Records that Sound Best in Stereo, not Mono

Oscar Peterson – We Get Requests

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We Get Requests

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is the way it must have sounded inside the RCA Studios in New York way back in 1964, not the club shown on the cover. The legendary RCA engineer BOB SIMPSON was behind the board.  (more…)

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella At Duke’s Place

 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

We have a very hard time doing the famous Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks due to the fact that so many pressings don’t sound good, and the ones that do sound good are usually noisy.

That’s why it came as a pleasant surprise that Ella At Duke’s Place had the potential for excellent sound and reasonably quiet vinyl on the best copies.

We hope to do more in the future but with the reissues from the ’70s being mostly awful and the originals being harder and harder to find we are not at all sanguine about our chance of success. (more…)

Gerry Mulligan – Jeru

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Black Print 360 original stereo pressing from 1962 put every other copy we played to shame – it’s White Hot on both sides. Tubier, more transparent, more dynamic, with that “jumpin’ out of the speakers’ quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has. Hard to imagine any reissue, vintage or otherwise, can beat the sound of this amazing LP – we sure couldn’t find one.  (more…)

Andre Previn & His Pals – Pal Joey

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  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides – this copy is truly a knockout Piano Trio record 
  • Our best Hot Stamper copies will show you just how good Fifties All Tube Analog can sound
  • Yet another Demo Disc for Contemporary, the brilliant work of the engineering team of Dunann and Holzer
  • One of Andre Previn’s better jazz performances on record – his pals Manne and Mitchell are no slouches either

The piano sounds uncannily lifelike right from the start, a beautiful instrument in a natural space, tonally correct from top to bottom. I can’t think of many records off the top of my head that get a better piano sound than this one. Dunann and Holzer in 1957 are hard to beat. (more…)

Duke Ellington – Ellington Indigos

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This 6-Eye Stereo pressing blew us away with its superbly well recorded romantic big band jazz, of which Ellington was a master. Both sides of this pressing are huge, rich, tubey and clear. This is absolutely the right sound for this music. A near-perfect demonstration of just how good 1958 All Tube Analog sound can be – no modern record can hold a candle to a pressing as good as this one. If you like your jazz ballads performed with deep feeling, by a road-tested group of virtuoso players, this record is for you.

If you like the sound of relaxed, tube-mastered jazz, you can’t do much better than Ellington Indigos. Many of the other Six Eye copies we played suffered from blubbery bass and transient smearing, but the clarity and bass definition here are surprisingly good. The warmth and immediacy of the sound here may just blow your mind. (more…)

Chico Hamilton – The Further Adventures of El Chico

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The Further Adventures of El Chico

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  • Insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish and the first copy to ever hit the site! 
  • These sides, recorded brilliantly by one of our favorite engineers, Bob Simpson, are big, full-bodied and present, with plenty of Tubey Magic and set on a a huge, three-dimensional soundstage
  • The record features the amazing Gabor Szabo along with other top players like Clark Terry and Ron Carter
  • Great pop jazz with excellent sound; if you’re a fan of Gabor Szabo, this music will be right up your alley

(more…)

Sinatra At The Sands on Dahlquist DQ-10s – My Neophyte Audiophile Mind Is Blown

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The story of our latest shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about.

Back in the early ’70s this was actually the album that first introduced me to honest-to-goodness “audiophile” sound.  

I was at my local stereo store listening to speakers one day, and the salesman made a comment that the speakers we were listening to (the old Infinity Monitors with the Walsh tweeter) sounded “boxy”. I confessed to him that I didn’t actually know what that meant or what it would sound like if it weren’t boxy. 

So he hooked up a pair of Dahlquist DQ-10s and put Sinatra at the Sands on. I was amazed at how the sound just floated in the room, free from the speakers, presenting an image that was as wide and deep as the showroom we were in. That speaker may have many flaws, but boxiness is definitely not one of them.

This description is pretty close to what I thought I heard all those years ago

The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Turn it up and Frank is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. Very few records out there offer the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from this pressing.

This vintage stereo LP also has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from the later reissues. As good as some of them can be, this one is dramatically more real sounding. It gives you the sense that Frank Sinatra is right in front of you.

He’s no longer a recording — he’s a living, breathing person. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. His voice is so rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality, you immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there’s no “sound” to distract you.

Or so I thought at the time. (more…)

Dave Brubeck Trio Featuring Gerry Mulligan – Compadres

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  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this Brubeck Mulligan Masterpiece  
  • The fullness of the lower midrange on this Columbia 360 Stereo pressing brings out all the magic of this pair’s piano and baritone, respectively
  • Recorded in Mexico, the superb sound captured here was no easy feat, but the Columbia engineers were clearly up to the challenge
  • 4 1/2 Stars: “This fine LP was the debut of Brubeck’s new Quartet, a group featuring baritonist Gerry Mulligan… this enjoyable set showed that for Brubeck there was life after Paul Desmond.”

If you haven’t heard one of our killer Gerry Mulligan vintage Columbia pressings, with the fullness of its lower midrange bringing out all the magic of the man’s remarkably rich baritone, this is your chance.

And if too much baritone sax is not your thing, this may be just the right record for you, with Brubeck taking half the leads.

As is the case with most live albums, the sound of the crowd tells you a lot about the recording, and on this copy the crowd sounded exceptionally clear and natural. Many live albums have crowds that are either too bright, or too loud between tracks, both of which can be very off-putting. When the crowd is recorded and mixed right — again, these are pros from Columbia Records who really know their jazz — you feel as if you are immersed right there with them in the audience. (more…)

Oscar Peterson Trio – The Trio – Live From Chicago

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The Trio – Live From Chicago (2018)

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Peterson really puts on a great show. He’s made an awful lot of records during his career and most of them aren’t especially noteworthy. This album is clearly an exception to that rule. (“If You Could See Me Now” is another one.)

This pressing was a huge step up from the other copies we played in our recent shootout. This copy has the immediacy that puts you front and center at The London House for a great jazz show. Ray Brown is incredible on the bass. (more…)

Roy Orbison – The Orbison Way

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  • Only the second copy to ever hit the site and boy is it KILLER — Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it throughout
  • 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 Tubey Magical record for you 
  • “The band-backed stuff has a lean texture that’s a marvel of sonic conciseness, while the orchestra-accompanied sides allow Orbison to open up vocally as never before, casting him in an almost operatic setting…” – All Music

This ’60s LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back. (more…)