Todays new vinyl LP's better than LP's 40 yrs ago?

Are the new vinyl LPs being produced today better than those produced 40 years ago? When buying a vintage jazz album, will I get as good or better sound quality from today's re-issue copy than the original copy issued 40 years ago?
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In my experience, most likely not. While many jazz and classical reissues score points based solely on scarcity and condition, from a purely sonic standpoint, I'd say the original is generally superior. However, from a cost/benefit point of view, reissues are pretty much a no-brainer. In many ways, this trend echos the vacuum tube industry - they don't make em' like they used to.

There are, of course, exceptions and usual disclaimers apply.

Good answer.
I think a lot of new issues are digitally mastered despite being delivered on vinyl. Not all old records sound great. Some of these could be digitally remastered as well and hence sound "better" as a result of the remastering.

Records have always been a crap shoot in regards to good sound. Same true now I would think. The difference now is that new ones cost a lot more and there are a lot of quality control issues that seem to still surround them as well.
In the case of reissues, it depends a lot on the current condition of the original tapes. I have a 45 (Bill Evans' (Quintessence) that doesn't sound as good as the 33 1/3 Fantasy original. On the other hand, many of the reissue 45s and 33s sound absolutely terrific.

And some LPs from the 70s and 80s were pretty crappy to begin with.
I find new vinyl just as erratic as old vinyl. Some are great, a lot are mediocre, and some are poor.

If you read about the process of making LPs, there are so many steps involved (and each one is an opportunity for something to go wrong) it is kind of a miracle any LP makes it out of the factory in good shape.

And even if great care is taken during manufacturing, whether new production or old, somebody has to get the LPs from the end of a production run before they replace the stampers.
I wind up just buying what i can find. Mostly I have old LPs. But with the sky-high prices for old Jazz, and some Rock, AND the difficulty of even finding many old LPs in great condition, I buy reissues. When the NM original costs a lot more than a new pressing, I buy the new pressing and never think twice about the difference in sound quality, or just buy the CD! Only for music I really like, and play often, will I pay for a premium pressing (like the Mo-Fi Costello "My Aim is True" and that only because it is also cool to own).
If I have or can find a normal 33 I would never pay the high premium for a 45 reissue
The tradeoff between decaying master tapes, and the increase in quality of transfer.. hard for me to say. I just go by the costs for great condition LPs.
Old lps ALWAYS BETTER MORE AIR ETC remember they are cutting these lps fron 40 year old tapes!!
>>03-03-10: Mlsstl
I find new vinyl just as erratic as old vinyl. Some are great, a lot are mediocre, and some are poor.<<


Been collecting for over 50 years and find old vinyl far offers far more consistency i.e. higher quality and fewer problems than most of the contemporary overpriced product.

That's not to say that you can't find some very fine releases today because they are available.

But take a random sample of 100 albums from the 50's, 60's, and 70's and compare them to 100 new releases and you'll find far more problems sound quality, warpage, etc. than you'll see/hear in the old stuff.

40 years ago was 1970. At that time jazz LPs were generally very good and on average better than pop albums, whether from Impulse, Blue Note, Columbia, Verve, Pacific Jazz, Atlantic, ECM, A&M, CTI, Concord (1972), or Pablo (1973).

In fact, I pretty much consider anything from Concord or ECM to be audiophile quality, and most Pablo is in the same ballpark.

That said, I've also been happy with most reissues, even the $11 Original Jazz Classics reissues. I have a Speakers Corner reissue of "Count Basie and the Kansas City 7" and two Classic Records reissues of "Kind of Blue," and they are all superb. Ditto for the new Diana Krall albums recorded in analog and coming out on vinyl. Big, lush, detailed, musical.

I wouldn't so much say that one era's better than the other so much as that today's masterers and pressers are rapidly regaining the skills we took for granted 40 years ago, and in many cases the limited production numbers mean they are being extra careful these days.

A very few years ago you were hearing horror stories about noisy Classic Records and some of the other label reissues with wrong-sized spindle holes and untrimmed edges (I encountered that). I don't see much of that these days. I have a Speakers Corner reissue of the Bach Cello Suites by Janos Starker on Mercury. I also have an original 1966 mono pressing. The Speakers Corner is at least as good and dead quiet.
As a sidebar to this thread...

I've been a big fan of Joe Farrell and love his "OutBack" Lp on CTI. Unfortunately, is has terrible sound. It's very hard in the mids and bumped up in the lower treble. I sourced a Japanese CD reissue and it is much smoother and more realistic. So don't give up on the CD if the Lp is awful.

The original LPs almost always sound better. The only time to buy a reissue, in my opinion, is when the original can't be located or is too expensive.

Generally speaking, no, they are not better. When it comes to reissues of older records, often the reissuer cannot get the master or a low generation copy, or such tapes have simply gone bad over time.

Even with new issues, the gear for mastering records and stamping records are now ancient and there is not enough demand for anyone to manufacturer new production equipment.

The quality of supposedly virgin vinyl is poorer today than in the past. There is an article somewhere about a relatively new vinyl pressing operation in New York where the operators acknowledge that the vinyl is not as high quality, though they manage to improve the quality somewhat by re-grinding the vinyl they receive.

Still, because a lot of the current market for new vinyl does care about quality, a number of the producers of audiophile records do a pretty good job, such as Mobile Fidelity, Speaker's Corner, Music Matters, Analogue Productions and even Warner. Classic Records have been spotty in quality in the past, though some of the "Clarity" records they have issued have been terrific.
Most new vinyl are somehow made with many and I really mean many flaws. Most are warped. What is the use of 180g or 200g virgin vinyl when almost all of them are so badly pressed?? Some so called virgin vinyl sound like sandpaper. Also the originals are somehow better sounding 9/10 times!

Yes, there are some re-issues that do sound spectacular but they are rare like a needle in a hay stack.
All the 45 RPM Blue note, impulse and Fantasy have been almost perfect, yet 50-59 each.

I have a Classic Record pressing of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, the original is far better than the reissue, in all ways except for pops.

I take back 40% of new albums due to warps, scratches or dips.
The other day we opened 4 copies of Charlotte Gainsburg's new album and they all looked warped. The record store guy said to check back in a few weeks, new shipment.

it's record roulette
To begin with, my experiences and perceptions apply to classical music lps only. I agree with the salient comments of the majority above. I bought several re-issues, but never found any of them superior to the originals. Many original masters used years ago have aged to some degree. Since re-issues have come from those aging masters, something has been lost. Thus, even though many of them have been done using tube equipment, I invariably detect a comparatively artificial quality to their sound. And the ultimate coup de grace to those re-issues is even with these disadvantages, they quite frequently cost more than very fine copies(if and when you find them)of the originals. Despite these acknowledgements/impressions, I do not typically reject them. I still have found some to sound good, just not in the same class as the originals.
Audiofeil wrote: Disagree.... But take a random sample of 100 albums from the 50's, 60's, and 70's and compare them to 100 new releases and you'll find far more problems sound quality, warpage, etc. than you'll see/hear in the old stuff.

I agree with your disagreement. Your experience has been different than mine. I came across an absolutely pristine looking Savoy Brown album from 1971 the other day. The background noise was constant and quite annoying. I was routinely aggravated by the brand new DG's classical releases I bought in the 1970s.

Interestingly, one of the best pressings I've seen the past few months caught me completely off guard. It was the 1965 release of Lightnin' Hopkins on Tradition Everest (2103) - hardly a big name in record labels.

One can argue about the relative ratio between new and old of good pressings to bad but I think my central point is that LP quality has always been and still is the luck of the draw. When an LP is good, they are a wonderful way to listen to music. However, get a bad one with constant gravel, warps or whatever, and listening just isn't much fun.
It depends.I have heard head to head Classic re-issue of Charlie Rouse "Yeah!" verusus original and re-issue was better.But then again were talking Bernie Grundman doing what he can with original tapes,masters and is a good point that you had better hard virgin vinyl in 50's or early 60's and since then even with proper "vault" environment control there should be less info on tapes then when fresh.And then we went to thinner LP's often with re-melt vinyl which made LP's abysmal by 70's.But now 180 (some don't like 200gm and prefer 180 gm as being "right").

But if you see good re-issue companies using vintage playback gear with well preserved tapes it depends on the mastering engineer material to work with.Sometimes it's really an issue if you read about film music which uses optical trip for sound on very unstable film.All in all I like the older LP's like my thick Blue Notes which even when hacked sound a grade better than other Lp's (though some companies like Roost made bad LP's at the time when ,Blue Note,Prestige had fine sound and some like Phillips and Epic were exceptional) I would rather a clean copy of the old LP.But $50 for a well made re-issue versus $500 or $2K for some titles hey if 'ya got it spend it.Just nice that some companies like Classic or Acoustic Sounds and others are doing good job.P.S. some companies like Venus took OK Interplay LP's and made them sound better on superior vinyl and their own digital 24 bit tapes pressed into wax are some of the best I have ever heard contrary to the "it's all gotta be analogue if it's pressed into wax" crowd thinks.if you like Jazz pick up some of Archie Shepp's "Blue" series digital to wax LP's (or any Venus LP be it a s re-issue or original recoding like Mike Garzone with Trio De Paz" and others.The Cd's have the extra dynamic range of course but the LP's are so good with that Lp only "tactile" sound that you want both!Older isn't always better.Just thank goodness we are stuck with crap that existed from late 60's to mid 90's.
I have yet to of bought or heard a re-issue LP that sonicly beats the original pressing. A lot of the albums pressed in the 60's were very well done. Not so much in the later 70's. I wondered that in a previous thread about the quality of vynil used today and a previous poster has answered that. With the cost of a well cared for (rarer ones and higher demand) original getting quite expensive the re-issues for many are still a great way to enjoy vynil and I can see why some would conscider it a no brainer to buy the re-issue. Myself I would rather pay say a 100 bucks for a clean original copy of one album I want(if lucky to find!) than a 100 bucks for 2 different re-issues that I wasn,t completely pleased with. I,m fortunate to have a good collection of well cared for originals I owned from new or used and alot of Japanese pressings and mofi's (2500+)as it gives me the luxury of patience to add to my collection. Anyone that is now trying to build up a descent collection with the cost,s of quality used and the re-issue hit and miss I can certainly see why many seem to be questioning getting into vynil.I have purchased and been somewhat pleased with some re-issues but it does seem to be more miss than hit with them in my experience. I have had better luck albeit and admittedly at a premium price for well cared for originals but have also obtained many very clean originals for 10 bucks.Some very good points are made previously and not just the cost for used or re-issue. The condition of used can be very subjective from the seller to the buyer. The re-issues I think (for the most part )have a lesser quality vynil used, and as Audiofeil points out more warpage problems , and alot of times less sonicly pleasing than the original. The quality and condition of the mastering tapes used and with some done from digital. The one that can even ruin a quality pressed dead quiet re-issue is the sonic footprint some engineers put on it themselves. Realistically though unless vynil sales skyrocket and stay that way for sometime (fad versus dedicated vynil users) ,this is probably what we vynil users will have to deal with. I can see how for some entering or re-entering into vynil could be frustrated and even fed up to going away from it. Recently I bought 2 James Cottons re-issues recorded in 67 and 68 that I have yet to see an original of worth buying. I was surprised at how well they were done for re-issues. They were both pressed in Russia surprisingly. Cheers
>>03-03-10: Mlsstl
but I think my central point is that LP quality has always been and still is the luck of the draw.<<

That is the flaw in your argument.

There was more consistency and higher quality years ago.

One example, your Savoy Brown album, is an isolated case and does not support your position well. Everybody has at least one or two clunkers from the old days. The chance of buying junk today is far greater. I've been doing this far too long to believe otherwise.

Thank you
You will find exceptions for everything, but in general, the older LP's are MUCH better than the new ones. More silent, not so sensitive for scratches, much better vinyl mixes, top quality even with 90gr pressings for a few $...
A lot of knowledge was lost when the plants closed in the 90's.
Audiofeil wrote: That is the flaw in your argument.

There was more consistency and higher quality years ago.
You seem fond of telling me about my own experience. Interesting!

I've been transferring my well cared for LPs to digital for my music server over the past 7 or 8 years. This has involved substantially more than 2,000 LPs, many from the era you laud.

My experience is that truly pristine and exceptional pressings have never been routine or commonplace. The majority is certainly acceptable, but I don't get too excited about lauding mediocrity.

Perhaps we just looking for different things. ;-)
Back in the pre-CD era there were constant complaints about vinyl quality. The vaunted Mercury Living Presence series came in for LOT of criticism about noisy surfaces. Warps and off-center pressings were rife. One of the reasons CDs were so highly praised at the beginning was the abysmal quality of vinyl at that time. You had to be there to remember how bad things were. I was.

Today's reissues are by and large much better in terms of pressing quality, flatness and pops/clicks. I know folks have problems with this, but if they think things are bad, they should have been buying records in the past. I'm not talking sonics; sound quality (of reissues) hinges on the condition of the tapes.
Expectations for vinyl are high among a smaller dedicated group these days. That may be part of it.
In think the late 60s and 70s were the golden age of vinyl. It was during 80s they used recycle materials. I even have one with plastic straw embedded in the lp.
By the 1970s, quality control was going to pot, consistent with the increased production and sale of records and the petroleum/plastic problems around 1974 when OPEC cut oil production and a lot of regrind vinyl began to be used.
Agree the golden age of vinyl was years ago and things have changed a lot since. Seems delusional to me to think that can be recreated on a similar scale. Some small high end niche vinyl providers may succeed.

I also question whether we could successfully send a man to walk on the moon again today. Or at best, if we could, the cost would be astronomical (no pun intended).

Emerging world powers like China and others probably are still able to do these things and in fact are because their economies are still years behind ours and their costs have not skyrocketed out of control (yet).
Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" my reference lp. Sometimes I buy several new releases and all sound dull, all I have to do is to play "Dreams" and I back to audio world.
My memory must be going. I just checked and it seems that I posted this same exact thread in 2006. I read the responses of that thread and it seems the responses are almost identical to the responses nearly four years later with people lining up on both sides of the issue.

Click here to see original thread

Oh well, better for my memory to be going rather than my hearing.
I just got the recentrelease by Govt Mule on vinyl, &
the quality is utter crap. Highly compressed, &
low resolution! Just terrible.
I avoid them,always disappointing to originals on 33rpm. My 2 45 box sets sound better than originals in some respects. So I would only buy 45 reissues.My last reissue was zappa hot rats classic records,a total waste of $30 something dollars.No more 33 reissues for me.The tape loss after 40 years is to great to compete with originals.
Pressing an LP is an art and was an art back then and that art is LOST!

But if whatever you're looking for is not available in originals, ya gotta still buy them new. That sucks!
I am listening to Linda Ronstadt "Heart Like A Wheel" on Capitol, the original release. It is in great condition and sounds wonderful, something I expect when I listen to records and am more often disappointed with the new releases that I am just about giving up on them. This album has a wonderful presentation. It cost me 2 dollars. Sure, I wish I could find more old Londons that were not played with a quarter on the headshell but for 50 cents a piece, it is a worthwhile investment. If it is shot, I am out 50 cents. If I find one in ten that sounds great, well, you do the math. I think I will frequenting the flea market more often.
I now am listening to The Byrd's "The Fifth Dimension" the newer release on Sundazed. This record does not sound that bad. Sundazed did not ruin this one but I can't even imagine how the original must have sounded. So, there not all awful but many are downright terrible
despite it being a defective pressing, geez