Top Artists – Electric Light Orchestra / Jeff Lynne

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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Electric Light Orchestra – On the Third Day – The British Imports Are Made from Dubs

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Sonic Grade: F

It’s obvious, or should be, that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers. We know this because we had a bunch of them cleaned up for our shootout many years ago and they all sucked.

We tend to buy Electric Light Orchestra records on import vinyl; those are the ones that often sound the best. Many of the domestic pressings sound as though they were mastered from dub tapes.

But On The Third Day is proof that this is not always the case, just as Siren proves that the best Roxy Music albums are not always British. (more…)

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…)

Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado

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  • An outstanding vintage pressing of Eldorado with solid Double Plus (A++) sound and vinyl that’s about as quiet as can be found
  • This pressing showed us a big, lively, musically involving Eldorado, one of the toughest nuts to crack in the entire ELO canon
  • There are some really awful UK pressings out there (and lots of bad domestics to be sure), so if you like the thrill of the hunt, make sure you have plenty of time and money to spend
  • 5 stars: “Eldorado was strongly reminiscent in some ways of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not that it could ever have the same impact or be as distinctive, but it had its feet planted in so many richly melodic and varied musical traditions, yet made it all work in a rock context, that it did recall the Beatles classic.”

As a result of Jeff Lynne’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production approach, it’s the rare copy that provides enough transparency and resolution to bring out all the elements in the incredibly dense mixes — with strings! – that Lynne favors. But when you find a copy that does, what a THRILL it is. (more…)

Electric Light Orchestra – ELO 2

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  • Stunning sound from start to finish for this Harvest UK import with both sides earning nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades, just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • These sides are huge, rich and Tubey Magical with wonderfully sweet and breathy vocals and a huge bottom end
  • “It was as personal an effort as Lynne had ever made in music, showcasing his work as singer, songwriter, guitarist, sometime synthesizer player, and producer, and it is more focused than its predecessor but also retains some of the earlier album’s lean textures… the album holds up well, and it and the single [Roll Over Beethoven] did go a long way toward getting them the beginnings of an audience in America.”

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Electric Light Orchestra – On the Third Day – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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More On the Third Day

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

This White Hot Stamper Side Two is proof positive that the master tape used to cut the album back in 1973 was right here in the good old U. S. of A. The sound is positively JUMPING out of the speakers, like nothing you’ve ever heard before from this band — especially if you have a British pressing of the album. The sound has real life to it, unlike the sound on the import pressings of the album. Once you’ve played a good domestic pressing such as this one, it’s obvious that the Brit vinyl is made from sub-generation copy tapes. The imports sound like someone threw a blanket over your speakers. (more…)

The Electric Light Orchestra – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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

A++ sound on both sides for the crazy and wonderful debut album from ELO, an album that almost never sounds good! We had a bunch of these on hand and put them to the test recently. Most of them did not have the kind of sound that we were hoping for, but with enough copies on hand we were able to find a couple of winners. This one had our highest rated side one (A++ was as far as we wanted to go) and one of the better side twos as well. It isn’t a Demo Disc by any means but if you’re a fan of the band I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how much better a Super Hot Stamper like this one communicates the music.  

We really enjoy the music of ELO, but it’s tough to find good sounding copies of their albums.  We’ve been collecting copies of this album for years but it wasn’t until recently that we heard one that sounded good enough to be worthy of the Hot Stamper designation. (more…)

Electric Light Orchestra – Out Of The Blue

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  • This outstanding copy of ELO’s seventh studio album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last- exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • All four sides here are super lively and clear with the kind of bass that most pressings just don’t have
  • Lots of hits on this one, Turn to Stone and Mr. Blue Sky among them
  • “The last ELO album to make a major impact on popular music, Out of the Blue was of a piece with its lavishly produced predecessor, A New World Record… Out of the Blue was massively popular and did become the centerpiece of a huge worldwide tour that earned the group status as a major live attraction for a time.”  

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Electric Light Orchestra – A New World Record – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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

Even though I am not the world’s biggest ELO fan, I am a HUGE fan of this album, which is why I’m so happy to have finally found one with AMAZING SOUND, on both sides! The British originals are the only ones that can convey the sweet TUBEY MAGIC of the British Master Tapes. The string tone on the average domestic copy is shrill and smeary; too little of the critically important texture remains after the master tapes have been dubbed and the copies sent to America for mastering.  (more…)

The Traveling Wilburys – Volume One

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  • You’ll find very good Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this copy of the Wilbury’s debut album – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Proof that, when you put Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne in a recording studio together, something good is bound to happen
  • Certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, this album was Grammy nominated Album of the Year in 1989 
  • 4 1/2 stars: “There never was a supergroup more super than the Traveling Wilburys… It’s impossible to picture a supergroup with a stronger pedigree.”

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 album is proof that it did! (more…)