Top Artists – Neil Young

Neil Young – Harvest


xxxxx

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this vintage pressing of Neil’s undeniable classic is guaranteed to beat any Harvest you’ve ever heard
  • At Mint Minus Minus this is not an especially quiet copy, but keep in mind that it’s practically impossible to find an early pressing with sound this good that will play quieter – it hasn’t happened in years 
  • A Top 100 album and a sublime recording no audiophile should be without
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…the love songs and the harrowing portrait of a friend’s descent into heroin addiction, “The Needle and the Damage Done,” remain among Young’s most affecting and memorable songs.” 

When you have this kind of open, extended top end, the grit, grain and edge just disappear, leaving you with a clear, Tubey Magical sound that’s way beyond anything you have ever heard (or we give you your money back). Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the string of superb studio albums Neil released from 1970 to 1976. Just look at these titles: After The Gold Rush, Harvest, On The Beach, Tonight’s The Night, and Zuma. (more…)

Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps

xxxxx

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides, making this one of the more enjoyable copies we’ve heard in quite a while
  • It’s not easy to find copies that get both the quieter, acoustic material and the big, rockin’ Crazy Horse stuff right, but this one did
  • With some fairly quiet passages of music, both sides play about as well as the record ever does – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • 5 stars: “His strongest collection since Tonight’s the Night, its obvious antecedent was Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, and, as Dylan did, Young divided his record into acoustic and electric sides while filling his songs with wildly imaginative imagery.”

This copy has some of the best Rust Never Sleeps sound we have ever had the privilege of playing. The acoustic guitars are full-bodied and sweet, with lovely, delicate harmonics. The vocals had a natural quality that we didn’t hear on some copies, with no trace of thinness or edginess, yet still present and clear. If you are looking for a copy that gets the folkie stuff right, this is the one.

Play track three, Ride My Llama, to hear the kind of rich, sweet, Tubey Magic to be found on this side. Tubey Magic in 1979? Yes, analog was still alive and well then — this copy proves it. The disastrously synthesized ’80s were on their way but thankfully they hadn’t gotten here yet.

Side two is where the harder-rockin’ electric material can be found, including two of the best songs on the album: Powderfinger and Sedan Delivery. The sound is full and smooth and lively – this side was rockin’ like no other. (more…)

After the Gold Rush Hot Stampers – People Just Love ‘Em

xxxxx
xxxxx

From time to time our customers like to tell us just how much they are enjoying our Hot Stamper pressings, and we here at Better Records love to read the LETTERS they write. We’ve reprinted a few below.

An excerpt: “I don’t always agree with everyone else on which record pressings sound best, but this record knocked my socks off.”

RL Writes

I just played your hot stamper pressing of Neil Young After the Gold Rush, and WOW! I don’t always agree with everyone else on which record pressings sound best, but this record knocked my socks off. 

No doubt about this one. I compared it to a recent German/Dutch reissue, which I remember sounding better than the crappy US pressing I previously had, and the difference was amazing. The soundstage was huge, I heard instruments playing right in front of me, dynamics were great, the bass drum on Only Love Can Break Your Heart was deep and extended, guitars were full, and so on.

I hadn’t played this record in a while mainly because it was, well, a lousy recording, which is a shame because it is one of my favorite records. I am sure I will be playing this version a lot more. Too bad for those who haven’t heard this pressing.

AJ Writes (more…)

Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps – Just How Good Is a Second Tier Neil Young Album?

More Neil Young

More Rust Never Sleeps

xxxxx

Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings. 

AMG raves about this album, giving it 5 big stars. (For those of you keeping score at home, that’s half a star MORE than they gave Harvest.) We like the album just fine, but I doubt we would want to go quite that far. Sure, these are great songs, but give us After The Gold Rush, Zuma or Harvest (all Top 100 titles, Hot Stampers of which are sometimes in stock) over this one any day.

Still, a second tier Neil Young album (by our standards) usually will beat a first tier album from just about anybody else making records in 1979. (more…)

Neil Young – Transparency – and that Wonderful Feeling of Being There

More Neil Young

More Transparency

xxxxx

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises .

For our review of the new Heavy Vinyl After the Gold Rush we wrote:

Cleverly the engineers responsible for this remaster have managed to reproduce the sound of a dead studio on a record that wasn’t recorded in one. 

This pressing has no real space or ambience. Now the album sounds like it was recorded in a heavily baffled studio, but we know that’s not what happened, because the originals of After the Gold Rush, like most of Neil’s other albums from the era, are clear, open and spacious.

In other words, they are TRANSPARENT.

Modern records like the new After the Gold Rush are just so damn opaque. We can’t stand that sound. It drives us crazy. Important musical information — the kind we hear on even second-rate regular pressings — is simply nowhere to be found. That audiophiles as a group — including those that pass themselves off as champions of analog in the audio press — do not notice these failings does not speak well for either their equipment or their critical listening skills. (more…)

Letter of the Week – After The Gold Rush and Rubber Soul

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

Two fantastic finds; well done once again. The After the Gold Rush you sent is incredibly revealing. The pressing removed the veil. This Lp typically sounds dull and I don’t mean the songs. I dropped the needle on side one and started singing by the end of the first verse. I had planned to have a critical listen first as I always do, so I have a reference in which to make comparisons. If an album is great I start to sing the second time thru. That should tell you what I think of this pressing. When I played my copy it lasted one verse and one chorus before it was removed from the platter. Exceptional pressing!!! 

Re: Rubber Soul. I have 3 copies of this LP, all Parlophone and all earlier pressings than the one I purchased from you. One doesn’t really count because it is from the very first pressings that had problems. However, the other 2 are very good pressings. One is very transparent but extremely bass shy. The other is very much the opposite. It has lots of womp but is grainy. The pressing from Better Records is beautifully transparent especially in the voice and is nowhere near as bass shy.

I believe that being closest to the source usually reveals more accuracy. That goes for most every discipline of study. This pressing, though not being the actual closest, was the winner. Go figure!

Thanks again for doing the research to find these gems.

Mark H.

 

After The Gold Rush

Rubber Soul

Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

More Buffalo Springfield

More Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield

xxxxx

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

This is the first White Hot Stamper pressing of Buffalo Springfield’s self-titled LP to ever hit the site, and folks, you are in for shock if you know this album at all. Although for the most part this is no Demo Disc, this super-rare pressing is SO MUCH BETTER than any other version we know of that it just blows our minds. I had my mind blown about ten years ago when I found my first one, and nothing has changed. It’s still the best pressing ever. (more…)

Letter of the Week – After the Gold Rush

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I just played your hot stamper pressing of Neil Young After the Gold Rush, and WOW! I don’t always agree with everyone else on which record pressings sound best, but this record knocked my socks off. 

No doubt about this one. I compared it to a recent German/Dutch reissue, which I remember sounding better than the crappy US pressing I previously had, and the difference was amazing. The soundstage was huge, I heard instruments playing right in front of me, dynamics were great, the bass drum on Only Love Can Break Your Heart was deep and extended, guitars were full, and so on.

I hadn’t played this record in a while mainly because it was, well, a lousy recording, which is a shame because it is one of my favorite records. I am sure I will be playing this version a lot more. Too bad for those who haven’t heard this pressing. (more…)

Buffalo Springfield – Again – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

More Buffalo Springfield

More Again

xxxxx
xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame

This original Plum and Tan Atco label Hot Stamper pressing has TWO AMAZING SIDES and fairly quiet vinyl. A Double Plus (A++) Sound and Mint Minus vinyl makes the copy the Black Swan of this shootout, that’s for sure.

You have never heard a better pressing of what many consider to be Buffalo Springfield’s Masterpiece, Buffalo Springfield Again. We guarantee this copy will blow your mind or your money back! Only one side of one copy had better sound, and that one was noticeably noisier, so we crowning this one King of the Buffalo Springfield Again Shootout for 2007.

This album, like all of Buffalo Springfield’s recordings, has always been a tough nut to crack. We’ve never even attempted a shootout for the first album or Last Time Around, although I do know Hot Stampers for both. Watch for them in the coming months. [Since done, multiple times.]

So many copies of Again sound so bad and play so noisy that most audiophile record lovers probably had written it off many years ago as a lost cause. (more…)

Letter of the Week – After The Gold Rush, So Far and Workingman’s Dead

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently: 

Hey Tom, 

I have really been enjoying the Neil Young “After The Gold Rush” and CSN&Y “So Far.” They are like the “Workingman’s Dead” LP. Just a thrill to hear. The instruments on “After The Gold Rush” fill my room like they would in a live performance. Addictive. (more…)