A++ sound and quiet vinyl on both sides of this 1968 soul classic, an album that received a top Five Star rating from the All Music Guide! We’ve been playing a ton of Aretha Franklin records around here in recent days, but it’s hard to find pressing that separate themselves from the pack to give you audiophile-friendly sound for her recordings, which (naturally) seem to be optimized more for the radio than for your hi-rez audio rig. Every now and then, however, we’ll luck into a copy that delivers some real soul magic in its grooves, and this was one of those copies. Chain Of Fools and Aretha’s great version of Natural Woman sound JUST RIGHT.
Most of the Aretha records we’ve played tend to be a bit too bright, which brings out a lot of grit, grain and edge. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I can’t imagine that’s the sound the Queen Of Soul was going for. A copy like this gives you smoother, sweeter sound with a more natural tonal balance. It makes the music work so much better — the sound is easier on the ears and not nearly as fatiguing, plus it lets you turn up the volume good and loud without giving yourself a headache!(more…)
The following is our 2007 commentary for the best Ziggy Stardust we had ever heard up to that time.
This RCA Import has DRAMATICALLY better sound than any Ziggy LP we’ve ever played here at Better Records. Whatever you think you know about the sound of this record, THINK AGAIN. The sound of this copy is so far beyond any expectation I had that hearing it was nothing short of a REVELATION. It’s TWO FULL GRADES better than any copy we played in our shootout.
After hearing this copy we had to lower our grades for every other pressing we had played. This was a completely new standard.(more…)
Folks, this record came as a SHOCK — the first and ONLY mono pressing we have ever played that not only was competitive with the best stereo copies, but actually bettered them in some ways. Some IMPORTANT ways I might add. We’ve only played a handful of mono pressings of Clap Hands over the years, and for good reason — they’re exceedingly mediocre. On almost every one we’ve ever played Ella was distant, dull and lifeless. Feh! Who wants to play a record the sounds like that?
(Side two is pretty much what you would expect from a good mono, A to A+, better than average but hardly competitive with the best, or with this side one for that matter.)
What’s So Special About This Mono Side One Anyway?(more…)
Our good customer Owais purchased our hottest Hot Stamper Tapestry and wrote to tell us that even his wife agreed that the premium that he paid for it was money well-spent.
I am very pleased with all of my purchases from you. In particular, the Carole King ‘Tapestry’ was breathtaking! You weren’t wrong when you claimed that Side One was the world’s best sounding version. I have had so many different versions of this album, both in analogue and in digital form, and nothing even comes close. This is my wife’s favourite album of all time and even she had to admit that the premium that I paid for it was money well-spent.
A big thank you for drastically improving the quality of my music collection!!(more…)
This is a handy record for VTA setup, a subject we discuss at length below.
On the better copies Aretha’s vocals are as dynamic as any you will ever hear, and unlike all the records she did with Tom Dowd, her voice never breaks up on this record. If you have big speakers that can play at loud levels, with the right volume level you can really get Aretha to belt it out like nothing you have ever heard.
Like most modern churches, the kind that have upholstered pews and lots of carpeting, the natural reverberation of the sound isn’t as pronounced as it would be were the recording taking place in a 16th century cathedral.(more…)
A killer copy and the first to hit the sit in three years – Double Plus (A++) or better on both sides
The overall sound here rich, smooth and Tubey Magical with huge amounts of energy and presence
This is an outstanding recording. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s engineered by Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin II and many more)
“The original group’s debut album was a then-groundbreaking meld of progressive rock with classical and jazz influences…” – All Music
Prog fans take note: this album’s audiophile credentials are more than in order. Some of the best recordings we have ever heard involved one of these guys, and on this one you get them both. That’s almost too much production talent for one album.(more…)
This Let’s Dance may look like an ordinary record, but it sure doesn’t sound like one. The sound is OUT OF THIS WORLD! You’re looking at THE Big Beat Demo Disc of All Time. What the Hot Stamper copy of Back in Black was to Super-Fidelity HARD Rock, this White Hot Stamper of Let’s Dance is to Super-Fidelity FUNKY Rock. In other words, this is the FREAKISHLY HOT STAMPER copy that gives you As Good As It Gets, Demo Disc, Mind Altering Sound.(more…)
This Verve T Label Mono pressing DESTROYS the Classic Records reissue, hands down. Side one is lively, present, and dynamic, but a bit aggressive — the horn can really bite when Hawk pushes it. Side two, however, sounds LOVELY. It’s much smoother and very natural. This isn’t an easy album to find in such gorgeous condition, and I bet you’d have a really tough time finding one that sounds as good as this one does on side two.
I don’t know of any other Pablo recording of the Duke from this era that has such big, open, clear, solid sound.VAL VALENTINdid the engineering, and as he has so often over the course of his storied career, he knocked it out of the park.
What both sides of this exceptionally good sounding Pablo pressing have to offer is not hard to hear:
The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1974
Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments of this stellar jazz combo having the correct timbre
Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we describe above, and for that you will need to take this copy of the record home and throw it on your table.(more…)