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Does a heavy weight vinyl have better sound than a standard weight LP?
Old 6th January 2010
  #1
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Does a heavy weight vinyl have better sound than a standard weight LP?

I would like to ask the forum for commentary on the subject of 180 gram LPs.

Does a 180 gram LP offer better sound quality than a regular (typically 125 gram) LP?

Let's assume that both LPs have equally quiet surface noise.

I genuinely do not know the answer to this so I would like to consult some vinyl experts.

with thanks,

Plush
Old 6th January 2010
  #2
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I have Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" on standard and 200g.

I can safely say, without question, that I could walk into the room and tell you which one was playing (and yes, the 200g is the better sounding of the two).

THAT SAID - I have no idea what the differences may have been while creating those records. If the difference in playback quality is attributed only to the weight of record, I'd be surprised... If they were created from the exact same press (which I'd doubt), I'd go with "higher QC for these limited runs" over anything else.
Old 6th January 2010
  #3
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I can't totally say that the weight makes a difference but when we press on 180Gram vinyl it is usually virgin and of a higher quality.

Our 160 gram stuff I would say is similar if mastered well.
Old 6th January 2010
  #4
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I've said this lots of times before - but as someone who used to work as a production manager at a vinyl pressing plant -
180 gram weight somehow being "better sounding" is one of the biggest myths in audio there is. Contrary to common misconception groove depth is set during mastering - as long as the biscuit the record is pressed from is the minimum weight needed for good fill (easily achievable at 120 grams) then the weight of the record has absolutely no effect on this. Heavier records are indeed easier to make sure they are flat and stay that way - but this factor is easily achievable at weights of around 130 grams.

The quality and care put into the mastering, pressing and plating has substantial more to do with the sound of a record than the weight of the record ever does. One thing though - pressing plants will sometimes put more effort into quality control of their heavier weights as they realize anyone ordering 180grams or above is looking for an "audiophile" oriented product. Anyway - I personally think that 140grams is more than enough to make a good record with.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 6th January 2010
  #5
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But 180 Grams feels better to on the hands as a dj ;-)
I agree that
Mastering,
plating are the biggest factors, then the rest is less important.

As I mentioned I think the heavy weight stuff they just put more care into making it.
Old 6th January 2010
  #6
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160 is a minimum IMO for dj'ing, the rest is really too fragile and bendable - and i don't care what my back says ...i use the others as well, sure, but their lifetime is usually pretty short given the "hard" conditions they're used in.
But pressing 200 or 220 is luxury, and the vinyls tend to last longer when pressed heavier. Otherwise, i don't think there's really any difference at all in sound when the vinyl is well mastered and pressed.
Old 6th January 2010
  #7
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I've never noticed a difference really. Apart maybe the cyclic bumps you get from differential cooling. They feel good though, almost as nice as holding a 12" lacquer....If you ask a factory for "audiophile" pressing, you'll get the top of the range QC what ever the weight you specify.
Old 6th January 2010
  #8
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As a regular gigging dance DJ I can tell you that heavy vinyl is so so so so so much easier to spin.

Also something I have noticed recently: thin, ****ty runs often have really badly cut holes, meaning the tiniest little bump with my hand can send us a whole beat off!

The above happens a lot with white label bootlegs, I'm guessing you don't feel the need to spend the extra bucks when it's not legit..
Old 6th January 2010
  #9
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I agree with Cellotron,there's no difference in sound quality with different weights. The only difference is that the heavier records remain more flat than standard weights.
Old 7th January 2010
  #10
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Thank you, all.
I appreciate the replies.

I am wanting to make a new LP and I was considering the choice between heavy weight and standard weight.
Old 7th January 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
I've said this lots of times before - but as someone who used to work as a production manager at a vinyl pressing plant -
180 gram weight somehow being "better sounding" is one of the biggest myths in audio there is. Contrary to common misconception groove depth is set during mastering - as long as the biscuit the record is pressed from is the minimum weight needed for good fill (easily achievable at 120 grams) then the weight of the record has absolutely no effect on this. Heavier records are indeed easier to make sure they are flat and stay that way - but this factor is easily achievable at weights of around 130 grams.

The quality and care put into the mastering, pressing and plating has substantial more to do with the sound of a record than the weight of the record ever does. One thing though - pressing plants will sometimes put more effort into quality control of their heavier weights as they realize anyone ordering 180grams or above is looking for an "audiophile" oriented product. Anyway - I personally think that 140grams is more than enough to make a good record with.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
I wonder what the implications of this information would be relative to those old flexi-disks, you know the bendable thingies that you'd sometimes get in magazines and what not? I have some that were sold by Philips I think for use on their portable players... probably a wonder they played at all!
Old 7th January 2010
  #12
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As a consumer, 180g feels better.

It's aesthetics at a certain point. And psychology.

The weight feels... weighty.

I like it.

I'm more inclined to buy it.

That's the way it goes as a music lover.

Not always about logic.

Feel.

Today's vinyl consumer is someone who values feel and will pay for it.

That's the deal.

Do it.

- c
Old 7th January 2010
  #13
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Today's vinyl consumer will indeed pay for it.

They will pay $30-$40 for a 180 gram LP that costs $2 and a gatefold jacket that costs $2.

I too see 180 gram as a pleasant "handling" experience.

Mainly though, it seems like the 180 gram "experience" is mostly a way to lighten the pocketbook of the buyer.

It creates a super premium selling price for the maker/seller.
Old 7th January 2010
  #14
LFF
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If the mastering is the SAME, there should be no difference.

That being said, I do notice a difference between the standard and higher weight vinyl - mostly in the noise and audible tick department. Heavy weight vinyl tends to be much more quiet.
Old 7th January 2010
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Today's vinyl consumer will indeed pay for it.

They will pay $30-$40 for a 180 gram LP that costs $2 and a gatefold jacket that costs $2.

I too see 180 gram as a pleasant "handling" experience.

Mainly though, it seems like the 180 gram "experience" is mostly a way to lighten the pocketbook of the buyer.

It creates a super premium selling price for the maker/seller.
where do you press ??? i wanna know where you get those prices!!!
2$/1 180gm vinyl is ridiculously low, at least seen from the european point of view.
Old 7th January 2010
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
As a consumer, 180g feels better.

It's aesthetics at a certain point. And psychology.

The weight feels... weighty.

I like it.

I'm more inclined to buy it.

That's the way it goes as a music lover.

Not always about logic.

Feel.

Today's vinyl consumer is someone who values feel and will pay for it.

That's the deal.

Do it.

- c
i agree, it's a huge selling point.

even if it's an urban myth it shows the buyer there's been extra special care taken in the production process.

jeremy
Old 7th January 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post
If the mastering is the SAME, there should be no difference.

That being said, I do notice a difference between the standard and higher weight vinyl - mostly in the noise and audible tick department. Heavy weight vinyl tends to be much more quiet.
AGAIN - the reason one pressing may have less surface noise than another has nearly everything to do with the care taken during the plating and pressing - and the quality/purity of the vinyl used - and very little to do with the weight of the record once necessary minimums are met.

AGAIN - some plants make a practice of doing more stringent quality control for their heavier weight products. So there is in fact a reason why many heavier pressings do sound better - but not specifically because of their weight.

Regarding using only "virgin" vinyl - there is in fact an advantage to using some amount of regrind (recycled vinyl) as heating and grinding the pvc up again makes it a more homogenized material, which allows it to make a record with less surface noise. There's a distinct disadvantage to using regrind though - in that if there are any contaminants like paper or burnt vinyl in it then it will definitely create a record with more surface noise. So the care taken in how vinyl is recycled is again a huge factor in the quality of the record as well.

As far as aesthetics - I agree that a heavier record "feels" better to the end user. I still think this goal can be achieved at a medium pressing weight of around 140 grams though.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 7th January 2010
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
AGAIN - the reason one pressing may have less surface noise than another has nearly everything to do with the care taken during the plating and pressing - and the quality/purity of the vinyl used - and very little to do with the weight of the record once necessary minimums are met.

AGAIN - some plants make a practice of doing more stringent quality control for their heavier weight products. So there is in fact a reason why many heavier pressings do sound better - but not specifically because of their weight.

Regarding using only "virgin" vinyl - there is in fact an advantage to using some amount of regrind (recycled vinyl) as heating and grinding the pvc up again makes it a more homogenized material, which allows it to make a record with less surface noise. There's a distinct disadvantage to using regrind though - in that if there are any contaminants like paper or burnt vinyl in it then it will definitely create a record with more surface noise. So the care taken in how vinyl is recycled is again a huge factor in the quality of the record as well.

As far as aesthetics - I agree that a heavier record "feels" better to the end user. I still think this goal can be achieved at a medium pressing weight of around 140 grams though.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Amen! It the "More is Better" way of thinking that drives people to believe this...Some plants (RTI) do a fantastic job pressing heavy weight vinyl. Part of what you're paying for is the extra quality control. It's harder to press heavy weight vinyl, and sometimes the results are not as clean as a 130-140g pressing (Unless it's from a plant that specializes in it). As far as I'm concerned, 180g vinyl fits into the same category as $150 IEC cords. (Although it looks and feels better than a $150 IEC cord)
Old 7th January 2010
  #19
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Again, you guys are being too logical about this.

It's art.

It's all about feel.

Vinyl isn't really an "efficient" way to connect with music.

It's all about ceremony.

If the music was recorded with care and the audience is small but passionate, go 180g and don't worry about whether it's marketing or not.

It's a sensuous experience for the buyer. And that's valid, not foolish.

I mean, who the hell is looking for a bargain in vinyl? Music is free if you want to save money. Any song you want. Any time. Free. I don't download music myself (don't even know how, tell you the truth) but the average consumer thinks of music as free.

Vinyl buyers aren't pursuing a bargain. They're pursuing an experience and a sense of connection and physicality. 180g embodies that totally. There's a sense of import.

- c
Old 7th January 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
It's art.

It's all about feel.
I was never a fan of the '72 El Dorado but there is no accounting for taste. I like 120-140g.
Old 7th January 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Again, you guys are being too logical about this.
You're being logical too, though the valid & specific technical aspects, as Steve has pointed out and without which the vinyl format (done well) just wouldn't have become hi-fi, can't be ignored.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I don't download music myself (don't even know how, tell you the truth) but the average consumer thinks of music as free.
There's that C word again...
We all know music has value. We can encourage appreciation & paying for it. Support artists. Encourage maintained quality control, right thru from mastering, cutting, pressing & QC.
And the many playback variables – most of the sonic issues are actually right there. I was happy to playback a recent client's 7" single in the studio yesterday - he was slightly concerned worried about sibilance but it all sounded fine. Problem: likely tracing distortion/tone arm at his end.
Old 8th January 2010
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master View Post
I have Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" on standard and 200g.

I can safely say, without question, that I could walk into the room and tell you which one was playing (and yes, the 200g is the better sounding of the two).

THAT SAID - I have no idea what the differences may have been while creating those records. If the difference in playback quality is attributed only to the weight of record, I'd be surprised... If they were created from the exact same press (which I'd doubt), I'd go with "higher QC for these limited runs" over anything else.
I had the privilege and pleasure of cutting the lacquers for that release.
Old 8th January 2010
  #23
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I'm chiming in on this thread not as a mastering engineer --- the vinyl work I do gets sent to Chicago Mastering or Salt --- but as a nutty music fan and collector of vinyl. The recent focus on high quality vinyl mastering has benefitted me tremendously (and some of the people in this thread have mastered some of my records I own that sound great).

My grasp of the physics of vinyl is limited and the topic has always made my eyes glaze over a bit. My only real point is that the listener enjoys feeling connected to something that was made with care.

Bjork vinyl is 140g and it sounds great. And the label on the front proudly proclaims "140g" as a badge of honor.

My 180g Wilco, Radiohead, and John Vandreslice records sound and feel AMAZING (although Radiohead's records seem to be mastered very hot like their CD's, which is baffling and disappointing. What's the point of that?).

So, whatever works, I guess.

If 180g is a scam, it's worked on me, I guess.

I don't own any 180g platters that don't sound incredible to me.

- c
Old 8th January 2010
  #24
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180g is not a scam (even if there's no difference in sound provided the ME and pressing plant did their job propperly) it's comfort.
It's just an object that inspires more confidence than a shaky, easy-bend easy-break 140g vinyl.

And as mentionned before, when you spin on a regular basis, you find that your heavyweight vinyls don't get harmed as much as the lightweight records by the sometimes harsh conditions they're used in - you sometimes find yourself wondering what kind of silly alien zoo you landed in and there's almost more going on behind the decks than in front, making you feel like you're playing on a small barge in a north sea storm... in this case heavy vinyls have a kindof reassuring effect on me
Old 8th January 2010
  #25
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I don't have anything against 180g other than I don't like the feel of it. But that's me as a buyer not an ME. As long as it's an aesthetic decision and not a sound quality decision it's fine with me.
Old 8th January 2010
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spasm_dtc View Post
180g is not a scam (even if there's no difference in sound provided the ME and pressing plant did their job propperly) it's comfort.
It's just an object that inspires more confidence than a shaky, easy-bend easy-break 140g vinyl.
imho you're 30 grams off. 110 grams is indeed shaky and easy-bend, easy-break. No way in heck is 140 grams. 110 grams is also a weight that is difficult to consistently produce flat records at. Add just 10 or 15 grams to the biscuit and this becomes much less of an issue at the press. By 140 grams you start achieving a sense of "heft" as well.

Quote:
And as mentionned before, when you spin on a regular basis, you find that your heavyweight vinyls don't get harmed as much as the lightweight records by the sometimes harsh conditions they're used in - you sometimes find yourself wondering what kind of silly alien zoo you landed in and there's almost more going on behind the decks than in front, making you feel like you're playing on a small barge in a north sea storm... in this case heavy vinyls have a kindof reassuring effect on me
Good point regarding that if a release is aimed at the DJ market that the extra weight becomes a greater selling point as well.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 8th January 2010
  #27
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for the DJ market there is very little really at 180grams. It is a really good feeling when you drop on a DJ your vinyl at 180 grams and well mastered. I keep run times low and use low compression but cut loud.

One of my proudest moments when I was in a shop in Belgium (well known techno store) and I wanted to sell a few records. The guys of course are playing some older techno like Adam Beyer and the likes. Of course they try the whole ya we hear it all the time everyone has the best pressings, blah blah blah spiel.

Then they drop it on the record player all there levels go red and the stern looks go to really big smiles.

My best analogy to vinyl is film. If you use it correctly there is nothing in digital that can match it for the consumer market. But like film it has its limitations also. Black levels on film will always be under par over digital, but digital can never do the same colour balances.
Old 8th January 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
...I don't own any 180g platters that don't sound incredible to me...
That's because nobody's going to spend the extra money on shipping for anything that only sounds ordinary.
Old 8th January 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 807Recordings View Post
f

Then they drop it on the record player all there levels go red and the stern looks go to really big smiles.
either their gear's set up wrong or you must go through cutter heads pretty often and be keeping Vinylium in business!
Old 8th January 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by First Aid View Post
either their gear's set up wrong or you must go through cutter heads pretty often and be keeping Vinylium in business!
I did not cut it, The Exchange did

Annnnndd NOOOpe. You can cut louder if you use less time on a record.

A record cut with +3dB will sound fuller than one compressed 6dB.
Reality sadly is most people rather cut more tracks then one good track per side.

EP vs 12inch.
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