Extreme Record Collecting: There’s Only One Way to Find Better Records

What You Can Learn from Experimenting with Records

Record Collecting for Audiophiles from A to Z

A while back, Richard Metzger posted on the Dangerous Minds website a story recounting his lifelong search for better sounding pressings of his favorite albums.

By the third paragraph, it was clear that Richard had the right perspective on this hobby of ours, as he understood all too well how few people are interested in finding great records:

Please allow me to state the obvious right here at the outset: Most people WILL NOT GIVE A SHIT about what follows. One out of a hundred maybe, no, make that one out of a thousand. Almost none of you who have read this far will care about this stuff. If you are that one in a thousand person, read on, this was written especially for you. Everyone else, I won’t blame you a bit if you want to bail.

The story of my life! You could say the same about this blog. Why should anyone care about any of this stuff?

Just because I’m obsessed with records and their sound — even a record as completely forgotten as this one — doesn’t mean that anyone else in his right mind, dangerous or otherwise, should be.

On this subject, it’s best to let Richard speak for himself. Part One of his record obsession can be found here.

Gadzooks – Now there’s a Part Two!

After reading Richard’s post, I contacted him and offered to send him a Hot Stamper pressing of a record of his choosing, about which he was of course free to say anything he liked.

That record turned out to be Aja. It seems he was pretty pleased with the copy we sent him.

Speaking of Aja, I’ve been playing the band’s fifth album since the day it came out in 1977. (I’d been a huge fan for years by then.)

We started doing shootouts for it around 2006, and in the ensuing years a great deal has been written about the album, by us as well as our customers.

If you are interested in a Hot Stamper pressing of a Steely Dan album, we have some of those too, but probably not Aja, because copies of Aja are getting very hard to find nowadays and the ones we do find with killer sound sell quickly.

The picture below was taken many years ago. That particular shootout involved 16 copies, but finding 16 copies of the album to do a shootout nowadays would take us at least two years, and maybe three. They are not sitting in the bins like they used to be.

However, since we have easily played more than a hundred pressings over the many years we’ve been in business, closer to two hundred by now I would guess, we know when Aja sounds right and when it doesn’t.  That’s why it was so easy to know how bad this version was when we first played it back in 2007.

Further Reading

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