I think that "Hot Stamper" is being WAY over used also. I'm not sure if most sellers, (or buyers) even know what a "Hot Stamper" is, but they claim this in their ads and then jack the price way up???
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I really hadn't noticed that. Are there some particular brands that are particularly abusive of the term "audiophile?"
I tend to buy brands that I know, so maybe that's why I haven't noticed. I ventured out into Radioheads "In Rainbows" and was pleasantly surprised (great music and a great pressing).
I'm with you on Aja. I have the MFSL and the new aniversary pressing Cisco, and there is nothing wrong with the MFSL in MHO. The Cisco and MFSL are different presentations, the Cisco is more forward, richer and fuller lower mids, but MFSL has quieter background, vinyl itself is better. Everybody saying the stock ABC or MCA pressings from 77 of Aja are better than the MFSL is bull I think. I also think the "hot stamper" thing is a crock, no way are these listings worth 100 or 200 bucks. Yeah I've found several versions of domestic pressings that sounded a little different, you could tell the original pressing when the title was first released was a little better. But you can find lots of these at most used record stores.
I actually wrote that guy with the "Aja", he has used that term more than once, after I asked what he plays it on, how many does he have to qualify THAT pressing and a few other questions I was not satisfied with his answer.
Looking back it was silly to do as I had no intention of paying $45.00 for Fleetwood Mac "Tango in the Night" which if my memory serves was what he was pushing but I think he either is really stupid or a scam, maybe even a hybrid of the two but its a free market.
Concerning the use of the term "Hot Stamper", I feel that it is a better term to use as opposed to saying something like "really really good" or "a whole lot better sounding". I don't normally get involved in posts like this because I find emotions tend to run high on certain subjects and this seems to be one of them.
I have used the term "Hot Stamper" in some of my ads. What I mean when I use this term is that this particular LP is significantly better sounding than the average pressing you are likely to find. I also include in my ad the characteristics that make the particular LP outstanding - I try to detail what the LP sounds like. I have gotten quite a bit of flack on Audiogon when I use this term and I have agreed with some of the other members to include the matrix info of the LP in question per their request.
I have been collecting/listening and evaluating LP's for over 40 years. I am also a classicaly trained musician. I think I know what real instruments and music sounds like as opposed to "hype" (which I find on many of the so-called Audiophile releases). When I call an LP a "Hot Stamper" it is because I have compared it against many others of it's kind - either from my own collection or from doing this in conjunction with other friends who bring their "best sounding" copies of the LP for comparison.
I believe it is all about tolerances in the manufacturing process. What condition the Stamper was in, was it recently cleaned, the quality of the particular batch of vinyl used, the consistency of the temperature as applied to the pressing etc. If you took 10 cars that were manufactured on the same day, in the same plant, by the same assemblers and tested them over time do you think they would all get the same fuel economy, have the same performance and exhibit the same level of reliability? Statistics proves that there would be similarities but also differences between them - because of tolerances. It is the same with records. If you bought 10 of the same record and compared them there would be similarities between them and also differences - some slight and sometimes huge.
There is no magic to finding "Hot Stampers". You just must be willing to spend the time and the money to buy and listen/evaluate, clean etc. multiple copies of the same LP. That's a large part of what you are paying for when you buy one of these "Stampers" - you are paying someone else to do all the work for you in the culling process.
I am not a dealer - I don't make my living doing this - this is a "hobby" for me. If you ever have seen my ads I think you might agree that I am probably the only one here on Audiogon that describes the SOUND of the LP. Not everything I sell is NM or better. When the LP has ticks and pops I state it, if it has scratches I state it and if it plays superb and better (much better) than the average recording I state it and describe it.
I am not writing this response to get anyone to agree with me, only to explain why I use the "Hot Stamper" term. If you don't agree with me thats fine, but it would be refreshing for someone who doesn't agree to explain why, un-emotionaly, and give their rationale rather than just dismissing it saying it's a rip-off or BS.
I feel that all too often, many of us in the "Audiophile" community , get too hung up listening to our equipment and we forget what the ultimate goal is - to listen to real-sounding Music (or as close as we can get).
I use terms like "silent pressing with great dynamics" or "great pressing EXCEPT for one low-level scratch impacting 4 revolutions on side 1, track 1" or "average pressing with no scratches or pops" or "typical Dynagroove", etc. These descriptions imply no special knowledge of the stamping and are easy to understand. I mostly buy and sell little, but that's the kind of descriptions that I like to give or receive. I can always ask more questions and so can my buyers.
I wonder if anyone from the pressing/stamping community, goodness knows that covers sixty some years in present 33 1/3 era, can substantiate based on their listening experience that "mass produced" LPs can have substantial sonic differences as did the early RCA and Mercury classical pressings or even a perceptually different sonic signature. I guess I find it odd that the most trained listeners in the world of audiophile, the Harry Pearsons and trained music critics from all those esteemed publications over the years never mentioned such a phenomenon in their analysis of the thousands of LPs they reviewed and we all have read. Many times different labels were mentioned, and different vinyl formulations were certainly noticeable as well as engineering attributes such as direct to disc and half speed et al, but I, after fifty some years of interest in audiophile music, and having come from a trained music background, can not recall anyone ever mentioning this concept of different sound quality from different pressings of mass produced product until this recent reference. I am not saying an early pressing might not have more openness than a redone pressing, I am saying that out of twenty thousand Aja pressings with the exact same label, that I find it hard to believe there is a particular single pressing which shines enough to ask for ten times the current value because it is a "hot stamper". Having around eleven thousand LPs, I am more interested in culling than comparing, other than collecting different pressings such as most of us have probably done with things like Dark Side. After finding perhaps myself with ten versions ranging from British SQ to sacd, hopefully I have quenched that hunger. Am open for enlightenment, as I have been since I first read IAR and early TAS learning about sonic differences based on media, hardware, and listening environment, which is really what this is all about. Is there a sonic truth to "Hot stamper"?