10 Recent Commentaries for Your Reading Pleasure

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Prokofiev / Peter & The Wolf / Bernstein

What to Listen For


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.
What makes this an especially good Peter and the Wolf? The timbre of the solo instruments — bassoon, oboe, flute — each of which serves to represent a character in the story. Shockingly lifelike, the tonality is unerringly Right On The Money (ROTM) throughout. That makes this pressing both a superb Demo Disc as well as a top quality Audio Test Disc.

When you hear the bassoon or clarinet or oboe playing their solo parts on this record you should be knocked out by how real those instruments sound. Man, this is analog at its best.

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Richard & Linda Thompson – Shoot Out The Lights
Bigger, Taller, Wider, Deeper



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.
One of the qualities we don’t talk about nearly enough on the site is the SIZE of a record’s presentation. Some copies of the album don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. Other copies do. They create a huge soundfield from which the instruments and voices positively jump out of the speakers. When you hear a copy that can do that, needless to say (to anyone who’s actually bought some of our best Hot Stamper pressings), it’s an entirely different listening experience.

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Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac
A Demo Disc for Bass



Another in our series of Demo Discs for Bass.
One of the special qualities this album has is AMAZINGLY well-defined, punchy, deep BASS — the kind you just never hear on most records (or most pressings of this album for that matter).The bass is typically bloated on most copies of this album, something that is especially true for the MoFi. When you get a copy with note-like, properly balanced bass, the whole album works. Bass is the foundation of the music. When the bass is blubbery and ill-defined, the music itself sounds blurred. It loses its focus.

It’s also very dynamic and punchy. The kick drum sounds exactly right — there’s a room around it, just exactly as you would hear it if you were in the studio with the band!

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Careful Shootouts and Critical Listening




My first note on side one is “HTF” — Hard To Fault. The sound we were hearing was both rich and sweet, with easily recognized, unerringly correct timbres for all seven of the instruments heard in the work. The legendary 1959 Decca Tree microphone setup had worked its magic once again. And, as good as it was, we were surprised to discover that side two was actually even better! The sound was more spacious and more transparent. We asked ourselves, how is this even possible?
Hard to believe but side two had the sound that was TRULY Hard To Fault. This is precisely what careful shootouts and critical listening are all about. If you like Heavy Vinyl, what exactly is your frame of reference? How many good early pressings could you possibly own, and how were they cleaned?

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Perez Prado – Pops and Prado
A Killer Bob Simpson Recording



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
A wonderful copy with a White Hot Stamper side two – unbelievably Tubey Magical and spacious. Side one was Super Hot and maybe a bit better – the top is extended, and the reverb is positively luscious. This is vintage analog at its best — the magic really comes through on this pressing. Credit for the Demo Disc sound of this one must go to the amazing Bob Simpson, working in glorious Webster Hall. BOB SIMPSON won the Grammy for engineering Belafonte at Carnegie Hall you may recall.

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“In Defense of the Beginner Audiophile…”
Shootouts Are a Bitch



One of our good customers wrote to tell us of a shootout he conducted a while back. This is his story.

Tom:

In defense of the beginner audiophile: I am a spoiled owner of many of your Hot Stamper LPs. (So please don’t tell anyone where I live!) You endlessly bash us newbies as not being able to tell the difference in sound between two sides of a record. Fair enough – usually we can’t. In our defense, it is very difficult to tell differences between two sides of an album if BOTH sides sound like s__t! Where I come from this is the norm; two crappy sides.

See all of our Neil Young albums in stock



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Neil Young – Harvest
Listening in Depth


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Harvest.
Many copies we played would work for the heavy songs and then fall behind on the softer numbers. Others had gorgeous sound on the country-tinged numbers but couldn’t deliever any whomp for the rockers. Only a select group of copies could hold their own in all of the styles and engage us from start to finish; we’re pleased to present those exceptional pressings as the Hot Stamper copies of Harvest that so many of you have been begging for.

See all of our Neil Young albums in stock


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Willie Nelson – Stardust
What’s the Right Grade for the CBS Half-Speed of Stardust?



Sonic Grade: B to F, depending on the copy
This Hot Stamper CBS Mastersound LP has the BEST SOUND we have ever heard for the half-speed of this title. It KILLED the other two CBS Audiophile Stardusts we played. If you think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that any two records — domestic, import, audiophile, 180 gram, or otherwise — sound the same, then you simply need to do a shootout or two with records like these to be disabused of that notion.

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Savoy Brown – Getting To The Point
Awesome Bell Sound Pressing



I am not usually a fan of Bell Sound cuttings but this one seems hard to fault. I would be surprised if the British import pressings are any better; this sounds like the real master tape to me. The original Parrot vinyl is going to be hard to find any quieter.
Some sides of some copies were leaner and drier than we would have liked and we marked them down accordingly. The big, rich, Tubey Magical sound of Classic British Rock is critical to the success of this music, and our Hot Stamper pressings are guaranteed to deliver plenty of that sound.

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Stan Getz – Getz Au Go Go 1987 Reissue
Isn’t This Record Supposed to Be Stereo?



As part of our recent shootout for the album we played what turned out to be a later reissue. According to my research it’s most likely from the late ’70s or early ’80s.
As a general rule we make a point to go out of our way to play practically any copy we can get our hands on, in the off chance that a reissue will beat the original. It’s happened plenty of times. Those of you with White Hot Stamper shootout winning copies of some of our favorite titles know what I’m talkin’ about.

See all of our Stan Getz albums in stock
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