Shelly Manne – Sounds Unheard Of!

More Shelly Manne

This Black Label Original Contemporary pressing has SUPERB sound on BOTH sides. All that stuff we tend to say about the original tube-mastered Contemporary pressings being fat and dull does not apply here whatsoever. This record is mastered beautifully, with real transient attacks to all the percussion.

When Shelly bangs on the bass drum it goes Ka-Boom and really rattles the walls. As a Demo Disc this one is pretty hard to beat.

Remember the old Acoustic Sounds Analog Revival series mastered by Stan Ricker? This was one of the titles they did, and completely ruined of course. Ricker boosted the hell out of the top end, as is his wont, so all the percussion had the phony MoFi exaggerated spit and tizziness that we dislike so much around here at Better Records but that many if not most audiophiles never seem to notice.

The whole series was an audio disaster, but funnily enough, I cannot remember reading a single word of criticism anywhere discussing the shortcomings of that series of pressings. Outside of my own reviews of course. Has anything in audio really changed? 


Standard Bass Drum 
Jawbone of Ass 
High hat cymbal stand 
American Indian Tom-Toms 
Elephant and goat bells 
Standard snare drum 
Concert bass drum 
Hawaiian slit bamboo sticks
Assorted cymbals (sizzle cymbal on left)
African thumb piano 
Piccolo Boo-Bam 
Accessory case w/sand shaker, tambourine jingle stick and mallets shown on top
Rubber mallets made from knitting needle and ball used in game of ‘jacks’
Chinese Gong


Side One

My Funny Valentine
The Continental
By Myself
Stormy Weather
Begin the Beguine

Side Two

Night and Day
Makin’ Whoopee
The Piccolino
I’ll Remember April
The Boy Next Door

This is an Older Review.

Most of the older reviews you see are for records that did not go through the shootout process, the revolutionary approach to finding better sounding pressings we developed in the early 2000s and have since turned into a fine art.

We found the records you see in these older listings by cleaning and playing a pressing or two of the album, which we then described and priced based on how good the sound and surfaces were. (For out Hot Stamper listings, the Sonic Grades and Vinyl Playgrades are listed separately.)

We were often wrong back in those days, something we have no reason to hide. Audio equipment and record cleaning technologies have come a long way since those darker days, a subject we discuss here.

Currently, 99% (or more!) of the records we sell are cleaned, then auditioned under rigorously controlled conditions, up against a number of other pressings. We award them sonic grades, and then condition check them for surface noise.

As you may imagine, this approach requires a great deal of time, effort and skill, which is why we currently have a highly trained staff of about ten. No individual or business without the aid of such a committed group could possibly dig as deep into the sound of records as we have, and it is unlikely that anyone besides us could ever come along to do the kind of work we do.

The term “Hot Stampers” gets thrown around a lot these days, but to us it means only one thing: a record that has been through the shootout process and found to be of exceptionally high quality.

The result of our labor is the hundreds of titles seen here, every one of which is unique and guaranteed to be the best sounding copy of the album you have ever heard or you get your money back.

Further Reading