A stunning sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on ALL FOUR SIDES!
Forget the originals – like so many of the early songbook pressings, they suffer from painfully hard and honky mastering EQ (and gritty sounding vinyl)
We know whereof we speak when it comes to early Ella records – we’ve played plenty of them and found that most just don’t sound very good
Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout* — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
“Duke’s spectacular catalog dazzles, and his sprightly, lush textures are transfigured under Fitzgerald’s warm-timbred voice and elegant, precise delivery… each tune as familiar as it is delightful to hear in this new context.”
This mono reissue is the only way to find the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from modern records. As good as the best of those pressings may be, this record is going to be dramatically more REAL sounding.
Ella is no longer a recording — she’s a living, breathing person. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. Her voice is so rich, sweet, and free of artificiality you cannot help but find yourself lost in the music, because there’s no “sound” to distract you.
Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here. You could certainly demonstrate your stereo with a record this good, even one that’s not nearly this good, because this one is superb.
What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1957
Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does. (more…)
You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on this Emus pressing of Count Basie and Tony Bennett’s 1959 classic collaboration
The originals we have played are uniformly horrible sounding compared to these wonderful reissues – the tonality here is Right On The Money
4 1/2 stars: “… the pairing between Bennett and Basie remains impressive. The band raves through tunes like “With Plenty Of Money And You,” and Bennett matches them, drawing strength from the bravura arrangements, while band and singer achieve a knowing tenderness on “Growing Pains.” This is an album well worth owning…”
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.(more…)
For this album, having sampled a large group of pressings from every era, we found the originals to be inferior to the best reissues we played. Naturally the ones we offer here as Hot Stampers will be the best of those reissue pressings. We are not the least bit worried that this vintage Impulse LP won’t beat the pants off of any original as well as any reissue you may have heard. And of course it is guaranteed to be dramatically better sounding than any Heavy Vinyl pressing produced by anyone, anywhere, at any time.(more…)
One of our favorite Cannonball Adderley albums here at Better Records, and the sound is killer on this copy. Both sides are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. We’ve never heard the record sound better, and that’s coming from someone who’s been playing the album since the ’80s when it was first reissued in its current form.
These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their living, breathing presence on every track — assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one.
Based on what I’m hearing my feeling is that most of the natural, full-bodied, smooth, sweet sound of the album is on the master tape, and that all that was needed to get that vintage sound correctly on to disc was simply to thread up that tape on a reasonably good machine and hit play.
Original Vs. Reissue
The original Riverside pressings are the best, right?
With two shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, this early UK pressing is As Good As It Gets!
Bigger, more dynamic, more lively, more present and just plain more EXCITING than anything we heard – that’s why it won our shootout
This one can show you the sweeter, tubier Midrange Magic that we is the hallmark of all the best Cat Stevens’ recordings
Many of Cat’s best songs are here – Can’t Keep It In, Angelsea, 18th Avenue, Freezing Steel and more
“Celebrated and adored for his sanguine lyrics and irresistible hooks, Cat Stevens was one of the rare singer-songwriters capable of composing genuinely optimistic songs that didn’t leave a sappy residue in listeners’ ears.”
The Magic Stampers
As is sometimes the case, there is one and only one set of stamper numbers that consistently wins our Catch Bull At Four shootouts. We stumbled upon an out-of-this-world copy of the right pressing about two years ago, a copy took the recording to a level we had no idea could even be possible. (We were going to give it Four Pluses, and probably should have, but cooler heads prevailed.)
Since then we have had many copies come in, but none that could compete with the Magic Stamper pressings. And the best part of this story is that, no, the best stampers are not 1U, or 2U, or even 3U. In other words they are far from the stampers found on the earliest pressings. That’s one reason it took us so long to discover them, because they are much less commonly found than pressings with the earlier stampers. By the time these later pressings were mastered, pressed and released, the album’s biggest selling days were over. For all we know this cutting may have been done just to keep the record in print, possibly undertaken many years after its initial release.(more…)
This White Hot Stamper Plum Victrola pressing has GORGEOUS Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may have never heard. Yes, it’s that good! Recorded in England by Decca in 1959, with Solti at the helm of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the music herein was originally released on the album Venice, LSC 2313, with a lovely die-cut cover. Six years later, still clearly in the Golden Age of Tubes, it was reissued on Victrola, and it would be hard to imagine it sounding any better than it does here. (We keep a noisy Venice as a ref but it sure doesn’t sound like this pressing.)
At one time we had a copy of this record that we felt suffered from reversed absolute polarity, but we found no such problem with this copy — it sounds amazing!(more…)
We were surprised that so few copies had the Tubey Magical qualities that we’ve come to expect from Elektra in 1967. The label was home to two very well-recorded (by none other than Bruce Botnick) bands at the time, The Doors and Love. What happened here? John Haeny, the engineer, worked on Waiting for the Sun, which is an amazing sounding Doors album on the right pressing. Why so few great sounding Wildflowers?
Michael from Mountains Since You Asked Sisters of Mercy Priests A Ballata of Francesco Landini
Both Sides Now La Chanson des Vieux Amants (The Love Song of Old Lovers) Sky Fell Albatross Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
This music has a HUGE amount of upper midrange and high frequency information. (Just note how present the tambourines are in the mixes.) If the record isn’t cut properly, or pressed properly for that matter, the sound can REALLY be unpleasant.
One of our good customers made an astute comment in an email to us — the typical copy of this album makes you want to turn DOWN the volume. Sad but true.
It’s (Almost) All About The Midrange
There are two important traits that all the best copies have in common. Tonally they aren’t bright and aggressive (which eliminates 80 percent of the AHDN pressings you find) and they have a wonderful warmth and sweetness in the midrange that really brings out the quality of the Beatles’ individual voices.
When comparing pressings of this record, the copies that get their voices to sound both present and warm, smooth, and sweet, especially during the harmonies, are always the best. All the other instruments seem to fall in line when the vocals are correct. This is an old truism — it’s all about the midrange — but in this case, it really is true.
This outstanding copy of Low boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end
Huge amounts of studio space can be heard on this copy, along with the Tubey Magical richness only the best Brit copies can offer
These British pressings (not originals by the way) play about as quietly as records from the era ever do
5 stars on Allmusic for this groundbreaking album recorded with Eno — “Low is a dense, challenging album that confirmed his place at rock’s cutting edge…”
I’ve said it on the site numerous times: I spent a good portion of the ’70s playing Art Rock records like Taking Tiger Mountain, Siren, Crime Of The Century, Deceptive Bends and scores of others. I remember being blown away when Low came out, and with this shootout we had a blast hearing just how good a killer Hot Stamper pressing can sound on the much more highly-evolved stereo system (equipment, room, set-up, tweaks, electricity, etc.) we have today. (more…)