Quality of Analogue Productions pressings

I was extremely excited about Chad Kassem's new pressing facility in Kansas ever since Michael Fremer cover this new development in an issue of Stereophile several months ago. Finally, a pressing plant designed and built by an audiophile for audiophiles, I rejoiced. Fremer's review of "Tea for the Tillerman," the first pressing released from the plant, reaffirmed my excitement. So with high hopes and expectations I finally purchased my first AP reissue, Norah Jones "Feels Like Home." Mastered by Kevin Gray, pressed at Kassem's in-house pressing plant QRP. "Innovation + Precision = Best LPs Ever Pressed" is their tag line. Sweet. I paid over $40 for the record, which appears to be a bit more than what some of the online retailers sell it for, but what the hell, I thought, I want to support my local record store.

The vinyl looked beautiful, and the artwork was top notch. I cleaned it on my RCM using the AIVS 3-step formula. Upon closer inspection, there was a white piece of debris lodged into the last song on Side A that could not be removed. No big deal, I thought. I then put the record on.

Side A was so warped, the record looked like it wanted to take off from the platter. I don't think the edge of the record even touched the platter at all. Luckily, I have the VPI periphery ring, which took care of the problem. Then, from the moment the stylus touched the record surface, there was an audible surface noise throughout the entire album in the left channel. I'd blame my set-up if it wasn't for the fact that numerous other records from my collection, bought new or used, do not have this noise.

Side B, aside from the surface noise, was also pressed off center.

I do admit the sound was quite good, especially Jones' voice, if I ignored the constant left channel noise. But I then put on my beat-up $5 copy of "Fleetwood Mac" and the thing was more quiet and sounded simply better.

For $35-$40, I find the quality of this pressing absolutely unacceptable, whether it's an exception or not. And it was extremely disappointing to see another reissue fail (not that there were ever Norah Jones original pressings to begin with, but her CDs sound pretty darn good) from a highly respected company that charges premium dollars for its product and makes pretty bold claims about its quality.

I thought I'd share this as I'm very frustrated after spending over $40 for this lemon.
I guess I must be luckier than you. I have probably 50-60 Analogue Production LPs and out of those, 12 or so have been done at QRP.

The copies I have are excellent. I do NOT have any of the Norah Jones reissues from QRP, (I have so many from every other label that I decided not to buy any more). All of the titles I have are superb.

I'm sure that they would replace your defective copy. I have personally known Chad for many, many years and can guarantee you that he wants QRP to the BEST pressing house in the world and will do whatever it takes to get it there.

Sorry you got a bad copy, but it can be rectified.
I have found nothing outstanding of 21 century pressings oppose to the ones done in 70's 80's of substantially better quality. I would not care of the record weight as lots of those special edditions, heavy vinyl reissues($30...$60 per piece) don't give you any sonic benefit over those pressed 30 years ago on 70...80g disks($4...10 per piece used in good condition).
Every time I had "Simply Vinyl" or "Classic Records" or "RTI" in my collection, the originals were always more pleasantly listenable
I have the Norah Jones Vinyl Box set:


I believe that contains the same Analogue Productions/QRP pressings as the individual titles. All of the ones I received are flawless, sound amazing, and are incredibly quiet. I also have a ton of other AP/QRP titles and have had no problems at all.

Sounds like you got a really bad copy; I'm sure they'll exchange it.
Agree. You can get this remedied. Those guys are great to work with.

Bum to hear of course. I have had nothIng but good luck with QRP pressings (though I will not be buying Norah Jones anything in general; not m cup of tea).
I have purchased a number of QRP from Acoustic Sounds and, sadly, have had to return a number of them for a variety of reasons. Off center pressing, excessive groove noise, pops and ticks, ETC. It PAINED me to return them as I am a big fan of what Chad has done--he is arguably the one person most responsible for resurrecting the LP format. I think the mastering work is excellent--every record had great sound. However, the claim that QRP is the best in the business is not born out in my experience. About half of the records I have purchased are dead flat, round and quiet. The rest have varying degrees of issues and many of these I have returned, some more than once (Just a Little Lovin for example). That said, their return policy and customer service is EXCELLENT--they stand behind their efforts. I just hope that if they are seeing lots of returns they are working on QC at the pressing plant so that their product releases are more consistently well done.
I have had good luck with QRP. All of my QRP titles have been flat and sound wonderful. I did have a doors album that had a scratch that was replaced with no hassle.
Thank you all for your feedback.

Dodgealum, thank you for sharing your negative experience, and unfortunately confirming my suspicion that mine was not an isolated case as there were just too many issues that to me indicated lack of QC consistency.

Btw, how did you go about contacting AP/AS and returning the records? Thank you.
Step one: Google AP/AS.

Step two: call the number on the websites.
Relax. It works with certain companies, and it doesn't with others. For example, you cannot return a Because Sound Matters record to them unless you bought it directly from them. I didn't buy my AP record from Acoustic Sounds so I asked Dodgealum since he already went through the process.
I own a ton of these.. Have about 13 QRP pressed "Prestige Mono" Jazz series that just came out recentlyy.. all of them are flawless....Chad and AP will take care of it for ya.. their customer service is excellent.. and these titles that i won sound out of this world... just my .02... give them a call to exchange...

I have bought LPs from Acoustic Sounds for many years. So far, I had to return only two LPs that had something stuck on it. I also bought some QRP pressings and they all sound dead quiet. As for the sound quality, I find that some reissues do sound better than the originals, but some don't.

Acoustic Sounds has a good return policy and they have produced some very good sounding LPs. We should tell them about the issues we have with their LPs if we want them to continue to produce great records.
I have similar problems with some 45 rpm records from Analogue Production: off-center, surface noise, warped, pops. About 10% records from collecion had similar problems. For me very hard to replace as I live in Europe and purchasing records from USA.

Generally modern pressing from AP are quite dissapointing for me in terms of quality control.
Update: Just received three titles all QRP and played two of them (Soular Energy and Time Out both 45prm) yesterday. Dead quiet, flat and round.

Actusreus: Overall, Acoustic Sounds return policy and customer service is phenomenal. They have bent over backwards to make sure I am a happy customer and they have earned my loyalty. I have a toddler and on several occasions I have purchased LPs and not had time to play them for months, only to find a flawed pressing and they have taken care of me. They are particularly accommodating with LPs pressed at QRP, which they will replace without you having to pay for shipping the defective copy to them. Call them, ask for someone in returns and they will take care of you. When they do, I would suggest you continue to purchase directly from them rather than another vendor. I do get the sense they have been very good to me because they can see my customer history how much of my limited discretionary income has gone their way!
I'll just second the general awesomeness of Acoustic Sounds. I've bought probably 90% of my collection from them and have nothing but good experiences.
I emailed AS, and after about a week of waiting, I received a nice response from an individual email account at AS, apologizing for my disappointment and offering to exchange the record. I responded the same day asking to clarify shipping charges, and asking for an RMA number (which the person offered to email me). As of today, a week later, I still have not received a reply. That's definitely NOT a great customer service.
Twice now I've had to return albums to AS and had to pay shipping BOTH ways with no credit given even for the 1st shipping charges. Will NEVER use AS again.
I spent $20 for a used George Harrison album that actually was in pretty good shape . But the amount of compression was so bad , it just ruined the whole thing ! And this is from an artist who owns his own recording studio and company , Apple Records !!! Just really sad .

Happy Tunes
fwiw i purchased the deads reckoning and it sounds as good as advertised. rhinos europe 72 vol. 2 otoh meh.
I own many Analogue Production LP'S, and I own all of the presently reissued Prestige mono series and Verve 45's pressed at QRP, and not a single one was defective or did not sound absolutely fabulous in every way. The entire package is first class.
My impression is that the quality control has been improving and is drastically better than early efforts. In my experience they currently are among the most consistent and I don't hesitate to buy their products if they appeal to me.
I bought the Norah Jones "Come Away with Me" 200gm Analogue Productions LP from one of the reputable on-line stores and was disappointed with the sound quality. Her voice breaks up in the left channel at times throughout the entire LP. I cleaned the LP on my VPI several times but the distortion didn't go away. I returned it and got another copy but it had the same issue. A few weeks ago I bought the regular pressing of "Come Away with Me" on Blue Note for $12.50 from Amazon(less than half of what I paid for the AP production)and it played perfectly and the sound quality was excellent. I learned from this that audiophile pressings are not always better than the regular production ones.
Don't be sad. Modern High End is a lemon in a nice box.
I have Patsy Clines Greatest Hits from QRP and it is easily one of my best records ever dead quite and Patsy Voice has never sounded any better. I am sure they would happily exchange your record for one that is clear as a bell they do not want bad copy's circulating.
The best audiophile pressings I've purchased we're from Cisco. However, I too have had a lot of issues with new vinyl. My theory is that pressings have always had issuess but the used vinyl I purchase has been "pre-sorted" by the music lovers before us.

They just returned or tossed the bad vinyl in the 60's and 70's. I NEVER buy NOS sealed vinyl, usually warped as hell
The AP reissue of "Come Away with Me" is stunning. No voice breakup on my copy.
I have had and are currently having issues with QRP 45 rpm pressings.Issues are:off center pressings,lumpy vinyl causing audible thumps ,loud pops and lastly,definite warps.These lps are advertised as "the best ever pressings"  and we are paying a premium for these,so why aren't they? Chad is trying so hard which is highly commendable,,however his quality control team is sleeping on the job.Yes,elusive disc and Asounds accept returns,but you have to pay return shipping and go to the post office and wait for the next copy and when that one is defective also,OUCH! Why can't it be done right the first-time? What happened to quality vs quantity? Let's slow down and produce Stellar pressings to go with your already stellar jackets!