Go ahead, take a guess.
If you guessed the Cisco LP from 2007, one of the worst sounding versions of the album ever pressed, you win a prize!
Occasionally, when I go searching the web to find out something about a record, I find something I had no idea even existed. Look what I found today: a survey of various pressings of Aja, an album I think I know pretty well since I’ve been playing it since the day it came out in 1977.
Are you learning anything useful from the guy in this video? Does he seem to understand much about the sound of the pressings he is reviewing?
I didn’t think so either. If you know much about records you should be appalled at the nonsensical opinions coming out of this guy’s mouth. This video will of course garner many ten of thousands of hits, but that is to be expected.
Phony record gurus like this guy — as opposed to authentic record gurus like us — have found a home in every corner of the web, full of bad advice for those foolish enough to take it.
We Can Help
Would you like some helpful advice, some “actionable intelligence” vis-a-vis Aja?
Good. You’ve come to the right place. This blog is overflowing with information you can use to do your own shootouts, for Aja as well as any other record you have a good supply of.
When you are done you can make your own video if you like.
And if you follow our methods, your video, unlike this video, would actually be of value to audiophiles trying to find a better sounding pressing of Aja. It sure ain’t the Cisco. If that pressing doesn’t come in last place in the shootout, you need to try harder. You’re not doing it right. (The Japanese pressing you see pictured should do poorly also.)
If this guy had better playback equipment and had developed some basic critical listening skills, he would not be recommending the Cisco pressing. He would be telling you how awful it is, just the way we did back in 2007 when it came out.
The Cisco pressing, so beloved by the gentleman above, also happens to be a good example of a Pass/Fail record. We describe Pass/Fail records this way:
Some records are so wrong, or so lacking in qualities that are crucial to the sound — qualities typically found in abundance on the right vintage pressings — that the advocates for these records, reviewers and audiophiles alike, have clearly failed to judge them accurately.
Tea for the Tillerman on the new 45 may be substandard in almost every way, but it is not a Pass/Fail pressing. It lacks one thing above all others, Tubey Magic, so if your system has an abundance of that quality, the way many vintage tube systems do, the new pressing may be quite listenable and enjoyable. Those whose systems can play the record and not notice this important shortcoming are not exactly failing. Audiophiles of this persuasion most likely have a system that is heavily colored and not very revealing, but it is not a system that is hopeless.
A system that can play the MoFi of Aja without revealing to the listener how risibly wrong it is is clearly on another level of bad entirely, and that we would characterize as a failing system. My system in the ’80s played the MoFi just fine. Looking back on it now, I realize my system was doing more wrong than right. Over the next forty years I worked hard to make it right. It is at the heart of everything we do here at Better Records. Without it there could be no Hot Stampers.
The value of identifying such records is simply this: if you know anyone, or come across anyone, that has anything nice to say about records that are as awful as the ones on this list, you should know that such a person cannot tell a good record from a bad one, and therefore nothing they say about anything on the subject of either audio or records will be of any real value to you if you care about good sound.
Our video maker above fits neatly into this category. Why is he talking about better and worse versions of Aja when he clearly cannot tell the good ones from the bad ones? Why indeed.
Helpful Tips from Real Record Experts (Us)