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Dick Schory - Music To Break Any Mood

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: schormusic_2125_2019) 



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

This is the successor to Bang Baaroom, and as you can imagine it's music in the same percussive style, the major difference here being the addition of a giant gong which the producers justifiably take great pride in. This title is also at least 5 times as rare as LSP 1866; I haven't seen one of these in years!

Features standards Caravan, Fascinating Rhythm and Stranger In Paradise, among others.

More Dick Schory


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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.

More Count Basie


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - 4 Way Street

What to Listen For

  (Item #: crosb4ways_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.

If the singers get hard and shrill in the louder passages, then what you have is a pretty typical pressing. Add grit and grain, smeared transients, opacity, surface noise and a lack of weight down low and you'll know why it takes us years to find enough copies to shoot out -- because this is what most pressings sound like.

More 4 Way Street / More CSN&Y


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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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Rob Wasserman - Duets

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: wasseduets_2018) 



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

This rare and wonderful album from 1988 on the original MCA label offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout. In-the-room vocal presence (Jennifer Warnes is stunning on Leonard Cohen's Ballad Of The Runaway Horse) and tight, note-like bass are key to the best pressings.

More Rob Wasserman


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Roy Orbison - Orbisongs

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: orbisorbis_songs_2018) 



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

Excellent sound throughout with Double Plus (A++) or BETTER on both sides. This superb pressing is especially Analog Sounding - lively, warm, with rich bass and breathy, clear vocals. Features one of Orbison's greatest legacies, "Oh, Pretty Woman," in stereo no less, and it sounds incredible here.

More Roy Orbison


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Roy Orbison - Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: orbisgreat_2019) 



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

You'll find oustanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this Monument stereo pressing. The amazingly talented Bill Porter recorded many of Orbison's classic songs from the early '60s that are found on this compilation. Only a copy this good shows you how phenominal these timeless songs can sound - rich, open, clear, solid and musical.

More Roy Orbison


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Julie London - Lonely Girl

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: londolonel_2017) 



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

A Knockout recording of female vocal with guitar: Triple Plus (A+++) on the first side, seriously good Double Plus (A++) on the second. Julie is in the room with you - intimate, breathy and Tubey Magical like practically nothing you've ever heard. For late night listening this is surely one of the best Sultry Female Vocal recordings ever made - you won't believe how real the sound is.

More Julie London


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

A Boxstar Bomb

  (Item #: londojulie_is_boxstar) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex / Boxstar.

One question: Where's the Tubey Magic?

We would never have pointed you in the direction of this awful Boxstar 45 of Julie Is Her Name, cut by Bernie Grundman, supposedly on tube equipment. I regret to say that we actually sold some copies, but in my defense I can honestly and truthfully claim that we never wrote a single nice thing about the sound of the record. That has to count for something, right?

See all of our Julie London albums in stock


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

What a Record!

  (Item #: londojulie_is_2016) 



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

We award this copy's side one our very special Four Plus A++++ grade, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a given recording to a level we've never experienced before and had no idea could even exist. We estimate that about one per cent of the Hot Stamper pressings we come across in our shootouts earn this grade. You can't get much more rare than that.

More Julie London


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Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: waterfolks_2018) 



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

Folk Singer is an exceptional live-in-the-studio recording, with some of the best sound Muddy Waters ever managed. This '80s reissue is guaranteed to trounce any heavy vinyl pressing you've heard of it or we'll give you your money back!

This 1963 recording pressed, on '80s vinyl, has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings rarely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign of coming back.

More Muddy Waters


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  • War - Deliver The Word

    Our Shootout Winner from 2019

      (Item #: war__deliv_2019) 



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

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

    More War


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    Duke Ellington - Ellington Indigos

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: ellinindig_2018) 



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

    This 6-Eye Stereo pressing blew us away with its superbly well recorded romantic big band jazz, of which Ellington was a master. Both sides of this pressing are huge, rich, tubey and clear. This is absolutely the right sound for this music. A near-perfect demonstration of just how good 1958 All Tube Analog sound can be - no modern record can hold a candle to a pressing as good as this one. If you like your jazz ballads performed with deep feeling, by a road-tested group of virtuoso players, this record is for you.

    More Duke Ellington


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    Julie London - Make Love To Me

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: londomakel_2018) 



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

    This outstanding original Liberty Turquoise mono pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) grades, or close to them, on both sides. Thanks to superb engineering and vintage All Tube mastering, this 1957 LP is wonderfully rich and sweet, with a breathy, intimate Julie London performing live in your listening room. It's also pressed on unusually quiet vinyl - Mint Minus Minus, with no issues to speak of - they don't come quieter.

    More Julie London


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    George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: harriallth_2018) 



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

    To say that this one has been a long time coming would be an understatement! FINALLY, an incredible sounding copy of All Things Must Pass. Stunning shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all six sides (!).

    It's also worth mentioning that this is one of the nicer boxes we've come across for this title. It's the thicker box which has stood the test of time a little better than the narrower version. Those are usually in pretty poor shape and we should know because we have a bunch of problematical boxes sitting right here.

    More George Harrison / More Beatles


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    Crowded House - Temple of Low Men

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: crowdtempl_2015) 



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

    This British import pressing came right out of my collection. I would love to be able to keep an album as good as this one in my collection, but when would I ever find time to play it? Those days are gone. We play records all day long, five days a week. Weekends we do other things now.

    Both sides are smooth and very analog sounding, and both are quiet, The big sound of a Tchad Blake recording with a Bob Clearmountain mix.

    More Crowded House


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    White Hot Stamper

    West, Bruce & Laing
    Why Dontcha

      (Item #: westbwhydo_2018) 


    • Stunning sound throughout with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and solid Double Plue (A++) sound on side two
    • Big, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with much smoother, noticeably more natural sound than practically any other copy we played
    • Include's the trio's biggest hit, "The Doctor", which sounds phenomenal on this White Hot Side one
    • "Their debut album, Why Dontcha, continued with the heavy blues and rock templates already familiar to fans of both Cream and Mountain... a wonderful effort by some amazingly talented musicians... Cream meets Mountain... put it on, and turn it up…loud." - Consequence of Sound
    See all of our West, Bruce, & Laing 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.

    More Cannonball Adderley


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    Ella & Basie - Ella and Basie!

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_2018) 



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

    Take it from an Ella fan, you can't go wrong with this one. On the best pressings, the sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album with big band backup. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a good copy, but what you would really be demonstrating is music that the listener probably isn't familiar with, and that's the best reason to put on an old record.

    More Ella Fitzgerald / More Count Basie


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    Ella Fitzgerald - The Johnny Mercer Song Book

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: fitzgsings_mercer_2017) 



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

    The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the many highlights to be found on the songbook series. By the time this album came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs worth of songbooks - this was the last, going out on a high note. Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In - Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You.

    See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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    Live In Japan  (Item #: vaughlivei_2018) 



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

    This album captures Vaughan's rich, playful style and transfixing vocal range like you've never heard before.

    You may remember that Mobile Fidelity remastered this very album on CD, one of their very first releases, long before they came up with the idea of gold plating their discs and doubling the price. Some of those early discs were outstanding; I still own many of them to this day. That said, I don't think I ever played this particular title.

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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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    Sarah Vaughan - Dreamy

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: vaughdream_2018) 



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

    The original release for Dreamy is on Roulette, a label we have often found to have problems in the sound department (not to mention notoriously bad vinyl). The originals we've played over the years have much too much honk and hardness in the midrange to be taken seriously, at least by us anyway, and certainly not at these prices. When we stumbled upon these good Emus reissues, the skies opened up and the sun shone down upon Sarah's wonderful 1960 album of ballads as it had never done before.

    More Sarah Vaughan


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    Julie London - Julie... At Home

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: londojulie_at_home_2018) 



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

    If you're a fan of intimate female vocals - the kind without a trace of digital reverb - you should get quite a kick out of Julie... At Home. And unless I miss my guess you'll be the first and only person on your block to own it! (That's not a bad thing considering the average person's taste in music.)

    More Julie London


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    Van Morrison - Moondance

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: morrimoond_2018) 



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

    Musically, the record Moondance most reminds me of is After The Gold Rush. Neil Young set out to make a commercial album that had nothing but strong songs built around catchy melodies, with the highest quality production values. What better describes Moondance? Every song is good, you can sing practically every one of them from memory, and in fact you'll probably feel like singing along with every one of them as they are playing. And the whole album is produced with some of the best sound that was available at the time. (Shelly Yakus engineered, his first time behind the board on a major project if Wikipedia is to be believed.)

    More Van Morrison


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    Stealers Wheel - Stealers Wheel

    Our Shootout Winner from 2018

      (Item #: stealsteal_2018) 



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

    Forget the dubby domestic pressings. Like so many British bands on the A&M label, when it came time to master the album for the domestic market, the people in charge (whoever they may have been) took the easy way out and simply ordered up a dub of the master tape to cut the album from.

    Spooky Tooth, Procol Harum, Fairport Convention, (my beloved) Squeeze and too many others to think about all had their records ruined by sub-generation masters.

    More Stealers Wheel / More Gerry Rafferty


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    Sam Cooke - Hits of the '50s

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: cookehitso_2017) 



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

    An incredible sounding copy with two shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides. This is the way it must have sounded in 1960, in the New York studios where it was recorded, with legendary RCA engineer BOB SIMPSON behind the board.

    If you want to hear one of the great vocalists from the '50s, in his prime, with top quality Living Stereo audiophile sound, this is album is guaranteed to do the trick.

    More Living Stereo


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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.

    More Cannonball Adderley


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    Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: fitzgellaswingb_2017) 



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

    The sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good! The space is HUGE and the sound so rich.

    Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

    More Ella Fitzgerald


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    Elton John - Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: john_donts_2017) 



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

    The tonality here is rich, tubey and warm. It doesn't get thick or murky as many copies have a tendency to do.

    The amazing engineer KEN SCOTT (Ziggy Stardust, Magical Mystery Tour, Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century, Truth, Birds of Fire) is the man responsible for the sound here.

    More Elton John


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    Bob Dylan - Street-Legal

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: dylanstree_2017) 



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

    This copy has an insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) side one backed with an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two.

    Which breaks the rules a bit because most side twos earned a sonic grade that was about a half plus higher than the average copy's grade for side one. Side two most of the time just plain sounds better than side one, so when evaluating your copy be sure to check side two first to hear what is probably going to be the best sound on the album.

    Here are some other albums with notable Side to Side Differences.

    More Bob Dylan


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    Little Feat - Hoy-Hoy

    Listening in Depth

      (Item #: littlhoyho_depth) 



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

    The recording quality of many of these songs is OUT OF THIS WORLD, as good as any rock record I can think of. Although Waiting For Columbus is arguably the best sounding live rock 'n roll album ever made, some of the tracks on this album are every bit as good or BETTER. (And the promo EP is practically in a league of its own for sound!)

    More Little Feat


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    Johnny Mathis - Heavenly

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: mathiheave_2017) 



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

    This copy had all the Tubey Magical richness of the best coupled with the hardest thing to find on an old Columbia record: top end extension. Natural vocal reproduction is the sine qua non of a Johnny Mathis album - this pressing showed us just how good Columbia was back in 1959.

    More Johnny Mathis


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    Transparency

    and that Wonderful Feeling of Being There

      (Item #: youngafter_transparent) 


    Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

    For our review of the new Heavy Vinyl After the Gold Rush we wrote:

    Cleverly the engineers responsible for this remaster have managed to reproduce the sound of a dead studio on a record that wasn't recorded in one.

    This pressing has no real space or ambience. Now the album sounds like it was recorded in a heavily baffled studio, but we know that's not what happened, because the originals of After the Gold Rush, like most of Neil's other albums from the era, are clear, open and spacious.

    In other words, they are TRANSPARENT.

    More Audio Advice


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    The Pretenders - Get Close

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: pretegetcl_2016) 



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

    Get Close has long been a personal favorite of mine. Side one starts off with a bang with My Baby, one of the best tracks this band ever recorded. Of course at this point it's hard to call The Pretenders a band as it is pretty much Chrissie Hynde's show. She continues to mature as a songwriter, and the arrangements and production value are excellent as well, with heavy hitters such as Steve Lillywhite, Bob Clearmountain and Jimmy Iovine involved.

    More Pretenders


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    Elvis Presley - Elvis Now

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: preslelvis_now_2017) 



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

    If you've been on the site for any time at all you know how rare it is for any Elvis album to show up in Hot Stamper form. Most of his records don't sound good on most of the pressings we play, and far too often the best sounding pressings are just too noisy to be of any real interest to audiophiles.

    But we found this one, and it blew everything else out of the water. It's got the glorious sound of 1972 (!) in its grooves.

    More Elvis Presley


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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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    The Pentangle - The Pentangle

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: pentapentangle_2016) 



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

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

    More Pentangle


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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 - 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.

    More Louis Armstrong


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    Ella Fitzgerald - Like Someone In Love

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: fitzglikes_2017) 



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

    The space is HUGE and the sound so rich. The vocals have dramatically less hardness and the orchestra -- especially on side two -- is not brash for once.

    Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

    More Ella Fitzgerald


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    Dick Schory - Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: schorbangb_2016) 



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

    This one is absolutely As Good As It Gets on side one. It's a real treat to hear such a crazy assortment of percussion instruments with this kind of amazingly clear, high-resolution sound! It's just bigger, richer and clearer than any side we can remember playing.

    See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock


      more Info











    Eagles - The Long Run

    What to Listen For

      (Item #: eaglelongr_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 Long Run on side one.

    Want to know if you have a good side one on your copy? Here's an easy test. Timothy B Schmit's vocal on I Can't Tell You Why rarely sounds right. Most of the time he's muffled, pretty far back in the soundstage, and the booth he's in has practically no ambience. On the good copies he's not exactly jumping out of the speakers, but he's clear, focussed, and his voice is breathy and full of emotional subtleties that make the song the heartbreaking powerhouse it is.

    More Eagles


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    Fleetwood Mac - Mystery To Me

    Whomp Factor on "Why"

      (Item #: fleetmyste_wtlf) 



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

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

    More Fleetwood Mac


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    Tom Waits - Small Change

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: waitssmall_2017) 



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

    This is a wonderful album, considered by many to be Waits's masterpiece. He's backed with a real jazz combo here, including Lew Tabackin on sax and the great Shelley Manne on drums. Bones Howe does a great job gettin the kind of beatnik-jazz sound out of these songs that they need. On a copy like this, the presence and clarity are absolutely stunning!

    More Tom Waits


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    Paganini / Violin Concerto 1 & 2 / Menuhin

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: paganvioli_emi_2013) 



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

    Another remarkable Demo Disc from the Golden Age of recording, in this case 1961, with the benefit of more modern mastering from the '70s, a combination that works wonders on this title, as you will hear from both of these White Hot sides.

    The sound is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had our shootout winner with this copy.

    More recordings featuring the violin


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    The Doors - The Doors

    What to Listen For

      (Item #: doorsdoors_wtlf) 



    What to Listen For? you ask?

    ENERGY and RAW POWER. Few audiophiles have any idea how well recorded this album is, simply because most pressings don't do a very good job of encoding the life of the master tape onto the vinyl of the day, regardless of whether that day is in 1967 or 2017.

    The first Doors album is without a doubt the punchiest, liveliest, most powerful recording in the entire Doors catalog.

    More by The Doors


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    Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: fitzgella_swings_lightly_2017) 



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

    Exceptionally lovely All Tube sound from 1958, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by our man, Marty Paich. Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo - these were the days when Ella was on top of the world.

    More Ella Fitzgerald


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    Queen - The Game

    What to Listen For

      (Item #: queengame_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 best sounding side ones were rarely as good as the best sounding side twos.

    Even the good side ones tended to have a trace of harmonic distortion and compression that is simply nowhere to be found on the good side twos. How and why this is we have no idea. Since every copy had the same sonic issues we discounted it in our grading. Only the better copies bring the hits on side one to life and give them the size and power we know they can have.

    More Queen


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    Astrud Gilberto - The Shadow Of Your Smile

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: gilbeshado_2017) 



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

    The space is HUGE and the sound so rich. The vocals have dramatically less hardness and the orchestra sounds right for once. Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

    More Astrud Gilberto


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    Fleetwood Mac - Greatest Hits

    What to Listen For - Punchy Drums

      (Item #: fleetgreat_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.

    Many pressings are compressed, murky, veiled and recessed, especially the early ones. To find one that is transparent, clear, present and punchy is no mean feat.

    On either side listen for the drums to punch through the mix.

    More Fleetwood Mac


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    Elvis Presley - Elvis Is Back!

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: preslelvis_is_back_2015) 



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

    What a great Elvis album. Fever is the killer jam on the first side and the material throughout is of very high quality.

    Finding clean real Elvis records -- not those crappy compilations and vault-leftovers, but real Elvis albums from his golden period when he was the true King of Pop (sorry Michael) -- has never been a walk in the park. We do the best we can.

    More Elvis Presley


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    10cc - Deceptive Bends

    Listening in Depth

      (Item #: tenccdecep_depth) 



    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 Deceptive Bends.

    We've long been huge fans of this album both musically and sonically. It's the kind of recording where the sound JUMPS out of the speakers. It reminds me of Crime Of The Century that way. It's also one of the most DYNAMIC popular recordings I know of. If this album doesn't wake up your system, it's time to scrap it and start over! Musically it's one of my all time favorite albums, a real Desert Island disc.

    More 10cc


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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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    10cc - Deceptive Bends

    A Tough Test for Sibilance

      (Item #: tenccdecep_test) 



    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 Deceptive Bends.

    On side two the tonal balance is especially critical. Any boost to the top end will cause the vocals on the second track to SPIT LIKE CRAZY. This is a good test for how well your cartridge and arm are doing their jobs.

    More 10cc


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    War - The World Is A Ghetto

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: war__thewo_2015) 



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

    Engineered by the brilliant Chris Huston, this recording displays all his trademark gifts. His mixes feature lots of bass; huge, room-filling choruses that get loud without straining or becoming congested; and rhythmic energy that few pop recordings could lay claim to in 1972.

    More War


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    Eagles - One Of These Nights

    Soaring Guitar Solos and Huge Choruses

      (Item #: eagleoneof_wtlf) 



    What to Listen For you ask?

    That's easy: Soaring Guitar Solos and Huge Choruses.

    If you have an exceptionally good sounding copy of the album, One Of These Nights is the kind of record that can really come alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

    More by The Eagles


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    Santana - Santana

    Listening in Depth

      (Item #: santasant1_depth) 



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

    First off, a 360 label doesn't mean much on this record except the POTENTIAL for good sound. The badly mastered or pressed copies can be recognized easily: they are muddy and smeary. The recording itself has a bit of that too-many-tubes-in-the-signal-path quality to start with, so unless the record is mastered and pressed clearly and cleanly the whole presentation is likely to turn to mud.

    More Santana


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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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    Saint-Saens / Symphony No. 3 ("Organ") / Fremaux

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: saintsym3_2016) 



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

    One of Saint-Saens' greatest masterpieces finally comes to Better Records with true Demo Disc sound. Huge, lively, spacious, dynamic - both sides earned our top grade of Triple Plus (A+++). What this copy did better than any other was show us just how rich, smooth and Tubey Magical the 1973 sound could be.

    More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)


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    Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee - Sonny and Brownie

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: terrysonny_2013) 



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

    SUPERB A+++ DEMO DISC SOUND and DEAD QUIET VINYL on both sides of this A & M pressing! What a record! I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that you couldn't find ANY version of this music that sounded better than this. The sound is RIGHT ON THE MONEY from top to bottom, start to finish. The immediacy, clarity and transparency are OFF THE CHARTS -- this record puts a killer blues jam right there in your living room!

    More Soul, R&B and Blues


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    Michel Legrand - After the Rain

    An Amazing Pablo Jazz Album You Never Heard Of

      (Item #: legraafter_2013) 



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

    This album is PURE MAGIC! I know of no other jazz album like it. It's lyrical and moody, yet comes to life at a moment's notice when the horn players start to feel the spirit. If you're familiar with the music he wrote for The Thomas Crown Affair (he won an Academy Award for "Windmills of Your Mind"), you may have a good feel for subtle, impressionistic, often moody quality of After the Rain . Or check it out on youtube (while trying to imagine the sound being at least one million times better).

    More Michel Legrand


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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!

    More Chet Atkins


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    Oscar Peterson Trio - The Trio - Live From Chicago

    What to Listen For

      (Item #: petertrio_wtlf) 



    What to Listen For? you ask?

    Some copies are poorly mastered, so poorly that Ray Brown's bass all but disappears from the trio! Other copies made Thigpen's snare sound hard and too forward in the mix. This is obviously just a mastering EQ problem, since the good copies, such as this one, get all those elements to balance beautifully.

    More Oscar Peterson


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    XTC - English Settlement

    What to Listen For

      (Item #: xtc__engli_wtlf_2017) 



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

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

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

    A Big Speaker Record if ever there was one.


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    Bud Shank And the Sax Section

    The Bass Sax - What a Sound

      (Item #: shankandth_wtlf) 



    What to Listen For you ask?

    The reason this album is so appealing to us audiophiles is that the sound of each of the saxophones is clearly recognizable as they weave in and around these arrangements. On the back cover you can see a fellow holding a bass saxophone, an instrument you don't hear too often -- perhaps it's fallen from favor. (It solos at the beginning of Sidewinder on side one. Once you hear it you will be dying to play that song for your audiophile buddies, I guarantee it. What a sound!)

    More Bud Shank


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    Randy Newman - 12 Songs

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: newma12son_2016) 



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

    Both sides here were incredible. You get a very strong bottom end, lovely richness and warmth, real space and separation between the instruments and wonderful immediacy throughout. The heavy, "swampy" vibe of the music comes through well without the sound getting too murky or muddy.

    More Randy Newman


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    Squeeze - Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: squeecosif_2016) 



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

    If you're a fan of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Joe Jackson and even quite a few other lesser-knowns from this era, Squeeze is the band for you. I put them right up there with Elvis Costello and Peter Gabriel in the pantheon of Best British Pop Music of All Time.

    This has long been a favorite album of mine, a Desert Island Disc if you will, with some of the most powerfully produced, intelligently written and passionately performed songs in the entire Squeeze canon.

    See all of our Squeeze albums in stock


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    Franck / Piano Quintette & Brahms / Heifetz, Piatigorsky et al.

    Reviewed in 2013

      (Item #: francpiano_2739_2013) 



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

    A stellar reading of the Franck from this formidable group. Side one of this Shaded Dog is Super Hot: rich, smooth and sweet. The piano is exceptionally well-recorded, with real weight. The Brahms is very good if you can reverse your polarity.

    See all pressings of Franck's music in stock
    See all pressings of Brahms' music in stock


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    Roxy Music - Country Life

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: roxymcount_2015) 



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

    Many of the best songs Ferry ever wrote and Roxy ever played are on this album. Musically it's right up there with the first album and Siren, both early '70s Art Rock landmarks.

    In our experience the right British original Sunray (Pink Rim) Island pressing will always win the shootout if you have a good pile of copies to play. There are some bad sounding Island LPs out there, so don’t assume the Sunray is the answer. It’s potentially the right answer. Without at least five copies in hand you won't know for sure whether the copy you like is truly a Hot Stamper or not-that-hot-of-a-stamper.

    More Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry


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    Jimmy Smith - Got My Mojo Workin’

    Reviewed in 2010

      (Item #: smithgotmy_2010) 



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

    Verve LP with RVG Stampers and very good sound. This album has that analog richness, warmth and smoothness that we prize so highly here at Better Records. Jimmy does some pop tunes, some Ellington and more on this one, which has a real funky feel to it, with Jimmy really getting into it and grunting along with the music in places.

    More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Long After Dark

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: pettylonga_2015) 



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

    Petty's fifth album boasts the monster rocker You Got Lucky and reasonably good sound considering that the album was recorded in 1982, not an especially good year or decade to be recording music.

    The climaxes and the bigger choruses of the songs should be as uncompressed and uncongested as possible to earn our higher grades. When the music gets loud it should stay tonally correct and undistorted, and not all copies can do that, not at the serious levels we like to play our records.

    More Tom Petty


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    Queen - A Night at the Opera

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: queennight_2017) 



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

    Triple Plus (A+++) on side one and nearly that on side two (A++ to A+++) make this the best copy to ever hit the site. The sound is HUGE with WHOMP like nothing you have ever heard on this album - finally, the code has been cracked.

    See all of our Queen albums in stock


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    Frank Sinatra - Moonlight Sinatra

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: sinatmoonl_2017) 



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

    Out of this world Triple Triple (A+++) sound - this is sure to be one of the best Sinatra records you'll ever hear. Both of these Shootout Winning stereo sides are unbelievably rich and Tubey Magical - this is some killer Frank Sinatra sound. We've been working on this shootout for years - this is the first - and best - copy we have to show for our efforts.

    See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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    10cc - 10cc

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: tencctencc_2014) 



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

    These British original pressings are surprisingly hard to find; Sheet Music is a tough one these days too. We're lucky to find one clean copy of either title in a given year. We'll be looking harder from now on though, because this record sounds great and the music is a blast.

    See all of our 10cc albums in stock


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    Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: roxymforyo_2017) 



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

    This album is a MASTERPIECE of Art Rock, Glam Rock and Bent Rock all rolled into one. Spacious, dynamic, present, with HUGE MEATY BASS and tons of energy, the sound is every bit as good as the music. (At least on this copy it is. That's precisely what Hot Stampers are all about.)

    More Roxy Music / More Brian Eno


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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.

    More Please Please Me


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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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    Turntable Set Up Advice

    Using Court and Spark

      (Item #: mitchcourt_setup) 



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

    There are loud vocal choruses on many tracks, and more often than not at their loudest they sound like they are either breaking up or threatening to do so. I always assumed it was compressor or board overload, which is easily heard on Down to You. On the best copies there is no breakup -- the voices get loud and they sound clean throughout.

    More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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    Coleman Hawkins - Hawk Eyes

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: hawkihawke_2016) 



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

    This 1960 Saxophone Ballad session from 1960 has to be seen as yet another recording triumph for Rudy Van Gelder

    The best pressings of these OJC and Prestige reissues from the '70s and '80s sound like the vintage jazz albums they emulate, and sometimes they even beat the originals at their own Tubey Magical game. They can be every bit as rich, sweet and spacious as their earlier-pressed brethren in our experience.

    See all of our Coleman Hawkins albums in stock


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    The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

    Our Shootout Winner from 2012

      (Item #: grateworki_2012) 



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

    STUNNING MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE TWO, as good as it gets! I don’t think you could ask any more from this music than what this magical side two gives you -- breathy vocals with mindblowing immediacy; incredible depth and width to the soundfield; rich, round bass with real WEIGHT; a silky, extended top end; tons of ambience; tons of tubey magic and so on. It’s also open, spacious, and super transparent. The sound positively JUMPS out of the speakers and fills the room. Black Peter is INSANELY GOOD on this side -- you’re gonna flip when you hear it.

    More Grateful Dead


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    Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze

    Our Shootout Winner from 2017

      (Item #: sealssumme_2017) 



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

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

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

    More Seals & Crofts


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    Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright...

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: thompiwant_2016) 



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

    The first White Hot Stamper of this 1974 classic to make it to the site, and it's wonderful on both sides. Rich, full-bodied, with big bass and gobs of studio ambience, this is the way this music was meant to be heard. Kurt Loder writing in Rolling Stone noted that there's "not a single track that's less than luminous."

    More Richard & Linda Thompson


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    Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: simonbooke_2011) 



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

    TWO KILLER SIDES including a STUNNING Demo Quality A+++ side one! Bring over your audio buddies and blow their minds by dropping the needle on America -- I guarantee that they've never heard it sound like this before (unless, of course, they happen to be one of our top-shelf Hot Stamper customers already). Everything you'd hope for on a killer pressing of this album is right here on this side one, and most of it is on the A++ side two as well.

    More Bookends


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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.)

    More Chicago


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    Harry James & His Big Band - The King James Version

    Our Shootout Winner from 2009

      (Item #: jameskingj_2008) 



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

    This White Hot Stamper has the best side two we have ever heard! Side two fulfills the promise of the direct to disc recording approach in a way that few -- very few -- direct to disc pressings do. To be honest, the typical pressing of The King James Version leaves much to be desired. As a rule two areas are especially lacking: there is a noticeable lack of presence on most copies, causing the brass to get stuck in the speakers and lose its bite; and, every bit as bad, the sound is often just plain compressed, lacking energy and life. The musicians on most copies are just not giving it their all.

    More Audiophile recordings


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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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    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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    Cream - Goodbye

    Some of the Best Live Rock Sound Ever Recorded

      (Item #: creamgoodb_2016) 



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

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

    More Cream


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    Paul McCartney & Wings - Band On The Run

    Our Shootout Winner from 2011

      (Item #: mccarbando_2011) 



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

    This British Original looking EMI Black Label LP has THE BEST SOUND I HAVE EVER HEARD FOR THIS ALBUM. Most pressings of this album leave a lot to be desired. They typically sound like they're made from second-rate dubs.

    A song like Jet can be positively painful on most of the LPs that you run across. Here, practically for the first time, it actually sounds good, with plenty of deep bass that I'm not used to hearing. Following Jet is probably the best sounding track on side one, Bluebird. It's amazingly sweet and transparent on this LP. Like I say, I don't think I've ever heard a better copy.

    More Paul McCartney


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    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

    Our Four Plus Side Two from 2016

      (Item #: crosbdejav_2016) 



    A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame

    We award this copy's side two our very special Four Plus A++++ grade, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a recording to a level never experienced by us before, a level we had no idea could even exist. We estimate that less than one per cent of the Hot Stamper pressings we come across in our shootouts earn this grade. You can't get much more rare than that.

    More Deja Vu


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    Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free

    Our Shootout Winner from 2016

      (Item #: zappaabsol_2016) 



    A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame from 1967.

    BY FAR the best copy to ever hit the site - White Hot on side one and Nearly White on side two. You will not believe how rich and Tubey Magical this copy is, and yet so CLEAR and undistorted. If you've suffered through reissues or the dreadful CD you are going to flip out over the sound of this copy,

    See all of our Frank Zappa albums in stock


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    Dvorak / Symphony No. 9 / Kertesz / Vienna Phil.

    Our Shootout Winner from 2013

      (Item #: dvorasym9_decca_2013) 



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

    Presenting yet another remarkable Demo Disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, in this case 1961, with the added benefit of mastering courtesy of the more modern equipment of the '70s, in this case 1970. (We are of course here referring to the good modern equipment of 40 years ago, not the bad modern mastering equipment of today.)

    More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


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    Carly Simon - No Secrets

    Our Shootout Winner from 2012

      (Item #: simonnosec_2012) 



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

    This Elektra Butterfly Label LP is ONE OF THE VERY BEST SOUNDING COPIES OF THIS ALBUM I’VE EVER HEARD, with both sides receiving our top grad of A+++! We just finished playing a big old stack of pressings and this copy was clearly the best overall.

    It ain't easy to find copies of the album that give you big, rich sound and breathy vocals, but this White Hot Stamper gives you all that and more, taking the sound of the album far beyond any expectations you may have. It's that good.

    More Carly Simon


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    Crosby / Nash - Graham Nash/ David Crosby

    Listening in Depth

      (Item #: crosbgraha_2015) 



    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.

    This album has some of the BEST SOUND Crosby and Nash ever recorded, but you'd never know that listening to the average pressing. You need plenty of deliciously rich Tubey Magic if this music is going to work, and on that count this copy certainly delivers.

    David Crosby / Graham Nash


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    Gino Vannelli - Powerful People

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: vannepower_2014) 



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

    This is some of the best sound we heard in our shootout, coming in right behind our winning sides. Few copies were as BIG and BOLD as this, and that is unquestionably our sound.

    Overall this copy is far richer and fuller than most, and that's a big deal on Powerful People, an album which is almost always pure midrange -- no bottom, no top, just midrange. Until we did this shootout I wasn't sure we would ever find a copy with any real bass or top end. For that very reason we had more than once abandoned this project in past years.

    More Gino Vannelli


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    Deep Purple - Made In Japan

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: deeppmadei_2015) 



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

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

    More Deep Purple


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    Neil Diamond - Stones

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: diamostone_2015) 



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

    On the Hot Stamper copies that do have sweet and rich ANALOG sound, credit naturally belongs with Neil's go-to engineer, ARMIN STEINER. He was one of the engineers on Spirit's first album (a truly phenomenal recording from 1968), assisted on Ram, recorded some of the best sounding, most Tubey Magical Chart Topping Pop Rock for Bread in the early '70s, and, if that's not enough, has more than a hundred other engineering credits.

    More Neil Diamond


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    Zoot Sims - Passion Flower

    Our Shootout Winner from 2014

      (Item #: sims_passi_2014) 



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

    One of the all time great Pablo sleepers. Why is no one else writing about records like these? The music is wonderful and the sound is top drawer on the best copies. If you've tried and failed with other Pablo Zoot Sims records -- some of the ones we didn't care for are pictured above, and there are plenty more where those came from -- fear not: this title is one of his best, musically and sonically.

    If you want to hear the Duke’s music swing in top sound, get this album.

    See all of our best Pablo records in stock


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    The Weavers - Almanac

    Our Shootout Winner from 2015

      (Item #: weavealman_2015) 



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

    White Hot stamper sound on side two - a Demo Disc for acoustic folk music. Better than Super Hot on side one - sound that's sweeter than wine. This copy is stereo, and for good reason: the mono pressings are full of vocal distortion. Reasonably quiet vinyl for an early Vanguard pressing.

    See all of our Weavers albums in stock


      more Info




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