Top Artists – The Who

Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane – Rough Mix

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  • Pete Townshend’s 1977 collaboration with Ronnie Lane finally returns to the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • The sound is big and rich, yet still wonderfully clean, clear and open with fantastic energy – you will not believe all the space and ambiance here
  • 4 stars: “Rough Mix… combines the loose, rollicking folk-rock of Lane’s former band, Slim Chance, with touches of country, folk, and New Orleans rock & roll, along with Townshend’s own trademark style… Rough Mix stands as a minor masterpiece and an overlooked gem in both artists’ vast bodies of work.”

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The Who – Who Are You

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  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good as this one does
  • This copy has the Glyn Johns BIG, BOLD sound we demand from this famous producer/engineer
  • The title song sounds great on this killer copy — the dynamic power of the recording comes through loud and clear

*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 8 light ticks near the end of Track 4, Sister Disco.

Big, tubey and rockin’, this copy has The Who sound we know from Who’s Next so well. Huge and pacious, with lovely three-dimensional depth, the sound has that patented Live in the Studio quality that Johns’ practically trademarked. Breathy vocals and great life and presence to every instrument, this is the way to hear it!

Forget the domestic pressings, forget the DD Labs half-speed, forget whatever lame reissues have come or will come down the pike — if you want to hear this album right, a Hot Stamper British pressing is the only way to go.

This copy has the Glyn Johns Who Sound we demand from one of the most famous producer/artist collaborations in the history of rock music. (Johns’ work with the Stones is even more legendary I would argue.)

This is certainly not the equal of the beyond brilliant Who’s Next — what is? It’s an undisputed Masterpiece — but the best songs here are certainly in that league. The title track is one I used to demo my system with twenty years ago and, with a copy like this, would be happy to again. (more…)

The Who – Live At Leeds

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  • A hard-rockin’ copy – this British Track pressing boasts powerful Double Plus (A++) DEMO DISC sound on both sides
  • The recording is huge and lively with startling dynamics and in-the-room-presence like nothing you’ve heard
  • Drums so solid, punchy and present they put to shame 99% of the rock records on the planet
  • Cited as the best live rock recording of all time by The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, the BBC Q magazine, and Rolling Stone. In 2003, it was ranked number 170 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of seam wear, edge wear or crushed corners. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can be sure we have a nice cover for you.

Get ready to rock out, as this is one of the BEST SOUNDING live albums ever recorded. Young Man Blues on a copy such as this has drums that are so solid, punchy and present they positively put to shame the drum sound on 99 out of 100 rock records! Keith Moon lives on!

The bass is AMAZING on this record. Present vocals and clear guitars in both channels are key to the best copies such as this one. Most pressings do not get the guitars to jump out of the speakers the way the best can. Few copies get the highest highs and the lowest lows but this one had it going on from top to bottom.

The seven minute long Magic Bus that finishes out the side is The Who at their best. Rock fans will have a hard time finding a better sounding Who pressing than this one, on either side. (more…)

The Who – Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy – Their Must Own Singles Compilation

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  • Both sides of this British Track original are Super Hot and rockin’
  • Superb energy and punch, with mostly rich, natural tonality — a top quality side one
  • Magic Bus on side two sounds great – big down low, smooth up top, tubey and fun
  • “…condensing their highlights to just the singles is an electrifying experience.”

Much of this material is not available on album so this compilation is essential for true Who fans. As is often the case with these compilations the tracks vary quite a bit in sound quality. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Just listen to “I Can’t Explain” on side one — the sound is Right On The Money! Rich and clear, with good top end extension, there aren’t many sides out there that get as much right as this one.

On side two check out the Tubey Magic on “Pinball Wizard”! (more…)

The Who – Odds & Sods

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Wow — an original Black Label Track British Import pressing that plays QUIET and sounds about as good as any compilation of this material can hope to sound. We had about a half-dozen copies to compare against each other and none of them were as good as this one. I really doubt you can do much better. Like any comp the sound ranges from track to track, but relative to the other copies we played we award this one a conservative overall sonic grade of A+ to A++. The vinyl plays Mint Minus or better. 

Those of you who follow the site won’t be surprised to learn that some of the best sound on here is found on the tracks that Glyn Johns worked on.

This one comes in the original cool cover that’s die-cut to appear ripped. The later covers fake the effect. (more…)

Which Album by The Who Has the Best Sound?

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We Think It’s This One

I don’t know of another Who album with such consistently good sound — song to song, not copy to copy, of course. Just about every song on here can sound wonderful on the right pressing. If you’re lucky enough to get a Hot Stamper copy, you’re going to be blown away by the Tubey Magical Guitars, the rock-solid bottom end, the jumpin’-out-of-the-speakers presence and dynamics, and the silky vocals and top end. Usually the best we can give you for The Who is “Big and Rockin,” but on Tommy, we can give you ’60s analog magic like you will rarely hear in the decades to follow.

Acoustic guitar reproduction is key to this recording, and on the best copies the harmonic coherency, the richness, the body and the phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard in every strum.

What do high grades give you for this album? Silky, sweet vocals; huge weight to the bottom end; “you are there” immediacy; BIG drums, off the charts rock and roll energy, and shocking clarity and transparency.

No other Who album has all these things in such abundance.

The Tubey Magic Top Ten

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The Who – Hooligans (2 LPs) – Reviewed Many Years Ago

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This nearly White Hot Stamper (on two sides) was the CLEAR WINNER in our Hooligans shootout, a pretty big step up from the next best copy, and WORLDS BETTER than the average Hooligans album. I’ve known how good this record can sound for more than twenty five years, but how many have you seen make it to the site in Hot Stamper form? Exactly one copy, with exactly one Hot Stamper side. Here’s a direct quote from the listing about that side one (which has the fabulous early hits with superb sound):

Since it’s almost impossible to find good sounding pressings of those songs, I’m glad it was side one that came out so good. If you’re a fan of the early Who — and who isn’t — you will get a thrill from this album. And of course you get all the music on the other sides; they just don’t sound very good.

This is the problem with the record — the average MCA Crap-for-Vinyl copy is just a grainy, edgy mess. Before we started using our proprietary cleaning techniques — and thanks to the Walker Enzyme cleaning fluids — we just could not get four sides to sound good enough or play quiet enough to satisfy.

Of course now that has all changed. We managed to find some superb sounding sides with fairly quiet vinyl, something that would have been well out of our reach only a year or two ago. So much for the law of diminishing returns, one of the oldest, most wrongheaded and pernicious canards in audio. (See the commentary in the column on the left.)

Triple Plus? Not So Fast

However, not all ills are curable, and we failed to find a single side that we felt truly deserved the vaunted A Triple Plus rating. Two to Three, yes, a few qualified, but with such different sounding tracks cobbled together on the same sides, balancing the mastering would have had to have been a nightmare. Perhaps this is as good as it gets; only time will tell. Not that many of the good copies have survived in clean shape, so finding more is not that easy, but we will get on the stick and start digging around. The few good ones we found make it all worthwhile. (more…)

The Who – Direct Hits – Not Bad on Track, Awful on Classic Heavy Vinyl

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This is a very nice looking original Track Black Label British Import LP. As anyone who knows the Who’s back catalog can attest, most of these songs were poorly recorded. Like all compilations, the sound here varies from track to track. Side two definitely has the better sound.

We guarantee that this pressing sounds better than the Classic reissue, which was so bad we never carried it.

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The Who – Quadrophenia – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

This may be the best sounding copy to ever hit the site – White Hot on 3 sides, and nearly White on the 4th! The sound is so BIG, rich, and powerful it will surely make you rethink the recording itself. When the sound is this immersive your experience of the music becomes breathtakingly REAL. One of the True Must Own Classics by the band. 

In four words, this is about AS GOOD AS IT GETS!

If you want to hear this music EXPLODE out of the speakers and come to life — the way The Who wanted you to hear it — this practically All White Hot Stamper pair of pressings will take you there. Drop the needle on any song to hear it better than you’ve ever heard it before — guaranteed. We’ve played tons of copies– Imports, Domestics, Reissues — and trust me here, you gotta play a whole lot of copies to come up with one that sounds like this! (more…)

The Who – Tommy – Our First Big Shootout Winner from Way Back in 2008

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

This British Track Black Label pressing DEMOLISHED our expectations for this album. I don’t think I’ve ever heard The Who sound this good.

Three out of four sides rate our top grade of A+++, and side three ain’t far behind at A++. What do such high grades give you for this album? Tubey magical guitars, silky vocals with lots of texture, unbelievable weight to the bottom end, “you are there” immediacy, BIG drums sound, OFF THE CHARTS rock and roll energy, and shocking clarity and transparency.

This is only the second $1000 Classic Rock Hot Stamper we’ve ever listed on the site. We know there’s always a rise in trash talk on the vinyl message boards when we throw this kind of record on the site, but we can’t worry about that silly business. Our job is to find you guys the best of the best, and here’s a record that we’re very proud to put at the very top of our top shelf. (more…)