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Classic Records 200 gram vinyl problems

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
I don't know if it's just me, but I am getting very concerned lately with the quality of Classic Records 200 gram vinyl pressings.

I recently ordered 7 titles on 200 gram vinyl and had to send 5 of them back due to physical defects. Lots of very loud pops (please, let's not get into the static arguments -- I know the difference). I bought the entire Led Zeppelin catalog on 200 gram vinyl and don't have any problem at all with those, and a few classical music titles that are fine as well. Even with that said, I have had problems with almost half the albums I have bought from Classic Records. A few months ago I bought Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock on Classic Records 200g vinyl and when I took the albums out of their sleves they had loads of scratches on them. Back it went.

By comparison, I have bought about 15 albums from Speakers Corner, perhaps 12 from RTI, and maybe another 12 or so from Simply Vinyl. I have never had a problem with any audiophile vinyl pressing other than Classic Records. It has gotten to a point where I am going to just stop buying them.

--Jerome
post #2 of 67
Quality control is a major issue with vinyl, especially now that it's a niche market. Thanks for the update about those companies.
post #3 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
I don't know if it just me, but I am getting very concerned lately with the quality of Classic Records 200 gram vinyl pressings.

I recently ordered 7 titles on 200 gram vinyl and had to send 5 of them back due to physical defects. Lots of very loud pops (please, let's not get into the static arguments -- I know the difference).

Hi,

I can't say I have had great luck with the 200 gram pressings in the main either. My track record with Speaker's Corner is definitely much more consistent (maybe one out of twenty is a really bad dud there). I don't own enough 180 gram RTI pressings to make a personal judgement on them, but the 7 or so that I have bought haven't been a problem.

I was just wondering whether your 200 gram Classic pressings are the new style with the raised outer lip? Apparently these ones were supposed to improve the quality consistency, but side 2 of the second one of those I ever bought had lots of noise issues...so maybe not.

Strange thing is that I bought all the Classic Record Mercuries and they were all perfectly fine - the problem seems to be pressings made since maybe 12 - 18 months ago. When I look at what I own, all the ones that are problem free were originally pressed few years ago at the latest.

It's a pity. I really want to get all the Everests they are putting out, but things are so unreliable that I am thinking of getting the HDAD versions instead (though I can't play the 192 khz layer and of the HDADs I own, sonically the 96 khz layer isn't up to the standard of the vinyl equivalent).

Funny I should read this thread a minute after I had just plonked a Classic Records Everest on the TT
post #4 of 67
I have only bought one 200 gram release from Classic Records and it was the 200 gram 45 release of David Crosby - If Only I could Remember My Name. I have to admit that I was expecting to be blown away (especially considering how expensive it was) but I just wasn't that impressed. It was good, but not any better than a good 180 gram release in terms of surface noise. Needless to say, I haven't bought any others.

One thing to note about RTI vs. Classic Records is that I am pretty sure RTI presses the Classic Records releases, so I am not sure what to make out that.

Record Technology Customers

It could just be a production run issue, or who happens to be manning the presses, or the quality of the vinyl pellets used wrt the Classic Records runs. There are a lot of variables out there.
post #5 of 67
Thread Starter 
That's a point well taken, but is RTI making the stampers for the records pressed for all of these brands/labels?

I thought that MoFi abandoned 200g vinyl but then they came out with a few recently (I bought them and had no problems with them).

--Jerome
post #6 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
That's a point well taken, but is RTI making the stampers for the records pressed for all of these brands/labels?
I'm not sure, although when you read about the QUIEX SV-P that Classic used on the single sided 45 rpm set I bought, it sounds like Classic must make the stampers.

Classic Quiex SV-P

(Like I said in my previous post, I still wasn't that impressed with the release in terms of surface noise. The "increased clarity of instruments, harmonic integrity, and spatial detail" is true when I compare the Classic release to my vintage copy of the David Crosby album, but the commercial, non-audiophile, German Sony-BMG pressing of Blood On The Tracks that I picked up yesterday for $15 is much quieter in terms of surface noise.)

My understanding from reading about albums on the internet (so I can't swear to the accuracy of this) is that typically loud pops on new vinyl are caused by impurities in the vinyl material, most often being from a blend containing recycled vinyl, as opposed to 100% virgin vinyl. My fear is that as the price of oil continues to rise, there will be a tendency for manufacturers to use more and more recycled materials in order to contain costs.
post #7 of 67
Loud pops can also be the result of stamping defects. Thicker vinyl requires much longer stamping times to evenly distribute the heat. When something goes wrong in that process, you get dished records and bubbles - which is exactly what people are seeing. That said, poor quality vinyl and laquers can also cause increased noise - but that doesn't explain why nobody else seems to have these isses, even among non-audiophile releases.

Classic Records has had these issues for as long as I can remember - look at how many people complain about them on Audio Asylum. The owner made some sort of mea culpa last year and promised better quality, but either you bought old stock from a bad batch, or the quality has gone down again.
post #8 of 67
I would still like to know from the OP whether the 200 gram titles in question they received (and were faulty) were "lipped" pressings or not.
post #9 of 67
I recently received a couple of these 200g pressings (Roy Orbison). They vinyl was good but the recordings were crappy. Maybe that was the original, maybe not but I was not impressed for the price...
post #10 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
I would still like to know from the OP whether the 200 gram titles in question they received (and were faulty) were "lipped" pressings or not.
Sorry. The ones I recently sent back were not "lipped." But no sooner do I complain about Classic Records do I get a bad pressing of John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman on 180 gram vinyl. That record was destroyed by loud pops all over side 2. And the funny thing is, I have bought a few hundred standard Blue Note reissues and only had to send TWO of those back.

This has not been a good vinyl week for me where new pressings are concerned. Lately I have done WAY better on vintage vinyl (like the collection of first issue Nat King Cole LPs on Capitol Records I just bought for a very reasonable price. The jackets were all perfect and the vinyl looked like it had never been played, and it sounded like it to. Easily the best vinyl buy I made this year.

I'm just getting a little frustrated with new vinyl pressings. The state of the art should have gotten us to the point where this sort of nonsense isn't a regular part of the vinylphile's life. I can understand why people might be reluctant to get into vinyl. All I can tell them is not let threads like this put them off. When vinyl is great, and the vast majority of the time it is, nothing else on the planet can touch it.

--Jerome
post #11 of 67
Hi,

Well these lipped ones are supposed to be better from what I have heard. I actually said the wrong thing earlier - that other faulty 200 gram pressing I mentioned was indeed not a lipped one either. So far though, I don't have enough copies of these new lipped pressings to form a solid opinion (only three of them!), but each of them are perfectly fine. Maybe I am just lucky of course.

I think the first 200 gram lipped LPs surfaced in late October last year. And as the original batches of earlier releases are re-pressed, they are also lipped pressings (for example, I recently bought the Dvorak Cello Concerto which was released on 200 gram some years ago. The copy I got a couple of months ago was a new, lipped pressing.

It seems the trick is to carefully watch the stocks of the big dealers (i.e Acoustic and Elusive). And when they run dry, you can cross reference the Classic Records website to see if those items are on back order there as well. That being the case, when the item comes back into stock, it should be a 200 gram lipped pressing if that theory is correct.

In any case I have now taken the extreme measure of buying two copies of every Classic Record LP I want - such is my desire to have pristine copies of these Everests and RCAs. I know - arguably insane and expensive, but if the first copy is OK, I then have a factory sealed one to sell in years to come when they are long out of print. And just the cost of returning one bad pressing for a free replacement is actually far more expensive than just buying the two to begin with. Of course, both of them could be faulty too...

Anyway, new vinyl quality is very fickle. I recently returned a brand new TACET LP (sounded as noisy as a 78), only to find the replacement was just as bad. Sent that second one back too. I told the dealer he had permission to open the replacement to test it first. The dealer tried a couple and they were all too noisy as well (of course it's possible they are telling a white lie and did not test the replacement, deciding it was better to cut their losses then risk my rejection of a third one). So I got a credit. Not what I wanted - I just wanted a decent LP that does not sound like a 78 rubbed through the sand. I think the TACETS are Pallas pressings from Germany, in which case I have found about 8% of them I have bought suffer from this malady to one degree or another.
post #12 of 67
I've only got 2 200gram QUIEX SV-P records. Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells and Dido - Life For Rent. Both of them have no issues at all. No issues with any of my 180 gram records either.

I'm not certain that I don't prefer the sound of the bell strike on the original TB vinyl though.
post #13 of 67
They didn't have any problems putting out great pressings back in the 50s and 60s. And you can get a lot of great sounding records for 2 bucks at the swaps. If I paid a lot of money for an audiophile pressing and it was warped or had pops, I would be johnny on the spot demanding a refund the next day. Quality control is the concern of the manufacturer. Consumers shouldn't be required to pay for it.

See ya
Steve
post #14 of 67
Thread Starter 
The problem is when you buy a ton of this stuff and then a lot of it shows up at your door with issues. I just threw five brand new records in the trash because I bought them from different dealers and the cost in my time to line up refunds/replacements and then go to the post office to send them back is more than I spent on the records. This week was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm finished with buying new vinyl reissues and audiophile pressings. I probably spent over $1,000 last month and I have a mountain of bad records sitting here that I have to send back. Thankfully only two dealers are involved so it won't take up too much of my time.

I don't have the kind of time on my hands that some of you do to go sniff out cheap $2 records at yard sales or landfills . I don't mind paying a bit more for better quality. But it drives me absolutely nuts to blow $30 or more on a single record to find that, due to shoddy pressings, bad vinyl, whatever, it is no better than a vintage record I could have bought on eBay for $7 or less.

I'm even giving up on standard reissues as well since I am starting to run into more and more problems with those too. The value proposition stinks.

I'm going to stick to vintage vinyl through the two dealers I have been working with for the last year or so. Very few issues and whenever I do have a problem they just tell me to throw the record away and they issue a prompt refund.

--Jerome
post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
I'm going to stick to vintage vinyl through the two dealers I have been working with for the last year or so. Very few issues and whenever I do have a problem they just tell me to throw the record away and they issue a prompt refund.

--Jerome
I'm thinking of the vintage route but only through the two dealers I have been buying the new records from. At least mint minus, high quality vintage vinyl from a reputable dealer ought to have a similar quality to a good, new audiophile pressing. I've never bought one before, but I think I will buy one of their mint minus vintage Mercuries / Decca / RCA, etc to test the waters and see how it stacks up condition-wise.
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