Month: September 2019

Howard McGhee – Maggie’s Back In Town – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

This Contemporary LP has WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It’s rich and full a very extended, very natural top end. The cymbals on this record sound AMAZING! Roy DuNann sure knew how to record this kind of jazz. Just listen to the leading edge transients of the trumpet or the punchiness of the drums. There’s no trace of phony EQ or bad mastering whatsoever. (more…)

Traffic – The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

  • This is an outstanding Island Sunray domestic pressing offering spacious Tubey Magical Double Plus (A++) sound throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Low Spark is clearly one of the best sounding Proggy/Arty Rock records ever made – the space it recreates in your listening room is HUGE 
  • A Better Records Top 100 album and a real Demo Disc on a pressing that sounds as good as this one does
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The commercial and artistic apex of the second coming of Traffic… The standout was the 12-minute title track, with its distinctive piano riff and its lyrics of weary disillusionment with the music business. “

After doing the shootout for John Barleycorn recently, a record we love in spite of its problematic sound, this album was truly a breath of fresh air. I can honestly and enthusiastically say that the sound we heard on the best pressings was OUT OF THIS WORLD. This album is a permanent member of our Rock And Jazz Top 100, that’s how good it is. (more…)

Billy Joel / Songs in the Attic- Listening in Depth

More of the Music of Billy Joel

More Personal Favorites

You know how you can tell when you have a Hot Stamper? It’s the side you play through to the end.

When the sound is right you want to hear more.

Since the opening track of this record is one of the keys to knowing whether it’s mastered and pressed properly, once you get past the sibilance hurdle on track one, the next step is to find out how the challenges presented by the rest of the tracks are handled on any given LP.

Some advice: 

Side One

Miami 2017

This is usually the brightest cut on the first side, commonly found with some sibilance problems. On the high-res copies the sibilance is lessened, and the sound of the sibilance itself is much less transistory and spitty, with more of a silky quality, which is simply another way of saying it’s less distorted.

Of course one wouldn’t want the sibilance to be lessened by having a dull top end, but few of these pressings are dull. Most of them suffer from a brightness problem. The best copies keep the sibilance under control and balance the upper mids with extended highs. Without extension on the highs the sound will tend to be aggressive.

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Borodin / Symphony No. 2 – Martinon

This Minty looking RCA Living Stereo LP has AMAZING SOUND. It’s everything a Living Stereo record should be — warm and rich with lots of depth and silky highs.

The lower strings on this record are hands down some of the best I’ve ever heard. They’re so rich and textured.

Out of all the Decca recorded RCAs I’ve had the pleasure (or misfortune as the case may be!) of listening to, this is definitely one of the top dogs.

If this record were quiet it would easily fetch $300; unfortunately that ain’t the case. The only reason we’re offering this copy for sale is because the sound — and the music — are OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Paul McCartney and Wings – London Town

  • This MPL import pressing has incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • Clean, clear, and dynamic with lots of Tubey Magic and a huge bottom end — this copy was doing it all right! 
  • “… it’s certainly stronger than Speed and, in its own way, as satisfying as Venus and Mars… It’s a laid-back, almost effortless collection of professional pop and, as such, it’s one of his strongest albums.” – All Music

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Thelonious Monk – Monk’s Blues – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

WONDERFUL BIG BAND MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound — natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT — totally free of the “RVG squawk” we often hear on old Blue Notes. The clarity and transparency are superb throughout.   (more…)

Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges – Back to Back – A Classic Records Winner

As I recall this was one of the better sounding Classic titles from their Verve series, and the music is excellent. Finding a clean original is no mean feat as I’m sure you can imagine.

Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Kenny Burrell

Reviews and Commentaries for Midnight Blue

  • An outstanding copy of this amazing RVG recording
  • One of our All Time Favorite Blue Note albums for music and sound – is there a better bluesy Jazz Guitar album?
  • AMG 5 Stars – if there were a Top 100 Jazz List on our site, Midnight Blue would be right up at the top of it
  • Jazz Improv Magazine puts the album among its Top Five recommended recordings for Burrell, indicating that “[i]f you need to know ‘the Blue Note sound’, here it is.”

Midnight Blue is our favorite Kenny Burrell album of all time, at least in part because it’s one of the All Time Best Sounding Blue Notes. 

If you already own a copy of Midnight Blue and you don’t consider it one of the best sounding jazz guitar records in your collection, then you surely don’t have a copy that sounds the way this one does! In other words, you don’t know what you’re missing. (And if you own the Classic Records release, or any other Heavy Vinyl pressing from the modern era, then you really don’t know what you are missing.) (more…)

Foreigner – Agent Provocateur

More Foreigner

More Rock Classics

  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this copy of Foreigner’s fifth studio album – quiet vinyl too
  • Exceptionally open, clear, and resolving, this pressing presents the music as it was meant to be heard
  • With the band’s biggest hit single, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” this is a vital addition to any Foreigner fan’s collection
  • “It would be difficult to find a band that had more success from 1977 to 1981 than Foreigner, as all four albums released during that time frame would chart Top 5, with the album 4 becoming the band’s first Number One album… Even now, more than 30 years after [Agent Provocateur] was released, I think there are several tracks that stand up pretty well with the rest of the band’s best material… “

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Smoother and sweeter sound with less of the grit and congestion that plagues the average copy. (more…)

Lou Rawls – Bring It On Home

More Lou Rawls

More Soul, Blues, and Rhythm and Blues

  • This is a great sounding Lou Rawls album, and this copy is guaranteed to knock you out with its Shootout Winning Triple Plus sound 
  • This early Stereo Capitol LP brought Sam Cooke’s most famous songs to life, with the kind of vocal presence and tubey richness that no other copy could offer
  • There are a lot of bad sounding Lou Rawls records out there, but this hidden gem is not one of them – not only is the sound superb, but Lou’s done his old pal Sam proud with wonderfully heartfelt versions of some of his best songs
  • It’s incredibly difficult to find big, bold, lively sound like this for any Lou Rawls title, but here it is!

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