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Super Hot Stamper - John Klemmer - Touch

Super Hot Stamper

John Klemmer
Touch

Mobile Fidelity
Regular price
$99.99
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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this is an outstanding copy of the best MoFi title to ever hit the site - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Musically and sonically this is the pinnacle of Klemmer's smooth jazz - we know of none better
  • The best sounding Smooth - But Real - Jazz Album ever made, and the only vintage MoFi we know of that deserves a place in your collection
  • "Klemmer sets up the mellow grooves that we have come to associate with smooth jazz. But there are no cliche blues licks, none of the crap that players in this genre try to foist upon as "hip.""
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This Hot Stamper copy of Touch is one of the best sounding records Mobile Fidelity ever made, and the only record of theirs I know of that can't be beaten by a standard real-time mastered pressing.

We’re talking Demo Disc quality sound here. The spaciousness of the studio and the three-dimensional placement of the myriad percussion instruments and bells within its walls make this something of an audiophile spectacular of a different kind -- dreamy and intensely emotional.

Shocking as it may be, Mobile Fidelity, maker of some of the worst sounding records in the history of audio, is truly the king on this title.

Klemmer says pure emotion is what inspired the album's creation. Whatever he tapped into to find the source of that inspiration he really hit paydirt with Touch. It's the heaviest smooth jazz ever recorded. Musically and sonically, this is the pinnacle of Klemmer's smooth jazz body of work. I know of none better. (If you want to hear him play more straight-ahead jazz try Straight from the Heart on Nautilus.)

What amazing sides on Touch have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments of the group having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above.

High Frequency Testing

MoFi was famous for demonstrating on an actual scope that the standard domestic ABC pressing had nothing above about 8 or 10 thousand cycles up top, which is why they all sound insufferably dull and dead. Some MoFi copies have no real top end either, which is the reason to we do these shootouts -- to find the copies that are actually mastered and pressed right, not just the ones that should have been.

There's plenty of information above 15K I would guess on this record -- all those delicate percussion instruments ring so sweetly, the highs just have to be extending way up there. (This album would probably make a good test to see how well your tweeters work, as well as for turntable setup. The right tracking weight and VTA are crucial to getting all the harmonics of a record like this right.)

What We Listen For on Touch

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The saxophone isn't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. It's front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put it.
  • The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any MoFi pressing will play, and since only the right MoFi pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

TAS List? Yes It Was!

This record used to be on the The Absolute Sound Super Disc List. I was browsing an issue from the early '80s and there it was on the latest update.

It's one of the few -- so few that they could be counted on the fingers of one hand -- audiophile pressings that really does belong on a Super Disc list.


Side One

Touch
Glass Dolphins
Waterwheels
Free Fall Lover

Side Two

Sleeping Eyes
Body Pulse
Tone Row Weaver
Walk With Me My Love and Dream


Before there was Smooth Jazz....

....there was John Klemmer. Talk about transcending a genre, especially when it didn't exist yet!.

Klemmer sets up the mellow grooves that we have come to associate with smooth jazz. But there are no cliche blues licks, none of the crap that players in this genre try to foist upon as "hip." Indeed, Klemmer has more in common with the late 60's mantra playing of Coltrane or Sanders than those other guys (whose names will not be mentioned.)

This is music straight from the heart, smooth but with a few twists and turns to make it interesting. And look who the sidemen are: Chuck Domanico, Chuck Rainey, Joe (not Jeff!) Porcaro, John Guerin, not to mention Emil Richards and Don Grusin on keys.

In short, an A list of studio cats playing it so sweetly.

Brian Whistler