Month: April 2021

Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon – 2003 Heavy Vinyl Reviewed

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for Dark Side of the Moon

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and a Heavy Vinyl Disaster if there ever was one (and oh yes, there are plenty).

The 30th Anniversary Heavy Vinyl pressing is TOO BRIGHT. There is a boost in the top end, probably right around the 12K region, which is a very poor mastering choice the late Doug Sax apparently made, a choice that is surely not doing this recording any favors. In the case of this new pressing in fact, it’s positively ruinous. (more…)

Bill Withers – Live at Carnegie Hall

More Bill Withers

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  • KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on sides two and three and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the other two sides
  • These sides are incredibly spacious, clear, rich and chock full of analog Tubey Magic – exactly the right sound for this surprisingly well recorded live album
  • 4 stars: “A wonderful live album that capitalizes on Withers’ trademark melancholy soul sound while expanding the music to fit the room granted by a live show… One of the best live releases from the ’70s.”

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John Lee Hooker – Endless Boogie

More John Lee Hooker

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  • This original ABC pressing has Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on ALL FOUR SIDES! 
  • These sides are out of this world — rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with a big punchy bottom end and lots of energy
  • “… the timeliness of Endless Boogie is an unmitigated plus, and producers Bill Szymczyk and Ed Michel get a relaxed groove out of a cast of supporting musicians who can boogie Canned Heat right out of the studio.” – Robert Christgau

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Be-Bop Deluxe – Futurama

More Be-Bop Deluxe

More Titles Only Offered on Import Vinyl

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  • The band’s sophomore release, Futurama, makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Balanced, musical, present and full-bodied throughout – this early UK pressing was a big step up from every other copy we played
  • “… where other bands lose their musical impetus in fussy artsiness, Be-Bop Deluxe is redeemed by the brilliance of its playing, and particularly Mr. Nelson’s guitar playing. Mr. Nelson’s music and his guitar playing lift Be-Bop Deluxe out of the ordinary. The music sounds something like the febrile eclecticism of Roxy Music and Queen and Mr. Nelson admits the kinship.” — The New York Times

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Holst / The Planets – Dutch Versus Brit

What to Listen For – Side to Side Differences

Decca and London Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

More Recordings conducted by Zubin Mehta

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This 2-pack boasts White Hot Stamper sound on side two for the Mehta Planets. Yes, it IS possible. Side two shows you what this record is actually capable of — big WHOMP, no SMEAR, super SPACIOUS, DYNAMIC, with an EXTENDED top. It beat every London pressing we threw at it, coming out on top for our recent shootout. Folks, we 100% guarantee that whatever pressing you have of this performance, this copy will trounce it.

But side one of this London original British pressing was awful. We wrote it off as NFG after about a minute; that’s all we could take of the bright, hard-sounding brass of War.

Can you imagine sound this bad from a TAS List Super Disc record? We can, we played it.

If you collect Super Discs based on their catalog numbers and labels and preferred countries of manufacture, you are in big trouble when it comes time to play the damn things. That approach doesn’t work for sound and never did.

If your stereo is workin’ right this is not news to you. The proof? The first disc in this 2-pack is Dutch. It earned a Super Hot grade in our blind test, beating every British copy we played against it save one. Side two however was recessed, dark and lifeless. Another NFG side, but the perfect complement to our White Hot British side two!

Hot Stampers are the only way to get this problematical recording to come to life, to convey the real power of Holst’s music. The typical copy of this record is dull, two-dimensional, smeary, veiled, opaque and compressed. If you were never impressed with the sound of HP’s favorite — a member of the Top Twelve TAS Super Disc List — this might just be the copy that will change your mind. (more…)

Canteloube / Songs Of The Auvergne Vol. 2 / De La Roche

More Canteloube / Songs Of The Auvergne 

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This original Vanguard Black Label pressing (VSD-2132) has a side one that’s simply OUT OF THIS WORLD, A Triple Plus all the way. Why such a high rating? Of all the copies we played, this side one was the perfect blend of Tubey Magical richness coupled with Clarity and Presence.

Miss Devrath is front and center, live in your living room, as natural a human voice as you will ever hear on record. Of the six sides of this music we are offering today, this was the only Triple Plus side. There is simply nothing to fault; side one on this copy sounds right in a way that no other side we played did. And some of the other sides were quite good; you wouldn’t think the sound was lacking in any way. But after playing this side one it’s clear what the best copies are really capable of — completely natural Demo Disc Sound.

I believe Volume One used to be on the TAS Superdisc List, and for a time the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue may have been as well. I remember playing the Classic years ago and thinking the sound was not bad, not as awful as most of their stuff, but still far from what it should be.

How anyone can take Classic Records seriously is beyond me, yet HP has many of their records on his Super Disc list and he is certainly not alone in praising their remastered pressings. In our opinion you should be able to hear what’s wrong with their records from another room, a test we would happily submit to.

That dark, hard, smeary, transient- and texture-free sound one hears on all their records is pretty obvious to those of us who listen to vintage vinyl all day. (Vintage vinyl has its own share of problems, just not those.) How the vast majority of audiophile reviewers can be fooled by such second-rate fare is frankly beyond understanding. Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read reviews and commentary concerning the abysmal Classic catalog. (more…)

Every Label Made Bad Sounding Records – Reprise Released this Fleetwood Mac Album in 1969

Never heard this album sound good, on domestic or import vinyl. If you know of a good sounding pressing, drop us a line, would love to know what it is.

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.

You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (On some records in the Hall of Shame the sound is passable but the music is bad.  These are also records you can safely avoid.)

Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the all-too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.

When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good record, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much more inexcusable. (more…)

Cat Stevens / Teaser & The Firecat – A Top Ten Title

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  • This timeless Classic Folk Rock recording on the British Island label offers superb Demo Disc Quality sound on both sides – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • With Double Plus (A++) grades this copy is guaranteed to rock your world with their richness, clarity, transparency, and ENERGY
  • AMG 5 Stars and a Top 100 album – it just may be the Best Sounding record Cat Stevens ever made – quiet vinyl too
  • Tuesday’s Dead, Morning Has Broken, Bitterblue, Moonshadow, Peace Train – and that’s just side two! What side of any album has five songs of such quality?

Teaser & The Firecat is an amazing recording — a permanent member of our Top 100 in fact — but the average pressing only hints at just how good it can sound. A copy like this, with plenty of Tubey Magic, clarity and presence, is practically a different album.

Before I get further into the sound of this record, let me preface my remarks by saying this is a work of GENIUS. Cat Stevens made two records which belong in the Pantheon of greatest popular recordings of all time. In the world of folky pop, Teaser and the Firecat and Tea for the Tillerman have few peers. There may be other recordings that are as good but there are no other recordings that are better.

When you hear The Wind, Changes IV, or If I Laugh on this copy, you will be convinced, as I am, that this is one of the greatest popular recordings in the history of the world. I don’t know of ANY other album that has more LIFE and MUSICAL ENERGY than this one. (more…)

Motley Crue – Theatre of Pain

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  • A superb sounding copy with impressive Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish and the first to ever hit the site!  
  • Both sides here are clean, clear, full-bodied and present with tons of energy and a much nicer bottom end than most copies we played
  • “Mötley Crüe really began to hit their commercial stride with Theatre of Pain, which broke them on MTV with the power ballad “Home Sweet Home” and a remake of Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” – All Music

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The Cars / Candy-O and 1979: The Year in Music

More of The Cars

Albums from 1979 in stock

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We’re big fans of this album, and a Shootout Winning Hot Stamper copy like this one will show you exactly why. It’s a favorite recording of ours here at Better Records for one very simple reason: Candy-O has got The BIG ROCK SOUND we love!

Drop the needle on Let’s Go and check out the sound of the big floor tom. When the drummer bangs on that thing, you FEEL it! It’s similar to the effect of being in the room with live musicians — it’s the difference between hearing the music and feeling the music. That difference is what you get from our best Hot Stamper copies when you turn them up good and loud and let them ROCK your world.

A New Wave Classic

What other New Wave band ever recorded an album with this kind of demonstration quality sound? The sound of the best copies positively JUMPS out of the speakers. No album by Blondie, Television, The Pretenders or any of their contemporaries can begin to compete with this kind of huge, lively, powerful sound, with the possible exception of the Talking Heads’ Little Creatures.

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