Record Collecting for Audiophiles – The Fundamentals
One of our good customers, Dan, found much to agree with in our recent Better Record’s Record Collecting commentary and offered up his own two cents worth in the letter below. (Bolding added.)
Just wanted to affirm the new Better Records axiom of “the better your stereo gets, the fewer modern reissues you will own.” My collection has dozens of these Heavy Vinyl reissues, and none of them are holding up after a year and half’s worth of significant improvements to my stereo.
It was only at the beginning of last year that I found myself pleased with roughly 50% of my heavy vinyl purchases. Now, that number has plummeted to less than 10%. Almost everything that’s being put out today is an utter disappointment.
Of course, part of the explanation may be that my listening skills have improved. But it’s hard to imagine that I would have liked dull, dreary, lifeless vinyl a year or two ago. I like to think not.
More probable is that my stereo upgrades have widened the sonic chasm between good, old-fashioned records and their nouveau imposters.
I’d also like to second the avoidance of new vinyl purchases until major stereo improvements are made. I’m trudging through the laborious task of replacing these records with older, better sounding copies. It’s excellent advice to those new to the game or young (or both).
Amazingly, hearing the difference doesn’t even require a Hot Stamper, almost any original or early reissue will beat the Sundazed, Classic, etc. That’s how inferior they are. To borrow from The Who, the sound must change.
I agree with this bit at the end of your letter with one caveat:
Amazingly, hearing the difference doesn’t even require a Hot Stamper, almost any original or early reissue will beat the Sundazed, Classic, etc. That’s how inferior they are.
The caveat would be if you know how to clean your records right, right in this case being the way we recommend you clean them, using Walker fluids and a machine. Old uncleaned records can sound pretty bad. An audiophile pressing may beat your old original — until you clean it. It’s one of the Revolutionary Changes in Audio we talk about all the time, and it can make all the difference in the world on some records, especially old ones.
Thanks for your letter. You are not alone in swearing off these modern mediocrities. Many of our customers went through the same process you have, and it seems they are as pleased with the results as you are.
First Get Good Sound – Then You Can Recognize and Acquire Good Records
Improving Your Critical Listening Skills Is a Good Idea Too
Below you will find our reviews of the more than 200 Heavy Vinyl pressings we’ve played over the years. Feel free to pick your poison.
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.