Top Engineers – Bill Porter

Roy Orbison / Greatest Hits – Mono? Original? What’s the Best Way to Go?

Records that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

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.

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Chet Atkins – Chet Atkins in Hollywood

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More Recordings in Living Stereo

  • A vintage RCA pressing with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) Living Stereo sound or very close to it on both sides
  • It’s also fairly quiet at Mint Minus Minus, with no marks that play or issues with the inner grooves
  • This is the superior sounding re-recording from 1961, produced this time by Dick Peirce
  • Chet took the orchestra tapes back to his home studio in 1961 and re-recorded his parts over them, and he managed to do a much better job the second time around
  • This TAS List recording will have you asking why so few Living Stereo pressings actually do what this one does. The more critical listeners among you will recognize that this is a very special copy indeed. Everyone else will just enjoy the hell out of it.
  • Some of our notes about this very copy: “Awesome detail and space,” “So rich and full bodied,” “Guitar 3-D and rich,” “Big bottom / weight here,” and on and on we went…
  • 4 1/2 stars: “If the cover of At Home evokes the 1950s, the music on In Hollywood IS the 1950s: a warm, cozy, sophisticated album of mood music in the best sense.”

DEMO DISC SOUND! Fairly quiet and unusually clean for a record of its age. TAS List of course, and full of Living Stereo Magic. You can feel the cool air of the studio the minute the needle hits the groove!

I suppose we owe a debt of gratitude to Harry Pearson for pointing out to us with his TAS List what a great record this is, although I’m pretty sure anybody playing this album would have no trouble telling after a minute or two that this copy is very special indeed.

But I would bet a very large amount of money that the pressing that Harry liked and recommended on his list is the inferior original recording, the one with the guitar superimposed over the cityscape.

Leave it to us, the guys who actually play lots of records and listen to them critically, to recognize how much better the 1961 version is compared to the original from 1959.

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Chet Atkins – Caribbean Guitar

More Chet Atkins

More Recordings in Living Stereo

  • This famous TAS Super Disc RCA Living Stereo LP boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last and plays about as quietly as any RCA pressing from the early ’60s ever will
  • If you have ever heard one of our luscious Living Stereo Chet Atkins records, you know what to expect – off the charts Tubey Magic unlike anything made in the last fifty years, or more!
  • This album is a little more lively than some of his other recordings, which can be criticized for being a little too laid back. For example, try side 2, cut 2 where Chet actually jams.
  • Engineer Bill Porter just doesn’t know how not to make an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording – everything the guy touches is GOLD!

This is one of Chet Atkins’ best albums. Sonically, it’s right up there with The Other Chet Atkins and the Hollywood album. It seems like Bill Porter just doesn’t know how not to make an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording. He knocked this out of the park.

I suppose we owe a debt of gratitude to Harry Pearson for pointing out to us with his TAS List what a great record this is, although I’m pretty sure anybody playing this album can tell after a minute or two that it’s in that very special class of great recordings.

The last track on side 2 where Chet is joined by a trumpet player is my favorite on the album. That guitar-trumpet combination is pretty magical on that song. And you’ve got to love the kind of sound Bill Porter gets from a trumpet. That’s the kind of sound we audiophiles drool over. I do anyway.

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

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Reviews and Commentaries for Roy Orbison

  • 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.”

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Jim Reeves – The Intimate Jim Reeves

More Recordings by Bill Porter

More Living Stereo Titles Available Now

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.

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Roy Orbison – Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits

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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

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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…)

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 – 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.”

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Chet Atkins – Mister Guitar – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Chet Atkins

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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).