Warning: Hot Stampers May Cause Cognitive Dissonance

Check out the article that Wired wrote about Better Records and our pursuit of Hot Stampers.

If you have time, go to the comments section and read any of the 300 or more postings claiming that the very idea of Hot Stampers is absurd, not to mention the atavistic, borderline fetishistic attachment to vinyl that these self-described “lovers of sound” engage in, and don’t forget how ridiculously expensive the equipment they own must be, making a real trifecta of audiophile insanity.

As if you didn’t know already!

But all of this is true only under one condition: that you have never played one of our Hot Stamper pressings on top quality equipment.

Once you have played one, even the most skeptical audiophile often finds himself becoming as fetishistic about old records as we are (and have been for fifty years).

We sure get a lot of letters from folks who seem to like our old records. Can there really be that much Kool-Aid to go around? Can one sip really change your life?

Good news: there exists a way to find out.

If you live in America and you try one of our Hot Stamper pressings and you decide you don’t like it, we will cover the shipping cost both ways and refund 100% of the money you paid.

With a guarantee like that, wouldn’t it be more absurd to conclude, as so many have done, that what we say about records cannot possibly be true? All without even a hint of empirical evidence to support the idea?

The Real Risk

Of course, the real risk in taking a chance on a Hot Stamper is not financial, since we are covering all the costs.

The real risk is that you might end up proving to yourself that the ideas you have about records are mistaken.

Carefully cleaned and evaluated old records can indeed sound dramatically better than the ones they are making these days. We can actually prove it. You just need to let us send you the proof.

Now wait just a gosh darn minute, Mister Hot Stampers, I hear you saying to yourself.

I own so many of these new records! I’m a smart guy. I’m no dummy. How could I have been so easily taken in? Why did I believe them when they told me these new records were the best? You know, the labels that make them and the reviewers who review them and the forum posters who rave about them. Everybody. I thought we all agreed about this!

It’s not right that your Hot Stamper pressings turn all of what I know to be true on its head. Yes, your records are clearly better, but now I feel I was duped when I bought all these other pressings. I feel like a fool and I don’t like that feeling.

You can see how easy it would be for this turn of events to result in some serious cognitive dissonance, the kind that everyone — even me — does everything in their power to avoid. (Most of it is subconscious and automatic anyway, so you don’t really have to do anything, truth be told.)

The Right Choice Is Clear

Therefore the easiest choice, the smartest choice, the choice practically every audiophile makes (never mind the general public, they couldn’t care less), is to come up with some reasons why our records cannot possibly be as good sounding as we say.

That’s the ticket. This whole Hot Stamper thing makes no sense. It’s not possible. Your customers are wrong. They are deluding themselves. You guys are the ones who are suffering from cognitive bias, not me. You hear what you want to hear on these old records and you ignore what’s good about the new ones.

I’m pretty sure that must be what’s going on. How can everybody else be wrong and somehow you get to be right? That’s really absurd. You should be ashamed of yourself for ripping off gullible audiophiles who are too stupid to realize that what you are selling is the worst kind of snake oil. Either that or false hope. You’re cynically preying on those who have more money than sense and laughing all the way to the bank. That’s on you. There’s a sucker born every minute, and that’s why you will never run out of customers. Hah!

Fair enough. Well said. You figured out this whole thing must be a scam. Awesome. Good job.

As a bonus, you’ve just saved yourself a huge amount of work and avoided a lot of mental anguish. You proved yourself right without lifting a finger. (Well, you did some typing, so I guess that counts as lifting a finger. But it sure was easier than playing a record and critically listening to it. That stuff is hard.)

Now that all that Hot Stamper stuff is out of the way, please allow me to point you toward the one book that explains all the bad thinking we humans constantly engage in, this one.

In my experience, no other book explains more about audio and the audiophiles who pursue it, myself included. I guarantee that if you read this book you will never be the same. It is that eye-opening.

Kind of like playing your first Hot Stamper. Nothing is ever the same again. Even if it is a scam.


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