How many times have you ...

bought a remaster from the original tape or otherwise and it sounded worse than your decades old original?  For me it is almost always.  Anyone know the reason a pristine original copy isn’t recorded to a master tape and repressed?  
That’s exactly what they do. Its natural to assume that pressing a record is so perfect a process that what you get is down to the quality of the master tape used. Natural, but wrong. Not even close.

In spite of buying lots of MFSL and other "audiophile" reissues going back to the 70’s it was only the last year or so I was able to figure out what’s really going on.

Pressing a vinyl record turns out to be so fussy and technical a process where getting a really good copy requires so many stars to line up that it hardly ever happens. Having a great master tape, great virgin vinyl, great stamper, and exercising extreme care in the entire process are only a start. Then comes the fact, hard to accept but irrefutably true, that no two copies ever sound exactly the same.

A fact I’m sure you like me find hard to believe. So I went to my collection, pulled out all my dupes, and started listening. Sure enough, not only were no two the same, but listening to them side by side the differences were stark enough its kind of a surprise I never noticed before. Well, how many times have YOU played the same damn record back to back like this? Right. Me neither.

This all came about after learning by accident about the Hot Stampers sold by Tom Port at The claims on the site sound way too good to be true. The records seem way too expensive to ever be worth it. But you have 30 days and can return for any reason, even if it turns out you just don’t like the music. So I decided to try and see.

My favorite record is Fleetwood Mac Rumours. I have it on an original purchased back in the day, a Nautilus half speed mastered, and a 45 rpm reissue, but when I played the White Hot Stamper I was floored. The sound was so much more detailed and dynamic, with a solid foundation of bass, and such crazy good inner detail it was more like a whole new system than just another record. None of the others come anywhere close. So much better in fact it took me quite a while just to get my mind around how much better it is.

Since then I’ve added Fleetwood Mac, Taproot Manuscript, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, Honky Chateau, So, Help!, and a few others I’m drawing a blank on right now. Some are Hot Stampers, some Super Hot, a few White Hot, and yes indeed you hear the difference. I always thought my original Taproot Manuscript was a pretty good copy, but it is nowhere even close to the Hot Stamper. Night and day. And "Hot" is the lowest grade!

Every once in a while you get a reissue like the Brothers in Arms MoFi 45 worth buying. By and large though I am so sick and tired of paying $30-60 for reissue crap that $350 for a truly awesome experience is well worth the money. I mean, I have several reissues that are so much worse I heard it on first play, even when it was months since the last time I played my other copy! Reissues are that bad!

This thread will generate a bunch of uninformed comments along the lines of oh its just the stamper, read the hot wax, yada yada. Sorry. I’ve eyeballed these things real good. There’s just no way of knowing without listening. And you could buy and try a LOT before finding one Hot Stamper quality. Do your own due diligence.

So its no wonder almost all the new reissues are crap. For one thing the master tapes, even if original, are old. And yes they do degrade. For another even using all the exact same equipment, and guys like Chad Kassem are to be applauded for their efforts, but the inescapable conclusion is those guys back in the day were practicing an art and just as anyone can buy the paint and brush not anyone can paint the Mona Lisa so not anyone can press a pristine record.

Or so it seems.
That makes the touting of “original master tapes” as the source of dubious value except to the hot stamper crowd.  The lack of talent or technique in the pressing is keeping us from original copy quality which is readily available regardless of the degradation of the masters if a perfect copy LP is available.  Blaming the master is a common misconception then, generally speaking.
That makes the touting of “original master tapes” as the source of dubious value except to the hot stamper crowd.  The lack of talent or technique in the pressing is keeping us from original copy quality which is readily available regardless of the degradation of the masters if a perfect copy LP is available.  Blaming the master is a common misconception then, generally speaking.

Well yes and no. "Original master" isn't dubious at all. Its the essential first step. But only the first of many. "Touting" it however is perfectly sound marketing. Like megapixels for people who don't know nearly as much about photography as they think they do, original master is a selling point for, you know, same reason.

Also in case you missed it there is no such thing as "original copy quality". The whole point of my post is every single individual copy is its own unique example. No two ever exactly the same means no two ever exactly the same. I could explain all day, or you could play a couple dupes and see for yourself. If you do, as hard as this is to get your mind around reading words suddenly it will all become very obvious when you actually hear it.

The one thing we can say for sure generally speaking is there's nothing we can say for sure, generally speaking. Some masters are indeed superb. Some for sure are not.

This gets obvious real fast when you get into Hot Stampers. My White Hot Rumours was so awesome I couldn't wait to hear Peter Gabriel's So. But while the stamper quality is just as awesome they are two very different recordings. Nilsson Schmilsson is another one, astounding in its awesomeness yet completely different.

I prefer and search for original pressings. Still, paying hundred for a particular copy of Rumours seems questionable! I am not that neurotic!
In your case it may very well be your entire system is balanced for those older recordings. :)

As for me, it kind of depends. I've heard a number of remasters that I honestly can't hear any difference at all, then I bought a RM of Pink Floyd's DSotM and they ruined all the effects. I think the RM was MoFi.

@millercarbon Good post. So I head over to Jeez.WHS are expensive. I'm reassured that if I ever become a billionaire, I'll know what to spend some of it on.
I always prefer original pressings, for some BIG names there can be a Japanese pressing from the same tape too. But i try to avoid any modern reissues as much as i can, only if the original will cost a half grand or so. I am more happy to invest in originals (LPs, "12s, "10s or "7s).  
Original Columbia, Decca, London, Mercury, RCA Red, etc. from the early sixties thru the seventies are relatively inexpensive and can give you a taste of clean, clear, transparent, in-the-room sound that is missing from many modern digital recordings and re-issues.
Speaking of which, I was at a show with Chad Kassem demoing Acoustic Sounds' remastered records. Tony Bennett, Hendrix etc. if memory serves me correctly. While the new versions were noise-free and sounded good, the originals, to my ears, were actually blacker, clearer, more transparent, and more enjoyable if not somewhat noisier due to age.
The reissue thing seems to be  hit or miss. Gave up on them.
Always a miss to my ears. Or, perhaps it's just nostalgia. My teen years caught the end of R&R-mid 70s?

I've mentioned in other threads that R&R albums sound as if the bass is punched up.

I have a few record stores in my neighborhood. One of them used to be a source(may still be,but the scouts work on the down low)for Tom Port(Mr Hot Stamper)

I get my stampers for 6-8 bucks.I have the $500 SD Pretzel Logic "WHITE HOT STAMPER" and $300 Yes- Close to the Edge. 
Ha!  I just bought a box of records on ebay and I told the nice man to take out all the "Direct Metal Mastering" ones and throw them out.

There have been 78s that are more interesting to listen to than new reissues.

It is indeed hit-or-miss.  Except Rhino.  Every disc I ever bought from Rhino sounded awful.
If I buy a reissue, it's to acquire a recording I didn't have in my collection or to replace one that was damaged through the years.  

That said, I did get one of the early reissues of the RCA Reiner "Scheherazade" a few years ago.  A friend had an original 1S and a 5S pressing.  We compared them and felt that the reissue was cleaner and more detailed than the original.  The difference was not subtle   His 5S sounded better than his 1S.  This example is the exception rather than the rule in my limited experience.

I also have a couple of original EMI City of Birmingham "Le Cid" that easily outperform the Klavier reissue.  I had the Klavier first and was gifted the originals.  

Just like a many manufacturing of environments back in the day, vinyl stampers were used well beyond their lifespan. Stamping machines were not properly adjusted, maintained at required intervals. It was all about pushing product out the door and not slowing production. Close to shift change? "Keep the presses moving along...I’m not taking the changeover hit on my shift". People talk about unmotivated and downright lazy practices by US automotive employees back in the day? Same thing at record pressing plants (and other industries). The 70’s (well into 80’s and 90’s) was an all time low for quality work practices in all of US manufacturing. Vinyl record production was no different. Mastering is a major part of an LP's sound, however, poor manufacturing practices and materials can kill any sonic advantages of vinyl. First pressings done closest to release date are probably the best you will find (outside of some audiophile version) IMO.
A lot of reissues suck, and it can be VERY frustrating dropping a lot of money to get somthing you'll NEVER want to play again. For example, I got suckered on the 200g DMM Rush remasters, ugh. Absolutely unplayable once you realize how superior the 1970s issues are. Then again, there are a few reissue gems out there - Red Hot Chili Peppers BSSM, Alice In Chains "Unplugged" and "Jar of Flies", for example.
Terrible expensive reissue and hi-end systems ... if the software is not up to that, what good is an expensive audio chain?
Inadequate sound engineer, digital console or other ... whose fault is it?
wlutke, I have no idea what millercarbon is talking about. I have at least 10 maybe 20 (never counted) exact duplicates manufactured at the same time in the same plant from the same master and they sound exactly the same except for the random pop or tic. Now when you are talking about copies made at different times in different plants from even the same master things are going to sound different mostly from different gain values. If they use different masters then they can sound a lot different. More modern masters usually sound better but not always. Millercarbon is right that for getting a great pressing all the stars have to line up but in plants that really care about their product they usually get it right. The commercial guys like Warner and Columbia don't care at all. Fortunately a lot of their great libraries is being given to plants that care. I have reissues of all the Weather Report albums except Heavy Weather and they are great. Sleepnighter is so much better than the original I almost cried and ordered a second copy. The reason I have so many duplicates is for exactly this purpose. I have two turntables which allows me to compare cartridges. I can match volumes with a test record and meter, sinc up the records pretty close and switch back and forth between the tables. I never thought about looking for differences in identical records.
Only millercarbon would do that. And, only millercarbon would hear a difference.