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Random Thoughts

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Random Thoughts

Thoughts and observations on issues that relate to recordings, LP pressings, and practically anything to do with playing records. If you want to collect better sounding records and hear them on better sounding equipment, many of the commentaries contained herein should be of interest.

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Records We've Played Vs. Records We've Heard

What's the Difference?

  (Item #: playing_vs_hearing) 



Please note that we should, but often don't, make a vitally important distinction between two words we tend to use interchangeably on the site. There is a difference between the sound of records that we've played and the sound that we've heard.

The stereo, the listening room, our cleaning technologies and who knows what else are all undergoing constant changes. This means that we may have played a better pressing in the past but couldn't hear it sound as good as it does now. The regular improvements we make in all areas of playback make sonic comparisons over time all but meaningless.

See all of our large orchestral recordings in stock


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10cc - The Original Soundtrack

The Best Sounding Record on the Site?

  (Item #: tenccorigi_depth) 



On any given day a Super Hot side one (or better) of The Original Soundtrack might be the best sounding record on the site.

"On any given day" being a day when we don't have a hot German copy of Dark Side of the Moon to offer, or a killer Eagles first album, or a top copy of the self-titled BS&T, or an RL Zep II, or a White Hot Teaser and the Firecat. Most days we don't have such records on the site, and on those days this 10cc album is a recording Tour De Force that would be bigger, bolder, more dynamic, and simply more powerful than any other record we could throw against it.

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Dionne Warwick - Very Dionne

You Know What's Shocking About a Record Like This?

  (Item #: warwiveryd_wtlf) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues that relate to recordings, pressings, and pretty much anything having to do with playing (usually old) records.

What's shocking about a record like this is the fact that the instruments you hear behind and to the side of Dionne Warwick are REAL instruments, and for the most part they are not really being processed much, they are simply being recorded. How many times do you hear a pop album with sound like that? Rarely in our case, and we play them by the hundreds.

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Ambrosia and Its Elusive Hot Stamper Pressings

Sage Advice from Calvin Coolidge

  (Item #: ambrosomew_mistake) 



“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge

If you substitute "finding Hot Stamper pressings" for the words "the human race" you will surely appreciate the point of this commentary.

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Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Music Does the Driving

  (Item #: crosbstillsandnash_overview) 



Of course it's easy to argue that finding good sound on an album with two or more members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, in any configuration, has never been easy. It's the rare copy of either of the first two albums that's even listenable, and the CSN album from 1977 doesn't sound nearly as good as any of the first three Crosby/Nash albums (of which this is the second). Which simply means that the "good" sound of our Hot Stamper copies is far better than what most audiophiles own of any of these guys in combination.
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Judy Collins - Wildflowers

1967 Elektra Tape Vs Vinyl - Where's the Tubey Magic?

  (Item #: colliwildf_wtlf) 



We were surprised that so few copies had the Tubey Magical qualities that we've come to expect from Elektra in 1967. The label was home to two very well-recorded (by none other than Bruce Botnick) bands at the time, The Doors and Love, what happened here? John Haeny, the engineer, worked on Waiting for the Sun, which is an amazing sounding Doors album on the right pressing. Why so few great sounding Wildflowers?
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Graham Nash - Better Days

A Good Reason to Get into Audio

  (Item #: nash_songs_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Songs for Beginners (or playing one of ours).

This is one of the records that convinced me that I needed to actively pursue audio as an enthusiast, that I had to devote the time, energy and money into improving my system so that I could play records like this louder and clearer. I had such inexpressibly deep feelings while listening to this album that I felt compelled to do everything in my power to get it to sound its best.

See all pressings of Songs for Beginners


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The Fantasy Worlds of BH and HP

Decca Vs. London

  (Item #: herrmfanta_decca) 



There’s a reason this record is on the TAS List of Super Discs -- if any LP should be called a Super Disc, this one should. (With Phase Four sound you might even call it a Super-Duper-Disc.)

But Harry is, not atypically, rather misinformed about the catalog number and country of manufacture. He exclusively admits the Decca pressing to his list, and that is clearly contrary to our experience in general as well as our findings for this shootout . The best Decca pressing we played rated no better than a B+ for either side. That’s five -- count them, five -- sonic grades lower than the A Triple Plus sides of our best London copy.

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Hall and Oates

Tubes Vs. Transistors

  (Item #: hallaaband_tubes) 



Hot Stamper pressings of this album have the sound of TUBES. I’m sure it was recorded with transistors, judging by the fact that it was made after most recording studios had abandoned that old technology, so how did they accomplish such a feat?


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Building a Top Quality Record Collection

Step One

  (Item #: collecting_step_one) 



Get Good Sound, Then Good Records.

Until you get your stereo, room and ears working, collecting good sounding records is all but impossible. You will very likely waste a fortune on "collectible records", the kind with Collector Value and very little else. These are in fact the very opposite of Hot Stampers: All their value is tied up in their Music and Sound -- which is where we think it should be.

It's easy to be a collector; you just collect stuff. To get your stereo and room to sound good, and to know the difference when they do, that is very, very hard. I've been at it for thirty-five years and I still work at it and try to learn new things every day. I know there's a long way to go.

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Cat Stevens Albums - Lee Hulko Cut Them All

Good, Bad and Otherwise

  (Item #: steveteafo_hulko) 



Is the Pink Label Island original pressing THE way to go? That’s what Harry Pearson -- not to mention most audiophile record dealers -- would have you believe.

But it’s just not true. And that’s good news for you, Dear (Record Loving Audiophile) Reader.

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Still Crazy About Records After All These Years

Why Not? They Keep Getting Better!

  (Item #: simonstill_better) 



Still Crazy is a perfect example of an album that now sounds far better than we ever thought possible, due mostly to changes to the stereo, the quality of the electricity that feeds it, and last but far from least, the listening room itself.
See all pressings of Still Crazy After All These Years in stock


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