Top Artists – Eric Clapton, Cream, Blind Faith, etc.

Cream – Disraeli Gears

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  • A KILLER UK stereo copy of Cream’s second studio album with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • You aren’t going to believe how hard this pressing rocks, with all the WHOMP and ENERGY you never knew was there
  • Surprisingly good sound for classics like Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love and Tales of Brave Ulysses
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…the imagination of the arrangements, the strength of the compositions, and especially the force of the musicianship make this album transcend its time.”

This amazing copy has the kind of smooth, analog sound you need for this music — warm, rich, smooth, and pretty much free of the nasty grain that gets in the way on most pressings. There’s good extension up top, and the bottom end is meaty and well-defined.

The lesson we’ve learned over the years is that when the extremes are properly transferred to the vinyl, the middle will take care of itself. Since the extremes seem to be the hardest thing to get right, at least on this record, that might explain why so many copies don’t really sound the way they should. (more…)

Cream / Fresh Cream – A DCC Disaster

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Sonic Grade: F

Compressed, thick, dull, opaque and completely lacking in ambience, almost any domestic or British original pressing will be better in almost every way. Read our Hot Stamper review below for the full story. 

[This is an old review. We no longer buy the domestic pressings of Fresh Cream. They are often noisy and don’t sound remotely as good as the right British imports, including some late reissues. But anything beats the DCC LP.]

Our Hot Stamper Commentary from 2008

AN EXCEPTIONAL SIDE ONE BACKED WITH GREAT SIDE ONE, both on surprisingly quiet vinyl! We just finished a shootout for this hard-rockin’ debut album and were delighted to hear how good this music can sound on the right pressing. This copy has the kind of bottom end that this music absolutely demands but is sadly missing in action from most of the pressings we played. If your Cream record can’t rock, remind me, what exactly is the point again? (more…)

Eric Clapton – Behind The Sun

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  • Clapton’s 1985 release returns to the site with Nearly Triple Plus (A+++) sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • “The level of musicianship is impressive. Additional percussion by Phil Collins and Ray Cooper help to make this one of Clapton’s most rhythmically adventurous projects to date… I recommend it to both casual and serious fans. You cannot go wrong with an album featuring such strong tracks as “She’s Waiting, “See What Love Can Do”, “Same Old Blues”, “Forever Man”, and “Just Like A Prisoner”.”

(more…)

Cream – Fresh Cream

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  • You’ll find superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this British import stereo copy of Cream’s classic debut – quiet vinyl too
  • Cream’s debut has much better sound than most of the albums that followed – it’s rich and Tubey Magical with tons of studio space and lovely vocal presence
  • If all you know is the DCC pressing, or any other Heavy Vinyl pressing, you are in for quite a treat with this Hot Stamper import
  • “Fresh Cream represents so many different firsts, it’s difficult to keep count. Cream, of course, was the first supergroup, but their first album not only gave birth to the power trio, it also was instrumental in the birth of heavy metal and the birth of jam rock…”   

We recently finished a shootout for this band’s hard-rockin’ debut album and were once again delighted to hear how good this music can sound when you get a pressing that sounds as good as this one does. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Fresh Cream and Wake Of The Flood

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

Hey Tom,     

Just got the Fresh Cream and Grateful Dead albums….cranked up the rig and they sound WONDERFUL…..no surprise but LOTS of satisfaction! Thanks for your sale to enable this “poor” retired audiophile access to great sound….

Thanks for being such a unique person to have discovered what the audio world never really knew or appreciated or admitted to…and for making it available to others….

Best Regards,

EdZ

Fresh Cream

Wake Of The Flood

Eric Clapton – Money and Cigarettes – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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More Money and Cigarettes

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

This Minty looking Warner Brothers Duck Promo LP fetures Ry Cooder, Donald Duck Dunn and Albert Lee.

This album has that Master Tape sound. You feel as though you are hearing what the engineer intended. The one real flaw in the recording is the amount of compression the engineer used — it’s a bit heavy handed. This is after all a radio friendly pop album, so no surprise there. I doubt if there are many better sounding copies around than this one. (more…)

Eric Clapton – Slowhand – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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More Slowhand

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

Great sound for one of our favorite Clapton albums! There are some excellent songs here, including Cocaine, Wonderful Tonight, and Lay Down Sally. As you may know, it is notoriously difficult to find good sound quality for this album. The typical pressing is just too dull and veiled to enjoy. (more…)

Eric Clapton – Just One Night

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More Just One Night

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

With so many bad sounding Clapton albums from the mid- to late ’70s out there in the bins, it’s refreshing to hear this material sounding lively and clear for a change. The performances seem to hold up as well. If you like the “Tulsa Time” era, this record is going to be hard to beat.

Many of his best songs are here, including Lay Down Sally, Wonderful Tonight, After Midnight, Blues Power, Cocaine, Further on Up the Road and plenty more. (more…)

Blind Faith – Blind Faith – MoFi Debunked

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Sonic Grade: C-

Our latest shootout this time around (07/09) left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for the MoFi pressing of Blind Faith, a textbook example of We Was Wrong.

It’s rich and sweet with SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND. MFSL did a masterful job with this one, I’d put it in the top 10 MOFIs of all-time!

I regret to say none of that is true.

Blind Faith has many of the same problems as the later Japanese pressed MoFis like Thick As A Brick and Meddle which we discuss in more detail below.

About Thick As A Brick we wrote:

As we noted last time we listed the MOFI LP:

“This MOFI is super TRANSPARENT and OPEN, and the top end should sound lush and extended. If you prize clarity, this is the one!”

But if you prize clarity at the expense of everything else, you are seriously missing the boat on Thick As A Brick. The MOFI is all mids and highs with almost nothing going on below. This is a rock record, but without bass and dynamics the MOFI can’t rock, so what exactly is it good for?

Like Meddle, one of the last of the MOFI titles to be pressed in Japan, it’s a pale shadow of the real thing. It has no business in the collection of any audiophile worth his salt. If you want to hear this music right, let us get you a Hot Stamper pressing. It’s guaranteed to blow your mind. We’ll even take your MOFI in trade and sell it to some unsuspecting audiophile who still buys into that Half-Speed Mastered Nonsense.

Eric Clapton – Eric Clapton – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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More Eric Clapton – Eric Clapton

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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+++! Man, what a revelation to hear this old favorite sound so incredibly rich and open. And at Mint Minus on both sides, this one is exceptionally quiet to boot! You’ll have a VERY difficult time finding one that plays this quietly and sounds this good lying around in the bins, that’s for sure.

Both sides here are absolutely stunning, with all the richness and sweetness we could ask for. The clarity, transparency, and presence here far outpace the other sides we heard in our shootout. White Hot Stamper sound all the way! (more…)