I was recently given a generous gift certificate to Elusive Disc, so I bought a few LPs. Of the three that arrived yesterday, two have serious pressing problems.
One was this Miles From India
box set, which I was initially excited about: http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp ... =FQELP1808
The other was Helplessness Blues
by Fleet Foxes: http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp ... SPRLP70888
The Miles From India box set looks nice and has what seems to be some great music on it, but the records all have random moments of pronounced distortion. A close look at the vinyl revels what look like tiny pin holes arranged in rows inside the grooves, scattered across the record. This is only the second time I have ever seen this in my life, the other was a reissue of a rare folk/psych album by a guy named Mark Fry, which I also bought at Elusive Disc. The Miles From India LPs also had lumps and bumps visible in the vinyl, like some of the old stuff from back in the late '70s and '80s when recycled vinyl would sometimes appear to have bits of old labels mixed in. Even the parts of the record without the pin holes are loaded with surface noise, which is disappointing for a $45, "180-gram audiophile" pressing.
The Fleet Foxes record looked and sounded mostly excellent except for a weird, high pitched distortion in the right channel on sides A and B of the first disc. It would cut in and out quickly. It was only in the first 5 minutes or so of each side, and it seemed to fade away gradually. It sounded like what happens when my speaker wire sometimes works loose from one speaker's connection, but it was clearly in the record, not my system. I could not see anything wrong with the record itself upon close inspection. It appeared to be a pretty nice pressing with mirror-like finishes though one disc did have a very minor warp and a slight eccentricity, both of which I could have lived with.
I rarely buy new vinyl, and the majority I have bought in the last year have suffered from these kinds of issues. Is this par for the course these days? Is it worth my time to send these back and ask for replacements of the same items, or should I just get something else entirely? Has anyone else had problems with these same records? I know the Fleet Foxes is a pretty popular release, so I am hoping to find out if anyone has gotten a better copy of this album.
I also can't help but notice how almost all of the problem vinyl I have bought recently has come from Elusive Disc. Is this place a clearinghouse for defective or low quality vinyl pressings that no one else wants to sell? I'm frustrated and disappointed. What are your thoughts and experiences?