How to find good LPs

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EssEss
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How to find good LPs

Post by EssEss » 26 Jun 2019 01:39

Hi, somewhat new to this forum old to the earth. I found a nice Dual 1229 and had it gone over and it works flawlessly now with a Shure V15 type III cart. I used to have a Newer than the 1229 Manual Dual in the late 70s and some LPs that I got rid mostly because they were worn out. Decent TT and Cart but played over and over and over.

So I thought now I'll get a few LPs from back in the 70s 80s and enjoy. I found some Steely Dan, Smithereens, Eagles LPs on Ebay rated very good condition and under $20. They were all pretty much garbage. Crackly starts and light crackling pretty much throughout. I cleaned them thoroughly, they were nice and flat, so I'm sure they were just worn LPs rated VG but my opinion was fair (no skips but lots of noise and heavy crackle in first tracks). So obviously Ebay is not the place to reliably find used quality LPs or at least not in my limited experience with 5 purchases.

I do have 1 new LP which is a recent European press of a collection of bands (one I was in back in the 80s) that I put on and it's nice an quiet and no crackling and sounds great, so it's not the gear or setup. The guy who went through the TT did a great job and played some of his LPs to show me how it worked when done and it sounded great on his gear too.

So anyway, I complained to the E bay sellers and they sent me return shipping without question and refunded my payment. Now I'm wondering where do I find good quality LPs? Record stores, rummage sales, other online vendors with honest ratings. I'll pay a little more if I can find some good classic vinyl. I can look for scratches or surface imperfections but is there any guide out there (searched but didn't find anything really useful). I'm sure playing the LP would be a good start but can't always at rummage sales. Is there new vinyl other than special releases/mixes out there?

Any suggestions for how to more carefully find/select LPs for some pretty nice gear. I run the table through an Onkyo P304 into a A504 out some JBL L-112s so would like some decent quality LPs without all the crackling. Sorry for being a nube re-entering the vinyl era phaseII. Thanks in advance for any guidance.

dysmike
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Re: How to find good LPs

Post by dysmike » 26 Jun 2019 01:47

If you're buying online Discogs. Stick with sellers who have a large amount of positive reviews, and you should be good. I'd also stick with VG+ or higher. Most larger sellers will NOT play grade as it simply takes too much time, but if they're serious about developing a reputation they tend to grade conservatively.

Other than that, local stores, rummage sales, swap meets, etc are all good but you're stuck with what you can see.

cary114
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Re: How to find good LPs

Post by cary114 » 26 Jun 2019 02:10

I have been very fortunate going to estate auctions or some general auctions with numerous sellers. My last auction I went to I picked up more then 347 albums up with the bulk of the albums in VG condition. I prefer to buy were I can inspect the albums myself unless they are new.

vinyl master
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Re: How to find good LPs

Post by vinyl master » 26 Jun 2019 04:42

Another thought is to check out Craigslist...Sometimes, you can buy bulk collections cheaply or really good albums at $1.00-2.00 a piece...Yes, you may have to buy a few duds, but the good pressings can more than make up for the rougher stuff...Discogs, as mentioned is good...I also like Musicstack.com and many of the online record label sites...Estate sales, thrift shops, book stores and antique malls can be good places to look...I think it also depends on the types of genres you like and the availability and quality of new pressings, if you're buying recent releases...This is flea market and garage sale season, too, so don't hesitate to keep your eyes open at these places...Of course, the dollar bins at your good old-fashioned record store may be calling your name, too...Vinyl, as I've noticed is literally EVERYWHERE and often, right under our noses without us realizing it! :wink:

EssEss
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Re: How to find good LPs

Post by EssEss » 27 Jun 2019 00:55

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm sure you get a few duds here and there at rummage sales but even if it's 50/50 that they play decent after inspecting and look clean that's OK with me. I'll try a VG+ or better and see if that gets me in some better playable LPs. Any hints for inspection? Seems like the lead in tracks get the most beating which makes sense. I couldn't see anything though that indicated the crackling sound I noticed on the LPs I bought and they all had it at an annoying level.

Appreciate the hints though that should keep me busy. I'll post back when I hit a few rummage sales, record stores, or CL.

bhuston
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Re: How to find good LPs

Post by bhuston » 27 Jun 2019 18:37

Those crackly noises you hear is the result of dirt in the grooves. Rule of thumb: When you buy used records, clean them first before you play them. Some clean brand new ones as well, but the idea is to get the old crud out of the grooves. It will definitely improve the sound unless the surface has been sanded on.
You don't show where you are but Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores are good places to look. Yard sales on weekends can be very surprising. I just tell them I'm looking for vinyl and if they have it, invite you in to look through it. I scored some gems this last weekend doing just that, most expensive was $5. Cleaned them up and they sound great. Also, look in places you don't think will have them like antique stores, storage unit auctions, etc.

EssEss
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Re: How to find good LPs

Post by EssEss » 28 Jun 2019 02:13

Thanks for the suggestion on the crackly noises. I did clean up the LPs using Cleaning solution from spincare.co.uk a microfiber cloth that came with the solution, and and it helped slightly. Says removed dirt dust fingerprints. I remember looking it up somewhere and supposed to be pretty good. I'll search cleaning but it seems to get really technical and overloaded with opposing ideas and opinions. Is there a mainstream way to clean the grooves that I can try other than what I've already tried?

I also have a record dust remover brush and a stylus dust remover (I'm really careful with the latter remembering some damage in my younger days brushing the stylus the wrong way and bending it).

aardvarkash10
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Re: How to find good LPs

Post by aardvarkash10 » 28 Jun 2019 04:15

My method - your experience may vary.

1 - buy lots of cheap records. Here in NZ, I used to target $2, then up to $5 and now its up to $10-15 depending on the issue.
2 - Disregard what grading the seller gives. They all lie or have a different subjective experience than you or I.
2a - repeat step 1
3 - Clean the record on arrival using whatever your method of choice is. Yours sounds very like mine.
3a - repeat step 1
4 - wet play the record a couple of times using your cheapest elliptical stylus. You are not listening for sound here, you are cleaning the gunge out of the grooves so any elliptical will do - cheaper the better. I use windex spray, you choose what you think is best. Use a blob of Blutak to clean the absolutely certain buildup of mud from the stylus as and when required
4a - repeat step 1
5 - Put the record into a vertical rack and play it again later when you feel the urge, but this time with your "good" cartridge and stylus.
6 - Sell anything that offends you immediately. Give it a VG rating - everyone lies anyway (see Step 2)
6a - repeat step 1

This is the only sure method (short of selling a family member into slavery) I know of building up a collection of records you like.

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