[This letter is from a long time ago, 2005 perhaps. A killer copy may have been a hundred bucks back then, but times have changed!]
One of our best customers, Gerardo, who has to have his Hot Stampers shipped all the way to the Philipines where he lives, asked recently about Tea for the Tillerman. He wanted to know if we had something that would beat the MoFi pressing. Having recently played one (for condition; we already know how bad the sound is) we said HELL YEAH!
In fact, about the cheapest clean plain old American copy we can dig up for you will beat the pants off the MoFi. So we charged him $100 and sent it on out. Not having heard back, we followed up with this email:
We were just wondering if you ever got to have the Tea For The Tillerman Hot Stamper vs. MoFi / UHQR shootout. Hope it went well!
His reply can be seen below.
Hi Tom and Crew,
I have already listened to my Hot Stamper copy and have forwarded the MFSL pressing to my friend. However, we have not done the shootout because I’m out of Manila now… We should be able to do the shootout as soon as I return.
I have listened to my copy the day it arrived. I’m not very good at describing the sound of an album, that’s why I love reading your commentaries, because it accurately describes what I actually hear. The HS Tillerman is now my reference album where I test all improvements/adjustments I make in my system or my turntable.
All the hot stamper copies I have bought from you really beat all other copies I have. A good example is my Hot Stamper Santana.The instruments sound tonally right, distinctly separate from each other. There is no harshness on the top end and the bass is tight and defined. I had five copies of the album before I got my HS copy, all are”360″ including a WLP copy. None of the five came close to the sound of my Hot Stamper.
I will definitely update you as soon as we finish the shootout next year.
Gerardo, so glad to hear you liked your Tea for the Tillerman. It’s always been one of my favorite test discs as well, although I would say Teaser and the Firecat is even better in that respect.
As for Santana’s first album, that is a record that typically sounds terrible — dull and smeary. We have to work very hard to find a good copy like the one we sent you, and the proof of our efforts is that it beat the five you already owned. As far as stampers go, ours was hot, yours were not! No surprise there. Most copies suck, 360 or otherwise. We look forward to hearing your full report on the Tillerman shootout.