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.
Eric yes it appears we both have amazing copies of Sports. It was one of the first albums I bought when I got into vinyl collecting 6 years ago. Miller the bass on Walking on a Thin line on my copy has amazing depth and tact. It has all the audiophile buzz words. Finally Found a Home sounds even better! 
Its always fun getting a $50+ mofi or AP record and seeing if it lives up to the Huey. Usually not even close. 

Im not dumping on mobile fidelity or other remastering shops. They put out great sounding records. Analogue Productions 180g and 200g Stevie Ray Vaughan releases have amazing sound. If you want an amazing clean new record with all the bells and whistles (stickers, add-ons, posters, cutouts, gatefold jacket) and perfect artwork then by all means they are more than suitable.
I was in the boat for a few years believing everything mofi, AP and others did was far superior to the originals. I drank that master tape Kool aid. Well except my Huey which I thought was an anomaly on its own. It all hit me a month ago when I was listening to a VG+ (nothing fancy) original pressing of Hot Tuna's debut album (a live album  and even through the scratches and pops i was hearing amazing sound and AMAZING bass and mids. It clicked that none of the remastered works can come close to matching the bass and midrange of originals that are done right. In my ears anyway. 
Right. The difference is huge. The Year of the Cat MoFi I had recently was so awful I sent it to Tom for him and the boys to get a good laugh out of it. There's a Pink Floyd DSOTM remaster I bought many years ago that one day I decided to pull out and even though it had been MANY YEARS and my system had changed dramatically over that time still within a minute or so my skin is crawling thinking this cannot be right. Where is the detail? Dynamics? This thing sucks! 

So I pulled out one of my old copies and sure enough, night and day. Neil Diamond Taproot Manuscript, my original copy is quite good, no one would ever say there is anything wrong with it, not at all. But compare to my Super Hot copy, night and day! 

This is like my Fleetwood Mac Rumours, where the worst of my four copies is the Nautilus Half Speed Mastered audiophile pressing! The original vintage vinyl is better. The 45RPM reissue is a little bit better still. But then you hear the White Hot, no contest, the others are not even in the same league! The question is not "Is it better?" The question is, "How can it be SO MUCH BETTER?!?!?!?!!"  

I WISH I could get some of these for less. Tried one guy who swore up and down he had Hot Stamper level quality. Nope. Not even. Oh well. They are out there, of course. When you get one, or even if you think you have one, celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the music! One is the loneliest number. Etc.
Year Of The (Frickin') Cat?  
Uhh, sorry.  Something is just not right here.  
Just to chime in as I now am listening to my “bad” copy of CSN&Y 4 Way Street. I do love the music (which is central to buying WHSs) 
The bad copy was enjoyable but, now listening to the same WHS,
the difference is stunning! The extra layer of SQ is obvious.
But be advised, IMO, the SQ of a WHS needs to be combined with music you know and love. Even buying an artist that you love, if the music is not up to snuff, the WHS may bot be worth it-IME.
But just to underline the WHS experience, the shockingly good sound truly takes one’s breath away! What could be better?