- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Future Games you’ve heard
- You’ll find HUGE sound on this copy – it’s big, bold and lively – this is clearly the right sound for Future Games
- Fleetwood Mac practically invented Space Rock, which reached its apotheosis in 1973 on Mystery to Me (my favorite by the band)
- A criminally underrated album unlike anything you’ve heard and a Better Records favorite for more than 40 years
- It’s also a record that has disappeared off the face of the earth – we would love to do more shootouts for the album, but we just never see them anymore (more…)
Want to find your own shootout winner? Scroll to the bottom to see our advice on doing just that.
- This outstanding UK pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound or BETTER on all four sides
- Surprisingly clean, undistorted sound for a live album, yet every bit as big and lively as a Hard Rockin’ Live Album should be
- In terms of Tubey Magic, richness and naturalness, Made In Japan might just be The Best Sounding Live Album of All Time
- Rolling Stone: “They’ve done countless shows since in countless permutations, but they’ve never sounded quite this perfect.”
Having just played a stack of copies of Made In Japan I’d put the album right up there with the best of the best. In terms of Tubey Magic, richness and naturalness — qualities that are usually in very short supply on live albums — I would have to say that the shootout winning copies of Made In Japan would be very likely to take Top Honors for Best Sounding Live Album of All Time.
Yes, the sound is that good.
Machine Head Live? That would not be far off, and the fact they brought Martin Birch along with them all the way to Japan in order to engineer a live album that was only supposed to sell to the Japanese market (!) could not have been more fortuitous for us audiophiles. (more…)
- With insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish, this copy will be very hard to beat — exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
- It’s the impossibly rare copy that’s this lively, solid and rich… drop the needle on the title track and you’ll see what we mean
- “Arguably the first consistently strong album Fleetwood Mac ever recorded [not true, Kiln House is] … 1972’s Bare Trees is also the album where the band finally defines its post-blues musical personality.”
This period of Fleetwood Mac, from Kiln House (1970) through Mystery to Me (1973) — both are albums I would put at the top of my list to take to my Desert Island — has always been my favorite of the band. I grew up on this stuff, and I can tell you from personal experience that it is a positive THRILL to hear it sound so good!
Until not that many years ago we simply were not able to successfully shootout Bare Trees, Fleetwood Mac’s wonderful album from 1972. The pressings we were playing just didn’t sound very much like Hot Stampers to us. British, German, Japanese, domestic originals, domestic reissues; all of them left much too much to be desired.
Thankfully we can tell you that the best copies sound a whole lot better now than they did then. (more…)
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This is a Minty looking EMI Import Double LP. It’s a compilation with a single LP dedicated to each era of the band’s early history. As with any compilation some tracks sound better than others here but don’t let the German sourced tapes scare you. These sound like really high quality tapes, close to, if not the actual, master tapes.
The second LP features the most recognizable and probably best lineup (Mark II) the band ever had, with songs such as Black Knight, Speed King, Smoke on the Water and Highway star, to name but a few.
That bass drum tells you a lot about your deep bass reproduction, but we prize a little something called whomp here at Better Records every bit as much. It’s the WEIGHT and POWER you sense happening down below that translates into whomp factor. (This is the frequency area that screens and small dynamic drivers have the most trouble with. You need to be able to move lots of air under, say, 200 cycles to give the music a sense of real power down below. Few systems I’ve run into over the last thirty years can really pull it off.)
That bass drum tells you a lot about your deep bass reproduction, but we prize a little something called whomp here at Better Records every bit as much. It’s the WEIGHT and POWER you sense happening down below that translates into whomp factor.
Speaking of the song “Why,” I have to confess that it’s my favorite Fleetwood Mac song of all time. Considering how many great songs this band has recorded over the last thirty plus years, that’s really saying something. (“Need Your Love So Bad” off Pious Bird is right up there with it.) (more…)
- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout
- This early Reprise LP is a huge step up from most – this copy is full-bodied, smooth and musical – classic Fleetwood Mac sound
- One of my favorite songs on the album is one of Christine McVie’s best from this period, Did You Ever Love Me – on this pressing it’s rich and sweet exactly the way it should be
- “Fleetwood Mac’s first album made after the departure of Danny Kirwan features the additions of guitarist Bob Weston and singer Dave Walker… This album gave Fleetwood Mac its best U.S. chart showing yet…”
This is the rare copy that strikes the right balance between richness and texture. So many copies sacrifice one for the other, but not here. Fully extended on both top and bottom, with big bass and plenty of energy, this pressing is getting Penguin right.
On the best pressings, the sound is positively JUMPING out of the speakers in a way that is completely unexpected. We often talk about the size of the soundfield on a particular pressing, side to side, bottom to top, and even more often about the energy found on one copy relative to another. On this copy, we were surprised by a Penguin that was bigger and more energetic than most of the pressings we heard in our shootout. (more…)
We knew this album could sound good, but back in the day we sure didn’t know it could sound like this. The best pressings of this album have amazing live-in-the-studio sound that conveys completely the raw power of one of the hardest rockin’ bands of all time.
Both musically and sonically I don’t think the group ever recorded a better album than this one.
Take the wonderful Bad ‘N’ Ruin (the opening track on side one) for example. It’s the sound of open mics in a big studio space — nothing more, nothing less. It’s totally free from any phony mastering or bad EQ, and on a Hot Stamper copy like this one, it’s absolute magic.
MARTIN BIRCH was the engineer for the first two tracks on side one. You may know him from his work with Fleetwood Mac (1969-1973) and Deep Purple (1969-1977), including the amazingly well-recorded albums Machine Head and Made In Japan. (more…)
- Two killer sides clocking in at Double Plus (A++) – the sound is HUGE, with real energy, presence and whomp – exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
- Amazingly spacious and three-dimensional, no doubt the result of the album being recorded practically live in the studio
- Their superbly talented engineer, Martin Barre, recorded the big, bold, rich, smooth sound of British Rock about as well as anyone ever did
- 5 stars: “Machine Head was anything but a one-trick pony, introducing the bona fide classic opener “Highway Star,” which epitomized all of Deep Purple’s intensity and versatility while featuring perhaps the greatest soloing duel ever between guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and organist Jon Lord.”
When you get a Hot Stamper pressing like this one, Machine Head is a True Rock and Roll Demo Disc. Since our stereo is all about playing these kinds of records, and playing them at good loud levels as nature — and the artists — intended, we had a helluva time with Machine Head.
It had the kind of presence and energy that puts most copies of this album to shame. It’s also amazingly spacious, the result no doubt of it being recorded practically live in the studio. On the best copies, you can really hear the sound bouncing off the studio walls, just as you can on the best Zep, AC/DC and Bad Co. albums. You can just tell they are all playing this one live: it’s so relaxed and natural and REAL sounding. (more…)
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This British Import Purple Records pressing has a GREAT side one, and AMAZING A+++ side two, and VERY QUIET VINYL throughout! I don’t think you could find a better sounding side two no matter what you did. The sound here is BIG, BOLD and LIVELY with real weight down low and excellent presence. It really JUMPS out of the speakers and fills up the room! Side one is very good as well, with all of the qualities described above. It doesn’t fully open up the way side two does, but it still slaughtered most of the copies we played it against.
The big hit song from this one was Woman From Tokyo and it sounds excellent on this copy — very natural with real texture to the guitars and lots of WHOMP down low. (more…)
Here it is, folks — the best sounding copy of Mystery To Me to ever hit our site. This copy positively DOES IT ALL — it’s super open and spacious with tons of energy and incredible presence. The bottom end is just KILLER and there’s dramatically more richness and fullness than you get on most copies out there.
It’s beyond difficult to find great sounding copies of this album, which is why it’s been about four years since we last had these on the site.
Mystery To Me is my All Time Favorite Fleetwood Mac album, and this White Hot Stamper copy has the sound that I always DREAMED this album could have, but didn’t — until now. This is just the second Hot Stamper shootout that we’ve been able to do, since clean copies with the right stampers are ridiculously hard to come by. I’m not kidding. I have spent the last ten years and more trying to find the right stampers for this record. I can tell you I was dead wrong so many times in the past that I had almost given up. Time and time again, just when I thought I had it figured out, I would go back and play my so-called “hot” copy, to find myself miserably disappointed all over again. (more…)