Re-issue vinyl vs. the original pressing


Is there any sound quality difference between and original pressing and a re-issue of vinyl LP's?

I ran across a dealer on the web that sells a lot of re-issues.

thanks,

mitch
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if they are in mint condition and are early pressings, the originals.......prohibitive pricing and rarity make this impossible to grow a collection quickly....re issues are a godsend, even if most sound 'different'.
Yes Mitch, there are sound quality differences between all pressings of most albums, including reissues. This is not to imply that most reissues are somehow bad, there are many fine ones.
I concur. Like all reissues, even those on ceedee, some are better and some aren't. I just buy what I can get my hands on and enjoy the music. If I hit a dud? Well, ya' live and learn.
All things being equal (which of course they never are), original, or even close to original, pressings are going to sound better than vinyl re-issues almost all of the time. But it will come down to what your tolerances are for surface noise, ticks and pops etc. I will tolerate a bit of that (but NOT groove damage) to find a nice original pressing, generally buying from dealers who will offer a return policy if not satisfied. In terms of buying originals off E-Bay, etc. I have not really ventured into that area and I would only consider it if the seller had a very high # of positive feedbacks relating to record sales or came personally recommended from another record buyer.

Jazz originals in good shape are generally hard to come by and not cheap; I've been quite happy with most of the OJC re-issues I've purchased and very happy with the few Speakers Corner re-issues I've bought. With 70's-80's rock, very often cheap original or close to original pressings in good condition are available at reasonable prices that put the re-issues to shame. I've recently picked up copies of Dire Straits debut album and Pink Floyd's DSOTM that sound much better than a Japanese pressing of the Dire Straits and the 30th anniversary re-issue of DSOTM. The originals were purchased for 50 cents or a buck at the thrift vs. $25 U.S. for the anniversary DSOTM.

Once you get into the 50's and 60's, though, it's (at least in my experience) much more difficult to find quality originals or close to originals. I just bought a re-issue copy of John Mayall and Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton only to discover it's from a digital master (no markings anywhere on the cover or label indicating that, but it sure sounds like it to me), so I'm contemplating biting the bullet and ordering the Speakers Corner on that 1966 album because I really like the performance.
I just bought a 1959 Columbia CS 8163,6 eye, in mint condition. I also have Kind of Blue in a 200 Gram Classic Records Quiex SV-P re-issue.

The 6 eye original is outstanding.The Classic re-issue is about 80% of the original.$30.00 vs. $170.00. Is it worth the extra money? You bet it is. The original sounds more authentic as you here the sound in a more three dimentional way.

I am new to vinyl but I have done my homework on buying LP's.

Example: John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman on MCA Impulse vs.the original Impulse A-40. The original smokes the MCA. $75.00 VS.$12.00. Is it worth the extra money? YES it is to me but the MCA sounds very good indeed. The MCA is again 80% of the original.

Do you have the money to invest in original Blue Note, Impulse, Mercury etc..If you do then you will be greatly rewarded with great sonics that will further seperate vinyl from digital.
I prefer originals as well and although I have several thousand that I purchased when they were released or within several years thereof (mostly 60's and 70's), I continue to add to my collection using eBay. Taking certain precautions, I have been satisfied with most of my purchases -- understanding that nothing from the periods I collect will be "perfect/pristine". I buy only vinyl rated mint minus or better -- excellent/very good++ etc. have almost always disappointed. I buy from sellers with established positive track records (as suggested by Hdm) located in the USA. Unrelated to quality -- I don't buy from sellers charging absurd postage/shipping (matter of principle). As Hdm intimates, it's still a bit of a gamble, but I figure I can lose a few bets at eBay prices and still beat the price of most re-issues. My two cents.
Anything mastered or re-mastered by Steve Hoffman, is a winner!
You can't generalize about this, it all depends on the quality of the original pressings and masterings vs. those of the reissues, with the present-day condition of the source tapes thrown in as a remastering variable. Then you have to consider the condition of the available vintage vinyl and its price. Just because something is an original pressing is no guarantee of superior sound; plenty of vintage records never sounded really good to begin with, and later remasterings can often yield major improvements, although certainly not always. Collector value, of course, is another topic.
All things being equal (which of course they never are), original, or even close to original, pressings are going to sound better than vinyl re-issues almost all of the time.

I am not disputing you are wrong, just why it should be true. If and its a big if, the reissue label has access to master tapes, then surely there are many reasons why the new issue should be better: 180/200gm pressings
Probably higher quality vinyl
Simply being newer, less degeneration, unless vinyl, like wine, improves with age and I doubt that
Greater care in mastering and cutting for "prestige Audiophile pressings,

If new records are nearly always worse, it seems the only answer is the mastering source, the tape has deteriorated with age or is not a master tape.
Just musimg out loud, but asking why new is'nt as good as origonal pressings.
Is it true that records currently made in the USA aren't made with 100% virgin vinyl because of EPA regulations,so possibly the best sounding current reissues are made overseas.At least as far as surface noise.I assume virgin vinyl is much quieter.
even the best remastered re-issues often 'change' the original recording's balance. sometimes its slight, but for those who have an appreciation of what made the album great in the first place, it can be anoying. pumped up bass, and a need to hide tape hiss on quiet passages render lots of re-issues on vinyl nothing more than high maintenence cd's.
David: The simple answer to your question is this: by around 1988 virtually all of the cutting rooms in the world doing vinyl started using the Neumann lathes. These lathes utilize a digital delay and digitise the signal just before the master lacquer is cut. So pretty much any reissue done after 1988 is partially digitised, even if its an all analog (AAA) recording.

It's very easy to hear, as many of the above posters have pointed out, when you compare even a high quality reissue to a high quality original. Unfortunate, but true.
The Neumann cutting lathes do not digitize the signal going to the record. Later production Neumann units used extensive microprocessors to control the cutting process, but the music signal sent to the disc was all analog.
Hdm: Not knowing anything about what you say, I'm curious, for what reason would a lathe be equipped with a built-in delay, digital or otherwise?
Perhaps I have posted incorrect information and the newer Neumann's do not employ a digital delay loop to drive the cutting heads. Some recent reading that I did suggested that the digital delay loop at the cutting stage is still employed on all new albums (albeit possibly at a higher sampling rate than was the case in the late 80's); perhaps that is not true.

Zaikesman: I'm not actually sure why the digital delay was/is used, but it obviously is quite a common practice. Some evidence of that is here:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue3/ricker3.htm

in an interview with Stan Ricker.

and here:

http://dongrossinger.com/don/newarchive3.html

If I presented incorrect info about the Neumann, I certainly apologise for that. Perhaps Onhwy61 can elaborate.
Zaikesman, go to this link and scroll down to the section about disc cutting. It's a reprint of an article by Robert Runstein. It will tell you everything you never even imagined goes into cutting a record. It's not that you need a delay, but you need to preview the signal going to the cutting head.
Thanks guys, I will check out those articles. I assume if "previewing" is a necessity and that it's made possible by a delay, then the delay must have been implemented by analog means in older lathes, which would of course degrade the signal as well. But since the most common method of analog delay before digital was magnetic tape -- also what the source being mastered from was -- the whole thing begins to seem a bit convoluted. What I immediately wonder is, why not simply use a pair of spaced playback tapeheads to play the mastertape, with the first one generating only the preview signal and the second, later-arriving one going directly to feed the cutterhead's amplifier? But I will read...
In my view, reissues can be devided into 3 catagories:

1) Post 1984 digital reissues - these are good but no better than the CD so unless the CD is unavailable, or the LP is cheaper, why buy? (Having said this I own many mint copies of these for recordings that are out of print on CD).

2) Pre 1984 reissues like the Blue Note solid blue labels from the 70's - not as good as the originals but if I can buy a mint Horace Silver Blue label for $20 on Ebay vs the VG+ original west 47th street for $200, guess where I'm going. The same can be said for pre 84 reissues on other labels. I think they are generally a good value. I decide in favor of individual LP quality over pressing.

3) Remaster/reissues like from Classic records, Mosaic, Analog Productions etc. These are hit or miss. You need to be careful as it often is not clear whether the mastering chain was completely analog and the record mastering process is a lost art so quality assurance is very sketchy sometimes.
Hdm, thanks for the link to the articles. Apparently many vinyl mastering engineers are using add-on digital devices in order to protect their lathes from overloads which would burn out the cutting heads. It's a poor solution, but may be necessary since Neumann doesn't make or even support it vinyl lathes anymore.
Hello Mitch
This is my first post in this forum.
I had to add in my opinion on this subject.
Purchasing vinyl is a lot of hit or miss.
The first thing to learn is labels and lead outs on records. This is where all the info is about a record.
You can get the books about this at most large book stores or order them online.
The only original pressing is the first pressing - all others are reissues, even from the original manufacturer.
This still does not mean it is the best recording though because at the time of the recording the equipment used to make the master plate was not good as good as a later pressing from the same original master tape on better equipment that made a better master plate to make a better record. That is why you can get the same record, made the same year that sounds different from one another.
There will also be a differance from pressing plant to pressing plant.
Most people like original pressings cause it is what the people at the recording studio wanted it, the final product, to sound like. Even that could have changed because someone else higher up in the chain thought a more intense guitar playing from say Clapton would sound better or sell more records so they make that change. Now it is not the original sound agreed upon in the studio.
I have a lot of both original and reissues of the same music like Pink Floyd's Darkside of the Moon. I have 13 different vinyl pressings alone never mind DVD or CD versions, all cause I like the music. Some do sound better than others on the system I now own but may sound different on a later system, as I have found to be true in the past.
So go purchase some MUSIC and see if you like it. After all, that is all that really matters anyhow.
This is a hobby, just sell what you don't like later when you find a better recording you do like.

hevac1
"Most people like original pressings cause it is what the people at the recording studio wanted it, the final product, to sound like. Even that could have changed because someone else higher up in the chain thought a more intense guitar playing from say Clapton would sound better or sell more records so they make that change. Now it is not the original sound agreed upon in the studio."
Fact is, the sound on the record always changes from what was heard in the recording studio, and that can't be helped, even with the most faithful of intentions. What was heard in the studio will never be heard again outside of it. That's not really different in concept than saying a record played at my house will never sound the same as that record played at your house. But even given all that, and aside from questions of eventual mastertape deterioration, there really isn't much reason to think that an original pressing will best conform to an artist's or producer's conception. Historically artists and producers have had little say and even less participation in the mastering process, be it original or re-. (Heck, more of them than you might think haven't even participated in the mixing process. A lot gets left to engineers, not necessarily a bad thing.)
I made a post yesterday on this topic saying that I prefer to mix my reissue purchases with records found on ebay , garage sales , fleamarkets and record stores. That sometimes I am lucky and sometimes I get disapointed but that was a part of the hobby and why I love it so much;

I wrote that the high price of some original pressings made it difficult, that I would love to have all the Blue Note, Impulse, and CTI recordings. I also said I had quite a few originals that where very special to me. These records are clearly superior to any re-issue. Original Jazz Discograpy

An additional point not mentioned yesterday, Many record companies of that time, especially Impulse, Riverside, Bluenote, CTI etc., had a small amount of capital and pressings where made on a budget so limited quantities were made. The collecting of Jazz Albums at that time was an esoteric passion. Selling more then a few thousand of any one release was the exception not the rule and inventory lasted for years. It is very probable that any original Impulse, Bluenote, Status, or Verve as well as many other labels were from the first pressings made. I know because I worked for Independent Record Distributors in NYC during the early sixties and seventies. I grew up in the record business. When the big companies took over distribution of the boutique labels the originals somtimes were returned to the new companies for credit and resold as cutouts or sentback in New Covers ! with the old records inside. These records sat on the shelf until they sold out. Often it would be years before a conglomerate Record Company would reissue any back catalogue material. It wasn't till the early seventies that the reissue phenomenon began utilizing dorment resources by licensing them to another boutique label or doing the work themselves(often badly).

My main point was to encourage the purchase of a good Record Cleaning Machine. That with the $ saved by not paying outrageous prices one could buy an excellent RCmachine That by using a RCM one is able to expose the naked truth contained in the grooves of those original pressings available as used records.

I also mentioned that you never know you might find a rare Velvet Underground Acetate Recording in a box in Chelsea for 75¢ and sell it on eBay for $156,000.00 dollars. link to VU sale Sold Last Week

I don't understand why this post never made it onto the thread after 12 hours, I certainly made the post with no interest in financial gain or a hidden agenda. I feel it is pertinent to the topic and if one is able to read between the lines a reality check for us that support the market.

Best Regards

Groovey Records

Listening to Pink Floyd 45rpm Harvest Records English Single Money
I made a post yesterday on this topic saying that I prefer to mix my reissue purchases with records found on ebay , garage sales , fleamarkets and record stores. That sometimes I am lucky and sometimes I get disapointed but that was a part of the hobby and why I love it so much;

I wrote that the high price of some original pressings made it difficult, that I would love to have all the Blue Note, Impulse, and CTI recordings. I also said I had quite a few originals that where very special to me. These records are clearly superior to any re-issue. Original Jazz Discograpy

An additional point not mentioned yesterday, Many record companies of that time, especially Impulse, Riverside, Bluenote, CTI etc., had a small amount of capital and pressings where made on a budget so limited quantities were made. The collecting of Jazz Albums at that time was an esoteric passion. Selling more then a few thousand of any one release was the exception not the rule and inventory lasted for years. It is very probable that any original Impulse, Bluenote, Status, or Verve as well as many other labels were from the first pressings made. I know because I worked for Independent Record Distributors in NYC during the early sixties and seventies. I grew up in the record business. When the big companies took over distribution of the boutique labels the originals somtimes were returned to the new companies for credit and resold as cutouts or sentback in New Covers ! with the old records inside. These records sat on the shelf until they sold out. Often it would be years before a conglomerate Record Company would reissue any back catalogue material. It wasn't till the early seventies that the reissue phenomenon began utilizing dorment resources by licensing them to another boutique label or doing the work themselves(often badly).

My main point was to encourage the purchase of a good Record Cleaning Machine. That with the $ saved by not paying outrageous prices one could buy an excellent RCmachine That by using a RCM one is able to expose the naked truth contained in the grooves of those original pressings available as used records.

I also mentioned that you never know you might find a rare Velvet Underground Acetate Recording in a box in Chelsea for 75¢ and sell it on eBay for $156,000.00 dollars. link to VU sale Sold Last Week

I don't understand why this post never made it onto the thread after 12 hours, I certainly made the post with no interest in financial gain or a hidden agenda. I feel it is pertinent to the topic and if one is able to read between the lines a reality check for us that support the market.

Best Regards

Groovey Records

Listening to Pink Floyd 45rpm Harvest Records English Single Money
The problem is that the original master tapes have often vanished... search Google for Billboard's articles about the state of major recording labels' artchives. Frequently a second, third or fourth generation safety master has been used, or the record has even been mastered from CD or a vinyl copy.

Even when the tapes have survived, they have frequently been stored improperly and deteriorated.

Add to this that records in the '50s and '60s were mastered using all tube equipment in state of the art facilities... since the '80s, nobody is making new cutting lathes.

Older mastering engineers were artists who learned to cut vinyl in real time, varying the EQ themselves by hand (you can't make a mistake or you have to start all over again), while today it's done by computer (this is the use of the digital delay... in the old days it was done by a Studer-type machine with a second head).

It's possible to do good vinyl reissues, but few people succeed. Just do an A-B with an original pressing of any of the recent Analogue Productions, Classic or Speaker's Corner pressings. They are mostly far inferior. One notable exception is the Mercury Bach Cello Suites with Janos Starker.

Good luck
Patrick
I fully agree with the consensus that most original vinyl pressings are better than the reissues and also that there are some exceptions. I have had not had a chance to check myself, but I did hear recently from a source who should know that the Classic reissues from the Everest catalog are as good as or better than the originals.
Given the quality and price of reissues, in most cases a digital release (redbook, sacd, dvd-a) of the recording offers much better value.

Steve Hoffman or not, the original pressings rule 99/100.
Wow, you guys bummed me out. I was hoping for better news about the quality of re-issues.

Well....it is what it is.

thanks guys.......mitch
Hmmm..., OK, I'll be the contrarian here. I've found over the years that I'm often preferring top quality reissues to originals. No, the reissues don't sound like the originals. But to my ear they often sound more like live instruments and real performers. The Mercury classical reissues from Speakers Corner are superb, and their entry into the Harmonia Mundi catalogue is off to a similarly rewarding start (although the sonic quality of the HM original pressings are better than the original Mercuries overall). The Classic Records 45rpm reissues from the RCA catalogue are excellent, far better than their 33rpm reissues were. Analogue Productions 45rpm jazz reissue series is simply stunning across the board. Pure Pleasure's reissues have been extremely satisfying.

For me, while there certainly are attractive qualities to many of the orignals from the 50s and early 60s, the originals also reflect the limitations of the cutting technology of the period. I encourage folks to read with some consideration Arthur Salvatore's writings about why none of the pressings from the 'golden era' make it to his list of sonically best LPs while many of the later reissues do make his list. I've agreed with his observations for many years because they track closely to my own listening experience. More recent reissues from Speakers Corner, Analogue Productions, Pure Pleasure and a few others reinforce my perspective. As always, YMMV depending on your sonic priorities.
.bookmark.
Arthur Salvatore's Supreme LP Recordings list and commentary:
www.high-endaudio.com/supreme.html
Arthur Salvatore is only one person and certainly entitled to his opinions. Many will disagree with him on this and other issues particularly his love affair with a manufacturer/friend whose speakers and cables appear in disproportionate articles/reviews on Arthur's website.

However, his feud with Michael Fremer and the letter/email exchanges printed on the website, are worth the price of admission alone.
Thouigh I love to read the Salvatore web pages.He is not the last word in reference recordings.I think he,like me,tends to be a bit controversial.Which in his case,keeps his web-site very interesting.In my case,it does not work,so well.
As to the re-issue vs originals.....The re-issues are superb,mostly,and should be purchased when price is important.BUT....Salvatore is not correct in his impressions(maybe on his own system,actually)of quite a few of his reference discs.In MANY cases the "early" pressings(English)are considerably more lifelike(timbres/harmonics)to the re-issues,and later(Dutch....."you have to be kidding")pressings.Deccas in this case.Though the best Mercury(Really early,plum labels)KILL the re-issues.
I have many very well heeled "collector/former reviewer" friends,who actually laugh at some of Salvator's comments,regarding the superiority of the Dutch(Deccas),or some of the Re-issues!
I own the Dutch,and English pressings(First edition)of The Prince of the Pagodas,and the British pressings is clearly the superior.Salvatore "waxes poetic" over the Dutch,which is just not true.We have compared many of his choices to the originals,and re-issues he likes,and have come to the conclusion that his system surely must be in need of a second look/listen!I think many hobbyists should consider getting the record lists of guys like Jerry Cantor(A Classical Collector....the name of his list)instead of E-Bay stuff.You get quiet/clean originals from guys like him,and the "beauty" of good originals may become more obvious.
That being said,I LOVE Salvatore,and read his site regularly,as all should.
Salvatore's comments are mainly directed to classical reissues. He says in the text that:

"The original pressings of Rock, Pop and Jazz LPs are almost always preferable to the vast majority of their respective reissues."

I can certainly vouch for that in my experience. I listen mostly to jazz from the 1950's and 60's, and original pressings can sound much better than reissues including the latest reissues by Classic and other labels. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to locate the original pressings in good condition. They are all too often damaged from excessive playing.

For my tastes, I would rather listen to an older copy with a few ticks and pops and a little distortion in the inner grooves than a pristine quiet reissue where the magic has been scrubbed out along with the noise.

Example: I have a stereo 6-eye Sketches of Spain (Miles Davis) that sounds excellent despite a bit of noise and distortion on peaks. I bought a reissue on an audiophile label (I forget which one) and it's quiet and clean, but it doesn't have the natural tonality and coherency of the original.

Another example: One of the very best sounding records I have is an old Mono copy of the The Jazztet. It is one of most dynamic and exciting recordings of a jazz combo ever---rich, warm and vibrant. I ran across a reissue from the 70's in stereo. The newer pressing is cleaner and quieter, but the music isn't nearly as lifelike. It's like the difference between a high quality tube preamp and a cheap transistor unit from the 1970's. In fact, that may be the explanation on the Jazztet---the original pressing was mastered using all tube equipment, and the reissue probably went through some early generation transistor gear.

Dave

Everybody on the pro-original side is taking only the best examples. When it comes to jazz for instance, plenty of good music was released on labels like Prestige, Atlantic and EmArcy that didn't have very good sound, but has been improved in reissues. Blue Notes, Columbias and RCAs on the other hand more often sounded just fine. Same deal for rock and pop on labels like Capitol and Imperial -- a lot of that original mastering was just bad. Some stuff was great. It all depends on the particular example and generalizations are of limited usefulness. But if you're only going to discuss the most audiophile-approved old examples, then of course you're going to come to the conclusion that remasters are usually not as good. And throwing budget-line, no-remaster reissues from the 70's into the equation just muddies the waters. The other thing, of course, that's limiting this discussion is the insistence on vinyl for the reissue. Personally I'd much rather own a high quality remastering on CD than a repressing of questionable provenance on vinyl. There's a lot of reissue vinyl out there, especially of classic rock, soul and jazz, that is simply a scam. If someone insists on buying new vinyl not made by a reputable reissue house, just because it's vinyl, they pretty well get what they deserve IMO.
Umm, short answer.. Some re-issues will blow the doors of the originals, and some originals were so good that most re-issues that cost 12 bucks will not be better and most of the time could be worse.

I have got a hold of some Simply vinyl, 180, 160, and 200 gram re-issues, they are mostly superior to original pressed.. this is mostly in 70's, 80's, and 90's Rock.. so this comment is not a general statement about all the audiophile norms of the Jazz and Classical stuff.

I still have not figured out why I have bought mobile fidelity stuff that Was horrible compared to a mint condition original? Not yet have a used a mobile fidelity album I liked, most were compressed, and the original just sounded dam near perfect and good.. Again this is For mostly Rock stuff.. Oh and I have Parlaphone I think is the name Beatles albums, Bought them new, and they are Killer!! But never heard a mint original of any of these, but did have a slightly worn original copy of Magical mystery tour (Apple maybe?) and the New Issue was Far, FAR superior, with way Better Db Gain and Bass was as rock solid as the best CD's.. So its a toss up, get a Dud try another version is the unfortunate fate Vinyl-philes are subject too.
I think we all agree that there is no absolute rule.. Two many variables.
Just glad we have so many choices and so many labels, so so so much music.

Sure would like to know how all the reissue manufacturers get the rights to put out these reissues. This is cash cow stuff... Limited Editions with a Vinyl Hungry public ready to chomp at the bit. If I could license say Lou Reeds Metal Machine Music in Biphonic Sound on the RCA Red Seal I know everybody would want 2 copies of that !... Whoops too late! ya know what PT Barnum said.

A sad fact to consider as more and more Baby Boomers bang agong and get it on to Rock and Roll Heaven. Many more collections will be hitting the streets. I swear I bought a Box lot batch of albums on line sight unseen and when I opened the Boxes they were all in alphabetical order A-Z?

Undertow,
The Original Magical Mystery Tour was a 2 ep 7" mono set on Parlaphone that came in a heavy glossy jacket with all the same pictures that came out on the American Capitol LP. The American Version had Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Baby Your a Rich Man, Hello GoodBye & All You Need Is Love... on side two.

All released as 45 rpm singles only in Great Britain and the US until the US MMT
Capitol 2835

Best Regards

Groovey Records

Listening To
The Inner Light from the Beatles Rarities LP Parlaphone PSLP 261
BTW,many of the re-issues are not exactly cheap!Take a look at some of the offerings from Acoustic Sounds.Sorry,but for 30 to 50 dollars for many of the Jazz re-issues,I'm better off going to the Princeton Record Exchange,and finding originals,for ALOT less.A few pops don't bother me.
How about re-issue Vs RE re-Issue. Does anyone have experience with Vinyl
Re-issues on the Original Jazz Classics label - vs Analogue Productions from Acoustic Sounds of the same material on 180grm vinyl. Is the quality that much different to justify the difference in price $10 Vs $25 or more. I know it the AP was mastered by DougSax. Was the OJC a hachet Job ?

Any Comment
I think we can all agree there's no absolute rule, but there's a rule 90% of the time: original pressings from country where the record was recorded sound better.

You can try to fool yourself or argue yourself out of this, but the fact is that the key issue is being as close as possible to the original master tape at the time and place where the record was recorded. I've got about 10K LPs and this is my experience, in all genres and all eras, and it's the consensus among acquaintances who have many, many more records than I do. Sorry, but that's the fact.
I agree with Patrickamory.
.bookmark.
Cello: Perhaps you're not familiar with Audiogon's (*) button at the top of each thread?