Top Engineers – Bruce Botnick

Dave Mason – Alone Together

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  • This outstanding copy of Mason’s Masterpiece boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Listen to how big and rich the dynamic chorus gets on the first track, Only You Know and I Know – what a thrill to hear it like that
  • A killer Bruce Botnick recording – Tubey Magical Analog, smooth and natural, with the whole production sitting on a rock solid bottom-end foundation
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Alone Together represents Dave Mason at his peak… everything comes together perfectly.”

Before I get too far into the story of the sound, I want to say that this album appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time.

It is a surely a masterpiece that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There’s no filler here. (more…)

The Doors – The Soft Parade – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

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

This incredibly rare, exceptionally quiet Elektra Gold Label LP sounds AMAZING, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG)! The sound is BIG, RICH, and FULL-BODIED, exactly the way it should be. As good as the Hot Stamper Big Red E Label copies can be, and that’s very good indeed, the right first pressing is still The King. It just can’t be beat. 

The difference might only be 5%, but on a big dynamic speaker playing at loud levels that 5% can really give the sound the boost it needs to go over the top into crazy Demo Disc Land. (more…)

Love – Love

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

A classic from 1966, a combination of proto-punk and psychedelia featuring My Little Red Book, Hey Joe and more. The first Love album is without a doubt the punchiest, liveliest, most POWERFUL recording in the Love catalog. Engineered by none other than Bruce Botnick, here is the kind of massive bottom end weight and energy that we like to call WHOMP.

Some of you may not know this music, but it’s a true Must Own Psychedelic Gem from the ’60s, a record no rock collection should be without, along with other groundbreaking albums from the ’60s such as Surrealistic Pillow, The Doors’ debut, the first Spirit album and too many others to list. (more…)

The Doors – Waiting For The Sun – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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

It’s been over a year, but Waiting For The Sun Hot Stampers are BACK! It’s exceedingly difficult to find a good sounding, reasonably quiet Gold Label copy of this album, let alone enough copies to put together a proper shootout. It wasn’t easy, but a copy like this makes all the trouble worthwhile. Side one is a tubey magical A++, and side two is As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) at A+++.

Side one is WONDERFUL — tubey magical with tons of energy and real weight to the bottom end. The highs are silky sweet, the mids are warm and rich, and the bass is tight and punchy. This is THE BIG SOUND that we look for on Doors records. Morrison’s vocals sound JUST RIGHT here — full-bodied and breathy with incredible immediacy. The transparency is astonishing — you can easily pick out and follow Morrison’s double tracked vocals. (more…)

The Doors – The Doors – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

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

THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF THIS ALBUM WE’VE EVER HEARD! This Elektra Gold Label SLAUGHTERED the DCC, MURDERED the MoFi, and DECIMATED every last pressing we played it against! You aren’t going to believe all the TUBEY MAGIC on this copy!

Both sides are chock full of wonderfully grungy guitars, BIG beefy bass, and amazingly full-bodied vocals. The overall sound is open and spacious with lots of room around the instruments. This copy has the kind of presence and energy that will have you really rockin’ out! Side one rates an A+++ and side two is right behind, rating A++ – A+++. We’ve never heard a better copy and we expect that you haven’t either — it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD!   (more…)

Eddie Money – Eddie Money

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  • Two incredible sides each earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to it; the first copy to hit the site in many years!
  • Both of these sides are super rich and full-bodied with wonderfully present vocals and a huge punchy bottom end; Bruce Botnick’s engineering ensures the sound is big and lively 
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “With much of the same urgency Money stands as perhaps a lighter but still gutsy-voiced Bruce Springsteen. His performance exudes a certain authenticity of main line rock without seeming derivative or repetitious.” – Billboard 

The average copy is way too compressed, which kills the top end (by making the cymbals aggressive) and the vocals too midrangy. When you’ve got a copy of Eddie Money’s debut album that’s doing what it’s supposed to do, you know pretty quickly. The highs are sweet and extended, the vocals are present, but without any spit or strain, and there is solid bass and low end propelling everything else forward. (more…)

Lowell George – Thanks I’ll Eat It Here

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

This kind of recording quality was abandoned decades ago, but there was a time — I’m old, I remember it — when engineers actually tried to produce recordings with this kind of rich, sweet, thoroughly analog sound. 1979, the year of this album’s release, is right at the tail end of it. Why do you think so much of our Hot Stamper output covers the decade that stretched from the late ’60s to the late ’70s? Only one reason — that’s where some of the best sound can be found. (It’s a bit like Willie Sutton’s famous answer to why he robbed banks: “because that’s where the money is.”)

Which is taking the long way round in saying that this recording has a healthy dose of analog Tubey Magic, in places maybe even a bit too much, as the sound can sometimes get too thick and overly rich, like a cake with too much frosting.

The best copies keep that wonderful analog smoothness and freedom from artificiality, adding to it the life and energy of classic rock and roll. Yes, you can have it all — rich analog sound that jumps out of the speakers! Just listen to those horns on Honest Man — that is the sound we are looking for on an album like this. (more…)

The Doors – Morrison Hotel – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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

Rich, big and full-bodied, with clarity and energy to spare, this is the way you want to hear the Doors’ Bluesy Rock. Roadhouse Blues, Waiting For The Sun and Maggie McGill are KILLER on this pressing – all you Doors fans are gonna flip. Circus Magazine praised it as “possibly the best album yet from the Doors” and “Good hard, evil rock, and one of the best albums released this decade.”

Too many pressings aren’t rich and full-bodied enough to allow Jim Morrison to sound right. He’s The Lizard King, not The Frog Prince for crying out loud. When he doesn’t sound big, powerful, and borderline scary, what’s the point?

Not to worry. On these two sides, he sounds AMAZING. Just listen to him screaming his head off on Roadhouse Blues and projecting the power of his rich baritone on Blue Sunday. Nobody did it any better. (more…)

The Doors – Strange Days – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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

This is THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF STRANGE DAYS to EVER hit the site! We’ve only found one or two copies that were in the same league as this one, and they went directly into the hands of our best longtime customers who had been waiting patiently for a killer pressing. Side one rated between A++ and A+++ and side two earned top A+++ honors. 

Both sides are MAGICAL, dramatically better than the vast majority of copies we come across. The sound is rich, warm, clean, clear and amazingly transparent. The vocals sound JUST RIGHT. You would have to have a ton of copies at your disposal to have any chance of finding one that had even one side that sounds as good as BOTH sides sound here. This one is a MONSTER. (more…)

The Doors – The Doors – Rhino / Universal Heavy Vinyl Debunked

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

What a mess. Imagine listening to this album with a two inch thick velvet curtain placed over your speakers — that’s the sound of this remastered record! How bad does a stereo have to be in order to disguise the fact that this is one of the worst Classic Rock reissues in the history of the world? I don’t know and I sure don’t want to find out.