Vinyl Asylum

Welcome Licorice Pizza (LP) lovers! Setup guides and Vinyl FAQ.

Return to Vinyl Asylum


Message Sort: Post Order or Asylum Reverse Threaded

Tom Port- The Ultimate Critic

67.204.159.248

Posted on January 14, 2022 at 14:29:06
ecl876
Audiophile

Posts: 2667
Location: Bend, Oregon
Joined: January 14, 2007
Contributor
  Since:
January 28, 2012
I came across this website by accident. Of course, I was familiar with Tom Port's Better Records but this had a different title. However, after reading through his evaluation of a variety of reissues, it became evident that this was the same guy. Apparently he dislikes and harshly criticizes most of the major reissue labels, many of whom have gotten stunning reviews. I have many of the discs he eviscerates and was completely dumbfounded by his criticisms. He seems to like only the ones he sells, preferably Hot Stampers which he sells at hugely inflated prices. And some, it seems, will pay these prices. I'm not sure which company I dislike more, the Electric Recording Company that only presses 300 discs and sells them for exorbitant prices or Better Records with their Hot Stampers.

Truly, Port can run his business any way he wants but the fact that he denigrates so many of the companies who truly produce excellent reissues, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But I guess business is business!

Just to add, Port doesn't completely dump on all the reissues. He does award some "B's" which for him is mighty generous.

 

Hide full thread outline!
    ...
I bought something from him years ago, posted on January 14, 2022 at 16:24:12
Goober58
Audiophile

Posts: 3338
Joined: November 15, 2016
A set of Led Zeppelin AMJY series (Japanese) complete with OBJ in vg++/nm condition minus The Song Remains the Same. $400. Picked up a copy of the Live record to complete the set. At the time his opinion was it was the set to have - but his opinion has changed over the years. I don't care.

I don't mind reading his reviews but because of his interest in selling hot stampers there's no way for me to consider him unbiased. I might trust his opinions on hot stampers there's no way I would ever consider buying one at his prices - though the info might be useful when considering upgrading a version due to sound quality. For folks who don't want to search out a better version on their own and can afford it the risk is theirs if they want to buy his stuff.





 

I stopped reading when I got to his comments on the SC Can't Buy a Thrill, posted on January 14, 2022 at 17:50:00
padreken
Audiophile

Posts: 8323
Location: San Diego
Joined: November 28, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
April 5, 2002
I have a clean early ABC pressing and the Speakers Corner reissue-the SC smokes it in every way, not even close. Several audiophile buddies who have heard it concur, and it goes for big bucks on Discogs today. Of course, Port would much rather you pay him $200 for a record he picked up at an auction for peanuts than buy an audiophile label reissue.

Certainly the audiophile pressings are occasionally a swing and a miss-the MFSL Linda Ronstadt Hasten Down the Wind is veiled and lifeless compared to my Asylum original that's been played multiple times over the years. But this guy's gig is clearly vinyl concierge for the wealthy and/or lazy. With enough knowledge and experience you know what to look for, how to read deadwax and what cutting engineers and pressing plants have the best track records.




 

RE: Tom Port- The Ultimate salesman providing enhanced value to collectors, or harvester of rubes, you pick. , posted on January 14, 2022 at 20:27:19
beach cruiser
Audiophile

Posts: 5372
Location: so cal
Joined: September 24, 2003
I also think the guy somewhat transparent in his overselling, yet successful at his goals.

I am not entirely certain the merchandise hype is arrived at with a lot of thoughts about morality. But , not being a collector, I really can't say much about what is the normal in that market. I have read that the guy pays well when he buys, no problems.

Anytime a salesperson faults another's product instead of praising his own, he is selling you fear, ( in this case, fear of buying an inferior recording) instead of the merits of his product. Always be careful when a product is pitched that way, with fear. Because it is probably significantly below market in value to have to scare you into buying it.

Of course, I don't fault anybody who sincerely believes in and promotes the product that is paying the bills back at the ranch, but there is a credible limit, after which the usual understood and accepted only favorable product promotion becomes dishonesty.

Salesmanship is all about power. People have been trained since infancy about the power of the printed word. It's in the book , look it up, it's right there in black and white if you don't believe me.

Salespeople know to use this quirk of mind to their advantage in price negotiations, knowing that writing a figure down in ink gives it credibility.

it is right there on the paper in ink, it can't be changed, is how the entirely made up number on the paper is first perceived. This indelible figure gives the appearance of power to the seller, when it is , in truth , with whoever has the most valuable object to trade, which is usually an amount of money.

The amount of internet space the guy commands and the effort the guy puts in gives him credibility in the same type of way. And given the way hearing is so receptive to hype, I doubt the guy has many customer complaints. Besides, it is a heck of a lot easier to fool a person than to get them to admit they were fooled, and probably darn near impossible at $200-300 per attempt.

 

RE: Tom Port- The Ultimate salesman providing enhanced value to collectors, or harvester of rubes, you pick. , posted on January 14, 2022 at 22:15:06
Goober58
Audiophile

Posts: 3338
Joined: November 15, 2016
"The amount of internet space the guy commands and the effort the guy puts in gives him credibility in the same type of way. And given the way hearing is so receptive to hype, I doubt the guy has many customer complaints. Besides, it is a heck of a lot easier to fool a person than to get them to admit they were fooled, and probably darn near impossible at $200-300 per attempt."

That's interesting as it seems the people who are most rubbed the wrong way by his way of selling are those who bought records (usually costing more than a standard release or used original out of a bin) that he is criticizing.

I would hope that at least some of those who have bought from him actually did at least a few comparisons with similar titles to ensure they are actually getting superior records than if they bought them out of record bins for 1/10 or less than what he sells them for. But that's really here nor there to me - if his buyers appreciate his services then it's all good.


 

It's complicated, posted on January 16, 2022 at 09:31:56
M3 lover
Audiophile

Posts: 6137
Location: SW Mich
Joined: May 29, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
July 4, 2007
First off, I've never heard one of Port's recommended copies. So I can't comment on their quality.

I have compared different pressings of a given recording a few times and yes, there can be significant sonic differences. I read on his site that he may evaluate a large number of pressings before finding a Hot Stamper, not just comparing one or two.

My comparisons of any popular reissue done over the past 20+ years have also been limited, but overall I've not been greatly impressed by them.

I'm fortunate, being among the older Inmates, that I was able to buy early issues of many popular LPs during the '60s and '70s. And I've treated them carefully and kept them clean. In nearly every case those sound better to me than any later pressings I've happened to hear. That means I'm contented to continue listening to them rather than "chance" $200 or so for a Hot Stamper version.

"The only cats worth anything are the cats who take chances. Sometimes I play things I never heard myself." Thelonious Monk

 

Well, yeah, posted on January 16, 2022 at 22:12:12
padreken
Audiophile

Posts: 8323
Location: San Diego
Joined: November 28, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
April 5, 2002
Case in point-couple of years ago a buddy turned me on to John Mayall's Turning Point album. The next time I went record shopping, I saw a copy in great shape that turned out to be a repress cut at Trutone Labs. It sounded good didn't quite have the magic of what I heard on my friend's system. Fast forward to a couple of months ago, and I see another really clean copy, this one cut by Robert Ludwig at Sterling, always a great indicator of quality. Sure enough, this one's got the mojo-the Trutone (cut by Steve Robb) sounds really anemic in direct comparison.

On Port's FAQ he admits they don't give out pressing info for "some good reasons" but won't tell you what they are. He doesn't have a copy of Turning Point for sale, but if he did, I'd bet anything it would be the RL cut. Originals are usually better, but only if the pressing plant does quality work and the mastering engineer knows how to cut. Even the same mastering cut at different plants can vary slightly-I've got 2 original copies of the original Bernie Grundman Steely Dan-Aja,one is a gold promo stamp pressed at Columbia Santa Maria, the other was pressed at Columbia Pitman. Both sound great, the CSM is just a little bit better, not really significant, though. Since the promo is going to be the very earliest pressing, I'm guessing that's the reason it's got the edge, but who knows.

Remember the names, initials, symbols etc. of the guys with established track records for great sounding records, and you can avoid a lot of disappointment.




 

Page processed in 0.030 seconds.