We Get Letters

Letter of the Week – Heart Like A Wheel

Heart Like A Wheel

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,   

Sometime ago I received a very decent copy of Heart Like a Wheel from Better Records, (in fact two copies each with different sounding sides)……..then a while later up came a sealed Cisco 180g reissue, so I grabbed it thinking how nice it would be – a fresh copy, clean and quiet…

The other night I played the Cisco, and sure it is quiet, and smooth, but it just seemed generally lacking somehow, so I put on one of the Better Records copies – wow what a difference! The old copy has tons of clarity, detail, life and punch – it thoroughly blew away the Cisco – perhaps no surprise to you, but it once again reinforces my belief in Better Records!

Jason B.

 

Letter of the Week – Aja and Tea for the Tillerman

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently: 

Hey Tom,   

A friend and I just did a shootout of 16 copies of Aja, plus one of your White Stampers, which easily trounced them all (including some DJ 12″ singles from the album), and in exactly those areas that you cover in some of the WTLF descriptions you have for that album. Just a great big, open and lovely-sounding record–what a thrill!. And thanks very much for those notes–they help clarify the critical listening process.

We also listened to 16 copies of Tea for the Tillerman. Among those (UK pink rims, German, Japanese, and many US labels) were two excellent early brown label A&M pressings, which I saved for the end of the shootout. And we had the Analogue Productions 33 rpm pressing, which has been a big disappointment since I first heard it. Those two original A&Ms both sound so much more natural, with more delicacy, extension, air, presence and energy than the AP version. My listening buddy said they sounded as if they were cut at 45 rpm; and neither of us really expected your White Hot UK pink-rim pressing could be a significant improvement over those.

But, as good as those are, it was also obvious that your WHS brought the music several steps closer. The A&M brown labels both added some thickness and over-emphasized the low range of his voice–which (until we heard your WHS) was a pleasant coloration. But as you frequently mention, the biggest issue, once you’ve heard a great copy, is how much more energy and flow the music has. The WHS stamper just pulled you into those songs, so you could feel every little dynamic shift and tonal change that the musicians were bringing to the table. It allowed that music to breathe in a way I’ve never heard before. What a record!

The BIG thing your Hot Stampers do is present the music in a perfectly balanced way–no frequency range is emphasized, which also means none are compromised. I think this is why you can always turn up the volume on a Hot Stamper. If you’ve got a bad mastering or bad pressing, at some point, turning up the volume only make parts of the recording more unlistenable. Turning up a Hot stamper makes it a bit louder, sure. But it also brings you further into the studio, and closer to the music–and that’s we really want, right? (more…)

Letter of the Week – Off The Wall

Off The Wall

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,   

The Off The Wall Hot Stamper is a fantastic album and worth every penny. I am not what you would call an audiophile and won’t ever claim to be but I know what I like. I have listened to this album 5 times and I am just amazed that all the [tracks] can SOUND SO GOOD.

I especially like Girlfriend, She’s Out of My Life where Michael’s voice strains and I can hear him take a couple of breaths before the last couple of words and I Can’t Help It is exceptional. Wow! is the word that describes this album and I am glad I got mine.

Thanks for all the great sounds.

Desi L.

 

Letter of the Week – Back In Black and Joni Mitchell

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

I’ve been spending time this week listening to the seven records that arrived from you last week, and have been having a fabulous time doing it. So I thought I’d write to say THANKS – you guys really know how to pick ‘em!

Top honors in the batch definitely goes to the AC/DC Back in Black Hot Stamper. Wow, does it ever ROCK! And it’s not even the best one you had – which makes me wonder just how amazing the best copies sound. It really beats the pants off of my George Marino remaster, to say nothing of my old Canadian pressing. The sheer energy that leaps off the vinyl is incredible. To me, this record supports again the hypothesis that I first tested when I bought my Joni Mitchell Hot Stamper from you last fall: That I don’t have to wait until I manage to put together a really topnotch stereo system before I can enjoy at least some of what Hot Stampers have to offer. Obviously, as my system gets better I imagine I’ll enjoy them even more; but even with my current budget-ish system, recently much improved with Aurios and an EAR 834p (both recommended by you – thank you!), the Back in Black Hot Stamper shines. There’s truly nothing finer than listening to a record that sounds that good!

Anyway, all in all, it’s a pleasure purchasing from you, so thanks again. I’ll be back for more once my budget allows. (more…)

After the Gold Rush Hot Stampers – People Just Love ‘Em

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From time to time our customers like to tell us just how much they are enjoying our Hot Stamper pressings, and we here at Better Records love to read the LETTERS they write. We’ve reprinted a few below.

An excerpt: “I don’t always agree with everyone else on which record pressings sound best, but this record knocked my socks off.”

RL Writes

I just played your hot stamper pressing of Neil Young After the Gold Rush, and WOW! I don’t always agree with everyone else on which record pressings sound best, but this record knocked my socks off. 

No doubt about this one. I compared it to a recent German/Dutch reissue, which I remember sounding better than the crappy US pressing I previously had, and the difference was amazing. The soundstage was huge, I heard instruments playing right in front of me, dynamics were great, the bass drum on Only Love Can Break Your Heart was deep and extended, guitars were full, and so on.

I hadn’t played this record in a while mainly because it was, well, a lousy recording, which is a shame because it is one of my favorite records. I am sure I will be playing this version a lot more. Too bad for those who haven’t heard this pressing.

AJ Writes (more…)

Letter of the Week – Fresh Cream and Wake Of The Flood

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,     

Just got the Fresh Cream and Grateful Dead albums….cranked up the rig and they sound WONDERFUL…..no surprise but LOTS of satisfaction! Thanks for your sale to enable this “poor” retired audiophile access to great sound….

Thanks for being such a unique person to have discovered what the audio world never really knew or appreciated or admitted to…and for making it available to others….

Best Regards,

EdZ

Fresh Cream

Wake Of The Flood

Cat Stevens Teaser Testimonial

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… So Much More Alive and Dynamic …

Our good customer Roger here likes doing his own shootouts, having acquired many of the so-called audiophile recommended pressings over the years. Like us, he knows firsthand that those recommended records have little hope of standing up to the real thing, the real thing of course being an old record we charged him a lot of money for, or, to put it another way, a Super Hot Stamper. Can it possibly be worth the three hundred clams it cost him? Let’s hear from Roger on that subject.

Hi Tom:
Just the usual note to let you know of my latest LP shootout: Cat Stevens Teaser and the Firecat. Since you recommend this recording so highly, I was looking forward to comparing your Super Hot Stamper (SHS) to a British Sunray pressing I had and my Mobile Fidelity Anadisq. Since I had previously found, as you have, that the MFSLversion was thin and bright, I bought a UK pressing, finding it much more full, warm, and dynamic, and my recent comparison confirmed that. The MoFi is hideously bright and edgy, making guitars sound like zithers and Cat’s voice thin and reedy, like he had a head cold. Yep, that about sums it up, Cat Stevens and His Zither Band. It makes me wonder whether the ear-damaged MFSL engineers ever heard a good pressing of this record–even the UK was leagues better.
(more…)

Letter of the Week – Pretzel Logic

Pretzel Logic

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

Holy Squatsauce, Batman! That is definitely the best-sounding Pretzel Logic I have heard. I don’t remember the black label copy sounding like this one. It clearly eclipses my Pink Probe copy and the difference was not subtle. Lots more life and more dynamic, clearly better highs and bass, voices and instruments stand out from the mix. Makes me wonder what the master tape sounds like and how much the US music-lover is missing on all the pathetic-sounding pressings around. Thanks.

Roger L.

 

Letter of the Week – Flag

Flag

One of our good customers had something to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased a very long time ago. [I know it was a long time ago because our customers seem to have lost interest in James Taylor in general and Flag in particular, so no further shootouts are likely to be done in the near to medium term, which is a pity because we quite like the album.]

Hey Tom,   

Ordered J. Taylor “Flag”, arrived in perfect condition, outstanding packaging. Thanks! My first Hot Stamper—admittedly a little skeptical. Have two copies of this (one of my favorite JT albums, if not the favorite). One from the initial release and one from a few years later (a near mint copy). Had some fun listening to the Hot Stamper vs. these two pressings. Also invited my amigo, Joe, a trusted friend and music lover. Well, what can I say— we both agreed, a truly and unanimous ‘Better Record’ —-Surprise— Nice work! You have our upmost respect for your time and energy put into this endeavor, wish we could indulge ourselves more of your recommendations. Will do what we can. Thanks for the experience, a real joy and education.

Rick K.

 

For Pete’s Sake, What’s Wrong With Blue? – Thoughts on “The Definitive Vinyl” Version

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In 2007 a customer took issue with our summary rejection of the new Blue.

Tom, 

I find it curious you are not carrying the new Joni Mitchell Blue vinyl issue. Even to the point of saying you can do better… for 25 bucks? After clicking on the LP cover and reading the comments from over the years it makes me wonder what your agenda really is. I paid $250 for a wonderful WLP and this Rhino issue smokes it, even as good as it is. I even have a Cd cut from this mastering session off the analog FLAT, not Dolby tapes and this vinyl even beats it…. of course just my opinion.

I have listened on $100,000 systems, all the way down to portable units, solid state and tube and there is no denying this is the definitive vinyl version….. and again for 25.00. What a bargain.

Maybe all you did was look at that Rhino sticker and think back to the Grateful Dead records they did a few years ago (horrible) and just assumed this wasn’t up to Better Records standards.

Thanks for reading. I enjoy your e mails and store….

Tom

Tom,

We don’t review records based on their labels or stickers. And of course we never assume anything about the sound of a record. We talk about this stuff all the time. Here’s a relevant quote:

My approach to reviewing records is pure skepticism: a record sounds good if it sounds good, regardless of how it was made, who made it, or why. I’ve heard lots of expensive so-called audiophile equipment do a pretty poor job of making music over the years, the owners of which had an armful of reasons for why the sound should be truly awe-inspiring. But it just wasn’t. Most fancy gold faceplates are nothing but lipstick on a pig in my opinion.

I heard Blue poorly reproduced at a friend’s house, and this is probably the best explanation for this letter writer’s inability to understand our position on Blue.

And paying $250 for a White Label Demo that apparently doesn’t sound good is the height of audiophile collector foolishness. That money should have gone for better equipment or room treatments or tweaks, something, anything, to make this guy’s stereo and room work better than they do.

Actually this brings up a good point. If I had to choose one record that separates the men from the boys, the stereos that really work from the phony, lifeless audiophile systems you might read about in the magazines or hear at an audio show, Blue would be a darn good choice.

The problem there is that you have to be one serious record collector to have a great copy of Blue. But good pressings are out there, if you can clean and play them properly. This is why we created the Blue Game. It can be done, and we can help you get there, but most of the work has to be done by you.

Naturally we are happy to do the shootouts for you and charge you the pretty penny the winners command, but for those of you who want to find out what’s wrong with the new Blue and don’t want to buy a Hot Stamper from us, there is a third way: Blue, The Game.