Top Artists – The Beatles

The music is great, but how’s the sound? We weigh in with our two cents worth.

The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2007

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Magical Mystery Tour

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

THE BEST SOUNDING MMT EVER! Hot Stamper copies of this album are a regular feature on this site, but we’ve NEVER heard one like this — on EITHER side! We had no choice but to award this album the very rare grade of A++++ (Four Pluses!) on both sides. (more…)

The Beatles – Rubber Soul – Twin Track for Me but Not for Thee

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How is it that none of the critics of “twin track stereo” — the two-track recording approach used on the first two albums, with the elements hard-panned left and right — has ever come clean about the obvious twin track sound of Rubber Soul?

We used tracks four, five and six to test side two with, and in all three the vocals are hard-panned right with most of the instruments hard-panned left. Why is it wrong for Please Please Me to sound that way — the mono mix being the critic’s choice — but fine for Rubber Soul to be heard that way? 

Tons of energy on the drums in the left channel are a key test. In the right channel the shakers and tambourines are way up in the mix. The bass is a bit lean compared to the other tracks and tends to get a bit lost. If you can follow the bass throughout the song that’s a good sign.

Balancing the bass and drums in the left channel with the vocals and percussion in the right channel is not easy to do, which of course is what makes it a great test.

The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2012

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The best side one we’ve ever heard! Side one was so amazing, clearly a step up over any side of any other copy we played, that we felt obligated to award it our “Four Plus” (A++++) grade. Out of the thousands of Hot Stampers we’ve listed over the years, about twenty have earned Four Pluses on any side. That alone makes this a very special copy indeed.

And side two was right up there with the best we played this time around as well, finishing in second place with a grade of A++ to A+++. Both sides are so RICH and TUBEY MAGICAL you will not believe this is the same A Hard Day’s Night that has always sounded so hard, harsh and aggressive. (more…)

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Our 4 Plus Shootout Winner from 2013

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

We are calling this White Hot Stamper 2-pack set THE ULTIMATE SGT. PEPPERS EXPERIENCE. These two sides give you EVERYTHING you could ask for from this album. Side one earned the rare Four Plus A++++ grade and side two was a killer A+++; both sides play a very quiet Mint Minus throughout. The sound is so big and rich throughout that we would be very surprised, shocked even, if you’ve ever imagined that Sgt. Pepper could sound this powerful and REAL.

We defy any original to step into the ring with a copy like this. One thing we can tell you: it would not be a fair fight. The cutting equipment to make a record this good did not exist in 1967. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Revolver

Revolver

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

Dear Sir,

You know when everything is just right? The record, the equipment, the space between your ears. The speakers disappear, the room, even your self? And the only thing left is the music? It doesn’t happen that often these days, but it did for me listening to side one of your UK Revolver. I was immersed. Thank you.

My Reply 

Fantastic to hear, we love when that happens, to us and to anybody else of course. It’s the same high that gamblers get from winning big, and it keeps us audiophiles going until the next time it call comes together that way.

Our best to you, and thanks for your support since 2003!

TP

Letter of the Week – After the Gold Rush and Beatles For Sale

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

Hey Tom, 

Just wanted to write and tell you how much I love that Neil Young After The Gold Rush White Hot Stamper I picked up last week. Really awesome. This ranks up with the best I’ve bought from you guys. The sound is incredible. Neil’s voice is right in the room. The guitar sounds real and that harmonica is super. I love when he performs just him and nobody else. I’m really stuck on Neil’s albums. The sound is just soooo good. I’m working on my system to get more out of these records. Oh yeah, I picked up one of your “Beatles for Sale” albums for $65. Really nice for the money. Those Beatle albums can really be awesome. Have to get a White Hot Stamper Beatles album someday. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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

Hey Tom,   

I never thought, not even for a second, that in my life I’d EVER buy a record for $300. Never Ever! But here I am. Most records I’d come across in my life were from used/antique stores, and so they were warped, brittle, noisy, or out of tune (a fact I didn’t notice until I graduated from a music college). But your Beatles “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper” – music I’ve known my ENTIRE LIFE- sound like new as a Hot Stampers.

I appreciate the fact these records, although expensive, are sold simply on the basis of quality. In a increasingly fake, plastic “if this one doesn’t just return it for another broken one” world, you sell a product that is singular and unique. And completely worth every penny. I appreciate the fact you evaluate the record’s sound (i.e. mastering) as a musician would – focusing on tonal correctness – prizing the record’s ability to accurately reproduce a recording of how instruments actually sound in real life. On its face, it seems so simple, yet it is of utmost importance. Thanks! (more…)

The Beatles – Please Please Me – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

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

We shot out over two dozen copies of Please Please Me — German, British, and American pressings of various vintages. The best German copies such as this one stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. However, we did manage to find some wonderful Brit and domestic copies which will be making it to the site very soon.

This German Beatles album has DEMO DISC SOUND and some of the best pop music ever recorded! We LOVE this album here at Better Records. (more…)

Letter of the Week – White Album

White Album

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

Hey Tom,  

I’ve not written in a while and wanted to share a few thoughts. Upper most in my mind is a new perspective on The Beatles’ White Album. I’ve long been a proponent of a particular school of thought regarding this particular record. You may have heard it before. It goes like this: “If one removed all of the filler from this record, it would make one pretty killer Beatles single LP”. I now must confess this is a fallacious argument, as it is most certainly based on having only heard the common Capital orange and black label pressings. I now stand corrected and happily enlightened.  (more…)

Letter of the Week – “No one doubted your records after this listening session.”

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

Hey Tom, 

Yesterday, I attended an audio event in Verona, NJ, where I had purchased my stereo.

I spent my time in the “analogue” room. This room had the flagship equipment (Vandersteen 7 speakers, Aesthetix Jupiter series amps, pre-amps, phono stage, Clearaudio’s Goldfinger Statement cartridge, etc).

I listened for a while, hearing all the issues with almost every record they played. I then asked the store’s “turntable guru” to play some of the records I brought with me.

They thumbed through my boxes and asked me what the difference was between my two copies of Abbey Road. When I explained the superior side X on either copy, the audience found this concept amusing, based on their positive laughter. Any doubters would soon become believers.

They played Abbey Road’s side 2 (3+ side, of course). While “Here Comes The Sun” was playing, Garth had his eyes closed. At the track’s conclusion, he exclaimed “Outstanding!”, and the record played on.

Next, we listened to ELP’s “Lucky Man”. Garth said it was the best he had ever heard.

I do not really know Garth, but I suspect he does not easily offer up such compliments in a room full of people. Others in the room, including the store’s turntable guru, were all very impressed. Several folks approached me, all pointing out parts of the music that blew them away.

There were comments about some folks hearing that Better Records was a scam, and others saying that you are the real deal. The discussion ended with “Hearing is believing”. No one doubted your records after this listening session.

I scored points with these important folks, thanks to your records. I provided the source material to allow their equipment to shine.

Any doubt these folks had about your company was put to rest. All that listened were very impressed, and I thought you’d want to know.

Craig D. (more…)