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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu - White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Déjà Vu

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus*

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*

  • A vintage import copy of CSNY's magnum opus from 1970 with KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them on both sides
  • Side two is reasonably quiet, but side one has two bad marks, one on "Teach Your Children" and another one on "Helpless," so if those are your favorite tracks, this is probably not the copy for you
  • The sound is huge - lively, present and rich in a way that nothing you've heard can compete with
  • And that's especially true if you own any audiophile pressing of any kind - none of the ones we've heard can begin to compete with the real thing we are offering here
  • One of our all-time favorite albums at Better Records and one that almost never sounds this good (unless you know exactly which stampers to buy, of course)
  • We find ten to fifteen RL Zep II's for every Déjà Vu with the right stampers - we've only done two shootouts since 2020, if that tells you anything
  • 5 stars: "...this variety made Déjà Vu a rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners, while mass audiences reveled in the glorious harmonies and the thundering electric guitars..."

More David Crosby / More Stephen Stills / More Graham Nash / More Neil Young

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*NOTE: On side 1, there is a mark that plays 23 times at a moderate to loud level at the start of track 2, "Teach Your Children." There is another a mark that plays 15 times at a moderate level at the end of track 4, "Helpless." On side 2, there is also a mark that plays 3 times at a moderate level at the start of track 3, "4 + 20."

If you play this copy at serious levels and have the kind of full range system that's both loud and clean like live music, we guarantee you will be nothing less than gobsmacked at the size and power of the music on this album, the band's inarguable masterpiece.

Both sides here are high-resolution, tonally correct, Tubey Magical and alive. The vocals are silky sweet, with very little strain or grain (a very common problem in the loudest choruses). The highs are extended, the bass is deep and punchy, and the overall clarity is breathtaking.

Just listen to the guitars during the solos -- you can really hear the sound of the pick hitting the strings.

The rhythm guitars sound meaty and chunky like the best sounding copies of Zuma and After The Gold Rush.

What The Best Sides Of The Group's Magnum Opus From 1970 Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1970
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What To Listen For

Number one: Too many instruments and voices jammed into too little space in the upper midrange. When the tonality is shifted-up, even slightly, or there is too much compression, there will be too many elements -- voices, guitars, drums -- vying for space in the upper part of the midrange, causing congestion and a loss of clarity. This is especially noticeable on songs like "Carry On" on side one and "Country Girl" on side two.

With the more solid sounding copies, the lower mids are full and rich; above them, the next "level up" so to speak, there's plenty of space in which to fit all the instruments and voices comfortably, not piling them one on top of another as is often the case. Consequently, the upper midrange area does not get overloaded and overwhelmed with musical information.

Number Two: edgy vocals, which is related to Number One above. Almost all copies have at least some edge to the vocals -- the boys want to really belt it out in the choruses, and they do -- but the better copies keep the edge under control, without sounding compressed, dark, dull or smeary.

The highest quality equipment, on the hottest Hot Stamper copies, will play the loudest and most difficult to reproduce passages with virtually no edge, grit or grain, even at very loud levels.

Tough Sledding

Folks, I have to tell you, the first two Crosby Stills and Nash (and in this case Young) get my vote as the two best records -- musically and sonically -- with the consistently worst mastering in the history of the world! It's astonishing that so many copies can actually sound so bad; it makes no sense that the average copy of either of these two records sounds the way it does.

It's very difficult to find a copy that sounds anything like this -- the voices are actually smooth, breathy and sweet, not shrill, harsh and sour the way they are on most pressings.

What audiophile in his right mind wants a CSNY record where the voices don't sound right? It's a positive dealbreaker here at Better Records, the number one reason most copies end up in the trade-in pile.

What We're Listening For On Déjà Vu

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

Classic Records

If you bought the Classic Record Heavy Vinyl pressing, you should know by now how badly Classic Records ripped you off.

If, on the other hand, you're not too picky about sound quality and just want to play new records, perhaps because old records are hard to find and often noisy, then fine, the Classic should get that job done for you.

We of course want nothing to do with records like those remastered by Classic Records because we prefer to play good sounding records, and most Classic Records, including this title, are definitely not good sounding, not by our standards anyway.

A Must Own Record

This Demo Disc Quality recording is a masterpiece that demands to be part of any serious Rock Music Collection.

Others that belong in that category can be found here.

Side One

  • Carry On
  • This song is a great test for the quality of the vocals. If you can get through the first part of the song with little to no strain in the voices, you're on the right track.
  • The bass on this track always lacks a measure of definition, but you'll know by track three if your bass is solid enough to set the foundation this music requires to really get going. Carry On has a huge number of overdubs, so it will never have very high-resolution, but on a Hot Stamper copy like this one it can sound wonderful.
  • Teach Your Children
  • Almost Cut My Hair
  • One of the key test tracks we use for side one, this is the only time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young actually sounds like a rock and roll band. According to Stephen Barncard, this was recorded live in the studio. It sure sounds like it. The amount of energy the band generates on this track exceeds all the energy of the first album put together.
  • The reason this track presents such a tough test is that it has to be mastered perfectly in order to make you want to turn it up as loud as your stereo will play. This song is not for sipping wine and smoking cigars. It positively cries out to be played at serious volume levels on monstrously large speakers. Nothing else will do justice to the power of the band's one and only live performance.
  • Listen to Neil in the left channel wailing away like a man possessed. Imagine what his grunged out guitar would sound like coming out of a stack of Marshall amps the size of Chicago. Now hold that sound in your head as you turn up the volume on your preamp. When your system starts to distort like crazy, back it off a notch and have a seat.
  • Helpless
  • Woodstock

Side Two

  • Déjà Vu
  • When you get a good copy of this album, this song sounds so rich and tubey magical you'd swear it couldn't get any better. Huge amounts of deep bass. Acoustic guitars that ring for days. Midrange magic to die for. Unfortunately so few copies sound this way that most audiophiles have no concept of what this track really can do.
  • If I could indulge in some more MoFi and Half-Speed bashing for a moment, the bass "solo" at the end of this song is a great test for bass definition. The notes are relatively high, and it's easy for them to sound blurred and wooly. The MoFi, like virtually all Half-Speed mastered records, has a problem with bass definition. If you own the MoFi, listen for how clearly defined the notes are at the end of this track. Then play any other copy, either of So Far or Deja Vu. It's a pretty safe bet that the bass will be much more articulate. I know how bad the MoFi is in this respect. Rarely do "normal" records have bass that bad.
  • Our House
  • 4 + 20
  • Country Girl: Whiskey Boot Hill/Down, Down, Down, Country Girl (I Think You're Pretty)
  • Neil's big rocker. On a Hot Stamper copy it's out of this world. Listen to how HUGE that organ sounds -- so much harmonic texture, too!
  • Everybody I Love You

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

One of the most hotly awaited second albums in history — right up there with those by the Beatles and the Band — Déjà Vu lived up to its expectations and rose to number one on the charts...

Déjà Vu worked as an album, a product of four potent musical talents who were all ascending to the top of their game coupled with some very skilled production, engineering, and editing. There were also some obvious virtues in evidence -- the addition of Neil Young to the Crosby, Stills & Nash lineup added to the level of virtuosity, with Young and Stephen Stills rising to new levels of complexity and volume on their guitars. Young's presence also ratcheted up the range of available voices one notch and added a uniquely idiosyncratic songwriter to the fold, though most of Young's contributions in this area were confined to the second side of the LP.

Most of the music, apart from the quartet's version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," was done as individual sessions by each of the members when they turned up (which was seldom together), contributing whatever was needed that could be agreed upon. "Carry On" worked as the album's opener when Stills "sacrificed" another copyright, "Questions," which comprised the second half of the track and made it more substantial. "Woodstock" and "Carry On" represented the group as a whole, while the rest of the record was a showcase for the individual members.

David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair" was a piece of high-energy hippie-era paranoia not too far removed in subject from the Byrds' "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man," only angrier in mood and texture (especially amid the pumping organ and slashing guitars); the title track, also by Crosby, took 100 hours to work out and was a better-received successor to such experimental works as "Mind Gardens," out of his earlier career with the Byrds, showing his occasional abandonment of a rock beat, or any fixed rhythm at all, in favor of washing over the listener with tones and moods.

"Teach Your Children," the major hit off the album, was a reflection of the hippie-era idealism that still filled Graham Nash's life, while "Our House" was his stylistic paean to the late-era Beatles and "4+20" was a gorgeous Stephen Stills blues excursion that was a precursor to the material he would explore on the solo album that followed. And then there were Neil Young's pieces, the exquisitely harmonized "Helpless" (which took many hours to get to the slow version finally used) and the roaring country-ish rockers that ended side two, which underwent a lot of tinkering by Young -- even his seeming throwaway finale, "Everybody I Love You," was a bone thrown to longtime fans as perhaps the greatest Buffalo Springfield song that they didn't record.

All of this variety made Déjà Vu a rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners, while mass audiences reveled in the glorious harmonies and the thundering electric guitars, which were presented in even more dramatic and expansive fashion on the tour that followed.