Month: July 2019

Miles Davis – Workin’ And Steamin’ – Our Shootout Winning Mono

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More Workin’ And Steamin’

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

A MONSTER Double Album that simply could not be beat – three of the four sides earned our highest sonic grade of Triple Plus (A+++). The best sounding tracks here can hold their own with ANY Miles Davis vinyl we’ve ever heard, and that’s a whole lot of Mile Davis albums. You might be surprised that a reissue can beat the originals, but one play of this pressing should be enough to remove all doubt.

This pressing is WAY off the charts. You will find Demo Disc Quality Sound of the Highest Order on the best tracks, of which there are many. The extension high and low sets these sides apart. The presence of the instruments and the space around them just cannot be beat.

To the Jazz Fans of the World, we here present one of the BEST sounding jazz recordings we have ever had the PRIVILEGE to place on a turntable. I cannot ever recall hearing a better sounding Rudy Van Gelder recording, and I have a theory as to why this tape is as good as it is: it’s MONO. It also sounds like it’s recorded completely LIVE in the studio, direct to one track you might say. As good a recording as Kind of Blue is, I think the best parts of this album are more immediate and more real than anything on KOB. (more…)

Mussorgsky / Pictures at an Exhibition / Muti – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky

Pictures at an Exhibition / Muti

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

This White Hot Stamper EMI Two-Pak gives you the complete Pictures at an Exhibition and the Firebird Suite with TOP PERFORMANCES and SUPERB SONICS from first note to last. It took two separate discs to make it happen, but we managed to find the two copies with sides that matched up in order to bring both of these works to LIFE. 

Much like Steinberg and the BSO’s performance of The Planets, he finds the music in the work that no one else can. (more…)

Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees – David Hungate Gives a Master Class on the Bass

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More Silk Degrees

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

One of the main qualities separating the winners from the also-rans on this title is the quality of the bass. This is first and foremost rhythmic music. David Hungate just kills on this album; he’s giving a master class on rock and roll bass on practically every track. And, for us audiophiles, the good news is the bass is very well recorded — big, punchy and well up front in the mix.

The bad news is that only the best copies show you the note-like, clear, rich bass that must be on the master tape. Vague and smeary bottom end is the rule, not the exception, and it’s a veritable crime against Well-Recorded Sophisticated Pop such as this. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Exile On Main Street

Exile On Main Street

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

Hey Tom,   

Wow! this copy of Exile on MS is amazing! it sounded fantastic before my amps even were warm. The drums sound like they are in the same room as the room with the microphone; the horns sound like……. well like… horns. The copy I had before was brand new and sucked. This $350 copy is worth the dough and I am surprised. I am tempted to stop buying vinyl at all unless it has been pre-tested by your team (this will be tough). I had NO IDEA there was this much difference between copies.

Brian S. 

Lincoln Mayorga – The Missing Linc – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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More The Missing Linc

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

Super Hot, and definitely not your typical Sheffield pressing. Some of them are aggressive, many of them are dull and lack the spark of live music, some of them have wonky bass or are lacking in the lowest octave — they are prey to every fault that befalls other pressings. 

Which should not be too surprising. Records are records. Pressing variations exist for every album ever made. If you haven’t noticed that yet, start playing multiple copies of the same album, while listening carefully and critically.

If your stereo is any good at all, it should not take you long to notice how different one record sounds from another. (more…)

Jack Sheldon – Unreleased UHQR Test Pressing – Reviewed in 2007

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

This is a PRACTICALLY BRAND NEW UHQR JVC Test Record. The record is virtually unplayed! The RAREST of the RARE! I’m SHOCKED at how good this record sounds. It has AMAZING live jazz sound.  (more…)

Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

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More Midnight Blue

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

Both sides have that Midnight Blue magic — superb transparency, plenty of deep bass, silky highs, and TONS of energy. The sound of the congas on this copy is wonderful — so punchy with clearly audible transients and so much ambience, it sounded to us like Ray Barretto was right there in the room with us, over by the left speaker. The ultimate copies have a degree of clarity that can BLOW YOU AWAY.  (more…)

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms – Simply Vinyl Reviewed

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Sonic Grade: B

This older Simply Vinyl pressing (with the gold SVLP sticker) actually sounds pretty good. It certainly is one of the most ANALOG sounding versions I’ve heard, high praise in my book.

We’ve recommended it in the past. It’s a nice record (if you can get your hands on one) but it’s not really a match for our Hot Stamper pressings. The multiple copies we auditioned did darn good for a Heavy Vinyl reissue and substantially better than the average pressing, hence the “B” grade. Simply Vinyl seems to have done a good job here.

Correction: an unnamed mastering engineer at the label did a superb job. Simply Vinyl isn’t in the business of mastering ANYTHING. They leave that up to the pros at the record labels. Sometimes those guys screw it up and sometimes they get it right. (more…)

Emmylou Harris – Roses In The Snow – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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Roses In The Snow

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

AMAZING A+++ SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! The immediacy of the vocals is startling — Emmylou is IN THE ROOM with you, belting out these heartfelt, emotional songs. If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will! We’ve done several shootouts for this album now, and we’ve completely fallen in love with both the music and the sound. When you hear a copy like this, it’s easy to see why. Even our single plus (A+) sides sound wonderful, but our Super Hot (A++) and White Hot (A+++) sides are OUT OF THIS WORLD. You won’t find too many records from 1980 with sound this good, that’s for sure!

Both sides have wonderful clarity and transparency. Emmylou’s vocals are breathy with lots of texture, the stringed instruments have the proper amount of pluck and twang, and the bass is Right On The Money. Yee-haw!  (more…)

Red Garland Trio – Bright And Breezy

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More Bright And Breezy

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

If you have full-range speakers some of the qualities you may recognize in the sound of the piano are WEIGHT and WARMTH. The piano is not hard, brittle or tinkly. Instead the best copies show you a wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, smooth piano, one which sounds remarkably like the ones we’ve all heard countless times in piano bars and restaurants. (more…)