Top Engineers – Bruce Botnick

Eddie Money – Eddie Money

More Eddie Money

xxxxx

  • 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

More Little Feat

More Lowell George

xxxxx

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

More The Doors

More Morrison Hotel

xxxxx

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

More The Doors

More Strange Days

xxxxx

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

More The Doors

More The Doors – The Doors

xxxxx

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.

Sergio Mendes – Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

More Sergio Mendes

More Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

xxxxx

 

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

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND QUIET VINYL THROUGHOUT! Both sides are lively and transparent with super low distortion and lovely breathy vocals. The sound is Right On The Money all the way around — superb clarity, mind-blowing transparency and tons of dynamics. This copy is ALIVE! The drums and percussion are powerful and punchy with lots of room around them, and the bass is PERFECTION. There’s plenty of whomp and lots of extension on the top end. This side two really conveys a sense of the amazing performances of these great musicians. It’s rich, full, smooth, sweet, open, spacious — everything you’d expect from an A+++ / A+++ record. 

Funky Brazilian Music For Audiophiles

This is one of my favorite albums, one which certainly belongs in any Audiophile’s collection. Better sound is hard to find — when you have the right pressing. Unfortunately those are pretty hard to come by. Most LPs are grainy, shrill, thin, veiled and full of compressor distortion in the louder parts: this is not a recipe for audiophile listening pleasure. (more…)

The Doors Waiting For The Sun – Listening in Depth

More The Doors

More Waiting For The Sun

xxxxx

Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Waiting For The Sun. 

My favorite of the first three Doors album, this one is imbued with more mystery and lyricism than any previous effort. The album shows them maturing as a band, smoking large amounts of pot and preparing for the wild ride of their next opus, the ambitious Soft Parade. Actually, as I listen to this album it reminds me more and more of that one. Now that it sounds as good as The Soft Parade I find I’ve gained a new respect for Waiting for the Sun.

In-Depth Track Commentary (more…)

The Doors – The Doors – MoFi Debunked

More The Doors

More The Doors – The Doors

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.  

If anyone still thinks that this pressing is anything but a bad joke played on the audiophile public — so sucked out in the midrange, bass-shy and compressed to death — that person has a way to go in this hobby. A very long way. You can hear how bad it sounds from another room.

But wait a minute. I liked the MoFi just fine when it came out. I guess I had a way to go in this hobby too. That was back in the early ’80s. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in the last thirty five plus years. I’m pretty sure we can offer you a better record now. (more…)

The Doors – The Soft Parade on Rhino Vinyl

More The Doors

More The Soft Parade

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

A Gold Label original pressing blew out minds not long ago, after whichwe wrote “Need I even mention how much better this copy sounds than the 180g version from the Rhino Box Set, digitally remastered by Bernie Grundman? That thing is just awful, possibly the worst sounding pressing I have ever heard.” 

The Gold CD Hoffman did for Audio Fidelity is very likely to be night and day better. So much for the concept of vinyl superiority. Not with Bernie at the helm anyway. (more…)

The Doors – L.A. Woman Is a Disaster on German Heavy Vinyl

More The Doors

More L.A. Woman

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing. 

There is [was; it’s out of print now] a German 180 gram pressing of L.A. Woman which is [was] so bad, I am calling this commentary The Audiophile Apocalypse. The fact that some audiophiles and audiophile reviewers appear to like this pressing is a sign that, to me at least, The End Is Near, or May Be.

Dateline: January, 2005

[Note that some of this commentary from the dawn of time (2005 qualifies when it comes to Hot Stampers) falls under the heading of We Was Wrong, especially the part about there not being a good vinyl version of the album. We heard some killer pressings starting around 2011-2012 but boy are they few and far between.]

There is a new 180 gram German pressing of The Doors LA Woman album which is so bad, I am calling this commentary Audiophile Apocalypse. The fact that some audiophiles and audiophile reviewers appear to like this pressing to me is a sign that The End Is Near. There is no hope for audiophiles if they can’t tell a good record from a bad one, and this is clearly a bad one.

When I first played it I thought there must be something wrong with my stereo. There was no deep bass. (This recording has amazing deep bass.) The sound was upper midrangey and distorted. There was no extreme top at all. This surprised me, as I had heard that this was supposed to be a good record. What I heard coming off the copy that I was playing was pure garbage. I was confused. (more…)