Important please see "TOM PORT OUTED SPECIAL REPORT - August 19, 2007" at the end of this article.
The Truth about Tom Port and Better Records
Tom Port and Better Records are to be found at www.dccblowout.com.
He was the one who wisely bought up the stock of the out-of-business
DCC Classics. In the beginning his LP prices were very reasonable and I
was a regular. That is until he started to get greedy and to attack
some of my very favorite LPs. Many of these premium audiophile LPs are
among the most realistic recordings I have heard in any format. Why has
he done these things? We shall soon see, read on!
He pushes the "voodoo" Hallograph Soundfield Optimizer’s at an unbelievable $1,000.00! More than the total cost of many normal listeners entire music systems!
Then he has the audacity to charge $49.99 - $849.99 for what are basically $5.00 LPs! He calls these "Hot Stampers" I
know from experience there are differences in pressings. For example
with RCA Living Stereo LPs the matrix numbers 1S/1S generally sound the
best. Also many times the tape is remastered for a later pressing as
well. Also the first few hundred off a new stamper have much lower
distortion than the last hundred. But this is very important, a "Hot Stamper" of
a commercial pressing is still a commercial pressing with rolled off
low and high frequencies, a squished soundstage, poor to average
imaging, noisy recycled vinyl and all the ills that caused the birth of
the "Audiophile LP". To really hear what is on a recording it
takes an uncompromised, Virgin Vinyl pressing from the Original
un-equalized 2 Track mix-down Master Tape. If such a tape does not
exist than it is necessary to go back to the Original un-equalized
multi-track Master Tape and follow the original engineer’s notes for
the mixed without using any EQ. If EQ was applied to the Original
Master Tape then it is necessary to use "reverse to EQ" in an effert to
undo the damage to the sound caused by the original engineer.
best option if you can start fresh with a correctly made recording from
the ground up using no EQ, and no processing such as what Analogue
Productions Originals, Reference Recordings, Telarc and Crystal Clear
Classical LPs Tom Port Does Doesn’t Recommend
With my comments in italic on the true sound quality of these wonderful LPs Tom Port doesn't recommend.
La Cid-Ballet Music; Scenes Pittoresques; The Last Sleep of the Virgin
from "La Vierge" Louis Fremaux, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra -
Klavier Patrician 180 Gram LP KS 522 - In reality this is one of
the most realistic and exciting recordings I own. The way Tom Port
describes the sound makes me believe his VTA is set too high.
MOUSSORGSKY: The Power of the Orchestra - Pictures At An Exhibition, A Night On Bald Mountain. Leibowitz - Chesky Records 180g LP CR-30 - I personally do not like Rene Leibowitz arrangements however the sound is excellent!
OFFENBACH: Overtures - Louis Fremaux, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Klavier Analog 180 Gram LP KS 517 - A
very enjoyable and realistic LP, nearly anything by Klavier is highly
recommended by me. Most of these appeared as EMI HMV-Greensleeve LPs in
the 1970’s. Those original Greensleeve LPs often showed up on HP’s
Super Discs lists and these new pressings are even better.
RESPIGHI: Pines of Rome; Fountains of Rome - Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Chesky 180 Gram LP CR-5 - What
is Tom’s problem with this one? IMHO this is the best performance of
Pines of Rome ever and the sound is only surpassed by the Classic
Records reissue. Tom Port also hates most Classic Records reissues!
RESPIGHI: Pines Of Rome, Roman Festivals - Maazel, Cleveland Orchestra - Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab / London MFSL 1-507 - Now
Tom is dumping on one of the great LPs of all time and the Roman
Festivals is to die for! Also this LP has some of the lowest bass you
are ever likely to hear. This is very highly recommended by me!
Carnival of the Animals / LITOLFF: Scherzo from "Concerto Symphonique"
No. 4 / FAUR╔: Ballade - Louis Fremaux, City of Birmingham Symphony
Orchestra - Klavier Analog 180 Gram LP KS 527
Symphony No. 3 "Organ" - Christopher Robinson, Louis Fremaux,
Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Klavier Analog 180 Gram LP KS 526 - These
two Klavier LPs are must have if you love Saint-Saens. Superb sound and
excellent performances. Tom why do you hate these so?
STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben - Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra - RCA Living Stereo / Classic 200 Gram LP LSC 1807 - Sorry Tom this one is superb musically and sonically!
Merchant of Venice Suite; The Tempest; "In Memoriam" Overture - Vivian
Dunn, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Klavier Analog 180 Gram
LP KS 521 - Wrong again Tom, this is one of my very favorite LPs.
There is some deep, deep low organ tones and if you have plenty of
power and a low frequency speaker that reaches down there I promise
some major goose-bumps. The midrange and high frequencies are equally
impressive as is this mostly unknown music. Highly, highly recommended
TCHAIKOVSKY / Symphony #6 - Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic - Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL 1-512 - I have not heard this one but if Tom Port hates it, it’s got to be good! I will be looking for a copy at reasonable price.
STRAVINSKY: Song of the Nightingale / PROKOFIEV: Lt. Kije - Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Chesky CR-10 - This
one I actually like better than the newer Classic Records version, one
of Chesky’s best efforts and the LP that got me interested in RCA
Living Stereo! Bravo Chesky, big boo to Tom Port!
though his prices have gotten way out of hand, I still check out Tom
Port’s web site from time to time as I have discovered if Tom Port
dislikes and does not recommend an LP it is a good indication that it
will be fabulous. The LPs he recommends range from fair to excellent,
sometimes he does recommend an excellent LP. My best luck has been
going with the ones he does not recommend!
weirdest of all Tom Port hates most audiophile LPs and actually thinks
they sound worst than commercial LPs. And get this he likes "Simply
Vinyl" LPs which to everyone else including me feel sound as bad or
worse than CDs!!!!! Indeed we believe most "Simply Vinyl" LPs are from
Digital Masters, or late generation analog masters. Simply Vinyl LPs
are so poorly mastered it really doesn’t matter whither they use analog
or digital they are masters at destroying the music. On Simply Vinyl
music sounds cold, sterile, lifeless and totally devoid of any emotion!
In the case of Simply Vinyl the original commercial LPs are preferable.
The real audiophile companies (see my list)
are vastly superior to their commercial counterparts at least 99% of
the time. So the companies he bad mouths produce superior products to
the overpriced "Hot Stampers" he hawks. It is my firm belief that he
purposely discredits audiophile companies that push analog playback to
it’s limits by offering the most realistic sound from the source
material while promoting audiophile companies, such as Simply Vinyl
which do a poor job and are NO competition to his commercial LPs and
"Hot Stampers"! Tom Port by his actions on his web site has proclaimed
himself as the enemy of true analog lovers everywhere. I do admit it
would be very hard work to listen to dozens of LPs of the same
recording to find the best sounding one but Tom Port doesn’t know good
sound so he is wasting his time.
Help me fight high LP prices
by posting your favorite discount audiophile LP sites on the world wide
web. We don't have to pay Tom Port's blood money, let's keep LPs
TOM PORT OUTED SPECIAL REPORT - August 19, 2007
love it! Jason K. exposes Better Records "hot stamper" program as the
scam it is and Tom Post tries unsuccessfully to bash the writer’s music
collection and system in a sad attempt to save face! Tom calls his
letter "Ignorance, Obtuseness and Mediocrity". I call Jason K.’s letter
debating whither to send this for a while. I have been visiting the
dccblowout site for almost a year and I've sent links to most of my
friends who are musicians, sound engineers, and music collectors of all
kinds so they too could marvel at the maniacal madness you folks call
audiophile record collecting. It's far more exciting and fun than
professional wrestling, and we actually consider you folks the Kings of
a kingdom littered with people that clearly have too much money and
time on their hands. (Or suffering from a form of O.C.D....more
to enter an arena such as yours to voice my opinion because ultimately
you are far better equipped to verbally cut me to shreds, much the same
way the radio personality Dennis Prager could argue nearly any
challenger down to a shriveled point, even when Prager’s position was
so obviously obtuse - but such was his gift. A genius debater with an
uncanny ability to shoot down even the most sensible and (to many of
us) truthful positions. He would defend his right to smoke cigarettes
as much as he wants at a party in mixed company with almost any caller,
even when common sense dictates it's a nasty offensive habit that
should be practiced where it won't affect other people. He could even
argue down the health implications. Prager is always right, just as you
But don't get
me wrong, I LOVE your site. Every time you post a testimonial from the
poor schnook (or should I say "rich" schnook) who has spent $300 on a
$1.00 thrift store record testifying to the vastly superior fidelity it
has over (probably) every other record in the rest of our sub-standard
collections it makes me truly proud to be an American. That's what I
call entrepreneurship. You guys are the audiophile equivalents to P.T.
Barnum and I think it's awesome. I especially admire the way you cut
down nearly every reviewer, almost all vinyl mastering engineers like
Bernie Grundman, Steven Hoffman, Kevin Gray, and even laugh in the face
of the recording ears of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, not to mention
their engineer Elliot Sheiner. You have an "Emperor’s New Clothes"
stance where everyone else is somehow not hearing what you guys are and
even if they take a stand against you or try to defend their product
they just plain don't have your advanced ears, or gear to properly
I, for one, am
truly grateful not to be cursed with that kind of advanced hearing
ability. Every time you folks post a new $300 "hot-stamper" I will pull
the allegedly inferior copy I have off the shelf and revel in the fact
that the Blood Sweat & Tears LP roaring through the house only cost
me $1.00, and it sounds AWESOME to my unenlightened ears. I usually
have a copy of at least 75% of the new vintage albums you post and it's
become a bit of a favorite ritual. Who knows? Maybe some of my copies
are "Hot-Stampers" too and although it only cost me two bucks at a
thrift store I could be inadvertently building a trust fund for my
kid’s college tuition!
To me, the gag
is that, in fact, YOU are the "Emperor". You speak endlessly about
whither side A or side B has enough oomph in the bass or a muddy horn
section - and then try to convince your followers that unless they have
the proper gear ($20,000 I believe was the price) or the advanced ears
to appreciate a lousy pressing from a great one they are not TRULY
enjoying the music. To the contrary, I think it is YOU folks who have
lost all touch with what the love of music is all about. In my opinion
it's NOT about the world’s most perfect copy, it's about slapping that
record on your turntable and listening to what the artist is trying to
say. When you are so focused on the aural specifics of a record it must
be hard to just enjoy it, and forget all about the ticks, the midrange,
the oomph, the tambourine’s brittleness etc. It's a bit like a film
editor going to see a film everyone is enjoying but he can't deal with
the sub-standard editing, that no one else even noticed. (i.e. my
friend Mike!) I would almost feel sorry for you guys except that you
are (presumably) making big bucks from this enterprise... and again,
more power to ya, Phineas! While you guys spend all day dissecting 20
copies of "Gorilla" to sell for $99 the rest of us will be gently
grooving away to our $1.00 thrift store copy and just diggin' the
I wish you could too!
I will brace for a response, if you care to.
Perhaps you could post this in its entirety on your opening page? I think it would make a nice intro.
P.S. I DO agree that some Japanese pressings suck. But I rarely come across them in the thrift store anyway!
Cheers! Jason K.
Now read Tom Port’s very sad attempt to address Jason’s issues but attacking his music and system. Letter, Tom Port’s response and follow-up’s
Port I will say one thing you are an arrogant fooled headed wannabe
supremacist! How do you know Jason’s system doesn’t sound as good or
better than yours? How do you know many of his $1.00 LPs are NOT hot
stampers, you are not the only person on the planet with access to
multiple copies of the same LP. Lastly any audiophile LP from any real
audiophile company (see my list) will be sonically superior any
commercial pressing no matter how hot the pressing!
personally have always considered the source. Anyone who thinks Simply
Vinyl LPs sound good would be happy with the vilest most strident
sounding CDs made. With a few exceptions he hates audiophile LPs and I
know why, because the audiophile reissues sound better with there
restored frequency extremes, dynamic range, larger soundstage and much
lower distortion as well as new quiet vinyl pressings. The best of
these audiophile LPs are the real deal, check out my "Quest for that elusive 1% of great sounding LPs"
that can be hoped with a "hot stamper" is a pressing that is "smoother"
with more impact by being one of the first off the pressing plates. But
it does not solve the problem of the compromises made in the production
master to make LPs playable on the least expensive equipment. This was
done to lower the number of returns, which are costly to any record
I agree "original issues" usually sound superior to later pressings
done by the commercial record label, they are inferior at least 99% of
the time to correctly made "audiophile" re-issues. He wants to keep
alive the incorrect myth of the "original issues" sounding superior to
"audiophile" re-issues and his "hot stampers" is simply his latest
manifestation of this lie! Engineers in many interviews have confirmed
what compromises had to be made to LPs to make them playable on
most listeners cheap turntables, yet he ignores this logic and
proceeds with this fallacy. He discredits any audiophile company whose
products are superior while promoting an audiophile company whose LPs are inferior to the original issues, for example Simply Vinyl.
Or to put it another way companies such as Castle, Get Back, Earmark,
Scorpio and Simply Vinyl and Sundazed which are NO competition to his
commercial pressings or the "hot pressings" of them! But he does also
sell audiophile LPs he hates and says he is willing to take money for
them but warns people first. Well he does often sell these at a good
price and I recommend purchasing from him anything he hates as it is
usually at an excellent price and they will be a superb recordings
as well. Especially get all the Klavier 180-Gram LPs he has for cheap,
they are among the most realistic recordings on his web site. He does
also like a few good LPs as well, he has nice things to say about the
Cisco 180 Gram LPs and I actually agree with him this time which proves
he cannot be wrong 100% of the time!
Besides my recommendations throughout the AnalogLovers web site including the LP Page where I list 10 recommended Audiophile and 10 recommended commercial LPs , I also recommend Arthur Salvatore’s Audio Critique
as an excellent place to start in building a superior LP collection. He
is among the excellent resources I have listed in my links page.
listeners there are excellent LPs out there, and you won’t have to take
out a mortgage to buy them. Stay tuned the best at AnalogLovers.com is
yet to come!