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Super Hot Stamper

Talking Heads
Little Creatures

  (Item #: talkilittl_1410) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Two excellent sides, with side one coming in only a half a plus shy of our top grade
  • Superb recording quality for this '85 pop classic -- really big and lively
  • A Rock and Pop Top 100 album and Better Records favorite
  • "Ear candy" -- Allmusic, 4 1/2 stars
See all of our Talking Heads albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Armed Forces

  (Item #: costearmed_1410) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • At or near Double Plus on both sides, ,super full and rich with a big bottom end and zero edge
  • Unusually quiet Mint Minus vinyl throughout
  • 5 Stars and a Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 album
  • AMG is right: Armed Forces "...ranks as his third masterpiece in a row."
See all of our Elvis Costello albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Free
Fire and Water

  (Item #: free_firea_1410) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Two excellent sides, rating between Single and Double Plus
  • The sound is super rich and full-bodied here; All Right Now sounds great
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl, Mint Minus on both sides
  • A true classic and a Better Records Top 100 Title
See all of our Free albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra
Francis A. Sinatra & Antonio C. Jobim

  (Item #: sinatjobim_1410) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Superb sound for this wonderful album
  • The sound is amazingly clear and open, with the kind of breath and ambience that really brings this hushed music to life
  • Very quiet, Mint Minus throughout
  • Sinatra and Jobim are magical here; this is one of our favorite albums
See all of our Sinatra albums as well as all of our Jobim albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Deep Purple
Machine Head

  (Item #: deeppmachi_1410) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A killer pressing, with both sides rating at or better than Double Plus
  • Super lively and clear with great dynamics
  • Exceptionally quiet for any early British copy, Mint Minus on both sides
  • 5 stars in the All Music Guide — they call it part of English Rock's Holy Trinity!
See all of our Deep Purple albums in stock


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Do All the Robert Ludwig Mastered Copies Have Hot Stampers?

  (Item #: brewetarki_fame) 



Even though all the original Pink Label pressings are mastered by Robert Ludwig, they have a marked tendency to be dull, thick and opaque. The sound is just too smooth. The best copies however have the top end and the transparency to let you hear all the guitar and vocal harmonics, surrounded by the large acoustic of the studio.

This time around we discovered something new: one specific stamper that seemed to be the only one with the potential for an extended top end. This special stamper did not always fare well; some copies with it were mediocre. We have always found this to be the way with the "right" stampers; they often let us down and sometimes they really let us down hard.

See more entries in our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doors
Waiting For the Sun

  (Item #: doorswaiti_1410) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Two excellent sides for this classic album, at or near Double Plus throughout
  • The sound is rich and full with good weight to the low end
  • Good luck finding a copy that sounds this good and plays any quieter
  • Top 100 and "...a band at its most dexterous, creative, and musically diverse."
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

The Grateful Dead
Workingman's Dead

  (Item #: grateworki_1410) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • An amazing pressing, with as-good-as-it-gets Triple Plus sound on both sides
  • Super rich and full-bodied with great space and clarity
  • A Better Records Top 100 album, and a truly superb recording
  • 5 stars in Allmusic: "A heartbreakingly beautiful, unquestionably pure statement."
See all Grateful Dead pressings in stock


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Mobile Fidelity's Approach to Mastering

I Have a Theory

  (Item #: littlwaiti_theory) 



This particular MoFi pressing -- the best of three copies we played -- is actually a pretty good sounding record, considering who mastered it. I have a theory about why MoFi's mastering approach here tended to work for the album when it failed so miserably for so many others. It goes a little something like this.

MoFi tended to add bass and treble to practically every record they mastered back in their early days, pretty much regardless of whether or not the master tape they were using needed any such boost. A little extra sparkle up top and a little extra slam down below was what the audiophile public seemed to prefer. I was one of those guys and I know I did.

See all of our Little Feat albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Porgy and Bess

  (Item #: davisporgy_1410) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • Incredible sound, Triple Plus on both sides
  • Stunningly lifelike and natural throughout, absolutely killer from top to bottom
  • "No collection of American jazz can be deemed complete without this recording" -- All Music Guide, 5 stars
See all pressings of this album in stock


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Graham Nash - Wild Tales

And Their Mysteries Many and Deep

  (Item #: nash_wildt_wtlf) 



What hurts so many pressings of this album is a lifeless, compressed quality and a lack of presence. Were the stampers a bit worn for those copies, or was it bad vinyl that couldn't hold the energy of the stamper, or perhaps some stampers just weren't cut right -- these are mysteries, and they are mysteries that will always be mysteries, if for no other reason than that the number of production variables hopelessly intertwined at the moment of creation can never be teased apart no matter how hard one thinks about them. As we like to say at every turn, thinking is really not much help with regard to finding better sounding records.
See more entries in our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: nash_songs_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Songs for Beginners.

This is one helluva well recorded album. Most of the credit must go to the team of recording engineers, led here by the esteemed Bill Halverson, the man behind all of the Crosby Stills Nash and Young albums. Nash was clearly influenced by his work with his gifted bandmates, proving with this album that he can hold his own with the best of the best.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Graham Nash's albums


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Record Cleaning Advice

  (Item #: cleaning_2014) 



Disc Doctor and Walker Audio Prelude are the only fluids we recommend for serious SOUND ENHANCEMENT and cleaning of your LPs. You have never heard what's really in the grooves of your records until you've cleaned them using one of these systems. There is nothing in our experience that works as well.

We've tried many fluids over the years and a not insignificant portion of them actually made our records sound worse (most often by rolling off the high end). It's not a good idea to assume the record cleaning fluid you use is doing its job properly. Many do not, including some that are very popular.

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Super Hot Stamper

Ornette Coleman
The Art of the Improvisers

  (Item #: colemartof_1410_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Side one is nearly White Hot: the sound is superb - smooth and relaxed
  • Side two is Super Hot - rich, Tubey Magical and lively
  • Bones Howe engineered the first two tracks in 1959, Tom Dowd the rest in 60-61
  • AMG: "...one of Coleman's most up-tempo records for Atlantic, but also one of his most soulful."


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Super Hot Stamper

Prokofiev / Scythian Suite & Lt. Kije / Abbado

  (Item #: prokoltkij_dg_0813ss) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides - this copy has DEMO DISC dynamics
  • Our favorite performances for both Kije and the Scythian Suite
  • Only Abbado and the CSO really get the whimsy and wit of Kije
  • Mint Minus vinyl, exceptionally quiet, which adds to the powerful dynamics
See all pressings of Prokofiev's music in stock


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After You've Played 100 Copies of the Album...

What's Left to Learn?

  (Item #: wrong_1410) 



A common misconception of many of those visiting the site for the first time is that we think we know it all.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We definitely don't know it all. We learn something new about records with practically every shootout.

Case in point: the record you do not see pictured to the left. (The record we recently learned something new about -- this, after having played scores and scores of copies over the years -- will remain a secret for the time being. At least until we find another one.)

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A Guide to Finding Hot Stampers

The More Mistakes the Better, Part Two

  (Item #: mistakes_part_2) 



Wise men and women throughout the ages have commented on the value of making mistakes. Here is one of our favorite quotes on the subject.

If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.

We can thank Tallulah Bankhead for that one. When I think of the 20 odd years (early '70s to early '90s) I wasted trying to figure out how audio works before I had learned to develop critical listening skills, it brings to mind that old Faces' song, "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger."
See more entries in our Thinking About Hot Stampers series


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Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

Quick and Easy Listening Test

  (Item #: pinkfdarks_test_2014) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Breathe is my favorite test track for side one for any version of Dark Side Of The Moon, Half-Speed or otherwise. When the voices come in about halfway through the song, you can tell that most copies are too bright simply by listening to the vocals on this track. The cymbals might sound wonderful; lots of other instruments might sound wonderful; and there might be plenty of ambience, detail and transparency. But all of that counts for nothing if the voices don't sound right. And on most copies the voices sound bright, aggressive, grainy and transitory. (This is the case with the new 180 gram 30th Anniversary copy, I'm sorry to say.)

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Pink Floyd albums


  more Info










Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Let's Dance

  (Item #: bowielestd_1410) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Two excellent sides rating at or near Double Plus
  • Both sides are big, rich and tonally balanced
  • A Better Records Top 100 title and a real Demo Disc on a Big Rock System
  • Let's Dance is one of the best sounding Bowie tracks ever recorded
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Pink Floyd
Dark Side Of The Moon

  (Item #: pinkfdarks_1410_1) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • Hot Stamper sound for this classic album on both sides
  • An incredible recording - this copy has the kind of natural tonality and big, spacious soundfield to bring it to life
  • Relatively quiet vinyl for this album, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on side one and Mint Minus on side two
  • A Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 album and all time Rock Classic
See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


  more Info










Super Hot Stamper

Electric Light Orchestra
A New World Record

  (Item #: electnewwo_1410) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Excellent sound, at or near Double Plus on both sides
  • Both sides are super rich and tubey
  • Our favorite ELO record for music and sound
  • Livin' Thing and Telephone Line in Super Hot Stamper sound - awesome!
See all of our ELO albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Little Feat
Time Loves A Hero

  (Item #: littltimel_1410_1) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • A great pressing, with both sides rating at or above Single Plus
  • Rich and full with good clarity throughout
  • Quite vinyl, Mint Minus for both sides
  • One of our favorite Little Feat albums
See all of our Little Feat albums in stock


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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Classic Records Mono Debunked

  (Item #: hendraxis_classic_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

One of the worst things the dummies at Classic ever did. Flat and dry with no tubey magic whatsoever. It positively screams "CHEAP REISSUE."

See all of our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jimi Hendrix
Are You Experienced

  (Item #: hendrareyo_1410_1) 

Our Price: $449.99

  • A truly killer pressing, Double Plus on both sides
  • Big, lively and jumpin' out of the speakers
  • Very quiet, Mint Minus throughout
  • An incredibly difficult album to find good sound for
See all of our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock


  more Info











The Cars - Candy-O

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: cars_candy_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of The Cars' second album.

This is one of our favorite recordings -- a 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.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of The Cars' albums

  more Info










White Hot Stamper

Albeniz/ Iberia - Ansermet

  (Item #: albeniberi_1410_1) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • White Hot on side two, with superb DEMO DISC orchestral excitement
  • Side one is nearly as good, close to White Hot and super tubey
  • The glorious Victoria Hall displays the true Power of the Orchestra here
  • Like Chabrier's Espana, this exotic, colorful music is sure to please any audiophile
See all pressings of Albeniz's music in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Barney Kessel
Barney Kessel Plays Carmen (Mono)

  (Item #: kessebarne_1407s) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $119.00 (You save $30.99 / 21%)


  • White Hot - our notes say "way more dynamic, present and lively." Yeah!
  • Side two is Super Hot - lovely, rich and Tubey Magical
  • Kessel "swings the themes" on these wonderful Bizet melodies
  • This mono original pressing gets the music and the sound right on both sides
See all of our Barney Kessel albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Hugo Winterhalter
Goes Latin

  (Item #: wintegoesl_1406s) 

Our Price: $119.99
Sale Price: $89.00 (You save $30.99 / 26%)


  • 1959 Tubey Magical Living Stereo sound like you will not believe!
  • Both sides are nearly White Hot, with shocking amounts of space and depth
  • This is RCA's approach to Exotica, with the added benefit of Living Stereo strings
  • Gorgeous harmonically rich percussion - the tambourine is to die for
See all of our Living Stereo albums in stock


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Martin Denny - The Versatile Martin Denny

  (Item #: dennyversa_fame) 



This early stereo Liberty label pressing has BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. This is not just another exercise in Bachelor Pad Exotica; there is some fun, swingin' jazz here. Martin Denny on piano has real jazz chops and sympathetic sidemen to play with.
See all of our Martin Denny albums in stock


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Martin Denny
A Taste of Honey

  (Item #: dennyatast_fame) 



This early stereo Liberty label pressing has BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. This is not just another exercise in Bachelor Pad Exotica; there is some fun, swingin' jazz here. The pianist -- whoever he is, he's uncredited along with the rest of the band -- has real jazz chops and sympathetic sidemen to play with.

The music is indeed excellent but the real thrill of course is to hear the richness and sweetness of a 1962 Tubey Magical pressing such as this one. Folks, as you well know, they don't make 'em like they used to.

See all of our Martin Denny albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Billy Joel
52nd Street

  (Item #: joel_52nds_1410_2) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A 2-pack set, with a Double Plus side one and a Triple Plus side two
  • Probably the best sounding Billy Joel recording
  • 4 stars in the AMG, Grammy award for Album of the Year
  • "...he dazzles with his melodic skills and his enthusiastic performances."
See all of our Billy Joel albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Supertramp
Even In The Quietest Moments

  (Item #: supereveni_1410) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent Double Plus sound on both sides
  • The sound is huge and spacious -- Give A Little Bit sounds fantastic here
  • Richer, fuller and smoother than most copies we've played
  • "Elegant yet mildly absurd, witty but kind of obscure" -- Allmusic
See all of our Supertramp albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Martin Denny
Primitiva

  (Item #: dennyprimi_1410) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Side one is Super Hot and so 3-D - the sound is clearly live in a very big room
  • Side two is better than Super Hot, with percussion that is beautifully captured on 1958 tape
  • Side one is exceptionally quiet at Mint Minus for an original Black Label Stereo pressing
  • Transistory? Not on your life. There is nothing but Tubey Magical richness and sweetness
See all of our Martin Denny albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Billy Joel
52nd Street

  (Item #: joel_52nds_1410_1) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • A great pressing, with Single Plus sound on both sides
  • Probably the best sounding Billy Joel recording
  • 4 stars in the AMG, Grammy award for Album of the Year
  • "...he dazzles with his melodic skills and his enthusiastic performances."
See all of our Billy Joel albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Loggins & Messina
Mother Lode

  (Item #: loggimothe_1410) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Two Double Plus sides, truly excellent
  • Big, spacious and lively throughout
  • A surprisingly well-recorded album and a personal favorite from way back
  • Transient speed and clarity make these L&M records so much fun to listen to
See all of our Loggins and Messina albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Cars
Candy-O

  (Item #: cars_candy_1410) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • Two excellent sides, Double Plus or better, really rockin'
  • Big, punchy and super spacious throughout
  • A New Wave Classic that proved this band would avoid the sophomore slump
  • Great lineup of songs and wonderful sound on this Better Records Favorite
See all of our Cars albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Muddy Waters
Hard Again

  (Item #: waterharda_1410_3) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • An excellent copy, at or near Double Plus on both sides
  • Big, punchy low end and rich, solid tonality
  • A superb recording, one of our favorites for '70s blues
  • 5 stars in Allmusic: "A startling comeback and a gritty demonstration of the master's powers."
See all of our Muddy Waters albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Eagles
The Long Run

  (Item #: eaglethelo_1410) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Two excellent sides rating at or near Double Plus
  • Big, present and lively throughout
  • A surprisingly well recorded album - punchy and energetic
  • The title track and I Can't Tell You Why sound great here
See all of our Eagles albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Deja Vu

  (Item #: crosbdejav_1410_2) 

Our Price: $479.99

  • A truly killer pressing, with both sides rating at or above Double Plus
  • Rich and full with huge energy and punch
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on both sides
  • "A rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners" - AMG 5 stars
See all of our Crosby, Stills, Nash or Young albums in stock


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Holst, Steinberg and The Planets

A Shootout Years in the Making

  (Item #: holst_2014) 



In July of 2005 we noted on the site that Hot Stampers for this album were discovered, and interested parties should watch the site for killer copies in the coming months. Obviously we didn’t know at the time that the number of coming months would be THIRTY TWO. That's how long it would be before we could offer our loyal customers truly Hot Stampers, but hey, good things come to those who wait, right?
See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Holst's music


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Holst / The Planets / Mehta

  (Item #: holstplane_6734_fame) 



This 2-pack boasts White Hot Stamper sound on side two for the Mehta Planets. Yes, it IS possible. Side two shows you what this record is actually capable of -- big WHOMP, no SMEAR, super SPACIOUS, DYNAMIC, with an EXTENDED top. It beat every London pressing we threw at it, coming out on top for our recent shootout. Folks, we 100% guarantee that whatever pressing you have of this performance, this copy will trounce it.

But side one of this London original British pressing was awful. We wrote it off as NFG after about a minute; that's all we could take of the bright, hard-sounding brass of War. Can you imagine sound this bad from a TAS List Super Disc record? We can, we played it. If you collect Super Discs based on their catalog numbers and labels and preferred countries of manufacture, you are in big trouble when it comes time to play the damn things. That approach doesn't work for sound and never did.

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White Hot Stamper

Lena Horne & Harry Belafonte
Porgy and Bess

  (Item #: gershporgy_1410) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Stunning Triple Plus sound for side two of this superb Living Stereo recording
  • It's spacious, open, transparent, rich, sweet, warm and Tubey Magical
  • Both sides have the kind of immediacy and breathy naturalness this music needs
  • Both sides play exceptionally quiet for an RCA '60s pressing, a true Mint Minus
See all of our Harry Belafonte albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
Ye-Me-Le

  (Item #: mendeyemel_1410) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Excellent sound, at or near Double Plus on both sides
  • Side one is clean and clear with solid, defined bass and just-right tonality
  • Side two is big and lively with rich, natural sound
  • Norwegian Wood, Wichita Lineman and Easy to Be Hard are the big jams here
See all of our Sergio Mendes albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Linda Ronstadt
Simple Dreams

  (Item #: ronstsimpl_1410) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Two Single Plus sides for this excellent recording
  • Both sides are lively and present
  • A member of the Better Records Rock & Pop Top 100
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG
See all of our Linda Ronstadt albums in stock


  more Info










Super Hot Stamper

Elton John
Elton John

  (Item #: john_elton_1410_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent Double Plus side one, big and rich with excellent presence and a super punchy low end
  • Side two clocks in at Single Plus for its natural, balanced tonality
  • Your Song sounds fantastic here
  • A Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 album
See all of our Elton John albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Ziggy Stardust

  (Item #: bowieziggy_1410_3) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • A very good pressing, with Single Plus sound on both sides
  • Side one is full-bodied and rich; side two is big, clear and lively
  • Super quiet, Mint Minus throughout
  • 5 Stars in AMG, a Rock & Pop Top 100 album
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Jethro Tull
Thick As A Brick

  (Item #: jethrthick_1410_2) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • Two great sides, at or better than Single Plus
  • Clean, clear and lively throughout
  • AMG 4 1/2 stars: "A masterpiece in the annals of progressive rock."
  • An amazing Demo Disc and Better Records Top 100 album
See all of our Jethro Tull albums in stock


  more Info










Whie Hot Stamper

Grover Washington
Mister Magic

  (Item #: washimiste_1410) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An amazing Triple Plus side two and a Double Plus side one; truly killer
  • Spacious and three-dimensional with rich, smooth tonality on both sides
  • Very quiet, Mint Minus throughout
  • 4 1/2 stars in Allmusic: "A classic of R&Bish jazz
See all of our Grover Washington albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Chuck Mangione
Feels So Good

  (Item #: mangifeels_1410) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Two excellent sides, both earning our Double Plus grade
  • Big, clear and super lively throughout
  • 4 stars in Allmusic
See all Hot Stamper pressings by this artist in stock


  more Info










White Hot Stamper

Harry Nilsson
Nilsson Schmilsson

  (Item #: nilssschmi_1410_2) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A truly killer pressing, Triple Plus on side one and Double Plus on side two
  • Big, bold and exceptionally dynamic sound
  • Mint Minus on both sides, very quiet for this album
  • 4 1/2 stars in Allmusic: "A near-perfect summary of everything Nilsson could do."
See all Nilsson albums in stock


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