Labels We Love – Reprise

Fleetwood Mac – Mystery To Me – Whomp Factor on “Why”

More Fleetwood Mac

More Mystery To Me

xxxxx
xxxxx

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

That bass drum tells you a lot about your deep bass reproduction, but we prize a little something called whomp here at Better Records every bit as much. It’s the WEIGHT and POWER you sense happening down below that translates into whomp factor. (This is the frequency area that screens and small dynamic drivers have the most trouble with. You need to be able to move lots of air under, say, 200 cycles to give the music a sense of real power down below. Few systems I’ve run into over the last thirty years can really pull it off.) 

That bass drum tells you a lot about your deep bass reproduction, but we prize a little something called whomp here at Better Records every bit as much. It’s the WEIGHT and POWER you sense happening down below that translates into whomp factor.

“Why”

Speaking of the song “Why,” I have to confess that it’s my favorite Fleetwood Mac song of all time. Considering how many great songs this band has recorded over the last thirty plus years, that’s really saying something. (“Need Your Love So Bad” off Pious Bird is right up there with it.) (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Penguin

More Fleetwood Mac

More Penguin

xxxxx

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout  
  • This early Reprise LP is a huge step up from most – this copy is full-bodied, smooth and musical – classic Fleetwood Mac sound
  • One of my favorite songs on the album is one of Christine McVie’s best from this period, Did You Ever Love Me – on this pressing it’s rich and sweet exactly the way it should be
  • “Fleetwood Mac’s first album made after the departure of Danny Kirwan features the additions of guitarist Bob Weston and singer Dave Walker… This album gave Fleetwood Mac its best U.S. chart showing yet…”

This is the rare copy that strikes the right balance between richness and texture. So many copies sacrifice one for the other, but not here. Fully extended on both top and bottom, with big bass and plenty of energy, this pressing is getting Penguin right. 

On the best pressings, the sound is positively JUMPING out of the speakers in a way that is completely unexpected. We often talk about the size of the soundfield on a particular pressing, side to side, bottom to top, and even more often about the energy found on one copy relative to another. On this copy, we were surprised by a Penguin that was bigger and more energetic than most of the pressings we heard in our shootout. (more…)

Sammy Davis Jr. – The Nat King Cole Song Book

More Sammy Davis Jr.

The Nat King Cole Song Book

xxxxx

  • A superb sounding original stereo copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or very close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Bigger and richer, with lovely Tubey Magic and breathy vocals, this Tri-Color Reprise pressing lets us hear Sammy at the peak of his powers performing some of Nat’s most memorable songs
  • 4 Stars: “Alongside Cole’s collaborator, Billy May, and notable jazz arranger Claus Ogerman, Davis and company turned in one of the finest and most underrated efforts.”

(more…)

Frank Sinatra – Some Nice Things I’ve Missed

More Frank Sinatra

Some Nice Things I’ve Missed

xxxxx

  • A KILLER sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • The album features Sinatra singing some of the biggest hits of the day by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, Jim Croce, and Bread
  • Released in 1974, this is probably the last good album the man made outside of She Shot Me Down from 1981

(more…)

Frank Sinatra / Count Basie – It Might As Well Be Swing

More Frank Sinatra

More Count Basie

It Might As Well Be Swing

xxxxx

  • A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • These side are doing it all right — big, rich and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and present with lovely breathy vocals
  • “It Might as Well Be Swing, was a more structured, swing-oriented set than Sinatra-Basie, and in many ways the superior album… , what makes [it] more successful is the consistently high level of the performances. On their previous collaboration, both Sinatra and Basie sounded a bit worn out, but throughout this record they play with energy and vigor.” 

(more…)

Bryan Ferry – Bete Noire – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More Bryan Ferry

More Bete Noire

xxxxx

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

The domestic pressings are Direct Metal Mastered, the imports are not. Not being mastered DMM did not seem to confer any real benefit to the sound, which to us was a bit counterintuitive, but that’s the reason we do shootouts, so we know the actual sound of the vinyl rather than the sound our biases would lead us to expect.

Side One

The sound is big, rich and solid, with much less processing and grit on Ferry’s voice than most copies. The space and ambience are excellent. The sound by track two is actually quite good (track one being a bit dull). 

Side Two

Bigger, richer and cleaner than any copy we played. No grain, no congestion, just sweet, sweet sound like you have never heard for this album before. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Mystery To Me – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More Fleetwood Mac

More Mystery To Me

xxxxx
xxxxx

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.

Here it is, folks — the best sounding copy of Mystery To Me to ever hit our site. This copy positively DOES IT ALL — it’s super open and spacious with tons of energy and incredible presence. The bottom end is just KILLER and there’s dramatically more richness and fullness than you get on most copies out there. 

It’s beyond difficult to find great sounding copies of this album, which is why it’s been about four years since we last had these on the site.

Mystery To Me is my All Time Favorite Fleetwood Mac album, and this White Hot Stamper copy has the sound that I always DREAMED this album could have, but didn’t — until now. This is just the second Hot Stamper shootout that we’ve been able to do, since clean copies with the right stampers are ridiculously hard to come by. I’m not kidding. I have spent the last ten years and more trying to find the right stampers for this record. I can tell you I was dead wrong so many times in the past that I had almost given up. Time and time again, just when I thought I had it figured out, I would go back and play my so-called “hot” copy, to find myself miserably disappointed all over again. (more…)

Duke Ellington – Ellington ’66

More Duke Ellington

Ellington ’66

xxxxx

  • Insanely good shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout and the first copy to ever hit the site!
  • This Grammy award winning title features Ellington performing some of the biggest pop hits of the day: Red Roses For a Blue Lady, I Want to Hold Your Hand, All My Loving, and more 

The album won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance – Large Group or Soloist with Large Group. (more…)

Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More Jethro Tull

Thick As A Brick

xxxxx

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

This A++++ Beyond White Hot Stamper copy of Thick As A Brick has the best side one we have ever heard! This copy is operating at A WHOLE NOTHER LEVEL.

Side one has HUGE, room-filling, hi-definition sound, with levels of Tubey Magic one would simply never expect to hear coming from a run-of-the-mill domestic Reprise pressing such as this. But here they are; there’s no denying the transparency, size and rock and roll energy of this mind-boggling side one. It’s truly a Demo Disc of the highest order.

We cannot avoid awarding freakishly good sound such as this our rule-breaking Four Plus grade, limited to those rarefied pressings that take the sound of familiar records beyond what we’ve heard before. (more…)

The Kinks – The Kink Kontroversy

More The Kinks

The Kink Kontroversy

xxxxx

  • Here’s a rare one — a wonderful copy of an early Kinks album, in mono no less, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • Both sides here are clean, clear, full-bodied and dynamic with excellent bass and tons of energy 
  • Till the End of the Day was the big hit, and Where Have All the Good Times Gone is also a classic 
  • Allmusic raves, “The Kinks came into their own as album artists — and Ray Davies fully matured as a songwriter — with The Kink Kontroversy…

We discovered the hard way that mono is the only way to go for The Kinks’ third album. The stereo version may in fact be the worst sounding stereo record compared to the mono that we have ever played. (more…)