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DJs like the 180g records; they're heavier, and have a better feel for spinning and scratching.
In the original days of vinyl (aka records or LPs), audiophile recordings were pressed on 180g virgin vinyl rather than the common 120 to 140 gram. It's my understanding that creating a thicker record with deeper grooves could hold more information.
Nowadays, identifying a record as "180 gram" is a marketing term; if it's thicker, it must sound better.
A good sounding vinyl pressing comes from good mastering, an expert record cutter and technicians, and well maintained equipment. The actual vinyl disk could be 120g and have excellent sound.
Of course, some of today's pressings do have excellent SQ, my point is that it's not due to the vinyl being 180 or 200g. But that's what they've given us.
As far as advantages, one of the selling points is less likely to warp, even though some new records are leaving the record plants warped.
In general I like 180 and 200g records better, but I've also found that using a record grip (I use a KAB) helps make light records (e.g., 70g Dynaflex) sound more like 140-180g records. Each weight has a different amount of damping and a different resonant frequency. Try a record grip; you'd be surprised at how much it helps all records have a similar tonal balance and noise floor.
A while back I reported a problem (on a 120g disc) in which I could hear the beginning of Side A audibly imprinted through the disc while listening to the start of side B. I'd never previously heard a phenomenon like this. It certainly wasn't the type of thing that could have been caused by print-through on a tape because you tend to hear the end of the other recording rather than the beginning. (Even if it was on the same tape). You wonder whether such an effect could have ever happened with a 180g.
Unfortunately 180g LPs can have other more serious problems (non-fill being possibly the worst - and undeniably worse than the one mentioned above).
Having read all the arguments I think flatness of the LP is possibly the most important recommendation. Good mastering should be automatic regardless of the thickness.
Dear friends: The standards to cut/press LP are the same for any LP weight, are standards as the RIAA equalization in all LP's and phono stages: can't change. Are an audio whole industry standards.
I own more low weight LP's that the heavy ones and in both cases I listening very good quality performances and very bad QP. So a heavy weight is not a warranty of better quality sound.
All of you posted almost all about and almost agree with all posts. I think that in some ways the overall recording process improved through the years and that fact makes that some today recordings be really better but not because the LP weight.
Obviously that through the marketing advertasing the industry makes that we think that heavy weight LP's are better when is not because that weight but the imagen they all builded permits to them to take advantage with a very high prices on all those heavy LP's.
That's a " great " marketing estrategy. Through the latest times existed and exist , day by day, higher demand for the LP and even that not only the LP's price does not gone down but the other way around: higher prices!!! everywhere and with no better quality LP sound!!!
This is a problem for all of us music lovers, always we customers are the ones that have to pay for it with almost no nothing in the change of each one of us money.
Do you think that LP future prices, even this trend of very high demand, could make that the prices goes down?
We will see but I seriously doubt.
Regards and enjoy the music,
Raul, that's a great point about record prices going up, not down.
I think record prices will remain high due to record pressing plants having to maintain and upgrade equipment that has been put back into service, plus there are a number of new record plants with start-up costs.
There may also be a greed factor; record labels and vendors wanting to make quick money while the vinyl business is hot.
A typical price for a 180g LP at SS Direct, Music Direct and others used to be $24.99, now new releases are higher.
Highest quality vinyl I have is Japanese from seventies and it's not 180g. I think, these thick and heavy records are a complete waist of the resources, you also have to adjust the tonearm each time you play them. In addition, I tried couple of 180g reissues, and I don't know whether it was remastering or the weight and thickness of the records or both, but I didn't really like what I heard, it felt kind of 'stupid'. Maybe my Spacedeck just doesn't like them, yeah maybe, I am quite certain it was not voiced and tuned using them. Anyway, just give me older Japanese quality regular weight vinyl and I'll be happy.
I have an audio mag from the 70's at home (Stereo Review, IIRC) with a short piece covering a record company's hyping of its new thinner pressings. The claim was the thinner vinyl would sound better. Now records come with stickers hyping their increased weight. I seriously doubt if the thickness of the record has any effect on sound quality.
I've read from a few sources that 180g has better longevity because, naturally, a record is worn down over time from the fact that the sound is produced by scratching a needle against it. More material translating to longer play time without diminishing sound quality.
Of course, I have no idea if that has any validity to it. And even if it did, you'd probably have to play the record constantly for about 100 years. But it's interesting, nonetheless. :-)
jeffdill2, don't know where you read that 180g vinyl lasts longer because of the additional thickness, but that's not how it works.
If you pressed a 100g LP and a 180g LP using the same pressing mold, they both have the same groove indentations(modulations). The difference is the amount (thickness) of vinyl between the groove modulations on either side of the LP. And if you use the same turntable/tonearm/cartridge to play both LPs, the grooves will wear down at the same rate. There isn't more groove to wear down with heavy vinyl.
In my opinion the only real advantage to heavy vinyl is the somewhat better chance of having a flatter record. That's IF the pressing process is done correctly. Unfortunately, I've run into more problems with non-fill with heavy vinyl records so for me the advantages/disadvantages of heavy vinyl is a wash. I wish the industry would just provide standard weight LPs for most everything and if perfectionists want heavy vinyl releases, they can pay for the additional cost of doing so.
As others have noted, the key to high quality LPs is not the weight of the vinyl in and of itself. I have 120g records that sound simply marvelous. I have 140g records that are to die for. I have 180g records that are stunning. I have 200g records that are great. Basically, one can achieve marvelous sound with any of these weight records. The key is the quality of the vinyl, the excellence of the source and cutting engineer, and all of the critical steps that go into cutting, plating and pressing.
At the same time, I'm very inclined to believe that in identically controlled quality of manufacturing, one can demonstrate a sonic improvement using a heavier weight of vinyl (e.g., 180g vs. 140g) due simply to the bit of mass loading provided. If my recollection serves me, Michael Hobson made this experiment during the early days of establishing Classic Records and demonstrated it at a meeting of the LA Audio Society. He also reported demonstrated a sonic improvement with his one-sided pressings vs. two-sided. Perhaps someone on the board has a link to the article I'm recalling?
the worse this is 180/200g non fill... terrible
I agree with you about the non-fill, audiotomb. Oddly, notwithstanding all the 180g purchases I made in that early era, I never experienced this problem. I think I must have lived a charmed purchasing life.
The higher quality pressing plants now pressing 180g (like RTI and Optimal) seem to have gotten this under control today with proper attention being paid to temperature control. Quality Records (QRP) is the only plant I’m aware of currently pressing 200g and they’ve re-engineered their presses for this weight vinyl - all the LPs I’ve received from them have been perfect.
And, with these 180g and 200g pressings, changing VTA is a must. I know a number of otherwise highly critical listeners who don’t change their VTA with different pressings and it makes me wonder how they can truly evaluate the sound quality. If you’re tonearm doesn’t easily allow for changing VTA (actually SRA), I understand how all of these different pressing weights turn into a big pain in the tuckus.
(For those interested, there are a number of good posts on Audiogon about changing VTA/SRA and the differences this makes.)
When I got back into vinyl in about 2005, after a 20 year hiatus, I was initially very impressed with the heavier vinyl pressings. But after a few years of purchasing many mint used records of all thicknesses, I heard no correlation between thickness and sonic quality. I think they press heavier now because they believe the marketplace demands it and to give what audiophile customers will perceive as a premium product.
Lighter weight pressings are more likely to warp over time. Whats not talked to here is scratch resistance. The old RCA's and Columbia pressings were pretty tough... you could scratch them but it was rarely more than superficial with minor "tick" sound. Later pressings were much more easily scratched with the resultant deeper scratch "pop" sound that would make it hard to enjoy the album.