Seafinch

Bad/Disappointing Pressings

198 posts in this topic

So, I have a question about this stuff.

What actually MAKES a record have lots of noise?

Specifically, this is about my copy of Rosetta's "Flies To Flame" which I know I've been bringing up.

Really, my issue is the white noise that lies underneath the music. The record is also mastered at a very low volume, so I'm sure some of that incidental noise is from me having to turn my receiver's volume up louder.

But this isn't the case with all of my records. Some of them are dead silent, and all you hear is that weird hollow noise of the needle spinning through an empty groove before the music hits.

The Rosetta album, though, has like... I guess "white noise" would be the best descriptor. Just static-y noise behind everything.

Is that from dust on the master plates when the stampers were pressed? Or not being cleaned at the pressing plant?

Also, why would a record be mastered at a low volume?

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So, I have a question about this stuff.

What actually MAKES a record have lots of noise?

Specifically, this is about my copy of Rosetta's "Flies To Flame" which I know I've been bringing up.

Really, my issue is the white noise that lies underneath the music. The record is also mastered at a very low volume, so I'm sure some of that incidental noise is from me having to turn my receiver's volume up louder.

But this isn't the case with all of my records. Some of them are dead silent, and all you hear is that weird hollow noise of the needle spinning through an empty groove before the music hits.

The Rosetta album, though, has like... I guess "white noise" would be the best descriptor. Just static-y noise behind everything.

Is that from dust on the master plates when the stampers were pressed? Or not being cleaned at the pressing plant?

Also, why would a record be mastered at a low volume?

You know who probably actually has an answer to all of this?

Google.

mappingtheyears likes this

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I bit the bullet today and got The Cranberries No Need To Argue on "cranberry" colored vinyl, I guess it'll be a cool collector's item to have, it seemed very quiet to me and a little noisy towards the end of the records, this album should probably be on a 2LP set instead of one, and I'm just now reading up on Plain Recordings, who apparently suck, not sure how the original pressings of this album sound though.

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Recently purchased Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain (B&N Exclusive). It was warped so bad looked like my stylus was riding a rollercoaster. Returned it within 24 hours. Ridiculous.

 

Also, bought Carbon Based Lifeforms - Interloper (Black Vinyl, Reissue) and C-side had a brutal skip. I really wanted this one to work. Was looking forward to holding onto this, even though I preferred the clear splatter (was toolate).  But, Ive read elsewhere that others have had problems with the black vinyl press of this reissue.

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6 hours ago, gruverecords said:

Recently purchased Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain (B&N Exclusive). It was warped so bad looked like my stylus was riding a rollercoaster. Returned it within 24 hours. Ridiculous.

 

Also, bought Carbon Based Lifeforms - Interloper (Black Vinyl, Reissue) and C-side had a brutal skip. I really wanted this one to work. Was looking forward to holding onto this, even though I preferred the clear splatter (was toolate).  But, Ive read elsewhere that others have had problems with the black vinyl press of this reissue.

A warp doesn't really translate over to a bad/disappointing pressing...and unless the plates were fucked up and all of them have a skip where your copy did, neither does a skip.

 

This isn't the "my copy is fucked up" thread, it's for known issues across an entire pressing.

 

I'm not trying to be a dick, just if everyone came in here and said, "oh man, my copy of ______ came warped," no one would see any of the actual useful info in here.

THE_James_Champ likes this

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Ugh. 

 

Two pretty good examples in my collection:

 

The Secret Machines - The Secret Machines / plagued with surface noise. Apparently, it's a wide spread issue, people on discogs have commented on this.

 

Julee Cruise - Floating into the Night / much love to this album, but the most recent pressing is overly disappointing as well. Lots of surface noise, even after multiple cleanings. Also seems to be wide spread throughout the repress.

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So let me ask you guys a question..... what do you all do when your records come with excessive crackles and pops, even after cleaning?  I'm finally getting around to spinning my pilsner/silver splatter variant of "Dust & Disquiet" by Caspian and my Side C is loaded with noise in some sections of the title track.  Cleaned twice.  For a solid minute or 2 it sounds like I'm taking a fleece blanket out of the dryer and didn't use a dryer sheet haha.  Kinda funny. 

 

Do you guys just deal with this stuff, and ignore it?  I always wonder whether I'm over-reacting about this stuff, and what is considered normal tolerances for people.  Thankfully it goes away during the big ending of Dust & Disquiet... but for a while there she's loud! 

 

By the way many of you talk, it seems like you just grin and bear it, and don't even care about stuff like this, that you chalk it up to being part of the risk of the hobby?  I kind of don't want to accept that something we buy might come with flaws when we get it, I feel like that shouldn't be acceptable to us? 

Just curious as to your thoughts! 

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28 minutes ago, Gumbo72203 said:

So let me ask you guys a question..... what do you all do when your records come with excessive crackles and pops, even after cleaning?  I'm finally getting around to spinning my pilsner/silver splatter variant of "Dust & Disquiet" by Caspian and my Side C is loaded with noise in some sections of the title track.  Cleaned twice.  For a solid minute or 2 it sounds like I'm taking a fleece blanket out of the dryer and didn't use a dryer sheet haha.  Kinda funny. 

 

Do you guys just deal with this stuff, and ignore it?  I always wonder whether I'm over-reacting about this stuff, and what is considered normal tolerances for people.  Thankfully it goes away during the big ending of Dust & Disquiet... but for a while there she's loud! 

 

By the way many of you talk, it seems like you just grin and bear it, and don't even care about stuff like this, that you chalk it up to being part of the risk of the hobby?  I kind of don't want to accept that something we buy might come with flaws when we get it, I feel like that shouldn't be acceptable to us? 

Just curious as to your thoughts! 

Yup. If it's a legitimate pressing flaw that's really all you can do. If it's because a certain color has flaws, I'll pick up the better sounding version if it's something I want to listen to regularly.

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1 hour ago, Gumbo72203 said:

I kind of don't want to accept that something we buy might come with flaws when we get it

You're in the wrong "hobby".  At this point, before you get too deep, you should seriously consider selling your collection and sticking to CDs and MP3s – they each contain far less variables that are susceptible to imperfections.  If you've been collecting vinyl for a few years, you should be able to get your money back if you were fortunate enough to track down limited variants.  You'll be saving yourself a lot of trouble.

 

As someone who typically has 8-20 pre-orders or records en route at any given day of the year, it would be a full time job for me to contact a label any time a record cackled or popped.  If someone physically scratched your particular copy at the factory, and it's unlistenable, sure... I'd say go for it; reach out to the label with a polite inquiry and see what can be done, if anything.  If a pressing plant legitimate fucks up, a lot of labels are quick to send replacements to their customers, or at least open an avenue where replacements can be obtained for free.  But part is the vinyl game, unfortunately, does fall victim to poor masters or generally bad presses.

 

If there are 8 users in a PO thread who all receive their records, and claim the pressing is super noisy or pressed poorly... then, yup.  That's it.  Contacting the label will probably net you a brand new noisy copy, since chances are the sound quality was just botched in production.  Word will eventually get around, and people will avoid said press (or pay less for it), going forward.  Rarely will a label completely repress the record for the sake of quality control, or entitle you to a free second press.  Most all of this can be avoided with test presses when they're actually used and implemented, and not just sold as a limited gimmick.

 

But such is the nature of the beast, with pre-orders and making purchases well in advance of receiving the actual product.  Every order is technically a gamble as far as sound quality is concerned.  If you want in on it, you learn what's worth inquiring about or seeking replacements for, in the [few] cases it's completely justified.  Otherwise, you roll the dice with the rest of us.  Or sit back and wait for the "optimum" press to be established – though I'm sure you should fully expect all fancy variants, packages, and even entire represses to sell out from under you, if you take that approach.

 

Buy Mofi sleeves.  Clean your records.  Ensure they're dry.  Cross your fingers.

That's about all you can do.

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1 hour ago, The Ghost of Randy Savage said:

Yup. If it's a legitimate pressing flaw that's really all you can do. If it's because a certain color has flaws, I'll pick up the better sounding version if it's something I want to listen to regularly.

It's always interesting to me why some records come with more surface noise than others.  My clear with green splatter Viva Belgrado "Ulises" might be the noisest record I've ever heard in the run-up grooves before the music hits.  When the music comes on, it seems to be fine, as it's loud enough to drown out that static.  But I'm so curious what makes that record vastly more noisy than, say, my Fourteen Nights At Sea records which are dead-silent on the run up grooves.  Is it really just the colorings?  Because I have some clear records that are silent as well.  Just super curious haha, I wish I knew.

 

21 minutes ago, Derek™ said:

You're in the wrong "hobby".

...

Buy Mofi sleeves.  Clean your records.  Ensure they're dry.  Cross your fingers.

That's about all you can do.

I always clean my records when I take them out, and give them a once-over with my felt pads/vacuum before every play just to get whatever dust/particles accumulated.  I also usually buy a CD copy of most records I buy too haha. 


However, just for the sake of argument...  don't you feel like you're kind of letting the production end of this market get away with providing a lesser quality product than is possible?  I guess what I'm saying is that I believe there to be a way for vinyl to be delivered in mint quality.  With the technology at our disposal, I feel like there's got to be a way.  Or, at the present time does it come down to simple economics?  And what I mean by that is, do you think that if the plants did more quality control that bad pressings could be avoided with the stampers/etc, but they don't because doing so would add more to their operating overhead?  Additionally, what about always shipping records in mofi-type sleeves?  Do you think that would have any effect? 

 

Just picking your brains... you guys know what more about this stuff than I do. 

 

I found the culprit for my Caspian record... checking inside the sleeve, I found these super tiny pieces of.... something.  No idea what the hell they were, but it was this little rock-hard grit thing that was stuck to the jacket in the location of where my little scratches were.  I could roll them around in my fingers, but couldn't break them with my fingernail or anything.  No clue what that was haha. 

 

 

At the end of the day it's just fascinating to me that you guys have a lax attitude towards it.  Part of me feels like we're letting the industry get away with producing a lesser-quality product than they're capable of.  I just feel like there has to be a solution where records are made noise-free. 

 

 

Fun discussion, thanks guys.  I love responses like this. 

 

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The industry is under increased strain because of the vinyl bubble. Demand is outstripping supply and a whole generation of new people who were raised on cds and digital formats are expecting things that those formats can do from vinyl. You are doomed to be fighting a constant battle against dust, heat, moisture and the inherent fragility of the medium itself. It is never going to be as convenient and consistent as other formats.

 

LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS

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31 minutes ago, Gumbo72203 said:

It's always interesting to me why some records come with more surface noise than others.  My clear with green splatter Viva Belgrado "Ulises" might be the noisest record I've ever heard in the run-up grooves before the music hits.  When the music comes on, it seems to be fine, as it's loud enough to drown out that static.  But I'm so curious what makes that record vastly more noisy than, say, my Fourteen Nights At Sea records which are dead-silent on the run up grooves.  Is it really just the colorings?  Because I have some clear records that are silent as well.  Just super curious haha, I wish I knew.

 

I always clean my records when I take them out, and give them a once-over with my felt pads/vacuum before every play just to get whatever dust/particles accumulated.  I also usually buy a CD copy of most records I buy too haha. 


However, just for the sake of argument...  don't you feel like you're kind of letting the production end of this market get away with providing a lesser quality product than is possible?  I guess what I'm saying is that I believe there to be a way for vinyl to be delivered in mint quality.  With the technology at our disposal, I feel like there's got to be a way.  Or, at the present time does it come down to simple economics?  And what I mean by that is, do you think that if the plants did more quality control that bad pressings could be avoided with the stampers/etc, but they don't because doing so would add more to their operating overhead?  Additionally, what about always shipping records in mofi-type sleeves?  Do you think that would have any effect? 

 

Just picking your brains... you guys know what more about this stuff than I do. 

 

I found the culprit for my Caspian record... checking inside the sleeve, I found these super tiny pieces of.... something.  No idea what the hell they were, but it was this little rock-hard grit thing that was stuck to the jacket in the location of where my little scratches were.  I could roll them around in my fingers, but couldn't break them with my fingernail or anything.  No clue what that was haha. 

 

 

At the end of the day it's just fascinating to me that you guys have a lax attitude towards it.  Part of me feels like we're letting the industry get away with producing a lesser-quality product than they're capable of.  I just feel like there has to be a solution where records are made noise-free. 

 

 

Fun discussion, thanks guys.  I love responses like this. 

 

You know you're not supposed to run a vacuum clean on a dry record, right?

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Again sell your records and buy CDs. It isn't the industry... melting music into plastic grooves with big metal plates isn't an exact art and if you really do think it should be you're actually just stupid. Would it be possible to create better pressing machines? Probably, but they don't exist yet in mass production and that's hardly the labels fault.

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30 minutes ago, Sunshine said:

Again sell your records and buy CDs. It isn't the industry... melting music into plastic grooves with big metal plates isn't an exact art and if you really do think it should be you're actually just stupid. Would it be possible to create better pressing machines? Probably, but they don't exist yet in mass production and that's hardly the labels fault.

Shlebs, you're my favorite.

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Surprised it it never got answered, but it's common knowledge that Capital's Radiohead repressings were pretty crappy. Luckily, the XL repressings from last year are significantly more dynamic and don't seem to have the same surface noise problems. I highly recommend any of them and my copy of Kid A sounds phenomenal.

 

And I think that's what this thread is trying to point out, but the title misleads people to the point where it just ends up being a bitch-fest. Maybe I'm just an odd case, but having a thread like this to reference and save me from

making a purchase decision I'll regret due to bad QC shouldn't be considered a bad thing.

 

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'll throw up that I've learned to avoid any pressing that has a "From the Capitol Vaults" foil sticker. Between their reissue of OK Computer and Mer de Noms (and the MULTIPLE exchanges to learn that it's a repeatable problem), I've just learned I'd rather not have one at all if they're the only ones with a pressing I have access to. Both were wet-cleaned with a Record Doctor V and kept in MoFi sleeves between uses and multiple auditions were given to confirm results. The first copy of MDN went back because Judith would skip in the same exact spot by about 20 seconds with no readily-visible defects. Bright light and a magnifying glass revealed that there was a semi-circular cut that linked about 5 grooves to each other, most likely from the plant. Second copy I received didn't skip, but it did have a pretty high noise floor that was also shared by 3 separate copies of OK Computer.

 

But that's why I try to keep my business local. If one of my records is fucked up somehow, I can take it back and have them make it right. And they do, every time, because THEY know this shit can happen.

 

And if it's something Victory puts out and it's fucked, well, consider it as part of the album's charm. I've never gotten a response from them about reporting issues I've come across with their records. The reissue of Alkaline Trio's Crimson jumps in volume level halfway through the second side. Anything before that is basically covered in fuzz. Thursday's Full Collapse reissue (the colored one) sounds like it was pressed directly from the CD. So yeah, I can echo the sentiment they don't really care.

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7 hours ago, Sunshine said:

Again sell your records and buy CDs. It isn't the industry... melting music into plastic grooves with big metal plates isn't an exact art and if you really do think it should be you're actually just stupid. Would it be possible to create better pressing machines? Probably, but they don't exist yet in mass production and that's hardly the labels fault.

Spot on as always.

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