Top Artists – Bob Dylan

Traveling Wilburys – Vol. 3

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  • Insanely good sound throughout with both sides earning nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades; the first copy to ever hit the site!  
  • Both of these sides had some of the best sound in our recent shootout — big, full-bodied and present with a massive bottom end and huge amounts of energy
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “…this record is loaded with charm. Dylan’s ”If You Belonged to Me” is stronger than anything on his last record, and ”You Took My Breath Away” is a first-rate ballad.”

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Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde – The Sundazed Mono Is a Joke

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Sonic Grade: F

Flat as a pancake and dead as a doornail, like most Sundazed records.

Sundazed is clearly one of the worst record labels of all time.  This record is just more evidence to back up our low opinion of them.

Bob Dylan – Shot of Love

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  • Dylan’s Shot of Love debuts here with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound here is bigger, tubier, more dynamic, more lively, more present and just plain more involving than any other copy you’ve heard
  • “Shot of Love finds Dylan still in born-again mode, but he’s starting to come alive again — which isn’t as much a value judgment as it is an observation that he no longer seems beholden to repeating dogma, loosening up and crafting songs again. And it’s not just that his writing is looser, the music is, too, as he lets himself — and his backing band — rock a little harder, a little more convincingly… has flashes of brilliance, such as “Every Grain of Sand,” which point the way to the rebirth of Infidels.”

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The Traveling Wilburys – Volume One – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE ONE backed with an excellent side two, both on very quiet vinyl! It took us ages to put together enough clean copies to get this shootout going again. Many of the pressings we played suffered from too much compression and a phony hi-fi quality. We knew there had to be great copies out there somewhere, so we kept dropping the needle until we found a few good men. Here’s the best of them all — it rates our top grade of A+++ on side one and A++ on side two. Drop the needle on Handle With Care to hear how wonderful this music can sound when it’s cut right!

Side one of this copy is As Good As It Gets! The sound is natural, balanced, and tonally correct from top to bottom. Most copies we played weren’t nearly this open or transparent. The energy factor here is OFF THE CHARTS and the clarity is superb. We heard a lot of copies with a spitty, gritty top end, but this one is smooth like butter and sweet like candy! Side two is nearly as good but doesn’t have quiet the same energy factor. It’s still dramatically better than most copies out there.

It’s hard not to enjoy this music. Put Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne in a recording studio together and something good is bound to happen, right? This may not be these guys at the very top of their game, but the songs are still a lot of fun. Now that we’ve discovered these Hot Stampers, the sound is finally where we want it to be. Until this week, we were convinced that these songs sounded better on the radio! (That’s what tons of compression will do for you.) (more…)

Bob Dylan – Planet Waves – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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

This White Hot Stamper copy of Planet Waves boasts not only great Bob Dylan sound, but some of the best sound for The Band that you’ll ever hear! That’s right, Dylan is backed by Messrs. Robertson, Danko, Helm, Manuel and Hudson on this album, and I don’t know when we’ve ever heard such audiophile quality sound from that crew. It’s a real treat to hear their signature styles without the cardboard-y, compressed quality we usually find on their albums.

Lots of great material on this album, not sure why it doesn’t get more respect. On A Night Like This, Going Going Gone, Forever Young, You Angel You… these are wonderful, well-recorded songs. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan – Our Shootout Winner from 2013 in Mono

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

TWO AMAZING SIDES RATING AT OR NEAR A+++ for this the MONO pressing! It’s beyond difficult to find copies of this album with good sound, but we managed to get a hold of a hot one here. This is a true solo album — guitar, vocals and harmonica — and it’s a lot of fun to hear a young (20!) Dylan playing the way he might have played in the coffee shops and folk clubs of Greenwich Village. 

The sound is richer and fuller than the average pressing; it’s also unusually lively and present. Above all the sound is natural and musical, the qualities that matter the most on a record like this.

And that’s not all! It’s also dynamic, lively, and tonally correct from top to bottom. The clarity is superb and even the harmonica sounds good. There’s tons of ambience — you can really hear the sound of the room around Dylan’s vocals. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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More Highway 61 Revisited

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

This 360 Label pressing has a SUPERB A+++ SIDE ONE backed with a strong A++ side two. We had a big stack of 360s and Red Labels with good stampers to compare, and this copy had a side one that could not be beat. It’s got big time immediacy, tons of energy, loads of tubey magic and exceptional clarity. The bottom end is punchy with real weight and the soundfield is open, spacious and so transparent. 

Side two has amazing clarity and transparency as well. Compared to side one it’s just a bit dry — those of you with tubey systems will probably go crazy for this sound. This was the best side two we heard this time around, but since side one was clearly more impressive we topped off the grade for the second side at A++. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Another Side of Bob Dylan – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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More Another Side of Bob Dylan

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

We played a bunch of these this week and only a very small handful of sides had enough magic to be considered Hot Stampers. The typical pressing loses its steam in (at least) one of two ways: honky mids and veiled vocals. The copies with the honk can be nearly unlistenable when Dylan starts blowing his harmonica, and the copies with veiled vocals and no real immediacy bored us to tears. 

This copy has the magic on side two. The sound is full-bodied, natural, and rich with excellent presence and real depth to the soundfield. (more…)

Bob Dylan & The Band – Before The Flood

More Bob Dylan / More The Band

Before The Flood

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  • An outstanding copy with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on sides one and four and Double Plus (A++) sound on the other two sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Dylan and The Band team up for exuberant versions of many classics from each of their repertoires – a copy like this lets you appreciate just how wonderful the performances are  
  • “Dylan reworks, rearranges, reinterprets these songs in ways that are still disarming, years after its initial release… “
  • “Without qualification, this is the craziest and strongest rock and roll ever recorded. All analogous live albums fall flat.”

One of the great Live Classic Rock albums of all time in Hot Stamper form! We played a ton of these and found that most copies bored us to death. Some lacked energy, even more never opened up, and most of them were too thin-sounding. We had to play a HUGE stack of copies to come up with a few good ones, and on a double album like this, that’s a TON of work. (more…)