Top Engineers – Mickey Crofford

Henry Mancini – Charade

More of the music of Henry Mancini (1924-1994)

  • An original RCA Victor stereo LP boasting excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides
  • This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience — talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny
  • If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this outstanding copy may be just the record for you

This RCA Victor stereo LP gives you a healthy dose of the Tubey Magic we love here at Better Records. As is usually the case with Mancini’s records, some tracks sound far better than others.

Charade” is a particularly good sounding song on side two, with superb reproduction of both female and male voices, rich and sweet in the best tradition of RCA from the Golden Age.

More good stuff on side two? Drop the needle on “Latin Snowfall” to hear exactly what I’m talking about.

As an added bonus, the last track, “Charade (Carousel),” has absolutely no IGD on the glockenspiel or calliope. Few copies will not be groove damaged on that track — we speak from experience here.

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.

This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.


Nina Simone – Nina Simone Sings The Blues

  • You’ll find outstanding sound on this vintage copy of Simone’s RCA debut, with Double Plus (A++) grades for sound or close to them
  • This stereo pressing of Nina’s exceptionally hard to find, highly regarded 1967 release (5 Stars! ) is full-bodied, smooth and musical
  • 5 stars: “Nina Simone Sings the Blues is a hallmark recording that endures; it deserves to be called a classic.”

If you’re a fan of vintage female vocals – the kind with no trace of digital reverb – you may get quite a kick out of this one. And unless I miss my guess you’ll be the first and only person on your block to own it! (That’s not a bad thing considering the average person’s taste in music and sound these days.) (more…)

Henry Mancini / The Pink Panther

Living Stereo Titles Available Now

200+ Reviews of Living Stereo Records

Both sides are rich, sweet, and smooth. We didn’t hear any other copies that could keep up with the presence and energy on BOTH sides here. The overall sound is airy, open, spacious, and SUPER transparent. The brass sounds AMAZING. You’re not going to believe all the ambience, especially around the drums!

I gotta tell ya, this was quite a fun shootout. We obviously love finding the classic rock Hot Stampers, but this wonderful Mancini album was a nice change of pace.

Henry Mancini / A Warm Shade of Ivory – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

With THE BEST side one we have ever played, backed with a side two that’s very nearly as good, this is a very special copy indeed! This copy was getting everything right on side one. Wide and deep stage, smooth but textured strings, background vocalists who take breaths, room around the piano, clear attack, it’s all here. 

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs. More about that later.

As for the sound of this copy, warm is right. This is some of the smoothest, most natural sound we’ve heard on a Mancini record. Listen to the cello on side 1, track 4, to hear the kind of tubey magic we rave about on old records. Those of you with good tube equipment (and/or the right transistor equipment, truth be told) know how rich and sonorous bowed string instruments can sound — this is a perfect example of it. Those with with more transistory sound in their systems will not be able to fully appreciate the lovely sonority, but if you take this record to a place that has top quality equipment, whether it be a friend’s house or a stereo store, you will undoubtedly hear what I mean. It’s a sound you can’t forget, and it’s all but disappeared from modern recordings and modern (read: heavy vinyl) pressings.

Classic Records, now thankfully defunct, has been producing records for fifteen years that are almost completely devoid of the tubey magic we’re talking about. Records like this show you precisely what the Classic pressings are getting wrong — if your stereo can reproduce the difference. (more…)

Chet Atkins – The Atkins-Travis Traveling Show

More Chet Atkins

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Chet Atkins

Somewhat better than Hot Stamper sound for this Chet Atkins record from 1974, recorded at the legendary (especially for audiophiles who appreciate naturalness) Nashville RCA Studios. There’s plenty of Tubey Magic on both sides of this pressing, just a bit more than ideal in fact, as it can get a little thick at times. But the sound of these two pickers pickin’ away is positively JUMPIN’ out of the speakers, with that live-in-the-studio sound we love here at Better Records. We grade both sides A+ to A++. The sound was essentially the same on both sides, the differences not worth mentioning.

The music is just as fun and entertaining as you would expect from these two Old Pros. (more…)