I suppose it’s only fair to point out that all the worst copies had those same stampers.
There were a few others as well — it was quite a big shootout — but most of those ended up in the middle of the pack.
And here you thought I was actually being helpful. But we are being helpful. We’re sharing with you an important truth.
Stamper numbers only tell a part of the story, and they can be very misleading, in the sense that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. To know what a record sounds like you have to play it.
This is a subject near and dear to us here at Better Records, and has been for many decades.
We discuss it at length in a commentary you may have seen on the site called The Book of Hot Stampers.
FROM OUR ORIGINAL COMMENTARY
Krips’ 1958 recording for Decca is brought to life on a fairly quiet and certainly quite wonderful World of the Great Classics pressing from 1976. This copy was clearly the best we played, showing us a huge hall, with layered depth that was only hinted at on most pressings, regardless of age.
The strings are remarkably rich and sweet. This pressing is yet another wonderful example of what the much-lauded Decca recording engineers of the day were able to capture on analog tape all those years ago.
What was most striking about this shootout, our first for the Krips / LSO performance of the work, was how poorly the original London Bluebacks fared when going head to head with the best vintage reissues. In fact, they were so obviously inferior I doubt we would have even needed another pressing to know that they could not possibly be competitive.
The two we had were crude, flat, full of harmonic distortion, and both had clearly restricted frequency extremes. I remember liking the Blueback pressings I played ten or twenty years ago. Did I have better copies, or was my system not capable of showing me the shortcomings I so clearly heard this time around? Since this is a question that cannot be answered with any certainty, we’ll have to leave it there.