- An outstanding copy (only the second to hit the sit in two years) with solid Double Plus (A++ ) sound from start to finish
- These sides have the vintage analog sound we love – they’re full-bodied and smooth, with plenty of Tubey Magic, gobs of studio space, and the right balance of richness and the clarity that is the key to getting top quality sound for John Barleycorn
- Arguably the band’s best album, certainly their most groundbreaking, original and involving – Low Spark would rank a not-especially-close second
- “…the band sounds utterly grounded. As the grooves percolate effortlessly along, it becomes clear that unity, not any technical skill, is what makes the music levitate.”
- This is a Must Own title from 1970, a great year for rock and pop music
- An excellent UK import copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all FOUR sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Sides one and two were very close in sound to our Shootout Winner – you will be shocked at how big and powerful the sound is
- Guaranteed to be a huge improvement over anything you’ve heard, this Brit is big, punchy, and full-bodied with excellent presence
- A shockingly well-recorded album that comes to life with the combo of a great copy and a hi-res, full-range system
- 5 stars: “A stunning statement of purpose and one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever recorded.”
Audiophile sound for this punk rock classic?! You better believe it, baby! The sound here is superb for all four sides.
What really sets this album apart sonically is The Clash’s use of reggae and dub influences. You can really hear it when you tune in to the bottom end; your average late 70s punk record won’t have this kind of rich and meaty bass, that’s for sure. Drop the needle on “The Guns Of Brixton” (last track on side two) to hear exactly what I’m talking about. On a Hot Stamper copy played at the correct levels (read: quite loud!) the effect is positively HYPNOTIC.
Bill Price engineered and as we like to say, he knocked this one out of the park. The best sounding record from 1979? I have the feeling it just might be.
Nobody would have accused The Clash of being an audiophile-friendly band, but a copy like this might make you think twice about that! We had a blast doing this shootout and we hope whoever takes this home has just as much fun with it.
- An original UK Island import pressing of Eno’s Art Rock Masterpiece with an INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two mated to a solid Double Plus (A++) side one
- Side two of this copy resolves the subtle harmonics of Eno’s treated sounds better than all others we played – here is a truly immersive Art Rock experience like no other
- Only these British originals ever win shootouts – their superior sound comes as the result of their being transferred from fresh master tapes, using the highest resolution cutting equipment available, onto to the best storage medium to ever exist: the British vinyl LP
- This copy has been in my personal collection for the last twenty years or so, and I hope it goes to a good home, the kind of home where it will be played regularly and not just “collected”
- “The songs…are as inventive and appealing as their treatments, and make for Eno’s most solid–and experimental–pop album. This LP holds up magnificently, even years on in the artist’s brilliant career.”
This is Brian Eno’s Masterpiece, as well as a Personal Favorite of yours truly.
On the right pressing this is a Twisted Pop Demo Disc like nothing you have ever heard. If you have a big speaker and the kind of high quality playback that is capable of unraveling the most complicated musical creations, with all the weight and power of live music, this is the record that will make all your audio effort and expense worthwhile.
That’s the kind of stereo I’ve been working on for forty years and this album just plain kills over here.
That being said, it may not be the kind of thing most music loving audiophiles will be able to make much sense of if they have no history with this kind of Art Rock from the 70s. I grew up on Roxy Music, 10cc, Eno, The Talking Heads, Ambrosia, Supertramp, Yes and the like, bands that wanted to play rock music but felt shackled by the chains of the conventional pop song. This was and still is my favorite kind of music.
When it comes to the genre, I put this album right at the top of the heap along with several other landmark albums from the period: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Roxy Music’s first, Sheet Music, Crime of the Century, Ambrosia’s first two releases, The Yes Album, Fragile and perhaps a handful of others, no more than that.
Repeat As Necessary
Like Roxy Music’s first album, this is a powerhouse that not only rewards repeated listenings but requires them. Music like this simply cannot be digested at one sitting. Like the Beatles said, It’s All Too Much. But the more you hear it the more you will be able to understand it and appreciate it and, if you’re like me, really start to love it (I hope). I’ve been listening to this album since the mid-70s and have never tired of it. To me it’s the very definition of a Desert Island Disc: a record that knocks me out every time I play it and never wears out its welcome. It’s still fresh and “cutting edge” (if I can use that term) nearly fifty years after its release.
- You’ll find stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout this original Verve Stereo pressing – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Both of these sides are clean, clear and dynamic yet still full of rich, warm 1963 Tubey Magical Analog sound
- We love the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim here at Better Records and we think this album is his best – no serious Jazz Collection should be without it
- Marks and problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- 4 1/2 stars: “A dozen songs, each one destined to become a standard — an astounding batting average.”
We’re big fans of Jobim here at Better Records, and this pressing was close to the best from our recent shootout. We had a wonderful time listening to a big pile of pressings — the sound (and music) were out of this world. We were shocked at just how well recorded this album is.
This review is from 2014 or thereabouts.
I cannot recall hearing a more ridiculously thick, opaque and unnatural sounding pair of audiophile records than this 45 RPM Analogue Productions Heavy Vinyl release, and I’ve heard a ton of them.
Surely someone must have noticed how awful these records sound.
So, being an enterprising sort, with a few idle moments to spare, I did a google search. To my surprise it came up pretty much empty. Sure, dealers are selling it, every last one of the bigger mail-order types.
But how is it that no reviewer has taken it to task for its oh-so-obvious shortcomings?
And no one on any forum seems to have anything bad to say about it either. How could that be?
We don’t feel it’s incumbent upon us to defend the sound of these pressings. We think for the most part they are awful and want nothing to do with them.
But don’t those who DO think these remastered pressings sound good — the audiophile reviewers and the forum posters specifically — have at least some obligation to point out to the rest of the audiophile community that at least one of them is spectacularly bad, as is surely the case here.
Is it herd mentality? Is it that they don’t want to rock the boat? They can’t say something bad about even one of these Heavy Vinyl pressings because that might reflect badly on all of them?
I’m starting to feel like Mr. Jones: Something’s going on, but I don’t know what it is. Dear reader, this is the audiophile world we live in today. If you expect anyone to tell you the truth about the current crop of remastered vinyl, you are in for some real disappointment.
We don’t have the time to critique what’s out there, and it seems that the reviewers and forum posters lack the — what? desire, courage, or maybe just the basic critical listening skills — to do it properly.
Which means that in the world of Heavy Vinyl, it’s every man for himself.
And a very different world from the world of Vintage Vinyl, the kind we offer. In our world we are behind you all the way. We guarantee your satisfaction or your money back.
Now which world would you rather live in?
- New to the Blog? Start Here
- What Exactly Are Hot Stamper Pressings?
- Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments
Records are getting awfully expensive these days, and it’s not just our Hot Stampers that seem priced for perfection.
If you are still buying these modern remastered pressings, making the same kinds of mistakes that I was making before I knew better, take the advice of some of our customers and stop throwing your money away on Heavy Vinyl and Half-Speed mastered LPs.
At the very least let us send you a Hot Stamper pressing — of any album you choose — that can show you what is wrong with your copy of the album.
And if for some reason you disagree with us that our record sounds better than yours, we will happily give you all your money back and wish you the very best.
- Boasting two solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, this Impulse Stereo reissue pressing is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Expression you’ve heard
- Huge space, size and clarity, with Tubey Magical richness befitting the 1967 recording dates of these sessions at Van Gelder Studios
- That Tubey Magic is surely long gone by now, so those of you looking for this kind of sound on a modern pressing should face it: that ship has sailed
- 4 stars: “Recorded at two sessions in early 1967, Expression represents John Coltrane’s final recording sessions just months before his death. It’s remarkable that [the album] is not some world-weary harbinger of death and sickness, but an endlessly jubilant affair. Even in what must have been a time of tremendous pain and darkness, Coltrane’s single-minded quest for understanding and transcendence took him to places of new exploration and light.”
Many years ago, right around 2015 I believe, we played a copy with all the presence, all the richness, all the size and all the energy we ever hoped to hear from a top quality pressing of Dark Side of the Moon.
It did it ALL and then some.
The raging guitar solos (there are three of them) on Money seemed to somehow expand the system itself, making it bigger and more powerful than I had ever heard.
Even our best copies of Blood Sweat and Tears have never managed to create such a huge space with that kind of raw power. This copy broke through all the barriers, taking the system to an entirely new level of sound.
Take the clocks on Time. There are whirring mechanisms that can be heard deep in the soundstage on this copy that I’ve never heard as clearly before. On most copies you can’t even tell they are there. Talk about transparency — I bet you’ve NEVER heard so many chimes so clearly and cleanly, with such little distortion on this track.
One thing that separates the best copies from the merely good ones is super-low-distortion, extended high frequencies. How some copies manage to correctly capture the overtones of all the clocks, while others, often with the same stamper numbers, do no more than hint at them, is something no one can explain. But the records do not lie. Believe your own two ears. If you hear it, it’s there. When you don’t — the reason we do shootouts in a nutshell — it’s not.
The best sounding parts of this record are nothing less than ASTONISHING. Money is the best example I can think of for side two. When you hear the sax player rip into his solo as Money gets rockin’, it’s almost SCARY! He’s blowin’ his brains out in a way that has never, in my experience anyway, been captured on a piece of plastic. After hearing this copy, I remembered exactly why we felt this album must rank as one of the five best Rock Demo Discs to demonstrate the superiority of analog. There is no CD, and there will never be a CD, that sounds like this.
In fact, when you play the other “good sounding” copies, you realize that the sound you hear is what would naturally be considered as good as this album could get. But now we know better. This pressing takes Dark Side to places you have never imagined it could go.
To say this is a sonic and musical masterpiece practically without equal in the history of the world is no overstatement. But you have to have a top copy for that statement to be true.
Our Previous Hot Stamper Commentary
A+++ and should absolutely BLOW YOUR MIND with its HUGE, three-dimensional soundfield. It’s got big-time energy, amazing presence, and wonderful clarity. The bottom end sounds phenomenal, with real weight to the bass. The overall sound is rich, sweet and warm. Listen to how clean and clear the female background vocalists sound on Time. The guitars have a meaty texture that really adds to the life force of this copy — it’s positively ELECTRIC.
Side two is every bit as AMAZING! A+++ White Hot sound. The size of the stage on this side is beyond anything in our experience. Check out the incredible transparency and the silky highs, as well as the breathy vocals and tons of energy. Money on this copy will blow your mind. We had a copy with bigger bass than this one but it could not hold a candle to this one is any other way. This was an easy choice for Best Side Two Ever.
- Break Every Rule makes its Hot Stamper debut with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout this original Capitol pressing – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- These sides are bigger and richer and have more of the rock solid energy that’s missing from the average copy
- Turn this one up good and loud (which you can do when the sound is right) and you’ll have a living, breathing Tina Turner singing her heart out right in front of you
- “Throughout Break Every Rule, Turner sounds as if she had the time, guidance and confidence to really master these songs. The result is a potent display of passion and control, and that alone would make this record worth discovering.” – Rolling Stone
- With solid Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them from start to finish, you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good as this original UK Chrysalis import
- This side one is remarkably big and full with wonderfully breathy vocals and deep punchy bass, and side two is not far behind in all those areas
- Here is the rock energy and power this music needs that few other copies we played could compete with (particularly on side one)
- 4 stars: “Minstrel in the Gallery was Tull’s most artistically successful and elaborately produced album since Thick As a Brick…”
This original British copy gets BIG when it needs to (the proggy parts), and that makes it fun. Plenty of Tubey Magic is on offer as well, with rich, sweet acoustic guitars and a lovely freedom from hi-fi-ishness on the vocals.
As you probably know, Ian Anderson can get a little carried away with the processing on his voice, but the better copies make that processing sound right within the context of the overall sound. Most copies have added distortion and grit on the vocal effects, making them much less pleasing to the ear than the engineers envisioned.
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).
- This Impulse pressing boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- Clean, clear, full-bodied and present with tons of Tubey Magic and right-on-the-money instrumental timbres, the originals may be a bit better sounding, but both are they expensive these days and rarely can be found in audiophile playing condition
- For some reason, the guitar sound from this era of recording seems to have died out with the times – it can only be found on the better copies of these vintage pressings