Advice – What to Listen For – Side to Side Differences

Brewer & Shipley – Weeds – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2017

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

It took two copies on two different labels to give you BETTER than Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the two sides of this 2-pack. These sides were beyond anything we had ever heard, with weight and Tubey Magic to put other records to shame. On the best copies the midrange is amazingly relaxed and natural, yet completely clear and present. This Bay Area Hippie Folk Rock has much in common with classic albums like Workingman’s Dead and CSN’s first. (more…)

Beethoven / Famous Beethoven Overtures / Munchinger – Reviewed in 2011

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven

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

This British London Blueback original pressing has better than A+ Hot Stamper sound on both sides. The music is lively and well-played, as one would expect from the venerable Karl Munchinger leading the Vienna Phil.

The sound is quite good but very different for each of the two sides. For more on the sound please see our notes below. (more…)

Ravel, Saint-Saens et al. / Tzigane, Havanaise / Kyung-Wha Chung – Reviewed in 2012

More of the music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Tzigane, Havanaise / Kyung-Wha Chung

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

This 1979 London original English pressing of violin showpieces has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which came as a bit of a shock to us after playing side one, which is as congested and opaque as one would expect from such a late London recording. Side two is fabulous — full-bodied, rich and sweet. Even though it may have been recorded in 1977, the engineer is Kenneth Wilkinson, and the hall is Kingsway — not many bad recordings can be attributed to either.    

But bad mastering or bad pressing quality are surely not the fault of either; when the record doesn’t come out of the oven right, the sound is going to suffer, and the sound on this side one is insufferable all right. But side two is GLORIOUS; it has wonderful music played with the greatest skill and feeling.  (more…)

Mozart & Turina / The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

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

This is a Super Hot Stamper Two-Pack that comprises a White Dog RCA original for side one and a Red Label reissue for side two, for the simple and obvious reason that the “bad” sides of each of these LPs are not nearly as good as the “good” sides. When you play the weaker sides you will no doubt appreciate why we felt it was appropriate to bundle two very different records together to make a truly SUPERB one.

If you’ve suffered through the horrendously sour and screechy recordings Heifetz and Piatigorsky are known for in audiophile circles — LDS 2513 and LDS 6159 — you will be glad to know that the two good sides here sound NOTHING like them. (Reversing your polarity on LDS 6159 helps but it can’t fix sound that’s that bad.)  (more…)

June Christy – The Intimate Miss Christy

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

Both sides of this 1962 All Tube Recorded and Mastered record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout.

We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it’s taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. We’re happy to say it worth all the trouble.

Get the volume just right and June will be standing between your speakers and putting on the performance of a lifetime. This is one of our favorite female vocal albums (along with Clap Hands, Julie Is her Name and a fair number of others) and this amazingly good copy will show you why – the sound and music are wonderful.

The Mono Is King

This early mono pressing 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 dramatically more REAL sounding. (more…)

Leonard Bernstein – West Side Story (Broadway Cast Recording)

More of the music of Leonard Bernstein 

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

SUPERB sound can be found on these two Columbia stereo pressings of the Broadway Cast recording. This is a huge, spacious, natural, exciting All-Tube Golden Age recording that impressed us no end here at Better Records.

We heard an amazing sounding copy many years ago, and the only reason we haven’t done the shootout since then is that we just couldn’t find enough clean copies with which to do it. To be clear, we’re not talking quiet vinyl, we’re talking about not beat-to-death, not all-scractched-up vinyl. People loved this music and they played the hell out of it.

Imagine our surprise when the good sound of these copies turned out to not only have superb sound, but exceptionally quiet Mint Minus vinyl too! Don’t expect to see another of this quality any time soon. If we can’t find them, who can? (more…)

Bob Dylan – Street-Legal

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

This copy has an insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) side one backed with an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two. 

Which breaks the rules a bit because most side twos earned a sonic grade that was about a half plus higher than the average copy’s grade for side one. Side two most of the time just plain sounds better than side one, so when evaluating your copy be sure to check side two first to hear what is probably going to be the best sound on the album. (more…)

2-Packs – The Best Case for Dramatic Pressing Variations

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More 2-Packs

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Just today (3/16/15) we put up a White Hot Stamper 2-pack of the Eagles’ First Album. One of the two pressings that made up the 2-pack had a killer side two, practically As Good As It Gets. 

What was interesting about that particular record was how bad side one was. Side one of that copy — on the white label, with stampers that are usually killer — was terrible. The vocals were hard, shrill and spitty. My notes say “CD sound. ” When a record sounds like a CD it goes in the trade-in pile, not on our site.

We encouraged the lucky owner to play the bad side for himself just to hear how awful it is, yet surprisingly, one might even say shockingly, it has exactly the qualities that audiophiles and collectors are most often satisfied with: the right label, and, in this case even the right stampers (assuming anyone besides us would know what the right stampers are). (more…)

John Klemmer – Straight from the Heart

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

This White Hot Stamper Nautilus Direct-to-Disc recording is an AMAZING Demo Disc, and what’s more, it’s actually REAL JAZZ — a remarkably unusual combination in the Audiophile World, in my experience anyway. This copy takes the sound of this recording — and the music along with it — to another level. YOU WON’T BELIEVE how good this record sounds  (more…)

Turning Skeptics into Believers, One Hot Stamper at a Time

Straight Answers to Your Hot Stamper Questions

Turning Skeptics into Believers

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Years ago we received a letter from a fellow on our email list who found our prices for vinyl curious, as he considered a vinyl a bygone technology. Can’t say I agree with that assessment. It sure would be nice to demonstrate for him how much better records sound than the supposedly superior technologies that have — for most people, perhaps even for this gentleman — replaced them.audiophile label on the planet, I don’t know who it could be, and I don’t want to find out.  

Wait, there is a way! A Hot Stamper, 100% Guaranteed to Satisfy or Your Money Back. One click is all it takes. Which is pretty much what I said in my reply to his letter which you can read below.

Tom,

I receive your HTML email regularly. Along with the curious prices of your offerings, I occasionally wonder about the opinions expressed in your e-missives. A Roman senator once said that all mortal things are ‘only perfect in death.’ Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust aside: vinyl (of which I own a considerable library) is merely a bygone technology at this point in time. The opinions expressed on your website rarely credit the writer. Whose words are these? And why should I accept the opinions of someone who only stands to profit from their fanaticism? (more…)