Month: April 2019

Philippe Entremont / The Chopin I Love – A Sleeper from Columbia

This is an undiscovered Columbia gem from 1971. Both musically and sonically this record is superb. Who knew Columbia could record a piano this well? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this! We know, we’ve played plenty, including a number of Entremont’s Columbia records that don’t sound too good to us. Maybe we need to find a Hot Stamper of some of the weaker titles, but it hasn’t happened yet. A word of advice: avoid the piano concertos. We have yet to hear a good one. Those steely Columbia strings are far from our idea of good sound.

These solo piano pieces are performed with consummate skill and deep feeling by the legendary Phillipe Entremont. His liner notes are beautifully written and insightful as well — well worth reading.

Fortunately this record has no strings, just a solid, clear piano in a big hall. (more…)

Bread – The Best of Bread Vol. 2 – Reviewed in 2010

More Bread

More Pure Pop

This very nice looking Elektra Butterfly Label LP has the best sound I’ve ever heard for this compilation. Keep in mind that this is an album of mostly weak material, not in the class with the first ’Best of Bread’ by a long shot. However, some of these songs sound quite good here, easily better than the typical Bread album from which they are taken. Listen to ‘Been Too Long On The Road’ or ‘He’s A Good Lad’ to hear the best sounding Bread.

Dexter Gordon – Our Man in Paris – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

More Dexter Gordon

More Our Man in Paris


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

AMAZING SOUND ON SIDE ONE, great sound on side two and quiet vinyl throughout. Most importantly, the music here is EXCELLENT. We shot out all the copies in the house, and nothing could hold a candle to this Blue Label pressing on side one. (more…)

Letter of the Week – “Un******believable that any record could sound that good.”

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I want to tell you I bought America’s 1st LP from you some couple of years back. White Hot designation at that time. I don’t know if you have found one better since then. Paid big dollars and I still cannot believe the sound. Worth every penny. 


When I play that LP, I cannot avoid getting goose bumps or getting totally enveloped with the music. The guitars and vocals are flat out surreal.

It is just as amazing as the Eagles 1st lp Hot Stamper. Un******believable that any record could sound that good.

Bill P.

The Ames Brothers – The Blend and the Beat

More Exotica

More The Ames Brothers


  • Superb sound throughout with both sides earning a solid Double Plus (A++) for sound or BETTER – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • With Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation like you will not believe, this copy is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience
  • If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good the All Tube Analog Recording Chain was that created the magic of Living Stereo for RCA in 1960, this killer pressing might just be the record that can do it

This copy of The Blend and the Beat has a lot in common with the other Decca and Living Stereo titles we’ve listed over the years, albums by the likes of Henry Mancini, Esquivel, Dick Schory, Edmundo Ros, Prez Prado and a handful of others. (more…)

Carly Simon – Hotcakes – What to Listen For

More Carly Simon


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

Many copies of this album suffer from (at least) one of two problems: unnatural hi-fi sound or considerable grit and grain. Both are in large part due to the processing-intensive production of Richard Perry. On the best copies it’s easy to understand his choices as the sound is quite lovely. Unfortunately that rich, sweet sound he obviously got on to the master tape didn’t quite make it to the average vinyl pressing of the album.

The effects used on Carly’s vocals turn her voice into a gritty, grainy mess on most copies — certainly not the kind of sound that audiophiles want to hear. It took a few exceptional copies to make us understand what Simon and Perry were going for. Compare this Hot Stamper to the typical copy and you’ll hear it for yourself right away. (You DEFINITELY want your electricity really cookin’ for this shootout, because bad electricity will certainly exacerbate problems with grit and grain.) (more…)

Duke Ellington and Ray Brown – This One’s For Blanton

More Duke Ellington

This One’s For Blanton


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

BIG BOLD SOUND. It has that up front live in your living room sound. It’s very dynamic and tubey magical. (more…)

Letter of the Week – The Wall

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I got around to listening to The Wall last weekend, a 3+ / 3+ / 2+ / 3+ copy. It was yet another of those cannot-concentrate-on-anything-else experiences, simply astonishing. I kept putting the volume up little by little and it just got better and better and better. The quality is mind-blowing. I want you guys to know how much pure pleasure you’re able to generate, and it’s priceless. Thank you all.

Rich F.


More The Wall

Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Monteux

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin


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

When you hear the gorgeous texture of the massed strings at the beginning of this work you know you are in for a magical Living Stereo experience. It only gets better. Szeryng’s violin is as sweet and musical as any I have ever heard. This has to be one of the greatest Golden Age recordings in the history of the world. Its reputation is probably hurt by the fact that it’s so rare that few people have had a chance to hear how good it is.

If you love this work, one of the classics of the violin repertoire, you will be hard pressed to find a better performance with better sound. In my mind, there simply is no competition for this record.