 'n' roll power - we love the "live-in-the-studio" rockers like I’ve Got a Feeling
  • If all you have is the Heavy Vinyl pressing or the MoFi, you will not believe how good this album can sound on a real UK Parlophone such as this one
  • AMG: "...it's an album well worth having, as when the Beatles were in top form here, they were as good as ever."
More Beatles / More Let It Be


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Let It Be

  (Item #: beatlletit_1811_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this UK pressing is bringing out the best qualities Let It Be's sound - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • There's no studio wizardry, no heavy-handed mastering, no phony EQ - here is some of the most realistic, natural Beatles sound you can get
  • Copies like this one make good on the promise that Let It Be captures the greatest rock band of all time playing and singing their hearts out
  • "The album is on the whole underrated... it's an album well worth having, as when the Beatles were in top form here, they were as good as ever."
More Beatles / More Let It Be


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The Beatles - Let It Be

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: beatlletit_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about the business of critically evaluating copies of Let It Be.

This is the first time we've discussed individual tracks on the album. Our recent shootout, in which we discovered a mind-boggling, rule-breaking side one, motivated us to sit down and explain what the best copies should do on each side of the album for the tracks we test with. Better late than never I suppose.

More on Let It Be


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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour

  (Item #: beatlmagic_1909_1) 

Our Price: $699.99

  • Incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from beginning to end, this copy is guaranteed to blow your mind - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A stunning copy with some of the best Beatles sound money can buy - superb work from Ken Scott here
  • Demo Quality Sound for I Am The Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever, Baby You're A Rich Man and more
  • You won't believe how powerful the sound is - it's big, rich, open and lively beyond any expectations you may have had
  • A longtime Top 100 album and Psych Masterpiece that knocks us out every time we do the shootout for it
More Magical Mystery Tour / More by The Beatles


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: beatlmagic_depth) 



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

We discuss in detail what we're listening for and what the best copies seem to do so well that the run-of-the-mill copies simply do not. If you own a copy of the German MMT plays yours and listen for what we're listening for. It's all laid out in the track commentary.

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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Please Please Me

  (Item #: beatlpleas_1808_5_9) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A stunning copy of the Beatles debut studio album with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This copy has superb presence, clarity and size - it's bigger, bolder and richer, as well as more clean, clear and open than any copy we played
  • A Triple Plus PPM would clearly be a top pick for a Beatles Demo Disc - your jaw will drop
  • "... [The Beatles] were a group with the luck to meet opportunities, the wit to recognize them, the drive to seize them, and the talent to fulfil them. Please Please Me is the sound of them doing all four."
More Please Please Me / More by The Beatles


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Please Please Me

  (Item #: beatlpleas_1811_6_10) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this copy of the Beatles' debut album - fairly quiet too
  • We guarantee this pressing will be richer, livelier, cleaner and just more fun than virtually any copy you can find
  • 5 Stars and A Better Records Top 100 album, as well as our clear favorite of their first five releases
  • "The 'evening with the band' feel makes Please Please Me a more coherent experience than other cover-heavy Beatles albums: Here other peoples' songs work not just as filler, but as markers for styles and effects the band admired and might return to as songwriters."
More Please Please Me / More by The Beatles


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

What to Listen For

  (Item #: beatlpleas_wtlf_2014) 



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

The Beatles' first album is a recording overflowing with sonic qualities prized by audiophiles and music lovers alike: Tubey Magic, energy, immediacy, richness, breathy vocals; in short, all the stuff you will never hear -- or not hear to the same extent -- on anything but the best vintage analog vinyl LPs.

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Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Rubber Soul

  (Item #: beatlrubbe_1910) 

Our Price: $89.99

  • With Hot Stamper sound on both sides, this vintage UK stereo pressing has plenty of analog magic in its grooves - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A Better Records Rock & Pop Top 100 Title, 5 Stars on Allmusic, and a Must Own Folk Rock Masterpiece
  • We hope you were as disgusted with the remastered Heavy Vinyl pressing as we were - what a piece of garbage
  • "The lyrics represented a quantum leap in terms of thoughtfulness, maturity, and complex ambiguities. Musically, too, it was a substantial leap forward, with intricate folk-rock arrangements that reflected the increasing influence of Dylan and the Byrds."
More by The Beatles


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Rubber Soul

  (Item #: beatlrubbe_1910_2) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one and a side two that's close to it, this vintage UK stereo pressing has plenty of analog magic in its grooves - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee you've never heard Girl, I'm Looking Through You, In My Life, Wait, and If I Needed Someone sound better - and that's just side two
  • A Rock & Pop Top 100 Title, and a Must Own Folk Rock Masterpiece
  • 5 stars: "The lyrics represented a quantum leap in terms of thoughtfulness, maturity, and complex ambiguities. Musically, too, it was a substantial leap forward, with intricate folk-rock arrangements that reflected the increasing influence of Dylan and the Byrds."
More Rubber Soul / More Beatles


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The Beatles - Rubber Soul

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlrubbe_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy (or our copy) of Rubber Soul. (If you have the MoFi pressing please click on the Track Listing tab below to read about its most glaring shortcoming.)
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The Beatles - The White Album

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlwhite_depth) 



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

It's exceedingly difficult to find audiophile quality sound on The White Album. The Beatles were breaking apart, often recording independently of each other, with their own favorite engineers as enablers, and George Martin nowhere to be found most of the time. They were also experimenting more and more with sound itself, which resulted in wonderful songs and interesting effects. However, these new approaches and added complexity often result in a loss of sonic "purity."

More of The White Album


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Hot Stamper

The Beatles
With The Beatles

  (Item #: beatlwitht_1909) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Hot Stamper sound, and quiet vinyl - this copy is guaranteed to beat any Heavy Vinyl or Half-Speed Mastered pressing you may have heard
  • Looking for the best sound? Try Till There Was You on side one and You Really Got A Hold On Me on the flipside
  • So many great songs: All My Loving, Roll over Beethoven, Money (That's What I Want), Devil In Her Heart...
  • "A sequel of the highest order - one that betters the original by developing its own tone and adding depth. While it may share several similarities with its predecessor - there is an equal ratio of covers-to-originals, a familiar blend of girl group, Motown, R&B, pop, and rock... With the Beatles is a better record that not only rocks harder, it's considerably more sophisticated...
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Super Hot Stamper (quiet vinyl)

Jeff Beck
Wired

  (Item #: beck_wired_1910) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An excellent copy of Jeff Beck's third solo effort with Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Big and full with a punchy bottom end and driving jazz/rock energy, here are the elements critical to the best sounding copies
  • Wired, the sequel to the hugely successful Blow by Blow, was produced by Sir George Martin and mixed by Geoff Emerick
  • "Within a two-year span, the twin towers Blow by Blow and Wired set a standard for instrumental rock that even Beck has found difficult to match. On Wired, with first-rate material and collaborators on hand, one of rock's most compelling guitarists is in top form."
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Beethoven / ’Kreutzer’ Sonata

Putting Your System to the (Violin and Piano) Test

  (Item #: beethkreut_2577_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating this kind of recording.

Do you want a recording that is going to put your system to the test? Well this is that record! That violin is REAL. As you compare equipment or tweak your system, you will hear the sound of that violin change and it should be obvious when it gets better and when it gets worse.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Concerto No. 3 / Hendl / Graffman

Reviewed in 2014

  (Item #: beethpiano_2396_2014) 



This rare RCA Shaded Dog has SUPERB SOUND as well as a top performance. Super Hot Stampers for both sides means that this pressing has the real Living Stereo magic in spades. Unlike most of the RCA concerto recordings (Rubinstein's come immediately to mind in this regard), the brilliant soloist featured here is not overly spotlighted, hence the more credible "concert hall" sound. The piano is part of the orchestra, allowing all the contributions of the musicians to be heard clearly, with each of the orchestral sections laid out beautifully across an especially huge and deep Orchestra Hall stage.
More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_2017) 



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

The reproduction of the violin here is superb -- harmonically rich, natural, clean, clear, resolving. What sets the truly killer pressings apart is the depth, width and three-dimensional quality of the sound, as well as the fact that they become less congested in the louder passages and don't get shrill or blary. The best copies display a Tubey Magical richness -- especially evident in the basses and celli -- that is to die for.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto / Grumiaux

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: beethvioli_grumiaux_2018) 



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

The reproduction of the violin here is superb -- harmonically rich, natural, clean, clear, resolving. What sets the truly killer pressings apart is the depth, width and three-dimensional quality of the sound, as well as the fact that they become less congested in the louder passages and don't get shrill or blary. The best copies display a Tubey Magical richness -- especially evident in the basses and celli -- that is to die for.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Super Hot Stamper

Tony Bennett
For Once In My Life

  (Item #: benneforon_1804_1904-) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • This vintage pressing gives Tony the sound he deserves, with excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both of these early stereo sides
  • Amazing vocal reproduction courtesy of the brilliant engineering of Frank Laico at his favorite studio (and ours), Columbia 30th Street studios
  • We are not big soundstage guys here at Better Records, but we can't deny the appeal of the space to be found on a record as good as this
See all of our Tony Bennett albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Tony Bennett & Count Basie
Strike Up The Band

  (Item #: bennestrik_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on this Emus pressing of Count Basie and Tony Bennett's 1959 classic collaboration
  • The originals we have played are uniformly horrible sounding compared to these wonderful reissues - the tonality here is Right On The Money
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... the pairing between Bennett and Basie remains impressive. The band raves through tunes like "With Plenty Of Money And You," and Bennett matches them, drawing strength from the bravura arrangements, while band and singer achieve a knowing tenderness on "Growing Pains." This is an album well worth owning..."
See all of our Tony Bennett albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

George Benson
Tell It Like It Is

  (Item #: bensotelli_1803_1905-) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, this is an excellent copy of this Benson album from 1969
  • We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does here, or your money back
  • Allmusic loves Benson's playing here, noting his "...often brilliantly tasty guitar fills and brief solos in many styles and three reverb-heavy vocals."
See all of our George Benson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Leonard Bernstein
West Side Story (Soundtrack)

  (Item #: bernswests_1907_4) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A superb sounding copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides; exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Both sides here are super big, rich, Tubey Magical and tonally right on the money (for once!)
  • The biggest selling album of the '60s - 54 weeks at Number One (!)
  • "The soundtrack of the West Side Story film is deservedly one of the most popular soundtrack recordings of all time, and one of the relatively few to have attained long-term popularity beyond a specialized soundtrack/theatrical musical audience." - AMG, 5 Stars
See all of our Leonard Bernstein albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Big Brother & The Holding Company
Self-Titled

  (Item #: bigbrbigbr_1811_1908) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout
  • Forget the Mainstream originals and the Columbia reissues - the solid, rich, Tubey Magical sound here is only found on these copies with these stampers
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout - they didn't press them any quieter in our experience
  • A tough record to find with audiophile quality sound and clean vinyl, two reasons you rarely can find it on the site
See all Janis Joplin albums in stock


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Bizet & Saint-Saens / Carmen Fantasie

This Is Why You Must Do Shootouts

  (Item #: bizetcarme_wtlf) 



Ricci’s playing of the Bizet-Sarasate Carmen Fantasie is OUT OF THIS WORLD. There is no greater performance on record in my opinion, and few works that have as much Audiophile Appeal. Which is why I've had a copy of this record in my own collection for about fifteen years marked "My Demo Disc". But this copy KILLED it. How could that be?

It just goes to show: No matter how good a particular copy of a record may sound to you, when you clean and play enough of them you will almost always find one that's better, and often surprisingly better. Shootouts are the only way to find these kinds of records. Nothing else works.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


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Blood, Sweat & Tears - Child is Father to the Man

What to Listen For

  (Item #: bloodchild_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 first Blood Sweat and Tears album.

Have you ever played the first BS&T album? The average copy is a headache-inducing MESS. It will never be a Demo Disc, but that certainly doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable.

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White Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Diamond Dogs

  (Item #: bowiediamo_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides, this UK copy is killer from start to finish
  • Bowie handles sax, Mellotron, and Moog duties on the album, and plays practically all of the electric guitar parts (!)
  • It's ridiculously tough to find even passable sonics for the album - you'll be blown away by the size and weight of this one
  • Great songs including the title track, Rebel Rebel, 1984, Sweet Thing, Big Brother, Rock & Roll With Me and more
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Young Americans

  (Item #: bowieyoung_1910) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • An outstanding copy of Bowie's one and only soul album with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This vintage pressing was simply bigger and fuller than the competition, with massive amounts of energy and three-dimensional studio space like you will not believe
  • On an exceptionally transparent copy such as this one, it's much easier to pick out all the background vocalists in the relatively dense mixes that Bowie favored here, and that's the kind of sound that wins shootouts
  • One of our favorites by The Man, with so many killer tracks: Young Americans, Win, Fascination, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Across the Universe and, of course, Fame
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Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Young Americans

  (Item #: bowieyoung_1910_2) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This superb copy of Bowie's one and only soul album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of the five or ten best Bowie songs of all time is on this very album: Somebody up There Likes Me, with David Sanborn for more than six minutes soulfully blowing his brains out on the sax
  • On an exceptionally transparent copy such as this one, it's much easier to pick out all the background vocalists in the relatively dense mixes that Bowie favored here, and that's the kind of sound that wins shootouts
  • One of our favorites by The Man, with so many killer tracks: Young Americans, Win, Fascination, Across the Universe and, of course, Fame
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Thinking About the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars

of Bread and Cat Stevens

  (Item #: breadmanna_thoughts) 



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

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

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Bread and Elektra Analog

A Double-Edged Sword that Cuts Both Ways (Uh, Don't They All?)

  (Item #: breadmanna_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Bread.

Manna has the clear signature of Elektra from the late '60s and early '70s. It's unmistakably ANALOG, but that double-edged sword cuts both ways. Richness and Tubey Magic (the kind you had in your old '70s stereo equipment) often comes at the expense of transparency, clarity, speed and transient information (the things your '70s equipment probably had more trouble with).

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The Bloated Cello Sound Some Audiophiles Seem to Love

  (Item #: brittsonat_cello) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate any and all cello recordings you may own.

On this pressing we were a bit surprised by how unusually natural the cello sounded -- more like the real instrument and less like the typical recording of it.


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Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne

What to Listen For

  (Item #: brownjacks_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Jackson Browne's first (and best) album.

The real trick with this album is in striking the right balance between richness and presence. A White Hot Stamper from years back made me change my mind about this recording. I used to think it was dull, but I was wrong. I used to think that even the best copies of this recording sounded rolled off on the top end. I no longer believe that to be true. On the best pressings the top end is correct for this music.

See all of our Jackson Browne albums in stock


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Jackson Browne - Late for the Sky

This Kind of Clarity Quickly Wears Out Its Welcome

  (Item #: brownlatef_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 Late for the Sky.

It's not easy to find copies that get the tonal balance right the way the best copies do. Most err in one of two ways -- either they're rich, full and a little veiled, or they're clear and transparent, but leaned-out and boosted.

See all of our Jackson Browne albums in stock


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Dave Brubeck Trio Featuring Gerry Mulligan - Compadres

What to Listen For - The Audience

  (Item #: brubecompa_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, or any live album for that matter.

As is the case with most live albums, the sound of the crowd tells you a lot about the recording, and on this copy the crowd sounded exceptionally clear and natural.

More Dave Brubeck / More Gerry Mulligan


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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Further Out

What to Listen For

  (Item #: brubetimef_wtlf) 



The best copies such as this one demonstrate the big-as-life Fred Plaut Columbia Sound at its best (better than even Time Out in our opinion). These vintage recordings are full-bodied, spacious, three-dimensional, rich, sweet and warm in the best tradition of an All Tube Analog recording. If you want to hear big drums in a big room these Brubeck recordings will show you that sound better than practically any record we know of. The Engineering tab below has much more on that subject.
See more of our Dave Brubeck albums in stock


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Buckingham Nicks - Buckingham Nicks

Watch Out for Too Fat and Too Rich

  (Item #: buckibucki_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 biggest problem with this record is sound that gets too fat and too rich. There has to be transparency to the sound that lets us listen into the studio. When Stevie is singing, almost always double-tracked by the way, Lindsay is often doing harmony vocals well behind her, double-tracked as well.

More Buckingham Nicks / More Fleetwood Mac


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Buffalo Springfield - Again

Extracting the Midrange Magic

  (Item #: buffaagain_wtlf) 



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

So many copies of this album sound so bad and play so poorly that most audiophiles have by now written it off as a lost cause. But we didn't. We kept at it, and our main motivation was the music.

Extracting the midrange magic from a album like this should be the goal of every right-thinking audiophile. Who cares what's on the TAS Super Disc List? I want to play the music that I love, not because it sounds good, but because I love it. And if the only way to find good sounding copies of typically poorly-mastered, beat-to-death records such as this one is to go through a big pile of them, well then, I guess that's what we'll have to do.

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Buffalo Springfield - Last Time Around

Listening for Tubey Magic Down Low

  (Item #: buffalastt_wtlf) 



On even the best copies there's a bit too much Tubey Magic in the bass I regret to say. Tubbiness and bloat were par for the course. This may explain why so many copies have rolled off bass; the engineer cut the bass because he heard how tubby it was and figured no bass is better than bad bass.

Which is just not true. Cutting the bass leans out and "modernizes" the sound, making the voices sound thin and dry. This pretty much ruins everything on this album just the way it ruins everything in practically every modern recording I hear. Having your bass under control on the playback side isn't easy -- in fact it's probably the hardest thing to achieve in audio -- but it can be done, and with good bass control the slightly wooly bass is just part of the sound you learn to accept.

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Super Hot Stamper

The Byrds
Ballad of Easy Rider

  (Item #: byrdsballa_1712_1810) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • An excellent copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We're always blown away at just how much further the Top Copies like this one take the music -- a dramatic difference!
  • Both sides are rich and full with plenty of Tubey Magic and lovely present vocals
  • "Ballad of Easy Rider was the album where the new lineup really hit its stride." 4 stars
See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man

What to Listen For

  (Item #: byrdsmrtam_wtlf) 



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

Want to hear what the best copies of Mr. Tambourine Man can do? Play Chimes of Freedom, one of the best sounding tracks on side two, if not THE best. Listen to how breathy Jim (later Roger) McGuinn's vocals are. Byrds records almost never sound like that.

I Knew I’d Want You is another one that sounds amazingly Tubey Magical on the best pressings.

More of The Byrds


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The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn!

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: byrdsturnt_2011) 



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

This Columbia 360 label pressing has AMAZING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES and the vinyl is about as quiet as any of these 360 Label pressings can be found!

It took us a long time, but we pulled together enough clean copies for a big shootout, and these two great sides were head and shoulders above the competition. The sound is natural, lifelike and realistic with serious immediacy and plenty of rock and roll energy.

See all of our Byrds albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Canned Heat
Canned Heat

  (Item #: cannecanne_1806_1904-) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This outstanding original pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound, and the vinyl is about as quiet as we can find it
  • The sound is present, lively and tonally correct, with rich, Tubey Magical vocals that are only found on these good vintage pressings
  • These "authentic renderings" of blues covers include classics such as Muddy Waters' Rollin' and Tumblin' and Robert Johnson's Dust My Broom
  • 4 stars: "This debut was issued shortly after their appearance at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival... While decidedly more obscure to the casual listener, Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones "Story of My Life" is both a high point on this recording, as well as one of the fiercest renditions ever committed to tape."
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White Hot Stamper

Canned Heat
Canned Heat

  (Item #: cannecanne_1901_5_9ex) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • A stunning sounding original copy: Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side, Double Plus (A++) on the second
  • The sound is present, lively and tonally correct, with rich, Tubey Magical vocals that are only found on these good vintage pressings
  • These "authentic renderings" of blues covers include classics such as Muddy Waters' Rollin' and Tumblin' and Robert Johnson's Dust My Broom
  • 4 stars: "This debut was issued shortly after their appearance at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival... While decidedly more obscure to the casual listener, Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones "Story of My Life" is both a high point on this recording, as well as one of the fiercest renditions ever committed to tape."
More Canned Heat


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Super Hot Stamper

The Cars
Candy-O

  (Item #: cars_candy_1904_1906) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A killer copy of The Cars' New Wave Classic, boasting outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee this is some of the best sound you'll ever hear on ANY Cars album - Roy Thomas Baker's production makes this one jump out of the speakers like few recordings we've ever heard (and not many of them are from 1979, that's for damn sure)
  • 4 1/2 stars: "As it stands, it may be one of the best second albums ever made, full of great songs, inspired performances, and sporting a still-perfect sound. If this had been the Cars' debut album, people might consider it a classic. Coming after The Cars, it has to be rated a little lower, but not by much."
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The Cars - Candy-O

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: cars_candy_depth) 



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

This is one of our favorite recordings -- a former member of our Top 100 -- for one very simple reason: it's got Big Rock Sound in spades! Drop the needle on Let's Go and check out the sound of the big floor tom. When the drummer bangs on that thing, you will FEEL it! It's similar to the effect of being in the room with live musicians -- the difference between just hearing music and also feeling it. That's what you get from a Hot Stamper copy.

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The Cars - The Cars

Ramping Up the Horsepower Like Crazy

  (Item #: cars_cars_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 classic first Cars album.

The best copies must have one absolutely essential quality if this groundbreaking New Wave album is to come to life -- a huge, spacious soundstage.

More of The Cars


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Super Hot Stamper

Johnny Cash
At San Quentin

  (Item #: cash_atsan_1903_1_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A great sounding vintage 360 pressing of a legendary live album - this copy earned Double Plus (A++) grades or better on both sides and boasts exceptionally quiet vinyl
  • Full, rich, lively and clean - Johnny Cash gets the sonic treatment he deserves here
  • So many great songs: Wanted Man, I Walk the Line, San Quentin, A Boy Named Sue, Folsom Prison Blues and more
  • 5 stars: "...listen to "A Boy Named Sue," ... rescued by the wild-eyed, committed performance by Cash, where it sounds like he really was set on murdering that son of a bitch who named him Sue. He sounds that way throughout the record... "
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Johnny Cash
The Fabulous Johnny Cash

  (Item #: cash_fabul_1812_6_10) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • An outstanding vintage stereo pressing with Double Plus (A++) sound for Cash's first album for Columbia - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are Tubey Magical yet clear, with plenty of energy and a lovely musical quality that's noticeably missing from many of the copies we've played over the years (and no doubt the Heavy Vinyl pressing)
  • For a country album from 1958, "Fabulous" is very well recorded, with consistently engaging songs sung from the heart
  • 4 1/2: "What makes it so entertaining are the songs themselves. From "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" and "Frankie's Man, Johnny" to "Pickin' Time" and "The Troubador," the album is filled with first-rate songs."
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Chabrier / Orchestral Music / Ansermet

What to Listen For

  (Item #: chabrorche_wtlf_2016) 



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

On many copies the strings are dry, lacking Tubey Magic. This is decidedly not our sound, although it can easily be heard on many London pressings, the kind we've played by the hundreds over the years. If you have a rich sounding cartridge, perhaps with that little dip in the upper midrange that so many moving coils have these days, you will not notice this tonality issue nearly as much as we do. Our 17D3 is ruler flat and quite unforgiving in this regard.

More of the music of Emmanual Chabrier (1841-1894)


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Ray Charles
The Best Of

  (Item #: charlbesto_1803_1808) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • An excellent sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Like any compilation the sound varies from track to track, but most of the material here sounds WONDERFUL
  • This collection of instrumentals gives you a taste of Ray's prowess at the piano, with surprisingly good sound to boot
  • All these recordings are from the late 50s, including a live performance from the Newport Jazz Festival
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Ray Charles
The Genius of Ray Charles

  (Item #: charlgenius_of_1904_6_10) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This KILLER 2-pack boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • It's incredibly rich, full and tubey throughout, as Ray tackles both big band classics and string-backed ballads from the Great American Songbook, all with truly magical results
  • Robert Christgau noted that "Charles tried many times, but except for Modern Sounds, he never again assembled such a consistent album in this mode."
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Charles' voice is heard throughout in peak form, giving soul to even the veteran standards."
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Ray Charles & Betty Carter
Ray Charles & Betty Carter

  (Item #: charlraych_1902_9) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound for this hard-to-find vintage stereo pressing
  • Ray's 1961 release here showcases two of the most soulful singers to ever share a microphone, both at the height of their powers
  • Includes the now "controversial" Baby It's Cold Outside (no one has ever recorded it quite like these two), People Will Say We're In Love, Side By Side, and many more
  • 4 stars: "There is certainly a powerful, often sexy rapport between the two -- Charles in his sweet balladeering mode, Carter with her uniquely keening, drifting high register -- and they definitely create sparks in the justly famous rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside.""
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Ray Charles
Sweet & Sour Tears

  (Item #: charlsweet_1910) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • You'll find stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides of this Shootout Winning 1964 pressing - exceptionally QUIET vinyl for a vintage Ray Charles record (!)
  • This stereo pressing is the only way to hear these classic songs sound rich, powerful and free from coloration
  • A concept album filled with an eclectic collection of themed music, this release showcases Charles' innovative approach to recording
  • "...One is almost tempted to think that Charles was toying with audience expectations by mixing unabashedly sentimental slow tunes with the far more bluesy, satisfying, and upbeat numbers, such as his surprisingly brassy, punchy treatment of "Cry Me a River.""
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Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: chicachica1_depth) 



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

The average copy of this album is an unmitigated DISASTER. The smeary brass alone is enough to drive anyone from the room. To a list of its faults you can confidently add some or all of the following: 1) blobby, blurry, out of control bass; 2) opaque veiled mids; 3) rolled off highs, or no highs, whichever the case may be, common to virtually every pressing you find (cont.)

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June Christy
Gone For The Day

  (Item #: chrisgonef_1805_1906) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • With a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one and a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side two, this Capitol Turquoise label original will be very hard to beat
  • This 1957 mono has all the TUBEY MAGIC these vintage Capitol pressings are famous for - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • It's balanced and natural, with the kind of rich, full-bodied sound that no one seems to know how to record anymore
  • Allmusic reviewers give it Four Stars and we would give it at least that many - we love the unique sound of June Christy's breathy, sweet voice
See all of our June Christy albums in stock


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Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton

Good Horns, Probably Good Everything

  (Item #: claptericc_wtlf) 



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

The sound of the horn arrangements backing practically every song on the album are key to the quality of the pressing and mastering. Blurry, smeary, leading-edge-challenged horns are the kiss of death on this album, as are grainy, gritty, transistory ones. When the horns have clarity, correct tonality, plenty of space around them and a solid, full-bodied sound, probably every other instrument in the soundscape will too.

More Eric Clapton and Cream


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Ornette Coleman
Tomorrow Is The Question

  (Item #: colemtomor_1812_1903_1908) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An outstanding copy of Coleman's sophomore release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • Our Contemporary Yellow Label Stereo LP here has have breathy, full-bodied brass and lots of tight, well-defined bass
  • The top end is nicely extended, which results in excellent space, transparency and clarity
  • 4 stars: "...this is one of the things that came to define Ornette -- his willingness to let simplicity and its bright colors and textures confound not only other players and listeners, but also him too."
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Judy Collins - Who Knows Where The Time Goes

The Gold Labels Are the Best, Right?

  (Item #: colliwhokn_original) 



Nope. It’s just another one of them pesky Record Myths.

As often happens in these shootouts, the copy that's supposed to be the most Tubey Magical and "Real" -- most audiophiles would nominate the Gold Label original as their first choice on both counts -- turns out, counterintuitively, to be somewhat flat, lean and "modern" sounding. We were as surprised as anyone (even though we shouldn't be by now). We're fans of early label Elektra pressings as a rule; on this title they usually left us wanting more.

More Judy Collins


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