audiophile quality vinyl best sounding vinyl

The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!

More of The Byrds

More Sixties Pop Recordings

  • This outstanding 360 Label pressing of the band’s sophomore release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • You will not believe how punchy, lively, dynamic, and exciting some of these tracks sound here
  • One of the better sounding Byrds recordings, with a number of their best songs, including the title track
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…more Bob Dylan covers were included, as well, and “Satisfied Mind” was their first foray into country-rock, a direction they would explore in much greater depth throughout the rest of the ’60s.”

(more…)

Al Dimeola / Elegant Gypsy – Di Meola’s Masterpiece

More Al Di Meola

More Jazz Rock Fusion

xxxxx

  • One of the best copies of this phenomenal Fusion Guitar Jazz Classic to ever hit the site — Triple Plus (A+++) throughout
  • Both sides are incredibly lively, full-bodied, open and present — the sound is HUGE and WEIGHTY and it rocks
  • 5 stars: “Generally an explosive affair, although it does have a fair amount of variety. A near classic in the fusion vein.”

SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND for one of the all-time great guitar albums! We were positively BLOWN AWAY by how lively, dynamic and full-bodied this copy sounds. There’s real texture to all the instruments and the bottom end is tight and punchy beyond belief. They just don’t make records with this kind of Tubey Analog Magic anymore.

If you’ve enjoyed the sonics on one of our Hot Stamper pressings of Return To Forever, Weather Report or Santana, I think you’ll find a lot to like about this record.

This album still holds up today. The All Music Guide gives it five big stars, and on a copy like this one I bet you’ll rate the music just as highly. When you have a pressing with this kind of weight, power, clarity and transparency, you can easily appreciate just how amazing the musicianship is. (more…)

Dire Straits – A Tour de Force by Rhett Davies – We Knew It Back in 2007

xxxxx

This Vertigo British pressing of Dire Straits’ wonderful debut has ABSOLUTELY THE BEST SOUND for this album we have ever heard. Folks, this one just can’t be beat. AGAIG is our shorthand for As Good As It Gets, and that’s an understatement when it comes to the sound of this copy. It blew the doors off every record we put up against it; every Vertigo pressing, regardless of country of manufacture or era. If you’re looking for The World Champion, this copy holds the title and is very unlikely to be giving it up any time soon.

Rhett Davies is one of our favorite recording engineers, the man behind Taking Tiger Mountain, 801 Live and Avalon to name just a few of his most famous recordings, all favorites of ours of course.

His Masterpiece Discovered

Well, we just have to say that until something better comes along, THIS IS HIS MASTERPIECE. It has to be one of the best sounding rock records ever made, with Tubey Magic mids, prodigious bass, transparency to beat the band, and freedom from hi-fi-ishness and distortion like few rock recordings you have ever heard.

The man may be famous for some fairly artificial sounding recordings — Eno’s, Roxy Music’s and The Talking Heads’ albums come to mind — but it’s obvious to us now, if it wasn’t before, that those are entirely artistic choices, not engineering shortcomings. Rhett Davies, by virtue of the existence of this pressing alone, has proven that he belongs in the company of the greatest engineers of all time, along with the likes of Bill Porter, Ken Scott, Stephen Barncard, Geoff Emerick and others too numerous to mention.

We Want To Rock

What separates the best Brits from the merely good ones? In a word, ENERGY. The best copies make this band sound like they are on fire, ready to go head to head with the world, fiercely proud of the new sound they’ve created. The not-so-good copies make Dire Straits sound the way Dire Straits usually does — laid back and well under control, perhaps even a bit bored with the whole affair. The best copies show you a band that wants to rock with the best of them, and can.

Demo Disc Sound

Both sides here are OFF THE CHARTS — no copy came close, and none may ever! It’s got all of the punch, all of the energy, and all of the tubey magic that you could ever ask for. The vocals, the bass, the guitars — all PERFECTION. The overall sound is rich, full, smooth, sweet, super transparent, and tonally correct from top to bottom. The presence and immediacy on this copy are UNCANNY and UNMATCHED.

Water Of Love and Sultans of Swing have the kind of Demo Disc sound that will have your audiophile friends drooling and turning green with envy. We can’t all afford $100,000 turntables, but when you have a record that sounds this good, you don’t need one! This record makes it sound like you have 100k in your rig, whether you do or not.

A Big Speaker Record

Let’s face it, this is a BIG SPEAKER recording. It requires a pair of speakers that can move air with authority below 250 cycles and play at loud levels. If you don’t own speakers that can do that, this record will never really sound the way it should.

It demands to be played LOUD. It simply cannot come to life the way the producers, engineers and artists involved intended if you play it at moderate levels.

This is the kind of recording that caused me to pursue Big Stereo Systems driving Big Speakers. You need a lot of piston area to bring the dynamics of this recording to life, and to get the size of all the instruments to match their real life counterparts.

For that you need big speakers in big cabinets, the kind I’ve been listening to for more than forty years. (My last small speaker was given the boot around 1974 or so.) To tell you the truth, the Big Sound is the only sound that I can enjoy. Anything less is just not for me. (more…)

Sinatra / Swing Along With Me – A Top Sinatra Title (You Probably Never Heard Of)

More Frank Sinatra

Yet Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound

  • KILLER sound throughout with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sonic grades
  • These vintage stereo sides are As Good As It Gets — rich, smooth and full-bodied with wonderfully present vocals and all of the Tubey Magic that’s missing from most copies
  • This album is very tough to come by in stereo in anything but beat condition, let alone with this kind of sound
  • “Twelve of the most uninhibited Sinatra things ever recorded!”
  • “Recorded with Billy May, Sinatra Swings was Frank Sinatra’s first straight swing album for Reprise Records. In terms of content and approach, the record is remarkably similar to his final Capitol swing effort, Come Swing with Me.”

Also known as Sinatra Swings.

Five for Five in 1961

Of the five records Sinatra released in 1961 (Sinatra’s Swingin’ Session!!!; Come Swing with Me!; Ring-a-Ding-Ding!; Swing Along with Me; and I Remember Tommy), this is clearly one of our favorites. (And by the way, what’s with all the exclamation marks?)

Billy May deserves much of the credit for the “swing” that’s all over the album. His band is jumpin’, and on the best pressings — such as this one — the sound conveys the energy with virtually none of the grit and hardness you hear on so many of Sinatra’s other albums (Sinatra at the Sands comes immediately to mind, but there are far too many others). You may recall that Billy May was the arranger for some of Sinatra’s best Capitol work, and certainly the three swingingest: Come Fly with Me, Come Dance with Me and Come Swing with Me.

This is 1961, and tubes and ribbon mics are in charge of the live-in-the-studio proceedings. With a vintage original pressing such as this one, you hear the kind of sound they heard. (And if you play the record at ear-splitting levels you will hear even more of that sound. Can you imagine how loud this band was playing?)

We were especially impressed with the large dynamic swings of the arrangements. And the fact that the best pressings never get aggressive even during their most dynamic passages. (more…)

Johnny Hodges / Wild Bill Davis – Wings & Things

xxxxx

  • A KILLER copy of Wings & Things with amazing Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The 1965 stereo sound here is clear, open and highly resolving, yet still incredibly rich, warm, and smooth
  • All the hallmarks of Vintage Analog are fully on display – when was the last time we played a Heavy Vinyl pressing that sounded as good as this one does? We can’t remember
  • This original vintage Verve LP has TONS of Tubey Magic – it’s simply more musically involving than the other copies we played, and that’s the quickest way to win a shootout
  • “The group always swings, and it is interesting to hear Hodges in this setting.”

(more…)

Sade – Diamond Life

More Sade

More Titles We Only Offer on Import LP

xxxxx

  • Triple Triple” for this British import pressing of Sade’s debut — both sides earned our top grade of Triple Plus (A+++)
  • The right UK pressings are dramatically better than the domestic and Dutch pressings we played
  • The key to the best copies is Tubey Magical richness and sweetness, and this vintage analog copy has plenty of both
  • 4 1/2 stars: “[Sade] projects a wised-up sensuality, and the record neither creaks with the revivalism of Harry Connick nor the sterility of Simply Red, to name but two of Sade’s neo-cocktail rivals.”

This copy gives you the kind of present, breathy vocals absolutely critical to this music. There’s no denying the power of Sade’s sultry voice when you can actually hear it. All it takes is a top copy such as this to make her talents — and those of her bandmates — abundantly clear. (more…)

George Michael – Faith

More George Michael

xxxxx

  • Outstanding sound for this George Michael classic – both sides earned Double Plus (A++) sonic grades
  • The domestic pressings are a dubby joke next to these British originals – finally, here is the size, clarity and Tubey Magic you’ve always wanted this music to have
  • With six (6!) Top Ten hits, this album is chock full of brilliantly produced and passionately performed material
  • 5 stars: “A superbly crafted mainstream pop/rock masterpiece, Faith made George Michael an international solo star… All of it adds up to one of the finest pop albums of the ’80s, setting a high-water mark that Michael was only able to reach in isolated moments afterward.”

*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 10 light ticks during the intro to Track 1, Hard Day.

This vintage import Epic 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…)

Atlanta Rhythm Section – Champagne Jam

xxxxx

  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this wonderful copy of Champagne Jam – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The size, clarity, presence and energy are superb – and talk about Tubey Magic, this pressing is overflowing with it
  • If all you know is the sound of the MoFi release from back in the day – compressed, with their penchant for sucked-out-midrange EQ – this copy will be a revelation
  • “… Champagne Jam is one of the group’s strongest releases: a seamless marriage of Southern rock muscle and uptown blues dress… fans will definitely want to make this the first title they consider from the band’s regular album catalog.”

(more…)

The James Gang – Rides Again

More Joe Walsh

xxxxx

  • James Gang’s sophomore release finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides
  • Full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with especially smooth, present vocals – this is the sound we love at Better Records
  • The group’s highest rated record and, as they say on the cover, this album is “Made Loud To Be Played Loud,” especially on a pressing this good
  • 4 1/2 stars: “With their second album Rides Again, the James Gang came into their own. Under the direction of guitarist Joe Walsh, the group — now featuring bassist Dale Peters — began incorporating keyboards into their hard rock, which helped open up their musical horizons.”

This shootout produced little in the way of audiophile quality pressings. Most of what we played was just too noisy to sell. We had a devil of a time finding copies that played as quiet as the grades you see here.

It will be the best sound you have ever heard for the band’s second album, we guarantee it.

The powerfully energetic chorus on Funk #49, the first track on the album and longtime Classic Rock Radio staple, really gets big and loud on this copy. You can be sure that it doesn’t sound that way unless you have one of these very special pressings, the kind with real richness and weight to the sound (depending on the grades of course; not every copy we sell does everything we want it to).

By the way, if you hear some Poco influence pop up of the album, note that Rusty Young guests on Pedal Steel. (more…)

Johnny Hodges – Rippin’ and Runnin’

More Johnny Hodges

xxxxx

  • Johnny’s wonderful 1969 release finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Full, rich, and spacious with tons of Tubey Magic and, better yet, never dry, hard or transistory — true DEMO DISC QUALITY sound
  • Val Valentin directed the engineering on this wonderful recording, and the results are every bit as good as you would expect, assuming you have an early stereo copy that sounds like this one
  • This pressing was simply more musically involving than the other copies we played – that’s the quickest way to win a Shootout

(more…)