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Soup D's picture
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Modern vinyl is rubbish?
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Hi all,

Been browsing the forum since getting a new Pro-ject Debut Carbon for christmas and have been thoroughly enjoying all my old vinyl, I'd forgotten how good it could sound.

The temptation to buy some new vinyl has been strong but the ridiculous cost has been enough to prevent me succumbing (the last new vinyl I bought would probably have been 'The Bends' or 'Worst Case Scenario' (dEUS)).

Fortunately (?) I was out of the country on Record Store Day so another temptation hurdle was avoided (particularly the re-issues of 'Metamatic' and 'Nightclubbing').

However, last week my resistance finally crumbled and I forked out twenty quid for the slab of vinyl called 'Lazaretto'. I figured it was a safe bet given Jack White's proclaimed love of the format. I have to say I am very disappointed. Not with the music, nor the recording, nor the mastering but the pressing. Far more surface noise than any of my old vinyl and a generous scattering of pops and clicks throughout.

This is exactly what made me finally give up on vinyl in the mid-nineties.

This raises a number of questions which I'd be delighted to hear some opinions on.

Have I just got a duff copy or is this common for this release? Indeed, is it a consequence of the gimmicks employed?

If so, is there any likelihood that returning it would result in me obtaining a better copy?

Or am I expecting too much, and this is the accepted standard for all modern vinyl?

 

chebby's picture
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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Soup D wrote:

I have to say I am very disappointed. Not with the music, nor the recording, nor the mastering but the pressing. Far more surface noise than any of my old vinyl and a generous scattering of pops and clicks throughout.

New vinyl can often be worse in this respect than old.   I used to get all of my new and s/h LPs cleaned on a professional Keith Monks machine before playing them. (Luckily a very local dealer has a twin deck KM cleaner and would charge £2 per LP including a new anti-stat sleeve.)

By 'gimmicks' do you mean someone adding vinyl noise 'effects' to the vinyl?  Do they do that nowadays?

[EDIT] I just noticed there are coloured vinyl versions of this record. Is that what you've got?  They are notoriously bad for replay (especially mixed colours) and are really only for collectors.

[Another EDIT]  I looked up those 'gimmicks' mentioned ...

"The limited-edition "Ultra" LP features hidden songs, secret grooves, and holograms that materialize when the record is being played."

And ...

- 180 gram vinyl

- 2 vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels

- 1 hidden track plays at 78 RPM, one plays at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record

- Side A plays from the outside in

- Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song.

- Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record

- Both sides end with locked grooves

- Vinyl pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format

- Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record

A video explains all this ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-8B-_Jq2ro#t=220

 

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

BIGBERNARDBRESSLAW's picture
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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Hello, and welcome to the forum.

Not all modern vinyl is rubbish, some of it is great, but it does seem to be a very hit and miss affair.

How was "The Bends" and "Worst Case Scenario" (great album by the way)?

As for your Jack White album, if you're not happy with it, take it back and change it, and if you're not happy with replacement, take it back and get a refund.

Chebby is right about coloured vinyl, but I recently bought a Neu reissue on white vinyl, and it sounded great, so it could be the coloured vinyl that's the problem, but then again, it might not be.

There are sites that will inform you of the better reissues, and you'll soon get to know the best reissue companies.

 

Lounge: Panasonic TX-P50GT50 / Yamaha RX-A2020 / Panasonic DMP-BDT110 / Dali Zensor 3 / Dali Zensor Vokal / Mordaunt Short MS20i Pearl Edition / Roksan Radius 5.2 / WDTV My Book Live / Seagate Expansion / Sky HD Box 

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Looks like chebby has found the problem.  Smile

Lounge: Panasonic TX-P50GT50 / Yamaha RX-A2020 / Panasonic DMP-BDT110 / Dali Zensor 3 / Dali Zensor Vokal / Mordaunt Short MS20i Pearl Edition / Roksan Radius 5.2 / WDTV My Book Live / Seagate Expansion / Sky HD Box 

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Coloured vinyl doesn't seem to be an issue nowadays, it's more the marbled vinyl, or the colour splattered ones that aren't great. More for collecting really.

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish? RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

chebby wrote:

 I looked up those 'gimmicks' mentioned ...

"The limited-edition "Ultra" LP features hidden songs, secret grooves, and holograms that materialize when the record is being played."

And ...

- 180 gram vinyl

- 2 vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels

- 1 hidden track plays at 78 RPM, one plays at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record

- Side A plays from the outside in

- Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song.

- Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record

- Both sides end with locked grooves

- Vinyl pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format

- Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record

A video explains all this ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-8B-_Jq2ro#t=220

 

Yes, all that stuff, though I haven't peeled off the labels yet. All good fun but at the end of the day I want to listen to and enjoy the music and I'm afraid the noise, pops & clicks is getting in the way just a bit too much.

Do you think a clean might improve things? I'm inclined to think that the vinyl will never be better than the first day it's removed from the sleeve.

Oh, and I don't find the mp3 download particularly to my taste. Compared to the vinyl it sounds more congested and low fequency-heavy.

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Sorry to hear you are finding modern vinyl rubbish.

The Jack White album is indeed a bit left-field and with tracks playing 'backwards' , coloured vinyl etc ids not going to improve matters.

I buy quite a bit of modern vinyl and have not had a real duffer for a long time. I am, however, quite selective of manufacturers / place of pressing etc.

With the price of modern vinyl I would expect a near immaculate condition / SQ straight from the off. If it isn't send it back as cleaning it is not going to make a vast improvement.

 

Motto: Never pay full price for anything, there is always room to haggle!

Tom Evans Audio Design amplification / Acoustic Zen speakers.

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish? RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

BIGBERNARDBRESSLAW wrote:

Hello, and welcome to the forum.

Not all modern vinyl is rubbish, some of it is great, but it does seem to be a very hit and miss affair.

How was "The Bends" and "Worst Case Scenario" (great album by the way)?

As for your Jack White album, if you're not happy with it, take it back and change it, and if you're not happy with replacement, take it back and get a refund.

Chebby is right about coloured vinyl, but I recently bought a Neu reissue on white vinyl, and it sounded great, so it could be the coloured vinyl that's the problem, but then again, it might not be.

There are sites that will inform you of the better reissues, and you'll soon get to know the best reissue companies.

 

Hi . :wave:

Thanks for the welcome.

I used "Worst Case Scenario" when auditioning an amp and speakers to go with the Pro-ject, it is a great album.

I'm loathe to return vinyl. As an advocate of real record stores I don't want to do anything which may even slightly impinge on their slim operating margins.

My local record store of old was Echo (Byres Road in Glasgow). A great store owned & run by a couple of brothers who were incredibly knowledgable and passionate about all music. It is sadly long gone but the owners would be tearing their hair out when I returned yet another album as the quality of vinyl declined through the early nineties. It seemed the pressing plants weren't being properly maintained as the market moved almost exclusively to CD.

I suppose I assumed that the recent revival and positioning of vinyl as a 'premium' product (costing at least twice as much as the CD) would be accompanied by an emphasis on producing very high quality pressings.

My copy of 'Lazaretto' is not coloured vinyl, though I seem to recall hearing comments about the inferiority of coloured vinyl (and picture discs) throughout my record buying life. So nothing new there.

Thanks all for the feedback.

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

BIGBERNARDBRESSLAW wrote:

Not all modern vinyl is rubbish, some of it is great, but it does seem to be a very hit and miss affair.

I'd definately agree with that. Some pressings I've bought recently such as First Aid Kit's "The Lion's Roar" have been superb. Others such as Smoke Fairies have been very poor with loads of surface noise and  distortion. My older vinyl fom the 80s/90s was much more consistent. Just being on 180g vinyl doesn't seem to guarantee quality, but having a free download code included with the vinyl gives you a useful backup if the pressing's not up to scratch. 

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Generally speaking the best vinyl in my collection is not the recent stuff, however one of few exceptions is the aforementioned Lazeretto. My copy - gimmicks and all - is my current "vinyl is best" demo disc. Maybe I was lucky, there are few if any pops and crackles. As you mention the actual zero compression sound and superior mastering are huge plus factors. Well, that and the actual music of course.

That said, I'm always wary of new "modern" vinyl, there are too many times when I've been disappointed and or sent it back tot the shop/Amazon/eBay.

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

I suppose those are the answers that I didn't want to hear. A clear cut 'good' or 'bad' would make future purchases so much simpler, now I'm going to have to consider each purchase carefully. :?

Interesting to hear that there are good copies out there. I'll give it another spin and see if I can live with the noise.

Thanks all.

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

I'm a fan of modern vinyl, and bought a few albums reissued for Record Store Day.

And I am very happy with them. I did buy a RSD Joan Baez recently that was issued a few years ago. I bought it on EBay - the seller was in Germany. It came with the traditional Vanguard paper inner sleave, and had a number of pops and crackles. It has been cleaned a few times on my Knosti, and also on a Monks in Soho. This has improved it, but I think the problem was caused by sitting in the paper sleeve for a couple of years before I bought it.

I do clean all my records before playing them, and put into a new antistatic sleeve. And I've had no other issues. And I love the sound of the remasters on heavy vinyl. 

I also play them on a Project Debut Carbon (the Esprit SB edition)

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Hi Soup D,

Just a few observations for you - 

Yes, I`m afraid to repeat and confirm what has already been said that modern vinyl is a hit and miss affair. I have bought some beautiful pressings in recent years (Sunbeam record label as an example are very good) and some horrendous pressings (Men4beards as an example. Tragic they done the vinyl re-issues for Fairport Convention AND Scott Walker! One would have been bad enough.) 

I remember that during the 1990`s was when I first started to return poor pressings of vinyl on a regular basis but unfortunately it was usually the case that the entire batch was poor. You were then left with the choice of keeping a rough copy or giving up altogether and `embracing the cd`. Time of course has not been altogether too kind for many cd recordings from the 1990`s.

One plus is that coloured vinyls(single/one coloured vinyls that is) seem to have improved. Red tends to be the best colour from my experiences so if there is a choice of several colours that`s the one I usually go for.

All the best.

 

 

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

Certain other 'hifi' magazines do contain a vinyl section with a 'bar chart' quality rating for music and recording quality.

These may well be a good idea to use as a pointer but will not, unfortunately, stop the odd rogue copy getting produced.

 

Motto: Never pay full price for anything, there is always room to haggle!

Tom Evans Audio Design amplification / Acoustic Zen speakers.

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

survivor wrote:

Yes, I`m afraid to repeat and confirm what has already been said that modern vinyl is a hit and miss affair. I have bought some beautiful pressings in recent years (Sunbeam record label as an example are very good) and some horrendous pressings (Men4beards as an example. Tragic they done the vinyl re-issues for Fairport Convention AND Scott Walker! One would have been bad enough.) 

 

Exactly, hit & miss.

Some say that 4 Men With Beards should rename themselves to 4 Men With No Ears, but some of their reisues are brilliant, Tim Buckley certainly is one.

Have you actualy listned to their Fairport Convention reissues?

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RE: Modern vinyl is rubbish?

nima wrote:

survivor wrote:

Yes, I`m afraid to repeat and confirm what has already been said that modern vinyl is a hit and miss affair. I have bought some beautiful pressings in recent years (Sunbeam record label as an example are very good) and some horrendous pressings (Men4beards as an example. Tragic they done the vinyl re-issues for Fairport Convention AND Scott Walker! One would have been bad enough.) 

 

Exactly, hit & miss.

Some say that 4 Men With Beards should rename themselves to 4 Men With No Ears, but some of their reisues are brilliant, Tim Buckley certainly is one.

Have you actualy listned to their Fairport Convention reissues?

Hi Nima,

Yeah, I bought `Liege and Lief` and `Unhalfbricking`. Was very excited when I ordered and so dissappointed when they arrived. They look and sound poor. Side one `Liege..` and side two of `Unhalfbricking` are particularly bad. Bit the bullet soon after and spent a few quid on a decent original `Lief..` but still without a decent `Unhalf..` Funny enought it looks like some early Fairport albums are set to be re-issued on vinyl once again. Here`s hoping for better results this time.

Pleased for you the Tim Buckley re-issue is a good one.

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