Rick sent us a letter recently after having played his first Hot Stamper, the first record he ever bought from us. At $300 it wasn’t exactly cheap, but the best things in life never are, and certainly there is little in the world of audio that’s cheap and of much value.
This is not a cheap hobby if you want to do it right, and even tons of money doesn’t guarantee you will get good sound. It’s far more complicated than that. To quote Winston Churchill, it takes “blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
Churchill went on to say “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs… Victory, however long and hard the road may be…”
Now, he wasn’t talking about audio, but he could have been, and I certainly am. It takes the serious commitment of resources — money and labor — to get the sound you want. That is the victory I am talking about.
On our Hot Stamper McCartney album, Rick no doubt heard the sound he was looking for — and then some — judging by his letter.
Well, I knew you guys were serious upon receiving the LP in 4 layers of wrapping and padding but when I put the disc on I was pretty stunned. Virtually everything was popping and so musical and rich sounding. Nothing like the 3 other pressings I’ve had of this recording in the past, the last of which I actually sailed out the window after 2 minutes of playing.
Every Night just sounds incredible, especially when he drops the bass an octave. And Maybe I’m Amazed gave me goosebumps for the first time since I bought it the week it came out. Also heard something on that track I never did (or could hear) before. During the guitar solo there’s a single high pitched vocal kind of buried in the background. Almost sounds like a mistake, making me think it could be Linda and Paul did what he could. Pretty wild.
My only very slight criticism is there is some surface noise but this is very overshadowed by all the positives. Overall it is superb. Can I give you guys a short list of LPs I’m looking for?
Thanks so much!
Rick, we are so happy to hear you loved that record as much as we did. We have been touting McCartney’s first solo album for more than a decade. Ever read a word about it in an audiophile context elsewhere? Of course you haven’t! The audiophile world doesn’t know and doesn’t care about great albums like this one, but we at Better Records LIVE for sound and music of this caliber.
It’s a permanent resident of our Top 100 List for a reason: no other solo album by a Beatle can touch it.
As for surface issues, we wish we could find them quiet, but that is simply not an option, especially considering how dynamic the recording is. Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus is roughly what yours was graded and that is certainly not dead quiet by any stretch. As we said:
We’ve used every trick in the book to try to get copies of this album to play Mint Minus, but it’s not usually in the cards. Maybe I’m Amazed, in particular, seems to be noisy on nine copies out of ten. If you’re looking for a copy without any surface noise, you’re probably better off tracking down the DCC Gold CD, which is actually quite good.
But no CD is ever going to sound like the record we sent you, not now, not ever. And we feel like throwing many of the copies we play of this album out the window too! This is where I simply can’t understand how the typical audiophile can make the tradeoff for flat, average sound with quiet vinyl — the sound of these Heavy Vinyl reissues that have sprouted up all over the place, each one worse than the last — and the wonderful, but slightly noisy, sound to be found on the best originals.
Of course the obvious answer is that it is simply too much work to find enough original copies to clean and play in order to come across the proverbial needle in the haystack: the Hot Stamper pressing. You had three copies and, to be honest, you can barely get started with a pool that small. Ten would be my idea of the minimum, and it takes a lot of luck and hard work to find ten clean copies. Maybe even more than three hundred bucks worth of your time and effort, when you get right down to it.
So Rick, welcome to the club. The difference is as real as it gets. All the skeptics in the world can’t change a note of what you heard. They say it ain’t true, but you have the record in your hands that proves them wrong. That record is The Truth. The McCartney Magic is in those grooves and it will not be denied.
Enjoy it. It will give you Lasting Pleasure. That’s why they call it an LP.