Top Engineers – Roy Thomas Baker

Queen – A Day At the Races

More Queen

Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses


  • This UK import copy of the band’s fifth studio album has outstanding sound from start to finish
  • Forget the domestic pressings — they may be cut at Sterling, but they never sound like these shockingly good British LPs
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • Problems in the vinyl is sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around it if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • “A Day at the Races is a bit tighter than its predecessor… its sleek, streamlined finish is the biggest indication that Queen has entered a new phase, where they’re globe-conquering titans instead of underdogs on the make.”

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Ramping Up the Horsepower of The Cars Like Crazy

More of the Music of The Cars

The best copies must have one key ingredient that we’ve discovered is absolutely essential if this groundbreaking New Wave album is to come to life — a huge, spacious soundstage.

Some copies are huge; others, not so much. The effect of these size differentials is ENORMOUS. The power of the music ramps up like crazy — how could this recording possibly be this BIG and POWERFUL? How did it achieve this kind of scale? You may need twenty copies to find one like this, which begs the question: why don’t the other 19 sound the way this one does? The sound we heard has to be on the master tape in some sense, doesn’t it? Mastering clearly contributes to the sound, but can it really be a factor of this magnitude?
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The Cars – Candy-O

More of The Cars

Hot Stamper Pressings of New Wave Recordings

  • An outstanding copy of The Cars’ New Wave Classic, boasting solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides
  • We guarantee this is some of the best sound you’ll ever hear on ANY Cars album – Roy Thomas Baker’s production makes this one jump out of the speakers like few recordings we’ve heard (and not many of them are from 1979, that’s for damn sure)
  • An underrated album by the band – we consider it a Must Own, along with their brilliant debut, two records that belong in any audiophile’s Rock and Pop collection
  • 4 1/2 stars: “As it stands, it may be one of the best second albums ever made, full of great songs, inspired performances, and sporting a still-perfect sound. If this had been the Cars’ debut album, people might consider it a classic. Coming after The Cars, it has to be rated a little lower, but not by much.”

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Savoy Brown – Getting To The Point – Awesome Bell Sound Pressing

I am not usually a fan of Bell Sound cuttings but this one seems hard to fault. I would be surprised if the British import pressings are any better; this sounds like the real master tape to me. The original Parrot vinyl is going to be hard to find any quieter. 

Some sides of some copies were leaner and drier than we would have liked and we marked them down accordingly. The big, rich, Tubey Magical sound of Classic British Rock is critical to the success of this music, and our Hot Stamper pressings are guaranteed to deliver plenty of that sound.

Side One

Jumpin’ out of the speakers, side one of this copy was nearly White Hot. Lively clear and present — it works for this side!

Side Two

This side is full, rich and tubey, a bit too much in some ways, but this is still the right sound for this music. It’s dynamic and if you turn it up it will really come to life! (That’s of course what we did.) (more…)

T.Rex – Electric Warrior

  • A superb copy of this T.Rex classic with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides, coming in right behind our Shootout Winner
  • This early UK pressing is amazing, with the kind of grungy, Tubey Magical guitars that are guaranteed to blow your mind
  • It’s beyond difficult to find quiet copies of this title (same goes for The Slider), let alone those with this kind of sound, so any fan of Mr Bolan should snap this one up and be quick about it
  • 5 stars: “The album that essentially kick-started the U.K. glam rock craze… it’s that sense of playfulness, combined with a raft of irresistible hooks, that keeps Electric Warrior such an infectious, invigorating listen today.”

This pressing 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. (more…)

Free – Fire and Water

More Rock Classics

  • A superb copy of the band’s third studio album with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound – reasonably quiet vinyl to this title too   
  • Stunning Live-in-the-Studio Rock Sound that must be heard to be believed – All Right Now sounds fantastic
  • The recording sounds more alive than 99 out of 100 rock records we’ve played, and we’ve played the best sounding rock records ever made
  • Top 100 and 4 1/2 stars: “From Paul Kossoff’s exquisite and tasteful guitar work, to Paul Rodgers’ soulful vocals, this was a group that was easily worthy of the mantle worn by Cream, Blind Faith, or Derek & the Dominos.”

To find a copy that plays this quietly and sounds this good is no mean feat, but here one is!

This is one of our favorite recordings and a member of our Top 100, but it only works when you get the right pressing. This one has the big, spacious soundstage and punchy bottom end to bring it to life! (more…)

The Cars – Here’s the Big Rock Sound We Love

The first two Cars albums were both in The Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 at one time, with good reason: they’re superb recordings. The Cars have been in “heavy rotation” on my system since their albums came out in the late ’70s. We started doing shootouts for both right around 2006 or 2007, and they continue to be a regular feature of our Rock Hot Stamper section, not to mention some of the most fun shootouts we do in any given week.  

Before then had you ever read a word in any audiophile or record collecting publication about how amazing the originals can sound? Of course not. Most of the audiophile types writing for the stereo rags wouldn’t know a good record from a hole in the ground. (more…)

Free / The Free Story – Another Dubby Compilation

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Free

Hot Stamper Pressings of British Blues Rock Albums Available Now

This is a Limited Edition Black Label Island Numbered Import 2-LP set.

The sound is passable at best. Unfortunately, like many of the compilations done over the years, this is a very dubby sounding album. It’s smearyveiled, and lacks space.

The good vintage pressings just kill it. 

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review!

Although record sales never went along with it, Free were British rock at its pinnacle. Their studio albums were superb through and through, while the one live release perhaps represented the band at their peak.

This best-of features the cream of Free’s releases up to 1973. Extending past the easily accessible rock tracks into the realms of the bands quieter acoustic moments, as well as the more experimental areas of Free’s material, The Free Story gives the whole picture of what Rogers, Kirke, Fraser, and Kossoff were about.

The track selection well shows off the bands musical ability, from Paul Kossoff’s vibrato-laden guitar to Andy Fraser’s captivating bass playing. Indeed, few bands come close to the overall musicianship of Free.

“Free left a legacy of enduring music which became a role model for much of which followed…The Free Story is testament to that heritage,” declares the album notes. Few would disagree with that statement.


Since 1987 we’ve been helping music loving audiophiles the world over avoid bad sounding records.

To see the records with bad sound or bad music we’ve reviewed, click here.

Mostly we write about good sounding records, and there are thousands that can be found here.

It’s yet another public service from Better Records, the home of the best sounding records ever made. Our Hot Stamper pressings will sound better on your system than any other records you’ve ever played or you get your money back.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments 

Record Collecting for Audiophiles – A Guide to the Fundamentals

The Cars – Candy-O – Listening in Depth

More of The Cars

More Albums with Key Tracks for Critical Listening

This is one of our favorite recordings — a former member of our Top 100 — for one very simple reason: it’s got Big Rock Sound in spades! Drop the needle on Let’s Go and check out the sound of the big floor tom. When the drummer bangs on that thing, you will FEEL it! It’s similar to the effect of being in the room with live musicians — the difference between just hearing music and also feeling it. That’s what you get from a Hot Stamper copy.

What other New Wave band ever recorded an album with this kind of DEMONSTRATION QUALITY sound? It positively JUMPS out of the speakers. No album by Blondie, Television, The Pretenders or ANY of their contemporaries can begin to compete with this kind of sound, with the exception of the Talking Heads’ Little Creatures. The Cars very own first album is excellent, but it doesn’t have this kind of LIFE and ENERGY. No way, no how.  (more…)