Records We Don’t Like for Their Music

The Moody Blues – Seventh Sojourn – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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

This Super Hot Stamper side two was among THE BEST sounding side twos we’ve played. We did not find any copy with better sound on side two, and because no side of any copy really blew our minds, we did not award our Triple Plus grade to either side of any of them.

We had a bunch of British and Dutch imports to play, and we did hear some good sound, just not the kind of good sound we’ve heard on earlier albums. If you like this album we’re pretty sure you will have a hard time finding a copy that sounds even remotely this good. Most of them are much much worse. Dreadful in fact. (more…)

John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy

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  • A KILLER sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
  • This vintage pressing has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 40+ year old tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from those tapes)
  • “John returned in the last days of 1980 with Yoko Ono at his side and a deeper understanding of life and all its complexities… The music of Double Fantasy is a testament to a man who’d conquered his demons and had the love of a good woman to carry him through, and some of it is beyond words and cannot be explained.” – All Music

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John Lennon – Mind Games

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  • An excellent sounding UK copy which solid Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • 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 on Mind Games
  • “… the best numbers are among Lennon’s finest…” – All Music

This vintage UK pressing 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. (more…)

Elvis Presley – Fun In Acapulco – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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

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 clearly one of them. The originals we see are a lost cause; they’re practically always scratched and full of groove damage. We’d be lucky to find a clean one every five or ten years nowadays.

Side One

Breathy vocals and very full sound make this a top quality side.

For a kick check out the great sounding percussion on the third track.

Side Two

Rich and smooth on the first track, more like an old Elvis record, but the next tracks sound better, tubier and livelier (more…)

Rickie Lee Jones – Pirates

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

The typical copy of this album has a number of problems: midrange honk; hardness to the vocals; lack of presence; congestion; insufficient energy; blunted transients; grainy highs and so on. The Warner Bros. team of this era (Herscberg, Titleman, Waronker, etc.) brought us some wonderful recordings, but you’d never know it from listening to the typical ’80s WB Tan Label LP, which tend to be pretty poor. Of course, search hard enough and you can find a copy that delivers some of the magic of the master tape, and that’s exactly what we have here. (more…)

Van Halen – Women And Children First

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  • An outstanding copy of the band’s third release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Full-bodied, smooth analog sound is the key to the best Van Halen pressings, and here both sides have it 
  • One of our favorite engineers, Donn Landee, worked his magic here (together with Ted Templeman) and the results are superb
  • 4 1/2 stars: “After two pure party albums, the inevitable had to happen: it was time for Van Halen to mature, or at least get a little serious … This is the first Van Halen album to consist entirely of original material and there’s some significant growth here to the writing…”

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The Byrds – The Notorious Byrd Brothers – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

More The Byrds

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

The sound is big and rich throughout, with excellent transparency and clarity. The vocals are breathy and present and the bottom end is superb. Most copies out there are too murky and/or blurry to make sense of, but this one sounded just about right to our ears. The guitars have that “jangly” sound that you want to hear on a Byrds record. You’d have to have a lot of clean pressings around to have decent odds of finding one that sounds this good and plays this quietly! (more…)

Carly Simon – Carly Simon

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Carly Simon – Carly Simon

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  • Both sides of this original Elektra LP earned excellent Double Plus (A++) grades for their sound and play exceptionally quietly
  • Legendary producer and engineer Eddie Kramer lends his talent to this album and knows how to get the best sound
  • That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be is the killer track here and it sounds fantastic on this copy
  • Can you believe that the producer and engineer of Carly’s 1971 debut here is none other than Eddie Kramer!?  

It’s not an audiophile knockout like Dark Side of the Moon, nor is it trying to be. The richness and the sweetness of the midrange on the best copies are exactly what you’d be looking for on this heavily-produced pop album, and this copy gives you that sound like no other copy you’ve ever heard. (more…)

Stevie Nicks – The Wild Heart

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  • The Wild Heart finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too! 
  • The size, presence, and (relative) warmth on this one give you the sound you want for this music
  • Features a host of stellar guest musicians, including Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, Steve Lukather (Toto), and even Prince, though he wasn’t credited on the album
  • 4 stars: “The Wild Heart sold to the faithful … if you loved Bella Donna, you would like The Wild Heart very much.”

It’s easy to spot the good sounding copies. They’re big and rich, not thin nor harsh. They open up on the top end and go down deeper on the bottom. They’re smooth and full-bodied in the midrange. Stevie’s vocals are breathy and present. The energy of her performance drives the music the way you want it to.

In short, the best copies demonstrate the sound one could expect to hear on a good Tom Petty album. Nothing surprising there; this album, like Petty’s, was produced and engineered by the same team, Jimmy Iovine and Shelly Yakus. They’ve made some great records together, Damn the Torpedoes being the best of the batch for sonics. (more…)

Prince – Purple Rain

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

The shootout winner for this album earned top grades and showed us a Purple Rain we had never heard before. 

The best copies sound pretty much the way the best copies of most Classic Rock records sound: tonally correct, rich, clear, sweet, smooth, open, present, lively, big, spacious, Tubey Magical, with breathy vocals and little to no spit, grit, grain or grunge. That’s the sound of analog, and the best copies of Purple Rain have that sound. (more…)