I don't think the color matters although I have never done an a/b.
But you should check out the Classic Records Jimi Hendrix Blues which comes on blue vinyl. It is awesome. Great music, great mastering, great packaging and great sounding vinyl.
Picture discs are no good for sound. I have not found any problems with regular colored vinyl, that I can directly associate with the color of the vinyl.
Like TWL said, the sound of picture LPs is compromised (some even say so on the labels). I have been told that clear or transparent colored vinyl is always virgin vinyl. That would be a good thing, but I don't know if it's actually true or not.
Someone else out there would know for sure since I'm not a vinyl buff; but doesn't the needle move up and down in the grove for one channel of sound and then left and right (back and forth) in the groove for the other channel? The needle follows the groove and moves in accordance--I don't see how color would effect that. Its possible that the durability of the vinyl isn't the same with different colors so that after 20 plays one vinyl might wear out quicker, but that's just hypothesizing.
It has been suggested by those with far greater knowledge than me that black vinyl contains carbon which may cause greater surface noise and higher noise floor than a color without, White for example. Perhaps someone with real knowledge, (note: Real) would be willing to share their knowledge and experience with us?
I can say that I have seen impurities inside clear vinyl records, and doubt the better quality theory. I have never owned the same record in two different colors, so I won't try to offer any observations about alsolute sound quality. Since a choice usually isn't available for any given record outside of collector's limited issues, which are presumably bought for reasons other than their sound, this probably won't matter much in the real world anyway. Two thing I can say though: it's only with black records that you can really *see* the surface conditions and whether or not you've cleaned the thing well, and the same goes for your ability to accurately cue the lead-in and between-track silent grooves (clear and translucent records being the worst for this). Given a choice, give me black.
Some time ago I had a couple of conversations with the people at RTI and also a separate convo with Stan Rick about colored vinyl.
As far as the "picture discs" go, I regret that I cannot recall the specifics, but they are [relatively] crap.
Now, as far as colored vinyl goes, there are different combinations with slightly different *potential* sonic issues. For today's (and almost all past) LPs, there is some carbon black which is part of the mix, and compared to vinyl which uses only dye to attain its black or near-black appearance--like the JVC Supervinyl--there is apparently a very slightly higher degree of noise. Slightly more noise can come from albums which use a type of oxide (I *think* its titanium dioxide, but I'm not sure -- in any event it's a commonly used whitening substance in various industries, if that's not the correct compound) as the whitener. This would be used for all-white vinyl LPs of course, but is also used when you want to have opaque colors rather than 'clear' colors. If you just use red or purple or whatever dye, you will have a [somewhat] clear red, clear purple, clear whatever LP. Adding some whitening agent makes it look flat/opaque, kind of like you would think of a crayon color.
So anyway, the dye-only LPs (like JVC) are quietest, followed by regular black LPs (from the carbon black) and then by LPs using the whitening stuff (titanium dioxide..??), with ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL!
Mike, that is a good summary of the varying parameters for making vinyl discs. I used to run a vinyl compounding plant that produced (or at least tried) vinyl for records, among other products such as cable jackets. The common "brightener" is titanium dioxide and the common "blackner" is carbon black, the quality (mostly size of particles, which can vary greatly) of these being the main contributor to the noise qualities of the discs. The dyes can also contripute if the pigments in the dye are of poor quality.
It is very difficult to discern whether a vinyl is virgin or not through visual or tactile observation, much like a woman I guess.
TWL, it appears that I might have more intimate knowledge of vinyl than you suspected - love the smell!
According to my studies at the Institute Of Audio Research back in 1975 where I actually cut some disc using a Scully Lathe there are some sonic differences using different color dyes. Might have to look up my notes or Journals of the Audio Engineering Society.
not "Stan Rick" as in my post. ...Bad typo!
I also forgot to mention that the folks at RTI stressed that the differences in noise level that we were talking about when it came to carbon black, TiO2, dyes, etc. , were pretty small.
I meant to correct the typo with my last post, but apparently it didnt work.
It's "Ricker" not "Rick" [obviously]... lol
Here's part of an email I got from PA records-
"Please root for Karrin Allyson's "In Blue" to receive a Grammy nomination Jan 7th!
We are working on the audiophile LP release at this time. It will be available sometime next year, June or before. The 2-LP set will be half-speed mastered by Stan on HQ-180 gram BLUE vinyl.
We decided to press about 220 individually numbered BLACK copies of "Soular Energy" for black vinyl enthusiasts and direct comparisons. We have our opinions and suspicions, but what better way to put the subject of colored vinyl to bed for awhile?
Let me say that this won't be something we do again next month if they sell fast. This is just for comparison. Colored vinyl costs more, so it's a waste of you and our money if there are no sonic or physical improvements. We believe there is or we would never have used it for "Ballads".
Thanks for your time.
Pure Audiophile Records
Interesting to see what develops...
I have seen a few records over the years that were pressed on a vinyl that appeared just like regular opaque black records when viewed normally, but were revealed as actually being translucent dark purple when held up to a light source - you could see light and shadow through them, but if you had never done this light test, you'd have never suspected any difference. The best of both worlds? I was once told that this vinyl type (whatever it was called) is no longer produced. Any further info?...
The 45 RPM direct-to-disc recordings from Crystal Clear were pressed on white vinyl. The Charlie Byrd and Laurindo Almeda records are among the very finest out of the several thousand jazz albums in my collection.