A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This Hot Stamper Rumours has FREAKISHLY GOOD SOUND! It’s been YEARS since we even tried to find Hot Stamper copies of this album — with over 75 sets of stamper numbers for each side, it’s an extremely taxing project — even for us!
This week, we noticed the stereo really cooking and decided that it was finally time to pull out our 40+ copies and find the ultimate copies of Rumours. We were motivated in part by the tremendous demand we witnessed for the Fleetwood Mac self-titled album we put up a month or two back. We got a lot of emails on that one, but we had only a scant few copies good enough to sell.
Rumours is a different story altogther. We know some of the better stampers and have been acquiring them for more than a year in preparation for this shootout.
Having said that, we may have been ready for the shootout, but we were certainly unprepared for the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SOUNDING copies that we uncovered over the course of the two days we spent playing this twenty million plus seller. The best copies exhibited the kind of presence, bass, dynamics and energy found only on the kind of Super Demo Discs we rave about here endlessly: the BS&Ts, Stardusts, Zumas and the like. When you get a good copy of this record, it is a Demo Disc. Who knew? Who even suspected? The grooves don’t lie, and these grooves have got a lot to say.
Side one here is THE REAL DEAL — Master Tape Sound, As Good As It Gets. It’s open, spacious, and super transparent. Just listen to how clear the background vocals sound — you can easily pick out each voice in the mix and follow it throughout a chorus. The highs are silky and delicate with lots of extension, and the bottom end is punchy, meaty, and well-defined. We heard all the tubey magical qualities here that we had hoped for — amazingly rich, full-bodied, warm and sweet sound with lots of life and energy. Folks, for Rumours, it doesn’t get any better than this. We gave side one the A+++ it so clearly deserved.
Side two has WONDERFUL SOUND as well — exceptionally transparent with superb clarity and super low distortion. The bottom end is HUGE — big, bold, punchy and powerful. The highs are silky and delicate, and the guitars are surrounded by lovely ambience. Side two rates an A++, making this record a truly extraordinary find.
A typical problem with this album is slightly noisy surfaces. We only found a handful of copies that played as quiet as Mint Minus. After using all the various tricks at our disposal and quite a bit of elbow grease, we were able to get most of the copies to play between Mint Minus and Mint Minus Minus. Old Warner Bros. vinyl will never be silent, so this is likely as quiet as you could ever hope to find them.
Some final thoughts: You would have to go through at least 25 or more copies of this record to even hope to find one in a league with our best pressings. That’s a lot of record hunting, record cleaning and record playing! (If you know anything about this record, you know that the average domestic pressing of this album is quite average sounding; the good ones are few and far between.)
And the stampers, as we’ve come to learn, aren’t the whole story. For one thing, there are at least 75 different side ones and 75 different side twos, all cut by Ken Perry at Capitol on the same three cutters from the same tapes — but they all sound different! (Ken also cut the original English and Japanese pressings; his KP is in the dead wax for all to see. The two import KP copies that I heard were quite good, by the way. Not the best, but very good. He only cut the originals though, so practically every import copy you can find will be a reissue made from a dub, ugh.)