Is there somewhere I can check vinyl sound quality?


Hi everyone,

I am new here and I am new to vinyl. Although only a few months, I seemed to be buying a lot of mediocre sounding records and only a few really good one. One problem also, some records have so many different versions, how do I know which version to buy and where to get them?

I wonder if there is somewhere I can check vinyl sound quality of certain vinyl records and do some research before I spend the money? That would save me a lot of money if I can just buy a record which I know that it's going to sound good...

Thanks for your help!


blueram
I agree with paraneer and with fjn04. Good old records in their original pressings are the best. Most reissues disappoint me.

For classical music I would suggest also that you go to a used bookstore and find an old Penguin Guide, old enough so that most of its recommendations are in vinyl. It will not cost much. It’s not the last word on performance or sound, but it is a very good beginning.

You could also check out the good sounding vinyl record lists at the Absolute Sound’s Super LP List, at Arthur Salvatore’s high-endaudio.com and at Stereophile’s annual R2D4 posted on its web site.
The easiest way to sort through the thicket is to pick music you like and then do a little research on best pressings of particular albums. Many of the "audiophile" lists place sound quality first--no surprise- but the music may or may not be to your liking. 
A lot of the discussion on the Hoffman forum is devoted to comparing different masterings, which may involve different source material. There is no real rule of thumb-- I can stack up 10 different pressings of the same album and each has different strengths and weaknesses. 
If you are after rock records and are on a budget, the old Warner "green label" (followed by the Burbank 'palm trees' label) had some great artists and superb recordings--these are common "bin" records in used record stores and can also be found online fairly cheaply.
The easiest way to use Hoffman's site is to pick a band or album title and do a browser search for "best vinyl pressing of X." You will likely get some search engine hits from the Hoffman site. The most informative threads are those that compare the merits of different pressings rather than ones that have conclusory statements about a single "best" pressing. 
One tell-tale is often the identity of the mastering engineer; another is the pressing plant. These are discerned from inscriptions in the deadwax on the record. Learning to decode this stuff is a little like reading hieroglyphics, but once you've spent a little time with this kind of detail, you'll be pretty comfortable knowing what to look for. For certain albums, there are "known" good pressings. 
My experience, making direct comparisons of different pressings of the same album, is that there is no easy to follow general rule that is entirely predictive of sonics. So much depends on the original recording, then mastering, the plant and condition of the particular copy as well as your sonic preferences and system bias. I have also found that later issues of particular record can sound better than first pressings, but it is really record by record. 

There’s a new vinyl quality review website. It’s still in the early stages of building a database of titles, but the site is 100 percent dedicated to promoting and calling out vinyl based upon pressing and recording quality.

http://www.vinylreviews.com/
Looks like hisonvinyl.com is no more.
This is what is was like:
http://web.archive.org/web/*/hisonvinyl.com
Seems like they moved here: https://www.facebook.com/HowItSoundsonVinyl/
No posts - DOA.
As far as pressing quality, Pallas isn’t the sure bet it once was.

@blueram,

You could start contributing to one of the ongoing music threads?