Guest Commentaries from Robert Brook

Tom Port Discusses Robert Brook’s Recent Shootout for Abraxas

More of the Music of Santana

One of our good customers has started writing a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

If you are new to the audio game, and even if you aren’t, we think you will find much of value there. (If you already think you know it all, his blog will be of little use, but of course neither will mine. You already know it all!)

This link will take you to a comparison Robert Brook carried out between some pressings of Abraxas: his own and a Hot Stamper pressing he borrowed from a friend.

I wrote to him about a few issues I had with his commentary.

Dear Robert,

Of course we love it when one of our records gives you the experience you had.

But their are some fine points to keep in mind so that we present our approach as correctly as possible with no hype.

I would not say you can’t hack a hot stamper.

I would say it is very hard.

You could say something like: “Tom says his superior cleaning techniques make it hard to compete with him. If you have a copy with the same stampers as his, his will sound better most of the time simply because the right cleaning noticeably improves the sound’

Which means that you need a different stamper to beat mine, the stamper of the record that won our shootout, not the one that came in at 2+!

Anyone can do it is our motto.

It’s hard is also our motto. (We have a lot of mottos.)

We only beat your other copies on one side, so imagine if the copy you heard did not have that one great side? That is something to think about!

And all the work you’ve done on your stereo is a key part of hearing Santana, a story we tell often ourselves.

Working on the stereo and working on the collection go hand in hand, you lived it and you know it is the only way it can work.

And now records that you thought were just fine, your copies, are unlistenable. This also is key to my experience.

You recommend doing more shootouts. I would add to your comments that you plan on buying more copies of Abraxas even though you already have some. Buy them when you see them.

And if, after a while, you haven’t found the one that does it, you can buy one from me that will do it.

Your point about the WHS and NWHS is a good one. Hard to beat. Not impossible, but so difficult as to make the effort hardly worth it.

We have no magical powers. We just have a staff of ten and forty years of experience. We can be wrong, but it does not happen very often, and if it does you get your money back.


FURTHER READING

We’ve written quite a bit about Abraxas, and you can find plenty of our Reviews and Commentaries for the album on this very blog.

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Robert Brook Does His Own Shootout for Abraxas

More of the Music of Santana

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Santana

One of our good customers has started writing a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a link to a comparison Robert Brook carried out between some pressings of Abraxas – his own and a Hot Stamper pressing he managed to borrow from a friend.

We’ve written quite a bit about the Abraxas, played them by the score as a matter of fact, and you can find plenty of our Reviews and Commentaries for the album on this very blog.

ABRAXAS and Why We Cannot HACK The Hot Stamper

About a week from now I will address some issues I have with Robert Brook’s commentary, so stay tuned!

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The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds: Analogue Productions Takes on the Hot Stamper

One of our good customers has started writing a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a link to a comparison Robert Brook carried out between two pressings of Pet Sounds – the Analogue Productions pressing and one of our Hot Stampers.

We’ve written quite a bit about the album, and you can find plenty of our Reviews and Commentaries for Pet Sounds on this very blog.

Pet Sounds: Analogue Productions Takes on the Hot Stamper

I have never heard the AP pressing, and have no plans at this time to play one, mostly because not a single one that I have heard on my system was any better than awful.

You can read some of my reviews here:

Analogue Productions

I wrote a very long review of their disastrous Tea for the Tillerman, which you may find of interest:

Cat Stevens / Tea for the Tillerman – This Is Your Idea of Analog?

And followed it up with a two part exegesis on the 45 RPM version. We are nothing if not thorough.

Robert Brook Gets Mugged by an Audio Reality

A fellow audiophile, who also happens to be a friend and good customer, has a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

He recently made an attempt to hear for himself a speaker that others had spoken of highly. He was able to take part in two demos at the homes and offices of “passionate” audiophiles selling the speaker in question — stereo showrooms being a thing of the past — along with lots of other high-end equipment.

Let’s just say that all did not go as well as Robert had hoped.

On the bright side, he now has a newfound appreciation for the listening skills, or lack thereof, of some of the folks in our hobby,

Spatial Audio Lab M3 Sapphires: NOT a Review!

This youtube demonstration of the speakers is worth watching, or at least skimming through, which is about all I could take. I added some of my own comments at the end of Robert’s review which you may find interesting. I expect to have more to say later on.

One quick note: the monstrous Legacy Whisper speaker system I used to own had a similar design, with 4 15″ woofers per side in an open baffle array. It did some things I have never heard any other speaker do, and the free-air design no doubt was a big part of its remarkable ability to move air with great speed and authority above a hundred cycles or thereabouts. Below that, not so much, which turns out to be a problem that is very difficult to solve.

It was fun while it lasted, but it had too many shortcomings, shortcomings its little brother, the Legacy Focus, I discovered to my endless joy did not have. The Focus sounds right to us in every way, which is why it is our reference speaker and will likely remain so far into the future.

I freely admit that there are surely better speakers in the world, I just have not heard them.


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Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Debut Is an Audiophile Must Own

More Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Reviews and Commentaries for Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Debut

Robert Brook has a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a link to a review Robert Brook wrote for a pressing of the album I had loaned him so that he could hear just how good the album can sound on one of our killer Hot Stampers. Please to enjoy.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Why You NEED a Hot Stamper of THIS Record!

Turntable Set Up Guide Part 2: Dialing In Tracking Force By Ear

One of our good customers has a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below you will find a link to an article about turntable setup. I would have loved to write something along these lines myself, but never found the time to do so. Robert Brook took the job upon himself and has explained many aspects of it well, so if you would like to learn more about turntable setup, I encourage you to visit his blog and read more about it.

I do have some ideas of my own which I hope to be able to write about soon, but for now, check out what Robert has to say.

Turntable Set Up Guide Part 2: Dialing In Tracking Force By Ear

The Townshend Seismic Isolation Platform Is Key to Better Orchestral Playback

One of our good customers has started writing a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a review Robert Brook wrote for one of our favorite tweaks. We have most — but not all — of our equipment sitting on one of these stands. We were big fans of the earlier model all the way back in the early 2000s, the kind that had air bladders inside for isolation and that you had to pump air into with a bicycle pump.

The unfortunate aspect of that design was the fact that the amount of air in the bladders had a profound effect on the sound quality of the system. We would pump up the thing, and then listen, and if the sound wasn’t right we would let some air out. We would do this a couple of times, and if the sound kept getting worse, we would pump the thing up again and start over.

For every shootout. The air pressure changed during the day with the heat, and the bladders did not hold air all that well, so you had to do a lot of pumping and air releasing if you wanted to get the best sound.

Crazy, huh? And that’s in combination with all the VTA adjustments that were needed for each title.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, this design is set and forget, with no adjustments to make (although I have some advice for you if you buy one from us). We ordered one to keep around so that our customers can try it in their own homes before buying one. It should be here in a few months. They are hard to get these days, like lots of things that come from across the pond.

I would, however, like to take issue with the title of this commentary. Getting rid of distortion in your system and getting higher resolution sound, which is what this platform can help you do, is key to every kind of music.

It’s also key to getting your system to the next level, the level at which your mediocre modern pressings seem to fall further and further behind your best vintage pressings. If you keep making improvements such as the ones Robert Brook has been advocating on his blog, at some point all the criticisms we make about these new pressings become obvious. Self-evident even. You won’t need me to point them out to you. You’ll hear them just fine on your own. Many, if not most, of our customers already do, which is why they buy records from us that don’t sound anything like most of those Modern Remastered Records.

The Townshend Seismic Isolation Platform IS The KEY to CLASSICAL!

White Hot and Soaring Ever Higher!

Hot Stampers of The Eagles Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for The Eagles’ Debut

One of our good customers has started a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a link to a comparison Robert Brook carried out with a his copy of The Eagles first album and one of ours.

Eagles: WHITE HOT! and Soaring Ever HIGHER!

Reducing the Glare in Your Audio System – A Thought Experiment

Robert Brook has some crazy ideas about audio.

Some of them he got from me.

We talk about them on his blog.

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Tuesdays with Tom: EPISODE 1 – TRANSPARENCY & TFTT

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Power Management: Suggestions and Results from Robert Brook

With a bit of guidance from yours truly, Robert Brook has carried out some interesting experiments involving the electricity that feeds his stereo.

These are his findings.

Posted on his blog:

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Power Management: Suggestions and RESULTS!

I expect to add some comments of my own down the road.

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