An outstanding copy of the band’s first live album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all FOUR sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
This copy is full-bodied and natural, with a nicely extended top end, plenty of space around the instruments and vocals, and few of the problems that plagued many pressings we played (a subject we discuss below)
The album provides a balanced document of the band’s musical history – five tracks were recorded in 1976, the rest in 1980
“When it comes to live music, most bands fail. The Eagles, however, sound even better… Hotel California is iconic, every track on this album is epic. The Eagles, the band that shaped not just one generation but continue to do so. This is a must have for fans of the Eagles…”
With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this White Label Asylum pressing was one of the best we played in our recent shootout – fairly quiet vinyl too
The sound is especially rich, warm and natural, with exceptional immediacy to Joni’s vocals and Tubey Magic for days
One of the best sounding Joni records, on a par with Court and Spark and Blue – fine company indeed
4 1/2 stars: “The lyrics here are among Mitchell’s best, continuing in the vein of gripping honesty and heartfelt depth exhibited on Blue…. More than a bridge between great albums, this excellent disc is a top-notch listen in its own right.”
This copy has real energy and dynamics that just could not be heard on most of the pressings we played. With dynamics AND the warmth and richness found here, this copy will be hard to beat.
Listen to how huge the piano is. No two copies will show you the same piano, which makes it a great test for sound. Both sides have clear, present, breathy vocals, about as good as Joni can sound on vinyl, which is saying a lot.(more…)
This wonderful classical guitar recording makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple plus (A+++) sound or close to it – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
The sound here is glorious, brimming with the wonderful qualities that make listening to classical music in analog so involving
The orchestra sounds rich and sweet, yet the guitar is clear, present and appropriately placed relative to the surrounding ensemble
As is to be expected from the Decca engineers in 1959, the sound is so relaxed and correct that you immediately find yourself simply enjoying the performances of these two well-known pieces, which is entirely the point, although we sometimes forget the purpose of all our audiophile rigmarole
An absolute DISASTER — ridiculously bright, ridiculously crude, in short, a completely unlistenable piece of garbage.
Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings as a “reference.” After all, the Classic pressings are considered by many — if not most — audiophiles as superior to other pressings. What could be sadder?
In fact. you will find very few critics of the Classic Zep LPs outside of those who write for this very website, and even we used to recommend three of the Zep titles on Classic: Led Zeppelin I, IV and Presence.
Since then we’ve made it a point to create debunking commentaries for some of the Classic Zeps, a public service of Better Records. We don’t actually like any of them now, although the first album is still by far the best of the bunch.
An outstanding pressing, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
Our favorite performance by far, with BIG, BOLD and POWERFUL sonics like no other recording we know
The brass clarity, the dynamics, the deep bass and the sheer power of the orchestra are almost hard to believe
No vintage recording of these works compares with Muti’s – and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite is an extra special added bonus on side two
This EMI pressing gives you the complete Pictures at an Exhibition with a TOP PERFORMANCE and SUPERB SONICS from first note to last.
As this is my All Time Favorite performance of Pictures, this record naturally comes very highly recommended. Pictures is a piece of music that has been recorded countless times, and I’ve played scores of different recordings, but the only one that truly satisfies is this one, Muti’s 1979 recording with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Much like Previn and the LSO’s performance of The Planets, he finds the music in the work that no one else seems to.(more…)
A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.
This White Hot Stamper pressing of DG’s recording of Rodrigo’s famous concerto for harp has amazing DEMO DISC SOUND, but only on side two. The harp is clear, with no smear whatsoever, but what’s really shocking is how huge the soundstage is, and how much depth it has. While playing this side the speakers just disappeared and a huge concert hall appeared in their place! The harmonics of the harp are rendered superbly well. It’s hard to imagine one could record a harp concerto better than this. It is superb in every way.
About ten years ago a Heavy Vinyl version of this album was remastered and pressed by Speakers Corner, part of their disastrous foray into the DG catalog. This title was decent, the Beethoven Violin Concerto was okay, as was one of the Tchaicovsky Symphonies with Mravinsky (#5), but the rest were just plain awful, with disgracefully bad sound.
Funny, I don’t recall reading any bad reviews of these albums at the time. Oh, that’s right, these Heavy Vinyl records never get bad reviews, no matter how lifeless, opaque and shrill they might sound. Except from us of course. We were writing about them back in the day and trying to sell just the better ones. (We have since given up in that effort as so few are really very good when you get right down to it.)(more…)
The sound we were hearing on this copy during a recent shootout was both rich and sweet, with easily recognized, unerringly correct timbres for all seven of the instruments heard in the work. The legendary 1959 Decca Tree microphone setup had worked its magic once again. And, as good as it was, we were surprised to discover that side two was actually even better! The sound was more spacious and more transparent. We asked ourselves, how is this even possible? Hard to believe but side two had the sound that was TRULY Hard To Fault.
Faults in Focus
This is precisely what careful shootouts and critical listening are all about.
If you like Heavy Vinyl, what exactly is your frame of reference? How many good early pressings could you possibly own, and how were they cleaned?
Without the best pressings around to compare, Heavy Vinyl can sound fine. It’s only when you have something better that its faults come into focus.
We, of course, have something much, much better, and we like to call them Hot Stampers!(more…)
In our opinion this is the best sounding Beethoven 6th Symphony ever recorded. It is the most beautiful of them all, and has long been my personal favorite of the nine Beethoven composed.
Ansermet’s performance is clearly definitive to my ear as well. The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, possibly of all time; more amazing sounding recordings were made there than any other hall we know of. There is a richness to the sound that exceeds all others, yet clarity and transparency are not sacrificed in the least.
It’s as wide, deep and three-dimensional as any, which is of course all to the good, but what makes the sound of these recordings so special is the weight and power of the brass and the timbral accuracy of the instruments in every section.