Top Artists – Superrtramp

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…)

Supertramp – Breakfast In America

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  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides, this copy is guaranteed to have the best sound you have ever heard for Breakfast in America
  • A truly superb recording with huge, spacious, dynamic, lively sound – Tubey Magical richness is a big plus too  
  • A Top 100 title and True Demo Disc – turn it up and this recording gets LOUD like nothing you have ever experienced
  • 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.'”

We just conducted another 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 – Breakfast In America – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

This listing reflects our thinking about the album circa 2009.

As you can imagine, a lot has changed since then.

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TWO KILLER SIDES ON THIS ROCKIN’ LATE ’70s CLASSIC! I am not at all ashamed to say that we LOVE this album here at Better Records, and a copy like this will certainly help show you why. Side one has incredible A+++ Master Tape Sound and side two is just a plus behind. Drop the needle on Gone Hollywood or The Logical Song to hear how powerful this music can sound when you have the right pressing. 

The average copy of this record is grainy, thin, shrill and aggressive sounding. When you get a Hot Stamper like this one the highs are sweet and silky. This is a bright recording, so if the highs aren’t correct, it pretty much ruins the record.

A Big & Bold Breakfast

Side one is ALIVE! It has BIG, PUNCHY sound that will fill up your living room and then some. It’s exceptionally transparent with superb clarity and lots of extension on the top end. The vocals sounds AMAZING — natural and correct with lots of texture. It’s a high-definition, high-resolution side one cut just right with super low distortion — you can really appreciate every last detail of this recording. The saxophone on The Logical Song sounds amazing. On a great copy like this one, it really brings to mind the big, ballsy sax solo on Pink Floyd’s Money. We rate this side one an A+++ — that’s Master Tape Sound, folks, As Good As It Gets.

Side two is nearly as amazing with a BIG punchy bottom end and wonderful clarity. Take The Long Way home sounds particularly good, with lots of extension up top and tons of energy. The A+++ side one opens up just a bit more, but other than that I don’t think you’ll find this side doing too much wrong.

Other Options?

The MoFi of this album is a nightmare, of course. It is TOO BRIGHT. The last thing in the world this album needs is brightening.

[We played a copy recently that was too smooth. Go figure!]

The Simply Vinyl copy is a bit smooth, but very enjoyable, and preferable to the MoFi. But you can’t beat the real thing, and this is it.

On another note, do not assume that Brit copies are the best on Supertramp. Like all records, some are good and some aren’t. I’ve bought a lot of Brit copies of Crisis? What Crisis? over the years, and when I finally found the time to sit down to listen to them against my old favorite version, the A&M Half Speed (!), they mostly sucked — too bright, dull, sour — you name the flaw, every one of them had at least one unacceptable quality. Not a single winner in the bunch, ouch.

Brit pressings of Crime of the Century are a mixed bag as well; even the best stampers do not guarantee good sound, as the same A5/B6 original copy I have in my collection sounds bad on at least one side on two other copies I found, and those are not easy records to find! Imagine my disappointment. I practically cried when I played those copies and heard the mediocre sound. (more…)

The Supertramp You Don’t Know – Even In The Quietest Moments

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After discovering killer Hot Stampers for this Forgotten Classic we feel the album can hold its own with any of Supertramp’s classic ’70s releases, from Crime of the Century all the way through to Breakfast in America.

Our White Hot stamper pressings showed us some of the best Supertramp sound we have ever heard on any of their albums, which is saying a lot. Supertramp is one of the most well-recorded bands in the history of pop music. GEOFF EMERICK took over most of the recording duties after the band decided to work with a different engineer for this, their 1977 album.

KEN SCOTT recorded the two albums that came before this one, Crime and Crisis, and as has been well documented on this very site, he knocked the two of them out of the park.

As I’m sure you know, both famously engineered The Beatles.

What we didn’t know, not until 2015 anyway, was how amazingly well recorded this album was.

In 2005 we noted that we had basically given up on ever finding a good sounding copy of the Even in the Quietest Moments. It’s now ten years later. Having gone gone through more copies than we care to remember we think we’ve got EITQM’s ticket. We think we know which stampers have the potential to sound good as well as the ones to avoid. Finding the right stampers (which are not the original ones for those of you who know the earliest stampers for A&M records) has been a positive boon.

Once we discovered the right stampers we were in a much better position to hear just how well recorded the album is. Now we know beyond all doubt that this recording — the first without Ken Scott producing and engineering for this iteration of the band — is of the highest quality, in league with the best.

Until recently we would never have made such a bold statement. Now it’s nothing less than obvious.

Some Remarkable High Points

Lover Boy is a Demo Quality Track on the best copies. It can be huge, spacious and lively. Getting the strings to sound harmonically rich without sliding into shrillness may not be easy but some copies manage to do it. On the biggest, richest copies the breakdown at about 2:20 is a lot of fun.

On side two the recording quality of the solo piano at the start of the second track From Now On is nothing short of breathtaking. No piano on any Supertramp album sounds as good, and only the White Hot Stamper pressing reproduced it perfectly.

Credit must go to the engineers assisting Geoff Emerick, Peter Henderson and Russel Pope.

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Is the Original Better? Not on this Supertramp Album It Ain’t

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This is an older listing that illustrates how We Was Wrong when we thought the best domestic copies were not competitive with the A&M Half-Speed or better British pressings.

We touch on other much-loved themes in this commentary, such as the myth that the original pressing is going to be better than a reissue or later stamper. On this album that is definitely not the case.

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.
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Letter of the Week – Wish You Were Here

Hot Stamper Pressings of Wish You Were Here 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. Listening with Vinnie Rossi LIO, Acoustic Signature WOW xxl and Hana Shibata MC cart into Joseph Audio Perspectives.

Keep up the good work! 

Anyway, thanks from a very satisfied customer.

Supertramp – Even In The Quietest Moments

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A killer pressing! So much clearer, cleaner and more transparent than we remember from last time around, with more Tubey Magic 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 than this. Very hard pressed indeed.

Side Two

Big bass, great vocal energy and presence, huge space — this side blew every other side two out of the water.

Scroll down for comments about the piano intro on the second track. The sound is off the charts, practically faultless.

Side One

Superb in its own right. Rich and tubey but not thick or opaque. Great energy and space. Right up there with the best of the side ones we played, and right up there with the best Supertramp we’ve ever heard.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

The piano on Give a Little Bit can get buried in the dense mix. Side ones that are rich and tubey and smooth with a clear piano did very well in our shootout.

Lover Boy is a Demo Quality Track on the best copies. It can be huge, spacious and lively. Getting the strings to sound harmonically rich without sliding into shrillness may not be easy but some copies manage it. On the biggest, richest copies the breakdown at about 2:20 is a lot of fun.

On side two the recording quality of the solo piano at the start of the second track is nothing short of breathtaking. No piano on any Supertramp album sounds as good, and only the White Hot Stamper pressing reproduced it perfectly. (more…)

Supertramp – Supertramp – Reviewed in 2007

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

This is a SUPERB SOUNDING British A&M LP. I don’t think this record can sound any better than it does here. The recording is on a par with the best I’ve ever heard for this band, which is saying a lot. In fact 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.

“There are some attractive moments, such as the mixture of ardor and subtlety that arises in “Words Unspoken,” “Surely,” and “Nothing to Show,” and some of the fusion that erupts throughout the 12 minutes of “Try Again” is impressive… – AMG

Supertramp – Crisis? What Crisis? – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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

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! (more…)

Supertramp – Crime of the Century – Ken Scott’s Producing / Engineering Masterpiece

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More Crime of the Century

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

AMAZING White Hot Stampers for the greatest KEN SCOTT production in history. This is his (and the band’s) MASTERPIECE, and now we have a pressing that allows us to revel in the GLORY that is Crime of the Century! 

This killer copy rates A+++ on BOTH sides. Wow is the only word I can think of to describe it. (more…)