Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Biz, Part 2

mastertapeboxMaster Tape? Yeah, Right

Let me ask you one question. If so many of the current labels making 180 gram reissues are using the real master tapes — the real two-track stereo masters, not dubs, not cutting masters, not high-resolution digital copies, but the real thing — then why do so many of their records sound so bad?

If you’re honest you’ll say “I Don’t Know…” because, and here I want you to trust me on this, you don’t know. I don’t know either. Nobody does.

Records are mysterious. Their mysteries are many and deep. If you don’t know that you clearly haven’t spent much time with them, or don’t have a very revealing stereo, or don’t listen critically, or something else, god knows what. They’re mysterious; that’s just a fact.

There is no shortage of records that say “Made From the Original Master Tapes” that simply aren’t. I know this dirty little secret for a fact. I would never say which ones those are for one simple reason: it would make it seem as though others must be, when in fact we have no evidence that any of them are.

We want them to be — I’m all for it — but how can we know if they are or not? Face it: we can’t.

We must make do — heaven forbid — with actually opening up our own ears and engaging whichever Heavy Vinyl Reissue we may find plopped on our turntable. Judging the sound, no doubt imperfectly, as best we can.

We WANT to Believe, But We Shouldn’t

If you want to believe the press releases (made from Ian Anderson’s secret master tape!), the hype, the liner notes, the reviews and all the rest of it, that’s your business. Good luck with that approach; you’re going to need it. (When you reach the dead end that surely awaits you, come see us. We’re here to help.)

Our business, on the other hand, is playing records and judging them — again, imperfectly, but imperfectly is better than not at all — on their merits and nothing but their merits. Calling them as we see them.

This is the unique, and to our way of thinking, uniquely valuable service we are able to offer. When you’re tired of wasting your time and money on the ubiquitous mediocrities that populate the major audiophile dealers’ sites and take up far too much space in your local record store bins, let us show you just how much real handpicked-for-top-quality-sound recordings can do for your musical enjoyment.


Further Reading

…along these lines can be found below.

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.

We have 100+ Audio Exercises you can try at home for fun and profit.

We have a section for Audio Advice of all kinds.

And finally we’ll throw in this old warhorse discussing How to Become an Expert Listener, subtitled Hard Work and Challenges Can Really Pay Off.

Because in audio, much like the rest of life, hard work and challenges really do pay off.

 

 

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