Genre – Rock – Alternative Rock

U2 – The Joshua Tree

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  • An outstanding pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Big and rich, with correct tonality from top to bottom, strong bass and plenty of space – this copy sounded just right to us
  • Stunning sound for the album’s biggest hits, including With Or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and Where the Streets Have No Name
  • 5 stars: “With the uniformly excellent songs… the result is a powerful, uncompromising record that became a hit due to its vision and its melody. Never before have U2’s big messages sounded so direct and personal”

The soundstage is huge, and the overall quality of the recording is big and bold. Most copies of this album are either thin, shrill and aggressive — like most U2 albums — or thick and veiled. This one is smooth and natural sounding, with the added benefit of some deep punchy bass! (more…)

R.E.M. – Document

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  • This original I.R.S. pressing has insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • You will not believe how punchy, lively, dynamic, and exciting these sides are
  • Clean and clear and open are nice qualities to have, but rich and smooth are harder to come by on this record – yet here they are!
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Document is a fiery statement, and its memorable melodies and riffs are made all the more indelible by its righteous anger. In other words, it’s not only a commercial breakthrough, but a creative breakthrough as well, offering evidence of R.E.M.’s growing depth and maturity…”

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R.E.M. – Reckoning

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  • An outstanding pressing of Reckoning, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are big, rich and analog sounding, yet uncongested, clear and open – a combination not heard on many ’80s recordings
  • 5 stars: “Reckoning runs through a set of ten jangle pop songs that are different not only in sound but in style from the debut. Where Murmur was enigmatic in its sound, Reckoning is clear, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the songs themselves are straightforward. Michael Stipe continues to sing powerful melodies without enunciating, but the band has a propulsive kick that makes the music vital and alive… the songwriting is more direct and memorable than before…”

Most of the copies we played were somewhat veiled and stuck in the speakers. The music is dramatically better on a copy like this one where there is real depth to the soundfield and lots of space separating the instruments. (more…)

Nirvana – Nevermind – Stretching Back to 2001

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DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND on side two! It’s got the big, uber-punchy, hard rockin’ attitude we demand from a Nevermind Hot Stamper. Side one is no slouch either folks, with A++ sound! Only one other copy had better sound for side one — THIS ONE ROCKS!

Side two on this Nevermind has MASTER TAPE SOUND. We found the most amazing clarity and transparency on this copy. You will find the sound so rich and full-bodied that at times you’d swear it was tube mastered! Check out the presence of the vocals on side one. The WHOMP factor is out of control all over this pressing. 

Now don’t get me wrong: the average copy is still a pretty darn good sounding record. I might even go so far as to say it’s better than practically anything recorded during the entire decade of the ’90s.

But man, when you’ve heard this record at its best, there is NOTHING like it. For the true Rock and Roll Audiophile Connoisseur, the man who will settle for nothing but the very best, we humbly offer this Nevermind Verified Hot Stamper, the ultimate head-banging experience.


This is our old commentary, which obviously now applies to only the best copies.

A PERFECT recording, the best of its kind, ever. The drums are perfect. The bass is perfect. The guitars are perfect. The vocals are perfect. Now how in the world could that be, you ask?!

Allow me to explain. (more…)

R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction

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  • This insanely good pressing of the band’s third studio album earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades for sound on both sides
  • This vintage pressing is well balanced, yet big and lively, with such wonderful clarity in the mids and highs as well as deep punchy bass and a big open and spacious soundfield
  • 4 stars: “… the group does demonstrate considerable musical growth, particularly in how perfectly it evokes the strange rural legends of the South. And many of the songs on the record — including “Feeling Gravity’s Pull,” “Maps and Legends,” “Green Grow the Rushes,” “Auctioneer (Another Engine),” and the previously mentioned pair — rank among the group’s best.”

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Pixies – Come On Pilgrim

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  • For only the second time ever, here are Hot Stampers for The Pixies blistering debut, earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them – quiet vinyl too  
  • Big, full-bodied, tonally correct, this copy impressed us with its grungy post-punk power trio ENERGY, the sound that rocked the world in 1987
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Gary Smith’s less-is-more production allows the full, primal impact of the band’s combustive sound to blast through, offering what may be the purest version of their perverse punk-pop. An electrifying debut, Come on Pilgrim remains as raw, vibrant, and engaging as the day it was recorded.”

Not your standard audiophile fare, but for those of you who love The Pixies, we are confident you have never heard this album sound remotely as good as it does on the killer Shootout Winning Hot Stamper pressing (from 1987, the same year Better Records went into business(!). (more…)

Nirvana – Nevermind

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

An incredible sounding record, especially on a White Hot Stamper such as this (which is why this copy sold for $849!). I might even go so far as to say it’s better than practically anything recorded during the entire decade of the ’90s. Man, when you’ve heard this record at its best, there is NOTHING like it. For the true Rock and Roll Audiophile Connoisseur, the man who will settle for nothing but the very best, we humbly offer this Nevermind Verified Hot Stamper, the ultimate head-banging experience. (more…)

Jules and the Polar Bears – Got No Breeding – A Long Forgotten Classic

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We dropped the needle on this one and heard EXCELLENT SOUND, which is not always what you hear when you play the average copy of this album.

And the music is GREAT. I’m a giant fan of this band, which never got the public acclaim they deserved although they were critic’s darlings from day one. If you like adventurous pop, this should be right up your alley. If you’re the kind of person that was into the Talking Heads in the ’70s, this band is every bit as original and compelling.  (more…)

U2 – Boy

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  • We here present the best sounding copy of U2’s debit we’ve ever played, our Shootout Winner with Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides
  • The sound is bigger and richer, as well as more present and lively, than any other copy that’s ever hit our turntable
  • The vinyl is quiet for an Island pressing from 1980, with each side playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “From the outset, U2 went for the big message — every song on their debut album Boy sounds huge, with oceans of processed guitars cascading around Bono’s impassioned wail. It was an inspired combination of large, stadium-rock beats and post-punk textures.”

Recordings from the ’80s are always a bit tricky in terms of sound quality, and U2 is not a band we have ever associated with the highest audiophile-quality sonics. We’ve been through quite a number of their albums now, including War, The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree.

While Demo Quality Sound may never be in the cards for these guys, over the years we’ve stumbled upon (stumbling being the only way to go about it) pressings that are much better at communicating their music than others, and certainly a great deal better than any Heavy Vinyl reissue or digital source. (more…)

This Year’s Model Is Rockin’ Like No Other (1978)

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  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side two and a superb Double Plus (A++) side one, this copy will be very hard to beat – quiet vinyl too
  • This Green Label Radar Records UK pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce
  • The bass is right – the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs are clear and the band swings the way it’s supposed to
  • 5 stars: “The most remarkable thing about the album is the sound — Costello and the Attractions never rocked this hard, or this vengefully, ever again.”

As we noted above, this original British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)