More of the Music of Bob Dylan
Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Bob Dylan
One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:
Four 3+ sides that sound unlike any other version of this available, of arguably one of the most important rock records of the century from its top artist… It may be a niche taste compared to Zep etc., but you could probably have charged $2k for this.
Never had any idea Blonde on Blonde could sound so 3D and live… it’s really well recorded.
Reinvigorated my passion for this music which I’ve heard a million times over the decades.
Wow… at $1.3k you definitely underpriced this one!
Awesome to hear. It is a really well recorded album, but how would anyone know that who hasn’t heard it sound like the copy we sent you?
We’d love to charge $2k. It is indeed worth every penny of what you paid. (Some folks think some of our records are worth $15,000, but that may be a bit of a stretch.)
It takes many years to find a copy that sounds like that one. When we get hold of such a copy, we really have no idea whether it’s a diamond in the rough — since all the early 360 pressings we prefer look pretty much the same — or just another run-of-the-mill Columbia pressing with good, not great, sound. Fortunately, once the needle had dropped that copy showed us that it had the right stuff in its grooves.
Thanks for your letter.
We talked about this very issue in a commentary describing bell curve distributions (which, as I’m sure you can imagine, makes for some fun reading!)
Hot Stampers make a lot more sense once one has a better understanding of statistical distributions.
This one piece of information can do more to improve the sound quality of your record collection than any other.
Why statistics you ask? Simple.
We can’t tell what a record is going to sound like until we play it.
For all practical purposes we are buying them randomly and “measuring” them to see where they fall on a curve.
We may be measuring them using a turntable and registering the data aurally, but it’s still very much measurement and it’s still very much data that we are recording (with a healthy amount of interpretation of the data involved, but that’s what we get paid to do, right?).
Many of these ideas were addressed in the shootout we did many years ago for BS&T’s second album. We played a large number of copies (the data), we found a few amazing ones (the outliers), and we tried to determine how many copies it really takes to find those records that sound so amazing they defy not only conventional wisdom, but our understanding of the record itself.
We don’t know what causes some copies to sound so good. We know them when we hear them and that’s pretty much all we can say we really know. Everything else is speculation and guesswork.
We have data. What we don’t have is a theory that explains that data.
And it simply won’t do to ignore the data because we can’t explain it. Hot Stamper Deniers are those members of the audiophile community who, when faced with something they don’t want to be true, simply manufacture reasons why it can’t or shouldn’t be true. That’s not science. It’s anti-science.
Practicing science means following the data wherever it leads. The truth can only be found in the record’s grooves and nowhere else. If you don’t understand record collecting as a science, you can’t do it right and you certainly won’t achieve much success.
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