Top Artists – Superrtramp

Supertramp – Crisis? What Crisis?

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  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this early domestic (!) A&M copy
  • Most pressings are painfully thin and harsh, but this one had much more of the richness and smoothness we were looking for, closer to the Brit Shootout Winner and miles away from the painfully bad original domestic pressings we know to avoid
  • Credit the man behind the board, Ken Scott (Ziggy Stardust, Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century, A Salty Dog, Magical Mystery Tour, America and more), who knows a thing or two about Tubey Magic
  • A Desert Island Disc for TP, from all the way back in 1975 when I first gave it a spin on my Ariston RD 11 turntable
  • “Even simple tracks like ‘Lady’ and ‘Just a Normal Day blend in nicely with the album’s warm personality and charmingly subtle mood. Although the tracks aren’t overly contagious or hook laden, there’s still a work-in-process type of appeal spread through the cuts, which do grow on you over time.”

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Letter of the Week – “The White Hot Stampers opened up a completely different listening experience.”

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Letters and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin IV

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

Hey Tom,  

You don’t need any more adulation; you know I am a fan. I just had to send you a note to share an audio phenomena I am experiencing. I recently got Supertramp Breakfast In America 3+ / 3+ and now Zeppelin IV 2.5+ / 3+.

These were albums that were always average for me and I previously got copies just to have in the collection.

The White Hot Stampers, however, opened up a completely different listening experience. Holy smokes, these albums are really, really good; until I got the WHS’s I just could not hear them.

Probably, more accurately, lesser albums were harsh and not engaging. Once you hear copies like these anything less becomes unlistenable. These albums really rock, long live White Hot Stampers!

Mike H.

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Supertramp – Breakfast In America

  • A truly superb recording with huge, powerful, dynamic sound – the Tubey Magical richness of these sides will have your jaw on the floor
  • A Top 100 title and True Demo Disc – turn it up and this recording gets LOUD like few rock records we’ve ever played
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The majority of the album consisted of tightly written, catchy, well-constructed pop songs, like the hits ‘The Logical Song,’ ‘Take the Long Way Home,’ and ‘Goodbye Stranger.'”

Turn it up good and loud and you will be amazed at how dynamic some of the guitar solos are.

We’ve just concluded another big shootout for Breakfast, the band’s biggest charting success, and once again we were blown away by just how good the best copies can sound – huge, spacious, punchy sound we can never get enough of around here. If you have big speakers a great copy will blow your mind, and it will probably blow your mind even if you don’t.

We are not the least bit ashamed to say that we LOVE this album here at Better Records, and a copy like this will certainly help to show you why. Drop the needle on Gone Hollywood, The Logical Song or Take The Long Way Home to hear how powerful this music can sound when you have a great pressing.

Most copies of this record are grainy, thin, shrill and aggressive. When you get a Hot Stamper like this one the highs are sweet and silky. This recording has plenty of top end, so if the highs aren’t correct it pretty much ruins the sound of the record. (more…)

Supertramp – Even In The Quietest Moments

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  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this original domestic A&M pressing – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The bottom end is big and punchy, the top is smooth and sweet, and the vocals are present and breathy; on a transparent copy such as this the drums really punch through the dense mixes clearly, giving the music more life and energy
  • The piano sounds correct, the sax is full and breathy — you’d be very hard-pressed to find better sound for this album
  • “…it’s a transitional album, bridging the gap between Crime of the Century and the forthcoming Breakfast in America… [it] has plenty of fine moments aside from “Give A Little Bit,” including the music hall shuffle of “Loverboy,” the Euro-artiness of “From Now On,” and the “Fool on a Hill” allusions on “Fool’s Overture.””
  • If you’re a fan, this 1977 Art Rock Classic from Supertramp belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1977 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

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Supertramp / Crime of the Century – Loud Levels and Big Woofers

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Reviews and Commentaries for Crime of the Century

Yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

The bass on the best copies is AWESOME. Playing a Hot Stamper copy at loud levels with big woofers will have your house quaking. Add to that the kind of ENERGY that the better pressings have in their grooves and the result is an album guaranteed to bring most audiophile systems to their knees, begging for mercy. 

This is The Audio Challenge that awaits you. If you don’t have a system designed to play records with this kind of SONIC POWER, don’t expect to hear Crime of the Century the way Ken and the boys wanted you to. The album wants to rock your world, and that’s exactly what our Hot Stamper pressings are capable of doing.

The typical Brit copy is dull, and that quality just takes all the magic out of the recording. The three dimensional space and clarity of the recording rely heavily on the quality of the top end. The MoFi, on the best copies, shows you what is missing from the typical Brit, domestic or other import LP. This is what impressed me back in the ’70s when I bought my MoFi. It was only years later that I realized what was missing and what was wrong. (more…)

Supertramp – Self-Titled

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  • Supertramp’s self-titled debut finally arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • It’s even more Tubey Magical than an album like ’Crime Of The Century,’ which is more about slam and presence than a record like this, which has amazingly sweet, natural sounding acoustic guitars
  • Condition was the problem with these original British pressings – none of the best sounding copies did not have issues, hence the exceptionally low price for our Shootout Winner here
  • “Harmonious in themes but varied in tones, alternating short and lengthy pieces with a sophisticated sound and classy arrangement, it features all the distinctive elements of prog rock. And as with any prog album, it only makes full sense when listened to in its entirety.”

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Supertramp – Paris

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  • A Killer Copy: Triple Plus (A+++) on side two, nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) on side one, and Double Plus (A++) on the rest
  • This British original pressing may have been mastered in America but it sure sounded better than most of the domestic vinyl we played
  • Key elements in the sound of the best pressings were size, richness, Tubey Magic and energy, and these sides have a sizable helping of all four
  • Amazon reviewers love the album – 86% of them as of this writing have given it Five Stars

Listen to side two of this copy to hear exactly what the best sounding copies can do! (more…)

Crisis? What Crisis? The Exception that Probes the Rule

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[This commentary is from more than fifteen years ago, so please take it with an oversized grain of salt. The best domestic pressings kill this audiophile record. That said, the better half-speed copies are actually surprisingly good.]

This Hot Stamper A&M Half Speed of Supertramp – Crisis? What Crisis? today joins a VERY ELITE GROUP: Half-Speeds that hold their own in a head to head shootout against some of the BEST Hot Stamper Non-Audiophile pressings we can find. There are presently a total of three titles that fit the description: Dark Side of the Moon on MoFi, Crime of the Century on MoFi, and this title on A&M.

Most half-speed mastered records we throw on our table have us scratching our heads and asking, What the hell were they thinking? They SUCK! Tubby bass, recessed mids, phony highs, compression — the list of bad qualities they almost all have in common is a long one. Playing these kinds of records on a properly set-up modern system is positively painful.
(You have to wonder how bad a stereo system has to be to disguise the shortcomings of records that sound as wrong as these. Then again, is Heavy Vinyl any better?) (more…)

Letter of the Week – “Everything is so clear. I can hear every word clear as day”

This letter is about a Supertramp album but I cannot remember which one, sorry!

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

Hey Tom, 

I am sitting by the door in anticipation as I type this. It’s my birthday to boot, so it will make an awesome present, once the dang Fed Ex guy gets here. Right before I hit send, the doorbell rang. I had been playing records all day in anticipation, warming up my system for this album. Everything was sounding great, and my stereo was begging for some Supertramp.

I was going to listen to my old copy first to compare it. Ah, NO F***ING NEED. Holy hell. This copy you just sent me blew the windows out of my house, and didn’t rip my head off while doing so. Everything is so clear. I can hear every word clear as day, the bass is tight and clear, every instrument in its place and sounding magnificent.

This is truly an incredible pressing and it is night and day [better] even though my old copy was still a $250 Hot Stamper. Thank you. Your services are greatly appreciated. (Not by my neighbors however). Looking forward to my next one already.

Jeremiah H.


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Supertramp / Indelibly Stamped – Reviewed in 2010

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This is a British Original pressing with the best sound I have ever heard for this album. It’s sweeter, smoother, more delicate and more tonally correct overall than any American copy I have ever heard.

After doing the shootout with some other domestic copies, I put this record in the pile to be cleaned, and today I played it. Like many British pressings of British Rock albums, there is a whole layer of grunge and distortion that has been removed. A veil has been lifted, and you hear into the music in a way that was never before possible. There is no question this record is made from the master tape and the domestic pressings are made from dubs.

This is only the 2nd British copy I have ever seen (in clean condition anyway). My experience with British mastering is that it is all over the map, just like American mastering. Other British copies probably do not sound like this one, but I have no way of being sure.

I thought my last Hot Stamper copy was better sounding than this one, but that was only true for the track Potter, which on this Brit copy sounds a bit tame. Everything else is better here. It’s easy to make a mistake like that when you’re only comparing one song. (more…)