Top Artists – Superrtramp

Supertramp – Crime of the Century

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Reviews and Commentaries for Crime of the Century

  • This INCREDIBLE copy of Supertramp’s Masterpiece boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from the first note to the last
  • Ken Scott engineered this one to have Cinerama-sized height, width and depth to rival the best rock albums you’ve ever heard
  • Clearly their Magnum Opus, a great leap forward and a permanent member of our Rock & Pop Top 100 Album List
  • “The tuneful, tightly played songs, pristine clarity of sound, and myriad imaginative sound effects, helped create an album that Sounds magazine likened to ‘Genesis, The Beach Boys…a smattering of [Pink] Floyd.'”

This is engineer Ken Scott‘s (and the band’s) MASTERPIECE, but the average copy sure can’t get your blood pumping the way this one will. We’ve long recognized that Crime of the Century is a true Demo Disc in the world of rock recordings; a member of our Rock & Pop Top 100 list right from the get go.

When you hear the guitars come jumping out of your speakers on “School” or “Bloody Well Right,” you can be sure that you’re playing a very special pressing of a very special recording indeed. (Yes, you need both. That’s why we’re here.)

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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…)

Letter of the Week – “The best one from you guys that I’ve bought is easily Wish You Were Here.”

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Letters and Commentaries for Wish You Were Here

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

Hey Tom, 

I’ve bought several LPs from you guys and have been exceptionally impressed. The eponymous Dire Straits plus Breakfast in America arrived yesterday, and are excellent.

The best one from you guys that I’ve bought is easily Wish You Were Here. That is an album meant to be played at full volume from start to finish, loving every minute. 

Keep up the good work! 

Anyway, thanks from a very satisfied customer.

Thanks, glad to see you liked it as much as we did.

We love pointing out that our Shootout Winning copies are not originals, and not pressed in the U.K.

Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).

To see more Tubey Magical Guitar Demo Discs, click here.

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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.

FURTHER READING

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Supertramp – In 2012 We Finally Beat the Audiophile Pressing We Used to Like

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More Breakthrough Pressing Discoveries

This listing is from 2012. Since that time we have been able to find and play a great many British pressings of the album, and they tend to win our shootouts. But the domestic pressings can also do very well, just not well enough to win shootouts these days, a clear case of Live and Learn.

Our Understanding from 2012

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including an A+++ SIDE ONE! It’s not the A&M Half Speed, and it’s not a British pressing either. It’s domestic folks, your standard plain-as-day A&M pressing, and we’re as shocked as you are. Hearing this copy (as well as an amazing Brit; they can be every bit as good, in their own way of course) was a THRILL, a thrill that’s a step up in “thrillingness” over our previous favorite pressing, the Half Speed.

The best of the best domestics and Brits are bigger, livelier, punchier, more clear and just more REAL than the audiophile pressing something we knew had to be the case if ever a properly mastered non-Half Speed could be found. And now it has. Let the rejoicing begin!

This is only the second White Hot Stamper copy of Crisis to come to the site, and it’s not the A&M Half Speed. It’s an AMAZING sounding British copy. The only other copy that we have ever heard sound this good was the domestic copy we put up a few weeks back.

The best of the best domestics and Brits are bigger, livelier, punchier, more clear and just more REAL than the audiophile pressing — something we knew had to be the case if ever a properly mastered non-Half Speed could be found.

NOW, BACK TO THIS DOMESTIC PRESSING

Our previous commentary noted:

We’d love to get you some great sounding quiet British copies, but we can’t find any. They either sound bad (most of them) or they’re noisy (the rest). It is our belief that the best Hot Stamper pressings of this Half-Speed give you the kind of sound on Crisis? What Crisis? you can’t find any other way, not without investing hundreds of dollars and scores of hours of your time in the effort. Wouldn’t you just rather listen to the record?

Why did we think Jack Hunt‘s mastering approach for the A&M Half Speed was the right one?

Simple. Our man Jack here is the only guy that seems to know how to master this record in America. His cutting sounds just like the amazing British copy we keep as a reference, the only British copy I’ve ever liked by the way: it’s so RICH and TUBEY MAGICAL you can hardly believe it. But this is Ken Scott behind the board, the man who recorded Ziggy Stardust., Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century, A Salty Dog, Magical Mystery Tour, America and more. He knows a thing or two about Tubey Magic! The best copies of this album have the richest, ripest keyboard sound you have ever heard.

But the domestic engineers practically erase that sound from the record! They lean out the lower midrange / upper-bass until all that wonderful richness is just a shadow of the sound we know. Then they brighten up the upper midrange and add some top end, the result of which is an earbleed-inducing assault in the most sensitive range of the spectrum, of the most unpleasant kind imaginable. You think CDs are bright and harsh? Play a domestic copy of this record to hear how bright and harsh bad analog can sound.

And the crazy thing is that all of the above is true, except for the last line. If you amend the last line to read original domestic pressing, then it too is true. It’s the original pressings that are bright and harsh, and the worst offenders are the early stampers that start with an M. All the white label promos I’ve ever seen are either M1 or M2, and they are godawful.

Original is better? Don’t get me started. That kind of thinking is best left to the hearing-challenged record collectors of the world and their Technics turntables, not us audiophiles.

So the best copies are the reissues, which, unless you know your A&M stampers well are going to be very hard to spot. And of course most of the reissues are awful as well; you really need to have just the right ones. No surprise there, right?

Which is precisely what we have to offer on this very copy — the right stampers, pressed right and cleaned right. Side one is White Hot and side two is not far behind. No clean copy fared better and we had more than twenty five to start with. (Lucky for us the domestic pressings are fairly cheap and plentiful.)

Side One

A+++ White Hot all the way. 

The overall sound is as big and bold as it gets, with huge amounts of difficult-to-control, or perhaps we should say difficult-to-reproduce, upper midrange musical information. Layer upon layer of multi-tracked guitars, voices, keyboards, percussion instruments and more build up in the loudest and most dynamic passages. The good copies keep it all clean, separate and undistorted, and the bad copies make a hash of it.

And boy does this record get LOUD when it wants to. One pop record out of a hundred has dynamics like those found on the best pressings of CWC. Dark Side of the Moon has them. Blood Sweat and Tears has them. Thick as a Brick too. We love that sound but we sure don’t hear it that often. When we do we sit up and pay attention!

And when it gets this loud, it had better be mastered and pressed right or it will tear your head off. Only the best copies get better as they get louder.

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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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Listening to Supertramp with 1977 Ears

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Reviews and Commentaries for Even in the Quietest Moments

I grew up on this album; the first Supertramp album I ever bought was Crisis? What Crisis?, which I soon fell in love with, and it wasn’t long before this one followed in 1977. It too became a staple of my musical diet. Man I played this record till the grooves were worn smooth.

I thought the sound was killer at the time too! Crisis was a demo disc at my house and this was right up there with it. Now the obvious question is, did I have a good sounding copy, or did my stereo not reveal to me the shortcomings of my LP? Or maybe my ears were not well enough trained to hear what was wrong.

Those of you who have been doing this for a long time know the answer: any or all of the above, and nobody can know which.

Your 1977 Ears… and Mine

Even if you could recreate your old stereo and room, and find your original copy, there’s one thing you can’t do, and that’s listen to it with your 1977 ears. Every time you play a record and listen to it critically your ears get better at their job. If you do a lot of critical listening your ears should be very good by now. You no doubt listen for things you never listened for before. This is simply the way it works. You don’t really have to try that hard to get better, it happens quite naturally.

So now the half speed sucks when it used to sound good. (Such is the case with practically all audiophile records; the better you get at listening the worse they sound.)

And now, with your better stereo and better ears, when you drop the needle on some copy you picked up of Even in the Quietest Moments, expecting to hear the glorious sound you remember from your youth, it’s a huge letdown — so grainy, thin, and edgy, with blurry bass. On top of that the whole sordid mess is stuck somewhere back behind the speakers, like the sound you hear from an old cassette.

It’s not the record you remember, that’s for sure.

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Supertramp – Loud Levels and Big Woofers to Rock Your World

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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 the brilliant engineer Ken Scott and the boys in the band wanted you to. The album wants to rock your world, and that’s exactly what our Hot Stamper pressings are capable of doing.

With sound that stretches from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, this is a Big Speaker Rock Demo Disc with very few rivals in my experience, offering the dedicated audiophile the kind of sound I have been lusting after since I first got heavily into audio in the early- to mid-’70s.

The Mobile Fidelity Pressing Used to Impress Me

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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