There is some edge on Sinatra’s voice on every side of every copy; it’s so common it’s got to be on the tape. Those copies with less edge and grit on the vocals which are not overly smooth or dull tend to do very well in our shootouts.
Also, richness is very important. We look for a combination of rich, Tubey Magical sound that still maintains a fair amount of space, clarity, transparency and freedom from smear.
The original label pressings (always in stereo; the monos are really a joke) are richer and thicker as a rule.
The pressings with the orange two-tone labels tend to be thinner and clearer. A high percentage of them are much too modern sounding, bright and gritty, and when they are we throw them right in the trade-in pile.(more…)
A MONSTER Shootout Winning early pressing with incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides – this is the EKTIN you have been waiting for!
Live-in-Your-Listening-Room sound throughout – miles beyond any copy you’ve heard (or ever will hear)
Includes immortal classics such as “Cinnamon Girl,” “Cowgirl in the Sand,” and “Down by the River,” just to name three
5 stars: “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was breathtakingly different when it appeared in May 1969, both for Young and for rock in general… almost 30 years later [make that 49], he was still playing this sort of music with Crazy Horse, and a lot of contemporary bands were playing music clearly influenced by it.”
The sound of this Hot Stamper copy is Big and Bold in the best Neil Young tradition, with studio ambience bouncing off the walls and into the open mics he favors.
The best tracks have that Live-in-the-Studio quality, with minimal processing and maximum ENERGY. We absolutely love that sound. With a killer pressing played back on a big pair of speakers this album can ROCK like nobody’s business. Nine minutes of Down by the River? A ten minute long version of Cowgirl in the Sand? Cinnamon Girl? We are so there.(more…)
The growl of the cello on Rainy Night House can clearly be heard behind Joni, with the wood of the instrument sounding real and correct. The kind of You Are There immediacy and transparency of the best copies has to be heard to be believed.
Listen to the piano Joni plays throughout the album: this is not the thin and hard-sounding instrument that accompanies her on practically every LP you have ever had the misfortune to audition, hoping against hope that someday you would find that “elusive disc” with sound worthy of such extraordinary music. No, this piano has real weight; it has body; and it’s surrounded by real, three-dimensional studio space.
This side two is warm, rich, and sweet in a way that we’ve only heard on a handful of other copies in the past. Joni’s vocals just couldn’t sound any better; they’re full-bodied, breathy, textured, and shockingly present. This is the copy to play if you want Joni Mitchell singing to you right there in your listening room. What could be better than that?
With the transparency of the better copies comes the sound of Joni’s right foot on the pedal. It’s clearly audible through most of the takes, something the engineers no doubt never heard. (Of course they didn’t have the kind of high-res equipment we take for granted today. $5k phono stages have a way of bringing out these things.)
Amazing sound throughout for Neil’s self-titled debut – shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
Both sides are rich, full and Tubey Magical with a big bottom end and excellent resolution
Surely one of Neil’s toughest to find with top quality sound – and only these early pressings with the original mix have the potential to sound as good as this one does
“…a flowing tributary from the over-all Springfield river of twangs, breathless vocals and slim yet stout instrumentation. Especially vivid is Young’s sense of melancholy and the ingenious clusters of images he employs in his lyrics (printed in full).”
The Old Mix Beats the New Mix
We’ve always felt that this album was not nearly as well recorded as the albums that followed. Why that would be we would never pretend to know. It was a long time ago. Who on earth has the arrogance to think they know precisely what went wrong? (I could actually name a few people but the less said about them the better.)
It turns out the remixed pressings we’d been selling for years were not the way to hear this album at its best. Neil wanted his voice to sound clearer and more present than the first mix, but the approach the engineers took to increase the clarity and presence was simply to boost the middle and upper midrange, a boost that seriously compromises the wonderful Tubey Magic found in the rich lower midrange of the original mix.
Neil may have liked the sound of his voice better on the new mix, played back on whatever mediocre-at-best stereo he was using at the time, but we here at Better Records are of a decidedly different opinion. On a modern, highly-resolving system Neil’s voice will not sound the least bit “buried” on the original mix, not on the best pressings anyway. Of course, the best ones are the only ones we sell.
If you want to hear this album sound right, we strongly believe that the original mix is the only way to go. And if you want to hear this album sound really right, better-than-you-ever-thought-possible right, you need a copy that was mastered, pressed and cleaned properly, and that means a Hot Stamper from Better Records.(more…)
Man, this record has more TUBEY MAGIC than any Sinatra record I can remember playing.
Find me a Sinatra CD, any Sinatra CD, that sounds like this and I will eat it.
If you want to know what the best sounding Sinatra records sound like, this is your chance. Folks, in my opinion it simply does not get any better than a killer Hot Stamper pressing of Strangers In The Night.(more…)
Kiln House is one of the all-time great Fleetwood Mac albums. It’s the first album they recorded after Peter Green left. With Green gone Jeremy Spencer’s influence came to the fore. Apparently he was quite a fan of Buddy Holly. His songs are excellent: straightforward and unerringly melodic.
The co-leader for Kiln House is Danny Kirwan, and he rocks the hell out of this album. Three of the best songs Fleetwood Mac ever did, regardless of incarnation, are here: Tell Me All The Things You Do, Station Man and Jewel Eyed Judy, all written by Kirwan (with the help of others). His guitar work on these three songs is blistering.
Any Fleetwood Mac greatest hits collection would be a joke without these tracks. Of course they are consistently missing from all such compilations, at least the ones with which I am familiar. The sad fact is that few people miss them because few people have ever heard them.
The closest thing I can think of to the kind of music the new Mac plays is moody rock of the middle-period Beatles. Kiln House is similar to Beatles ’65 in its dual concerns with vintage rock ‘n’ roll and muted, romantic pieces.Jeremy Spencer took care of the former area, while Danny Kirwan extended the style best represented by McCartney’s “I’ll Follow the Sun.”
This superb 2 LP set boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all four sides!
Truly one of the greatest live albums of all time, recorded late at night in the big room at the Sands Hotel in Vegas
This is Basie and Sinatra in their natural habitat and in their prime, putting on the show of a lifetime – quiet vinyl too
“Basie and the orchestra are swinging and dynamic, inspiring a textured, dramatic, and thoroughly enjoyable performance from Sinatra … the definitive portrait of Frank Sinatra in the ’60s.” – AMG
This double album presents Sinatra and Basie at the height of their powers, in a setting especially conducive to both men’s music, the big room at the Sands Hotel in Vegas. If you missed it — and I’m sure most all of us did — here’s your chance to go back in time and be seated with the beautiful people front row center. This two disc all tube-mastered analog set is practically the only way you’ll ever be able to hear the greatest vocalist of his generation — in his prime no less — fronting one of the swingingest big bands of the time.
You Are There
The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Turn it up and Frank is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime.(more…)
Like Heart’s Little Queen album, Aqualung presents us with a Demo Disc / Test Disc that really puts a stereo through its paces, assuming it’s the kind of stereo that’s designed to play an album like Aqualung.
Not many audiophile systems I’ve run across over the years were capable of reproducing the Big Rock Sound this album requires, but perhaps you have one and would like to use the album to test some of your tweaks and components. I used it to show me how bad sounding some of the audiophile wire I was testing really was.
Here’s what I wrote:
A quick note about some wire testing I was doing a while back. My favorite wire testing record at the time (2007)? None other than Aqualung!
Here’s why: Big Whomp Factor. Take the whomp out of Aqualung and the music simply doesn’t work, at all. To rock you need whomp, and much of Aqualung wants to rock. (more…)