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Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_fame) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

The Citizen Kane Suite on this album is to die for -- a real desert island disc for me. (The CD by the way is actually quite good. I have it in the car and play it often.)

The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from "Hangover Square") is superbly well recorded and a brilliant piece of music as well.

See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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Bruch / Scottish Fantasy / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: bruchscott_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

It should go without saying that a good original pressing kills the Classic reissue, and the Classic version is one of the better Classics. Still, it's no match for the real thing, not even close. The Classic is airless, smeary and low-rez, which means that all the subtleties of the music and the performance will be much more difficult to appreciate. For $30 it's not a bad record. I dare say that were you to hear this copy it would be all but impossible to sit through the Classic ever again. (That might be true for all Classic records -- once you hear the real thing it's hard to

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Led Zeppelin - III

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeIII_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Ridiculously bright and harsh, we are proud to say this was one of the Classic Zep releases that we never carried on the site (along with II and Houses, both of which stink).

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums

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Ravel / Concerto in G / Munch

  (Item #: ravelconce_fame) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

This is a wonderful sounding performance of Ravel's Piano Concerto, originally available on Shaded Dog (LSC 2271) and overflowing with Tubey Magical Living Stereo sound from 1958. The Victrola here is from 1964, and may or may not sound better than the average original RCA pressing. LSC 2271 is not a record we run into every day, so comparisons would be speculative to say the least.

What we can tell you is that our Victrola here is big, spacious, transparent and clear, with dead-on tonality throughout.

See all pressings of Ravel's music in stock


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Heavy Vinyl Reviews

Obvious Differences Don't Seem to Register

  (Item #: rimskscheh_reviews) 



There is a newly remastered 33 RPM pressing of the album which has garnered rave reviews in the audiophile press. We have played it and will report our findings at the appropriate time.

Have you noticed that in many of the reviews for the new pressing, the original used for comparison is a Shaded Dog? In our experience almost no Shaded Dog pressings are competitive with the better White Dog pressings, and many of them are just plain awful, as we have mentioned previously on the site. At best one out of three would qualify to be offered as a Hot Stamper; most simply would not make the cut.

See all the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


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Stephen Stills - Manassas

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: stillmanas_debunk_2015) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

This pressing is a disaster. Can you imagine ADDING the kind of grungy, gritty sound that Bernie is famous for to a recording with those problems already? It was a match made in hell. Back in the day when I was selling lots of Classic Heavy Vinyl (the horror, the horror) that was one of the titles I refused to have anything to do with.

See more of our Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young albums in stock


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Moussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

Awesome In Mono

  (Item #: mousspower_mono) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

This is the kind of record that the mono cartridge owners of the world worship. And for good reason. But you don't need to have a mono cartridge to hear how good -- in fact, how much BETTER -- this copy sounds than most of the stereo pressings out there.

I found out about mono classical records one day when I got a mono copy of The Power Of The Orchestra, VCS 2659. It sounded better than any stereo recording of that work I had ever heard. All the instruments were so much more solid sounding, so palpable, so free from distortion, that it made me recognize for the first time what the mono record lovers of the world were talking about.

Read more about the music of Modest Moussorgsky


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Albeniz / Suite Espanola / De Burgos

What to Listen For

  (Item #: albensuite_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Suite Espanola.

Wow, is this record ever DYNAMIC! I would put it in the top 2 or 3 percent of the most dynamic recordings we have played over the course of the last twenty five years. It also has tons of DEPTH. The brass is at the far back of the stage, just exactly where they would be placed in the concert hall, which greatly adds to the realism of the recording.

See all pressings of Albeniz's music in stock


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Liszt / The Music of Franz Liszt / Fiedler

  (Item #: lisztmusic_2442_fame) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

OUT OF THIS WORLD Shaded Dog Living Stereo Demo Disc Quality Sound.

The rich, textured, rosin-on-the-bow lower strings on this record are to die for. Find me a modern record that sounds like this and I will eat it, and by "modern record" we hasten to include both modern recordings and modern remasterings of older recordings. NO ONE alive today can make a record that sound even remotely like this. To call it a lost art is to understand something that few vinyl-loving audiophiles appear to have fully grasped since the advent of the Modern Reissue, which is simply this: they can't compete. After twenty years of trying and literally hundreds of failed examples, they have yet to make a record that sounds as powerful and life-like as this Shaded Dog from fifty years ago.

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Satie, Ravel, Debussy, Faure / The Impressionists / Herrmann

  (Item #: varioimpre_fame) 



Presenting an exceptionally rare and very good sounding Decca Phase IV pressing (with the textured cover, ooh!), the first to ever hit the site. We have been on the lookout for this album for years and somehow cannot find any clean copies, other than this one of course.

Not to worry; this one will do nicely. Three of the six works here have SUPERB better than Super Hot Stamper sound. We went through them one by one and were rather surprised that the sound quality varied so much from track to track. One might conclude from the variation in the sound that the album must be a compilation -- so many of Herrmann's albums are -- but that is not the case, assuming the liner notes are to be believed.

See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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Moussorgsky / The Power of the Orchestra / Leibowitz

  (Item #: mousspower_fame) 



This Shaded Dog pressing of the famous TAS List Super Disc title has TWO AMAZING SIDES! We have rarely heard a copy with such a huge hall sound and so much weight down low. Folks, it doesn’t get much better than this for huge orchestral dynamics and energy.

We used to think that Night on Bare Mountain, which starts off side one, had substandard sound, but on this copy it actually sounds surprisingly good. (There is a Fiedler performance on DG that we love but we rarely find them with good sound and have none to offer.)

See more of the music of Modest Moussorgsky in stock


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Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaivioli_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Classic is both aggessive and lacking in texture at the same time, the worst of both worlds. Bernie's cutting system is what I would call Low Resolution -- the harmonics and subtleties of the sound are nowhere to be found.

See all pressings of Tchaikovsky's music in stock


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Guonod / Borodin / The World of Ballet Vol. 2 / Gibson / Ansermet

  (Item #: varioworld_fame) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

This British pressed Decca compilation has SUPERB RCA Golden Age sound on side one and something very close to it on side two. Even though the album was recorded by Decca, it's got a heavy dose of Living Stereo Tubey Magic coursing through its vinyl veins. It is my belief that there will never be a modern reissue of this recording that could even begin to capture the beauty of the sound found on this LP. Both sides have Demo Disc qualities.

See more entries in our Classical Commentary series


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Philips Classical Recordings

Must They All Be So Thick, Dull and Opaque?

  (Item #: phillips) 


Most Philips records are much too thick, dull and opaque to be taken seriously, by us anyway. In this respect they have many sonic attributes in common with Londons from the '70s and '80s.

Dropping the needle on the Ravel Piano Concertos with Haas, however, was a wonderful surprise. It's big and spacious throughout, with no trace of smear on a piano that is solid and clear. This is a difficult combination to achieve in our experience, the kind of sound we tend to rave about. It sounds right, and when the sound is as right as it is here, the wonderful piano music of Ravel can truly work its magic.

See more entries in our Classical Commentary series


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Ravel / Rachmaninoff / The Reiner Sound / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ravelreine_2183_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

There is simply an amazing amount of TOP END on this original pressing. Rarely do I hear Golden Age recordings with this kind of ENERGY and extension up top. This is of course one of the reasons the Classic reissue is such a disaster. With all that top end energy, Bernie's gritty cutting system and penchant for boosted upper midrange frequencies...

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Ravel's music


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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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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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Stravinsky - The Song of the Nightingale

Thoughts on the TAS Super Disc List

  (Item #: stravsongo_tas) 



Some thoughts on The Absolute Sound’s Super Disc List and one of its more famous members: Stravinsky’s Song Of the Nightingale with Reiner.
See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Stravinsky's music


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Mozart / Quintet - Piano + Winds & Trio

  (Item #: mozarquint_6109_vta) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your chamber music recordings.

This is a handy record for VTA setup as well. Listen for fullness and solidity, especially in the piano, although a rich, full sounding clarinet is a joy here as well.

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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin

Classic Records Reviewed and Recommended

  (Item #: ledzeI_classic) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records Heavy Vinyl LP reviewed.

Considering how bad (or at best mediocre) the average copy of the first Zep album sounds, let's give credit where credit is due and say that Bernie's remastered version on Heavy Vinyl is darn good (assuming you get a good one, something of course that neither I nor you should assume).

It's without a doubt the best of all the Classic Zeppelin titles, most of which were none too pleasing to the ear.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums


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Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: nash_songs_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

I've listened to Nash's first solo outing countless times over the last thirty years, even more than Crosby, Stills and Nash's first album. As I was listening to the Classic pressing I recall thinking "Wow, I don't remember that sound being there; this version is so much better I can hear things I never heard before!" Well, owners of this album (all five of you) will certainly hear things you never heard before, because some of the tracks on this album have been remixed and some of the instruments re-recorded! How about them apples!

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


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Brahms Violin Concerto

Is the 1s Pressing Always the Best?

  (Item #: brahmvioli_1903_myth) 



This early Shaded Dog pressing of a 1958 recording has surprisingly good Super Hot stamper sound on side two. On the second side the sound opens up and is very sweet, with the violin becoming much more present and clear. The whole of side two is transparent with an extended top. Usually the earliest Living Stereo titles suffer from a lack of top end extension, but not this one.

Maybe the 1S is that way. For some reason audiophiles tend to think that the earliest cuttings are the best, but that's just another Record Myth in our experience, easily refuted if you've played hundreds of these Living Stereo pressings and noted which stampers sound the best and which do not.

See more commentaries as well as our in stock recordings featuring the violin


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Classic Pop Vocal

  (Item #: BR_popvocal) 


Classic Pop Vocal albums

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My-Fi Versus Hi-Fi

  (Item #: fidelity) 



We went wild recently over a marvelous copy of the Ted Heath record you see pictured. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound was positively uncanny. This was vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you'll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve upon it.

This is our kind of sound. It's also important to keep in mind that our stereo seemed to love the record. (Stereos do that.) Let's talk about why that might be the case.

Our system is fast, accurate and uncolored. We like to think of our speakers as the audiophile equivalent of studio monitors, showing us exactly what is on the record, with nothing added and (hopefully) nothing taken away.

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Led Zeppelin - II

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeII_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

An absolute DISASTER -- ridiculously bright, ridiculously crude, in short, a completely unlistenable piece of garbage.

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings as a "reference". After all, the Classic pressings are considered by many -- if not most -- audiophiles as superior to other pressings. What could be sadder?

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums

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Rimsky-Korsakov - The Tale of Tsar Saltan

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: rimsktaleo_speakerscorner) 



Sonic Grade: C

We cracked open the Speakers Corner pressing shown here in order to see how it would fare up against a pair of wonderful sounding Londons we were in the process of shooting out a while ago. Here's what we heard in our head to head comparison.

The soundstage, never much of a concern to us at here at Better Records but nevertheless instructive in this case, shrinks roughly 25% with the new pressing; depth and ambience are reduced about the same amount. But what really bothered me was this: The sound was just so VAGUE.

See more of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


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Five Star Classics

  (Item #: BR_fivestar) 


Hot Stamper copies of album that received Allmusic's top 5 Star rating

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Jethro Tull - Aqualung

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: jethraqual_classic_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

By the time the guitars at the end of the title track fade out you will be ready to take your heavy vinyl Classic and ceremoniously drop it in a trashcan. (Actually, the best use for it is to demonstrate to your skeptical audiophile friends that no heavy vinyl pressing can begin to compete with a Hot Stamper from Better Records. Not in a million years.)

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Jethro Tull's albums


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Table / Arm / Cartridge Set-up Advice

  (Item #: set-up) 



Click here for advice on how to go about adjusting tracking weight, VTA, azimuth and the like.

This link will take you to more advice for improving the sound of your playback.



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Records We've Played Vs. Records We've Heard

What's the Difference?

  (Item #: playing_vs_hearing) 



Please note that we should, but often don't, make a vitally important distinction between two words we tend to use interchangeably on the site. There is a difference between the sound of records that we've played and the sound that we've heard.

The stereo, the listening room, our cleaning technologies and who knows what else are all undergoing constant changes. This means that we may have played a better pressing in the past but couldn't hear it sound as good as it does now. The regular improvements we make in all areas of playback make sonic comparisons over time all but meaningless.

See all of our large orchestral recordings in stock


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Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA)

A Few Moments of Experimentation Can Really Pay Off

  (Item #: paganvioli_vta) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically adjust your VTA.

Experimenting with the VTA for this record we found a precise point where it all came together, far beyond whatever expectations we might have had at the time, which revealed a violin floating between the speakers, an effect that as audiophiles we appreciate for the magic trick that it is.

See more commentaries as well as our in stock recordings featuring the violin


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Tchaikovsky / Piano Concerto #1 / Richter / Karajan

Another Audio Myth Explodes

  (Item #: tchaipiano_myth) 



The original Large Tulip early pressings are the best on this record, right?

Nope. It’s just another Record Myth, as explained in the commentary for our recent Hot Stamper 2-pack. That pair of pressings was all the proof we required to back up our contention that either label can be the best on this classic DG recording. Original is better? Again, not so much. Original can be better fits more with our experience.

See all pressings of Tchaikovsky's music in stock


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Paganini / Violin Concertos 1 & 2

Fenn Music Debunked

  (Item #: paganvioli_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

Not long ago we managed to get hold of the Heavy Vinyl pressing from Fenn Music in Germany. A well known record dealer on the web (you may recognize the style) had this to say about it:

Stunning Reissue Of EMI ASD 440 Recorded In Stereo In 1961. This Recording Featuring The Royal Philharmonic Conducted By Alberto Erede Provides Convincing Proof, If Any Were Needed, That Menuhin Was One Of The Great Violinists Of The 20th Century.
See all pressings of Paganini's music in stock


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Sibelius / Finlandia / Mackerras

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sibelfinla_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Classic Records, as expected, ruined this album. Their version is dramatically more smeared and low-rez than this pressing, with almost none of the sweetness, richness and ambience that the best RCA pressings have in such abundance. In fact their pressing is just plain awful, like most of the classical recordings they remastered, and should be avoided at any price.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Sibelius' music


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Sibelius, Liszt, Dukas et al. / Bernard Herrmann Conducts

London Phase 4 Debunked

  (Item #: sibelberna_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

While preparing for a Finlandia shootout recently we happened to drop the needle on this album, a 1977 Phase 4 recording made in Kingsway Hall and engineered by Arthur Lilley. We could hardly believe how bad it sounded. The multi-miking is the worst I have ever heard! We like lots of Phase 4 recordings -- especially those of Bernard Herrmann -- but this is definitely not one of them.

See all Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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The Fantasy Worlds of BH and HP

Decca Vs. London

  (Item #: herrmfanta_decca) 



There’s a reason this record is on the TAS List of Super Discs -- if any LP should be called a Super Disc, this one should. (With Phase Four sound you might even call it a Super-Duper-Disc.)

But Harry is, not atypically, rather misinformed about the catalog number and country of manufacture. He exclusively admits the Decca pressing to his list, and that is clearly contrary to our experience in general as well as our findings for this shootout . The best Decca pressing we played rated no better than a B+ for either side. That’s five -- count them, five -- sonic grades lower than the A Triple Plus sides of our best London copy.

See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock

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Holst - The Planets

Testing with Mars and Saturn

  (Item #: holstplane_emi_wtlf) 



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

Mars on the first side and Saturn on the second present serious challenges for any vinyl pressings you may own.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Holst's music


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Setup Discs, Part Two

Dialing in the Anti-Skate

  (Item #: setup_antiskate) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

This is a superb Demonstration disc, but it is also an excellent Test disc. The sound of the best copies is rich, full-bodied, incredibly spacious, and exceptionally extended up top. There is a prodigious amount of musical information spread across the soundstage, much of it difficult to reproduce. Musicians are banging on so many different percussive devices (often at the back of the stage, exactly where they should be) that getting each one's sonic character to clearly come through is a challenge -- and when you've met it, a thrill.

If you've done your homework with VTA, Azimuth, Anti-Skate and Tracking Weight, this is the record that will make clear just how much you've accomplished.

More pressings of Bizet's music in stock.

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Venice - Solti

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: varioovert_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Classic Records remastered LSC 2313 (VICS 1119) and even the people that like the sound of Classic's Heavy Vinyl complain about it, so you can imagine what we think. What a piece of garbage. Smeary and shrill, it gives no indication of the beauty that is on the tape.

See all of our Living Stereo albums in stock


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Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

The Classic of LSC 2222 is all but unlistenable on a highly resolving system. The opacity, transient smear and loss of harmonic information found on Classic's pressing drives us right up the wall. Who can sit through a record that sounds like that? All the way back in 1994, long before we had anything like the system we do now, we were disparaging the "Classic Records Sound" in our catalogs.

See more of Claude Debussy's music


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The Music of Leonard Bernstein

Hot Stampers Revealed

  (Item #: bernsmusic_stampers) 



Looking to pick up a Hot Stamper locally on your own? Easy -- all the best Decca and London copies (UK pressed only of course) are 1L on both sides. I suppose it's only fair to point out that all the worst copies are 1L on both sides, the reason being that all the copies are 1L on both sides, regardless of how they sound. And here you thought we were actually trying to be helpful.

But we are being helpful. We're being honest with you. Stamper numbers are often misleading. They're misleading in the same way that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The numbers only tell a part of the story, and more often than not they tell the wrong part of the story. No matter how much audiophiles and record collectors want them to, the numbers simply cannot tell you whether the record you have before you, the one with the "right" stampers, is actually a good pressing. Only cleaning it and putting it in a shootout with other copies can do that.

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Witches’ Brew on Classic Records

Is This Really An Audiophile Record?

  (Item #: variowitch_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

I've long held that the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl remaster (scandalously it's on the TAS List of Super Discs) is nothing less than a crime against music lovers and audiophiles of every stripe. Boosting the bass and highs and adding transistory harshness is the last thing in the world Witches' Brew needed.

At the risk of insulting some of you out there, if you think the Classic Records version of this album sounds good, your system must be very dull and bass shy, or you must like really hi-fi-ish sound.

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Sibelius / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sibelvioli_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked. Classic did this title on heavy vinyl in the '90s, which is only fitting since it is one of the better Heifetz recordings. As expected, their version was awful, as bad as LSC 1903, 1992, 2129 and others too numerous to list.

See more commentaries as well as our in stock recordings featuring the violin


  more Info











Moussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mousspictu_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The shrillness, the hardness, the sourness, the loss of texture to the strings, the phony boosted deep bass -- this is the kind of sound that makes my skin crawl. After a minute or two I’ve had it. And the performance is dreadful as well.

HP put this on his TAS List? Yes he did!

See all Pictures at an Exhibition


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Bach / Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Martzy

  (Item #: bach_sonat_1012) 



This Minty British "Sitting Angel" pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, reproducing accurately the sound of a solo violin in what sounds to us like a fairly lively and resonant rehearsal hall. Perhaps accurately is not the right word, since obviously none of us have ever set foot in whatever room the music was recorded in. "Realistic" might be a better choice in that regard, since the sound is believable for what we would expect that room might have contributed to the sound we hear on the pressing in hand.

Interestingly, the sound on side two is a tad better than side one -- the violin is more present and warm, the room less resonant (in a good way).

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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: griegpeerg_2012_reviewed) 



Sonic Grade: C+

The Fjeldstad has long been one of our favorite performances of Peer Gynt here at Better Records.

This record is handy for VTA set-up as well, a subject discussed below in our listing from 2010.

See all pressings of Peer Gynt in stock


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture / Reiner (LSC 2241)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchai1812o_2241_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

HP put the Shaded Dog pressing (the only way it comes; there is no RCA reissue to my knowledge) on his TAS List of Super Discs, and with good reason: it's wonderful!

But for some reason he also put the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl reissue on the list, and that record's not even passable, let alone wonderful. It's far too lean and modern sounding, and no original Living Stereo record would ever sound that way, thank goodness.

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Matthew Sweet - 100% Fun

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sweet100pe_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked. Our Zoo label pressing MURDERED the Classic heavy vinyl reissue. It’s no contest. This is not the easiest record to reproduce, but if you have a big dynamic system, it will really ROCK.

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The Brahms Violin Concerto

Unplug or Suffer the Consequences!

  (Item #: brahmvioli_test) 



The massed strings here, such as those found at the opening, are close miked and immediate in the "Mercury recording style." Your electricity better be good when you play this record, because it presents a test many of you will have trouble passing at even moderate levels.

We've often encouraged our readers and customers to go about unplugging things in their homes in order to test the effect of clean electricity on their playback systems. The opening of this record is a perfect example of the kind of material with which everyone should be testing in order to hear these changes. I'd be very surprised if the strings on this record don't sound noticeably better after you've unplugged a few things in your house, and the more the better.

See more commentaries as well as our in stock recordings featuring the violin


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Ravel, Saint-Saens et al. / Tzigane, Havanaise / Kyung-Wha Chung

  (Item #: raveltziga_7073_0512) 



This 1977 London original English pressing of violin showpieces has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which came as a bit of a shock to us after playing side one, which is as congested and opaque as one would expect from such a late London recording. Side two is fabulous -- full-bodied, rich and sweet. Even though it may have been recorded in 1977, the engineer is Kenneth Wilkinson, and the hall is Kingsway -- not many bad recordings can be attributed to either.

But bad mastering or bad pressing quality are surely not the fault of either; when the record doesn't come out of the oven right, the sound is going to suffer, and the sound on this side one is insufferable all right. But side two is GLORIOUS; it has wonderful music played with the greatest skill and feeling.

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