Do new vinyl pressings tend to sound a bit on the dark side?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by alexbunardzic, May 23, 2017.

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  1. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I know it's not a good thing to generalize, but because of my limited exposure to the new vinyl pressings, I'd like to ask the community if my observations hold water or not:

    I've noticed that pretty much any newly pressed vinyl that I've purchased recently tends to sound darker, more muffled than the original LP pressings. For example, the Beatles ("White Album", "Abbey Road", etc.) -- my old scratchy pressings of these LPs sound much, much brighter and have way more sparkle than the new 180 gram pressings.

    I've also noticed that new Erykah Badu vinyl pressings sound rather dark, gloomy, with rolled off highs. Same could be said for my new Donny Hathaway pressings. And so on...

    Is that some kind of a new trend in mastering albums for vinyl (i.e. roll off the highs a bit), or is it just that I happened upon some oddball pressings? Anyone else have similar observations to share?
     
  2. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ventura
    Only when you're listening to the Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack.
     
    izgoblin, broccolid, hi_watt and 11 others like this.
  3. Gaslight

    Gaslight ⎧⚍⎫⚑

    Location:
    Northeast USA
  4. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Senior Member

    Location:
    New York
    It's on a case by case basis like anything else. If everything sounds dark, perhaps you need to look at your system.
     
  5. c-eling

    c-eling They're made of light,We never would have guessed

    I've notice it on all these remasters laid to wax compared to original cuts.
    New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode, A-ha...
     
  6. telepicker97

    telepicker97 Got Any Gum?

    Location:
    Midwest
    Explain?
     
  7. driverdrummer

    driverdrummer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Irmo, SC
    I love the sound of the John Prine reissue. It still sounds laid back and relaxing even at top volume.
     
  8. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member

     
  9. telepicker97

    telepicker97 Got Any Gum?

    Location:
    Midwest
    AH! I stepped right into that one.

    Derp!
     
  10. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canton, NY, USA
    I haven't noticed that at all. If anything, I've noticed the opposite. For instance, Bryan Ferry's Avonmore LP came with a CD version that was much darker sounding than the vinyl. Initially I found the vinyl to be too trebly for my tastes, but grew to enjoy its more dynamic presentation. Two other recent new vinyl reissues I found trebly in comparison to the CD (and to most other LPs) were Marianne Faithfull's Easy Come, Easy Go (which was particularly bad) and Massive Attack's Mezzanine. Of course, you are talking about comparisons to earlier vinyl pressings rather than to concurrent CDs. The pattern I've noticed in such cases is that newer vinyl reissues generally tend to be less midrangy, with more emphaisis on the treble and bass. Whether this is adding smiley EQ or simply correcting a frowny EQ on the original probably depends on one's system and sonic preferences. I recently noticed two Kevin Gray mastered reissues--Joe Jackson's Night & Day and Yes's Drama--fit the pattern I mentioned. While I initially missed some of the lush midrange of my Canadian Joe Jackson pressing, I eventually concluded that the Gray remastering sounded more natural and ultimately preferable on my system. I immediately found the Yes remastering to be a huge improvement, though several posters here preferred their more midrange-y original pressings.

    While these are the patterns I've noticed, in general I'd say it's all pretty case-by-case. Different mastering engineers have different sonic signatures. Certainly records mastered by, say, Chris Bellman or Ryan Smith, are not going to sound "dark" in any way, shape, or form. Something by Kevin Gray or Krieg Wunderlich, on the other hand, might sound a bit darker than earlier masterings, but in my experience they are taming excessive treble or upper midrange rather than taking away the good stuff. As always, YMMV.
     
  11. Lemon Curry

    Lemon Curry (A) Face In The Crowd

    Location:
    Mahwah, NJ
    Depends on what you are used to with mastering. CDs are often bright and compressed, while vinyl tends to be flatter but more dynamic. It wont sound too dark when you crank a vinyl. And that's a key point - vinyl sounds awesome loud, but many compressed CDs produce listening fatigue.

    It's what floats your boat.
     
    Methodical likes this.
  12. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Desperado Under the Eve

    Location:
    Pacific Beach, CA
    I have bought a couple of re-issues that sounded dark like this. Iron Maiden Number of the Beast and Queen II come to mind. They were dreadful. It was at that point I came to realize that I will only buy re-issues that have a generally positive review on this website. It can be cumbersome to be sure to search through all the opinions. But if the re-issues are getting glowing reviews on this site, they almost always sound terrific, and sometimes better than the original pressing. Definitely a case by case basis however. The overall quality of re-issues these days is pretty poor. But the ones done by the great mastering engineers can be terrific. A few that I'm aware of:

    Creedence
    Zappa
    Rush
    Van Halen
    Kiss
    Beatles Mono.
    Stones Mono.
    Tom Petty.
    Jimi Hendrix.

    anything by Steven Wilson.

    There are many many more of course. IT doesn't have to be all analogue from the analogue tapes, but that is usually a great sign.
     
  13. bibijeebies

    bibijeebies vinyl hairline spotter

    Location:
    Amstelveen (NL)
    Kevin Gray did a great job on that John Prine reissue.
     
  14. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Location:
    Planet Earth
    Only if they are from a digital force source. That is so dark, it's virtually evil.
     
  15. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    On a lot of old albums treble was boosted and bass curtailed. New 180 gram titles usually have improved bass but many subjectively have a rounded off top end. That may be more accurate (no treble boost) or due to tape aging. How 'dark' an album actually sounds can be down to your deck/arm /cartridge combo.
     
    tubesandvinyl and cmcintyre like this.
  16. For the Record

    For the Record Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    Might be time to change that stylus.

    I just changed mine. The high's were affected when my last one was worn. Put a new stylus on and everything is bright and clear again.
     
  17. Fender Relic

    Fender Relic Forum Resident

    Location:
    PennsylBama
    My first new MFSL purchase was Stagefright,The Band. I can't express in words my disappointment with that LP. It's turned me off from trying any others. If this is an example of the MFSL signature sound then it's not for me. It was tame,lame,a shame.
     
  18. Could it be a matter of adjusting the tone arm/tracking angle to compensate for the thicker vinyl?
     
  19. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    My stylus is quite new (bought the cartridge two months ago). But if it were worn out, then all LPs would sound dark and dull. But only the new pressings I mentioned "Abbey Road", "White Album", etc.) sound dark. The old pressings of the same LPs sound awesome, brilliant.
     
    Fender Relic likes this.
  20. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Not all thicker vinyl sounds dark on my turntable. Some 180 gram LPs sound awesome, with lots of sparkle and highs. It is just that some remasters I mentioned are drastically darker and duller sounding than the original pressings.
     
  21. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Funny thing, not only is treble much livelier and present on my old pressing of "Abbey Road", bass is also much more powerful and muscular than the bass on the 180 gram 2012 remaster of the same album.
     
  22. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks, that's great to hear, and is very reassuring :)
     
  23. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    True, but I'm not comparing those remastered pressing with CDs. I'm comparing them with the old pressings. As I mentioned, when I play the new 2012 180 gram remaster of "Abbey Road", it sounds much darker and duller than my old pressing of the same album.
     
  24. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Not a good example. The original is great and I think the 24/44.1 digital source compromises the 2012, though it still sounds decent. Obviously restricted bass was not universal. It's always a case by case basis.
     
  25. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    That's a good explanation, thank you. I feel relieved that it's not a general trend. I guess from now on I should try to inform myself of the reviews before I take the plunge (those new remasters are bloody expensive).
     
    NorthNY Mark likes this.
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