non-fill distortion: it's driving me crazy!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Denti, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Denti

    Denti Active Member

    Location:
    PA
    I think just about every single 180 gram new vinyl purchase I've made in 2013 has had non-fill distortion. This is absurd. And I'm talking about really fine labels, like Music Matters.

    Right now I'm listening to Basra on Music Matters. One very brief instance of non-fill at the beginning of side B. It's so short that I'm going to overlook it, because I don't want to pay to return it and have to wait for another one.

    But this shouldn't happen ... or? Is this inevitable with 180 gram pressings?
     
  2. johnnypaddock

    johnnypaddock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lowell, MA
    Non fill distortion is like that "ripping paper" kind of sound, right? I haven't run into it with any of my Music Matters LP's, but yeah it's a common issue with new vinyl. I agree that on the higher priced LP's, there should be no excuse for this stuff. Just the way things are I guess, at the moment.
     
  3. Denti

    Denti Active Member

    Location:
    PA
    Yep, the ripping sound. So far every single Music Matters I've purchased has had it. In the case of Rivers' Fushia Swing Song I had to return two copies before I got one without it.
     
  4. johnnypaddock

    johnnypaddock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lowell, MA

    No kidding! That sucks... I think that's the best reason to buy vinyl from reputable online shops. Trying to explain non-fill distortion to an employee at a chain record shop might get interesting.
     
  5. Denti

    Denti Active Member

    Location:
    PA
    No questions asked from Acoustic Sounds or Music Matters themselves. But still, it's starting to really get to me. I really *should* return the Basra, since I paid $50 for it.
     
  6. saundr00

    saundr00 Well-Known Member

    We should all be contacting the labels in addition to posting about it in music forums. Things will only change if we get mad about it.
     
  7. ggergm

    ggergm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I let a lot slide for the first fifteen seconds or so of a record side, noises I wouldn't find acceptable in the middle of a song. Same at the end. Things are always tougher at those two places.

    Being this forgiving was necessary in the 1970s and '80s. Otherwise I would have taken back to the store 3/4 of my records, instead of the 1/3 I did return for bad pressings.

    Maybe I'm just lucky, but I don't find that high of a percentage of records bad now. My guess it's 10% today.

    But non-fill is definitely a problem. I just returned a copy of Rhino's pressing of If I Could Only Remember My Name because of it.
     
  8. johnnypaddock

    johnnypaddock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lowell, MA
    Yeah 10-15% of new records sounds about right to me, in my experience. For a cheap pressing, it doesn't bother me too much, but on something expensive it's pretty annoying.

    I'm not sure I've ever come across non-fill in a vintage LP... I'm sure I have, but I can't remember right now.
     
  9. ggergm

    ggergm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I did. I seemed to find it on a lot of Tracks Records back when. I didn't know to call it non-fill. It was just that someone turned on the static, often in one channel, for a split second.
     
  10. dosjam

    dosjam Active Member

    Location:
    seattle
    Sounds like you'd feel better if you returned it, so do it but PIA factor. I returned a MM title that was flawless but for one
    LOUD pop.
     
  11. It's been a long time since I last played vinyl, but I never heard of the term "non-fill distortion". I know "inner groove distortion".

    I always thought that the first minute or so of each record (side) always sounded the best...
     
  12. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    I'm wondering if non-fill distortion really is as dire and widespread a problem as this thread makes it seem to be so far. I don't buy a lot of new vinyl, but I haven't experienced this flaw before. Maybe getting new pressings mostly from Mofi or EMI and so on provides better quality control? Just haven't seen this on various Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd, and Elvis Costello albums I've bought lately. I'm not doubting what you guys are reporting, just recalling that anecdote does not equal data.

    I also did a Google search just now, and base on the skimpy results either most buyers don't recognize the problem when they have it or they're not reporting it in significant number..
     
  13. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    I don't experience it that much andI by a lot of new vinyl. Occasionally at the very beginning, but that is a known issue with the preocess of creating LPs and not really something just with new pressings. Maybe increase VTF? does that help at all?
     
  14. ggergm

    ggergm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I've heard what Denti is talking about occasionally in new records. When it's objectionable, it's at least throughout a song if not a whole side. On the David Crosby album I just returned, it was mostly during one song on the B side of the record. I had non-fill on a Sundazed copy of Bridge Over Troubled Waters (first press - second press seems to be better) and a few others.
     
  15. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Different stylus profile or size is about the only thing that significantly affects it sometimes. There is some theory here on SH that line contact styli have more problems with it than elliptical or conical.

    Through the times there have been stylus shapes that ignored the nominal 60degree included angle and made a narrower upper profile. These styli were much prized for quiet surfaces. I have a .5mil conical that will play discs fine that are really distorted on a .7mil elliptical. The downside is that it's on an old Shure, of course.

    Having used a microscope to look at records, I was surprised to see what a scratch looked like. It's generally not through the playing part of the groove at all, more like a 'grand canyon' mark across the surface. It's the fact that the vinyl is pushed 'over the lip' of the groove that makes the pop in most cases. This is why playing a scratched LP a) doesn't actually immediately destroy the stylus tip and b) actually gets quieter with more playing. Likewise, 'non fill' is generally towards the top of the disc rather than all the way through.
     
    jupiterboy and Vidiot like this.
  16. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    Well, the main carts I use are denon dl-103R (conical) and dyna dv20xl (elliptical I think), so maybe that is why I don't have as big an issue with this as some others. I've got a couple ortofons with fine line or van den hul type stylii and they can definitely be more sensitive to some things, harder to align. On certain LPs I think they can pull out more detail though.
     
  17. Thurenity

    Thurenity Listening to some tunes

    It's that "ripping" sound, usually on one channel, an generally on 180g pressings. I've had my share and it's been on cheap and expensive LP's both.

    I needle drop and I can actually "fix" minor no-fill with ClickRepair, or at least muffle major no-fill. But of course the LP itself is still a problem. If it's major and in several spots ie The Beatles 2012 LP's, I exchange them and, if I get another dud, I return it. I generally won't keep no-fill LP's unless they were dirt cheap to start with, and a $30 LP I'd almost certainly return it if I have the option.

    Btw, I've heard it on my At440mla, AT120e and MP-110 all. When it's there, I have it on all three carts.
     
  18. chadbang

    chadbang Forum Resident

    Location:
    Beryllium
    I never had this issues with my mass produced "normal" weight records back then. Either the 180 grams have something to do with it or they were just better at pressing records back then.
     
  19. Denti

    Denti Active Member

    Location:
    PA
    It's only on 180 gram pressings, as far as I understand.
     
  20. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    I understand it's both.
    And it's been around for as long as vinyl records have. Used discs are by definition already filtered to remove them, mostly.
    My first one was a cheap issue from 1975 (bought new). The non-fill wasn't because of the price, because most copies are fine, but because of the QC/checking at EMI.

    We had some pressing plant people on here once, and IIRC they all said heavy vinyl needed more care and machine adjustment (temperature and pressure and distance settings) to get them right. Add in 'special' vinyl and it gets worse. I.E. it's just more haste less speed poorer product. Specialist plants with only one weight/format have an advantage (e.g. QRP) over RTI and other more 'general' pressing operations. Classic had bad patches and eventually insisted on RTI having a 'classic only' production line, before they went off RTI (or vice versa) and tried to do a QRP with another plant start-up just before going out of business.
     
  21. Lost Monkey

    Lost Monkey Active Member

    I was just cleaning a copy of The Cure's "Kiss Me...." the other day and when I was inspecting it, I noticed that both LP's have the signature pearl necklace of non-fill on several songs. I bought this album new when it was first released - this is definitely not a 180 gram pressing. I've always had issues with how this album sounded - now I understand why it is so bad.
     
  22. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London, UK
    I agree it's all too common with new vinyl. I've known it on old vinyl but I think the heavier weight of new vinyl makes it more prevalent. As far as I can remember, I've never had this with a current reissue from a European or Japanese pressing plant - it seems to be mainly a problem with US pressings. Rainbo of course are by far the worst but RTI can be bad, too - I'm on my third copy of Joni Mitchell's Ladies of the Canyon (Rhino reissue) and just can't find one without non-fill. However I don't think I've ever had an RTI-pressed MoFi reissue with non-fill which suggests they can get it right when they try.

    Out of interest, has anyone had a European-pressed reissue with non-fill?

    Edit: I'm really talking about audiophile-grade reissues rather than new releases.
     
  23. ElizabethH

    ElizabethH Forum Resident

    Location:
    SE Wisconsin,USA
    I have never noticed non-fill as described. So I would say I am blessed.
    I do have two pretty good TT setups, so it must be i just am not listening for it.
    It must be an incredibly annoying thing: sitting listening intently searching, waiting for the dreaded 'non fill' sound. LOL Glad i never bothered to listen for it, nor have ever heard it on any of the 200 or so new Lps I have bought in the past two years..:whistle:
     
  24. DannyC

    DannyC Active Member

    Have to say for the amount of new vinyl I buy (1-4 a week) I seem to be getting very little maybe 1 every cpl of months.. What i do see though is a lot of dirty new vinyl that needs a full clean and often produces a very similar issues when played the first time..
     
  25. hvbias

    hvbias Forum Resident

    Location:
    East coast, USA
    I have never had no-fill on a Music Matters pressing. I can't remember if I've ever had it on an RTI pressing. I have had to return Music Matters pressings for scratches that played with tics. Otherwise RTI is in my opinion the best or second best pressing plant along with QRP.

    Most common no-fill pressing plants in my experience are United, Pallas and GZ. With United being the worst, my estimate over 30 %
     

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