Records that Sound Best on the Right Import Pressing

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

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Atom Heart Mother

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  • A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • The overall sound here is incredibly rich, full and dynamic with huge amounts of Tubey Magic and a solid bottom end
  • This is by far the best copy we have played in years – it’s richer, bigger and more solid than practically everything we were able to throw against it
  • While the music here may not be for everyone, if you’re a fan you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds even remotely as good as this one does

This is an album that rarely sounds any good. We’ve spent a ton of money over the years chasing British originals and various other pressings looking for that Pink Floyd magic, but the early pressings were consistently disappointing, as are most reissues. If you like this music — admittedly a big if — I don’t think you can find better sound for it. (more…)

Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever

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Full Moon Fever

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  • This original UK pressing offers excellent sound throughout with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades
  • Big, full-bodied, clean, clear and spacious with a huge bottom end and tons of big rock energy!
  • Forget the dry, flat domestic LPs – these UK pressings are the only ones with the Tubey Magical richness the music needs
  • “… the real reason Full Moon Fever became Petty’s biggest hit is that it boasted a selection of songs that rivaled Damn the Torpedoes. Full Moon Fever didn’t have a weak track… [it] might have been meant as an off-the-cuff detour, but it turned into a minor masterpiece.” – All Music, 4 1/2 Stars

*NOTE: On side one a mark makes eight light ticks during the start of track one.

You have not begun to hear how good this record can sound until you play a good import, and this is a very good import indeed. (more…)

Emerson Lake & Palmer – Trilogy – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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

This British Island Sunray LP has THE BEST SOUND WE’VE EVER HEARD for this album; it ranks right up there with the best sounding copies of the first album, a Top 100 Demo Disc! From The Beginning has the kind of analog magic that made it a staple in practically every stereo store I walked into throughout the ’70s. (Even if the crappy speakers they were demonstrating didn’t have much bass, this record had the kind of bottom end that would make you think they did.)  (more…)

Traffic – Last Exit – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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Last Exit

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

This QUIET British Import Island Sunray (Pink Rim) pressing has THE BEST SIDE TWO WE’VE EVER HEARD, which is where the two extended live cuts are found. We played a bunch of these recently (nothing but Brits, the only way to go for this album) and no side two could keep up with this one. It’s got more extension up top, more weight down low, and more energy than we heard anywhere else.  (more…)

Peter Frampton – Wind of Change

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  • Incredible Demo Disc sound throughout: Triple Plus (A+++) on side two and close to that (A++ to A+++) on side one 
  • This British original is the very definition of TUBEY MAGIC, with sound so rich and sweet it will make you want to take all your CDs and dump them in the trash (now that record stores don’t even want them anymore)
  • The best copies like this one keep what’s good about the recording while letting us hear into the soundfield with glorious transparency
  • “The sound is crisp, the melodies catchy, and Frampton’s distinctive, elliptical Gibson Les Paul guitar leads soar throughout… “

This is some of the best High-Production-Value rock music of the ’60s and ’70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, Yes, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Pink Floyd, Elton John and too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted.

The best song Peter Frampton ever wrote (and performed) is on this very record, in White Hot Stamper sound no less: All I Wanna Be (Is by Your Side). It has the Tubey Magical sound WE LOVE here at Better Records. (more…)

Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced

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Are You Experienced

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

STUNNING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It is no easy task trying to find good copies of this album (or any Hendrix album, really). This one is absolutely killer. The bottom end is big and weighty, the top is open and transparent, and there’s plenty of rich, full tubey magic. It’s going to be incredibly hard to find a pressing that comes anywhere close to this one.

No matter what version you’ve been playing, we guarantee you’ll be blown away by the energy and punch on this one. 

Ready to go on a trip? You’ve come to the right place. While the sound is not Demo Quality on every track, the acid-drenched soundscapes created by Jimi and engineer Eddie Kramer are certainly going to be exciting to the kind of audiophile who still digs Classic Rock. Unfortunately, most copies are missing a lot of the magic — the space, the tubes, the ambience, the size, the weight. (more…)

Spooky Tooth – The Last Puff

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The Last Puff

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  • An outstanding Island Pink Label pressing of the band’s 1970 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The reason this is a Must Own Spooky Tooth album is their sludge-metal cover of I Am the Walrus, guaranteed to blow your mind – it sure blows ours
  • Includes “Something to Say,” co-written by Joe Cocker and later featured on his 1972 album
  • 4 1/2 stars: “It’s a good, solid effort that includes a burning cover of the Beatles’ ‘I Am the Walrus.'”

This vintage Island Pink Label pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely 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…)

Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird Of Good Omen

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

If you’re a fan of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac — and who in his right mind wouldn’t be — then you can’t go wrong with this record. Need Your Love So Bad, Albratross and Black Magic Woman are all featured here.

Speaking of Black Magic Woman, the best copies of Pious Bird reproduce the bass-heavy drumming on that track much better than the Greatest Hits album we also recommend. It’s very unlikely that you can find better sound for that classic than right here on this very copy.

Side One

White Hot shootout winning sound. Big and rich, with correct tonality, this is the way early Fleetwood Mac is supposed to sound. No smear at all, which is rare on these pressings.

Side Two

Nearly as good, with rich vocals and plenty of punchy energy to drive the music. Good space too. (more…)

Cream – Disraeli Gears

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

This copy’s got the kind of tubey analog sound you need for this music — it’s warm, rich, smooth, and pretty much free of the nasty grain that gets in the way on most pressings. There’s good extension up top, and the bottom end is meaty and well-defined.

The lesson we learned is that when the extremes are properly transferred to the vinyl, the middle will take care of itself.

Since the extremes seem to be the hardest thing to get right, at least on this record, that might explain why so many copies don’t really cut the mustard while this one did.

It ended up having more space, ambience, transparency, resolution, dynamic contrasts, vocal presence and freedom from distortion of any copy we played in our recent shootout. (more…)

Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

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Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

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  • Dramatically more impressive than any other copy we played – Triple Plus (A+++) throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The size, clarity, presence and energy are off the charts – and talk about Tubey Magic, this pressing is overflowing with it
  • The Mac’s debut is an extraordinary collection of Guitar-Based British Blues and an album that’s rarely on the site with sound this good and surfaces this clean
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Fleetwood Mac’s debut LP was a highlight of the late-’60s British blues boom. Green’s always inspired playing, the capable (if erratic) songwriting, and the general panache of the band as a whole placed them leagues above the overcrowded field…”

This is the band back in the day when they were playing their unique brand of Blues Rock, with Peter Green leading the band, about as far from Rumours as you can get. If you like British Blues Rock, I don’t think any other band can hold a candle to the Mac back then. Clapton may have been considered a god but I think Green is the better guitar player. 

The pluck of the guitar transients aren’t smeary and dull for once. There’s real extension up top, a big help to the cymbals, and the vocals sound tonally correct with just the right presence, placing Green front and center but still keeping the band in the mix. Like a good vintage Brit record, the sound is smooth, rich and full.

This is ANALOG, baby. They don’t make ’em like this anymore because they don’t know how. (more…)