2017 Worst Year for Vinyl Quality Ever?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Jacques1234, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. Jacques1234

    Jacques1234 New Member Thread Starter

    Hi all,

    New person to the forums but always found this place a mine of information gems over the year. However, I have felt compelled to join and post because in the 32 or so years that I have been buying records I really feel like 2017 has been the absolute worst for the sheer volume of dud pressings I have bought.

    I know the poor quality of "new" pressings since the vinyl resurgence a few years back has been grist for the vinyl mill but honestly I have never bought so many records, which were so poorly manufactured in one year.

    Don't laugh at my taste, which is varied, but so far this year I have bought and returned multiple copies of the following LPs and in many cases am yet to find copies, which do not have non-fill, blisters, lumps, pits, dents, scratches and are almost always filthy (is it a pre requisite to drag records across the pressing floor these days?). I don't mind scuffs on new LPs but huge pops, dirty fingerprints, warps and non-fill?-no thanks!

    Alicia Keys, Here (EU pressing)
    Little Big Town The Breaker (US pressing)
    Geinoh Yamashirogumi Akira Soundtrack (EU/French pressing)
    Hans Zimmer Dunkirk (EU pressing-listening to it right now and it is a shocker)
    Bob Dylan Triplicate (Deluxe US pressing-cardboard in the vinyl?!)
    St Vincent Masseduction (EU deluxe pressing)
    War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding (Clear pressing EU)
    The National Sleep Well Beast (Blue EU pressing)
    Judith Holofernes Ich Bin Das Chaos (EU Pressing)
    White Stripes at the BBC (US Pressing)
    Baby Driver (EU Pressing)
    Angus & Julia Stone Snow (EU Blue and clear pressings)
    Tori Amos Native Intruder (EU pressing)
    Stranger Things soundtracks (Vols 1 & 2 direct from Invada were awful noisy pressings)
    Alison Krauss Windy City (US pressing)
    Diana Krall Stepping Out (EU, Canada and US pressings were all astonishingly poor)
    Maxwell Urban Hang Suite (EU pressing, I believe in Gold)
    Martha Wainwright Goodnight City (EU pressing- 8 copies to get one without lumps in it)
    Bob Dylan Bootleg 1-3 repress (EU pressing)
    Marc Almond Shadows and Reflections (Yellow EU pressing)
    Jamiroquai Automaton (EU pressing)

    And that's not all of them. I do not think I have ever had such a bad run of LP buying so just wondering about other people's experiences from this year.

    I mean, I know every year you can get some bad runs-last year's disaster areas included 5 copies of Kate Bush's Before the Dawn, the box set of the Star Wars LPs (I only wanted it for Episodes II and III which are not available anywhere else) which was one of the worst set of records I have ever had the misfortune to run a needle across and Tift Merritt's Bramble Rose repress, which was so dirty and covered in oil it looked like it had been run over but still, 2007 has been the pits (so to speak) for me.

    Anyone had a bad year for "new" records or am I just walking around with a "crap shoot" vinyl grey cloud hanging over me? Were any other years particularly bad?

  2. goldencalves

    goldencalves New Member

    Atlanta, GA

    I'm new as well to this forum (at least to commenting), and I think the question you pose is a good one. In my experience quality control seems to be falling dramatically each year. I've been buying new records consistently since 2012 (after a pause in the late 2000s), in addition to many used albums. I buy European imports and a lot of US pressings, and nearly nothing is untouched by non-fill or off-center pressings or scuffs and scratches.

    My return rate due to audible manufacturing defects has grown with each year, surpassing 60% for me, and it is touching "audiophile" pressings as commonly as run-of-the-mill pressings.

    (Examples: A Speakers Corner pressing of Lou Reed's "Transformer" (LSP-4807) with non-fill on both sides, MOFI's pressing of Sisters of Mercy's "Floodland" (MOFI 1-021) with the same, on two copies I've gone through already. I've gone through two copies of a 3 disc set of Carl Stone's reissue of Electronic works (UW15) pressed at QRP, both with non-fill.)

    These are just the "audiophile" labels and pressings that you used to be able to count on being free from defects. A lot of people seem to claim that it's no different than back in the 80s and before, but I have as many or more of these older records than I do newer ones, and I've only found 2 or 3 that have discernable manufacturing defects that are audible (out of several hundred, the only I've seen in my collection is non-fill in a US copy of Kate Bush's "the kick inside" and the D-side of an otherwise mint US set of the Cure's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me). Older discs aren't uniformly pressed on center or without little vinyl bumps/blisters, but these tend not to be as audible with them for whatever reason.

    My best guess is that these defects did happen in the past but that there was adequate capacity to produce the number of records in demand pre-1990, but most didn't make it to the sales floors as you had to have adequate quality control as they were basically the only option for listening (outside of cassette tapes). Send out a bad batch and you'll get a bad batch sent right back. Now, people have every option, physical and digital, and many (not users on this forum, of course) buy vinyl in order to either have a physical artifact of an artist, or to play it on a Crosley or some equally noisy deck, where you wouldn't be able to discern audio defects over the poor audio retrieval. There isn't the same accountability required, and pressing plants are struggling hard to keep up with demand, so the smaller percentage of returned defects is worth the negligence of quality. (Again, just my guess).

    I, for one, have resolved to buy fewer new records this year because it's becoming less fun and more stressful to end up with something that sounds decent.

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