Picture discs: Have they improved?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Zapruder, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. Zapruder

    Zapruder Just zis guy, you know? Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ames, IA
    I know this concept is borderline unthinkable, as it was to me, but hear me out...

    A lot of the picture discs I've heard that have been manufactured in the past couple years have sounded, well, phenomenal...the recent Boston s/t and the Kevin Gray mastered self-titled Dead record spring to mind. Am I a dingbat, or has the manufacturing of these dreaded pieces of plastic actually improved in quality as of late? If so, any theories as to why that might be the case?
     
  2. Cronverc

    Cronverc Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn,NY
    IMO it's all in the mastering. For example late 70s (I think) Blondie "Parallel Lines" sounds pretty good to me.
     
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  3. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    @Cronverc is right. The sound has nothing to do with the material really. Its just inferior in the regard of surface noise.
    The old 70s DSOTM picture discs sound nice too if I remember right, so its not a new thing either.

    It also suffers from the same curse that normal colored vinyl does, which is that in general aesthetics take priority over sound, because there is a real market for consumers buying pretty vinyl and not caring how it sounds, probably cus you wont hear a difference on a Crosley anyway.
     
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  4. Zapruder

    Zapruder Just zis guy, you know? Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ames, IA
    Ehh, I think the colored vinyl thing is a stretch. All vinyl is colored, even black, and I've got colored wax that sounds as good as their black counterparts. I was mainly commenting on the relative lack of surface noise of currently pressed picture discs.
     
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  5. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Picture discs have definitely improved, I have some from the 80's, all of them were extremely noisy from first play.
    I recently purchased all of the Killing Joke reissue picture discs and whilst not perfectly quiet, they're a vast improvement from the 80's.
    I bought the Night Time album first and was impressed enough to complete the set.
     
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  6. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I hope so. I have an Iron Maiden - Maiden England double picture disc album on the way.
     
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  7. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    Levittown. NY
    The only current picture disc I have is that of Sgt. Pepper and it surprised the hec out of me; the music sounds great and the pressing happens to be one of the quietest new pressings I've bought over the last ten years. A very nice surprise, indeed...especially as compared to the late 70's pic disc of the album which looks pretty nice (the new one looks better) but has "snap, crackle, pop" all over the place. In fact, it comes with a liner note specifying that the album has inferior sound quality and isn't meant for playing...which, when one thinks about it, kind of defeats the whole purpose.
     
  8. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Believe me, you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'd be amazed if you said you were disappointed.
     
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  9. Loup

    Loup Ancient Wool Unraveller

    Location:
    Motown
    Has anyone heard the 1978 Capitol picture disc of Band on the Run?
     
  10. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Not heard that one, but I don't ever recall a picture disc from the 70's and 80's that didn't have excessive surface noise, as previous poster stated, most came with a 'disclaimer', usually on the disc itself, sometimes on outer sleeve if there was one.
     
  11. Zapruder

    Zapruder Just zis guy, you know? Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ames, IA
    It should also be noted, since this is coming up, that none of the recent picture discs I have seen have this disclaimer.
     
  12. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Good point..tells it's own story right there in your statement. Clearly there is a different pressing process now compared to that used in the distant past.
     
  13. telliott

    telliott Forum Resident

    I haven't heard it but I remember seeing it in the store. You could see bubbles under the clear plastic layer. I wander if they have significantly upgraded the assembly and pressing process in recent years. Maybe the clear layer has been reformulated, or just thicker.
     
  14. Zapruder

    Zapruder Just zis guy, you know? Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ames, IA
    I was considering the possibility that printing technology has since developed to be able to get clearer images on thinner paper stock, thereby increasing the stability of the surface. It's just speculation on my part, but it's just about the only thing I could really think of that would change the medium itself other than a reformulation of the plastic used, which seems unlikely.
     
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  15. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tarragona (Spain)
    I strongly dislike picture discs. Sonically and aestethically
     
  16. breakingglass

    breakingglass Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I had read that the Sex Pistols took the rare route of ensuring a quality pressing for their NMTB picture disc. UK Virgin 1978. For those that don’t know, NMTB was extremely well recorded and engineered.
     
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  17. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Each to their own, I really like the diversity of vinyl, picture disc, shaped picture disc, any colour, 5", 9", 10", 12", it's what's imprinted on the vinyl thats important, but like I say, I enjoy the diversity that vinyl offers.
     
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  18. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I have a '78 picture disc of NMTB and it has a lot of surface noise. The recent RSD editions though are perfectly quiet and a pleasure to listen to.
     
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  19. Trashman

    Trashman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Yeah, I never cared for them either. I want the artwork on the jacket, not the record. That way I can enjoy looking at the art while the record is playing.

    Also, I figure that picture discs are little more than two flexi discs adhered to a piece of plastic with a picture on it. Not a good recipe for high quality sound. And the fact they usually cost more than standard vinyl is the final nail in the coffin as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  20. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Got my Killing Joke picture discs for £13 each, couldn't be happier.
     
  21. intv7

    intv7 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    Yes, I've got it and it's awful. I have a few great sounding picture discs, so I know it can be done. But the vast majority are pretty rotten sounding, and Band On The Run is one of those.
     
  22. Droogmeister

    Droogmeister Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I must add that, although not a picture disc, I have a US copy of The Rapture (Siouxsie & The Banshees) on luminous vinyl and the surface noise is horrendous throughout. Have no idea why that should be but it's awful to endure.
     
  23. richierichie

    richierichie Forum Resident

    I've never really been bothered about picture discs, the only one I owned for years was Love 'Live' which I got in the '70's (I think) and playback isn't worth the bother. I also got the Sgt. Pepper 2017 picture disc and wasn't going to play it as I had the double LP edition then I read on another thread about its sonic qualities and it is a very good sounding LP.

    Up till that Sgt. Pepper release I was with you @Sear on the sonic comment but maybe picture discs as commented are improving. I reckon aesthetically most of them look great but I'm not really a collector of picture discs. Why Love & Sgt. Pepper? They are in my top 5 favourite bands.
     
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  24. Sax-son

    Sax-son Forum Resident

    Location:
    Three Rivers, CA
    My experience with picture discs has been horrendous. I always thought of them as a gimmick to get people to buy more records calling them a rare collectable. I would rather hear about vinyl that is more dynamic in sound and quiet of noise. Not interested!
     
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  25. Zapruder

    Zapruder Just zis guy, you know? Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ames, IA
    But...that's exactly what we're talking about...
     
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