There’s vinyl, and then there’s hot stampers

wired vinyl hot stamper

We’re all fully aware of the reverie and purism surrounding vinyl. And just when you thought that all vinyl sounded awesome and spectacular, it seems that even within the vinyl collecting community, there is another level of amazing when it comes to quality and desirability — the hot stamper.

An article in Wired showcases Tom Port, a record shop owner who specialises in these hot stampers. To explain — vinyl records are pressed from a metal master. And through sustained abuse on the press, this master wears out, making subsequent pressings just a little bit worse. Thus the hot stamper is the first run, possibly even one of the first few off the press, and held to be the very best pressing of that release. Consider it to be the first edition of vinyl.

Of course, each and every nuance matters to audiophiles, and each hot stamper that Tom Port puts out has been meticulously cleaned and appraised before being released for sale. Sleeve notes become post-it notes detailing the characteristics of this particular recording, because when you’re parting with hundred of dollars, details matter.

Read the whole article over at Wired — it’s quite an education.

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