The Modern Heavy Vinyl Reissue – Audiophile Blessing or Curse?

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Heavy Vinyl Counterparts

Two editorial points to make up front:

The run of the mill heavy vinyl pressing is so lifeless and opaque that we think the run of the mill CD, on average, will sound better.

If you’re an audiophile who is currently collecting and playing Heavy Vinyl pressings, you are making the worst choice possible: second- or third-rate sound quality coupled with the hassle and expense of the modern LP.

In this letter Dan tells us of his disappointment with the new reissues he’s been trying:

I can’t tell you how many modern reissues I’ve bought over the past couple months that have lost, and lost badly, to just my one single original or early pressing of an album. Reissues by AC/DC, The Who, ZZ Top, The Rolling Stones, and Patti Smith have all failed miserably against my merely average sounding originals.

As a result, I have almost zero interest in buying anything that’s reissued nowadays. But I believe you said in a recent commentary that the less audiophile pressings you have in your collection the better. So I suppose the fact that I’m weeding these out from my collection is good news as far as my ears and stereo are concerned. But it’s still a sad state for the audio industry as a whole. It’s too bad we can’t tell a different story. I don’t know what in the mastering/pressing process needs to be different, but something does.


Dan, I agree that it is indeed a sad state that we find ourselves in, but is it really any different than it used to be? Audiophiles used to like half-speeds, they used to like Japanese pressings, they used to like direct discs with questionable sound and even more questionable music.

Now they like Heavy Vinyl and Multi-Disc 45 RPM pressings. Same wine, different bottle, if you ask me.

The path out of that morass is exactly the path we have taken and charted for everyone, free of charge.

With our approach to finding the best sounding records, cleaning them the way we do, playing them against each other the way we do, using the sound improving devices and equipment we recommend, we know you can succeed.

If we can do it you can do it.

No One to Guide Them

Most audiophiles have never heard of us. They have no one to guide them in this devilishly difficult record and audio game. They are mostly self-taught, which is precisely the heart of the problem. You can teach yourself pretty much all you need to know in this hobby, but it requires a huge expenditure of time and resources: thousands of hours and ten of thousands of dollars at a minimum. A few hours a week won’t get you very far.

I should know. I was one of those guys who put in a few hours a week for about the first twenty years I spent in audio and in the end I sure didn’t have much to show for it. It was only when I seriously dedicated myself to audio and records sometime in the ’90s that I started making real progress. With more than ten years of nose-to-the-grindstone effort I was ready — eager even — to give up on audiophile vinyl as the dead end I now know it to be.

How Bad Are They, Really

How many can say that? How many audiophiles know how bad their audiophile pressings really are? One per cent? Two per cent? Five?

However many it is, it’s about the same percentage of audiophiles who actually take the hobby seriously and work hard at it. That’s my guess anyway.

Just try telling that to anyone on an audio forum. You will be shouted down in no time by the masses who can’t abide the idea that the latest audiophile pressings on which they’ve spent their hard earned money aren’t the best. Of course they’re the best! What else could they be? Everybody says so. Everybody knows it’s true. The reviewers in the magazines and my fellow forum posters all told me they were the best, so who the hell do you think you are to say otherwise?

What Works For Us…

This is the problem. Unless you can clean and play your “old” records right, and you actually have some good copies to play, none of what we say here will make much sense. You have to hear it for yourself, but to hear it for yourself you have to do a number of things right. Not to put too fine a point on it, you have to do it the way we do. It works for us and we know it will work for you. Dan did it and you can too.

There is such a thing as progress. The word is getting out, slowly, but it is getting out. These things take time. Hell, people are still digging their way out of that rat hole called the CD, so I guess we all just have to be more patient.

Thanks for your letter.

Here are some of our reviews and commentaries concerning the many Heavy Vinyl pressings we’ve played over the years, well over 200 at this stage of the game. Feel free to pick your poison.

More Heavy Vinyl Reviews

Heavy Vinyl Commentaries

Heavy Vinyl Disasters

Heavy Vinyl Mediocrities

Heavy Vinyl Winners

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