The Robb Report is the magazine for the one-percenters, a publication that focuses on nothing but conspicuous consumption. Are you a Russian oligarch whose a yacht is too small? Your private jet is looking a little shabby? Need a pack of lethal guard dogs? The RR is there to help.
The latest helpful hint from the Report involves collecting vinyl. Normal people have to spend hours crate-digging at used record stores or record fairs. Maybe we browse through sites like Discogs or lusting after the auctions on eBay. The rich, of course, are too busy for all that. That’s where Better Records comes in.
Better Records, based out of Thousand Oaks, California, specializes in tracking down used vinyl in excellent (“mint” or “mint-plus” in collector jargon) condition. They’ll also source out virtually any record, clean it up for you and then ship it St. Tropez or wherever you are.
Customers pay a premium to avoid the hassle of looking for that perfect copy of a certain record. What kind of premium? A single LP can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000.
For audiophile perfectionists with the means but neither the time or the patience to find the best, cleanest, most pristine examples of any given album, Tom Port’s service is a boon. However, it comes at a steep cost—a single album can often enter the range of $600 to $1,000. Some might balk at this pricing for mass-market vinyl, but an argument can be made for the value of his service when considering the vetting process that Better Records employs for each record.
After acquiring 20 to 50 pristine copies of a given album (say, for example, Cannonball Adderley’s Know What I Mean), [owner] Tom [Port] and his staff of nine will send each record through a rigorous cleaning process that incorporates an $8,000 vinyl record vacuum. Following that, the team will listen to all the copies of Know What I Mean it has acquired using a comparison process that Tom refers to as a “shootout.” Through this, he purports to find the ideal pressing for sound quality.