Does coloured vinyl sound worse than black?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by peelaaa, Feb 29, 2016.

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  1. Defdum&blind

    Defdum&blind Forum Resident

    The "agent" involved may affect the sound quality. If the agent is a solid material it will always have a texture (think of a a super super fine sandpaper) , it will cause the surface to be rougher than the surface if the colouring agent used is a dye. The solid particles can only be ground so small. The dyes being fluid provide a smoother surface. The Quiex II vinyl pressings that were used in Japan by JVC and popularized by MFSL use a dye to color the vinyl compound. These discs that use dyes are the translucent type. The solid agents make the vinyl opaque not translucent.
    It's my opinion that the translucent red vinyl on Canadian Rush's Hemispheres pressings sounds better than the black vinyl version. I am aware that they have different matrix data but in a few of the comparisons that I have made to demonstrate this indicate it is not a pressing to pressing variable.
  2. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    Interesting site, I have never seen some of the coloured vinyl variants before. Interesting that their grading of surface noise goes from 1= quietest (black) / 4= quietest colored vinyl / 8 = noisiest. The jump from black to transparent colour (4) is quite dramatic. No surprise that glitter vinyl is the noisiest (rated 8-10 on the 1-8 scale!) - you can literally see the particles! It would be interesting to see a microscope image of grooves in glitter vinyl.

    Another interesting comment they made: "In any case, there are tons of each of these colors in the marketplace, and many people do not seem to notice/mind the differences". True. I recall in the 80's a lot of record collectors would be so excited that a record was a coloured limited edition that it would over-ride interest in the actual music. It increased sales.
  3. wino14

    wino14 Forum Resident

    Edenton, NC
    Black vinyl is colored vinyl
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  4. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Drum machines are not inherently evil.

    Austin, TX
    It's very obvious why white sounds worse.

    White noise - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia »
    seed_drill, scotth and Telemark like this.
  5. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    Technically, black is the absence of colour.

    And in the context of this thread, it is the agent in the black vinyl which makes it different to opaque and translucent coloured vinyl.
    Kristeva likes this.
  6. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    Like every other thread I've ever read on the subject of vinyl color and SQ, the answers are all over the place and nobody really seems to know (or bother to offer authoritative technical explanations on) exactly why various colors are or are not better or noisier. There are mystical invocations of agents and dyes and solids of various hues and mixtures that are said to have this or that effect, and also confident statements that color is irrelevent to vinyl SQ. There's the black-is-slippery-quiet notion and there's the translucent-sounds-translucent belief. That Gotta Groove quiet-to-noisy list may be the most seemingly objective ranking I've seen, but even they don't say how they know this or if those qualities are specific to their process (also, they're a relatively new pressing plant, so...)

    The truth is out there.
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  7. Paul Saldana

    Paul Saldana jazz vinyl addict

    SE USA
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  8. Paul Saldana

    Paul Saldana jazz vinyl addict

    SE USA
    You're forgetting that anything used to dye the plastic would likely have physical properties, and would not start out as a liquid - so it has a texture!

    Additionally, Classic Records swore by their late-in-production carbonless (no black) clear vinyl - the back and it's slightly magnetic properties would affect the cartridge during playback.

    M Fremer's 'Analog Planet Radio' show last week featured a record played before and after demagnetization - and the playback WAS different between the two plays - the de-magged playback was clearer, with smoother-not-attenuated treble.
  9. DamageCase77

    DamageCase77 Well-Known Member

    I've never really had a problem with colored vinyl, at least that I've noticed as I don't have an incredible amount. My pink copy of Kadavar's "Abra Kadavar" plays wonderfully and my copy of Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers "L.A.M.F sounds far better than my digital version. However, I was at my local delightful hole in the wall record store and they had a record store day exclusive copy of The Clash's first album that was half blue and half white. He showed it to me and on the back there was a little warning sticker saying that this copy may possibly not play as well or be or equal quality as a black vinyl copy. Rather odd, he said it was indicative of a lack of quality control and the fact that they were ok with just slapping a warning sticker on it was terrible. I have a black remaster of that album and it's awesome.
  10. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    The most notable example would be the glitter vinyl - I can see the texture in my mind.
  11. Sytze

    Sytze Forum Resident

    No, the German one. I don't play it anymore though (I have an UK original for that, although that's not entirely silent as well...). I'll keep the pink one though, it was my first copy of Animals and it's still nice to look at...
  12. Sytze

    Sytze Forum Resident

    In my view, these are not for playing but for displaying. Makes me curious though: are there albums in existence that are picture disc-only?
  13. Crush87

    Crush87 Forum Resident

    New York
    Regardless of whether or not I feel I've heard problems with colored vinyl (I have) I feel like I can better see imperfections with black vinyl when buying second hand that I can't detect as easily with certain colored records. I suppose its for the same reasons they you can see dirt easier on a black car than a white car.
  14. progmog

    progmog Forum Resident

    United Kingdom
    That's interesting, because my opinion is totally the opposite - I found that the red vinyl version was noisier than than the black vinyl version. Come to think of, I found every US and Canadian pressing of 'Hemispheres' to be noisy, so I plumped for a UK pressing as my go-to version.
  15. corey dan

    corey dan Forum Resident

    san diego
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  16. BigManRestless

    BigManRestless Forum Resident

    Ultravox used to insist on limited pressings of their Chrysalis era singles on clear vinyl as that way they knew they were using 'virgin vinyl' not previously used, melted down, recycled stock. This was partly on aesthetic grounds but also because of improved sound.
    Dudley Morris and HiFi Guy 008 like this.
  17. drbryant

    drbryant Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    I have a theory about colored vinyl. Basically, I've never heard a convincing technical argument why colored vinyl should sound any worse than black vinyl (which is also colored vinyl, as others have pointed out). This is supported by my personal experience with red vinyl pressings from Japan in the 60's and 70's. Those red vinyl pressings were always considered to be highly valued by audiophiles, and in my experience, with good reason. They were flat and quiet. Quiex II pressings, similarly, are translucent purple or brown, but sound great. And, as others have mentioned, there were so terrific audiophile pressings done with the opaque "Clarity Vinyl" formulation by Classic Records.

    However, in my experience with US and UK colored vinyl pressings, I have often found them to be noisy.

    My strong suspicion is that the reason for this is that many, if not most, colored vinyl pressings are done as one-off pressings for the collector market, separate from and often well after the primary pressings of the album. Unlike a regular pressing run, which is preceded by test pressings, quality checks, etc, the quality control for those one-off, colored vinyl pressings is lacking, resulting in sometimes poor results. That's just a guess, but it makes some sense to me.
  18. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    My red copy of Kelly Clarkson's Christmas album is riddled with noisy pops and clicks....unlistenable. I have hundreds and hundreds of albums. I don't know the science behind it, and I believe those that say they have had no issues with colored vinyl, but that hasnt been my experience. The three record set of the Forest Gump soundtrack...a great sounding album of classic songs, by the way, if not a bit expensive....was a mess initially. I opened it up and my heart sank when I discovered all three albums were pressed on different color vinyl. I knew based on experience I would probably experience noisy vinyl, and yes, I did. On the other hand, I was able to exchange the records out until I got three pretty decent copies, so it is certainly possible. However, I would go for black every time if given a choice. I am also not thrilled with my colored Bob Marley Legends on colored vinyl. Could be a coincidence.
  19. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    There were some in the 90's for sure, when vinyl was dying out but they did a 'collectors' picture disc version, I guess they thought no-one would play them anyway. I think an example would be something like the Manic's Holy Bible.

    In my youth when I was buying punk and new wave singles many of these were coloured vinyl. I didn't notice any difference as the music was loud and mastered hot so you couldn't hear any surface noise. Labels did that for the collectors value, and kids loved coloured vinyl, but they were wise enough to never start doing the albums like that as they knew it wasn't as good.

    I don't kave many picture discs. However in the early 90's in the UK there was a trend to produce the vinyl version of a single as a 12" picture disc - WEA did this a lot, and also Geffen. So I have picture discs of all the Nevermind era Nirvana singles, and others by the likes of REM and Prince. The Nirvana ones sound fantastic, I think there may be different ways of making them, but anyway I never had an issue with those ones.
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  20. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Makes the most sense of all the posts I have read, as I have definitely found colored vinyl to be almost universally noisy, and I unfortunately own an awful lot of it.
  21. Mateo Sanboval

    Mateo Sanboval Forum Resident

    There are tons of color only releases that never get a black version, yet still receive TPs and the like. Happens all the time. It's often the great irony of many boutique and collector labels that they put a lot of time, effort, and cashish into sourcing, mastering, and testing the material, only to press it on splatter vinyl.

    The bottom line is that a good turntable, tonearm, and cartridge can go a long way to mitigating potentially inferior pressings, but the pressing itself plays a part as well. Both the quality of the wax and stamp as well as the mix. A louder record covers more noise and a quieter one exposes it. In the absence of real world reviews, black is the safer bet nearly every time. Thankfully we have this place to ask about, answer, and discuss any album to lessen the gamble and make better, more educated, guesses.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  22. Michel_LeGrisbi

    Michel_LeGrisbi Far-Gone Accumulator ™

    Not to my ears, however I've never listened to a black vinyl of the same recording immediately after for comparison,
    Picture discs on the other hand never sounded good.
  23. One of the best records in my collection came in white and it sounds fantastic.

    It is this years reissue of Calladan Brood - Echoes of Battle
  24. Now that i think about it, the reason that maybe we prefer black vinyl is that colored ones give a specific mood when you take them out to play them.

    Yellow might give a brighter mood and blue a cooler one.

    I think that black is better for music because the imagination is more neutral when you look at it, i want to say that it doesnt give a specific mood and therefore the mind has more freedom to create some first impressions.
    mpayan likes this.
  25. spoofer

    spoofer New Member

    Otisco lake NY
    Grand Funk Railroads gold in color record back in the 70's was almost unplayable. Lots of hiss! I didn't care though. There was nothing on the packaging saying it was colored. I thought it was so cool when I opened it.
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