Record club LP pressings: sound off!

In this author’s experience, record club LP pressings have been sorely lacking in sonic quality.

Back when record clubs were in their heyday, it was common for a record label to run off a dub of an existing master for the club to use for their pressing plants. If you think about it, would a label send over something of top quality to what was essentially a competitor of theirs?  Capitol and Columbia both ran their own record clubs, and I have samples of each that sound rather “off” from their official releases.

I have only owned one club LP that sounded good, and that was an album cut in the mid 80s when digital recording and CDs were on the rise, and LPs were on the wane.  (Remember, for a short while, cassettes were outselling LPs.)  Beyond that, any other club LP I’ve mistakenly bought (or had shipped to me by a clueless seller) has been a sonic disappointment, and I avoid them unless there is absolutely no other way to find the album.  In many cases, there is more tape hiss, and the music lacks detail, almost as though the club received a 7½-ips copy of the album.  In a couple of others, there is something “off” about the sound, something you can’t put a finger on but it just sounds wrong, compared to official label pressings.

How has your experience been?  Are club LPs a source of frustration?  Or have you had better luck?  Sound off in the forum!