Better Records White Hot Stampers: Now the Story Can Be Told!

Just got shipping notification, so now the story can be told! is a small, incredibly valuable yet little known company run out of Thousand Oaks, CA by Tom Port. The business started out many years ago when Tom Port noticed no two records sound quite the same. Evidently Tom is a sound quality fanatic on a scale maybe even higher than mine, and he started getting together with some of his audio buds doing shoot-outs in a friendly competition to see who has the best sounding copy.   

Over time this evolved into, where the best of the best of these shoot-outs can be bought by regular guys like me who live for the sound, but just don't have the time or the drive to go through all the work of finding these rare gems.

The difference in quality between your average pressing and a White Hot Stamper is truly incredible. If you don't have the system or the ears of course you may never notice. If you do though then nothing else comes even close.   

Tom will say things like only one in twenty copies is Hot Stamper worthy. This doesn't even come close to conveying the magnitude. Last night for example, wife and I were listening to our White Hot Stamper of Tchaikovsky 1812. Then we played another White Hot Tchaikovsky. Then we played the Tchaikovsky tracks from my copy of Clair deLune.  

Without hearing a White Hot you would think Clair de Lune is about as good as it gets. After two sides of Tom's wonders it was flat, dull, mid-fi. Not even in the same ball park. And yet this is quite honestly a very good record. How many of these he has to clean, play, and compare to find the rare few magical sounding copies, I don't even know!  

Copies of Hot Stamper quality being so hard to find means of course they are not always available. This is not like going to the record store. There are not 50 copies of Year of the Cat just sitting around. Most of the time there are no copies at all. When there are, they get snapped up fast. Especially the popular titles. Fleetwood Mac Rumours, Tom Petty Southern Accents, whole bunch of em like this get sold pretty fast even in spite of the astronomically outrageous prices they command. Then again, since people pay - and fast - maybe not so outrageous after all.   

So I spent months looking, hoping for Year of the Cat to show up. When it did, YES! Click on it and.... Sorry, this copy is SOLD! What the...? It was only up a day! If that!  

Well now this puts me in a bit of a spot. Because, see, besides loving music and being obsessed with sound quality, I'm also enthusiastic about sharing this with others. With most things, no problem. Eric makes an endless supply of Tekton Moabs. Talking up Tekton or Townshend or whatever has no effect on my ability to get mine. With however the supply is so limited the last thing I need is more competition. Bit of a bind.   

Even so, can't keep my big mouth shut. Been telling everyone how great these are. One day someone buys one based on my recommendation, Tom finds out, next thing you know I'm a Good Customer. What does that mean? Well is there anything you're looking for? Year of the Cat. That's a hard one. Tell me about it. Might take a while. Take all the time you need. Just get me one. Please. Okay.  

That was months ago. Other day, hey we're doing a shoot-out. No guarantees but should be able to find you one. So for the last few days I was all Are we there yet? Are we there yet? And now finally, like I said, shipped!  

So now I have my Grail, and the story can be told. Got a nice little collection of Hot Stampers, and will be adding more, but this for me is The One. Might not be for you, but that is the beauty of it all. Many of us have that one special record we love. If you do too, and you want to hear it like listening to the master tape, this is the way to go.
bdp247,207 posts02-21-2021 11:53

Not even mentioned are the compromises made in mastering and LP production in the old days. Bass was routinely rolled off below 100Hz (or summed to mono---or both), and compression was applied to reduce dynamic range, and that’s just to name two. The best LP’s ever made are those being made now, by far.

The only part of your post I would argue with is that there are many engineers over the years every bit as competent as Tim .... okay, that and I don't have a bias for tubes (for or against).  But your overall conclusion, I can't argue with. Such is the reality of vinyl. Anything mass produced, it was (is) a matter of the best of the worst. Makes me laugh when people proudly pronounce this the pinnacle of audio reproduction.
millercarbon OP7,755 posts02-18-2021 3:03pm

It’s cute the way you kids think. Like toddlers stacking blocks of wood, imagining it’s the Empire State Building.

Five minutes and even the worst listener will understand just how far off you are. Like, look. I went to see Picasso. I brought home the refrigerator magnet of Starry Night. No matter how much I want to believe, it’s just not the same.

But you go on. Tell yourselves you found oil on canvas. Anyone can see it’s crayon on paper. But you go on. I’m getting a kick out of it. Seriously. Cracks me up.

glupson7,074 posts02-18-2021 4:07pm

Starry Night is Van Gogh.

This exchange .... will never get old.

  "$1100 used, cost of two white hot stampers."

A filtered search reveals most of the current WHS are actually under $400 or so. Bargain-maybe 3-4!!

$500 WHS-

LP your friends will say..."YOU PAID WHAT, FOR THAT?!!
I'm a Zep head, but  a LZ IV......? Maybe a Brit LZ1? Which probably would be listed at $8-1K!!! If I graduate to a Techdas, I'm on it!!

Good stuff in the WHS category.

I have two Love LP's. Both quite good and pedigreed. De Capo and Forever Changes
To think they are potentially $7-$1K is mind-blowing!

Guess I'll just keep bin diving in the 3 for $10's.

I thought the white house stomper was gone. Anyway after reading this thread I am now ready to discard my analog rig. Angels on the head of a pin.