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> Vinyl quality, The good, the bad and the downright ugly
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dandy*
post Jan 7 2021, 11:57 AM
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Since upgrading my turntable I'm noticing more and more the massive variance in quality you get with albums. I've just excitedly played Lana's NFR only to discover that both my blue and green copies sound pretty god damn awful, nowhere near as good as the mp3s do sad.gif

So I thought it may be an interesting thread to have a discussion around what our best and worst sounding albums are. For the good side of things, I played the Bicep album yesterday and that sounded phenomenal, definitely one of the strongest sounding things I've heard so far! happy.gif
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DalekTurret32
post Jan 7 2021, 02:31 PM
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How do the NFR vinyl sound awful? I'm asking because I never experienced poor sound quality with a vinyl before and I want to understand from your POV.
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dandy*
post Jan 7 2021, 04:11 PM
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I probably won't describe this very well but I find that the production is just very 'muddy', flat and distorted when compared to digital files, especially if it's at any reasonably high volume. The parts where it's just her vocals and a piano are pretty much okay but when a fuller orchestration is being used it just doesn't sound very good at all. Which is odd as that's exactly the opposite of what usually happens when comparing vinyl to digital.

I'm probably not describing it correctly but some things just sound quite compressed and flat whilst other vinyl sounds amazing like you've got a live band playing in front of you



I know a few other posters have the Lana vinyl, I wonder if they know what I mean or not?
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common sense
post Jan 7 2021, 07:50 PM
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Okay I don't buy or listen to vinyl now but have read quite a bit online over the years about this Dandy. They say there just isn't as strict quality control with LP's produced these days as there was in the heyday of sales in the 70's and 80's. Common problems with old pressing equipment still being used today reported are surface noise throughout some entire tracks/sides of the LP and clicks and pops on individual tracks which you don't tend to get on CD. Some people have even gone back to CD because of this.

If you Google you can read lots around the Net. They're not faults as such, just the way they're pressed these days which is sad when they're so expensive. In the olden days I used to find that some labels were worse than others. CBS for example seemed to always have a lot of surface noise. I thought it was just my imagination until my cousin said the same without me prompting him! ohmy.gif

Here's one chat thread on Discogs that may interest you Dandy.

https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/761231


This post has been edited by common sense: Jan 7 2021, 07:51 PM
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dandy*
post Jan 8 2021, 12:22 PM
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Thanks for the link Chris, yes I have similar views to a lot of those grumblers! Although I don't dismiss all new vinyl in the same way as they do though, some of my very best sounding records are new releases or new re-issues of older albums.

I'm just surprised at the massive difference in quality I'm experiencing - I played Muse's Black Holes & Revolutions album yesterday and that was also rather shoddy, it's passable but doesn't sound anywhere near as amazing as that album really should do.

In contrast, I've been going through my Janet Jackson collection and her newer re-issues sound great - The Velvet Rope in particular has been mastered very well indeed wub.gif
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Doctor Blind
post Jan 8 2021, 12:37 PM
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I've not noticed any poor quality, but I do agree with you that Bicep's self-titled debut is a stunner. Superb quality vinyl and an excellent album too!
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jsweetxe
post Jan 8 2021, 01:42 PM
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I feel like a lot of older albums that have been pressed in the last few years have updated quality.

Listening to Mariah's debut through AirPods and then listening on vinyl- there is a subtle difference in terms of her vocals and the way it comes through, a lot more sheen and pristine on the vinyl for sure.

On the flip side Little Mix's Confetti is quite.. muddy on vinyl. I think that's due to the pressing of the splattered vinyl as opposed to the standard? Songs like "A Mess" and "If You Want My Love" go very fuzzy and are quite unlistenable at times.
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Popchartfreak
post Jan 8 2021, 01:42 PM
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coloured and picture disc vinyl back in the day also used to sound rubbish, lots of surface noise on singles and especially albums, which is why I have precious little of it. It's fine as an investment you buy to gain value and flog on, but to listen to I always opted for plain black vinyl.

Albums in the 60s and 70's were more solid and better made, singles too, but that was UK product. American singles were just awful, low-quality cheap tat quite often, especially, and so were European imports which were often resorted to when demand outstripped availability in the UK - I'm still pissed off I got sub-standard sound on a few of my faves. Then in came K-Tel and Ronco squeezing 20 tracks onto 2 sides and sound quality suffered, and during the late 80's there was no incentive to make vinyl singles of much quality when CD's came in. Record companies had already pretty much decided that it was CD's and vinyl was a dead format.

budget albums sounded rubbish, full-price still OK. Now albums were better than K-Tel, but not as good as CD. Before I decided to switch to CD I compared sound quality of the same tracks on vinyl and CD, buying loads of CD singles cheap that I'd already bought as 99p chart-fixing vinyl bargains and came to the conclusion that it just wasn't worth buying anymore, even though I love the format and hate the cheap-plastic-disposable feel to CD's.

And then in the 90's I found out that the claims about CD's lasting forever was a load of BS as many of my 80's purchases degraded by reacting with the inks used in the process and became unplayable. So, goodbye Gloria Estefan maxi-Cd single, cheerio Hits of 1971. I've since rescued all the vinyl singles I had earmarked as charity shop stuck in the garage for 20 years - mostly reissues and 90's singles. Vinyl will outlast CD, as long as you keep it away from pvc "protective" sleeves which actually also cause vinyl to degrade over a period of 10 or 20 years. My first ever 20 singles, my most precious, suffered that fate. Still livid at the lying claims made by the manufacturers.

This has been my life in formats.....
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dandy*
post Jan 8 2021, 03:45 PM
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QUOTE(jsweetxe @ Jan 8 2021, 01:42 PM) *
I feel like a lot of older albums that have been pressed in the last few years have updated quality.

Listening to Mariah's debut through AirPods and then listening on vinyl- there is a subtle difference in terms of her vocals and the way it comes through, a lot more sheen and pristine on the vinyl for sure.

On the flip side Little Mix's Confetti is quite.. muddy on vinyl. I think that's due to the pressing of the splattered vinyl as opposed to the standard? Songs like "A Mess" and "If You Want My Love" go very fuzzy and are quite unlistenable at times.


This is exactly what I meant, glad you described it as 'muddy' too! Although I am finding it isn't connected to vinyl colour or type as it happens on a few of my black records as well. I can only assume that some places where they are produced have much lower quality standards than others, or maybe just some artists/labels don't care enough to ensure the quality of sound is there.

I think it's something that I've noticed because I've upgraded my systems. And I don't mean to sound snobby there either, it's just that I definitely didn't notice it as much on my old turntable but my new one has made some things sound out of this world amazing which is great but the downside is that it also makes lower production values more noticeable.
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 25th January 2021 - 04:29 PM