Top Engineers – Bill Porter

Jim Reeves – The Intimate Jim Reeves

More Recordings by Bill Porter

More Living Stereo Titles Available Now

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Yet Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound…

and One We Will Probably Never Shootout Again

Some records never justified the time and money required to find Hot Stamper pressings of them in order to make it worth our while to give them a second go around. This is one such album, and the link above will take you to many more.


For us audiophiles both the sound and the music found here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the record for you.

All the copies we played were stereo. We’ve had very poor luck with mono pressings of Living Stereo recordings and tend to avoid them.

Produced by Chet Atkins in Nashville, 1960, with Bill Porter engineering. This is superb countrypolitan pop by the man who practically invented it.

Jim Reeves is lucky to have had the Bill Porter and his staff of RCA engineers from the era on his team. Although we love to do these vintage Hot Stamper shootouts, finding clean copies of these albums is getting harder every day.

What do we love about these Living Stereo Hot Stamper pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The instruments here are recorded with remarkable fidelity. Now that’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi”, not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days.

There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange. There’s no added digital reverb (Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, et al.). The microphones are not fifty feet away from the musicians (Water Lily) nor are they inches away (Three Blind Mice).

This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and any of you out there who pick this one up are guaranteed to get a real kick out of it!

Roy Orbison – Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits

More Roy Orbison

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this Monument stereo pressing
  • The amazingly talented Bill Porter recorded many of Orbison’s classic songs from the early ’60s that are found on this compilation
  • Only a copy this good shows you how phenomenal these timeless songs can sound – rich, open, clear, solid and musical
  • Among monster hits, like “Crying,” “Only the Lonely,” and “Running Scared,” this album includes new releases “Love Star” and “Evergreen” as well

If you think that buying original pressings of an album like this one is the way to find the best sound, you are sorely mistaken. The originals and most reissues on the Monument label are mostly dreadful sounding.

The monos sound bad and the originals sound bad, which means that all the conventional wisdom of record collectors and audiophiles alike has failed to produce the desired result: a good-sounding pressing of the album. What’s a mother to do?

Well, you could do what we did: try them all! If you keep at it long enough eventually you will run into the right pressing, and then you can focus on getting a large enough batch which will allow you to find one that sounds great and plays quietly.

Or you could just buy this one. We already did all that other stuff and this is the pressing that resulted from our labors. (more…)

The Everly Brothers – Both Sides Of An Evening

More Everly Brothers

More Recordings by Bill Porter

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  • You’ll find outstanding sound on this WB Gold Label Stereo original with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
  • Another amazingly Tubey Magical recording from the legendary Bill Porter (which may explain why Chet Atkins plays on it) 
  • About as quiet as these early copies come – Mint Minus Minus – records pressed in the early ’60s rarely play even this quiet
  • “In some ways, Both Sides of an Evening was the duo’s most ambitious and mature record to date…”

This ’60s stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back. (more…)

Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits – Mono? Original? Better Yet: None of the Above

Records that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

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More Roy Orbison

If you think that buying original pressings of an album like this one is the way to find the best sound, you are sorely mistaken. The originals and most reissues on the Monument label are rarely any better than dreadful sounding.

The monos sound bad and the originals sound bad, which means that all the conventional wisdom of record collectors and audiophiles alike has failed to produce the desired result: a good sounding pressing of the album. What’s a mother to do? 

Well, you could do what we did: try them all! If you keep at it long enough eventually you will run into the right pressing, and then you can focus on getting a large enough batch which will allow you to find one that sounds great and plays quietly.

(more…)

Roy Orbison – The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison

More Roy Orbison

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  • Stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on two sides – you’ve never heard Roy Orbison sound better than he does here
  • Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality – everything that we listen for in a great record is here
  • The phenomenally talented Bill Porter recorded many of Orbison’s classic songs from the early ’60s that are found on this compilation
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… no one conveys pain and longing more sublimely or succinctly than Roy Orbison. But his songs are also masterpieces of production: so technically precise that his deceptively simple tunes and lush melodies flow even more smoothly behind his desperate baritone croon and quivering falsetto.”

(more…)

Elvis Presley – Something For Everybody

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  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from beginning to end 
  • If you want to know just how rich, spacious, natural and Tubey Magical even a reissue Elvis record can sound, here’s your chance to find out
  • Recorded partly in Nashville by the brilliant Bill Porter, and with the Jordanaires singing backup, what’s not to like?
  • “…his voice is better than ever, and this is reflected in the arrangements, most of which are closer in spirit to the finely crafted pop symphonies of Roy Orbison than they are to any of Presley’s earlier work.” 

This pressing has the glorious sound of 1961 in its grooves.

Most of the man’s records don’t sound good on most pressings, and more often than not the best sounding pressings are just too noisy to interest most audiophiles. Not so here though, as this was one of the quietest we played in our recent shootout. (more…)

Roy Orbison – Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits

More Roy Orbison

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  • You’ll find oustanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this Monument stereo pressing
  • The amazingly talented Bill Porter recorded many of Orbison’s classic songs from the early ’60s that are found on this compilation
  • Only a copy this good shows you how phenominal these timeless songs can sound – rich, open, clear, solid and musical
  • Among monster hits, like “Crying,” “Only the Lonely,” and “Running Scared,” this album includes new releases “Love Star” and “Evergreen” as well

If you think that buying original pressings of an album like this one is the way to find the best sound, you are sorely mistaken. The originals and most reissues on the Monument label are mostly dreadful sounding.

The monos sound bad and the originals sound bad, which means that all the conventional wisdom of record collectors and audiophiles alike has failed to produce the desired result: a good-sounding pressing of the album. What’s a mother to do?

Well, you could do what we did: try them all! If you keep at it long enough eventually you will run into the right pressing, and then you can focus on getting a large enough batch which will allow you to find one that sounds great and plays quietly.

Or you could just buy this one. We already did all that other stuff and this is the pressing that resulted from our labors.

What the Best Sides of Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1967
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does. (more…)

Roy Orbison – The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison

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

The depth, the spaciousness, the richness — this one has it all. It seems as though Bill Porter just does not know how to not make an amazing recording, whether for Monument or Living Stereo. Everything the guy touches is GOLD! Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music found here are positively enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good ’60s All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the album for you. (more…)

Roy Orbison – Orbisongs

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  • Excellent sound throughout with Double Plus (A++) or BETTER on both sides
  • This superb pressing is especially Analog Sounding – lively, warm, with rich bass and breathy, clear vocals 
  • Features one of Orbison’s greatest legacies, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” in stereo no less, and it sounds amazing here
  • While this isn’t the quietest copy we’ve ever heard, it’s clearly one of the best sounding
  • “…every track is strong and showcases Orbison’s immense talent both as a vocalist and a songwriter of effective and poignant lyrics… if you are looking at Orbison at his best you need look no further.”

(more…)

Chet Atkins – Mister Guitar – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

More Chet Atkins 

More Mister Guitar 

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

This RCA Living Stereo LP is as TUBEY MAGICAL as it gets. It seems as though Bill Porter just doesn’t know how to not make a Living Stereo record with shockingly good sound. Practically anything the guy touches is GOLD!

Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These records are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

I suppose we owe a debt of gratitude to Harry Pearson for pointing out to us through his TAS Super Disc List some of the other amazing sounding Chet Atkins records, although I’m pretty sure anybody playing this album would have no trouble telling after a minute or two that this recording, especially on this copy, is very special indeed. I would rank it right at the top with the best Bill Porter / Chet Atkins records we have ever heard.

The All Music Guide gives Mister Guitar 4 1/2 Stars! They rate no Chet Atkins record higher by the way. (The User Rating is even better, Five Stars.)

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Note how the record has that Bill Porter extra dB or two of bottom end — his signature sound.

There is a misprint on the cover. The last track on side two is listed as Concerto In C Minor (Rachmaninoff) but the song on the record is actually Piano Concerto In B Flat Minor (Tchaikovsky).