----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> Why do most test pressings that I've heard sound better than a bought-in-store
version of the LP?
> Did the plants do something special for the test pressing or use a "brewer's
> compound or is it more a random chance of having a
further-down-the-production-run copy in a store
> and thus worn stampers? Where I've been able to compare a master laquer to a
test pressing to a
> bought-in-store version of the same cut/matrix/whatever, the test pressing
usually sounds pretty
> darn close to the first cut but the production disk sounds inferior, usually
lower s/n ratio and
> noisier surface. This was less true in the one case I've been able to compare
all 3 for a modern LP
> reissue and I assume it's because a modern reissue that appears at retail will
be pressed with more
> care on better vinyl and fewer copies will be made per stamper, but I might be
wrong on that.
> In some older examples, late 50's and early 60's, the retail version vinyl
seems to definitely be a
> different compound from the test pressing, which more resembles modern,
I'll hazard a guess here (actually, TWO!).
First, the "test pressing" (assuming it actually IS one...!) would be taken
from brand-new intermediate parts! The original tape or "lacquer" would be
copied to a new positive...from which a new negative would be "pulled" to
create a single-copy stamper...from which a "test pressing" c/would be made.
Remember, at this stage, it wasn't (presumably) known whether the resulting
record would be pressed/sold in quantity...! This near-perfection was NOT
intentional (AFAIK)...it simply resulted from all the steps involved producing
Second...with the fifties/early-sixties discs, the "test pressings" could be
made using a quieter...but much less durable...vinyl compound. Chances are,
they would only need to last through a handful of plays, and those on proper
equipment...while the "for sale in stores" version had to offer a much longer
lifespan (to avoid replacement costs for "quickly-worn-out" copies...!),
often NOT on appropriate hardware...!
Steven C. Barr