I have standard weight records that sound as good or better than some of my heavier weight ones, and vice versa. I think the recording, mixing, mastering, and pressing quality have much more of an effect that how heavy the vinyl is.
Not me. It's about the quality of the recording/pressing, not vinyl thickness. In fact most of my best recordings are of the common thickness, that associated with recordings pressed in the 50's, 60's and 70's. I've got a bunch of 're-issues' on thick vinyl and I find nothing about them that is particularily superior. I think it is mostly hype.
In general, I say no. However I do buy them when I can't find or afford an original. Be careful with jazz re-issues. There are some that were not pressed well and have quality issues.
I find little correlation between the weight of the vinyl and the sonic quality, and wouldn't pay a premium for 180 gram pressing unless I thought it was a superior production and pressing to lower cost alternatives. One of my best sounding lps is a super flimsy lightweight pressing of Jennifer Warnes "Famous Blue Raincoat".
I don't think I've ever had a bad-sounding RCA Dynaflex, which weighs in at a whopping 80 grams!
I have a lot of fine-sounding 180g audiophile pressings from various sources. The 200g pressings, OTOH, are probably more trouble than they're worth. The extra thick lump of vinyl makes it very difficult to press uniformly and keep all that vinyl at the same temperature and softness. I have two Classics Records 200g pressings. One is very crackling and noisy in places, the other is great.
I also have a 150g red vinyl Classic Records pressing and it's fantastic.
It has more to do with vinyl quality, mastering, and QA during the pressing process. Using a record grip or clamp helps make the playback quality more uniform. If a 200g pressing sounds better to you than a 120g pressing, it probably has more to do with how the difference in thickness affects Stylus Rake Angle (SRA, aka VTA or vertical tracking angle) than the thickness of the pressing itself.
>>SRA, aka VTA or vertical tracking angle<<
This is incorrect and shows a lack of understanding.
VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle) is the angle between the record surface and the cantilever.
SRA (Stylus Rake Angle) also called Scanning Rake Angle is the angle between the centerline of the stylus and a plane that is perpendicular to the record surface.
In simpler terms, SRA describes the angle of the stylus and VTA describes the angle of the cantilever
I hope that helps.
The whole idea around 180&200 grams lp's has more to do with the thickness reducing the warp factor than anything else.
I agree with most of the other responses, in most cases they're not any better and alot of times worse than the original recordings.
180 & 200 gm vinyl must be the biggest marketing scam of all time originally started by Mobile Fidelity. Outside CD's of course :-)
I have 1000's of standard 120gm vinyl that sounds wonderful.
the weight or thickness of the vinyl has NOTHING to do with the sound quality of the record. That as most posters have said depends on the quality of the recording and what type of master they have used to press the record.
thickness doesn't matter, but if the cost of old or new records freaks you out, don't get a turntable...or at least don't spend too much on one
In very few cases will a 180 gm, 200 gm reissue ever come close to the sound of a good original pressing. It's even more unusual to beat the original reguardless of thickness. Luckily, many times a good original can be had for 3-5 dollars verses 30-50. You just have to find them and clean them up. Whatever you may think of Tom Port, his Better Records site has opened my eyes to this. Also, Port reccomends reissues on his site that he feels do sound great and that is a very good way to steer clear of expensive disappointments when you do buy heavy vinyl reissues. Norah Jones "Come Away with Me", CSN's 1st, Supertramp "Crime of the Century", Eric Clapton "Unplugged", Joe Cocker "A Little Help From My Friends", Bob Marley "Natty Dread", Nirvana "Never Mind", Miles Davis "Kind of Blue", Sundazed "Freewheelin Bob Dylan" and "Time They Are A Changin" are a few examples of heavy vinyl reissues Port recommends and I have yet to disagree with him. This has been a great help because many reissues are really not that good(Classic's "Aqualung" Cisco's "Aja")
In most cases, originals sound much, much better than reissues. Reissues come in 180-200g and they also come with a lot of problems. 9/10 come in some way defective...warping, unknown marks on them, noisy etc. Now, I look for originals. If I cannot find them then I will go new vinyl. Sad but true
Heaver grade vinyl? Is that music that wants to make me hurl?
At least when you buy 180g or 200g there are, in most cases, 2 albums instead of 1 to show for your money. The marketing Einsteins break up 1 good album into 4 sides so we get more for our $30-$50.
Of course you have to get up every 11 minutes to change the awful recording which is either full of pops/clicks or warped like a bad pancake.
And the pigs keep feeding at the trough.
Agreed. I have noticed absolutely no benefit to 180 & 200 gm vinyl whatsoever. I find these records to be (for the most part) dull and rather lifeless compared to a great pressing from the 50's-70's.
This situation is absolutely ridiculous. We live a time of vinyl revival with the best analog gear ever built. The software actualy on the market is much inferior than on golden era of vinyl, even with the best mastering facilities. So why not writing a huge PETITION and send it to all the actual vinyl industries ? Everyone concerned by this problem agrees but nothing is done to solve it.
>>Everyone concerned by this problem agrees but nothing is done to solve it.<<
Here's an idea:
Stop buying that crap. I haven't bought any new vinyl in almost 3 years.
The manufacturers will understand if enough folks send the message.
Heavier weight means the record should be more durable and be less susceptible to warping over time. Heavier weight is probably a general indicator of a higher quality product, but assuming no warping otherwise, sound quality will be determined more by other factors on a case by case basis.
In general, I think heavier weight vinyl in new issues is designed to appeal to the target market of vinyl affectionados that will appreciate a more heavy weight product and be willing to pay for it. But there is probably a good chance that on a case by case basis, standard issue vinyl recordings from yesteryear that were made in the time when records ruled for most may sound as good or better.
"The software actualy on the market is much inferior than on golden era of vinyl, even with the best mastering facilities."
Well, you said it...the golden age of vinyl is past and gone.
If you don't have a lot of records already, buy a half decent CD player and spend your money on some good music to listen to. Or buy a decent tt and hit some flea markets and enjoy all the great OLD recordings that are still out there in decent condition that can be had for a pittance.
Two issues being slightly confused here -- heavy vinyl vs. regular weight and reissue vs. original issue.
On heavy vs. regular, I am solidly in the regular weight category. Heavy vinyl just screws up my VTA which is set for the vast majority of my collection (regular thickness). Many of these heavy weight albums come pre-warped (dish warp), the product of an incomplete pressing cycle (thick records need to be pressed much longer and cooled slowly). I have a few that also have crackly distortion, primarily in one channel, that is the product of an incomplete pressing cycle (the vinyl did not fully form around the stamper).
As for reissue vs. original. I generally find the originals to be better, but, that may be the product of deteriorating master tapes rather than the manufacturing process. As far as the manufacturing of new records go, it varies by source. A lot of Japanese records (thick or thin) are done on really good vinyl that is free of ticks and pops and remains so. Same with some German records (e.g., Speakers Corner reissues). The vinyl used on some premium U.S. labels, like Classic Records, is total crap. Not only is it noisy, it gets progressively worse with playing. I hope the Music Matters Bluenote releases don't suffer the same fate (also pressed at RTI).
I am firmly convinced that the reason for heavier vinyl is primarily economic. Buyers are willing to pay a higher price for the same software if it is distributed over additional discs. Although I cannot speak knowledgeably about the cost per vinyl disc, I suspect that it is a fraction of the $10 or so dollars added to the price. The primary cost is still the licensing fee. This may sound cynical, nonetheless I suspect it to be true.
I used to think the heavier vinyl sounded better. But now, I'm not so sure it makes any difference. A couple of my best sounding LP's are from Michael Hedges on Windham Hill. I do agree that the thicker ones mess with your VTA and VTF
At least when you buy 180g or 200g there are, in most cases, 2 albums instead of 1 to show for your money.
Hold the phone. If you are talking about 45 rpm re-issues, that is an entirely different ballgame. To me, nothing - not even SACD versions of albums - sound as good as the handful of 45 rpm re-issues I have.
If you aren't talking about 45 rpm, what 33 rpm re-issues are spreading the album over two records instead of one? The only thing can think of are the Radiohead 10' albums (which, why not make them 12' 45 rpm and up the fidelity - baffling).
I've bought four 180gm albums: the new Shelby Lynne, the EMI reissue DSOTM, the Analog Productions reissue of Waltz for Debby, and MFSL's do up of Aimee Mann's Bachelor No.2. All sound fine, with the EMI topping the list. Still, like 04rdking, I have several Windham Hills that are by far a lot better. All were stamped on standard vinyl, all were bought second hand. The Windhams may be exceptional in that most were half-speed mastered at MFSL studios, but at buck-a-pop resale, it wasn't as if anyone was seriously looking for them.
My 180gm records cost around $120.00 all together. For $120, I can easily find thirty or forty second-hand albums. With the technology and chemicals that are out there to clean records, I can be resonably sure of finding ten to twenty winners in that lot.
In short, I guess the answer to your question is, do you want to spend money or elbow grease? Have fun, whatever you decide.
I would remind everyone that new reissues on 180 or 200 gm vinyl being worse than originals is the general rule, it's not an absolute one. There are great sounding reissues by Classic, Speaker's Corner, Sundazed, Simply Vinyl and even MOFI. In some cases these are 90% as good to just as good as the original which can be extremely hard to find in good condition. This demonstrates that these companies can make a good disc, they just usually don't. I find this more frustrating than if they all just uniformly were bad. That's why a source of information about which titles actually turned out good is helpful. I mentioned the Better Records site already. Maybe a thread on great sounding new vinyl would help those interested steer clear off all the duds out there.