Does the weight of the vinyl make a difference to overall sound quality,
Absolutely not. My best sounding records are not 180's.
and to add a bit more substance to the post, does it sound better than CD
Vinyl sounds different. Not better. In most case, I prefer the differences that vinyl offers though.
I agree with paraneer....I prefer vinyl to CD, and found that my heavier vinyl sounds no better than regular vinyl. So much is dependent on the production... I have recordings with claims to Nirvana in sound to be clearly inferior to regularly produced records. Its a crap shoot.
1. Myth if interface of record to platter is good. Best IMO to look for old records in good condition.
2. It depends mainly on your vinyl system and set-up.
180 gram vinyl gives the listener a feeling that it "might" be better which in the mind of an audiophile means it’s better. It might not sound better…but it’s better anyway…exactly like the break-in period of your cryo treated wall plugs…after 2 months you think they sound better, so that’s better by definition. You simply feel better, and that’s all the better one needs. Plus, 180 gram vinyl LPs have the advantage of using more vinyl in the manufacturing process which keeps all that extra vinyl from going unused. You want globs of gross unused vinyl to pile up next to Little Johnny’s pre school? Choking the life out of Chilean Sea Bass? Sticking to your feet at the Trump rally? No, you don’t.
Here are my experiences.
When I was 16 I cut out a record by The Archies from the back of a cereal box. I put it on my big brother’s turntable/separates rig to play it for my amusement--as in how awful it would sound. To my surprise it sounded as good as a real pressed record. Go figure. I’m sure with my present rig its shortcomings would be more obvious. But with a record grip holding it down, maybe not.
I have a modest KAB rubber record grip. I find that it lowers surface noise and makes a 70g Dynaflex record sound more like a 140g pressing.
I also got a special Classic Records release of Elgar’s Enigma variations on both 180 and 200g pressings. I figured they’d sound identical, especially with the record grip. To my surprise the 200g really did sound better. Since this was a large scale orchestral production, I suspect that the extra mass helps handle the dynamics and deep bass modulations.
So I don’t know. Maybe the answer is "sometimes." It could be a difference in the mastering of one vs. another edition, and the record weight isn't the issue. Maybe it depends on how dynamic, dense, and complex the recordin. You might hear a difference with a 100-piece orchestra playing a 20th century composition that won’t show up with a 4-piece combo.
I think that everything up to the point of actually stamping the vinyl has way more to do with sound quality than the weight of the vinyl.
Also, the plural of vinyl is vinyl.
Also, the plural of vinyl is vinyl.
And besides, they are not 180g vinyls as the title of post says. They are 180g records!
I don't think 180 gram vinyl sounds better than regular vinyl.
However, I'm not sure that improved sound is the point.
I always thought the object of the thicker vinyl was durability.
The thicker vinyl is less likely to warp or lose shape than the thinner vinyl.
If this actually bears any fruit, I can't say.
If you think 180 gram is overkill, just stay away from the 200 gram vinyl. ;^)
Rember the thicker record changes the VTA adjustment of your cartridge. It raises the front of the cartride and lowers the rear. Some cartridges will roll off top end and give more base.
A lot could be written in response to your question and I’ll try to limit it to the essentials.
180 gram vinyl does not necessarily sound better than vinyl of more standard thicknesses. I would qualify the above poster’s statement that other factors have more importance ("everything up to the point of actually stamping the vinyl") to state that ALL factors can have an important impact on final sound quality.
Also, some people run cartridges that are very sensitive to vertical tracking angle ("VTA"). If VTA is not easily adjustable for such cartridges and therefore not adjusted for the thickness of each LP, then sound quality will depend to some extent on whether VTA, as set up for that cartridge in that arm, favors standard thickness LP’s or thicker ones.
As for the general question of whether 180 gram pressings sound better, there is a temptation to assume that if the reissue house is pressing on 180 gram vinyl, it must be a good pressing - not necessarily. LP’s pressed prior to 1980 are all-analog (i.e., the sound was never digitized at any step), many of them are incredible, and they can beat the pants off of 180 gram reissues that are not carefully done. Also, a lot of 180 gram reissues are pressings of digitized music - generally speaking, if the recording took place at any time after 1982 or so, there is an excellent chance that the music was digitized at some step of the production chain (with few exceptions, everything after about 1990 is digitized). Unfortunately, once the music is digitized, the damage is done. It is therefore important to look for evidence that the 180 gram reissue is "all-analog" - the good ones will often describe the entire chain: recording, mixing, mastering, pressing.
I have been hinting at the answer to your final question, which was not very clear to me, but I think is basically whether a 180 gram LP (or other high-quality LP pressing) will sound better than a CD, i.e., what sounds better, vinyl or CD’s? This question creates an enormous number of emotional posts in audio forums, but I’m going to give you the answer - generally speaking, a 16 bit / 44.1 kHz. digital recording played back on a high quality CD player or music server is inferior in sound quality to a reasonably good condition vinyl LP assuming a decent vinyl playback system (i.e., a "Rega Planar 3" level table with decent cartridge that is set up properly and run through a decent phono stage). The biggest problem with 16 bit / 44.1 kHz. digital music is the inability to get high frequencies right - simply put, sampling a piece of music that occurs at frequencies above 10,000 Hz. or so only 44,100 times per second means that much of the waveform of the music is being missed - put in really basic terms to aid understanding and assuming a 10,000 Hz. signal, "pictures" of the music are taken by 44.1 kHz. digital only about four times (10,000 ÷ 44,100): a quarter of the way through the oscillation, half way through, three-quarters of the way through, and at the end, but none of the movement in between is captured. It’s not an exact analogy, but just like the experience of watching an old film begin, whereby you see the first few individual frames scroll by as the movie reel comes up to speed and it doesn’t seem like a movie - you can see the individual frames - 44.1 kHz. digital doesn’t move fast enough to record the entire waveform and you are just hearing small parts of those frequencies. Put another way and again analogizing to sight, taking normal video of a bullet traveling will not show the bullet because it is moving too fast to be captured by the video - high speed video, on the other hand, will show the entire flight of the bullet. So high frequencies are like the fired bullet. 44.1 kHz. is fine for lower frequencies, because low frequencies oscillate slowly enough that sampling them 44,100 time per second is going to capture the vast majority of the waveform - using the example of a 700 Hz. midrange frequency, taking 44,100 photos per second of something that oscillates only 700 times per second means that you’re going to capture almost all of the oscillation. This is why symphonic music, which features a lot of string instruments having very high frequency harmonics, sounds weird and wrong through 44.1 kHz. digital, and why all-DSD digital (i.e., SACD) sounds so much better than regular digital and more like analog - the sampling rate is high enough to more or less get high frequencies right.
The superiority of analog over digital is not a controversial point among experienced audiophiles, which is to say, those people who have ample experience with high resolution systems and well set-up turntables using decent cartridges. Does a scratchy record on a bad pressing of a given performance sound worse than a 16 bit / 44.1 kHz. CD of the same performance? Sure. But assuming reasonably clean vinyl on a properly set up table, especially with music having any real high frequency content, this is a settled question.
This subject was covered quite recently by "Inna" and questions answered effectively in this thread :
As an aside I recently took receipt of a new LP which was advertised as "80g" weight. I naturally assumed this was a misprint and it was the usual 180g.
When I opened it the package was so light that I commented to my wife that it felt like they'd forgotten to insert the disc(!)
It was of course a genuine 80g pressing, not 180g, but interestingly, if you blind-tested it, you would find it was as loud & dynamic as the loudest pressing you can think of in any heavier weight material. This confirms that there is uniformity to the depth of cut regardless of what weight vinyl is chosen. Ultimately, it is indeed the mastering & moulding process which defines the quality of the result.
It's just a ploy to get you to part with more of your hard earned cash.
The "label" tends to be a better indicator of the quality of a recording - not the thickness of the vinyl.
I've had expensive150gm vinyl that had metal shards from the master embedded in the surface.
I've had 180 and 200 gram pressings more warped than my 35 year old standard thickness albums
Most of my standard Deutsche Grammaphon pressings outperform many of my 180 gm albums.
Sometimes the quality of the recording is superb, but the actual pressing is sub-par. But a poorly engineered recording is just plain BAD
Perhaps we should list all the good labels?
Here's a Couple
- Sheffield Labs
- Deutsche Grammaphon
I think a 180G record and a 180G vinyl sound just the same...
Perhaps we should list all the good labels?
Here’s a Couple
- Sheffield Labs
- Deutsche Grammaphon
- Angel (EMI recordings pressed and distributed by Capitol)
- A fair amount of Atlantic
- Water Lily
- Analogue Productions
- Columbia--some great ones: Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Blood, Sweat & Tears self-titled, Bruno Walter & Columbia Orchestra
- RCA Living Stereo shaded dog
- Mercury Living Presence
- Belock-period Everest
Steve, most of my best sounding records were not new. A lot of the new and reissue vinyl purchases have been a bummer actually. Not all, but enough for me to really consider that temptation. 180 gram, remastered, blah, blah, bs IMO. Not to say there have not been some beautiful ones that make it worthwhile and keep me looking for the gems. Happy hunting.
There have been some great posts. I would like to take it one step further. Much of what I'm about to say will make no sense. Sorry.
If you have time, do a quick internet search. Look for 'record groove under a microscope'.
Now keep things simple: the stylus moves to the left (1st axis), the stylus moves right (2nd axis), and there is a slight up and down movement (as can be seen by the varying depth of the grooves) (3rd axis). A vinyl record groove can potentially store, and therefore output a 3D signal.
Don't think of a band, with the drummer behind the singer, this is simply the location of the 'instruments'. Every stereo, and every source media, can portray this.
Instead, think of a song with a lone singer. There is a 3 dimensional aspect to their voice.
This 3D picture is captured on the master tape. The master tape is fed it's information via a balanced cable. Pin 1 is ground, pin 2 is the positive portion of the waveform, pin 3 is the negative portion of the wave form.
The positive portion of the waveform pushes your speaker driver out, the negative portion of the waveform pulls the driver in. Full, fluid uniform motion. People that own crossoverless full range driver speakers know exactly what I'm talking about. There is a 'rightness' to the sound. It sounds 'real'.
If you have a fully balanced stereo (Atma-Sphere, BAT, Lamm, etc.) this waveform is preserved.
Vinyl joins master tapes as a 3D source.
CD's do NOT preserve this 'balanced' nature of the waveform. It is a single ended source. If you have RCA connectors in your stereo chain, it is also no longer balanced.
To my ears, DSD is balanced. I will therefore conclude, with no technical information to support my claim, that the digitization of the original waveform to CD destroys the 3D nature of the event.
Here's the problem with my entire post. Until someone builds a fully balanced crossover speaker, you won't be able to 'hear' how huge the difference is. This between CD and vinyl. Unless of course you have a full range planar (no crossover, not a single capacitor or inductor in the signal path), a full range electrostatic (no crossover), or as mentioned, a full range driver (Lowther/Fostex etc.).
Only time will tell if I have a clue?
I bought Gordon Lightfoot's "Gord's Gold" on 180g vinyl. Also Jennifer Warnes on the same. BOTH were dirty and had surface noise and were warped! Crazy huh? And to boot; the jackets were done on a flimsy cardboard far inferior to the original. I'm sorry I didn't seek out and pay more for the Japanese pressings. Joe
OMG...there are so many misunderstandings represented as "facts" on this thread. Please review the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem. XLR connectors do not necessarily indicate a "balanced" transfer of signal. A vinyl record only stores information in 2 axes (with respect to time). There is no such thing as a "balanced speaker" - only balanced amplifiers.
To address the OP's question (Does the weight of the vinyl make a difference to overall sound quality?) the answer is "maybe"?
Assuming every other variable is held constant, a more material using in a record may make a difference. For example, on a very lightweight platter with a tendency to ring, additional material in LP may reduce said ringing. This also may disrupt the intended design characteristic of the playback system. So was this change "good" or "bad"? It depends...hence the definitive answer "maybe".
From my experience, LPs with more mass tend to be less prone to warping. So that's a net positive. Does this benefit outweigh any realized negatives...that's up to the listener.
I'm not going to get into which sounds "better". I've heard great and awful examples of both.
It’s a moot question. Has any LP been offered in two versions, the only difference between them being the weight of the pressing? An LP offered in a 180 gram version is different from all other versions in ways other than just the 180 gram weight; the source, EQ, limiting, mastering, plating, quality of the vinyl, etc.
Most of my listening is not 180 or 200 gram vinyl. However, some recording are very hard to find in nice condition. For example the rca living stereos are very good recordings for the most part, but most are destroyed. classic records made some very good reissues and took great care in the process. If you have a lot of disposable cash and can afford to buy 10 copies before you get a listenable one, then by all means original shaded dogs can be great indeed. That being said, most of the time, the original pressings are the ones to have most of the time.
Thanks for all the info, it's great to hear all your views. All this info is giving me a better understanding on everything.
Just another scam to get your money. Something could be pressed on 500 gram, but that does not mean it will sound better. I too have given up on these 'new' re-issues. They are warped, full of noise and don't live up to the hype. I like to look for clean original first pressings. I have bought 180's and 200's till I can find a good first pressing. Plus that's part of the fun. Some of the Rhino's, Analog Production and Audio Fidelity's are pretty good. To me the new Mo-Fi issues are bad. They don't compare to the old original Mo-Fi's.
180s don't always sound better, but I've got several that replaced some VERY worn albums from high school that popped like a pan of bacon. Cases in point were the Led Zeppelin reissues, Quadrophenia and Stills' Manassas. Jeff Beck "There and Back" and Wings Over America weren't any better than the original, except that it was a fresh, clean copy. That was worth it to me. The last round of Stones reissues are being universally panned by listeners, so I passed.
Sometimes, original pressings sucked to begin with and the new ones were given attention by people who love them (like Led Zep). In the Court of the Crimson King was a bad pressing when I got it in the 80s, and there were several generations of gawd awful CDs. Virgin had lost the masters and consumers got third and fourth generation tape copies (see the King Crimson site for the whole story). They eventually found them and Robert Fripp recovered the original master tapes a couple years ago, and the 200g reissues are wonderful.
There's plenty of information out there. If you're inclined to buy, check the critics but especially the customer reviews. If it's an album you love, it's usually--not always but usually--worth it. Kinda/sorta/on the fence about it? Buy a used copy.
"To me the new Mo-Fi issues are bad. They don't compare to the old original Mo-Fi's."
That's just not true. Some of the new MOFI's are incredible. There have been a few duds, but for the most part they are indeed very nice.
Steve, anyone who tells you that vinyl always sounds better than cd or vice versa does not know what they are talking about. The turntable or cd player is only one small part of the system that determines the quality of the sound you hear. There are many cd based systems that sound better than most vinyl based systems and vice versa.
Some albums recorded all analog simply sound bad. Bad recording, bad pressing, warped, scratched, worn out, spindle hole off center, there are plenty of ways to make a vinyl record sound bad.
There are also many cds that were never released on vinyl, so, by default the cd sounds better. The cd boom caused the release of compilations of music from the 1920s to the present that would be unavailable otherwise.
If you like classical, you can purchase a very nice sounding SACD player for not a lot of money (Marantz SA8005 for example) and have access to a huge number of modern classical recordings in excellent sound quality.
You seem to be a guy who is getting into vinyl and wants some assurance that you're doing the right thing. If it sounds good to you, you're doing the right thing. But you don't have to choose one format exclusively. I think it would be a mistake to do that. Keep your options open and enjoy the best of both formats.
Whatever weight vinyl you choose to listen to, I believe it is essential to clean it before ever setting it on your platter. Even a new record needs to be cleaned with a good record washer. After that, good storage is important as well, anti static liners are a must. If the jacket is important to you, as I believe it should be, a plastic jacket cover helps protect it. The difference between a clean record and a dirty one can be the difference between night and day.
My take: a 180G pressing means that someone at some point at least thought about representing it as higher quality, meaning there is a greater probability that care was taken with the record production and pressing. But that is all it is - you can still get a very crappy record as well. I have ordered and returned 3 different copies of Hunky Dory (Bowie) on Simply Vinyl before I decided the whole run must just not be good.
I have heard, but have no way to test, that 180G vinyl is less likely to warp, which in the long run would be a kind of quality issue. I have also read that you can play 180G vinyl more than once in a day without the concerns associated with lighter pressings, which is likely a related point.
I'll be able to post more opinions once I get my cartridge replaced - cleaning lady snagged it last week - hard to play vinyl with no stylus. And I was only about 20 hours into my Ortofon 2M Bronze. Ouch!
Ouch indeed on the little accident . I have just just ordered some vinyl cleaner so will be treating my collection to a clean when I get them. I have a few 180g pressings and quiet a few new artists are having their albums released on this. I'm on the impression that every little increase in quality in any component can help to a better experience.
However I have some old vinyls that sound great. And to me playing a record that is older than me, but sounds close to perfect is really satisfying . The more I understand about how each component works, the more I enjoy the experience
There are many cd based systems that sound better than most vinyl based systems ...
Thats a substitution of meanings. Yes, if you compare week analog vs. good DAC then yes it is possible, however in equal systems LP will always outperform CD It will have more refine, organic, more natural sound, one more step towards real sound, instruments will have more natural tones and will sound more real, more air around instruments, hi's more natural etc., Though
I haven't heard in my sys. $15.000 and up DAC's, i.e. MBS, Total DAC, new Berkley etc., nor do i care cause it doesn't make any sense at all price wise anyways. If you take exactly the same recoding one is on LP and one is on CD, LP will always sound better (BTW, in this specific case not different but better), even if that late re-re-issues, possibly from HDD, still, it'll sound better than CD. 180g LP is total waste, I think they try to substitute quality, perfectly flat vinyl from 50-60's which as i understand is no longer available with more massive one. BTW, we all should start sampling recording of our sound in support of our claims ;~). It also depends on one's listening experience, I personally changed my mind on that issue once for the last 15 years and BTW I started listening to vinyls only in 2001 i think and converted completely only in 2012 i guess. Still have 3 DAC's and about 4 transports/players, no SACD though. My CD's plays like never before, but but now when i'm listening to CD i know exactly what i'm missing in terms of sound compared to same album on LP - mostly refinement. Setup, especially room acoustic is crucial for both formats of course. I'm a fast learner, so it took me just 25 years to understand what is going on.))))))
Sounds good, Steve. Enjoy your vinyl journey!