what you noticed is well documented... another argument in favor of using your own ears. it's not about earlier or later pressings, as you say, and one side of the lp being a 'magic' is no guarantee the other is! it's part of the fun of the 'hunt' for lps - some cheapies are excellent.
years of storage in various enviroments will have an effect on any record....even 2 that appear to be from the same era, and even the same plant(even sealed)....there is no magic however....just the luck of the draw....if you ask 10 people if a given lp is a so-called hot or magic stamper, you will get 10 opinions.......my father used to think that the time and day an automobile left the plant fully assembled made a difference in the autos longevity.....hot stampers are the equivalent of an auto 'survivor'. one that got to this point without visual or audible signs of age.
There definitely is a difference in stampers, but you can't necessarily make any generalities about what is best, e.g., earlier stampers are better or pressings from a particular plant or country are better. There are "trends" for sure, but alas, no sure fire methods. I think the timing of this thread is interesting, just this morning I saw an e-mail from "that" dealer and he has a "White Hot Stamper" of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush for $599.99!!!!!!!!! Somebody probably bought this record for $5.99 years ago and now look how much it is worth! This is crazy, but if someone buys it who am I to question it? I just know I won't be the one buying it.
I have yearned for good sounding Stones vinyl but nver found it no matter what I bought... Granted I didn't go to the $500 original pressing, chanted over by some guy in a cave, originally used by Keith as a rolling tray, etc. extreems...
I would sure like to know what to look for as far as dead wax, label markings etc. when trying to find the good stuff.... Actually, I guess I didn't thisnk there was any good stuff.
I chose to stop receiving his emails. He has a tendancy to pontificate.
Snake oil salesmen don't follow the creed good product at a fair profit = good business.
It sort of makes it even all the more fun finding buried treasure Quite a bit of my collection did not just come from first pressings, they were obtained on the first day of release direct from the manufacturer.
I remember getting Goat's Head Soup and paying wholesale for the whole box of 25 (that was $1.85 Each) and going from house to house like Johnny Appleseed. Turning on my friends the first day it came out, listening to a side in each house, before leaving and going to another house minus one record plus one happy stones fan. When ever there was an extra ticket for a show who do you think they called?
When I got my new cartridge earlier this month I just popped open a copy that I still had left from those days. One of 2 still sealed, posters, original heavy vinyl, sleeve and all. It sounds great, my rig now is better then what we all had back then, but somehow upstairs in the 8X10 attic room at Murry's through all the blue haze it sounded even better.
Those posters went up in my sons room just like they were made for him.
Time Waits for No One -Jagger & Richards-It's Only Rock & Roll
Rolling Stones Records COC 79101
Drifting off topic a bit, but what the hell. Groovey, I can picture Murry's attic room.
Mick Taylor left the band after "It's Only Rock and Roll" but he left behind a legacy of beautiful guitar work, the solo on "Time Waits for No One" among the cream of the crop. A very fine song by Jagger and Richards.
Something that seems to have been missed in the comments above is the variability that can be seen in LP records. There are reasons for this.
One is that a stamper, being a mechanical device, wears as it is used, just like rubber tires on a car. There is going to be a difference between a record stamped early in the life of the stamper and one made toward the end. Since it costs money to make new stampers, there was always the temptation for a record pressing plant to run an existing stamper past it's useful life.
Next, in the analog world, the quality decreases every time you move one more generation away from the original master. If your LP's stamper was made from a 3rd or 4th or later copy of the master, it would sound noticeably worse than a record made from a source closer to the master.
Vinyl quality will also impact a LP's production run. There are probably other factors, such as the equipment that has been used to play a record (more wear potential), storage conditions and so on.
Unfortunately, there is no way to just look at a record and tell if it came from the first of a production cycle or the end. Even if it sounds good when played, there is no way to know if another copy might have better qualities unless you compare them back to back.
One of the dirty secrets of the vinyl world is there were a lot of poor quality records produced. So it is not surprising when one copy sounds dramatically better than another.
As noted there are wide variations is the sonics of any particular record.
I find it ludicrous and bordering on criminal charging $200, $300, or even more for a record that has subjectively been designated a "hot stamper".
I'm sure there are many in my collection that would be rated as such, but if I was selling there is no way in good conscience I could ask anywhere near those prices.
However, as long as buyers are dumb enough to fork over their money for "hot stampers", clocks, and pebbles there will always be sellers.
All of course IMO.
500 records per stamper... the 1st probably sounds great, the 500th probably not so great, but they have the same stamper code.
Lacquer numbers probably tell you more. But really, only experience listening to multiple copies of various titles from a given label will really teach you anything. At best matrix codes will only be a guide.