Top Producers – Robert “Mutt” Lange

Foreigner – 4

More Foreigner

  • You’ll find stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on this Radio Rock Classic 
  • This copy had the best energy, the punchiest bass, and biggest, most immediate presentation in our shootout
  • Rockers like Juke Box Hero and Urgent, along with the heartfelt ballad Waiting For A Girl Like You, are guaranteed to sound better than you ever imagined or your money back
  • “In producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange – fresh off his massive success with AC/DC’s Back in Black – guitarist and all-around mastermind Mick Jones found both the catalyst to achieve [a grand slam of a record] and his perfect musical soulmate… All things considered, 4 remains Foreigner’s career peak.”

What’s key to the sound of Foreigner’s records?

Obviously, the big one would have to be ENERGY, a subject we discuss at length on our blog. Next would be punchy ROCK BASS, followed by clear, present vocals.

Those are the big ones, and we are happy to report that this copy had the best Foreigner sound in all three areas.

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Def Leppard – Pyromania

More Rock Classics

Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

  • Finding a copy of this album that gets big and loud but stays rich and clear doing it is no small feat, but for all you fans of Glam and Metal, here’s one
  • 5 stars: “While Def Leppard had obviously wanted to write big-sounding anthems on their previous records, Pyromania was where the band’s vision coalesced and gelled into something more. Leppard’s quest for huge, transcendent hard rock perfection on Pyromania was surprisingly successful; their reach never exceeded their grasp, which makes the album an enduring (and massively influential) classic.”

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City Boy – Young Men Gone West

More Glam Rock

More Albums from 1977

  • Super Hot Stamper or better sound on both sides of this Arty Glam Rock album
  • Produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange before he hit it big with Foreigner and Def Leppard
  • As far as I know Mr Lange never produced an album that sounds this good
  • Plenty of Tubey Magical richness, which only the UK Vertigo pressings seem to have

Like many of my personal favorites, this is a band that never caught on in the states. I saw them live back in the late ’70s and thought they were killer — they reminded me of a more accessible version of 10cc. They write amusingly witty, clever lyrics and mate them to catchy melodies with lots of pop hooks, all produced with meticulous care and engineered with top audiophile sound.

They might fit in the general category of Glam Rock, owing, as they do, so much to Supertramp, Badfinger, Queen, 10cc, Ziggy-period Bowie and the like, but even as I write that it seems unfair to the band, which had a unique style all its own, worthy of the respect and admiration due any of these artists (well, maybe not all the respect, but some of it anyway). Fortunately for us record lovers, this is their best album. (more…)

AC/DC – For Those About To Rock

  • Once again Robert Ludwig delivers the Rock and Roll Power – incredibly big, bold and full-bodied with a massive bottom end
  • For Those About To Rock has wall to wall sound and in-the-room presence like you will not believe
  • “AC/DC are the real thing, perhaps the purest major practitioners of hot and snotty rock since Led Zeppelin lumbered off the boards. Other groups, from Van Halen to REO Speedwagon, may base their music on similar elements, but they inevitably emerge from the studio sounding cleaned up and rather too eager for AOR airplay. AC/DC, from the start, have always left the rough edges in. The rough edges are the point, much as they were part of the point of, say, Little Richard in the Fifties or the Rolling Stones in the mid-Sixties.” – Rolling Stone

From the moment the title track began, we knew we were in for a real treat. The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found elsewhere, plus tons of echo and ambience. The vocals simply could not be any better — they’re breathy and full-bodied with loads of texture.

The bottom end is Right On The Money — big, beefy, and rock-solid.

You probably never thought you’d ever use an AC/DC LP as a Demo Disc, but this copy will have you reconsidering that notion — it’s ALIVE with Rock and Roll Power Chords like nothing you have ever heard. (more…)

AC/DC – Back In Black

More AC/DC

  • With Double Plus (A++) sonic grades or close to them on both sides, this Back in Black ROCKS like nothing you’ve heard 
  • Side one plays exceptionally well for a Robert Ludwig original, which is absolutely the only way to go on the album
  • Top 100, and if you turn it up good and loud, one of the biggest, boldest, hardest rockin’ records ever made
  • 5 stars: “… tawdry celebration of sex is what made AC/DC different from all other metal bands — there was no sword & sorcery, no darkness, just a rowdy party, and they never held a bigger, better party than they did on Back in Black.”

You probably never thought you’d ever use an AC/DC LP as a Demo Disc, but this copy will have you reconsidering that notion — it’s ALIVE with Rock and Roll Power Chords like nothing you have ever heard.

For Riff Rock you just can’t do much better than Back In Black. AMG gives it 5 stars and rightfully so. Musically it’s got everything you’d want from this genre of heavy rock — a tight, punchy rhythm section; raging guitar riffs; and deliciously decadent lyrics screamed to perfection.

What took us by surprise was how amazing this music sounds on the right copy. You’ve probably heard these songs a million times, but we bet you haven’t heard them sound like this. This is the kind of record that you’ll want to keep turning up. The louder you play it, the better it gets — but only if you’ve got a pressing that rocks like this one.

The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found on most copies, plus tons of lovely analog reverb and natural studio ambience.

And of course the bottom end is big, beefy, and rock-solid, just the way we like it. I ask you, what album from 1980 sounds better than Back in Black? (more…)

The Cars – Heartbeat City

More of The Cars

Hot Stamper Pressings of New Wave Recordings

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  • KILLER sound throughout with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, or ever will hear
  • If you have big dynamic speakers and like to rock, you can’t go wrong with a killer Hot Stamper of Heartbeat City
  • 5 Stars “… a gleaming pop masterpiece. The producer’s golden touch, the strength of the songs Ric Ocasek wrote, and the stunning vocal performance both he and Benjamin Orr deliver make the album one of the best of the ’80s and something that still sounds perfect many years later.”

Roy Thomas Baker is out, Robert John “Mutt” Lange is in, but the sound of The Cars really isn’t all that different from the likes of Shake It Up. On this title the critical listener should be on the lookout for edgy sound and hard vocals; we heard a lot of both in our shootout and took off serious points for each. The better copies tend to have more extended highs, smoother vocals, and a richer, tubier sound, without the all-important punchy rock elements suffering. This may be a New Wave Pop Album full of synths and keyboards, but it still has to rock. (more…)

AC/DC / Back In Black – None Rocks Harder

More AC/DC

If you love HUGE drums, meaty guitars, and monster riffs as much as we do, you’re going to freak out over the MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES. Moments after dropping the needle we heard a prominent low octave to the intro bells that we hadn’t noticed on other copies. We kept our fingers crossed and waited for the band to kick in, hoping for some serious bottom end power. And man oh man, it was there all right! I am pleased to report that the whomp factor on this copy was nothing short of MASSIVE.

I ask you, what album from 1980 sounds better than Back in Black?

Hell’s Bells has HUGE sound and shocking presence. The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found elsewhere, plus tons of echo and ambience. The vocals simply could not be any better — they’re breathy and full-bodied with loads of texture. The bottom end is Right On The Money — big, beefy, and rock-solid. You probably never thought you’d ever use an AC/DC LP as a Demo Disc, but this side one will have you reconsidering that notion — it’s ALIVE!

Imagine our delight when it turned out that side two was just as good! Everything you could ask for from this music is here, and it won’t take you very long to realize that for yourself when you play You Shook Me All Night Long. The energy, presence, immediacy and tonality are all SUPERB. I don’t think you could find a better sounding side two no matter what you did!

This link will take you to all the titles we have available in the None Rocks Harder series .

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City Boy / Young Men Gone West – The Digital Apocalypse

Records We Only Sell on Import Vinyl

More Albums from 1977

I like this band so much I made the mistake of buying the CD of their first two albums. Talk about No Noise! The CD had nothing on it over 8K. It sounded like someone had thrown a blanket over my speakers. It’s so irritatingly dull I can hardly stand to play it even as background music.

It seems that most of the CDs I come across fall into two categories: either mastered with little care and too bright, or No Noised with a heavy hand until they are way too dull.

Oh, and a third one: compressed to death.

That seems to cover about 80-90% of the stuff I come across. Thank god for a good turntable. For those of you without one, may I express my deepest sympathy for your unbearable — to me, anyway — loss.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Dear Jean (I’m Nervous)
Bordello Night
Honeymooners
She’s Got Style
Bad For Business

Side Two

Young Men Gone West
I’ve Been Spun
One After Two
The Runaround
The Man Who Ate His Car
Millionaire

AMG  Review

On this album, the band focuses on the glam rock sound of the mid- to late-’70s (swirling guitars, high-pitched harmonies) on tracks like “Dear Jean (I’m Nervous)” and “The Man Who Ate His Car,” but City Boy maintains its soft rock sound with light keyboard touches and soft vocals on songs such as “One After Two” and the title track. Young Men Gone West has an interesting, albeit uneven, mix of songs that doesn’t have the same quirky, eclectic feel of the first two albums — but it is a worthy effort nonetheless.

AC/DC – Highway To Hell

  • Superb sound for this AC/DC classic with solid Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • The open, spacious soundstage, full-bodied tonality and Tubey Magic here are obvious for all to hear – huge, punchy, lively and rockin’ throughout
  • A real turning point for the band – the last album with Bon Scott, the first produced by Robert Mutt Lange, and the first to crack the Top 100 in America (with the gazillion selling Back in Black waiting right around the corner)
  • 5 stars: “AC/DC has never sounded so enormous, and they’ve never had such great songs, and they had never delivered an album as singularly bone-crunching or classic as this until now.”

This vintage Atlantic pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

AC/DC / Back In Black – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner

Musically Back In Black has everything you’d want from this kind of hard rock — a tight, punchy rhythm section; raging guitar riffs; and deliciously decadent lyrics screamed to perfection. What surprised us is how amazing this music sounds on the right copy. You’ve probably heard these songs a million times, but we bet you haven’t heard them sound like this. This is the kind of record that you’ll want to keep turning up. The louder you play it, the better it gets — but only if you’ve got a great pressing like this.

Side two earned our rare A++++ grade. Our sonic grade graphics only go up to three pluses, but this side two took it all the way to four!

We awarded this copy our very special Four Plus A++++ grade on side two, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a recording to a level never experienced by us before, a level we had no idea could even exist. We estimate that about one per cent of the Hot Stamper pressings we come across in our shootouts earn this grade. You can’t get much more rare than that.

Note that we no longer give out the A++++ Beyond White Hot Stamper grade for the kinds of pressings, like this one, that blew our minds, with sound so far superior to any copy we had ever heard that they actually broke our grading scale.

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