Second hand vinyl

What’s your experience of buying second hand records? I guess most previous owners would have used low to mid range systems and maybe not been fanatical about storage and use. Have you found buying used to be good value or the quality generally not really what you would want?

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All depends where you buy it from. Buy from a well rated seller on Discogs and you can usually trust the gradings. Same goes for a trusted 2nd hand record shop. Buying from other sources is much more of a risk but a good record cleaning machine takes a lot of the risk away.


It really has been a mixed experience for me, especially buying secondhand LPs unseen (mainly via ebay). The problem I found is that one persons ‘Mint’ is another’s’ Very Good’. So much so that over the course of the pandemic, I’ve decided to only buy used vinyl from trusted sellers on Discogs, or where I can inspect the record in store, or at a record fair, when they get up and running again that is.

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It’s a bit hit and miss. Even records that look good can play terrible with groove distortion and crackle.
However when you get a really good one it makes it all worthwhile.

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My experience has been mostly positive, bar the odd LP where an audible scratch was not described by the seller (Classic Records Kind Of Blue or a first press Happy Trails spring to mind).

Most of my used records improve well with a clean (manual - I don’t have a machine) and I tend to stick with either my local record shop (big up to Flashback) or trusted sellers on Ebay.

I buy mostly used as I generally prefer originals to remasters.

I’ve generally had a good experience, but I usually buy from record fairs or local used vinyl shops where its possible to check the surface condition, not entirely 100% I know, but not been let down yet, and as others have said, I prefer original releases to Remasters.

Hmmm…I’d not really considered record cleaning machines…it seems that’s another way to spend too much money…any recommendations for one not too expensive?

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Pro-ject VC-S works well and is relatively inexpensive. Otherwise, fo similar cost there’s the Okki Nokki, or the Moth (this can be supplied as a kit if you wish to save money).

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I have not bought many used LP’s - just a few, recently, from DisCogs. Most have been OK, but not ‘great’. As @stewartld say - they are most likely to have been played on rather average systems, at best. And as @Premmyboy says, an LP that looks good (and maybe graded as VG+ or Mint, on Discogs), can actually play poorly.

Cleaning is another bag of worms. Like @stewartld , I only have ‘manual’ cleaning. But - this did work quite well on a recent acquisition. This is the first time, for me, that cleaning has made a difference. The LP was graded as VG+…!!

I buy only NM or M records on Discogs. I have quite never a problem. Clean them with Art du Son vinyl fluid and have quite no pops and clicks at all. My records are 99% 70’s albums. Modern lps , nowadays, have a very changing quality. Some are warped, some very noisy….

I have a VPI vacuum record cleaning machine which I’ve used for last 15 years. It works well and can certainly improve playback of records that have dirty grooves whether that be ingrained dust & static.
However if a record looks perfect but has been played with old worn out stylus and has groove damage then a cleaner cannot improve that.
I tend to clean all my records whether new or second hand prior to playing. That way you have the best chance of decent playback quality but also possibly you are extending the life of your cartridge.


I could not justify the cost of any sort of Record Cleaning Machine. I buy very few used records - and my collection of original LP’s are all fine.

My regime is to clean Records only when needed. But clean the Stylus regularly.

I’ve bought second hand records extensively - probably about 50% of my LPs are secondhand. However, most were bought inspected (in the 70s/80s). I would generally hesitate to buy sight unseen unless it is something that I really want and doesn’t anymore. I’ve bought a few off eBay that way.

Have rarely had a bad experience. Generally, it is worth investing in a cleaning machine if you are going to buy a good amount second hand. The usual problems are dirt stuck in the grooves, that can be washed off.

Another vote for the Pro-Ject it’s now the VCSII Alu with a number of improvements over the original VCS.
Theres also a more compact model the VCE, never seen or used that one but I’ve owned the VCSII ALU for some time now and wouldnt be without it.

The problem with, is that most manual cleaning methods tend to just re distribute the dirt around the record and drive it deeper into the groove as a sludge

The bigger of the two Pro-Ject machines - the £429 one - works well. There is a smaller one but it has a daft design and is more of a pain to use. I bought a used album from Discogs and it was filthy - the stylus clogged after one track - but the machine brought it up as shiny and clean as new. The seller was very apologetic - her husband had died and she was selling his records, and didn’t really know about cleaning them. She gave me a full refund, which made me feel a little guilty. This experience was what got me to buy the machine.

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IME, buying 2nd-hand is very hit & miss - and I’d look carefully at the negative feedback on the likes of Discogs, as this is often telling, even though it is often out-scored by positive reviews (I can only think some people are easily pleased!).

As others have said, some parties have a very generous view on what ‘Mint’ and ‘Near-Mint’ mean and, from the few I’ve bought with these tags, I wouldn’t even score as ‘Good’.


I have been selling discs on DISCOGS (under a different name) and always give the buyer the option to have the LP cleaned prior to shipping (use an OGGI NOKKI) and provide the LP in a new antistatic inner sleeve and the outer sleeve in low acid plastic outer sleeve. Have been slowly liquidating a friends collection of Jazz and classical albums (~1000 LPs). Most have been played only a few times on a high end turntable/cartridge combo and hence are in mint or near-mint condition. I do believe from experience that most sellers on DISCOGS are very honest about the condition and take care also in the shipping. Going with sellers that do have high number of feedback and/or a high feedback rating is important. DISCOGS buyers can be very, very picky and hence the ratings of sellers is probably more reflective of quality of the material being sold.
My LP collection is a little shy of 4000 LPs, about half bought used. Like many other’s, I have usually been able to inspect the LP prior to buying, but from purchases made via DISCOGS I have yet to have a problem.
Happy collecting!

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I’ve bought quite a few records on eBay and some are quite dirty despite being described as mint.

I bought Neil Young Harvest Moon for over £40 and it sounded terrible at first. Once it was played half a dozen times it sounded great and after a few cleans done by hand. The stylus cleaned the record by digging out the grooves.

Overall, the older, original records sound better than the remastered 180g modern records.

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It’s strange how our experience can differ. I am buying on Discogs since 15 years and find the rating of media condition correct at 95% of time. For maybe 600 records, I returned 5 or 6 , being more VG/VG+ than NM. And I returned 2 or 3 being said original instead of being reissue.