Records that Sound Best Like This

Strauss – Death and Transfiguration / Till Eulenspiegel / Dance Of The Seven Veils/ Karajan

More of the music of Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

More Imported Pressings on Decca and London

  • This original Stereo London pressing of Karajan and the Vienna Phil’s performance of these classical pieces boasts stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • It’s also fairly quiet at Mint Minus Minus, a grade that even our most well-cared-for vintage classical titles have trouble playing at
  • These are superb readings of the works, and we know of no others that can compete with the sound of this Decca recording
  • Clear, transparent, rich, big, spacious, tonally correct, with Tubey Magical textured strings, this record is doing practically everything right, and that makes it a very special pressing indeed
  • Some old record collectors (like me) say classical recording quality ain’t what it used to be – here’s all the proof anyone with two working ears and top quality audiophile equipment needs to make the case


Queen – A Day At the Races

More Queen

More Hot Stamper Pressings We Only Offer on Import Vinyl

  • With two solid Double Plus (A++) sides, you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good as this vintage UK pressing
  • We shot out a number of other imports and this one had the presence, bass, and dynamics that were missing from most other copies we played
  • Forget the domestic pressings – they may be cut at Sterling, but they never sound like these shockingly good British LPs
  • “A Day at the Races is a bit tighter than its predecessor… its sleek, streamlined finish is the biggest indication that Queen has entered a new phase, where they’re globe-conquering titans instead of underdogs on the make.”
  • If you’re a Queen fan, their 1976 followup to A Night at the Opera is surely a Must Own
  • The complete list of titles from 1976 that we’ve reviewed to date — more than one hundred as of 2023 — can be found here

Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days — the UK LPs are the only way to fly.


Sam Cooke – Hits of the 50’s in Living Stereo

  • Hits of the 50s returns to the site for the first time in many years, here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) Living Stereo sound or close to it on both sides of original RCA pressing
  • If you want to hear one of the great vocalists from the 50s, in his prime, with top quality audiophile sound, this is the album that will do the trick!
  • This is the way it must have sounded in 1960, in the New York studios where it was recorded, with legendary RCA engineer Bob Simpson behind the board
  • This is not the typically radio-EQ’d singing-out-of-tin-can sound of so many male vocal albums from the era – Cooke’s voice is warm and rich here
  • “…constitutes [Cooke] reaching full pop maturity from his gospel beginnings. These are hit tunes of the 50s…and he handles them in straight, ungimmicked style, to the accompaniment of tasteful, small group scorings by Glenn Osser” – Billboard Magazine


Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird Of Good Omen

More of the Music of Fleetwood Mac

More of the Early Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green

  • An original UK Blue Horizon pressing that is doing practically everything right, with killer Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • The early pressings take the cake on this one, but try to find one in audiophile playing condition – it takes us many years to get one of these shootouts going
  • Both of these sides are amazingly big and rich, with correct tonality, punchy energy and exceptionally breathy vocals – this is the way early Fleetwood Mac is supposed to sound
  • One of the top Fleetwood Mac compilations – I have it on CD and have never tired of the music
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…makes for a terrific laid-back stroll through some of the best British blues music ever made.”

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 better 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.


Charles Mingus – Mingus Plays Piano

More Charles Mingus

More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Piano

  • With solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout, you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good as this vintage Impulse reissue pressing
  • Once again Rudy Van Gelder delivers the sound that audiophiles and jazz fans alike thrill to
  • These sides are lively, dynamic and full-bodied, and there’s real weight to the piano, a key quality we look for on all the piano recordings we play
  • Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • 4 stars: “This album is unique in Mingus’ enormous catalog. As the title indicates, the famous bassist takes to the ivories solo to give life to his dazzling improvisational art. At first it seems odd to hear Mingus without one of his trademark interactive and exploratory ensembles. But the sensibility that he brings to this collection of piano pieces bears all the signs of the composer’s genius.”


Spandau Ballet – True

More Spandau Ballet

More Pure Pop Recordings

  • Boasting two surprisingly rich and natural – dare we say Analog? – Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, this early UK Chrysalis pressing had the sound we were looking for on the band’s third studio album
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful Brit Pop album, an import pressing like this one is the only way to go
  • “… a set of tunes aimed squarely at the charts. The one that succeeded most spectacularly, of course, was the title cut, a glossily-updated Motown-style ballad that became one of the decade’s biggest hits – aided by a video that cast singer Tony Hadley as a young Frank Sinatra, crooning about the sound of his soul.”
  • This is clearly the band’s best sounding album. Roughly 100 other listings for the Best Sounding Album by an Artist or Group can be found here.
  • In our opinion, True is the only Spandau Ballet record you’ll ever need. Click on this link to see more titles we like to call one and done

Forget the dubby domestic pressings. Like so many British bands on the Chrysalis label, when it came time to master the album for our domestic market, not theirs, the people in charge (whoever they may have been) took the easy way out and simply ordered up a dub of the tape to send across the pond.

Too many wonderful albums by highly accomplished bands had their records ruined by sub-generation masters. (Ruined for audiophiles. The general public couldn’t care less.)

But this is the real British-pressed vinyl from the real master tape, and that makes all the difference in the world. It has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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.


10cc – The Original Soundtrack

  • The Original Soundtrack returns to the site for the first time in more than three years, here with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this original UK import pressing
  • Side one (the better of the two) was very close in sound to our Shootout Winner – you will be shocked at how big and powerful the sound is
  • Superb clarity and energy, solid down low, silky up top, and as huge as any recording you’ve ever heard
  • Top 100 Album and a real sonic blockbuster on a copy that sounds as good as this one does
  • “Musically there’s more going on than in ten Yes albums, yet it’s generally as accessible as a straight pop band… 10cc is among the few groups actively engaged in stretching rock’s restrictive boundaries in a constructive and meaningful manner, without falling prey to pretense or excess.” – Rolling Stone

The recording itself is a Tour De Force, one reason I’ve been demonstrating my stereo with it for more than thirty years. The extended suite that opens side one, One Night in Paris, has ambience, sound effects, and incredibly dynamic multi-tracked vocals at its climax that will make your jaw drop.


Edmundo Ros – Rhythms of the South

More Exotica Recordings of Interest 

Hot Stamper Imports on Decca & London

  • Rhythms of the South makes its Hot Stamper debut on this original London Stereo pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Side one was very close in sound to our Shootout Winner – you will be amazed at how big and lively and tubey the sound is
  • This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience — talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny
  • These sides are simply bigger, clearer, richer, more dynamic, transparent and energetic than most of what we played

It’s unfortunate that Edmundo Ros and his orchestra command so little respect these days from the record buying public. As for audiophiles, it’s doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. We at Better Records are doing our best to change all that.


Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die (Domestic)

More Traffic

More British Folk Rock

  • An outstanding copy (only the second to hit the sit in two years) with solid Double Plus (A++ ) sound from start to finish
  • These sides have the vintage analog sound we love – they’re full-bodied and smooth, with plenty of Tubey Magic, gobs of studio space, and the right balance of richness and the clarity that is the key to getting top quality sound for John Barleycorn
  • Arguably the band’s best album, certainly their most groundbreaking, original and involving – Low Spark would rank a not-especially-close second
  • “…the band sounds utterly grounded. As the grooves percolate effortlessly along, it becomes clear that unity, not any technical skill, is what makes the music levitate.”
  • This is a Must Own title from 1970, a great year for rock and pop music


Prokofiev – Violin Concerti Nos. 1 and 2 / Ricci / Ansermet

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

More Classical Recordings Featuring the Violin

  • This early London Stereo pressing of Ricci and Ansermet’s performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerti Nos. 1 and 2 is doing just about everything right, with solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish
  • Ricci is a fiery player – this pressing will allow you to hear the subtleties of his bowing in a coherent, natural and realistic way
  • The sound of the orchestra is dramatically richer and sweeter than you will hear on practically all other pressings – what else would you expect from Decca‘s engineers and the Suisse Romande?