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Sunday, April 7, 2019

What's the deal with new vinyl?

 
   I'm curious if any of you share my opinion on some new vinyl releases? I've tried different cartridges, different alignments, etc and no matter what I do; a number of records just sound like shit. A couple of examples like: anything on Queen Mum records or 1977 records. I have some of the originals and, (in my opinion) these reissues are clearly inferior. I bought a copy of The Not Amused, (Totally Destroyed) on Queen Mum. It's a new recording and it sounds terrible? This issue isn't pertaining only to these labels. I've noticed many new records, just sound like shit. I pop on a record from the 70's and it sounds great? I would think with all of the advances in recording equipment, records should be improving, not regressing? Are they making them sound bad on purpose or are they using cheap, inferior equipment to make them? Does that make them more Punk? I'm not saying all new records sound bad; I run into some that sound great also. I understand the whole DIY thing but many records from the 70's and 80's were DIY and they just sound superior too me. It's almost getting to the point, where I won't buy anything new unless I hear it first.   

14 comments:

Whimpers and Bangs said...

i have a feeling (just a hunch) that a lot of the newer pressings are produced and sold primarily as collectibles for display rather than as an actual way hear the music.

Viacomclosedmedown on youtube said...

You are not alone, Sir! I just got the Pogues reissue of 'Peace and Love" on discogs (only be cause I thought it was an original pressing and made a mistake) but sure enough, another stinker 180 gram. I think it may have to do with the thickness of the record being unable to flex prohibits the needle from really digging in the groove. To bad I lost the orignal CD as it would have worked just fine. It's too bad quality is slipping now as the industry has grown and captured a lot of enthusiasts. I think it has to do with illuminati like owner of facebook who is from that group and they purposely take away the 'pinch zoom' function that every other website allows you to do. They work on several fronts and one front is the eugenicist Bill Gates spreading cancerous pesticides into Africa...what a fucking putz!! I hate those haters with all my powers and hope to bring them down in any way possible. I have followed the pesticide banning progress since the eighties and we have won many battles to get to this point like the CA lawsuit supporting the cancer claims up until the second monetary payout win that had Bayer shitting in their fanny pack.

rcharbon said...

Today, a lot of indie records are engineered by someone sitting at their laptop with headphones on. Real studio time is expensive. But sound quality inevitably goes down.

rcharbon said...

...then, actual vinyl pressing is handed off to whatever third-party does it cheapest.

rcharbon said...

It's not just the vinyl sucks (as mentioned above) but the master does too.

Frank Miller said...

Nice to know I'm not the only one. I was starting to think it must be my equipment. You all make great points. It's really a shame, so many great singles have been reissued over the last 10 years. It's great if you can't afford the real thing but it's a shame they cant't at least match the original quality. Honestly, when I was a kid; I was lucky to live in close proximity to NY and Philly. The result was access to much of the great music of the time but back then there was no internet. The only way to be exposed to new music was college radio, mail order or zines. So you could read reviews in zines and write to bands, often taking shots in the dark. Unfortunately, unless you were part of that particular local scene; you more than likely would never have had an opportunity to purchase many of the records that drive the collectors today, and forget about imports. Suddenly in large part, because of the combination of the internet, reissue comps and Ebay; the world heard what they missed out on..lol
I've had mixed results with the 180 gram records. I have some that sound great and some that sound terrible. I have a number of reissues that look great with cool packaging. They look like real effort went into them. Then I pop on the record and it sounds like shit. Isn't that the most important part? Same with all of these new bands. If my record sounded as bad as some I've heard, there would be serious hell to pay. I know it's punk and quality isn't supposed to matter but I've heard some great, killer, new records that just totally ruined; because they sound like shit.
Especially, with the popularity of vinyl right now; you would think these people would want to show the next generation, what made us fall in love?

Anonymous John said...

@rcharbon and @viacomclosedmedown make good points. One problem I have with new vinyl is it's often sourced from a digital master. To sound it's best it must be recorded and mastered completely in the analogue realm. When you source a vinyl lp from a digital master you're killing everything that makes vinyl good - might as well just issue mp3s and cds at that point...Most companies issuing in multiple formats source everything from a single master, very rarely spending the money to have a separate master for each format. Frustrating as a record buyer since new vinyl has become way pricey.
-Anonymous John

said...

I'm going with Anonymous John's premise. A lot of new vinyl is taken directly from digital sources. We are expecting analog quality but that will only come from analog recordings. Before buying, check the sources.

Frank Miller said...

While I definitely agree with the digital source assessment; I feel the quality of the vinyl itself is suffering as well. Many brand new records I play suffer from serious groove distortion, that I rarely encounter with older records.

Mark L. said...

Not surprised to see the number of comments about this. From what I've seen in the past info wise I believe Anonymous John's mention is the most likely culprit. Though you can't discount the use of sub-par mastering and/or vinyl & pressing/production, my understanding is that modern digital signal recording isn't meant to be encoded/played via analog media. I wish I could remember where I saw the article on this (several years back), but they showed differential in the sound waves/signal on analog/vinyl vs digital/cd and it appeared to support the fact that modern vinyl from digital releases don't sound better/clearer than CD or analog/vinyl, they end up sounding worse. That aside, I think a lot of vinyl reissued from an original master reel, cassette or vinyl likely has more to do with the quality of the original recording. I never noted any issue with the 7"s on 1977 Records or LPs from Detour Records outside of what you may expect (due to source), but of the more prolific re-issue labels maybe Rave Up seemed a bit spotty on occasion to me..
Cheers, M.

Fab said...

In the 70's or 80's the first 500 copies where go to the trash (time to warm up the press) now all the copies are sold (due certainly to the cost of production and huge orders with the return of the vinyl).
I'm agree too with with the digital source assessment.
Before cd, mastering was thought for vinyl, now it's done for digital, with digital machines etc ...
When the cd started, all the albums that came out were remastered.
But now they do not worry about that anymore.
There is also the raw material, some pressing plants use "recycled" vinyl.
In fact they are crushed and reused vinyls. But the paper insert is crushed with small paper particles on the disc.
This is my whole opinion.
Have a nice day, and thank you for your blog.
F.M

0101001x_x said...

Yup couldn't agree more...

Anonymous John said...

Came back to check on these comments, it's nice to see people chiming in. A couple further points: 1. Always clean new vinyl before you play it. Doesn't matter how you clean it, anything's better than nothing (although I like dedicated vacuum record cleaning machines the best) New vinyl from the pressing plant has all kinds of residue and particles that if not removed will be permanently etched into the grooves of the record when you play it. Brand new vinyl should not be considered clean, and it's worse with the newer pressings than it used to be. 2. Ditch the sleeve of your new record after you've cleaned it and use poly sleeves. There's different grades depending on what you want to spend, but the cheapest poly sleeves are better than the paper ones that come with the record. You can find lots of info via google or whatever. Thanks Mr. Miller for all you share & for allowing discussions like this! -Anonymous John

Frank Miller said...

Thanks John, all great tips. Vacuuming definitely does the best job. I created my own system; with a piece of PVC pipe, round foam insulation, Felt, glue and a small wet/dry vac. I spray the record with my home made solution, trace around the record with a soft bristle, artist's paint brush; then vacuum it off with my contraption. It's a bit primitive but effective. Especially considering the price of cleaning machines.