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<br>Why Didn't Those @!#&/?% Record Companies Produce More Hot Stampers?</p>

Why Didn't Those @!#&/?% Record Companies Produce More Hot Stampers?

A while back we received a letter from a good customer of ours lamenting how rare Hot Stamper pressings are.

Why were so many copies produced without HOT STAMPER sound when it was obviously possible is beyond me and quite frankly upsets me. But that is the way it is.

Our answer can be found below.

See all of our Santana albums in stock

Sku # : santasant1_press

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A Frequently Asked Question

What Exactly Are Hot Stampers?

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Ed, thanks for your letter. I would take issue with one comment you made though, the one about why so many records were produced "...without Hot Stamper sound when it was obviously possible..." It was possible in the same sense that it's possible to hit a hole in one, or sink a basket from midcourt, or hit a home run, or do anything else in this world that's possible but not very likely. Everything has to come together in a way that is simply not well understood, by me, or by anyone else for that matter.

If pressing plants knew a way to make records that would sound better than the competition's I'm sure they would have done it by now. RTI can't do it, and they've been trying to produce good sounding records for decades. All the available evidence tells me they don't have much to show for their efforts.

Nobody knows why all this stuff is the way it is; like you say, it just is. We simply must learn to accept it.

A Hot Stamper Rule of Thumb

I would say a good rule of thumb is to have on hand an average of about ten copies of an album if you expect to find at least one side with really Hot Stampers. For some titles you will need more, for some titles less, and of course you will have to clean your copies properly to have any chance of finding the kind of sound we hear over here. (In this respect the Walker Enzyme treatment is essential.)

I doubt if very many audiophiles can really get past shooting out five copies of a title. It's tedious work, and, as you know, can be very frustrating.

But you can and often do learn a lot that way, so it has its rewards. We encourage everyone to do as many shootouts and as much critical listening as possible. It's the only way to train your ears, and without trained ears you run many risks, one of which is having lots of audiophile pressings (Heavy Vinyl, Half-Speed Mastered, etc.) in your collection and not even knowing how second-rate, third-rate and, sadly, even fourth-rate they sound.

Ed's complete letter can be seen below. We thank him for taking the time to write it.

40 Years of Santana

I have come to deeply appreciate the work that TOM does to find these. I say deeply because I have tried to find them myself. Every time I do, I encounter all the statistical reality that Tom describes in his commentary. Yes, you could find a HOT STAMPER on your first used record purchase but the reality is that you will most often need to buy 20 to 30 of an album to be sure of having a real HOT STAMPER.

Why were so many copies produced without HOT STAMPER sound when it was obviously possible is beyond me and quite frankly upsets me. But that is the way it is. When you put on a true HOT STAMPER you just get an instant "feeling" of joy and satisfaction that lesser copies can't come close to. For me it is the sense that everything comes together. Particularly I will sense the soundstage and presence with transparency, dynamics and harmonics and it will not have the "false" presence that is created by a tilted-up brightness or treble that you know creates an uneasiness in listening.

If you try to find one yourself, I can validate that you will spend a lot of money to do it the right way and the techniques of evaluating differences in lp's is NOT to be taken lightly. It is just very difficult to create even near what Tom and his people are able to do and it is also very time consuming and frustrating.

Can I afford the $400 White HOT STAMPER of Santana? No, but I can tell you as I listened through the HOT STAMPER I did buy and was so very satisfied with, my mind wandered off and created in it what the sound of that White HOT STAMPER would produce......that AGAIG (as good as it gets) sound!


Further Reading

...along these lines can be found in the commentaries linked below.

This one discusses The Science of Hot Stampers, subtitled Incomplete, Imperfect, and (Gulp!) Provisional.

And we'll end with this one, which discusses How to Become an Expert Listener, subtitled Hard Work and Challenges Can Really Pay Off.

Because in audio, much like the rest of life, hard work and challenges really do pay off.


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