Genre – Rock – Pure Pop

The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta – Our Shootout Winner from 2016

xxx

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

The first White Hot copy to hit the site in almost TEN YEARS! And it’s a monster, with both sides earning our Top Grade of Triple Plus (A+++). The sound is dramatically bigger, present and livelier than the average pressing. 

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. (more…)

Roy Orbison – Orbisongs

xxxxx

  • Excellent sound throughout with Double Plus (A++) or BETTER on both sides
  • This superb pressing is especially Analog Sounding – lively, warm, with rich bass and breathy, clear vocals 
  • Features one of Orbison’s greatest legacies, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” in stereo no less, and it sounds amazing here
  • While this isn’t the quietest copy we’ve ever heard, it’s clearly one of the best sounding
  • “…every track is strong and showcases Orbison’s immense talent both as a vocalist and a songwriter of effective and poignant lyrics… if you are looking at Orbison at his best you need look no further.”

(more…)

Elvis Presley – Fun In Acapulco – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

xxxxx

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

Finding clean real Elvis records — not those crappy compilations and vault-leftovers, but real Elvis albums from his golden period when he was the true King of Pop (sorry Michael) — has never been a walk in the park. We do the best we can.

Fortunately there are some reissues from the ’60s and ’70s that have the potential for excellent sound. This is clearly one of them. The originals we see are a lost cause; they’re practically always scratched and full of groove damage. We’d be lucky to find a clean one every five or ten years nowadays.

Side One

Breathy vocals and very full sound make this a top quality side.

For a kick check out the great sounding percussion on the third track.

Side Two

Rich and smooth on the first track, more like an old Elvis record, but the next tracks sound better, tubier and livelier (more…)

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Ye-Me-Le – our Shootout Winner from 2008

xxxxx

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

THE BEST SIDE ONE WE’VE HEARD! It’s big and bold, with dramatically less grit and grain than the average copies. This White Hot Ye-Me-Le has MINDBLOWING, YOU ARE THERE IMMEDIACY and MASTER TAPE SOUND on side one. The sound is punchy and lively with wonderful transparency. You can really hear the sound of the room around the musicians! Many of the tracks on this copy are DEMO DISC quality. 

Side one has virtually no strain, EXTENDED highs, and is overall fairly quiet. Listen to track two (a great version of Norweigan Wood)– it doesn’t get any better than that! Track one is so silky and sweet, it may become your favorite song to demonstrate your stereo. It’s certainly one of mine. Even the last track here, which almost never sounds good, is fairly sweet on this pressing. (more…)

Bread – On The Waters – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More Bread

More On The Waters

xxxxx

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

Hot Stampers have finally been discovered for the most consistent and BEST SOUNDING of the Bread albums (not counting the Best of Bread compilation, one of our long time favorites here at Better Records, but a compilation nevertheless). This is the record that put their heavily Beatles-inflected Pure Pop on the map, and at the top of the charts with their Number One hit single Make It With You.

We used to think that only the Best of Bread album could get that song to sound as luscious and Tubey Magical as it does when we hear it in our heads, but it seems we were wrong — it sounds positively amazing on the best copies of On The Waters. To hear the vocal harmonies that these guys produced is to be reminded of singers of the caliber of the Everly Brothers or The Beatles. (more…)

Burt Bacharach – Reach Out

xxxxx

  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) Shootout Winning side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy had some of the best sound we have ever heard on Reach Out
  • This copy was super full-bodied and dynamic with real weight down low, nice bite to the brass, tons of energy and a lot of Tubey Magic. 
  • Tons of hits – The Look Of Love, Message To Michael, Alfie, What The World Needs Now, I Say A Little Prayer and more
  • Engineering by Phil Ramone (Casino Royale) and Henry Lewy (Sergio Mendes, Joni Mitchell) each doing their own tracks – compare and contrast for yourself
  • “[Reach Out] present[s] Bacharach’s vision of his work at its most straightforward, and it is enjoyable on its own terms, as a snapshot of his own sensibilities at that time.”

We were surprised at how lively and dynamic the best pressings of Reach Out can be. (more…)

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Fool on the Hill – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

xxxxx
xxxxx

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

EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It’s rich, full-bodied, and sweet, with super-low distortion and breathtaking transparency. Side Two rates A+++, As Good As It Gets! The vocals on this copy were as sweet as we have ever heard for this record.

The average copy of this record is thin, aggressive and irritating. What separates the best copies like this one from the typical bad sounding copies is more extension on the top end to balance out the upper midrange and lower highs, as well as more weight on the bottom end, to anchor and balance out the sound. (more…)

The Everly Brothers – The Very Best of the Everly Brothers – Our Shootout Winner from 2014

More The Everly Brothers

More The Very Best of the Everly Brothers

xxxxx
xxxxx

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

This compilation contains some real Warners recordings (from after 1960, when they signed with the label) mixed with some re-recordings of their best classic Cadence material, to make an album with as many hits and great songs as a single album can hold.  

In stereo, on the original WB Gold Label, with really quiet vinyl — this is the one!

It took us about five years to find the records for this shootout. Not sure when the next one will be, but we’re pretty sure it won’t be any time soon.

Side Two

A++, lots of tubes in the 1964 mastering chain mean this one is likely to be rich and sweet, and sure enough it is. This is clearly the right sound for this music, although there is occasional evident smear and honk in the midrange. Great energy though.

Side One

A+ to A++. The sound varies quite a bit from track to track. Some songs are too thin and clean, others fare better with this EQ. Overall this side should sound good on tubier systems. Good energy and a solid bottom end are pluses here. (more…)

Bee Gees et al. – Saturday Night Fever

xxxxx

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

This copy of the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack has truly killer sound throughout, and that ain’t no jive talkin’! We collected a bunch of these and put them through the shootout process and were delighted to find out that some of the material on here can sound wonderful on the best pressings.

Like any compilation, some songs are going to sound better than others. The good news here is that most of the tracks you’d hope to be impressive actually are: Stayin’ Alive, How Deep Is Your Love and Disco Inferno are among the better sounding songs here.

Compared to every other copy we played — on all four sides mind you — these sides are richer, fuller and livelier. They’re also more open and transparent, with notably improved clarity, less smear, and better bass.

Find your favorite song on here, drop the needle, and see if the dramatically improved sound doesn’t bring back some special memories, and maybe even inspire you to bust a move! (more…)

Hall and Oates – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More Hall and Oates

Daryl Hall & John Oates

xxxxx

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

This is a Super Hot Stamper 2 Pack, with one side of each record earning a grade of A++. The reason it takes two separate records to make one excellent sounding album is simple enough: most pressings of this album are just plain AWFUL. Finding a copy with even one good side is difficult, and practically none of the sides we played earned our top grade, so that ought to tell you something right there. Last time around our top listing was a Super Hot Stamper, with two good sides back to back. No such copy came our way this year, so this two pack is the way to go if you want a complete album with good sound.    (more…)