Top Artists – Enya

What It Takes to Be a Contender

More Advice on How to Find Your Own Hot Stampers

What Makes This Enya Pressing a Hot Stamper?

Specifically, what are the criteria by which a record like this should be judged?

Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings:

  • energy,
  • vocal presence,
  • frequency extension (on both ends),
  • transparency,
  • harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key),
  • rhythmic drive,
  • tonal correctness,
  • fullness,
  • size,
  • space, and
  • Tubey Magic.

When we can get all, or almost all, of the qualities above to come together on any given side, we provisionally award it a grade of “contender.”

Once we’ve been through all our copies on one side, we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side.

Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides matched up.

It may not be rocket science, but it is a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.

The result of all our work speaks for itself. We guarantee you have never heard this music — really, any music — sound better than it does on one of our Hot Stamper pressings, or your money back.

Here are some records that are good for testing the qualities we look for in our shootouts:


Enya – Shepherd Moons

More Enya

  • A tough record to find in audiophile playing condition these days – the import vinyl was never all that quiet even back in 1991 when I was selling these as brand new
  • The sound here is airy, open, spacious, and transparent – this may not be our favorite music in the world, but it’s hard to argue with sonics like this
  • Tonally correct, clear and present – here’s a copy that can put a living, breathing Enya right between your speakers
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Shepherd Moons does have one key factor that’s also carried over from Watermark — it’s quite good listening…Enya shows herself to still have it, to grand effect.”

The vinyl on these pressings from the ’90s often had problems like these. I was selling them as brand new imports at the time and they often came with noise issues of one kind or another. (more…)

Enya – Watermark

More Enya

  • Two sides rating a solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER, giving you excellent sound in all respects for this New Age masterpiece
  • The vocals are breathy and full-bodied with staggering immediacy, and the bottom end is weighty and powerful
  • Orinoco Flow (aka Sail Away) is the big hit here and it sounds amazing on a copy like this one
  • 5 stars: “…the subtlety that characterizes her work at her best dominates Watermark, with the lovely title track, her multi-tracked voice gently swooping among the lead piano, and strings like a softly haunting ghost, as fine an example as any.”

The sound here is airy, open, spacious, and super transparent. This may not be our favorite music in the world, but it’s hard to argue with sonics like this. The instruments all have lovely texture, and it’s easy to pick out and follow them over the course of a song. (more…)