What are your views on the quality of current vinyl pressings. I have recently got back into vinyl and have noticed that whilst there are some great pressings out there others are pretty poor with surface noise, clicks, marked vinyl etc. The worst so far are the Allman Brothers albums on colour vinyl. I have 2 copies of the Allman Brothers Band On colour vinyl, the first had marks on the vinyl and excessive surface noise despite being cleaned, the 2nd copy had no marks but again excessive surface noise. The same for Eat a Peach; brothers and sisters. For costly limited edition audiophile vinyl I expect better. The experience so far has reminded me why I switched to cds and downloads in the first place.
The best current pressings I reckon are being done by Record Industry and Pallas, who turn out records that are generally consistently flat, centered and free of obvious flaws. RTI are also very good, and seem to have improved a bit after a bit of a shaky patch. Optimal I also find to be pretty good too - in most cases excellent. QRP I’ve had one or two shockers but can be excellent too. MPO can be good, but more of a gamble. GZ is inconsistent can be good, sometimes quite often not so good. Rainbo, I tend to avoid…
A problem can be when anti-static inners aren’t used. Often the static charge from the pressing ensures the LP sticks to the inner like a limpet so any rough edges or debris leave an indelible impression. It’s well worth just cutting off any plain white inner, and then giving the LP a wash in an RCM, not just to clean it of any debris, but also to neutralise any static charge. Then put in a new replacement anti-static inner.
in my experience and the albums I listen too, some of the new pressings and recordings are sublime, which is important to me as I play 95% vinyl
Recent releases from Abbey Road, society of sound, and recent re masters are outstanding there is a very good topic on Music room which I have listed all the albums I rate highly
I always try and purchase from my independent record stores
Enjoy the music
Thanks Antz I purchased the Allman Brothers through The Universal Music Store not greatly impressed but i suppose it depends more on how they were pressed.
Thanks Richard I now use new anti static liners it just annoys me how many records are in stiff glossy sleeves and as you say stuck to the inside
Never just pull your LP from its inner sleeve especially if static makes it difficult. If possible billow it out so the playing surface is as far as possible free of the sleeve. New inner sleeves are not expensive. Sounds a bit anorak but its very easy for little bits of pressing swarf to be dragged across the disc. You could carefully clean the sleeve inner surface on buying. How far do you go?
Look for records pressed at the Premium pressing plants RTI ( USA ), QRP ( USA ) Pallas ( Germany ) Optimal ( Germany ) RI ( Holland ) as used by audiophile labels and only pressed on black vinyl
most records are pressed by the lowest bidder
As a rule, I avoid ‘gimmicky’ vinyl - the emphasis is not on quality pressing.
I have to say that I think the quality of vinyl pressings has improved immeasurably over the past three or four years. Over that time I have bought several hundred new LPs and have had to return just one of them because of poor pressing quality (a big bit of vinyl infill of a copy of Led Zep’s How The West Was Won).
The quality of pressings in the very late 90s and early noughties was often atrocious. I remember having to return Kate Bush’s Aerial four or five times because the pressings were so abysmally noisy. Which reminds me – I must buy a copy of the 2018 remaster!
I agree some of the vinyl I purchased in the early 80’s was atrocious and I remember recycled vinyl being used for pressings, some were so warped they wouldn’t play at all.
Conversely, some of the vinyl LPs I have from the 80s were beautifully pressed and sound stunning. Some of the best were pressed by Nimbus. The Boplicity Contemporary reissues were also superbly pressed. And of course in Japan pressing quality has always been of a particularly high standard (shame about some of the actual cuts though), especially where JVC vinyl was used.
Has anyone had any luck Analogue Production. I’m looking at a Stevie Ray Vaughn box set in 45rpm 200 grams (which I know doesn’t guarantee quality) that I would really like to hear from someone who owns it before I take the plunge.
I don’t know that release @Zackwater but all the Analogue Prods LPs I own (mostly jazz, some rock - eg Ellington, Roger Waters, Beach Boys etc) have been blessed with superb pressings.
I don’t have that one but all Analogue Productions 45 rpm I have sound stunning.
I’ve bought lots of Analogue Production recordings and they have all been superb pressings. They along with Music Matters make the best vinyl IMHO.
That’s really insightful and helpful Richard. It explains some of the issues I’ve had with recent pressings. I had this issue with Don Henley’s Cass County. There were white bands across track 1 on 3 of the 4 sides, almost as if the glue on the sleeve or inner had rubbed off on the vinyl; perfectly straight, separate bands at 90 degrees to eachother on North, East, South and West edges of the disc. I complained and they sent me another gratis. Good response, but sadly It was exactly the same!
In general with recent issues, and to the OP’s point, I think there may not be an issue with the pressings as such, but with the subsequent handling and packaging of the discs after pressing. So many dings and scratches and warping of the records it’s pretty ridiculous. Does heavyweight vinyl make warpage worse? Discuss…
Grateful for your flagging the good guys in your message Richard. Valuable insight for sure. In general, I’ve all but given up on buying new issues if older originals are available on Discogs or similar, but I’ll reconsider for those labels you mention.
I’ve been getting back into vinyl over the last 12 months or so and I’ve been quite pleased with the quality of the vinyl pressings. Admittedly, I’ve bought some pressings by Mofi, Speakers Corner and Analogue Productions and, given the price of some of these records, I would have been quite annoyed if there had been issues with these pressings. I’ve also bought less expensive vinyl, such as recent Prefab Sprout reissues, and these have been excellent as well.
The only real disappointment I’ve had was the Curtis Mayfield Keep On Keeping On boxset - I’ve had three copies from different suppliers and the first album in the box set was dished in all three. I noticed on Discogs that someone had posted that they had experienced exactly the same issue 3 times in the US. From comments on this forum, it seems initial pressings didn’t have this problem.
I do recall returning a fair number of records in the late 70s, 80s and 90s due to clicks, pops and crackles.
Generally speaking, are the 45 rpm versions substantially better than the same pressing in a 33 rpm, with everything else being the same.
I have many many 45rpm Analogue Productions reissues, though mostly Jazz. I can’t remember a single problem with them. I had a problem once with 45rpm Mofi, but again, I think it’s the exception rather than the rule.