Top Artists – Peter Gabriel

Letter of the Week – “The real point for me is that I can keep enjoying these new listening experiences over and over again.”

Our new customer Michel wrote to tell us how much he likes his Hot Stamper pressing of So.

Hi Tom,

Many of the BR titles I bought I had stopped listening to due to lack of engagement with the music. It just didn’t do it for me anymore. But then I’d buy one of your LPs… it would then destroy my other copies… and now I listen to that LP on a regular basis, enjoying music I love but had stopped listening to.

When I put on a BR record, I am engaged with the music… and of course I keep hearing new nuances, etc. with every play.

Why pay so much for an album?  Well if music floats your boat, then no explanation needed. Just bring your ears to my living room…then you’ll get it!

The real point for me is that I can keep enjoying these new listening experiences over and over again. It is an immeasurable joy really to hear beautiful music reveal itself in all its splendor.

How the f*** does yours sound so much better? Virtually as soon as the music began the difference was obvious.

I remember liking some aspects of the UK… and the same goes for the US… I liked the warmth and rolled back highs in comparison the UK, but it seemed muddy/veiled/mishmashy which was bothersome, so then I stopped listening.

The BR copy somehow has it all. It is by far the most listenable copy of this I’ve ever heard. It can be turned up all the way from start to finish without any worries about what you might hear.

Plenty of shrill-free highs, lots of killer bass… deep low tones with analog warmth, boomy wide room filling sound, etc, etc.  No muddiness in the presentation… clarity with warmth, nothing veiled.

Thank You!!


You make a point that I have been banging on for years. Better sounding pressings are the only way to rediscover music that you’ve lost interest in because the copies you own didn’t have the sound you needed.

If your old copies of So had sounded better, you would have played them, but they didn’t, and so they sat on the shelf.

Knowing the sound was off, you simply stopped playing them. You lost track of So.

Hot Stamper pressings get played. They have the life of the music in their grooves and demand to be heard!

We say music does the driving in this hobby, but that’s not really the whole story for us audiophiles, is it?

Music with good sound is what really does the driving.

Joy to Your World

When you get hold of the pressing that presents the music the way you want to hear it, that’s the record that gets played beause that’s the record that brings joy to the listener.

The other pressings of So sit on the shelf, reminders that badly-mastered, badly-pressed records are the norm, not the exception.

The exceptional pressing is the one that can bring the music you love back from the purgatory of the overcrowded record shelf.

Think of the audiophiles that have thousands and thousands of records on their shelves and never find time to play them. Why is that?

Maybe it’s because there is nothing special about those pressings. Some collectors are so proud of having so many records — look at them all! — but what good are they? To our way of thinking, the man with ten or twenty exceptionally good records is far better off than than the one with a thousand or five thousand mediocrities.

If you want a powerful, immersive, thrilling musical experience, you will need a record that is powerful, immersive, and thrilling.

The thousands of records sitting on your shelf, the ones you haven’t played in years, are the silent reminders that they aren’t nearly as good as you think they are. If they were better, they would call out to you from that graveyard you call a record collection and fight their way back to your turntable.

So Is Back

Now, after all these years, you finally have a pressing of So that demands to be played.

If others of you out there haven’t played your copy of So in a long time, maybe there’s a reason for that.

Thanks for your letter.

Best, TP


Peter Gabriel – So

More Peter Gabriel

More Art Rock

  • Amazing sound for Gabriel’s breakthrough album from 1986, with an INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one mated an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two
  • Both of these sides are lively, solid and rich – drop the needle on any track and you’ll see what we mean
  • Great songs including “Don’t Give Up,” “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time,” “Mercy Street,” “Red Rain,” “In Your Eyes,” and more
  • 4 stars: “…[Gabriel’s] most accessible and…catchiest, happiest record he ever cut. “Sledgehammer” propelled the record toward blockbuster status, and [it] had enough songs with single potential to keep it there.”

Here is a copy of So with the Big and Bold Peter Gabriel sound we love. If you want your Art Rock to actually rock (as well as be arty), this is the copy for you.

It’s not a perfect recording by any means, but when it sounds this good you can just forget its shortcomings and marvel at how consistently good the material and the production are. (more…)

Peter Gabriel – Self-Titled 2 (Scratch)

More Peter Gabriel

More Progressive Rock

  • This UK Charisma pressing has outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • We shot out a number of other imports and this Mad Hatter label copy had the presence, bass, and dynamics that were missing from most others we played
  • 4 stars: “‘On the Air’ and ‘D.I.Y.’ are stunning slices of modern rock circa 1978, bubbling with synths, insistent rhythms, and polished processed guitars, all enclosed in a streamlined production that nevertheless sounds as large as a stadium.”
  • If I were to compile a list of my Favorite Rock and Pop Albums from 1978, this album would probably be the most played title on that list

Peter Gabriel’s self-titled second album checks off a number of important boxes for us here at Better Records:

Looking to do a shootout to find your own Hot Stamper?

  • Stick exclusively with the early British pressings. Nothing can touch them for sound quality.


Letter of the Week – “…it is now a reference or demo if you wish, that lets me know how good my system really is.”

More of the Music of The B-52’s

More of the Music of 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 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 too 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.

Kevin B.


Thanks for your letter. Now you have the ideal cartridge to play back our Hot Stampers pressings and hear just how phenomenally good they really sound.

Playback accuracy is at the heart of everything we do. We want to hear our records naked and unadorned. That’s what the 17dx does for us, and of course it can do the same for you.

Further Reading

Peter Gabriel / Security

More Peter Gabriel

More Art Rock Records

  • One of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, original and influential on so many levels
  • With the benefit of today’s technology, on a copy this good you hear into the soundfield in a way never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of multi-tracked choruses
  • “Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel’s catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance…”
  • If you’re a Peter Gabriel fan, and what audiophile wouldn’t be?, this title from 1982 is surely a Must Own
  • The complete list of titles from 1982 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
  • We’ve recently compiled a list of records we think every audiophile should get to know better, along the lines of “the 1001 records you need to hear before you die,” but with less of an accent on morbidity and more on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life. Security is a good example of a record most audiophiles don’t know well but should.

Man, does this album sound better than I remember it from back in the ’80s when I first played it. Stereos have come a long way since then, along with a host of other things that help records sound better, such as cleaning fluids, room treatments and all the rest.

Now you can really hear INTO the soundfield in a way that simply was never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of PG’s multi-tracked choruses.

On the best pressings, both sides are huge, and the music jumps out of the speakers. The balance is perfection. (more…)

Genesis – Trespass

Hot Stamper Pressings of Genesis Available Now

More Prog Rock

  • This early Charisma import pressing was doing practically everything right, with both sides earning incredible Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • The sound here is rich and Tubey Magical, two qualities the CD made from these tapes surely lacks and two qualities which are crucial if this music is to sound the way the band intended
  • Forget the later reissues on the Blue Label – we have yet to hear one that can compete with these good originals
  • Probably for the more serious fan, but Melody Maker found it “…tasteful, subtle and refined.”
  • Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these classic rock records – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you

Take it from us, the guys who play every kind of pressing we can get our hands on, the UK pressings are the only way to go on Trespass. (more…)

Peter Gabriel – Self-Titled No. 1

More Peter Gabriel

  • Peter Gabriel’s debut solo album returns to the site on this excellent British pressing with Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality – everything that we listen for in a great record is here
  • Features his autobiographical lead single, “Solsbury Hill”
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…much of the record teems with invigorating energy (as on ‘Slowburn,’ or the orchestral-disco pulse of ‘Down the Dolce Vita’), and the closer ‘Here Comes the Flood’ burns with an anthemic intensity that would later become his signature in the ’80s.”

Tubey Magical Richness and breathy vocals are the hallmarks of a good British PG 1.

Unlike any that follow, the sound varies greatly from track to track on the first PG album, as does the music. You know you have a good copy when the best sounding tracks sound their best. That may seem like a tautology but it is, in fact, the only way to judge a side when the songs sound this different from one another.


Peter Gabriel – A Bad Record Tells You… What?

More of the Music of Peter Gabriel

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Peter Gabriel

This commentary was written many years ago after a review I spotted online prompted me to crack open one of the Classic Records 200 gram Peter Gabriel titles and play it. Let’s just say the results were less than pleasing to the ear.

Bernie Grundman had worked his “magic” again and as usual I was at a loss to understand how anyone could find his mastering in any way an improvement over the plain old pressings, even the domestic ones.

I then had a discussion with a reviewer for an audiophile web magazine concerning his rave review for the Peter Gabriel records that Classic pressed.

I just now played one, and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. But of course it’s not very good either.

Not surprisingly, reviewers have a tendency not to notice these things. I’m not exactly sure how these people are qualified to review records when the most obvious tonal balance problems seem to go unnoticed.

The Classic is brighter and less rich. Like a lot of the records that Bernie Grundman cut in the modern era, the tonality is off. It is simply too lean.

This is not the right sound for this album and does the music no favors.

That’s Bernie for you. After all these years. no amount of mischief he did for Classic — or any other label — surprises me.

A Bad Record Tells You… What?

Which brings up something else that never fails to astonish me. How can an equipment review be trusted when the reviewer uses bad sounding records to evaluate the equipment he is testing? Aren’t we justified in assuming that if a reviewer can’t tell he is listening to a bad record, he probably can’t tell whether the equipment under review is any good either?

Here is a good example of a reviewer raving about a mediocre-at-best pressing in an equipment review.

A bad record tells you nothing about the equipment it is playing on.

Worse, it might complement the faults of the gear and end up sounding tonally correct. If you use So Long So Wrong as a test disc, what are you testing for, the hyped-up vocals or the harmonically-challenged guitars?


Genesis – Another Misfire from Classic Records

Hot Stamper Pressings of Genesis Albums Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for Genesis on Vinyl

Sonic Grade: F

The Classic Heavy Vinyl pressing is a smeary, lifeless mess next to the best British pressings on the tan label. No Classic Pressing of any of the Genesis albums sounded right to us.

The Peter Gabriel albums they remastered were just as bad. All of them earned a grade of F. We made no effort to do listings for most of them because they were all bad, and bad in the same way.

In these four words we can describe the sound of the average Classic Records pressing.

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.

Further Reading

Peter Gabriel Names a Third Record After Himself

More Peter Gabriel

More Art Rock Records

  • It’s been quite a few years since our last shootout – finding clean, quiet, early pressings of this album has been especially difficult for many years and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier
  • A Must Own for Gabriel fans, this album is widely considered his breakthrough work as a solo artist
  • Listen closely and you’ll recognize Phil Collins’ now-signature (but at the time revolutionary) drum sound on several of the tracks, including “Intruder,” one of the best tracks on the album
  • 5 stars: “Generally regarded as Peter Gabriel’s finest record, his third eponymous album finds him coming into his own, crafting an album that’s artier, stronger, more song oriented than before.”
  • If you’re a fan, this is a Peter Gabriel classic from 1980 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1980 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

With this, his third release, Gabriel established himself as a true force in the rock world. (more…)