Catch Bull At Four is finally back on the site after a nearly two-year hiatus, here with INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides of this vintage UK Island pressing
It’s bigger, more dynamic, more lively, more present and just plain more EXCITING than anything else we played, which is exactly why it won our shootout — exciting and powerful is what we’re looking for
This British pressing can show you the sweeter, tubier Midrange Magic that is the hallmark of all the best Cat Stevens records
This has been a Only One Stamper Wins title for more than a decade, but this time around we found another stamper for side one, a pleasant surprise I must say
“Though some of the lyrics retain Cat’s fanciful imagery… he shows a new emotional directness, especially on side two, the albums ‘down’ side. This is reflected in Cat’s singing, which becomes more assured and more emotive with each album.” – Rolling Stone
If you’re familiar with what the better Hot Stamper pressings of Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat or Mona Bone Jakon can sound like — amazing is the word that comes to mind — then you should easily be able to imagine how good the better copies of Catch Bull At Four sounds.
All the ingredients for a Classic Cat Stevens album were in place for this release, which came out in 1972, about a year after Teaser and the Firecat. His brilliant guitar player Alun Davies is still in the band, and Paul Samwell-Smith is still producing as brilliantly as ever.
There’s no shortage of deep, well-defined bass either, allowing the more dynamic songs to really come alive. The ones that get loud without becoming hard or harsh are the ones that tend to get everything else right at the lower volumes.
Tubey Magical acoustic guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).
You’ll find superb Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides of this famous TAS Super Disc RCA Living Stereo LP
Plays fairly quiet too – about as quiet as these RCA pressings from the early 60s ever will
If you have ever heard one of our luscious Living Stereo Chet Atkins records, you know what to expect – off the charts Tubey Magic unlike anything made in the last fifty years, or more!
Engineer Bill Porter just doesn’t know how not to make an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording – everything the guy touches is gold
If you’re a fan of the smooth guitar stylings of Mr. Atkins, this is a classic from 1962 that belongs in your collection.
This is one of Chet Atkins’ best albums. Sonically, it’s right up there with The Other Chet Atkins and the Hollywood album. It seems like Bill Porter just doesn’t know how not to make an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording. He knocked this out of the park.
I suppose we owe a debt of gratitude to Harry Pearson for pointing out to us with his TAS List what a great record this is, although I’m pretty sure anybody playing this album can tell after a minute or two that it’s in that very special class of great recordings.
This album is a little more lively than some of his other recordings, which can be criticized for being a little too laid back. For example, try side 2, cut 2 where Chet actually jams.
The last track on side 2 where Chet is joined by a trumpet player is my favorite on the album. That guitar-trumpet combination is pretty magical on that song. And you’ve got to love the kind of sound Bill Porter get from a trumpet. That’s the kind of sound we audiophiles drool over. I do anyway.
You’ll find superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all FOUR sides of these vintage pressings
Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of Floyd’s Magnum Opus from 1979, this is the way to go
The Wall demands big, bold, explosively dynamic ANALOG sound, and here is a copy that delivers on that promise (particularly on sides one, three and four)
Sides one, three and four boast grungy electric guitars, breathy vocals, huge punchy drums, earth-shaking bass and room-filling ambience like you’ve never heard before, and side two is not far behind in all those areas
One of the best sounding rock recordings of all time – here is a copy that will make our case
If you’re a Pink Floyd fan, or maybe just somebody looking for a killer Demo Disc to play, this title from 1979 surely deserves a place in your collection
We spend a ridiculous amount of time cleaning, playing, and comparing copies of this classic double album for our shootouts and let me tell you, there are a lot of weak copies out there.
What do these kinds of top grades give you for The Wall? Top-notch clarity and transparency, mind-blowing immediacy, weight to the bottom, extension up top, HUGE open soundfields, real texture to all the instruments, TONS of energy with serious dynamics, BIG punchy drums and loads of natural ambience.
Pink Floyd tends to be an amazingly well-recorded band, and this album is certainly no exception. If you’ve taken home one of our Hot Stampers for Dark Side of the Moon, Meddle, or Wish You Were Here, then you certainly know what we’re talking about.(more…)
A vintage copy of this mindblowing recording that is guaranteed to rock your world with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides
Side one was very close in sound to our shootout winner — you will be shocked at how big and powerful the sound is
If this price seems high, keep in mind that the top copy from our most recent shootout went for $1200
The transparency, the clarity, the energy, the power – it’s all here on this very special import pressing
Just listen to how clear the clocks are on “Time,” how breathy the vocals are on “Breathe,” how textured the synthesizers are and how silky the top end is from the beginning of the album all the way to the powerful finish
An original Elektra pressing of Simon’s underrated release from 1976 with solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish
Both of these sides are rich, full-bodied and warm, with real immediacy to Carly’s wonderfully present and breathy vocals
You get lovely extension up top, good weight down low, as well as exceptional transparency in the midrange, all qualities that were much less evident on the average copy we played
“Another Passenger is Carly Simon’s best record. The sniffs of ‘So what?’ that that assertion may provoke are exactly what Simon is confronting with this album.” – Rolling Stone
We’ve recently compiled a list of records we think every audiophile should get to know better, along the lines of “the 1001 records you need to hear before you die,” with an accent on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life. Another Passenger is a good example of a record audiophiles may not know well but we think might benefit from getting to know better
This is my personal favorite of all of Carly’s albums. It’s her most consistent work in terms of singing and songwriting. Nothing too heavy, just well crafted and enjoyable Singer Songwriter pop. If you like the kind of albums Paul Simon used to make before Graceland, or middle period James Taylor, you should like this.
Some of her albums can be badly overproduced, with big echoey drum thwacks; thankfully this is not one of them, so we think most listeners will find that the album wears very well. I can personally attest to that fact because I have a tape of this album in my car and I’ll bet you I’ve played it two hundred times or more.
Boasting roughly Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades on all FOUR sides, this vintage UK import copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner (side two actually won the shootout)
Both of these early Black Label British Track pressings have the rich, spacious, Tubey Magical sound that has the power to immerse you in the story of a deaf, dumb and blind boy named Tommy
Top 100, and clearly our pick for the best sounding album The Who ever made – when you play a copy that sounds as good as this one we think you’ll have no problem seeing our point
4 1/2 stars: “…Townshend’s ability to construct a lengthy conceptual narrative brought new possibilities to rock music.”
This is a Must Own Who Classic from 1969 that belongs in every right-thinking audiophile’s collection
It’s our pick for the band’s best sounding album. Roughly 150 other listings for the Best Recording by an Artist or Group can be found here
I know of no other Who album with such consistently good sound — song to song, not copy to copy, of course. Just about every song on here can sound wonderful on the right pressing. If you’re lucky enough to get a Hot Stamper copy, you’re going to be blown away by the Tubey Magical Guitars, the rock-solid bottom end, the jumpin’-out-of-the-speakers presence and dynamics, and the silky vocals and top end.
Usually the best we can give you for The Who is “Big and Rockin,” but on Tommy, we can give you ’60s analog magic that will all but disappear in the decades to follow.
Acoustic guitar reproduction is key to this recording, and on the best copies the harmonic coherency, the richness, the body and the phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard in every strum.
An incredible copy of Zep II with killer sound from start to finish – this one is guaranteed to rock your world like no other!
The surfaces are mostly audible between tracks and in the quietest sections, and no Inner Groove Damage (which is almost always present on “Thank You”)
The sound is freakishly good – we created a Top Ten list just to put this album on it
Years ago we gave up on everything but these killer RL (and SS) pressings, because nothing else can hold a candle to them
With copies selling for $1000+ on ebay, sometimes $3000+, we’re forced to pay big bucks for Zep II these days, but if any album is worth it, it’s this one
This is a Must Own Zep Classic from 1969 that belongs in every right-thinking audiophile’s collection
It’s our pick for the band’s best sounding album. Roughly 100 other listings for the Best by an Artist or Group can be found here.
At least 80% of the copies we buy these days — for many, many hundreds of dollars each I might add, more than a grand on occasion — go right back to the seller. The biggest problem we run into besides obvious scratches that play and worn out grooves is easy to spot: just play the song “Thank You” at the end of side one. Most of the time there is inner groove damage so bad that the track becomes virtually unlistenable.
It’s become a common dealbreaker for the records we buy on the internet. We get them in, we play that track, we hear it distort and we pack the record up and send it back to the seller.
[This was true ten years ago, but we have since found better sources for our copies. The sellers we tend to buy from know not to send us groove-damaged, scratched copies. Something closer to 20% get returned now.]
But this copy plays clean all the way to the end on both sides — assuming you have a highly-tweaked, high-performance front end of course.
With seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish, we guarantee you’ve never heard Help sound this good – fairly quiet vinyl too
Everything that’s great about Help is here – jangly 12-string guitars, Tubey Magical electric pianos, harmonically rich tambourines and claves, and, the sine qua non of any Beatles album, breathy, present vocals
If you’re like us and think the new Beatles Heavy Vinyl reissues are boosted in the bass and way too smooth in the midrange, whether mono or stereo, take comfort in the fact that this pressing is neither of those things, because it sounds right
Side one alone boasts 7 classics: “Help!,” “The Night Before,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “I Need You,” “Another Girl,” “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” and “Ticket to Ride” – whew!
Want to hear The Beatles at their Tubey Magical best? Just play “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” on this copy.
One of the reasons this song stands out in a crowd of great tracks is that there are only acoustic instruments being played. There’s not an electric guitar to be found anywhere in the mix, one of the few tracks on side one for which that is true.
We flip out over the Tubey Magical acoustic guitars and harmony vocals found on early Beatles albums, and this song can be an exceptionally good example of both when you’re lucky enough to have the right pressing playing.
For those who wish to find their own Hot Stamper pressings of the album, we say more power to you. Our helpful advice can be found at the bottom of the listing,
Best of Traffic finally returns to the site on this original Pink Label Island pressing with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
To find a Pink Label UK pressing that plays this quietly came as quite a shock — the superb sound we expected, but vinyl this quiet from 50 years ago? Amazing
Here are the full-bodied mids, punchy lows and clear, open, extended highs that let this 1969 release come alive
This amazing compilation boasts superb sound, often better than the very same tracks on many of the original British releases
Top 100 and 4 stars: “The entire second side of the LP, comprising ‘Medicated Goo,’ ‘Forty Thousand Headmen,’ ‘Feelin’ Alright,’ ‘Shanghai Noodle Factory,’ and ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy,’ was the kind of progressive rock that would define Traffic and give it its place in the rock pantheon.”
This UK pressing is one of the BEST we have ever heard, with both sides earning KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
There’s no studio wizardry, no heavy-handed mastering, no phony EQ – here is the most realistic, natural Beatles sound you can get outside of the first album
Copies like this one make good on the promise that Let It Be captures the greatest rock band of all time playing and singing their hearts out
4 1/2 stars: “The album is on the whole underrated… it’s an album well worth having, as when the Beatles were in top form here, they were as good as ever.”
At its best, Let It Be has the power of live music, but it takes a special pressing such as this one to show you that sound. It’s a bit trickier trying to find good sound for this album than it is for some of the other albums in the Beatles’ catalog.