Vinyl Expectation Management

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ThinWhiteDuke, Sep 20, 2022.

  1. ThinWhiteDuke

    ThinWhiteDuke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New Zealand
    To Vinyl collectors only:

    I'm concerned that the new kids coming into our hobby (as potential vinyl collectors) *may* have unreasonable expectations regarding crackling, clicks and pops etc. and that some tolerance to the medium's flaws is required to fully enjoy them.

    I suspect that unless you have grown up with records one may never learn to enjoy them as we did precisely because the 'digital' youth can still hear the flaws which our brains automatically filter out (and to be honest they won't have that nostalgia and love that we have to sustain them through the less than perfect experience).

    However I realise I take for granted what other's experience, perhaps some of you really do have systems that rarely or never experience crackling, clicks and pops etc.

    So to that end, please can I have a bunch of replies evaluating your common vinyl play back experience, so that we all can point to this thread in future when a "new to vinyl" person complains about 'noisy' vinyl (will also help them determine if they need to 'put-up' with the noise or spend more money to fix).
    WMTC likes this.
  2. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    No record, and no stereo is ever perfect. If you are so OCD that you can't listen to a record because it has slight noise, then ditch the format and stream. More for us.
    Kyhl, AndyCC72, Bananas&blow and 15 others like this.
  3. ThinWhiteDuke

    ThinWhiteDuke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New Zealand
    addendum: I've cast my vote, and I realise that as a long time user of ClickRepair I have a system that really works for me.

    Most of my records (50/50 new vs. second hand) have a little bit crackling, clicks or pops etc. that one can hear in the quiet bits but they are perfect in the music bits so I never notice.

    A few brand-new records I own are bang-on perfect with nary a crackle in the quiet bits though they are quite rare.

    Some second hand 'beaters' I own are terrible but I love the music on them and won't be letting them go.

    (I own a couple o' hundred records, and over 500 CD's so I'm not attached to either format though I prefer vinyl)
  4. bluesky

    bluesky Forum Resident

    south florida, usa
    1980 Sansui SR-838 using a 1980 Ortofon MM NOS M20FL Super cart. Also only use M- records.

    No clicks or pops here. Non-existent. I like it that way.
  5. ThinWhiteDuke

    ThinWhiteDuke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New Zealand
    That's impressive, can I ask how many records you own?
    Troyh likes this.
  6. bluesky

    bluesky Forum Resident

    south florida, usa
    Just rough counted them, 700 at a quick estimated glance. I thought I had more. 700 is a good working number.

    I'd like to get maybe 30 more very specific LPs but that will never happen I guess, expensive collectors' LPs. If I 'crate dig' them, cool. If not, so be it. Maybe find the M- CD of the same title.

    I do have a Ton of CDs, too many actually. I would like to get maybe 30 more 50s-60s jazz types but only if I find them M- cheaply in thrifts, garage sales, or from a private collection. Something to 'look' for, the quest. It's all fun.

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
  7. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Boston MA
    Most of my records are great. I ditch the noisy records. Like KT88 said no vinyl record is perfect, there is going to be some surface noise no matter what. I have learned that a lot of noise can be avoided with a better turntable, cartridge, set up, cleaning, and static removal.
  8. ThinWhiteDuke

    ThinWhiteDuke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New Zealand
    800-900 records and "No clicks or pops here. Non-existent. I like it that way."? Not even in the quiet bits? Not even on a dry staticy kinda day? That's doubly impressive and kudos to your curating skills, I suspect you've something to teach us in quality selection :)
    bever70 likes this.
  9. The Pinhead


    Mine fall into 3 categories :

    1-Bought new : mostly perfect
    2-Bought used : range from almost perfect (but not as perfect as the ones I bought new) to acceptably noisy (some ticks and pops here and there)
    3-Bought used and and tossed to the trashed due to too many parasitic noises, usually replaced with their CD counterparts or flac files.
    389 Tripower likes this.
  10. theflattire

    theflattire Forum Resident

    Clips and pops.
    It's vinyl.
    Get used to it.
    Daddy Dom, wgb113, PATB and 3 others like this.
  11. downloadsofist

    downloadsofist Forum Resident

    New York
    A little surface noise doesn’t bother me at all, I tune it out. Exception is quiet ambient music, which is sometimes better suited to CD. I buy mostly used LPs, mostly in the VG+ zone, but of course the noise varies tremendously at that grade. Once in a while—like 1 out of 100 records— I buy something that is too noisy and I’ll look for a replacement. I love record shopping as an activity and I usually look for bargains—don’t think I’ve paid more than $40 for a record in my life, and usually a lot less than that. I think I’m pretty good at judging what will clean up well visually, but once in a while you get a record that looks perfect and is super noisy.
  12. Simoon

    Simoon Forum Resident

    Los Angeles

    None of the choices fit, because, even if an LP had zero noise, it still wouldn't be perfect.

    I have quite a few recordings that are dead quiet, mostly 70's on the ECM jazz label (who are known for their incrdible vinyl quality), but they still are not perfect.
    GyroT likes this.
  13. Hendertuckie

    Hendertuckie Forum Resident

    Rural Nevada
    Nice Poll. I really made me think. Good Job!
    Lenny99 likes this.
  14. DIYmusic

    DIYmusic Forum Resident

    Soo so so many variables.

    On headphones so different than speakers.
    With classical music, more annoying.
    When you spend a lot on it, FAR more annoying....:D
    ThinWhiteDuke likes this.
  15. Morbius

    Morbius Forum Resident

    Brookline, MA
    First is to make your music selections that are reproduced on quality vinyl from a vendor who will back up the product they're selling. Most vinyl in that category will be nearly flawless with maybe a click here and there, sometimes even some non-fill. On rare occasions I'll buy a record with high hopes like a recent purchase of a Mofi of the Pretenders first album where side one was occasionally noisy in some spots which I might have let pass but when I turned the record over, I encountered a locked groove even before the first track started to play. I immediately returned to my retailer Newbury Comics who immediately replaced it with a new one with no questions asked but I did have to drive to another one of their locations in another town.

    Also beware of some of the over recommended cleaning methods people tout. Well produced vinyl usually needs very little done to it when it is first removed from its sleeves and will be as quiet as it's ever going to be without unnecessary cleaning. Most of the time all it needs is a light dusting with a good carbon fiber brush and you're good to go. Rarely, I'll use an all-purpose record cleaning solution with an applicator if there is a lot of staticky dust that sticks to the record or fingerprints that I'm feeling OCD about. I don't own a record cleaning machine.
    Lenny99 likes this.
  16. Lenny99

    Lenny99 The truth sets you free.

    Clarksburg WV
    My new vinyl is usually quiet, but even so, they may have a few pops or clicks. The vinyl I've purchased used are of various quality.

    The noise seldom bothers me. It's part of the vinyl experience. Perhaps I've learned to tune it out. And to me there is always the nostalgic factor.

    Reducing the noise is another aspect of vinyl I enjoy. I like attempting to achieve better sound quality through various means such as upgrading the stylus, turntable etc, properly aligning the cart, or cleaning the vinyl.

    To me, these quarks make vinyl engaging. I'm part of the process. But, I never expect perfection.
  17. raye_penber

    raye_penber Writer

    Funnily enough, I’ve found the exact opposite. Most kids in their teens/early 20s are disappointed that vinyl doesn’t sound ‘warm and crackly’.

    I voted for option 2 on the list.

    Out of 1000 plus records, I’ve got maybe 10 that have some noise on lead in and between tracks. Other than this, mostly silent except for the odd bit of static.
    rischa and ThinWhiteDuke like this.
  18. tryitfirst

    tryitfirst Forum Resident

    As John Peel said, "life has surface noise".
  19. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident

    New Zealand
    The odd record has a bit of noise on it. You do your best to clean them and set up your table properly and then don’t worry about it too much.
    Big Blue and ThinWhiteDuke like this.
  20. Markym

    Markym Forum Resident

    London, UK
    I'm always surprised when people say they have primarily silent records. I've got very few of those and have a decent set-up (currently SL1210GR/Achromat/KAB damper/OC9-XML). Most of my vinyl has been wet-cleaned using a variety of solutions (L'Art du Son, MCRU etc.) via my Moth RCM2 vacuum record cleaning machine as well.

    However, I listen on headphones primarily - Sennheiser HD800 - and that method tends to be brutally revealing of flaws. Surface noise is typically better hidden via speakers, in my experience, as it sits on a different plane to the music. Unfortunately, living in an apartment means speaker replay isn't something I can do much.

    I like playing my existing collection of around 250 records (used to be more but I sold off some of my collectables) but I don't buy new pressings very often now, mainly old stuff I can't get on high quality digital. Prices of new and used vinyl are now becoming prohibitive as well, imo.

    More power to those who enjoy their vinyl, though, where they have room for a proper speaker set-up.
    HIRES_FAN, tkl7 and Oelewapper like this.
  21. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Meh. Plenty of hipsters claim that the sound of a raging campfire is “a normal part of playing vinyls”.
    Probably due to their Crosley’s, the QC some pressing plants have these days and most likely, because they don’t clean their records.
  22. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Same for my HD800S.
    Even more so with closed back headphones… you’ll literally be able to hear the groove rumble during the music at quieter parts; even with high-end pressings regardless of the stylus shape…
    kundryishot and Markym like this.
  23. Victor Martell

    Victor Martell Forum Resident

    A fascinating sample of opinions - I agree with @ThinWhiteDuke 's skepticism - even though I love Vinyl, we need to remember that this is a very primitive technology; in general terms, we are scratching a piece of plastic with a rock!.. maybe peeps have adapted to ignore defects - the mind is a wonderful thing - and interpret that as perfect records. I love @DIYmusic 's stance - practical and realistic, and yes many variables. It all depends and yes, it is harder to love Vinyl with Classical Music.

    I have adopted a policy similar to @Tullman 's which is smart and practical. Not only I also get rid of noisy, crackly records, I try to avoid them by adopting a policy of "No Used Records" - I only buy new Vinyl, from the Audiophile companies (AP, MoFi, Speakers, etc). Not that there cannot be great records from used or other new vinyl sources. But not only IN GENERAL, it is easier to avoid defects that way ( easier to avoid, not avoided, remember, scratching with a rock, they will still show up ) but also, well, ( and this is a different issue ) helps me being more selective with what I get, because I am running out of space... Which, BTW, is another thing to remind people starting on this... I got the tail of the first Vinyl era and the one thing I forgot is how much space those things take! :D

    Good topic - a new spin on the discussion of "Why Vinyl in the 21st Century" :D

    ThinWhiteDuke and Tullman like this.
  24. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    Well, I think your basic premise is off. From what I can tell kids getting into vinyl do not expect cd silence, rather the opposite. They consider vinyl noise part of the vintage experience. That certainly tracks with the crappy turntables they are buying and their lack of knowledge of how to clean a record.
    Kyhl, goldwax, ejman and 4 others like this.
  25. DIYmusic

    DIYmusic Forum Resident


    From my view, I am under 30, simply do not even get why some kids buy it or are into it, other than something new or silly to try.

    My reasons are based on finding older masterings and mostly used records at estates sales or where have you, but often stuff that is hard to find or simply would Never be released on CD.
    New stuff, have very little interest.
    I can often find whole piles of it, for next to nothing and weed out the junk and donate it.
    The FRiNgE and action pact like this.

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