Warped Records

I would say about 75% of the new records I have purchased online or in some of the local shops are warped. The outer edge will almost always have a big hump in it, I can't tell if it is really affecting the sound but it is very disappointing.
I got four new records last night all but three were warped & the one that was not warped skips. Also they seem to be very noisy, The new 200g Led Zeppelin's all have some large pops in them. On a earlier date I took back some warped ones to the store & they put it on a turntable & told me it was normal.
ANother time I sent five records back to amusicdirect.com & they exchanged them for five more warped records.
What's the deal? Anyone else seem to have the same trouble?
Yes, exactly the same problem and it is discouraging.

After spending the money for new releases on vinyl its dissappointing to see warped records and hear surface noise. Its happened to me maybe 3-4 times of the last 10 new records I bought.

Meanwhile I go pick up 10 used records for the price of one new release or import and get perfectly flat records and no surface noise.
Thank you for the reply When I buy used records they too are flat & most of the time noise free.
I think the pressing plants are just stamping these out so fast & with little care of quality. That or they are not shipping them properly & that is how they are getting warped.
Last weekend i purchased Action Action Action by Jackie McClean a Blue Note re-issue and it was warped. I will return it. Side two was very quite but side one had surface noise and i even cleaned the record. I'm beginning to think that there is no quality control out there. It seems it might be a situation that they are trying to maximize their profit margin. I wonder if the place we are buying them from can even return them to the manufacture. If they can't then it is pure profit because what goes out the door is sold and can't be returned. Toward the end of mass producing records venders had to eat the record if it was returned to them. You don't need quality control if it can't be returned. But in the end they will stop making them because WE will stop buying them thus pushing the cost of primo mint used vinyl even higher.
I think the skill of pressing records has been lost.
Just running a machine and not having it jam-up, does not mean they can actually "press LPs".
It is more than a blob of vinyl being squished between two plates.
I received a copy of David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name" from Classic the other day. If I plugged up the spindle hole, I could eat soup off of side 2. Severely dished.
I have no idea what this would do to an LP, but I use get some of those large 12" video laser-discs that would skip because the disc was too warped.

I would warm them ever so very slightly in the oven and then place them between two flat surfaces until they cooled.

Worked like a charm whether a wavy warp or dish-like.

You could experiment with a warped LP you don't care about to see if it will straighten the LP without ruining the grooves. I don't remember what temperature I used, but you must not melt the plastic even slightly. I'd guess 100 degrees Farenheit. Use a thermometer; don't trust the oven knob setting. Laser-discs were easier because it was just the clear plastic covering the metal disc inside with the digital information.
My luck has been better the 180G and 200G records (Led Zeppelin, CS&N, Jimi Hendrix, Doors, CCR, Pink Floyd, YardBirds, etc.) that I purchased at Elusive Disc, Music Direct and Acoustic Sounds have all been warp free, I have had some surface noise, I always clean my albums before playing to clean off the mold release, that helps, but I think some of the surface noise is bits of vinyl left in the grooves and after the first playing most of the pops and clicks go away.

Now the lighter records (standard?) I have had some problems with warps, but they seem to play OK, not any wow or flutter that I can hear and no skips.

No comment.
I should add that the 180g and higher LPs typically have no issues, but at the current prices and labels they are coming from I would expect as much.

I just saw the new Dire Straits re-issue at Music Direct...wish me luck.
It must be the customers fault for bad quality.

When people bought less cds...it was because people were stealing music...not that the economy was weak and the industry priced cds at almost $20 a piece.
However, they had to price them that high because people don't buy enough and steal music....not that the music industry just got caught price fixing music again. Hopefully the music industry will try a make money by working with consumers instead of cheating or gouging them.
Get the Air Tight record flattener! It's expensive, like $800 I think, but maybe you and some of your audiobuddies can split the cost.
I too have noticed what seems to be an unusual amount of warping in the small number of new records I purchase. I've wondered if perhaps improper storage might be the culprit. In my mind's eye I see boxes and boxes of horizontally positioned lps stacked on top of each other in some warehouse in New Jersey, kind of like the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I've not had problems with warped records as much as I have with off center pressings and noise. My most recent new vinyl pressings:

Pink Floyd's DSOTM 180gram 30th anniversary LP off center pressing

Eagles Hotel California 180gram German reissue from original master tapes still had annoying pops even though I cleaned it with a VPI 16.5 record cleaner before playing.

Rolling Stones a bigger bang 2xLP 180gram Holland pressing - this pressing is flawless.

Also the use of heavy paper inner sleeves is disturbing. I can literally hear the dirt scratching the record as I remove it from the factory inner sleeve. Most of the "audiophile" pressings I have bought have packaged like that. Titles like Pink Floyd's PULSE, and Echoes the best of Pink Floyd, and the 97 Vinyl Collection.
Thanks for idea.

John Mellencamp's Lonesome Jubilee (New)arrived warped and unplayable. It sat for months until I remembered reading this thread. I put the Lp between two 14"X 24"X 1/2" slabs of granite, places it outside for 3 hours with a very heavy toolbox on top. I removed the toolbox, left the vinyl pressed between the slabs and carried it into the house. After a few hours cooling the Lp was flat and sounds great. Oh ya it was over 110 degrees yesterday. It appears that the Nevada summer is good for something other than melanoma and heat stroke.
Interesting thread. I too have had slight warps in some recent purchases. I use the Oracle clamp and spindle washer, and, mostly, am able to get rid of the warps, or diminish them, so I can ignore them. Maybe we shouldn't be ignoring any defective records sent out. The prices retailers are getting should equal pristine products to our door. This is a hobby, in a sense, but why tolerate warped records at $20. a pop, and up?
Let's all start returning any defective products. I know with Music Direct, they'll usually just say, "okay, we'll take 10% off your next order," but that's just letting the problem of poor quality vinyl perpetuate. Only if enough product gets returned, will someone pay attention to quality control. IMHO
You shouldn't have to spend $800 dollars for a record flattener for records you've just purchased new!

I recently bought a Trinity Sessions - 45 RPM - for $70 and they were all warped. Does the oven method really work? What are the parameters for flattening them? Does anyone know a service in So Cal or a club that has a flattening machine? Thanks....
if you can use the vpi clamp system your warped lps are a thing of the past, they also damp the lps which adds more resolution to the sound, a large improvement to my aries,
Yes, the saga continues....just bought several records from Music Direct, and at least two of them were warped on the edge. These are NEW, 200 Gram EXPENSIVE records! I told them about it, and they gave me a return authorization number to ship them back at MY expense so they could use their record flattener on them for me. 0:


I just bought the super platter from VPI as well as the outer ring and the 25 lb center weight (From music Direct, no less!)

Hope it helps.

Don't Know what else to do. Who has the time to be sending records back!
I haven't been buying LPs lately, but how bad are these warps really? (1/16", 1/8", 1/32" ... ?) Every LP I have could be said to be warped if you look closely enough I do have a few that used to have playability issues with my older turntable and arm. However when I got my Sony PSX800 turntable which has a "biotracing" (servo'd) linear tracking arm even the worst LPs played fine. I thought that high end non-servo'd arms were up to it also.
The warp on one especially "Sex Machine" by James Brown, was warped badly enough to bounce my tonearm JMW 12.5 and cause audio distortions to the Lyra Titan-i.

The VPI ring did help tame it immensely (the whole new Super Platter with HRX center weight and outer ring were very worthwhile upgrades to my Aries for audio reasons as well).

Guess it's just the thrill of vinyl. Still, for $50????
I purchased a 50.00 double album from Acoustic Sounds that arrived defective in the way of globs of plastic on one of the LP's. I call for an RA number only to be told I would be responsible for the return shipping charges and they would process the return in a few weeks. It did indeed take over 3 weeks for them to ship me a replacement. I don't fault them for the defective record but what kind of customer service is that ? The fellow who issued the RA said " well we ARE going to replace it".
,,,I have the best,and most foolproof solution for repairing warped lp's,STEAM!,using a handheld steamer,I prefer ''living solutions'' steam cleaner available at Walgreens.Place the lp on a flat,and clean surface,than blast thoroughly with steam for about 30 seconds using distilled water only, til heat is distributed on the entire lp.This process will also clean it.
While the vinyl is still warm,and malliable,place weighted objects around the perimeter of the record [4 glass jars are ideal],and keep them there til the vinyl has cooled off completely. And ''Walla'',out comes an impeccably flat record,this beats the oven method,as lp's sandwiched between two plates of glass can cause severe damage to the vinyl by distorting the grooves,
This is an intriguing idea. How long would you say it takes the LP to cool completely? Why glass jars? Would books work just as well or better?
,,,I would never use books as a means of securing a wet lp,
glass is clean,and doesn't absorb moisture,plus you want areas of the lp exposed to expediate cooling, this method is foolproof,and again,is not as contingent as the oven and glass technique.
This method can severely distort the vinyl's grooves,as well as bond any debris permanently to the lp.I even experiented with a hair dryer,while leaving lp in its sleeve with moderate success.

I allow a 10 min cooling period,than remove jars [drinking glasses work as well]trust me,it works.
,,ps,I meant to say ''marginal'' success with the hair dryer
I used to get upset about this issue. However I have changed my mind about it. A great many warped LP's I own sound amazingly great. Only the most severely warped LP's detract from the sound. I am not sure why it is a problem.
the most severely warped LP's detract from the sound. I am not sure why it is a problem

Well, records should be flat.The extreme up and down from the cartridge always changes the frequencies in the reproduction (VTF and tracking). You won't hear it with every turntable but with a better one it is no joy to listen.
I will try the jars. I have a great sounding Sterling RL pressing of His Band and Street Choir that would be perfect without the edge warping.
Apparently as a result of misbehavior in a past life - I was part owner of a record store in the late 70's/early 80's.During that time period the record companies had gone from a defective return policy that allowed us to return defectives for identical replacements plus typically a 10% of sales return for credit. This allowed us to restock with better selling albums to replace stuff that wasn't selling.The record companies decided to just allow 10% returns period - to include whatever you had in defectives.The initial defective rate shot up dramatically - Record companies didn't care how many crap pressings they made - they stuck the retailers with most of 'em.One result of this is that probably half my records were returned as defective - since we had to eat 'em - I and my partners kept 'em.Got out of the records business.
So -for probably the first time in 15 years I'm in a friends store buying records - he offers me a bunch of records for free - initial defectives - now the record co.'s and importers have a zero return policy. Invoices come stamped "All sales final -no returns" . Man - now there's a real incentive for a manufacturer to become quality obsessed or just maybe - not give a damm?
2 points:
1.) Get real real picky and ya'll can convince any retailer to get the h%ll out of the record business.
2.) Based on 45 years of listening to records - they have surface flaws(ticks and pops) and warps.Equipment that deals with this reality is worthwhile - one of the reasons I use a Oracle turntable.
Oh yeah - I really ,really hate record companies.
Same problem here with new records.

The best (quietest and flattest) new records that I've purchased tend to be from better labels: e.g. the CCR Absolute Originals set, Dark Side of the Moon, Hotel California, Bob Dylan pressings from Sundazed and Germany, etc.

The worst of them seem to be pop and modern albums: all of my Radiohead stuff, U2, and UK pop. I had to exchange three copies of Abbey Road until it was acceptably warped! Yes, my current one is still slightly warped (and scratched too!).

I will be experimenting with and outer ring soon.
Diwask, you say, "I should add that the 180g and higher LPs typically have no issues, but at the current prices and labels they are coming from I would expect as much."

My experience has been, sadly, not the same. Almost all of my new records are 180g, and most of them are at least slightly warped.
Use an old TT to spin your record on, heat up your steam iron, add watter. Hold the iron horizontally over the record about 1.5-2 inches and let the steam hit the record. You might as well clean it while your at it, so get out a clean brush and use it to pick up all the junk that comes from deep within the grooves. About 25 turns should do the trick. The steam is a smaller molecule so it gets all the way in there. The heat is a by product of the steam and the combination will make your records cool completely flat and you can repeat the process without damage to the record. Use a good record pad or microfiber towelette to get the remaining condensation off. Set the record on a cool surface and watch it flatten out, it's just vinyl. This process only takes a few minutes and works on all records, I've been doing it for years. I've even put a record directly in the sun to watch it turn in to a taco looking thing. I applied the steam and guess what, it's flat again and sounds great. Better steam sources will yield a better result.

Have an open mind and give it a try. You don't need any special water, tap water is fine, just boil it first before you put it in the iron. No other cleaning method can even come close to what you can accomplish with steam. And your warps will be gone. I'm just amazed that nobody has come out with a steam machine for records.