Top Artists – Hall and Oates

Hall and Oates – Daryl Hall & John Oates

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  • An incredible sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • Both of these sides are out of this world — big, full-bodied, clean and clear with tons of energy and a huge bottom end
  • Man, this is one tough nut to crack– gritty vocals, thin vocals, recessed vocals, smeary vocals — this music is all about the vocals and the vocals are pretty bad most of the time
  • This copy gets the duo’s voices to be clear and present, breathy and natural like you have never heard before
  • “… much of the album is lush and catchy, featuring ballads and midtempo numbers that are nearly as engaging as the duo’s breakthrough single, “Sara Smile.” – All Music, 4 1/2 Stars

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Hall and Oates – H2O



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  • This Hall and Oates classic from 1982 won our most recent shootout with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on BOTH sides
  • Only the second copy to hit the site in over six years and boy is it KILLER — super rich full and Tubey Magical with a massive bottom end
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • 4 Stars: “…an album that turned out to be bigger than its predecessor, as it climbed higher on the charts and launched three Top Ten singles…”

The vocals are present and breathy, the mids have space and the drums and bass are punchy — this is the sound we look for on this album.   (more…)

Hall and Oates – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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Daryl Hall & John Oates

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

This is a Super Hot Stamper 2 Pack, with one side of each record earning a grade of A++. The reason it takes two separate records to make one excellent sounding album is simple enough: most pressings of this album are just plain AWFUL. Finding a copy with even one good side is difficult, and practically none of the sides we played earned our top grade, so that ought to tell you something right there. Last time around our top listing was a Super Hot Stamper, with two good sides back to back. No such copy came our way this year, so this two pack is the way to go if you want a complete album with good sound.    (more…)

Hall and Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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Abandoned Luncheonette

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

If you’re looking for a big production pop record that jumps out of your speakers, is full of TUBEY MAGIC, and has consistently good music, look no further. Until I picked up one of these nice originals, I had no idea how good this record could sound. For an early ’70s multi-track pop recording this is about as good as it gets (AGAIG as we like to say). It’s rich, sweet, open, natural, smooth most of the time — in short, it’s got all the stuff we audiophiles LOVE.   

This copy was our shootout winner with A Double Plus sound on side one (no copy rated higher) and A++ to A+++ sound on side two. We did hear one copy with a better side two that really knocked us out, which we called A+++, and since no side one could match it, we kept our highest grade for side one at A++ just to be stay on the safe side.

Most copies lack the top end extension that makes the sound sweet, opens it up and puts air around every instrument. It makes the high hat silky, not spitty or gritty. It lets you hear all the harmonics of the guitars and mandolins that feature so prominently in the mixes. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Dynavector 17D3, The B-52’s and Peter Gabriel

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

Hey Tom, 

Hey guys, before I talk about my very first Hot Stamper let me say this. I have been going to your site for well over two years and was very reluctant to spend the kind of money that you charge for a used record. Come on! Are you kidding?? But I was very intrigued by the description of your system. I had felt that the weakest part of my system may be the cartridge. So I sprung for the 17d3.

WOW! A first class improvement. So I thought “Well if these guys are right about the cartridge, maybe there is something about these used records. After all I can always send it back, right?” So I ordered the B-52’s first album (125.00) and played it. And played it. No No No, get up off your knees and stop begging. You can’t have it back. It’s MINE. Although I do not have this album in any format, it is now a reference or demo if you wish, that lets me know how good my system really is. It has also revealed to me that I have records that sound pretty darned good. It has also given me a lesson on critical listening.

I have been listening to music for over 55 years, and you are never to old to learn. Last week I received my new VPI with Disc Doctor package, and it seems to have been a wise addition. I have found a few treasures that have been lurking in my collection. And I ordered a Peter Gabriel today. I am a happy camper. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, A Little Touch of Schmilsson and Stardust

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

Hey Tom, 

I was totally blown away by the Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 album you sent me. The lovely, sweet female vocals and the awesome percussion was to die for. For a supposed easy listening album, I was getting very excited! In fact, I cannot stop listening to it. My only compliant is it is too short in duration. When it is over, I want (need?) more! Do his other albums sound like this? If so, I will be buying more.

This is what I love about you guys, you turn me on to albums I would never have even thought to listen to. For example, on your recommendation, I ordered Harry Nillsson’s A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night. This is an album I would never have given a second look at, yet, as soon as the needle hit the groove, I was floored. The vocal presence is startling. It is like Harry is in the room singing to me. It reminds me a lot of one of my other favourites I bought from you a while back – a White Hot copy of Willie Nelson’s Stardust. 

Willie, Harry and Sergio as demo discs…who would have thought! (more…)

Letter of the Week – Hall and Oates, Love Over Gold and Face Value

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

Hey Tom, 

I want to thank you once again.

Quite a few years ago now I contacted you and talked about this concept called “Hot Stampers”. It ended up both saving me a lot of misdirection and foolishly trying to rebuild my vinyl collection with new vinyl re-releases often called “audiophile” and “half-speed” issues.

After a few confirmations of what you said I quickly sold all those copies and began building a real world class collection of vinyl “original” Hot Stamper level records. A good number came from your business and I also made a hobby of trying to do what you do in finding “Hot Stampers”. Fortunately Philadelphia has a reasonable number of used record stores but unfortunately, as you well know, this is a rigorous and costly endeavor, but it can be rewarding at times and at other times requires that I rely on you.

So today I’m snowed in here and I fired up the rig and decided to do some small scale shoot outs and find the true great copies from my already culled collection. Put on several Hall and Oates and focused on “She’s Gone”. One was just clearly dynamic, clear and present. Then I put on several Dire Straits “Love Over Gold” and ended up with 3 killer copies (such a good lp). I then put on about 5 copies of Phil Collins “Face Value” with “If Leaving Me is Hard”. What a great love song, and narrowed it to 2. (more…)

Hall and Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette – Another MoFi Disaster

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked. 

Those of you who have had the misfortune to play the MoFi LP know that they absolutely ruined this album. They boosted the hell out of the top end, the last thing in the world this recording needed. 

Actually, that’s probably not true. People who collect MoFi records probably like the kind of phony sound found on the MoFi of this title.

To the extent that a MoFi collector is not happy with the sound, my guess is he would more than likely place the blame on the recording, not the mastering. (more…)

Hall and Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette

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  • This early Atlantic pressing was clearly bigger, smoother and more open than practically any other copy we played – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • By far the best sounding record these guys ever made, and for our money nothing in their recorded canon can touch it 
  • A Better Records favorite, a longtime member of our Top 100, and an absolute thrill when it sounds like this!
  • 5 stars: “Hall & Oates’ second album was the first indication of the duo’s talent for sleek, soul-inflected pop/rock. It featured the single “She’s Gone,” which would become a big hit in 1975 when it was re-released following the success of “Sara Smile.”

I’ve always liked this record, but now I consider it a classic. I could listen to it every week for a year and never tire of it.

Don’t write these guys off as some Top 40 blue-eyed soul popsters from the ’70s that time has forgotten. They are all of the above, but they don’t deserve to be forgotten, if only on the strength of this album. Without question this is their masterpiece. We also consider it a Desert Island Disc and a true Demo Disc.

If you’re looking for a big production pop record that jumps out of your speakers, look no further. This record is ALIVE! Until I picked up one of these nice originals, I had no idea how good this record could sound. For an early ’70s multi-track popular recording, this is about as good as it gets. It’s rich, sweet, open, natural, smooth — most of the time (although the multi-tracked vocals might be a little much on some songs, depending on your front end) — in short, it’s got all the stuff we audiophiles LOVE. (more…)