Top Artists – Boston

Boston – Self-Titled

More Boston

Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

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  • With big, bold, hard-rockin’ Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, this pressing will show you just how good Boston’s debut can sound
  • The multi-tracked, multi-layered guitars are as big as life on this copy and guaranteed to rock your world
  • Top sound for all the hits: More Than a Feeling, Long Time/Foreplay, Rock & Roll Band, Peace Of Mind…
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Nearly every song on Boston’s debut album can still be heard on classic rock radio today due to the strong vocals of Brad Delp and unique guitar sound of Tom Scholz. Boston is essential for any fan of classic rock, and the album marks the re-emergence of the genre in the 1970s.”

Boston’s first (and only good) album is a long-time member of our Top 100, and on a great pressing like this it’s easy to see why. It’s an incredible recording when you can hear it right, and this is about as right as it gets!

It’s obvious why the first Boston album became a Multi-Platinum Record. Practically every one of its songs still gets heavy radio play on every rock station in town. Consummately well-crafted music like this is almost impossible to find nowadays. I guess that’s why they call it Classic Rock. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Dire Straits, Boston and Rumours

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

Hey Tom,   

Just some feedback. I know its been a long time. Just always busy. Anyways, All the albums were great. The Dire Straits I thought was the best. FM was next.

Boston is hard for me to listen to nowadays. I used to really be a big Boston fan, played it all the time in the car cassette deck. In fact I first heard album #1 in a friends car deck. Now, I’m not so much a big fan, but The hot stamper was great.

When I first contacted you about your hot stampers you mentioned that I might not be able to notice a big difference with my setup. But I could tell the difference right away. I frequent your site at least once a week looking for something of interest and within my price range. It’s amazing what you guys do.

Anyways, I’ll keep looking and thanks for the awesome hot stampers. (more…)

Boston Hot Stamper Testimonial – Shooting Out the Big Three

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This week’s letter comes from our good customer Roger, who did a little shootout of his own among three very different sounding pressings: two Half-Speeds, one by MoFi and one by CBS, probably the two most popular pressings among audiophiles, and our very own Hot Stamper LP. Here are his findings. Keep in mind that Roger bought a copy priced at $125, half the price of the best copy in our shootout.

Hi Tom,

I got your Boston hot stamper today and enjoyed comparing it to MFSL and CBS half-speed versions in a shootout. I had long since given up on listening to this record since it became part of a communist ploy to brainwash us by playing Boston repeatedly on the radio until we would give up any information they desired. “Deep Purple Lite” was what my college buddies and I used to derisively call it. Now I only wish we had this type of music still around. So I had fun reliving my college days and listening to this LP.

For a pop recording, it is a pretty good recording soundwise, and all 3 pressings were indeed good, if not interesting. I tried the CBS half-speed first, and it was tonally lean with good speed and detail, and bass was extended and quick. However, its Achilles heel was that it had too much energy on top and excessive brightness, something that couldn’t hide from my speakers’ ion tweeters.

Roger, you seem to be using the phrase “tonally lean” unpejoratively (if I can make up such a word), whereas for us here at Better Records, that is the kiss of death for Half-Speeds, and in fact Audiophile Records of All Kinds. Lack of weight down below, lack of Whomp Factor, is the main reason half-speed mastered records are so consistently and ridiculously bad. If not bad, certainly wrong. You can be very sure that Boston would not want, nor would they put up with, that kind of anemic sound for a minute. (more…)

Boston / Self-Titled – What the Best Copies Really Get Right

The multi-tracked layers of guitars really come to life on the better copies. The not-so-great pressings tend to be congested and compressed, thickening the sound and diffusing the layers of multi-tracked harmonies. Tom Scholz’s uniquely overdriven, distorted leads have near-perfect timbre. On the top copies you can really hear how much power that sound adds to the music.

As is the case for best pressings of Aqualung, when the guitar sounds this good, it really makes you sit up and take notice of the guy’s playing. When the sound works the music works, our seven word definition of a Hot Stamper.

Our killer copies have sweetness and tubey warmth we didn’t expect to hear. Better yet, the best copies have jump-out-of-the-speakers presence without being aggressive, no mean feat.

The good ones make you want to turn up the volume; the louder they get the better they sound. Try that with the average copy. When playing mass-market pop-rock music like this, more level usually means only one thing: bloody eardrums.

The typical Boston EQ is radio-friendly, not audiophile-friendly. But some were cut right, with the kind of richness, sweetness and smoothness that we fondly refer to here at Better Records as The Sound of Analog.

Choruses Are Key

The production techniques used on the late Brad Delp’s powerful vocals had to be implemented with the utmost skill and care or they would never have made the album the smash success that it is. His vocals are one of the great strengths of the album. You can be sure the producers and engineers knew that they had a very special singer in Brad and lavished their time and energy on getting his voice just right in the mix, making use of plenty of roomy analog reverb around both his multi-tracked leads and the background harmonies as well.

After hearing plenty of copies, one thing became clear — if the vocals don’t have good presence and breathy texture, you might as well be listening to the radio. Toss it onto the trade-in pile and move on. Brad really belts out those high notes; the right blend of clarity and weight is what lets his soaring vocals work their chart-topping magic.

The richness, sweetness and freedom from artificiality is most apparent on Boston where you most always hear it on a pop record: in the biggest, loudest, densest, most climactic choruses.

We set the playback volume so that the loudest parts of the record are as huge and powerful as they can possibly grow to be without crossing the line into distortion or congestion. On some records, Dark Side of the Moon comes instantly to mind, the guitar solos on Money are the loudest thing on the record. On Breakfast in America the sax toward the end of The Logical Song is the biggest and loudest sound on the record, louder even than Roger Hodgson’s near-hysterical multi-tracked screaming “Who I am” about three quarters of the way through. Those, however, are clearly exceptions to the rule. Most of the time it’s the final chorus that gets bigger and louder than anything else.

Blasting the Wall of Sound

A pop song is usually structured so as to build more and more strength as it works its way through its verses and choruses, past the bridge, coming back around to make one final push, releasing all its energy in the final chorus, the climax of the song. On a good recording — one with real dynamics — that part should be very loud and very powerful.

It’s almost always the toughest test for a pop record, and it’s the main reason we play our records loud. The copies that hold up through the final choruses of their album’s largest scaled productions are the ones that provide the biggest thrills and the most emotionally powerful musical experiences one can have. Our Top 100 is full of the kinds of records that reward that listening at loud levels.

We live for that sound here at Better Records. It’s what vintage analog pressings do so brilliantly. They do it so much better than any other medium that there is really no comparison and certainly no substitute. If you’re on this site you probably already know that.

Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

Albums with Choruses that Are Good for Testing

TRACK LISTING

Side One

More Than a Feeling 
Peace of Mind 
Foreplay/Long Time

Side Two

Rock and Roll Band 
Smokin’ 
Hitch a Ride 
Something About You 
Let Me Take You Home Tonight

AMG Review

Boston is one of the best-selling albums of all time, and deservedly so. Because of the rise of disco and punk, FM rock radio seemed all but dead until the rise of acts like Boston, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen.

Nearly every song on Boston’s debut album can still be heard on classic rock radio today due to the strong vocals of Brad Delp and unique guitar sound of Tom Scholz. Tom Scholz, who wrote most of the songs, was a studio wizard and used self-designed equipment such as 12-track recording devices to come up with an anthemic “arena rock” sound before the term was even coined. The sound was hard rock, but the layered melodies and harmonics reveal the work of a master craftsman.

While much has been written about the sound of the album, the lyrics are often overlooked. There are songs about their rise from a bar band (“Rock and Roll Band”) as well as fond remembrances of summers gone by (“More Than a Feeling”).

Boston is essential for any fan of classic rock, and the album marks the re-emergence of the genre in the 1970s.

Letter of the Week – Boston

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

Hey Tom, 

Just wanted to say thanks for finding a record like this. I looked in my collection and thought, wow I have an anadisc (Serial #5), let’s see how they compare?

The MOFI is so bad! It sounds like there are three layers of Saran wrap on it… slow, murky and all the other things that your commentary says… the food analogy would be crappy soggy french fries… bloated… lifeless…

There is no comparison to the sound on side two…. the organ is rolling and alive and sounds like the Hammonds I have heard through Leslie cabinets… on the MOFI it was like the organ was behind glass doors… flat… no life…. I could go on and on.

The other songs were so much better on the Hot Stamper… makes me want to go frisbee my MOFI or maybe just sell it on ebay.

Ed F.

Boston – Boston – A CBS Half-Speed I Used to Like (Gulp)

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Sonic Grade: C

Lack of weight down below, or as we like to call it, Whomp Factor, is the main reason half-speed mastered records are so consistently bad. (If not bad, certainly wrong.) You can be sure that Boston would not have wanted, nor would they have been willing to accept, the kind of anemic sound that the half speed delivers.

The CBS is cut clean from a good tape, so it easily beats the bad domestic pressings, of which there are many. But it can’t rock. What good is a Boston record that doesn’t rock? It’s a contradiction in terms; the band, as well as their debut album, have no other reason to exist.

Here’s what we used to say about the record:

“This is the best sounding version of this music that I know of. A Better Records recommended pressing!”

Which means it’s another We Was Wrong listing. We have a whole section of them.

Boston’s First Album on MoFi Anadisq

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Sonic Grade: F

The MoFi Anadisc has the same problems that plague the whole series: turgid, thick, blobby, murky, mucky sound. A real slogfest. Audiophile trash of the worst kind. People still pay money for this kind of bad sound? Yes they do! Go to ebay and see the high prices these records are fetching. This is equal parts shocking and disgusting.