Dopey Record Theories

mitchcourt_1504

Court and Spark

Below we discuss some record theories that seem to be making the rounds these days.

It started with a stunning White Hot Stamper 2-pack that just went up on the site..

I implored the eventual purchaser to note that side two of record one has Joni sounding thin, hard and veiled. If you look at the stampers you can see it’s obviously cut by the same guy (no names please!), and we’re pretty sure both sides were stamped out at the same time of day since it’s impossible to do it any other way. What accounts for the amazing sound of one side and the mediocre sound of its reverse?

If your theory cannot account for these huge differences in sound, your theory is hopelessly, fundamentally flawed, not to mention the rather important, one might even say all-important, fact that it has no practical value in the first place — how is anyone to know at what specific time of day a record was pressed? Or how many copies had come off the stamper ahead of it?

Can anything be more ridiculous than the ad hoc, evidence-free theories of some audiophile record collectors desperately searching for a reason to explain why records — even the sides of the same record — sound so different from one another?

The old adage “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” couldn’t be more apt. If you want to know if a pudding tastes good, a list of its ingredients, the temperature it cooked at, and the name of the person stirring it on the stove is surely of limited utility. To know the taste one need only take a bite.

If you want to know the sound of a record, playing it is the best way to find out, preferably against other pressings, under carefully controlled conditions, on good equipment, while listening critically and taking notes.

The alternative is to… Scratch that. There is no alternative. Nothing else will ever work. In the world of records there are no explanatory theories of any value, just as there are no record gurus with all the answers. There are only methods that help you find the best pressings and methods that don’t. The good news is that these methods are explained in detail on this very site, free of charge.

We’ve made it clear to anyone who’s interested how to go about finding better sounding LPs. Once you see the positive results our methods produce we suspect you will no longer be wasting time theorizing about records. You will have learned something about them, at least about some of them, and that hard-won knowledge is the only kind with any real value.

See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock

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