I would make the case that the records from the 70s and 80s were just as warped as anything produced today. I remember RCA Dynagroove records as the biggest offenders.
I have heard such comments before, but it certainly has not been the case in my experience. Record after record, new vinyl is flawed in one way or another, most frequently warped, while record after record, old vinyl I get is flat with some exceptions here and there. Just yesterday I bought a reissue of Rodriguez "Cold Fact," which is otherwise a beautifully done product, but the record is again warped quite badly (and it sounds awful, but I assume so did the original). It is obvious to me that the QC at pressing plants is seriously lacking nowadays, which to me seems a basic thing and not that hard to do.
I remember back in the vinyl heydays (late 60's-late 70's), two issues came up regarding this issue. Records were getting thinner and thinner until the complaints reversed that trend. Then there was the recycled vinyl problem which caused pitting and brittleness. However, it was probably mass production that caused the warps; not giving the record enough time to cool before removal from the press. I wouldn't be surprised to find out those running the equipment are just not knowledgeable enough to generate a good product. Prior to the late 60's, records were beautiful.
As far as centering is concerned, I have the habit of finding center against the spindle and placing a pencil dot on that side of the hole. Otherwise, you're only listening to half the record set up properly, the difference being quite audible.
I simply do not understand this phenomenon. Do you?The cause is simple enough: rapid or uneven heating and/or cooling of the vinyl (especially if outside the pressure of the mold). If some parts of the product cool faster than others - as will happen if the LP is removed from the mold whilst still hot - unevenly distributed heat stresses will develop. These will continue to alter the shape of the product until cooling is completed. Voila! A warped record.
The cure is equally simple: the molten vinyl must be cooled evenly, gradually and completely before being removed from the mold.
The reason too-rapid cooling contines is either ignorance or perceived economic benefits from speedier production. I suspect the latter, but only the producers know their motivations - and they're unlikely to explain them here or anywhere.
Let your money do the talking. Return unacceptable products for a refund or replacement. This will tend to drive improvements; whether through the producer learning how, or that they must, produce a better product to remain profitable.
Act- I have found that many new records, whether 'audiophile' or just plain ol vinyl issues, are warped. Apart from manufacturing defects, I wondered whether it was storage- Amazon seemed to have endless issues that way, but recently, at least the US Amazon, seems to have improved.
I bought a copy of the Cloud Atlas soundtrack on vinyl from Amazon UK that arrived hideously warped, and now it is unavailable for replacement.
Ironically, as others have pointed out, many older records do not suffer this problem (though they may have more noise, or have been damaged by nasty record players back in the day).
FWIW, I think it was 'Dynaflex' that RCA used to denote thinner records; 'Dynagroove' was their mastering process that also sucked. The late Hans Fantel was a proponent at the time. I avoid them like the plague.
Having experience in plastic injection molding, I would say that these new records have molded in stresses due to either the molding process not being optimized (time, temperature and pressure) or the mold tools are too cold. If the record has molded in stresses it will warp if it gets up to the glass transition temperature which is about 160F. That temp is not unheard of in a warehouse or shipping container. Adding regrind vs. pure virgin material degrades the properties of the record too.
I'm not a big fan, so far of newly minted albums myself. I bought a new record a short time ago without realizing that I already had the CD version. The record is a disappointment. It is recorded too loud. The dymanics are compressed and the solo voice peaks to distortion. It is not mis-tracking. Her voice has an overbearing in your face loudness. This is totally different from how the CD sounds. I tried playing this record again last night and stopped. I switched over to the CD. I doubt that I will ever play the vinyl version again. It's a shame because the record background is nice and quiet and the record is perfectly flat.
Warped records have always been unacceptable. Maybe on occasion in the old "budget bins". Even more unacceptable at today's prices. Vinyl is trendy! I'm not convinced there is much quality control with new vinyl these days compared to past heydays. I'd be careful. Is there even such a thing as a vinyl "budget bin" anymore? That's where warped records probably belong. :) In the heyday, budget bin record quality was more variable but still not bad overall.
I have also purchased new warped vinyl.I have bought a new record with a full handprint on one side where it was picked up with an ungloved hand.I thought about sending that one to law enforcement to identify the cretin working at that pressing plant.I am in agreement with tonywinsc that the biggest issue with new records is the poor sound and not the poor pressing.In a modern day USA where we can't seem to make anything, much less make it right, why would anyone think we could press records well?
Dear Actusreus: Plain and simple: NO quality control or at leas a wrong one.
But the subjuect is that you, me and every single audiophile that is on analog buying new warped LPs are whom " has the culprit " becauswe we follow buying everything from everywhere at every price they marketed.
IMHO almost all who are manufacturing and marketin those LPs cares only about busine$$$$ as more the better.
If we the customerswant that that " universal ) LP problem be fixed we must show to those manufacturers/marketers that we are noy willing any more to buy warped LPs and if we customers work together I thing we all can everse that situation, how:
STARTNG TODAY STOP TO BUY ANY SINGLE LPs, AND I MEAN IT... STOP BUYING IT AND STOP BUYING FOR THREE MONTHS FROM NOW.
Gentlemans, the busine$$ of thse people exist because we customers because we are the people that pay for the warped or not LPs but is clear for me that for them WE DO NOT EXIST but for our MONEY $$$$$$.
IMHO we have to stop to follow be so complacent with the AHEE, we need that we all be heared by them.
I stopped to buy LPs two months ago when I bought it normally almost every week!!!
Regards and enjoy the music,
I recently bought a new record that turned out to be warped. However, this has only happened to me once ever, with new vinyl anyway. And I was able to exchange it, so it was no big deal. Just about all of the new vinyl I have purchased in the last few years has been well pressed, though I only buy about 10% or less new - I listen almost entirely to classical, with some jazz thrown in. It was a jazz record that was warped.
"I wouldn't be surprised to find out those running the equipment are just not knowledgeable enough to generate a good product."
Csontos, new vinyl is being pressed by a new generation of workers. Look how long original vinyl records were being pressed; maybe about 50 years? Those were real craftsmen.
New vinyl will get better, especially when the owners of the cutting plants see all the Lps being returned due to defects. I've found too many defects in new vinyl purchases.
I completely agree with your sentiments. I used to curse under my nose for a few seconds, then slap the periphery ring on the newly acquired warped record, and move on. But after experiencing, record after record, new vinyl being warped and pressed off center, I've decided I will contact the record company to express my discontent, disappointment, and disapproval. I still want to support the vinyl revival by buying new records, but I agree with you that perhaps not buying might just be a stronger statement.
I think this issue is critical as vinyl has been seeing an unprecedented resurgence. Seems to me, almost all of the discussions on the topics covered in the analog thread are just about irrelevant if the vinyl record that is at the very center of music reproduction is warped and/or pressed off center. Is that Schroeder or Durand tonearm, Atlas or Anna cartridge, mounted on an SME or Caliburn, to use extremes, going to perform to the maximum of their potential if they have to play warped and off-center records? A flat, perfectly centered record is the baseline without which any comparison or evaluation is just about useless. And yet the record companies shamelessly pretend to embrace and promote vinyl playback when they are really in it only to cash in on the revival with the lowest possible cost to them, and in reality don't give a damn about the quality of both the sound and the pressing. It really makes me angry as a vinyl enthusiast and a consumer.
What does it say about the vendors of modern vinyl if their product is of such poor quality? THose vendors that have this issue cannot expect to survive assuming their target consumer is an audiophile. Frankly, I doubt that is the target in most cases. Too limited a target audience. I really think its more about marketing records as another trendy way to sell poor quality product to the masses however possible.
Maybe there are certain labels/makers that are more reliable than others. I do not know. I have not bought any "new" vinyl, only the good old stuff whenever I find it.
I'm pretty sure no new vinyl presses are being built. Heck, there's probably scores just sitting around rotting or collecting dust. Who do you think received an epiphany all of a sudden and decided to go into business, pay the licensing fees, and take you guys on a 3-day voyage to Gilligan's Island? Never to return!! Dupes!
Right, but ultimately, the logo that's on the final product is that of the record company, not the pressing plant (at least I don't see pressing plants listed anywhere on the cover these days except for the stickers on the plastic wrap). If anything, the QC process should be doubly enforced by both the pressing plant and the record company, and it seems neither cares that their product is of a much lower quality than they claim or should be the norm.
Vinyl records are truly a peculiar industry; any other product that is continually offered to consumers and manufactured with no attention to quality would either fail in the market, or the manufacturer would be sued under a breach of warranty cause of action. Hell, I would even tack on a false advertising claim for good measure. But record after record, we are duped into buying an inferior product wanting to hear this or that artist on superior sounding vinyl. Isn't that called fraud?
The suggestion that there is a backlog at pressing plants should be no excuse. It just makes stronger the argument that it's all done for the biggest profit at the lowest possible cost with no regard for the quality. That is unacceptable.
Actusreus, I do not disagree in the least. The record labels could reject poor pressings or pay extra for more quality control.
What we don't know is how much that extra cost would cost the consumer.
Ultimately, if the labels are selling out quickly they will not feel any pressure to improve the situation.
Dear Jjrenman: ++++ " we don't know is how much that extra cost would cost the consumer. " +++++
IMHO we are paying more because that non-existent QC. How much we paid for cartridges, protractors, tonearms, TTs, electronics and the like and how much time we invest to fine tune our audio system trying to achieve the best quality performance level from it? only for when the stylus tip hit the LP and ride it through warps/off center holes all our investement falls showing not the real quality performance of the audio msystem neither what is in the recording and all those because the LP imperfections.
This works as computers: " if you give BS at the input you will have BS at the output ".
Why we take care on the cartridge/tonearm set up that is almost useless against those LP warps/off center holes because the whole cartridge/tonearm set up: overhang, VTA/SRA, VTF and the like changes by those LP imperfections.
++++ " Ultimately, if the labels are selling out quickly they will not feel any pressure to improve the situation. " +++++
that's the subject and almost no one is doing nothing to change that trend.
I think that one of the main responsabilities of the analog reviewers ( music/audio products. ) is to ask to demand the LP manufacturers/marketing sector to take serious actions to fix once and for ever those " criminal and critcal " LP problems.
I think that those reviewers and the audio magazynes after asked to those sources of the LP problems to take actions to fix it must stop to permit any kind of advertasing in the magazyne and LP music reviews.
We customers must stop to buy LPs to help the problems be fixed.
I think that we have to stop paying money for that kind of mediocrity till they fix the problems.
I think that each one of us must be a promoter to stop buying LPs till the industry fix those critical problems and if the audio magazynes does not take its responsability about then stop to buy magazynes too.
All the audio industry lives because our money and we have the right to ask and take actions to improve the audio products we invest for and the audio industry must take care about.
Regards and enjoy the music,
I agree with Raul. Reviewers from Stereophile, et al, should make physical evaluation of the records they review, or listen to while reviewing equipment, part of the review. Pulling sponsor ads will never happen since money talks too loudly, but given the awful quality of new pressings all around, this is the least we should get.