One of our good customers wrote to tell us about his record collection about 15 years ago. We were still recommending Disc Doctor fluid at the time and it has been a very long while since we sold anything but Walker Record Cleaning Fluid, (which we no longer sell, but we sure as hell think you ought to be using it).
Just a note to thank and curse you for opening my ears. On one hand, the audio enhancements (Aurios, Stillpoints, Talisman and Disc Doctor fluid) you’ve suggested have greatly improved my stereo system. I also upgraded my phono cartridge and had the entire front end fine-tuned.
Now, LPs I’d once regarded as mediocre have shown new life and become much more enjoyable. On the other hand, those I’d once thought sounded impressive, have revealed themselves to be uninspiring. My entire Steely
Dan collection, for example, has become a major disappointment.
Almost all the half speeds, heavy vinyl and otherwise “audiophile” type pressings have revealed themselves to be impostors.
What’s an audiophile to do? In my case, all the improvements I’ve made have resulted in a thinning of the herd, so to speak, but I simply can’t listen to crappy vinyl anymore. I’ve always maintained that the music should be the most important thing but, what’s the point of listening to sub-par pressings when you find yourself becoming easily distracted and wanting to hear something with some life in the grooves?
So I say damn you but thank you, Tom, for steering me in the right direction. I’ll have a smaller collection as a result but will appreciate the sonics of what’s left much more. You are a credit to a hobby which is, otherwise, drowning in snake oil!
Thanks for your letter. We can assure you that are Hot Stamper pressings of the Steely Dan catalog are amazing sounding. Would love to have you try one.
Even as recently as the early 2000s, we were still impressed with many of the better Heavy Vinyl pressings. If we’d never made the progress we’ve worked so hard to make over the course of the last twenty or more years, perhaps we would find more merit in the Heavy Vinyl reissues so many audiophiles seem impressed by.
We’ll never know of course; that’s a bell that can be unrung. We did the work, we can’t undo it, and the system that resulted from it is merciless in revealing the truth — that these newer pressings are second-rate at best and much more often than not third-rate and even worse.
Some audiophile records sound so bad, I was pissed off enough to create a special list for them.
Setting higher standards — no, being able to set higher standards — in our minds is a clear mark of progress. Judging by the hundreds of letters we’ve received, especially the ones comparing our records to their Heavy Vinyl and Half-Speed Mastered counterparts, we know that our customers see things the same way.