Labels We Love – RCA

David Bowie / Heroes – For the Best Sound, Skip the Original British Pressings

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More Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Better on the Right Reissue

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  • An outstanding copy of Heroes with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • This import is ALIVE with musical energy and Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may never have experienced
  • Until we discovered these amazing British reissues, we had no idea the album could sound as good as it does here
  • 5 stars: “Repeating the formula of Low’s half-vocal/half-instrumental structure, Heroes develops and strengthens the sonic innovations David Bowie and Brian Eno explored on their first collaboration. The vocal songs are fuller, boasting harder rhythms and deeper layers of sound.”

It has taken us years to get this shootout going. The reason for the long delay is simple. The domestic pressings we had on hand to play were not exactly thrilling us and even the best of them are no better than acceptable, and not likely to win a shootout.

Even worse, our intuition that the British originals would sound the best also turned out to be incorrect. (In the audiophile record collecting world intuitions have a bad track record, but more than a few audiophiles — many of whom seem to be addicted to sharing their “record knowledge” on audiophile forums — are unaware of this unassailably true fact.) The original UK Orange Label pressings did not sound especially good to us, so we kept looking.

Over the course of the last few years, during which time we investigated every different pressing we could get our hands on, finally some good sounding copies of the album came our way. And they were not originals. The lucky owner of this copy will be one of the few to know what label the record is on, and in what country it was pressed. (more…)

Elvis Presley / Elvis Is Back! – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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For those who wish to find their own Hot Stamper pressings of the album, we say more power to you. Our helpful advice can be found at the bottom of the listing,

What a great Elvis album. Fever is the killer jam on the first side and the material throughout is of very high quality.

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 no doubt one of them. The originals we see are pretty much a lost cause; they’re practically always scratched and full of groove damage. We’d be lucky to find one clean one every five years. (more…)

Yamashita / Romance de Amor – A Very Good Sounding RCA Direct to Disc Recording

Hot Stamper Audiophile Recordings

Reviews and Commentaries for Direct to Disc Recordings

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This very nice looking RCA Direct-to-Disc LP of guitar music has excellent sound. 

Elvis Presley – Self-Titled

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This RARE RCA Victor Black Label Mono LP has a GREAT SIDE TWO. Side one sounds like a typical old Elvis record.

Side two actually sounds quite good, it’s got more bass, more top end and it’s full of Tubey Magic.

It’s practically impossible to find this record in anything but trashed condition so don’t expect to see another copy coming to the site any time soon.


AMG 5 Star Rave Review

This was as startling a debut record as any ever made, representing every side of Elvis’ musical influences except gospel — rockabilly, blues, R&B, country, and pop were all here in an explosive and seductive combination. Elvis Presley became the first rock & roll album to reach the number one spot on the national charts, and RCA’s first million dollar-earning pop album.

Elvis Presley – Elvis Now – Our Shootout Winner from 2017

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If you’ve been on the site for any time at all you know how rare it is for any Elvis album to show up in Hot Stamper form. Most of his records don’t sound good on most of the pressings we play, and far too often the best sounding pressings are just too noisy to be of any real interest to audiophiles.  

But we found this one, and it blew everything else out of the water. It’s got the glorious sound of 1972 (!) in its grooves. (more…)

Elvis Presley – Elvis

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  • Presley’s sophomore release makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish and exceptionally quiet vinyl for an Elvis album from 1956 (!)
  • This is by far the cleanest copy of an early Elvis record we have ever come across, and it sounded pretty darn right to us, although we can’t say we’ve played all that many copies – where on earth would you find them?
  • Features loads of quintessential Elvis hits, including Love Me, Old Shep, When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again, and many more
  • 5 stars: “… a more confident and bolder work than his debut, and in any other artist’s output it would have been considered a crowning achievement.”

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Elvis Presley – On Stage February 1970

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  • With superb Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last, right up there with our Shootout Winner, this original RCA Orange Label pressing is guaranteed to sound dramatically better than any copy you’ve ever heard
  • Here’s Elvis doing songs made famous by others, proving that he can still out-rock and out-soul practically anybody alive
  • With ten million copies sold to date, this album’s appeal has transcended its time and must be considered a true Elvis Classic
  • 4 stars: “”The Wonder of You” might not have been “That’s All Right” or even “Heartbreak Hotel,” but it was a towering performance by a singer who could, even then, run circles around virtually anyone in the business this side of Roy Orbison.”

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Hall and Oates – H2O

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  • A stunning copy of this Hall and Oates classic from 1982 with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two, mated with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on side one – mostly quiet vinyl too
  • It’s lively, open, and natural – the voices of the two leads sound especially full-bodied, real and tonally correct from top to bottom, which is pretty much all you need to earn top grades in a shootout
  • Much more consistent than most of their releases, this one boasts three killer hits including Maneater, Family Man and my All Time Favorite by the band, One on One
  • 4 stars: “Private Eyes solidified Hall & Oates’ status as one of the most popular acts in America in the early ’80s, and…… with 1982’s H2O, they capitalized on its success, delivering an album that turned out to bigger than its predecessor, as it climbed higher on the charts and launched three Top Ten singles…”

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Elvis Presley – Pot Luck

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  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this surprisingly good sounding record
  • Recorded in Nashville by the brilliant Bill Porter, and with the Jordanaires singing backup, what’s not to like?
  • If you want to know just how rich, spacious, natural and Tubey Magical Elvis’ records can sound, look no further
  • “Pot Luck was a great vehicle for Presley’s voice as it was evolving — ‘She’s Not You’ brilliantly showcased the softer, more intense singing style that had manifested itself just a few months earlier with ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love.'”

If you’ve been on the site for any time at all you know how rare it is for any Elvis album to show up in Hot Stamper form. (more…)

David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Big space, breathy vocals, grungy guitars and plenty of Ken Scott’s luscious Tubey Magic makes this album a true audiophile treat
  • As it says on the back of the jacket, “Many thanks to our engineer Ken (Scott, one of our favorites).”
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Working with guitarist Mick Ronson and producer Tony Visconti for the first time, Bowie developed a tight, twisted heavy guitar rock that appears simple on the surface but sounds more gnarled upon each listen.”

*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 8 light ticks at the beginning of Track 1, The Width Of A Circle. On side two, a mark makes 16 light ticks at the beginning of Track 1, Running Gun Blues.

The sound is rich and full, just the way the Brits (and us audiophiles) like it. The tube compression that both Bowie and Scott favor works its magic at every turn, adding fatness and richness and lovely harmonics to the guitars and the drums.

Mick Ronson’s guitars are wonderfully rich and grungy. The vocals can get a bit hot on the first track on side one (as is often the case), but by track two the sound has settled in and is rich and smooth, just the way we like it. Very present and lively vocals are a strong point. Listen to the big bass, richness and Tubey Magic of the third track on side two — that is some Ken Scott studio wizardry at play.

Note that the second track on the second side seems to be where Alice Cooper found his “sound.” More power to him I say. You could get away with ripping off Bowie in 1970; nobody bought this album in the states, which is why it’s so damn rare and expensive. (more…)