Genre – Rock – Pure Pop

Steve Miller Band – Fly Like An Eagle – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


  • Amazing “Triple Triple” sound from start to finish with both sides earning our top A+++ grade
  • This album KILLS on a copy like this — lively, spacious, rich and clear. You won’t find better SMB sound on vinyl!
  • The title track and Take The Money and Run both sound amazing, as does everything else
  • “The key is focus, even on an album as stylishly, self-consciously trippy as this, since the focus brings about his strongest set of songs (both originals and covers), plus a detailed atmospheric production where everything fits.”

See all of our Steve Miller Band albums in stock

On this killer copy you get plenty of richness and warmth, front and center immediacy, extension both up top and down low, and loads of energy. The synths have texture, the guitars are full-bodied and the bottom end is nice and meaty.

The top end of this album is a problem on most pressings — dry and somewhat brittle — but on a copy like this the highs are silky sweet and smooth. The soundfield is open and transparent with three-dimensional space that brings out the “trippy” qualities the band threw in all over this album.

To break it down further, 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 1976
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments (and effects!) 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 of course the only way to hear all of the above

We originally went into this shootout without high expectations, but we were BLOWN AWAY by the sound of the best copies. Not only did we find some that actually delivered the spacey goods, but the best of the best were actually Demo Disc quality! We never expected to hear this music sound so good. (more…)

The Beatles – Beatles For Sale – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


  • Off the charts “Triple Triple” (A+++) sound for the band’s classic fourth album – both sides earned our top grade of A+++
  • Superb energy and presence – the band is RIGHT THERE and full of the LIFE the best Beatles pressings always have
  • An underrated Beatles album – Allmusic gives it Five Big Stars and we like it every bit as much as they do
  • I’m A Loser, Baby’s In Black, Rock And Roll Music, I’ll Follow The Sun. Eight Days A Week, Words Of Love, Every Little Thing, I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party, What You’re Doing and 4 more – 14 tracks in all (!)

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


Beatles For Sale is a criminally underappreciated album, and a killer copy like this will show you exactly why. The startling presence and immediacy allow the emotional qualities of these lovely songs to really work some Beatles magic. We play a ton of these every year, but there’s a good reason you don’t see too many top copies like this one hit the site — they are just too hard to find. (more…)

Hall and Oates – H2O – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • This Hall and Oates classic from 1982 won our most recent shootout with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on BOTH sides
  • Only the second copy to hit the site in over six years and boy is it KILLER — super rich full and Tubey Magical with a massive bottom end
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • 4 Stars: “…an album that turned out to be bigger than its predecessor, as it climbed higher on the charts and launched three Top Ten singles…”

See all of our Hall and Oates albums in stock

The vocals are present and breathy, the mids have space and the drums and bass are punchy — this is the sound we look for on this album.   (more…)

The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • A MONSTER of a copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • The overall sound is incredibly big and bold with a HUGE bottom end and tons of energy
  • Fairly quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus MInus
  • 5 Stars: “Zenyatta contains perhaps the quintessential new wave anthem, the haunting “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”… Zenyatta Mondatta remains one of the finest rock albums of all time.”

See all of our Police albums in stock

Finally, a killer copy of Zenyatta Mondatta worthy of the White Hot Stamper designation! It is brutally difficult to find great copies of this album, which explains why only a handful have gone up since 2006. And given our expanded resources and refined shootout process, not to mention the expertise we’ve gained in the thousands of hours of listening we’ve done since that time, I have to believe that this is one of the best sounding copies we’ve ever found. Police fans, this is the ONE.

This copy did everything we wanted and then some. It’s big, bold and lively with the kind of powerful bottom end that brings out the best in The Police. The vocals are present, the bass is well-defined, the guitar has harmonic texture and the drums are punchy and lively. I don’t think you could find a better sounding version of this album no matter how hard you tried.

As for the music, the album is an absolute classic — it leads off with Don’t Stand So Close To Me and never lets up. (more…)

Ringo Starr – Ringo – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy would be hard to beat
  • The sound was huge, rich, Tubey Magical, smooth and – gulp! – natural in a way that no other copy was
  • The big hits are here: Photograph, You’re Sixteen, Oh My My and many, many more
  • “Ringo’s best and most consistent new studio album, Ringo represented both the drummer/singer’s most dramatic comeback and his commercial peak.”

See all of our Ringo Starr albums in stock

This copy had the top and bottom that was missing from most of the pressings we played. It also had tremendous energy throughout, especially noticeable on a song like Photograph.

Like Nilsson Schmilsson, an amazing Richard Perry production with much the same amazing sound, the bad copies are really just awful — veiled, smeary, compressed, rolled off up top and leaned out down low. It’s a big studio pop production with a lot going on; when it doesn’t work it really doesn’t work. Thankfully, on some copies it does, and this is one of those.

If you’ve tried killer Hot Stamper pressings of any of our favorite Richard Perry productions — No Secrets, Nilsson Schmilsson, Son of Schmilsson and Breakaway come to mind — you know the sound of this album.

Bill Schnee did some of the engineering. You probably know his name from the famous Sheffield Direct to Disc recordings he made there. If you like your records will lots of bottom end, richness, Tubey Magic and powerful dynamics, he’s the guy that can get that sound on tape, and Doug Sax, the mastering engineer for the album, is the guy that can get that sound onto disc. They made a great team. (more…)

Listening in Depth to Brewer & Shipley – Down In L.A.


More Down in L.A.

More Brewer and Shipley

Listening in Depth


This has long been one of our favorite Hippie Folk Rock albums here at Better Records. If you like Crosby, Stills and Nash’s first album or Rubber Soul — and who doesn’t love those two albums — you should much to like on Down in L.A.

In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

Truly Right

The drumming on this first track is out of this world — it relentlessly propels this track forward, and you can thank top studio drummers for bringing this kind of energy to the song. Also the fuzzed out guitar that comes in toward the end is pure ’60s pop, exactly the kind of thing we love.

She Thinks She’s A Woman

I love the studio chatter at the opening of this song. The transparency should be striking. When the vocals come in they should be smooth and sweet, better than the first track by a wide margin. And I love this song — it’s one of the strongest on the album.

Time And Changes

Another one of the better sounding songs. This one has exceptionally nice bass. (more…)

Boz Scaggs and Silk Degrees and Its Rich, Solid Piano – The Forgotten Sound of ’70s Rock


Yet another album we are clearly obsessed with

Click on the link below to pull up the many reviews and commentaries we’ve written, as well as Hot Stamper copies that are currently available on the site.

Silk Degrees


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Silk Degrees.

What do you hear on the best copies? Well, the first thing you hear is a rich, solid piano, a piano that’s missing from the CBS Half-Speed and 90% of the reissues we’ve played. Like so many recordings from the ’70s this album is surprisingly natural sounding. I’ve had the same experience with Billy Joel’s ’70s records. I was surprised to hear how well recorded they are — and how full-bodied the piano is — after I stopped listening to the audiophile and import pressings and went back to the original domestic copies.

When you get the right ones they’re wonderfully rich and smooth, the way good analog should be.

And these were the kinds of records that we audiophiles were complaining about back in the day. We lamented the fact that these pressings weren’t audiophile quality, like the best MoFis and Japanese pressings. Can you imagine?

This is how bad even good equipment must have been back then.

Of course we got what we deserved. We got lots of phony, hyped-up pressings to fool us into thinking we were hearing better sound, when in fact the opposite was true. I regret to say that nothing has changed — most pressings aimed at audiophiles are still mediocre if not outright awful (bad enough to fill up our Hall of Shame in fact.

The other record that immediately comes to mind to show you the sound that’s missing from many pressings, both vintage and modern, is Aja. Here’s what we had to say about it:

If you own the Cisco 180 gram pressing, focus on Victor Feldman’s piano at the beginning of the song. It lacks body, weight and ambience on the new pressing, but any of our better Hot Stamper copies will show you a piano with those qualities in spades all the way through. It’s some of my favorite work by the Steely Dan vibesman. The thin piano on the Cisco release must be recognized for what it is: a major error on the part of the mastering engineers.

A full piano is key to the sound of the best pressing of Silk Degrees. The other thing you hear on the best copies is a smooth, sweet top end, which is likewise missing from the above mentioned pressings.

Most copies lack presence and top end. Dull, thick, opaque sound is far too common on Silk Degrees, which may account for some audiophiles finding the half-speed preferable. Of course, our Hot Stampers give you the presence and highs that let this music come to life. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be Hot Stampers now would they?