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.
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I have purchased a Super Hot Stamper, "Breakfast in America". Paid $199 for it. The record was rated A++ for both sides. I played it and compared it to an original copy that I own and did not hear that much of a difference. I do not think it was worth the money, I do not think that there is anything special about the Super Hot Stamper. I also have a MOFI copy that sound great. The best sounding copy I have of this record is a test pressing that I paid $60 on eBay. It is a big step above the Super Hot Stamper.

So when you make statements
Why is it people who never tried and so don’t know insist on acting as if they do? I will let you in on the secret. Tom said it’s okay: Get one, listen to it. Then come back and let us know.

Well I am coming back to let you know, I do know and I did not find the Super Hot Stamper to be any better in sound quality when compared to the other versions I own. It was not a life changing event when listening to the record that some people have gushed about.

I still stand behind my original statement, clean your records and demag them, you will be surprised at the difference in sound quality. Everyone, you do own hot stampers in your record collections, you just don’t know it yet.

No, I use this record as a reference talking and listening point when people ask about better records hot stampers. They can hear for themselves whether there is an audible difference between the albums. So far no one has disagreed with my assessment.
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.
Top. And as usual, not everyone will accept that …. I have no records from him, but i have respect for his business model.
I spent thousands of dollars on top reviewed, hyped reissues which went into my trash box after 1. run…. 20 hot stampers instead would have been a better choice. …But, Toto IV for example, i own MFSL with 12xx serial no. It is listed for several hundred dollars at ebay, the sound does not move me but who cares …a hot stamper from that one is a few hundred $, but it is one from the million used 5$ + shipping records you can buy …. I think, to chose that one as a first press cannot be bad …first press is very good generally? And not expensive …
And another But …
i had the chance to listen to a few hot stampers in a familiar system some time ago … top sound indeed!

Thank you for your impressions

There are so many layers to this, it is an almost unbelievably complex subject. Like for example the last few Super Hot Stampers I got, Sinatra-Basie, Sting Dream of the Blue Turtle, Sinatra Songs for Swinging Lovers. All exceptional records but it would be hard to name three so different sounding!  

Sinatra-Basie is the quintessential audiophile demo disc. Everything is there from the imaging to the incredible presence and it is so perfect one of the last guys to hear it said it was the best he ever heard. Sting has the same incredible detail and presence but is recessed back so far it is like not even the same system. Sinatra Swinging his voice is huge, the space he is in cavernous, almost like it has some reverb going on. 

These are the huge mega-differences between them. On that level they are very different. On another level though, the ability to hear and discern incredibly fine detail deep into the recording, on that level they are all exceptional. This is the realm where Hot Stampers live.  

They are not at all what most expect. They certainly are not what I expected. 

The great thing about it is Tom Port is a real music lover and an audiophile's audiophile. He knows these records like the back of his hand. What I really want are some more music and recordings like Sinatra-Basie. I bet he knows right where they are.