Non-Black Vinyl

It’s great fun to have non-black records spinning on my Linn, as they look so cool - recent buys have included red, orange, white, purple, speckled blue (Weezer’s ‘Blue Album’, appropriately enough) and clear (transparent) vinyl (for those noise monsters Sugar’s two LPs). It all adds to the fun of playing LPs, (but I’m easily pleased by such silliness). Amazingly, DGG released a gold LP of Carlos Kleiber’s matchless Beethoven’s Fifth not sol long ago, but I was too slow to secure a copy.

I have read suggestions that non-black records do not, or can not, sound as good as ‘standard’ black vinyl. Does anyone know if this is correct, and - if so - why this should be?

Even if it s confirmed in the positive, I shall go on buying non-standard black records, as they are such fun things to have.

I’ve heard that. But some boutique labels charge extra for transparent “new” or “virgin” vinyl as proof it hasn’t been recycled.

I can’t be bothered worrying about it one way or the other.

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In my experience coloured vinyl is noisier than black. I have compared a few times releases on both and black is always my play copy while I collect colour. If I am buying to listen to I always seek out black plus its usually cheaper!


That’s interesting. Yesterday I played a brand new ‘blue speckled’ LP of Weezer’s Blue Album against a (much older) standard black copy, and could hear no discernible difference in the depth or range of the records.

(Perhaps I need to get my ears syringed, horrible though that is!)

And, of course, you’re right about the record companies charging more for the coloured copies. (Any chance to fleece punters will be seized upon.)

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Of course my statement was somewhat of a generalisation as I have only A/B tested what I have and some records are simply not available on black these days. I believe the carbon in the black makes for a longer lasting groove adding some ‘hardness’ to the vinyl mix but I could be wrong. I am thinking back quite some years now!

For what its worth I find the new thick vinyl can be noisier than thinner pressings as well. Maybe its my ears that need checking!!

Yes, there’s an irony in the fact that we (or I, at least) spend a small fortune on the equipment and LPs, but leave our ears to fend for themselves.

(Others may be more careful about their ears than I am!)

Apparently they start off clear then the colour is added.
So I would say no difference.



Clear is supposed to be best, however, it makes it really difficult to see flaws in the vinyl, which may be why black is generally preferred.


I always prefer black vinyl to coloured or clear vinyl. Partly due to the cueing problems that Richard alludes to. New vinyl is so expensive today that paying extra for coloured vinyl does not appeal.

However, I do have a few novelty items, including a luminous 7” single and even a few picture discs.

That’s fascinating, Richard, I did not know that.

Certainly, the two transparent Sugar albums sounded immense.

I now own some coloured vinyl and it sounds no different to black to me. Unlike most Picture Discs I own, all of which sound rubbish.


I think coloured/clear vinyl is the same lottery, re quality, as black vinyl. The end result is more to do with pressing quality and the master which was used. The coloured records I own are just fine.

I have always believed multi-coloured records were problematic so avoided them like the plague. Imagine my horror when I opened my recently purchased copy of Fela Kuti, Open & Close, which was described as red, but was in fact red and orange, mimicking the cover. However, it plays beautifully and I doubt a black version would sound any different.


I used to have a picture disc or Iron Maiden - The evil that men do. It was in the shape of Eddies head. Great stuff, unfortunately sold this gem when I got rid of my record player and my vinyls.

This is where the horizontal facing cuing light on some DJ decks comes in really handy. In fact it’s almost easier to use with clear discs because tracks appear as rainbow and the lead in is clear.

Interesting. On average I find non-black vinyl to be noisier than black. Though of course, black is itself coloured vinyl. I understand all vinyl is clear at the start of the manufacturing process, unless others know different?

I have never found a link between how the vinyl sounds and it’s colour. If anything, I will choose a coloured option, just basing my theory that the coloured vinyl will be a purer composition in the particular batch and less likely be recycled black stuff.

The vinyl starts off clear and traditionally black colour ( usually very dark, dark blue) is added.
There should be no difference in sound between a black, pink, yellow etc record.
Picture disks on the other hand are always worth avoiding. Total noisy rubbish in my limited experience of them.
Intrestingly the quietest lp i have is a very blue reissue of cafe bleu by the style council. Absolutely silent.


No difference in my experience.

Recently bought Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’ in translucent blue vinyl and it plays excellently.


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Bought a 1974 original in black for £1 six months ago. Plays well too, albeit it did require some cleaning.

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From Habit Hat? :wink: