A Guide to Finding Hot Stampers
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.”
Record shootouts are the fastest and easiest way to hone your listening skills, a subject we discuss often on the site and most cogently in this commentary from way back in 2005.
We believe that the only way to really learn about records is to gather a big pile of them together, clean them up and listen to them one by one as critically as you can.
We do not recommend devoting much time to reading about them in magazines or on forums.
We also would dissuade the serious record collector from paying much attention to what the most sought after or expensive pressings are.
And don’t think you can “logically” predict which pressings should sound the best and then just go about acquiring them.
None of these methods are likely to produce good results.
Making mistakes will though. And the more you make, the more you learn. The more you learn, the easier it is to recognize good records and happily part with bad ones. (The latter group we hope will include your major holdings of heavy vinyl and half-speeds.)
All in a days’ work for the crew at Better Recordsl. We makes the mistakes so you don’t have to.
We have a large number of entries in our new Listening in Depth series.
We have a section for Audio Advice of all kinds.
You can find your very own Hot Stamper pressings by using the techniques we lay out in Hot Stamper Shootouts — The Four Pillars of Success.