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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:16 pm
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Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
I've just recently got back into purchasing new sealed vinyl. Each of the last 3 lps I've purchased has some form of pressing defect. None of these were re-issues from 3rd party labels such as Wax Time, etc. These were all produced by the original issuing label and cost me almost $100 CAD total for the 3 of them. The sound is excellent on all 3 records but they each have pressing defects that probably wouldn't have been there 20-30 years ago when I was paying about $13-16 each. I don't think I encountered 1 in 30 issues with purchases back in the 80s & 90s when I was purchasing most of my material.

Here's the 3 new sealed lps I purchased this week and associated issues:

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (Sony Legacy 180gm) - a dozen or so ticks & pops on track 1 side 2.

Barney Kessel: The Poll Winners (Contemporary Records OJC-156 180gm) - last track misc right channel chirps during the last minute.

Bob Dylan: Shadows In The Night (Columbia Records 180gm) - lots of ticks and pops side 1.

Is QC really that bad these days with even the major labels? If so I might have to cut down on the # of purchases and just migrate to the audiophile labels for the "I must have" recordings and just buy a used CD for the rest or go without.

That's my rant for the night. Thanks for listening.

What's your experience been recently for new sealed vinyl?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:54 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Indianapolis, IN, US
You just pressed one of my buttons, no pun intended. How many re-issue LPs have I invested in that were crap? Way too many in fact.
Pressing defects like loud pops, distorted passages, warps (YES) and even horrible fidelity (from Classic Records no less). This is one reason I tend to buy on the used market as much as I can, unless the re-issue or CD is more affordable.
Let me compile a short list from off the top of my head:

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue Classic Records, mistracking and distorted grooves.
Buddy Guy, Walking Thru the Woods, MCA, loud pops pressing defect.
The Who, Direct Hits, Classic Records, pathetic fidelity low-fi press.
The Band, Music from Big Pink, Capital RE, distorted passages (not my gear!)
Hank Mobley, Roll Call, generic Blue Note RE, Distortion everywhere. CD sounds much better.
Skip James Today, Vanguard RE(?) warped
Bob Seeger Night Moves, MoFi, lacking any fidelity (MoFi vinyl is very hit and miss IMHP)
John Coltrane Lush Life, sealed OJC, loud pressing pops, CD much better

I'm sure I'll come up with more. (Again, no pun)

I have very nice gear and a background in broadcasting, electronics, retail audio and live sound, since the late 70's. Turntables are my specialty.
So I can test on multiple set-ups and verify the issue is the record, not the system.
I hunt down NM examples of original pressings and always feel more satisfied, unless again the used market has an unattainable price on a title.
Also, I've had real good luck with Sundazed product.. they seem to have their act together. OK let's hear from someone else.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:39 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:44 pm
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Location: St. Clair Shores, MI, US
I'll give my two cents worth...

Sony Legacy--no issues with pressing quality. My 180g "Kind Of Blue" was dead silent on both sides.

Universal (aka Back to Black)--issues galore. An earlier title (Police "Zenyatta") had good vinyl but terrible mastering, like others in the series at the time, with a very dull, dead sound. I picked up a Dire Straits "On Every Street" over a year ago from Europe; the mastering was superb, but it was pressed by the hack pressing plant GZ Vinyl, and both sets have visible scratches or scuffs.

MFSL: there are a few different eras of MFSL vinyl. The very earliest (70s, 80s) always had quiet vinyl, although mastering could vary. I never owned any from the middle era. The most recent MFSL (owned by Music Direct) era has been good. I only had one bad title I bought at AXPONA, and Music Direct gladly exchanged it. My 45RPM "Kind of Blue" has dead silent surfaces after I gave it my ultrasonic and vacuum treatment.

QRP is one pressing plant I've had bad luck with, for one consistent problem--they can't seem to press a record on-center. Whether it's Analogue Productions (two out of six in my Stevie Ray box, one out of three in the Elvis "24K Hits" set, etc.), or records they've pressed for others (two of the last three Rush reissues were badly off-center), Chad can't seem to find a way to put the spindle hole where it belongs.

Music on Vinyl: some question the sources of the masters, but they have had the most consistently quiet vinyl. They press at the old CBS pressing plant in Holland.

RTI (who presses a lot of audiophile product, and many of Warner's titles) seems to be doing better in the past few years. I've only had one or two bum pressings out of many. ORG I think uses RTI, and their 45 RPM releases have sounded fantastic IMHO.

One that seems to have very crappy vinyl is Fantasy/OCJ. Noisy, and has uneven surfaces.

Can't win, though. New vinyl can have these defects. Yet I'd say at least half of the used vinyl I have purchased in the last several years has been unacceptably worn. The records look great at the stores, but have noticeable groove burn. I remember when buying used vinyl back in the 80s and 90s, they were in much better condition, and I rarely had any I had to reject. It's to the point now where I really have to want a title to buy it used (and live with the idea of having to buy three or four copies to get one that is playable), or I seek out a still sealed copy that I know will at least not have been worn to a nub. 50s and 60s mono records are often the worst, but that hasn't changed--the old record players back then could be brutal on the vinyl, having been played with heavy tracking forces and worn out sapphire styli.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:04 am
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Location: Wayne, NJ, US
Bring or send them back, when they start losing money because of quality issues they will fix it. Note some of this is liable to be crap in the grooves as well, cleaning with a good vac system can do wonders.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:38 pm
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Location: Madison, NJ, US
I ordered 2 LPs from SoundStage Direct in early February. I asked for the "remove from jacket" service. It took over 2 weeks for them to arrive because one was an import. When they did they both had the exact same defect, sort of a squirrely impression on the last track of one side, even though they were from different labels. All the packaging was intact. Weird. I called SSD and they said that they'd order new ones, inspect them, reship, and email me when they did. It would take 10 days to 2 weeks.

So it's now almost 2 months and my LPs will supposedly be delivered today. I hope they are not also defective!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:13 am
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Location: arlington, MA, US
With the price of albums they should be perfect. Always take back defective products. If you can't get to the place of purchase the pressing company will almost always send a replacement. Contact info can be found on the web.
I had a bad Abbey Road side 2 from the box set that was replaced the same with a Roy Buchanan live from Austin.
If we don't complain and demand good products things will not improve.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Portland, OR, US
Nothing has gone wrong with LP pressing. It’s the same as it always was, quite variable. LPs were never a premium product and to have those expectations is not realistic IMHO.

The $8 that we paid in the Mid 1970s for dreck like RCA Dynaflex would equate to about $37 in today’s money. That would get you a single disc LP from most of the “premium” labels today, which, even with a few scuffs and some non-fill will be a superior product. MoFis cost $15 back then, or something over $70 in today’s money.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:01 pm
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI, US
Everything is relative. We are much pickier today than the 60s, 70, 80s. Yes I am that old.

Back then we were more listening to the artist, not the LP for defects. If fact we could tell our LP copy from a friend's copy by where the ticks and skips were located.

My awesome system from the early 70s consisted of a Marantz 2220 receiver, Pioneer turntable, and Bose 501 or Advent speakers. Interconnects were plastic and zipcord speaker wire. Sounded great to me at the time.

Try watching a VHS tape which was the exciting new format back in early 80s. Virtually unwatchable vs todays 4K Blue Ray.

Get a good record vacuum such as Record Doctor (cheap) or VPI 16.5 which will lower static, background noise, as well as remove most of the ticks and pops from your LPs.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 pm
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Location: Montreal, QC, CA
In some cases, even some very expensive ones, it's the mastering that's the problem. I have a Cisco 45-rpm reissue of Jennifer Warnes' Famous Blue Raincoat. There is an edge on the highs which I'm told is the consequence of a misadjusted cutting head. The set is otherwise wonderful. My point is: if it's hard to get someone who really knows what they're doing, even for an iconic reissue like this one -- well then, how many really good cutting engineers are there to go round, these days?


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