Letter of the Week – “How the hell did this get released???”

We Get All Kinds of Letters

Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to Their Heavy Vinyl Counterparts

One of our good customers had this to say about a record he played recently:

Hey Tom,   

Not a hot stamper update, but thought to write briefly…

I’ve been experimenting a bit with some of the Analogue Productions stuff, as unlike you I’ve had some mixed success here. However…

OMG. I just opened their pressing of Junior Welles’ Hoodoo Man Blues. It’s, pardon my crudity, not fit to wipe your ass with. The most disgusting perversion of this record imaginable. I’m choking even hearing it. Rank amateurs at the controls it seems… how the hell did this get released??? Are they deaf? Are they even listening to what they’re putting out, or just pressing money? It’s too nauseating to describe, but all your usual terms fit exactly; no ambience, bloated, unreal EQ, compressed and flat and dead, completely f*cking off. I’m just amazed.

The only reason I ventured here is that I have had some good luck with them on various jazz recordings, where the tricks do seem to help (45rpm, master tapes all analogue, etc.). Not so here. Everything you rage about holds true and is possibly the worst case of it I’ve ever come across.

Just sharing with the thought that there is a RANGE of AP stuff; it’s not all this bad. This pressing is escort-it-off-the-property-and-dispose-of-in-someone-else’s-garbage-can-bad.


(Meanwhile, latest box of hot stampers arrived today, and are glorious as usual.)


I take issue with any of AP’s records being any good.  None of their “tricks” ever managed to help them produce a record I would want to own. The best one I heard was Fragile, and even that was mediocre. [More recent reviews of AP’s records can be found here. Even though some of them are better than Fragile, I still would not want to have anything they’ve ever pressed in my own collection. In 2007 I swore off mediocrities and feel no need to go back on my word.]

You are mistaken about the “Rank amateurs at the controls it seems…”

The man at the controls was Kevin Gray. He is a professional mastering engineer and has been for a very long time. His records don’t sound very good though, as our reviews make clear for those who care to read them.

Here is a typical review for one of this label’s godawful remasterings:

Vince Guaraldi – A Bloated Mess at 45 RPM from Acoustech

We flushed good money down the drain in order to suffer through the 45 Analogue Productions cutting of the album. What a mess. Ridiculously bloated overblown bass is its major shortcoming, but compression and an overall lifeless quality are obvious problems that made us give up on it pretty quickly.

This is the kind of sound that audiophiles want? I find that hard to believe. It’s what they’re stuck with because the good early pressings are just too hard to find and noisy and groove damaged when you do find them.

Most pressings of this album, the OJC and the later reissues especially, are just plain awful, so for the typical audiophile record collector the 45 might actually be a step up over those pressings. Like so much of the heavy vinyl we have played in the last few years, we did not find the sound enjoyable or compelling. I would venture a guess that the DCC gold CD is clearly better overall.

Some audiophiles have complained that we spend too much time bashing Heavy Vinyl, but if ever a record deserved it, it’s that one. It’s a failure as a remastering and an insult to the analog buying audiophile public at large. Searching the web I am glad to see that no one seems to have anything nice to say about it as of this writing. No one should, but that has not deterred the reviewers and forum posters in the past.

Chad was interviewed at the AXPONA show in 2022 by a writer for The Absolute Sound and this is how the conversation went:

“Everything here that I reissued, I wouldn’t have reissued it if I didn’t think it was killer,” Chad said. “At Analogue Productions I’m doing my favorite records, the ones that I think are killer. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

“All of those records, you won’t go wrong. If they don’t impress or satisfy you, you might oughta find another hobby.”

Chad also praised the remastered Analogue Productions pressing of Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues on the Delmark label.

“We’re in Chicago, so if you got a preference for Chicago blues, you need this.”

Our customer is pretty convinced that he “did go wrong.”

Since he was not able to return the record owing to Chad’s “no returns for bad sound” policy, I guess Chad would say that he “might oughta find another hobby.”

Or wise up and stop buying records from someone who apparently doesn’t have faith in his own product.

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.

Heavy Vinyl Commentaries

Heavy Vinyl Disasters

Heavy Vinyl Mediocrities

Heavy Vinyl Winners

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