Month: March 2018

Jethro Tull – Stand Up – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • A stunning Island Pink Label Import LP with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • This is a True Tull Classic, and a VERY tough record to come by with this kind of sound
  • Both British sides give you richness, Tubey Magic, clarity and resolution few copies can touch – and what’s more, IT ROCKS
  • Their best album? It gets my vote, and this copy will really make the case if you turn it up good and loud

See all our Jethro Tull albums in stock

We just finished a big shootout for Stand Up with a variety of Brit pressings and a few domestics (which most of the time are awful but occasionally you run across one that’s pretty good on one side or another).

The following are some older notes that apply to the album in general.  

Tough Sledding with Stand Up

It’s very common for pressings of Stand Up to lack bass or highs, and more often than not both are lacking. The bass-shy ones tend to be more transparent and open sounding — of course, that’s the sound you get when you take out the bass. (90 plus percent of all the audiophile stereos I’ve ever heard were bass shy, no doubt for precisely that very reason: less bass equals more detail, more openness and more transparency. Go to any stereo store or audiophile show and notice how bright the sound is. Another good reason not to go to those shows, and we rarely do.)

Just what good is a British Classic Rock Record that lacks bass? It won’t rock, and if it don’t rock, who needs it? You might as well be playing the CD.

The copies that lack extreme highs are often dull and thick, and usually have a smeary, blurry quality to their sound. When you can’t hear into the music, the music itself quickly becomes boring.

If I had to choose, I would take a copy that’s a little dull on top as long as it still had a meaty, powerful, full-bodied sound over something that’s thin and leaned out. There are many audiophiles who can put up with that sound — I might go so far as to say the vast majority can — but I am not one of them. (more…)

Neil Young – Old Ways – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • A surprisingly good sounding album, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides here are incredibly big, full-bodied and energetic, with wonderfully present vocals and a huge bottom end – not bad for 1985
  • Neil’s unabashed country album (hello Waylon Jennings!) has been a long time coming; it’s the first copy to hit the site in over five years
  • We guarantee this one will make your MoFI pressing sound like the bad joke it was back in 1996 or your money back and then some

See all of our Neil Young albums in stock

We just finished a major shootout for Neil’s country-fried album from the mid-’80s and this was one of the best copies to hit our table. Most of the pressings we played were too gritty and grainy to hold our interest, but this one was sweeter and smoother by a country mile!

This is Neil heading out to the sticks with his buddies, authentic country greats such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others (nice friends to have), doing what Neil loves to do — making the music that HE wants to make, not the music that anyone else wants him to, including David Geffen and his lawyers. Old friend Ben Keith (a huge part behind the sound of Harvest) shows up with his pedal steel guitar on a couple tracks.

This probably wasn’t anyone’s favorite Neil Young album, but when it sounds like it does here it sure makes a lot more sense than it did when we heard it on the more mediocre pressings. The MoFi is a muckfest, as was to be expected from a record mastered during the Anadisq era, the darkest chapter in the dark and disgraceful history of Mobile Fidelity. (more…)

The Recordings of Frank Sinatra – These Are Some that Didn’t Make the Grade

The Recordings of Frank Sinatra




These are just some of the recordings by Frank Sinatra that we’ve auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we’ll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Frank Sinatra Albums with Hot Stampers
Frank Sinatra Albums We’ve Reviewed


B.B. King – Live & Well – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this original Bluesway pressing from 1969 simply could not be beat
  • Surprisingly dynamic, with great energy, this copy brought BB King’s music to life in our listening room like no other could
  • This copy had the Tubes and the Big Bass that this music needs to work it’s Electric Blues Magic from The Master himself
  • “…a worthy recording on its own merits, divided evenly between live and studio material. King’s always recorded well as a live act, and it’s the concert tracks that shine brightest…”

See all of our B.B. King albums in stock

Some of the Bluesway pressings we’ve auditioned recently have had exceptionally big, rich, lively sound, and that’s the way we like to hear our music. There are plenty of dogs in the King canon, especially in the ’70s, so you have to be somewhat careful with the man’s recordings, but good titles in the ’60s with excellent sound can still be found if you’re willing to do the work (or you’re willing to let us do it for you). Watch for more B. B. King albums coming to the site soon.

Tubey Magic Is Key

This original pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

There were some gritty, thin copies in our shootout that took all the fun out of the music, but fortunately we found this killer pressing that had us really enjoying this batch of songs from The Master of the Blues himself, Mr. B.B. King. (more…)

Turn Up Your Volume – a Favorite Trick for Getting Better Sound

Turn Up Your Volume


As an experiment, one which we have conducted countless times, we recommend that you try Turning Up Your Volume for the titles we’ve listed here.

We have no doubt that you will be able to recognize and appreciate, even to the point of amazement, the improvements in both the sound and the music we ourselves heard when we turned up our volume.

More Turn Up Your Volume entries – Alphabetically by Artist

More Turn Up Your Volume entries – Newest Arrivals listed first


Dean Martin – Dream With Dean – Watch Out for Hard and Honky Vocals

Dean Martin – Dream With Dean



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.

Dream with Dean is great for finding any traces of “honk” in your midrange. Getting Deano’s baritone to sound tubey and rich, to get the sound that Bing Crosby could get just by opening his mouth, is not all that easy on some systems, mine included. Correctly set VTA is critical in this regard, but pretty much everything must be working at its best for Dean to sound as intimate and natural as we know he can on the best pressings.

Balancing the lower mids with the upper mids is the goal, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. This album is great for testing, and guaranteed to bring practically any high-dollar system at a stereo showroom, a convention, or your very own home to its knees.

This is my favorite Dean Martin record of all time; just Dean and a jazz guitar quartet behind him (featuring Contemporary favorites Barney Kessel and Red Mitchell!) doing standards. On the best copies, the immediacy is absolutely mind-blowing. It’s a shame that there aren’t more Frank Sinatra records that sound like this.


Edmundo Ros – Latin Hits I Missed – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

Latin Hits I Missed


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

It’s unfortunate that Edmundo Ros and his orchestra command so little respect these days from the general record buying public. As for audiophiles, it’s doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. We at Better Records are doing our best to change all that, continuing with this, the second Ros title we’ve managed to find with amazing sound and music since the first one went up in 2013. It’s one of the liveliest, best sounding Phase 4 titles we have heard in quite a while. Stampers simply do not get much hotter than these.  

More Phase 4

From the perspective of a level playing field, I cannot think of too many rock records that sound as BIG and DYNAMIC as this very pressing, nor many that are as spacious and clear. As good as the best German pressings of Dark Side of the Moon may be, the White Hot eight hundred dollar killer copies we have from time to time, this recording is every bit as exciting and in most ways more lifelike, with uncannily accurate instrumental timbres.

It’s nothing less than a Demo Disc that will go head to head with the best sounding records we know of. For those of you who’ve tried some of our “best of the best pressings”, you know that that is very bold statement.

Side One

Big, lively, clear and dynamic, Tubey Magical with no smear, and so full-bodied, with the low end weight that really drives the music, this side could not be faulted..

My notes read “wow” and your notes, if you bother to take them, will surely say the same. (more…)

Stick with Stereo on the Dvorak & Glazounov Violin Concertos with Milstein

Dvorak & Glazounov / Violin Concertos – Milstein


Stick with stereo on this album. The Mono pressings — at least the ones we’ve played — aren’t worth anybody’s time (scratch that: any audiophile’s time).

Here are some other records that we don’t think sound very good in MONO.

Here are some we think can sound amazing in MONO.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak  


Side One

Dvorak: Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53

Side Two

Glazounov: Concerto in A Minor, Op. 82


Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys – MoFi Debunked

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys


Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked. 

Of course our Hot Stamper pressings are going to be better than the Anadisq LP from the mid ’90s. How much better? Words fail me. The MoFi was an out and out disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn’t notice because they had nothing to compare it to. God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy a “common” pressing such as one of our domestic Islands.

More Traffic

Had they done so what they would have heard is huge amounts of musical information that is simply missing from the MoFi pressing.

The MoFi has no leading edges to any of the transients; they’re shaved off, how they achieved this I cannot begin to fathom. Bad cutting equipment using a dull needle?

Blunted and smeared, their version is positively unlistenable. Robert Pincus once left a Post-It note stuck to a MoFi jacket of a record he was playgrading for me that pointedly, albeit cruelly, summed up our shared thoughts on the quality of their mastering: “Did MoFi bother to listen to this before they ruined it?”


Listening in Depth to The Eagles – Desperado

More Eagles albums

More Desperado

Listening in Depth


Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series. This is the second-best sounding Eagles record of all time, no doubt thanks to the engineering of our man Glyn Johns. Of course, the best sound on an Eagles record is found on the first album. For whatever reason, that record was left off the TAS Super Disc list, even though we feel that both musically and sonically it beats this one by a bit.


Side One


This wonderful song is a great test track for side one. Typical pressings of this album tend to be dark and lack extension up top. When you have no real top end, space, detail and resolution suffer greatly. You need to be able to appreciate each of the stringed instruments being played — guitar, banjo, dobro — and the top end needs to be extended and correct for you to be able to do that.

When the vocals on this track sound natural with lots of breathy texture, and the cymbal crashes ring cleanly, you know you’ve got a good copy on your hands.


A fairly tough track to get right. This song can sound great, but on a lower resolution copy it will often sound a bit smeared. When the top end is correct, the clarity and detail usually fall right into place.

Out of Control
Tequila Sunrise
Desperado (more…)