Top Engineers – Shelly Yakus

Shelly Yakus Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

More Recordings Engineered by Shelly Yakus

More of Our Favorite Engineers

Shelly Yakus Engineered Albums We’ve Reviewed

SHELLY YAKUS is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers.

Check out the Shelly Yakus engineered or produced albums we have in stock, along with plenty of commentaries about the sound of the records he’s engineered, from Moondance (his first official lead engineering gig) to Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus and more.

One or two can be found in our Rock and Pop Top 100 List of Best Sounding Albums with the Best Music, limited to titles that we can actually find enough copies of in order to carry out our patent pending (not really) Hot Stamper shootouts.

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Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies

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  • A killer Shootout Winning copy with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two and a side one that’s right up there with it (A++ to A+++) 
  • Far more open, present and balanced than practically any other copy we played, with plenty of Rock and Roll power and energy
  • Relatively quiet, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout – this is as quiet as they get, folks
  • 4 1/2 stars in Allmusic: “Song for song, Billion Dollar Babies is probably the original Alice Cooper group’s finest and strongest … It remains one of rock’s all-time, quintessential classics.”

Billion Dollar Babies can sound really big and powerful, but not many copies bring the sound to life the way this one does. For once you can hear a big room around the instruments; the bass is tight and well-defined, and there’s plenty of tubey richness.

This was also one of the copies that managed to get real three-dimensional space in the soundfield, bringing Alice up front, with the rest of the band arrayed behind him from wall to wall. (more…)

John Lennon / Imagine – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound throughout – this was one of the better copies to emerge from our most recent shootout
  • These superb UK pressings are rich, weighty and oh-so-tubey – it took us a long time to find the right stampers
  • Two of our favorite engineers worked their magic on this recording – our thanks go to Eddie Offord and Shelly Yakus
  • 5 stars: “…it was only marginally less confessional than its predecessor. Underneath the sweet strings of “Jealous Guy” lies a broken and scared man, the jaunty “Crippled Inside” is a mocking assault at an acquaintance, and “Imagine” is a paean for peace in a world with no gods, possessions, or classes, where everyone is equal… A remarkable collection of songs that Lennon would never be able to better again.”

NOTE: A very small mark near the end of track three, side two, How Do You Sleep?, makes three loud pops.

Both sides here are excellent. capturing the essence of what Lennon and Phil Spector (and let’s not forget Yoko, who also gets a producer credit here) were going for. Copies that sound as good as this one do not grow on trees. If it wasn’t ridiculously difficult to find Hot Stamper pressings of Imagine it certainly would not have taken us until 2015 to offer one. (more…)

Tom Petty / Damn The Torpedoes – Is This Audiophile LP Bright Enough For You?

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On this pressing it sure is. If your stereo is dull, dull, deadly dull, this company’s remastering approach, like many of the CBS Half-Speeds, will fix your lack of high end.

A perfect example of Stone Age Audio Thinking – a bright record to fix a dark system.

The only problem is, what happens when you put together a better system, one that’s tonally correct?

Then you will have to get rid of your old record collection and start over, right?

So get your stereo right before you go wasting lots of money on phony sounding records.

And most of the Heavy Vinyl pressings being made today are every bit as bad, but the tonality mistakes are simply reversed. The bass is boosted and the top is too smooth.

Why can’t these ridiculous audiophile labels make up their minds? Should records be bright or dull? Pick a lane!

Tune your system to that crap and you will find yourself in the real predicament down the road, assuming you ever get your stereo working right. Having a collection full of modern remasterings will make any progress in audio that much more difficult to achieve.

Or you could just buy one of these to play your bright records. Problem solved.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Long After Dark

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  • A STUNNING sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Both sides are brimming with Petty’s unique brand of “meat and potatoes” rock and roll
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, 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
  • Rich and full-bodied with tight bass, and brimming with Petty’s unique brand of straight ahead rock and roll, best exemplified by the radio smash You Got Lucky
  • Rolling Stone raves “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play a finely crafted brand of meat-and-potatoes rock. They shudder to a stop for the occasional ballad or showy guitar figure, but the next surging chorus is never far away. They’ve been honing that sound for five albums now, and Petty has gradually hoisted himself into the company of such masterful travelers of Route 66 as Seger and Springsteen. …overall, Long after Dark is Petty’s most accomplished record.”

Long After Dark boasts the monster rocker You Got Lucky and very good sound considering that the album was recorded in 1982, not an especially good year (or decade) to be recording rock music. (more…)

John Lennon – Walls and Bridges

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  • This Shootout Winning copy was doing everything right — stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both of these sides are full-bodied, rich and Tubey Magical with lots of extension on both ends
  • These early British pressings are the only way to go – the domestic pressings are clearly made from dubs
  • “…the best moments come when Lennon is more open with his emotions, like on “Going Down on Love,” “Steel and Glass,” and the beautiful, soaring ‘No. 9 Dream.'”

Walls and Bridges may not be the high point of Lennon’s solo career but there are some wonderful songs on this album and it was quite a treat to finally hear them sound right. It’s tough to find Hot Stamper John Lennon albums so if you’re a fan I think you’ll be very pleased at what a serious step up in quality this copy represents over any other you might have heard.

Going Down On Love and Old Dirt Road (co-written with Harry Nilsson!) are especially lovely.

Some classic tracks that everybody knows are here as well: #9 Dream, Whatever Gets You Thru The Night and Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out). (more…)

Tom Petty / Damn The Torpedoes

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  • This outstanding hard rockin’ pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Credit for the tremendous presence and energy of the recording goes to the brilliant engineer Shelly Yakus
  • Damn the Torpedoes is, simply put, the best sounding Tom Petty album we have ever played
  • Tons of hits too: Refugee, Here Comes My Girl, and my favorite of the bunch, Don’t Do Me Like That
  • 5 stars: “Few mainstream rock albums of the late ’70s and early ’80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era.”

Credit must obviously go to the man behind the console, SHELLY YAKUS, someone who we freely admit, now with a sense of embarrassment, has never been one of our favorite engineers. After hearing a White Hot Stamper pressing of Damn the Torpedoes and a killer copy of Animal Notes we realize that we have been seriously underestimating the man.

If your Damn the Torpedoes doesn’t sound good (and it probably doesn’t), you sure can’t blame him – the master tape is mind-boggling in its size, weight, power and sheer rock n’ roll energy. (more…)

Spirit / Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus – The Core Collection

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 A record that belongs in any serious Rock Music Collection.

  • A stunning copy of Spirit’s 1970 Trippy Masterpiece – Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Huge, lively and dynamic – this legendary Psych album creates a wall to wall, three dimensional psychedelic world of its own
  • Nature’s Way, Animal Zoo and Mr. Skin all sound amazing on this copy – there’s really not a bad track to be found
  • “Spirit’s crowning moment and one of the era’s great underrated albums … enriched by meaty horn arrangements, imaginative vocal harmonies, and a structured approach to psychedelic studio trickery such as stereo panning and tapes run backward.”

The soundfield is huge and transparent, there’s real richness and body to the instruments, and there’s no edge at all to the vocals. Believe me, it’s the rare copy that has all of these qualities, the only one in our shootout as a matter of fact.

This and Spirit’s first album are absolute Rock Classics in my book, records that belong in any popular music lover’s collection.

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Alice Cooper – School’s Out

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  • A stunning sounding copy of Cooper’s 1972 release with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Surprisingly rich and full-bodied, the best copies really ROCK with big bass and punchy drums – just the right Alice Cooper sound
  • The beloved title track remains the most-performed song in his concert history, and the presence on this copy will put the band right there in your listening room
  • 4 1/2 stars: “School’s Out catapulted Alice Cooper into the hard rock stratosphere, largely due to its timeless, all-time classic title track.”

Yet another impossible-to-find record in clean condition with good sound has made it to the site, and those of you who are fans should scoop it up because it takes us about four years to find enough copies to do this shootout. Check back with us in 2024 if this one is sold by the time you get to the end of this sentence!

We had poor luck with the second and third label copies on this AC title. It seems that, unlike so many records we play, the originals are the only way to go on School’s Out. (more…)

Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band – Like A Rock

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  • A superb copy of Like A Rock with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides — just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, 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
  • Features an A-list of rock and rollers, including Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Pete Carr, just to name a few
  • Per Seger, Like A Rock “expresses my feeling that the best years of your life are in your late teens when you have no special commitments and no career. It’s your last blast of fun before heading into the cruel world.”

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