Once again Robert Ludwig delivers the Rock and Roll Power – incredibly big, bold and full-bodied with a massive bottom end
For Those About To Rock has wall to wall sound and in-the-room presence like you will not believe
“AC/DC are the real thing, perhaps the purest major practitioners of hot and snotty rock since Led Zeppelin lumbered off the boards. Other groups, from Van Halen to REO Speedwagon, may base their music on similar elements, but they inevitably emerge from the studio sounding cleaned up and rather too eager for AOR airplay. AC/DC, from the start, have always left the rough edges in. The rough edges are the point, much as they were part of the point of, say, Little Richard in the Fifties or the Rolling Stones in the mid-Sixties.” – Rolling Stone
From the moment the title track began, we knew we were in for a real treat. The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found elsewhere, plus tons of echo and ambience. The vocals simply could not be any better — they’re breathy and full-bodied with loads of texture.
The bottom end is Right On The Money — big, beefy, and rock-solid.
You probably never thought you’d ever use an AC/DC LP as a Demo Disc, but this copy will have you reconsidering that notion — it’s ALIVE with Rock and Roll Power Chords like nothing you have ever heard. (more…)
You’ll find KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides of this stunning copy of the band’s 1976 release
We learned something in this shootout about the Australian pressings that surprised us and may be of interest to you
These sides have plenty going on down low, real meat on the bones, all the life and energy you could ask for – pretty much everything that the average copy was lacking
5 stars: “… it captured the seething malevolence of Bon Scott, the sense that he reveled in doing bad things, encouraged by the maniacal riffs of Angus and Malcolm Young who provided him with their most brutish rock & roll yet.”
Here’s what we wrote about the last Australian pressing we had on the site:
“This is a SUPER RARE Minty looking EMI Australian Import LP. We dropped the needle on this one and heard EXACTLY what we were looking for: loud grungy guitars; tight, punchy bass; and vocals so front and center the boys are practically in the room with you. There is NO QUESTION this bad boy is made from the original master tape. You can be sure the domestic pressings aren’t. The heavy vinyl pressing is no doubt made from a dub since almost everything made these days is.”
Well, folks, it’s not exactly a We Was Wrong situation, but we didn’t realize that master tape or not, the best domestic pressings rock harder and just plain sound better than the best Australian copies. The typical domestic copy sucks, but when you get hold of a seriously Hot one they are KILLER.
The better Aussie pressings give you incredible Master Tape clarity, but I’m more interested in hearing a copy that rocks my socks off with the kind of ballsy power you know these guys project when they play live. I can’t tell you if it’s a case of having better mastering equipment or better mastering engineers here in the States — we can’t know that stuff, we can only guess at it — but I can tell you with certainly that this blows the doors off most other pressings.
If you love this band as much as we do here at Better Records — Back in Black being a Top 100 Title — and have the kind of system a record like this demands, we ask only one small favor: please give your neighbors a heads up so they can be prepared for the sonic assault that is to come. And one more thing: For those about to rock, we salute you.(more…)
A superb copy of The Razor’s Edge with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish – just shy of our Shootout Winner
With plenty of punchy low end, the music comes to life on this pressing like you’ve never heard before
Run-of-the-mill used copies have been running us a hundred bucks and up lately, thanks to the resurgence in interest in vinyl, with demand showing no sign of cooling off anytime soon
“Arguably the Australian headbangers’ strongest album in over half a decade, The Razor’s Edge is quintessential AC/DC — rowdy, abrasive, unapologetically fun metal full of blistering power chords, memorable hooks, and testosterone-driven lyrics.”
One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:
I am an avid vinyl cat and have been all of my life. I am super curious about your vinyl. I have a pretty good ear myself for top-shelf LP’s but I am just curious as to why you never point out a Bob Ludwig “RL” pressing? Or maybe you have and I just have not noticed?
Thanks so much for a response and much respect for what you are doing and selling…
We give out no stamper numbers, no information about cutting engineers as a rule, although we do break that rule from time to time. Here is an excerpt of a listing for Rock of Ages from way back when:
What We Thought We Knew
In 2006 we put up a copy with with what we implied were Hot Stampers (before we were using the term regularly) on at least one side:
Side One sounds tonally right on the money! This is as good as it gets… Robert Ludwig mastered all of the originals of these albums, but some of them have bad vinyl and don’t sound correct.
I only played side one of the album, so I can’t speak for the other sides, but what I heard was sound about as good as I think this album can have.
There are some truths along with some half-truths in the above comments, and let’s just say we would be quite a bit more careful in our language were we writing about that copy today.
One side is no indication whatsoever as to the quality of the other three, and without the kind of cleaning technologies we have available to us today, I wouldn’t want to make a “definitive” sonic assessment for any of them.
When you play uncleaned or poorly cleaned records you’re hearing a lot of garbage that has nothing to do with the sound of the actual vinyl. (Note that we are joking above: there is no such thing as a definitive sonic assessment of a record, from us or anybody else.)
Ludwig cut many bad sounding records. Roxy Music Avalon original domestic pressings are RL and are made from dubs — and sound like it. Same with Dire Straits’ Alchemy. Some RL Houses of the Holy sound amazing and some only decent. It’s the nature of the beast.(more…)
An outstanding copy with seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound – this is clearly the right sound for this guitar-fueled heavy rock
One of the better copies from our most recent shootout, the sound is big, full, lively and spacious with hard-rockin’ energy to spare
4 1/2 stars: “… as lean and mean as the original lineup ever got… this is a high-voltage, brutal record, filled with “Bad Boy Boogie… It has a bit of a bluesier edge than other AC/DC records, but this is truly the sound of the band reaching its peak… it’s sweaty, dirty, nasty rock, music that is played to the last call and beyond, and they’ve rarely done that kind of rock better than they did here.”
With Double Plus (A++) sonic grades or close to them on both sides, this Back in Black ROCKS like nothing you’ve heard
Side one plays exceptionally well for a Robert Ludwig original, which is absolutely the only way to go on the album
Top 100, and if you turn it up good and loud, one of the biggest, boldest, hardest rockin’ records ever made
5 stars: “… tawdry celebration of sex is what made AC/DC different from all other metal bands — there was no sword & sorcery, no darkness, just a rowdy party, and they never held a bigger, better party than they did on Back in Black.”
You probably never thought you’d ever use an AC/DC LP as a Demo Disc, but this copy will have you reconsidering that notion — it’s ALIVE with Rock and Roll Power Chords like nothing you have ever heard.
For Riff Rock you just can’t do much better than Back In Black. AMG gives it 5 stars and rightfully so. Musically it’s got everything you’d want from this genre of heavy rock — a tight, punchy rhythm section; raging guitar riffs; and deliciously decadent lyrics screamed to perfection.
What took us by surprise was how amazing this music sounds on the right copy. You’ve probably heard these songs a million times, but we bet you haven’t heard them sound like this. This is the kind of record that you’ll want to keep turning up. The louder you play it, the better it gets — but only if you’ve got a pressing that rocks like this one.
The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found on most copies, plus tons of lovely analog reverb and natural studio ambience.
And of course the bottom end is big, beefy, and rock-solid, just the way we like it. I ask you, what album from 1980 sounds better than Back in Black?(more…)
If you love HUGE drums, meaty guitars, and monster riffs as much as we do, you’re going to freak out over the MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES. Moments after dropping the needle we heard a prominent low octave to the intro bells that we hadn’t noticed on other copies. We kept our fingers crossed and waited for the band to kick in, hoping for some serious bottom end power. And man oh man, it was there all right! I am pleased to report that the whomp factor on this copy was nothing short of MASSIVE.
I ask you, what album from 1980 sounds better than Back in Black?
Hell’s Bells has HUGE sound and shocking presence. The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found elsewhere, plus tons of echo and ambience. The vocals simply could not be any better — they’re breathy and full-bodied with loads of texture. The bottom end is Right On The Money — big, beefy, and rock-solid. You probably never thought you’d ever use an AC/DC LP as a Demo Disc, but this side one will have you reconsidering that notion — it’s ALIVE!
Imagine our delight when it turned out that side two was just as good! Everything you could ask for from this music is here, and it won’t take you very long to realize that for yourself when you play You Shook Me All Night Long. The energy, presence, immediacy and tonality are all SUPERB. I don’t think you could find a better sounding side two no matter what you did!
A KILLER sounding import copy of AC/DC’s original Australian debut album with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
These sides are doing just about everything right — big, full-bodied, lively and dynamic with tight punchy bass and wonderfully rich and present vocals
“As debut album titles go, AC/DC’s High Voltage supplied a perfect encapsulation of the band’s electrifying brand of rock & roll. So perfect, in fact, they actually used it twice: for their first album proper, the Australian-only version of High Voltage, released in February 1975; and for the better-known international debut from mid-1976, which was essentially a collection of highlights from the former and its late-1975 successor, TNT.”
One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:
I’ve been spending time this week listening to the seven records that arrived from you last week, and have been having a fabulous time doing it. So I thought I’d write to say THANKS – you guys really know how to pick ‘em!
Top honors in the batch definitely goes to the AC/DC Back in Black Hot Stamper. Wow, does it ever ROCK! And it’s not even the best one you had – which makes me wonder just how amazing the best copies sound. It really beats the pants off of my George Marino remaster, to say nothing of my old Canadian pressing. The sheer energy that leaps off the vinyl is incredible. To me, this record supports again the hypothesis that I first tested when I bought my Joni Mitchell Hot Stamper from you last fall: That I don’t have to wait until I manage to put together a really topnotch stereo system before I can enjoy at least some of what Hot Stampers have to offer. Obviously, as my system gets better I imagine I’ll enjoy them even more; but even with my current budget-ish system, recently much improved with Aurios and an EAR 834p (both recommended by you – thank you!), the Back in Black Hot Stamper shines. There’s truly nothing finer than listening to a record that sounds that good!
Anyway, all in all, it’s a pleasure purchasing from you, so thanks again. I’ll be back for more once my budget allows.(more…)
Superb sound for this AC/DC classic with solid Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
The open, spacious soundstage, full-bodied tonality and Tubey Magic here are obvious for all to hear – huge, punchy, lively and rockin’ throughout
A real turning point for the band – the last album with Bon Scott, the first produced by Robert Mutt Lange, and the first to crack the Top 100 in America (with the gazillion selling Back in Black waiting right around the corner)
5 stars: “AC/DC has never sounded so enormous, and they’ve never had such great songs, and they had never delivered an album as singularly bone-crunching or classic as this until now.”
This vintage Atlantic 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…)