A Few Thoughts About Album Quality

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d51d50
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A Few Thoughts About Album Quality

Post by d51d50 » 25 Aug 2013 02:35

This is a topic that can go all over the place, but hopefully it will be simplified once a few of you vinyl junkies get a hold of it. I have several 180 gram albums and some of them sound way better than their original counterpart. I have a few brand new 180's that have more pops and ticks than the originals. In general, what makes the 180's better? Is it just the thickness with less vibration or are the grooves also cut differently? The ones I have that do sound better sound a lot better. I will also reference the Vertigo swirl albums. Are they a better quality vinyl than the norm? I have a few albums made in Germany, and even the ones 40 years old have CD quietness.Why do some albums look choppy and others look almost smooth in spite of the grooves? These are just a few things I'd like a clearer picture on. THANKS.

E.Man
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Re: A Few Thoughts About Album Quality

Post by E.Man » 25 Aug 2013 11:34

d51d50 wrote:... In general, what makes the 180's better?
Nothing. They should just concentrate on making records properly and forget about how much they weigh
d51d50 wrote:... I have a few albums made in Germany, and even the ones 40 years old have CD quietness....
They pay more attention to getting it right.

Two main things contribute to the quality of a record. The mastering and the manufacture.

HiFi Punker
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Re: A Few Thoughts About Album Quality

Post by HiFi Punker » 27 Aug 2013 03:54

+1 to E.Man
It's the Germans, they're meticulous.
Also, every german record from 1970's to 1990's that I've encountered has almost no surface noise, is very well centered and the plastic is flexible, almost rubber-like. The records bend under their own weight. They definitely had a secret formula.
My friend played me Amarok from Mike Oldfield - german pressing - because I thought that a record with over 30 min of music per side can't sound right. "Surface noise will drown out the quieter passages and subtle tones." I said.
The record sounded F**KING AWESOME!

Back to topic, 180 gram is useless. However, it does make the record more resistant to breakage and warping.
Groove pitch and modulation make records "heavy duty". Those ancient sixties and fifties singles are almost indestructible because of their loudness and very large groove pitch.
About Vertigo, the British always had better records. Like Germans, they paid more attention to quality.

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Re: A Few Thoughts About Album Quality

Post by deadmandetroit » 20 Sep 2013 21:12

I was going to write a post about this but you beat me to it, however I will share some theories and thoughts...
first I think that they are less prone to warpage although I have had a few come through that had slight pinch warps or some with dish warp though much more rare than say in the 80's.
secondly I don't know for sure but I have read that the additional weight and thickness does allow for deeper cutting. who knows I can't measure it but it seems reasonable, and a particular help on a
12" 45 RPM.
I too have some " audiophile " 180s and 200s that are indeed noisier than the originals. I have some that are a quiet as a CD almost devoid of anything other than tape hiss...but I have originals that are 40 years old that are that way also.
I think we all got spoiled by CD black backgrounds, when listening to vinyl and pure analogue you learn to listen past most of it and get greater enjoyment from vinyl's natural sound.
though often the music itself covers it rendering it only during beaks between songs it can be particularly annoying on a classical recording.

one thing I have also noticed.
travelling down the upgrade path with better cartridges and tone arms and tables
along with the additional musical quality that up grading allows you to hear,I seem to be hearing some more surface noise.
unfortunately I've listened to some of my old stuff and thought " that's so noisy I wouldn't have possibly kept that..."
I guess a better stylus shape and tonearm suspension can bring out the good as well as the bad.
I have found some companies better than others but by no means has anyone beat the surface noise 100% of the time. a few companies are better than others in my experience.
Analougue Productions, Speakers Corner - Pure Pleasure and ORG. German imports then the Japanese, even regular weight seem to be better.
and almost any one that has them pressed at QRP or RTI.
but face it, we are in love with an older technology and with a contact medium such as this we can only rarely get a perfect pressing. they need to take extra care in manufacture and we must be very diligent in handling and care and stylus maintenance.

" you pays your money and takes your chances...."

d51d50
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Re: A Few Thoughts About Album Quality

Post by d51d50 » 22 Sep 2013 02:15

deadmandetroit wrote:I was going to write a post about this but you beat me to it, however I will share some theories and thoughts...
first I think that they are less prone to warpage although I have had a few come through that had slight pinch warps or some with dish warp though much more rare than say in the 80's.
secondly I don't know for sure but I have read that the additional weight and thickness does allow for deeper cutting. who knows I can't measure it but it seems reasonable, and a particular help on a
12" 45 RPM.
I too have some " audiophile " 180s and 200s that are indeed noisier than the originals. I have some that are a quiet as a CD almost devoid of anything other than tape hiss...but I have originals that are 40 years old that are that way also.
I think we all got spoiled by CD black backgrounds, when listening to vinyl and pure analogue you learn to listen past most of it and get greater enjoyment from vinyl's natural sound.
though often the music itself covers it rendering it only during beaks between songs it can be particularly annoying on a classical recording.

one thing I have also noticed.
travelling down the upgrade path with better cartridges and tone arms and tables
along with the additional musical quality that up grading allows you to hear,I seem to be hearing some more surface noise.
unfortunately I've listened to some of my old stuff and thought " that's so noisy I wouldn't have possibly kept that..."
I guess a better stylus shape and tonearm suspension can bring out the good as well as the bad.
I have found some companies better than others but by no means has anyone beat the surface noise 100% of the time. a few companies are better than others in my experience.
Analougue Productions, Speakers Corner - Pure Pleasure and ORG. German imports then the Japanese, even regular weight seem to be better.
and almost any one that has them pressed at QRP or RTI.
but face it, we are in love with an older technology and with a contact medium such as this we can only rarely get a perfect pressing. they need to take extra care in manufacture and we must be very diligent in handling and care and stylus maintenance.

" you pays your money and takes your chances...."
I used to think the thicker vinyl had better sound too. The possible deeper grooves wouldn't help, due to the stylus riding at a fixed depth, regardless of groove-depth. The added thickness may help acoustics in some cases. From my many hours of experimenting with different brands of albums I have found certain brands that repeatedly produce a better sound. I've also experimented with different stylus shapes without hearing any difference in surface noise. Cartridge alignment has made the most difference in eliminating surface noise followed by tweaking VTA. I have a few albums that sound great no matter how far off everything is and others that are still somewhat noisy with everything set up perfectly. The record obsession is a double edged-sword because the more you improve your equipment and pull more sound from the records the more you have to make adjustments and add other pieces to eliminate sounds you "Don't" want to hear. Every album is different. I have experimented by taking one album that I consider "noisy" and adjusted everything possible to make it as quiet as possible. I do this from time to time for a challenge. The problem is that you wind up making 30 other albums a little noisier! Vinyl is great....isn't it?

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