John Renbourn – So Clear (John Renbourn Sampler, Vol. 2)


  • An amazing sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and Double Plus (A++) on the second 
  • This wonderful Transatlantic pressing is incredibly clean, clear and open with plenty of energy and space around all of the instruments, just the right sound for this superb guitarist’s music
  • This copy is about as quiet as we can find them – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • A stellar collection showcasing one of the finest fingerstyle players in the world

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can rarely reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What do the best Hot Stamper pressings give you?

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitar notes, not the smear and thickness so common to most LPs.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The guitar isn’t back there somewhere, lost in the mix. It’s front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put it.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Best Practices

If you have between five and ten copies of a record and play them over and over, pitting each one against the others, the process itself teaches you what’s right and what’s wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the others do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given pressing is reproducing those passages.

The process is simple enough. First you go deep into the sound. There you find something special, something you can’t find on most copies. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.


Side One

Lady Goes To Church
Another Monday
Shake Shake Mamma
Bransle Gay
Bransle De Bourgogne
So Clear
The Lady And The Unicorn

Side Two

Blues Run The Game
Westron Wynde
The Cuckoo
Country Blues

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