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Acoustic sounds has incredible customer service. If you buy vinyl from them, and the record is not up to your expectations, they will gladly replace it. As they also own quality record pressings, they understand that not every record come off the press in perfect condition, yet they still get sold! My experience buying vinyl from quality record pressings plants is different. They have very high standards Ann most of the records come out perfectly. This variance in pressing quality and return policies is relatively new information for me. I never really knew that I could exchange and get something that was actually better. I didn't realize that pressing yielded a significant quantity of duds. I called the people at acoustic sounds recently to ask about their recommendation for a cartridge stylus cleaning fluid. The gentleman I spoke to spent a half an hour with me on the phone sharing tons of great information. I've purchased plenty of media from acoustic sounds, but now I will plan to do all if not the vast majority of my purchasing from them!
I buy most of my CDs from Amazon when they have the title I want. They typically have great prices and with Amazon Prime I get free 2 day shipping.
I've bought most of my used LP's on eBay because they generally have a good selection available and I typically find a decent price. I'm not going to pay the high price of 180-200G new/re-issue LP's for most selections, so high quality used items are what I typically buy. I've also bought my fair share of used and new CD's on eBay.
For vinyl no online purchases under any circumstances unless purchasing SEALED or purchasing directly from band. Condition of vinyl that joins my personal collection must be like new and not any less.
CDs I used to get from Columbia House or BMG depending on who's got best deal. It was long time ago. Now these clubs don't function. I was always making my membership new -- this way you get the best deal.
Once membership is not new, I'd cancel it and wait for another new membership invite keeping price per CD $2...3. When CD started being out of print, the time to sell would come and make some money :-)
For rare copies I'd shop in discogs(look for reputable dealer with nice feedback). Prior to discogs there was gemm.com and cdnow.com
I use Elusive Disc almost exclusively, with Music Direct and Soundstage getting maybe 10% of my orders, this is for vinyl and I use Amazon for CDs. Haven't been in a record store in 20 years. I also haven't been in an audio salon in 25 years and just completed my to die for reference retirement system.
I ignored Amazon for years. But when living in the S. California desert, going into L.A. only occasionally, and having not a single music retailer (unless you count Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Target. I don't) within an hour's drive, I finally gave them a try. NOW I understand why people like it so much. Fantastic! Everything in stock, cheap prices, free and quick shipping---what's NOT to like?!
I have used Records By Mail online for used records. They are accurately, visually graded, and have a 2 million record selection, great web site, bullet proof packaging, and reasonable prices. Never been disappointed.
I am a regular on smile.amazon.com (where they donate .5% of my purchase amounts to my favorite charity), have the Amazon credit card (giving me 5% cash back) and have an Amazon Prime membership, enjoying 2 day shipping and Amazon Streaming to my TV.
Besides all that, I find the reviews on Amazon really helpful, especially as I'm learning more about classical music.
"The brunt of the question is pretty much covered in the title, but just curious where most people are buying any physical medium of music (vinyl, cassette, 8-track, etc.) online."
Where's the recommendations for cassette or 8-track? Got to say I was a little amused that they were included in the list. Guess they can still be found on ebay or craigslist.
Thanks everybody! Personally, the only thing I'd used for online purchases is Amazon. And it sounds like a lot of people corroborate that choice. Some of the other lesser-known (to me) options look really good as well so I'll definitely check those out. The interface of Discogs I like pretty well but, personally, the Goldmine Grading thing just seems kind of non-sensical to me.
@tls49 haha. I personally don't listen to cassettes or 8-tracks anymore but, surprisingly, cassettes are actually making a significant comeback - similar to how vinyl has had a huge renaissance in the past 10 years.
A couple of interesting articles about the resurgence of cassettes:
@jeffdill2 I didn't see any mention on genre. Luckily we have great local shops where I live headlined by the Attic. If I do go online for records I like:
for electronic, dj, world, hip-hop, afrobeat, reissues: Juno, underground hip hop, fat beats and turntable lab
for used/new jazz and world: dusty groove (great store in Chicago)
for indie/Rock: Insound, amoeba
For good selection if you don't mind imports: import CDs (plenty of vinyl)
for a general catch all: amazon
i travel for work and make it a point to carve out time to dig in other cities...if you do as well build a rapport with the shop owners with your preferences or wish list and keep in touch with them.
Also, check with your local stores and ask if they discount for pre-orders. A place here will give 10% off if you "place an order" with them.
Most online purchases from Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, and eBay (for out of print hard to find). All vinyl, stopped buying cds several years ago. Been in record stores in NY, Seatlle, CA, Prague (hit a goldmine there with ECM label) all around country and one of my favorites is Papa Jazz right in Columbia SC. Used Inventory changes constantly, they have a Facebook page. I've Been collecting rock and jazz music for 45 years, always had a good TT and cartridge, dont care if its 200, 180, 150g, new or used as long as it is a good clean pressing. Its all about the music, and of course...the hunt. If you love music and are serious about vinyl you need to get a record cleaning machine. One of the best system 'components' I ever purchased. For online Retailers I build and edit wishlist at the retailer sites then order when the discounts hit. For stores, keep a list in my phone. Ebay is great for completing artists collections and hard to find stuff. Fantastic jazz guitar lps from Pappa Jazz over the years for less than $10. Have fun!!
I have bought a few incredibly great pressings from http://www.better-records.com ...but they are absurdly expensive. The few I did get are my personal "must have" records, Jefferson Airplane "Crown of Creation" and a couple of Rolling Stones albums. I have also gotten some jazz and classic rock from sellers on Amazon, but I am selective about who I buy from. Likewise, I have also bought pristine collections from eBay (a Beethoven collection and a large tranche of classical records). So far, I have not had any issues.
edit: I have also bought from/or been given collections from friends and relatives. So far, the best pressings I have are from better-records ...except for a few from my started-in-the-60s collection.
Seems lately I have been buying a lot of out-of-print CD's. I usually research the best version through the Steve Hoffman forums and then turn to EBAY to find them. You will pay more than Amazon but you can also find uncompressed versions which offer better sound quality. The way I look at it is, if I put all this money into equipment, doesn't it only make sense to put the best possible source into it?
I have been buying almost all my SACD and SHM-CDs from cdjapan.com. Their cds are without a doubt the best sounding in my collection. I have quite a few MFSL and SACD discs in my collection but most not all compare to the sound quality of the ones I buy from them. They ship Fedex with tracking for about $17.00 and it takes about a week from Japan to Florida.