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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 choice" biscuit 
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, "softer" quieter-playing 
compounds.

-- Tom Fine