I'm done buying used vinyl online

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by cds23, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. cds23

    cds23 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Germany, Aachen
    I'm not sure if a similar thread has been posted already, but I couldn't find one adressing the issue I have.

    I consider myself a frequent online buyer, both for new and used vinyl (and CDs).
    I never had serious problems with buying online, apart from a few deceptions where the vinyl turned out to be much closer to a plain VG than a VG++++ I was promised.

    But recently I've had quite a bit of bad luck when it comes to groove wear.

    I can live witch scratches, pops and clicks, even when it lasts an entire track, but for the love of god I can't stand groove wear. A record with worn out grooves, no matter how much it is still worth or it's collectability, is worthless to me and I can't get rid of it fast enough. What that essentially means is that, once I notice an excessive wear of the groove (meaning more than just the most inner track is affected), I know I'll have to get another, better copy.
    And since I have about a dozen records falling into that category, I decided once these have been replaced, I will stop buying used records online. At least US originals pre-dating 1967 and especially mono records. Man, these poor records really got shredded.
    Japanese reissues are fine, so are stereo copies from 1965 onwards, but everything else:

    If I can't find it in a physical store: SO BE IT. I don't trust sellers anymore, that still haven't noticed that just because a record doesn't have deep scratches, doesn't mean it won't sound bad. And since most of them obviously don't even have bright light bulbs (how else could they rate anything NM that's covered by several layers of dust), don't count on them to look for those greyish grooves that are strong indicators for excessive wear/damage. Let alone listening to the records.

    As I said: I will limit my online purchases to new vinyl and japanese copies, with maybe a few exceptions.

    Everything else will be bought in-store and listened to carefully, to minimize the risk of buying yet another worn record.

    As an aside: people don't seem to know how durable vinyl is and how badly you actually have to treat it to wear it out:
    a guy on the biggest german Hifi Forum opened a thread asking how often a record could actually be played before it audibly wears out. Since he coudln't find any study nor corroborated experience, he volunteered to play a record as long as it wears out and to digitize every 50th play, starting with the first lay as a reference. Some industry guy who didn't know an answer to that but who was intrigued by the idea sent him two Sinatra MFSLs, one for the experiment, the other for comparison.

    The result: it took him 950 (!!!) plays before he could hear a significant difference with the first digital transfer (that he did right when he played it for the first time). And even then the record still sounded good, not worn, just with less high end and details.

    So imagine what you have to do to wear a record out to the point where trumpets sound fuzzy and break up after just 30 or less spins...
  2. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    I too have given up on used albums. Never had issues with cds but LPs are another story. Good post by the way
    Myke Reid, Chemguy and fenderesq like this.
  3. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    Buying used LPs sight unseen can be a scary grab bag.
    Especially from unknown sellers that you’ve never dealt with before.

    Interesting record wear experiment.

    It’s also important to consider various factors that will accelerate and compound record wear:
    A less than “standard” quality needle
    Defective needle
    Old worn needle
    Misaligned stylus
    Excessive Tone arm weight
    Turntable quality
    Improper abrasive record cleaning process

    If all or all of these factors are in play, then the 950 stat in the research data would be much more lower.

    For a dedicated record listener, fan, and collector,
    That’s a horrible realization !
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  4. Bocajoe

    Bocajoe Forum Resident

    I accept the caveat emptor that goes with buying records online. Ratings are subjective - one person's VG+ could easily be another person's VG. I've seen records that look to be in pristine condition, easily VG+ and even EX, then they turn out to have deep seeded dust and dirt that completely destroyed the listening experience. For those records, I deep clean them several times, helps, but I know that I have to get at the deep resting dust that a simple spin under the discwasher brush can't clean. I don't blame the dealer - he/she probably made the mistake of looking at the records without listening to them. I have yet to have a negative experience when it comes to buying used vinyl online, but that's just me. A friend of mine received a copy of a record in condition that was less than advertised, so he emailed the seller, who gladly refunded his money.
    Bananas&blow and Paully like this.
  5. Gramps Tom

    Gramps Tom Forum Resident


    Likely many, if not MOST, records from the vintage you describe have been stacked & spun on units like the photo above.

    The most common method of cleaning a record was a specially treated cloth you needed to keep in it's bag....


    Plus, many people stored their records like thus (lp's also, even though the photo shows 45 rpm records)


    Records are not as rugged as you mentioned. A badly worn and/or calibrated cartridge will shred any record in a single play or 2. Remember how soft vinyl is compared to a diamond.....
    johnny q, Tommyboy, gillcup and 7 others like this.
  6. Ned Bode

    Ned Bode All you love is need

    I wish more people would stop buying used vinyl online.
    cds23, Bananas&blow, gillcup and 11 others like this.
  7. statcat

    statcat Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    yep me too :D
    CBackley and Fishoutofwater like this.
  8. cds23

    cds23 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Germany, Aachen
    As I said (paraphrasing myself): Imagine how bad you need to treat a record to wear it out with just a few spins.

    One common misconception is misalignment though: though not ideal, it does MUCH less harm to a record (unless the needle is completely pointing to the right or left, which of course you could detect with the naked eye) than a worn or defective needle, at least with modern diamond needles.
    Paully and Fishoutofwater like this.
  9. c-eling

    c-eling Somehow I See There Are Ships In Her Eyes...

    It's the chosen risk I take. Most if not all problems I've encountered have been due to baked in sibilance, not the sellers.
  10. savemenow

    savemenow Forum Resident

    SE Pa
    Don't forget the often poor turntables of the 60's, 70's and prior. My first two turntables required a quarter taped to the tonearm for weight in order to play some records without "skipping". I was young and had no clue it was the equipment and not the record. Several young friends of mine had to do the same at times so I thought it was "normal". My copy of "Blind Faith" (and some other records) has "gray" grooves even though a quarter wasn't required since it didn't skip. It was just the poor quality of the panasonic record player/receiver combo unit that is responsible. I'm sure the record wasn't played close to 100 times let alone 900 as in the test above. I took very good care of the Blind Faith album so there were minimal scratches/tics in the surface. Just the way it was back then with non high-end equipment. This is the panasonic I owned.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
    Tommyboy, Joti Cover, DTK and 4 others like this.
  11. Satrus

    Satrus Forum Resident

    Cork, Ireland
    There are a lot of bad sellers who either deliberately or through ignorance sell records that are vastly over graded! While there are good sellers in every country, Japanese sellers are the best in my experience. Most Japanese sellers know how to grade records and correctly apply the grading system, whether it is the Goldmine or Record Collector standard. Very occasionally, with popular albums, mistakes can happen and perhaps the wrong copy (not the NM) is sent. This happened to me recently with an excellent seller in Japan. He had several copies of a particular album and sent the wrong one! This is very rare though. We are all human and mistakes happen, occasionally.

    I find Discogs. very 'hit and miss' at times. I mean a record that is advertised as NM/M- should be like new, no ifs or buts about it. There are good sellers there and the secret is to find them and buy from them regularly assuming they have records you want. It has been said here and elsewhere on numerous occasions that one should seek out good sellers with excellent feedback and stick with them. Anybody who has any significant neutral or negative feedback should be avoided, in my opinion. There is nothing quite as disappointing than to purchase a record that has been over graded. Thankfully, I have never bought a record that had the extreme wear that you describe. Surely if a seller knows anything about grading, a record that has been worn out should not even be offered for sale? The greyish area on the record is an obvious sign of wear. Not everybody has high standards so it is best to deal only with serious people, I think.
    vinylbeat, Tommyboy and Chemguy like this.
  12. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    That's why I stopped collecting CDs. Darn groove wear... :doh:
    dalem5467, zphage and c-eling like this.
  13. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    New York
    I wouldn't buy used vinyl online if nearly every good post-punk and new wave record from 1977-1983 could be found in a store.

    If I want to get anything by these UK bands that didn't chart or hardly did over here, I have to import which is even worse.

    I still haven't even tried getting some German LPs... have a ton of Tangerine Dream from a local store, but if I want Klaus, yeah it's online or bust.
    Man at C&A likes this.
  14. tspit74

    tspit74 Forum Resident

    Woodridge, IL, USA
    You guys should start replacing all your records with CDs now. Get a head start for when the fad reverses itself in 10 years.
  15. zphage

    zphage inappropriately touching the out of touch

    You need to get out of the city, surprisingly there is plenty of good quality Schulze used vinyl regularly about,
    And don't forget you'll have plenty of options as the Electronique series is converted to vinyl.
  16. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    I have to be 100% honest and say that Discogs has become my new friend for finding long searched for singles (45 rpm). In the past year I must have bought about 30 singles from different sellers and I only had one that came up somewhat below my own standard. I notified that seller and he sent me back all of my money to Paypal except the original shipping costs and allowed me to keep the record and not have to send it back. I realize that I should have asked for my shipping costs back as well, but it was only $3 dollars and I figured why not just eat it, since this has only happened once to me this year? The only other issue I had was a seller ended up not having the record that I bought and paid for, again, he sent the money back to my Paypal account. That second guy did rub me the wrong way as he "tried" to offer me a "different" pressing of the same single, but I was already wise (thanks to this forum), that the other pressings of said single were inferior to the one that I wanted and he knew that I knew that, once I stated so, but sellers like him will attempt to pull that crap with others who are less knowing and sell them a crappy pressing of a record, just to keep the buyer happy!

    In 2018, where else other than eBay and Discogs are you truly going to find the rarer pressings of anything anymore? I have a slew of rare records that I have attempted to sell on this forum in the classifieds throughout the years, but no one on THIS forum ever wants to pay what they are worth, but instead I'll read where member so and so went on eBay and paid this crazy amount for the same thing from a stranger, instead of trusting a longtime forum member here. I'll NEVER understand you guys as "buyers", but I appreciate everything else that this forum offers in information and discussion.
    vinylbeat, Gumboo, Evan Guest and 3 others like this.
  17. cds23

    cds23 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Germany, Aachen
    Since I don't buy used records (originals or early pressings respectively) exclusively, I didn't have much problem with groove wear until recently. Some collectors of used vinyl may never encounter such problems, depending on what music they are listening to. 70's rock vinyl is less prone to groove wear than 50's and 60's jazz. In the 70's, even U.S. and/or tonearms were able to track with less than 3g. But mono (stereo also) jazz records from 1955 to 1961? They got bulldozered. And since not every worn out record has those greyish areas, it's extremely difficult to detect when not listening to it.
  18. parman

    parman inside lookin' out

    In The Mitten
    Anytime a seller say he 'visually' inspected the record I run not walk to get away from his site
    Dante Fontana and Jack Lord like this.
  19. Guy from Ohio

    Guy from Ohio Forum Resident

    I repaired one of these for a friend, replaced the capacitor. It had a tube amp that sounded absolutely amazing.
    Chris C, Gramps Tom and bosto like this.
  20. jwjeffrey

    jwjeffrey Hard working and Honest!

    Never had any problems with buying vinyl on line.I guess I've been very lucky.You always worry about the condition the vinyl is in when you get it.I brought a lot from Ebay and some thru a magazine called Goldmine.I got a very nice Tower Of Power East Bay Grease their 1st album on San Francisco Records through a Goldmine seller.For Ebay I look at the seller ratings and what people say before I take a chance.
  21. Kevin j

    Kevin j The 5th 99

    Seattle Area
    jwjeffrey likes this.
  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Over 90% of my used vinyl comes from local shops. I can inspect the records and usually don't get burned because my favorite local shop will give me store credit at the very least if there is a problem. I cut down on buying used vinyl online when overgrading became rampant. There are still a few sellers I trust but they are few and far between. Kinda done trying out random sellers on Discogs and eBay for used vinyl. Feedback can easily be gamed and I don't have the patience to send LPs back and forth (especially overseas) multiple times to get a good used copy. If something is too hard to get on LP in the condition I want, I simply go for a well mastered CD version if one exists.
    Fishoutofwater likes this.
  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    I haven't bought or sold here but noted a SHF seller getting the very high top dollar asked for his EX & better UK Beatles LP's.
    He quoted a well known dealer they were bought from and the trust quotient escalated.
  24. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    On Ebay since 2004 (When there were less inexperienced ebay vinyl sellers and shonks!

    In 2017 I purchased 100+ records on ebay & at least 40 were substandard.

    It has slowly been going that way.
    Even well known major sellers standards are Slipping due to their large amount of listings uploaded by these time poor people!
  25. moomaloo

    moomaloo All-round good egg

    I've sold a lot of records over the years, on both eBay and Discogs and I'm please to say I've maintained a 100% feedback rating on both (though I don't use eBay any more) so it doesn't have to be a terrible experience... The trick is trying to find sellers who are just as geeky as you are. And that's not easy because anyone can flog stuff on these sites without even the slightest clue of how to grade or price used records.

    I also buy quite a lot from these two sites and I haven't had too many terrible experiences; though I don't buy anything too expensive or graded less than at least ex/ex.

    There are always exceptions though - like the time I bought about half a dozen apparently nr mint LPs from the same seller (on Discogs) and they were all in very poor shape, both covers and records. One of them had a huge piece missing from the rim of the record, extending into the second track it was that big! - I was less than impressed and the seller was less than interested/helpful. He went straight onto my 'do not touch with a barge pole' list...
    Joti Cover likes this.

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