Vinyl The Good, The Bad and the Noisy

joe.crowe -- Sat, 04/14/2012 - 13:57

Having been a vinyl junkie and audiophile for close on 50 years I have seen the tide change many times.  Now I see a need for a forum that discusses the relative merits of the myriad re-issue companies asking us for out hard-earneds these days.  I don't want to discuss minutia of the last two notes of someones vocal register or the sonic colorations wrought by someone having to change strings on their lute between tracks.  What I want to discuss is RECORDS, specifically vinyl LPs with an emphasis on recent heavy and/or remastered titles as well as new vinyl.   Who does a good job, who doesn't?  My biggest peeve is the apparent poor quality vinyl used for these pressings.  It saddens me to listen to a glorious sounding disc only to realize that it plays like something that was left on the coffee table after a bad party.  I am not talking about lead-in, lead-out or between track groove noise.  Surprisingly this aspect is usually good to very good.  What I refer to is rice krispie attacks where it really hurts.  Tha same kind of junk you would expect if a disc was played repeatedly on bad table with a very badly setup cartridge.  Often these problems arise after only a single play and sometimes are there right out of the wrapper.  No amount of cleaning or static removal makes any improvement.  Not wanting to give carte blanche to Tom Port I must concede that in the re-issue market often the Emperor is scantily clad.  Two examples I would like to offer are Friday Music's Boz Scaggs and Vinyl Lovers Gasoline Alley.
The Boz Scaggs sounds really good to me, clear crisp with a just right balance between Mr. Allman and the Muscle Shoals horns but every time I play it more clicks and pops appear to the extent I'm afraid to play it.  It's as if I'm playing it with a sewing needle stapled to a paper cone.  The Rod Stewart is more interesting.  This has decent surfaces and pretty good sound if a little thin.  The problem is "Only a Hobo".  About 2/3 through it has a locked groove skip that I cannot get rid of.  I have cleaned it extensively and examined it with a magnifying glass and can see no cause.  I microscope might answer why but I'm sure the skip is forever so what's the point.
I am not implying that I have never had a reissue without defects but what I am saying is it seems the recent upsurge in vinyl production has brought more problems than benefits. 
So how about it, let's start a thread where we can discuss our experiences with recent vinyl purchases.  Things like; XYZ has nice quiet surfaces but the records are often warpped, LMN do a good job of mixing but their vinyl ages overnight etc. etc.  Reviews seem to be of little help because most seem more like ad copy especially those from internet sources.  Send in your experiences with Friday Music, Vinyl Lovers, Cisco, SunDazed....the list goes on.
Before I get a slew of responses saying send them back, spare me.  That's not the point, we need to support the good ones and avoid the rest.  Sharing out experiences will allow that to happen..
For the record (pun intended) I listen with a VPI Classic II with a Denon DLA100 Anniversery cartridge through a Moon 310LP phono stage.  I setup my arm alignment with a Mint Tractor and use Fieckert Analogue for azimuth.  My cleaning regimen is a thorough bath in a Spin Clean followed by a twirl on a Nitty Gritty to remove the fluid.  Seems to work great for the bulk of my collection but as mentioned above there are definitely exceptions.  Looking forward to responses from all you vinyl junkies out there.

joe.crowe -- Thu, 04/18/2013 - 19:34

This is beyond hilarious, here I am almost a year to the day being the first responder to my own thread.  Apparently no one cares which reissue/remaster compaines do a good job and who doesn't.  As I write I am listening to the Friday Music re-master of the iconic Boz Scaggs album (the Duane Allman one) the mix is stellar, the pressing isn't and over the last 369 days I have learned that is very typical.  I have picked up several Hendrix reissues two analog and one digital (by not being careful and patient) and the anologs do recreate the magic.  I didn't know I had fallen for the digital "Are You" till I felt the old angst digi creates for me and checked the press more carefully.  My point once again, where are the music lovers willing to share their experiences with various re-issue specialists; Friday Music, Sundazed, 4 Men with Beards etc. etc.  If we share our experiences our fellow afficianados will benefit and the companies who do a poor job will clean up their act or go away.  Come on music lovers, tell the world what sounds good and who deserves your money, please!  Or, do I need t post this under a Beatles heading to get your interest?

bobboyer -- Thu, 01/02/2014 - 15:18

Just stumbled on this thread; don't visit too often.I can add my most recent experience with the new Vertigo/Mercury box set reissue of the 6 Dire Straits studio LPs: horrible groove noise in my pressing, to the extent that soft passages (i.e the intro to "Down To The Waterline", "Telegraph Road", etc.) are drowned out by the hash. Sounds like old shellac 78s, almost.And that's not the first time I've been burned on a Dire Straits remaster - the last Warner reissue of the first LP I purchased had a bad moment or two of hash about 1/2 way through "Sultans of Swing". It hasn't gone away with multiple playings.So far as I can tell, the only folks who know how to press records these days is Analogue Productions. My Creedence Clearwater Revival box set from 2004 is as quiet as can be with amazing dynamics and clarity you'd never expect based on the original albums. Generally speaking, the mastering on the few reissues I've purchased has been excellent to outstanding but pressing is another story altogether. Just another reason to add new albums to the collection as 24/96 or 24/192 downloads.

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