New Record Sounds Like Crap - How???

So, having recently dove back into vinyl plaback, I'm replacing some CDs I've liked with the LP version. I just bought a new (sealed) LP: The Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album on the Fantasy label. I don't know where or when it was pressed but, there's so much background noice (not hum, but crackling and hissing) that I thought something was wrong with my stylus. I did clean it - RRL - I think twice even.

I put on another used album I got at the same time (Record Jazz Mart in Chicago): Pat Metheny Group on ECM and after first two tracks, only one noticeable pop. It too has been cleaned well.

My question is, how can a used record sound better than a brand spankin' new record which has even been cleaned?????

If I want something new, do I have to by the $40 180gm 45rpm records?? On a side note, will they sound better? Why?

The pressing will make a big difference in the sound as well as the quality of the vinyl itself. I've also found the with many new records that there is a coating of mold release that needs to be cleaned off. If not, it traps microdust on the record, prevents good contact of the stylus in the groove, and clings to the stylus.
Jep is undoubtedly correct about the mold-release. The fact that he says "it needs to be cleaned off" may be, for an OLD SEALED record, easier said than done!

I've run into this problem before. If a record is old, oldish, older, whatever ;--) and was played even once or twice when it was new, then most of the (waxy when fresh) mold-release was scraped out of the groove (not the nicest way to get rid of it, but that's the way it's usually removed.) At least it's (mostly) gone.

When an old record has been sealed in it's original packaging for years and years, that mold release dries out, hardens, and may even bind to the vinyl as the solvents slowly come out of the vinyl. And it's a bitch to remove!

You really need to use at least a couple cycles of dish detergent and warm water, scrubbing in the direction of the grooves with a stiff (not a velvet) record cleaning brush. Do this on a towel to avoid wetting the label. Rinse several times using a new cellulose sponge saturated with distilled water, holding the record on edge and rinse/wipe it down while you turn it to keep the label dry.

At this point if you have one, run it thru your record cleaning machine. In any case, you absolutely MUST use Last Record Preservative. I say MUST, because I consider Last a treatment of LAST resort ;--) And this is one of those situations where nothing else will do.

The vinyl is SO dried out, especially because of its age and scrubbing off the old mold release with detergent. If you looked at it under a microscope, it would look like the cracked surface of a desert riverbed after a drought; and it's these cracks, or crazing, that make all the noise. You can't fix these cracks. And you can't fill them. But you CAN close them up. Last Record Preservative (and I have no connection to the company) is the only product I know that actually returns solvent to the vinyl -- re-hydrates it so to speak. The vinyl swells and the cracks close.

Apply judiciously just once. This means don't flood it, but don't be stingy either. Buff it in thoroughly. Play the record twice cleaning the stylus in between. A lot of junk will come out. I used to think the "junk" was excess Last. Now I think it's really "micro-dirt" that gets squeezed out of the cracks when the vinyl swells from the Last.

You will be amazed at the improvement. If it's an especially cherished recording, or it was really noisy, you can try another application of Last after several plays and a trip through your record cleaning machine. But not more than two. That's going to be as good as it gets -- for another twenty years ;--)

Hope this helps.
There are a host of reasons for the existence or lack of surface noise on a record. Mold release issues might be one of them. However, the record groove has something to do with it as well and how it relates to your cartridge adjustment as Michael Fremer pointed out in a recent issue of Stereophile. I urge you to read that article. While records are often imperfect, at least the surface noise is not in the same frequency band as the music while electronic noise is with cd's. You might want to try Groove Glide II. I have been using this for years. I have demonstrated its superiority to the Last product over and over again to other audiophiles who have also switched. It will help to quiet noisey surfaces and improves sonic impact. Yes, it retards needle wear as well.
Dear Pawlowsky: I know very well that LP ( I own the Mobile Fidelity copy ) and is very clean about any kind of rare noises.

The Fantasy label comes from Acoustic Sounds and I own several Fantasy LP's and some with that kind of problems: no quality control!!!!

But this problem is not only with the Fantasy ( " low price " ) new LP's, I already had severe problems with Acoustic Sounds premium label Analogue productions and in my opinion the problem is the same: no quality control!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.

I have luck using the aerosol Micro Care Premier record-cleaner as a first-treatment for those older still sealed records described by Nsgarch. At 20 bucks a can its kinda pricey, but it seems to work well for mold release agent. Available wherever fine potions, unquents and lotions are sold - Smart Devices, Acoustics Sounds, Music Direct, etc.

Lots of good advice above, and I can echo the experiences of Jependleton, Nsgarch and Rauliruegas. I have experienced everything they said (except that I've never used Last, or Groove Glide either).

One more thing to try before you decide poor QC and poor vinyl is to blame: an enzyme based cleaner. Strange as it seems, even some newish records have biological contaminants. These usually sound like intermittent snaps, crackles and pops. A thorough dosing with Buggtussel Vinyl-Zyme removes most of them. Follow with RRL as a final step. You need Vinyl-Zyme in your cleaning arsenal anyway. While it's not common for new LP's to need it, it's virtually guaranteed that older ones will.

Good luck,
Is anyone looking (listening) at the fact that one might have a incorrectly set up TT? The reason why I introduce this idea into the thread is most all my Analogue Productions Fantasy series prove to be some of the best, if not the best records I've ever heard. And pardon me but, that's saying a lot as I've been collecting records for forty years.

I concede that in the analog (vinyl) world, it's all about getting the right pressing, in good shape and that takes a lot of hard learned knowledge and some luck. Mold release is an issue but, I feel it is somewhat over blown as the boogy man of all surface noise.

New pressings are not necessarily the problem though many old original/first pressings better represent true high fidelity but, it gets complicated. Record collecting (for the music) is not an instant gratification, always. I could give you a list a mile long of great current pressings or reissues that are superb to my ear and quiet. This is the whole thing IMHO that got early digital an undeserved start in the first place. Most folks didn't want, or didn’t know how, or couldn't afford (priorities?!) a well set up deck to play on so they kept blaming the (poor) vinyl quality.

Please, with all due respect I say these things because most everything I play on my TT or my friends TT's sound remarkable with one caveat and that is more or less vinyl will never be, on the whole, as quiet as a digital format but, close. So maybe you need to assess your personal tolerance to surface noise. That said, If you have a real nice TT, IMHO there is not a digital format available that holds a candle to analog for real sounding musical reproduction. SACD is on the right track but, still falls short. It is worth mentioning that I use a live acoustic event as my point of reference to what music should sound like at home on my HiFi. It’s also noteworthy to mention that I have owned a Linn Sondek Lp12 since 1982 and had some real nice decks before that.

I don’t know your background with TT’s Pawowski6132. I could only suggest making sure that your deck is set up right and that it is enough deck for your ears to be satisfied. I don’t believe the vinyl, by the most part, is the problem.

Best of luck. Happy Listening!
RF Sayles; it's ironic that you should say that because I just recalibrated my TT using a new protractor I bought. Not to mention that I continued to listen throughout the day to other used records I bought and cleaned that had indiscernable surface noice. I really think it's this particular record. Also, as was assumed in earlier threads, I don't this is NOS. I think it's a relatively late pressing. I'm going to look at the over-the-counter recommendations listed above as a possible solution (pun intended.)
Well, records can have noise.
Listen to the music, not the noise is my recommendation.
And it is true, modern pressed LPs can be inferior.
In the 'good old days' when millions of LPs were being pressed, a lot of folks KNEW HOW. Now, almost all those dudes have retired or died, and most of the current crop had to learn from scratch. So it is hard to do. AND, when pressing LPs, The continuity of pressing was important. If you pressed 100,000 LPs a day, you had a good system. When you press 5,000 you are hoping for the best, and often not getting it. Trying to go too fast, warps. Pressing only a few and they problems of tossing 20% is not allowed. Press 100,000 and tossing those same few startup LPs is standard.
Cleanliness. Presses sit for weeks without use now. Back in the old days, they ran nearly all the time.
(I buy only old records.)
Elizabeth, I thought there was only one decent pressing plant left in the USA anyhow, Record Technology Inc., in Camarillo CA. They press records for MFSL, Capitol/EMI, Cardas, and probably others (Chesky?, Sundazed?) I'm not sure, but there are probably only a dozen volume pressing plants left in the whole world ;--((

I think there is a company in Nashville and one in New Jersey, but they do like DJ records etc., not new audiophile or re-issues.
As stated the Buggtussel Vinyl-Zyme Gold is the thing when it comes to mold release. I use it as the first assalt on moldy oldies and brand new LPs.

A small correction if I may: Buggtussel Vinyl-Zyme removes mold, as in spores and mildew. It does virtually nothing to remove "mold release", which is a chemical used in the vinyl stamping process. Mold release chemicals are typically non-organic and would not respond to enzymes.
Here is another vote for using the combination of Premier and Vinyl-Zyme followed by a final cleaning.
I think owning both (although, Premier is quite expensive) and experimenting with using the combination on problematic records.
I also think it is an eyebrow raiser to try both products on records that have already been well cleaned with a good Record Cleaning machine in combination with some of the better cleaning liquids like RRL, Disc Doctor and others.
Make your final judgment of what you hear on the 3rd listening after cleaning with any product. In my experience, and generally speaking, when records are cleaned, they will sound better after a couple of plays.
Here's How... The new stylii are shaped like a shark's tooth instead of being round at the tip. This shape goes down into the groove where the record has never been played before. All the wear is on the top part of the groove.
Stringreen, thanx!

The first part of your answer makes sense - Why didn't you other guys think of that ;^) but, yourr last sentence...There isn't any wear on this particular album in question because it's new. But, that's not really relevant to your theory right?
Wait, on second thought, that doesn't make sense now. So, the stylus now reaches the bottom of the groove. Why is there noise?
Pawlowski6132, since you say you are new to vinyl I can only assume you have not yet developed an ear for what to expect and what the various (many) types of noise are associated with vinyl. Some types of noise are more tolerable than others.

Basically, I categorize vinyl noise into 1) correlated and 2) uncorrelated noise. Correlated noise is noise that is in some type of correlated pattern with the music. For example a scratch or pop from grunge across the grooves will occur once per revolution and is thus correlated. This type of noise is much more objectionable because, unlike random uncorrelated noise, your brain has a hard time filtering it out. It interferes with the pace or beat of the music. Correlated noise is usually a defect or dirt in the record. Another example is the static sound on instrument volume or frequency peaks. This is either grunge or groove damage. I have found that only repeated cleaning will reveal which. All you can do is try to clean this out.
Uncorrelated noise may also be dirt or other substance (such as mold release) distributed more or less evenly through the record but it may also be part of the original recording (tape hiss) or some other production issue (poor pressing etc.) Be careful when comparing to CD on uncorrelated noise. Are you sure that the hiss you hear is not just original recording tape hiss which has been edited out of the CD (to the detriment of the music since other frequencies would have also been removed)? Uncorrelated noise is, in any case, less objectionable. To prove this to yourself, just imagine that the random clicks or hiss you hear are the random pitter patter of rain on the window of your listening room. All of a sudden the music is crystal clear. As another case in point, the next time you are at a live music event, listen to how much uncorrelated noise is going on around you that your brain completely filters out (that guy three rows back that keeps coughing etc.)
Finally, some observations on jazz LP's - buy the best quality ones from the 50's and early 60's. While I have many newer pressings and Fantasy's as well, they are hit or miss as you have learned. They just don't press 'em like they used to.
This phenomena drives alot of us crazy, I think. At the RMAF I put on Galibier's copy of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and couldn't believe the difference in quality from my own copy, which I bought new in '86 and have played only 3-4 times. It's apparently made of regrind, Thom's isn't. Same label. Go figure.
There is undoubtedly some effect from that new records are a relatively small market these days and the sales/dollar volume does not warrant the best quality control. NOS tubes demonstrate the same point - in the days when these items were mainstream and represented big bucks to big companies, competition seems to have forced a better product. There is good news as this seems to be turning around. Vinyl sales are up, as are vacuum tubes. There are actually a few good tubes being produced right now, and some good new records.
This makes digging for records in the used bin some great fun. Some of my very best vinyl has come $0.50 used from unlikely sources, some of the very worst I paid $40 new. Newer release rock vinyl seems to suffer worse than other genres.
Of course as the system gets better, quality differences between records stand out in greater relief.
Fantasy Vinyl that they use for their newer LP's sucks,plain and simple. The last decent records they produced would be around the mid eighties. The new Blue Notes are a hit and miss option too,it depends on how they were shipped and stored by the seller as to if they are warped.