New LP's vs Old Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » New LP's vs Old « Previous Next »

Author Message
Senior Member
Username: jalevinemd

Post Number: 1077
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 5:58 pm:   Edit Post

Maybe I'm just getting sentimental as I get older but I've really started to miss listening to music on vinyl. Many years ago, when my parents sold the house, I told them to do whatever they wanted with my records. There was nothing valuable...but still the soundtrack of my youth is long gone.

I've decided to buy new stereo equipment and have begun compiling lists of albums I want. So here's my basic question:

Is the sound quality of the LP's they are pressing today the same as those I listened to 30+ years ago? In other words, should I be looking for older/"vintage" vinyl as opposed to the newly issued ones? I guess I'm not sure what the source is for newly pressed vinyl. Is it the original master recording or some form of digital or other transfer? I'm completely ignorant on the subject but want to do this right.

(Message edited by jalevinemd on February 10, 2016)

(Message edited by jalevinemd on February 10, 2016)
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 2191
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 8:22 pm:   Edit Post

I think it depends on the release and the treatment that the individual piece of vinyl has gotten over the years. Some records were pretty shoddy back in the day, so I would start with new pressings where available.

That said, if there's a good used record shop in your area, they will often let you audition the record before you buy it.

In my view, the biggest variable, aside from the quality of the vinyl itself, is the quality of the mastering. A well mastered CD should beat out vinyl, but that is often not the case, as digital mastering is often an abomination at the behest of the record company. Both can sound great and both can sound dreadful. I'm sure you can find online sites which give reviews of the releases you are interested in.
Senior Member
Username: jcdlc72

Post Number: 472
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 9:19 pm:   Edit Post

IMHO... Wouldn't a new pressing also suffer from degradation? For an instance, our local pressings back in the day (I live outside the US) were FAR different sounding than the "Original" import pressings, and thus we either had to look for the import pressing of an album (Sometimes even comparing different countries pressings for different qualities), or stick with whatever pressing we could find.
Advanced Member
Username: jon_jackson

Post Number: 237
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 9:36 am:   Edit Post

The simple answer to your quality question is "It depends". Sorry, this is going to be long but, helpful I hope.

It is not only the quality (and philosophy) of the mastering as Edwin notes, but the quality of the vinyl used (percent virgin versus recycled- a particular problem with the '70s records of my youth), the variation in stampers used for an album by the various pressing companies, etc. As to new versus old production, most of the record presses used today are antiques with parts scarcity [although last week, a Canadian company just announced a completely new press, designed from scratch] and again, there is wide variation among them as to the quality of their product. I've had brand new lps which were unlistenable due to underlying noise level, while others are dead quiet like a cd. There are some reissue companies from which I would never purchase a new lp, while from others I have no hesitation. However, sensitivity to noise varies from person to person and is somewhat dependent upon your particular cartridge, stylus geometry and turntable. Then, as you correctly note, there is the whole can of worms about a pure analog information chain versus a digital fox in the hen house.

Regardless of new or old, the most important piece of equipment is a record cleaning machine, and I don't mean just a record brush. Even brand new records need cleaning before playing to eliminate the mold release and particulates from the press and packaging. With a high quality cleaner, you can get peak performance from a used record which may be the better version of the material (some reissues / remasters are subject to the "loudness wars" so prevalent now).

There are a variety of web sites out there which post many of the variations of these factors. I warn you from my own experience over the past several years in returning to vinyl, it can be quite the rabbit hole. Or, perhaps to use a better description from The Matrix, do you want the red pill or the blue pill?

I can email you a few of the pertinent web sites I have been using, assuming your profile is up to date. If not, contact me using mine. Happy to help.

Add Your Message Here
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration