Are colored vinyl LPs and picture disc LPs inferior?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by World of Genesis, Jan 22, 2007.

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  1. World of Genesis

    World of Genesis Active Member Thread Starter

    It seems like most of the colored vinyl and picture discs I own seem to have more 'pops' and 'cracks' when you play them than the traditional black vinyl. Obviously, the thickness could be the issue, but does anyone else find that colored LPs and picture discs tend to be lesser in quality?

  2. TheNomadicSoul

    TheNomadicSoul Active Member

    Picture discs usually have a thinner amount of vinyl so as to accommodate for the picture on the inside. But honestly, I only own two picture discs in my 8,000+ LP collection. One is a boot and one is the Monkee Business PD from 1982. I can't tell if it's the vinyl on that one or just the poor quality mixes and/or inferior master tapes used, but it sounds like crap.

    But as far as colored vinyl is concerned, I have quite a few pieces in my collection and they all sound great. The only problem I have with most colored vinyl other than black is that it can be quite difficult to give a visual grade to. That might explain the pops/clicks in yours if you bought them online from someone who doesn't play grade their vinyl. Just a thought.
  3. filper

    filper Forum Resident

    For sure any picture disc I have sounds like crap... but I would have thought that my copy of The Beatles "Love Songs" on clear gold vinyl would have sounded great, but it sounds like horrible as well.
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  4. nin

    nin New Member

    Yes, the noise floor on picture vinyls is higher. But color vinyl can sound great, just listen to a red vinyl of Faith No More's King for a day. Sounds great.
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  5. TommyTunes

    TommyTunes Senior Member

    It was always my understanding that transparent colored vinyl was always virgin vinyl this may be an old wife tale.
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Vinyl is clear. There is however, an agent in the black vinyl that makes it smoother and quieter. Colored vinyl (other than black) can be noisier because it doesn't have this agent in it.
  7. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    I've got a new clear (red) pressing that sounds great, but I just got a clear (blue) Fantasy pressing from 1960 or so that is a bit disappointing. Not terrible, but more noise than I'd expect. Plus it seems to have some overload/distortion issues (no idea if that's because of the vinyl or not). Sure looks cool though.
  8. filper

    filper Forum Resident

    That is exactly what I thought. The "Love Songs" I have only has about 3 plays on it... but it sounds like someone used it for a dinner plate.
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  9. Alan

    Alan New Member

    You guys actually play your pic discs? :)
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  10. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Well my Beatles white album (UK pressing) on white vinyl is pretty near dead quiet. I don't have any of the Beatles mono/red wax Japanese pressings but I hear they are too. I never bought pictures discs myself.....yet I've never heard anyone say that they provide great sound, they're just collectible.
  11. filper

    filper Forum Resident

    Once each :)

    I believe you, Steve. I guess I shouldn't pay so much attention to old wives tails :).
  12. Dalziel53

    Dalziel53 Forum Resident

    Didn't I read somewhere (on this forum) that the Steely Dan red vinyl (Canadian pressing) was very good???

    I also remember seeing threads about the Beatles White Album on white vinyl (forget which country) also being very good. As pointed out by Raunchnroll above.

    I took these posts to mean that coloured vinyl was not necessarily a bad thing.
  13. Paul K

    Paul K Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    The red vinyl of "Aja" is good...and seems to be the same as the Black vinyl cut...

    ( I have found this to be true....) as it is...the red vinyl is a tad noisy at times...
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  14. joelee

    joelee Senior Member

    The clear vinyl copy of Blondie's "Parallel Lines" is very good.
  15. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    In my experience, vinyl without this "agent" added does scratch more easily. (I'd heard it called "carbon black" before.) It seems the colored vinyl is softer, in other words. I've had minor "mishaps" over the past 25 or so years where my black vinyl wouldn't be harmed, where the colored easily picked up a small tick from it. The colored vinyl, too, seems to be worn a lot more than the black vinyl pressings I've seen. Groove damage seems to be more apparent on the non-black.

    This is not to be confused with the "premium" vinyl out there, like the Quiex, MoFi's JVC vinyl, etc. that are a special formulation.
  16. johnborzatti

    johnborzatti Forum Resident

    Just to add my two sense and IMHO I've always had issues with colored vinyl both as a visual problem and a quality one. Of the two dozen or so pieces I've played over the years NONE of them have been clean enough to be acceptable keepers. All this jives with what Steve has explained and it makes perfect sense. As far as picture discs they always seemed silly to me anyway, they look more like dinner plates than something I would put on an expensive analog rig and actually place my stylus on. Remember, all my opinion, not trying to steam anyone up.
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  17. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Zero/Zero Island
    After a bunch of complaints from consumers, many picture discs released in the 70s and 80s had printed disclaimers about sound quality not being up to snuff.
  18. major_works

    major_works This is my Custom Title

    Ramsey, NJ, USA
    One of the few "collectible" albums I still own is a Sgt. Pepper picture disc. I think I remember playing it once or twice, and I think I remember it sounding like crap.
  19. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    DC area
    FWIW, I have 2 copies of the red vinyl Aja. One has quite noisy vinyl; the other is just fine -- about normal for late 70s vinyl.

    The UK white vinyl White Album I have is pretty quiet -- about the same as other Beatles UK pressings of that vintage.
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  20. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    Most picture discs do sound pretty horrible, but they don't have to.

    My copy of Acid Mother's Temple's '41st Century Splendid Man' LP is absolutely gorgeous; barely a trace of surface noise and crystal clear sound. Played it often and it's never shown the slightest trace of excess wear.

    Black vinyl CAN sound cleaner than colored, but remember that a lot of 70s black vinyl (DJM Elton albums and some of those early Factory Joy Division LPs and singles, for instance) only looked black; they didn't include the graphite (if that's what it was) that made it smoother and quieter. Black translucent ink was no different than any other colored translucent ink (AFAIK).
  21. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    I think lumping colored vinyl and picture discs into the same catagory is apples and oranges. They have nothing to do with each other concerning quality of sound.
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  22. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Believe you about what, that they add fairy dust to black records, or that it makes records quieter?:p
  23. Figment

    Figment Forum Resident

    I have a picture disc copy of Earth's Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method that sounds excellent. All my other pic discs sound horrible. I don't buy them anymore. Most of my clear and white vinyl seems to have a high noise floor as well. I try to stay away from those colors in particular.

    What with the trend among hipster bands to release limited colored vinyl, I find it funny that by and large it is a detrament to sound quality. It practically feels like the industry is giving collectors another albatross to grab for. I wonder if a few years from now the black vinyl copies will be more sought after than the colored ones.
  24. bdiament

    bdiament Producer, Engineer, Soundkeeper

    New York
    Hi major_works,

    That's exactly the disk that came to mind when I read the title of this thread.
    I've still got one of those - still sealed too.
    (Its on my shelf next to an oft played UK pressing of "High Tides/Green Grass".)

  25. World of Genesis

    World of Genesis Active Member Thread Starter

    Back in the mid-80s, I remember being really excited to find the Genesis 3 x 3 EP on picture disc 7". I went home and played it, and it sounded absolutely terrible (it was brand new at the time). I took it back to Wall To Wall Sound and Video (R.I.P.) and since they didn't have another one, I ended up buying some crap heavy metal cassette that is long gone from my collection. Ah, foolish youth!

    I have a couple pieces of colored vinyl with skips, which irritates me to no end, because even as a teen, I would play LPs very rarely. Yet, my old black vinyl looks and sounds as good as new. Go figure. As they say, "If Hoffman says it's true - it's true."

    Heckto35 likes this.
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