How to buy vinyl records

June 27, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

12 comments on “How to buy vinyl records”

  1. Make sure they are first pressings and in near mint condition from a reputable seller. Records can be damaged if played on a poor turntable or on a turntable not accurately calibrated or played with a defective cartridge.

  2. True, there are good and bad recordings. But it you buy vintage record buy them from a reputable seller as Joe says. They also will take a record back, if it does not fulfill the standard promised. If you buy in the internet use Discogs. The sellers there have a grading. Look für mint condition. But even this grading is sometimes substandard. So send it back, especially when the item is expensive. If you buy new pressings the quality also varies. Sometimes there are faulty pressings. A good dealer will always change it or take it back. When buying by chance in a thrift shop or so, don’t pay too much. If the record is bad consider it as a donation.

    1. Good points BerniJue. Thanks for following up with good advice. Also tell your seller to separate the album from the album cover before shipping or the cover will likely be damaged by the weight of the album and improper handling which frequently occurs. Proper packaging for shipping is a must. Pay extra to ship it in a larger box with lots of bubble wrap.

  3. The second vinyl recording I purchased when I restarted my vinyl collection was in ‘72. Sheffield Lab “Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues II.
    An awesome take on ‘America’.
    I was very picky after that one.

  4. AcousticSounds online and look specifically for their Analogue Production Quality record pressings, LP’s recorded in 45 speed are fabulous.
    Disc dogs is a hit/miss just IMHO.
    Also as Paul mentioned Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs Original master recordings
    But as Paul mentioned also, it all depends on the recording.

    And Paul it is Waukesha WI pronounced Wakishaw lol,

    Have a blessed day!

    1. +1 agree BN Tone Poet vinyl has been exceptional so far. Have about 20 or so and some of the best new pressings of great old jazz recordings.

  5. I could make lists of labels, say what’s partly wrong imo of the statements so far, try to recommend places to get consulting…but finally this made me aware how difficult and long a good answer to this question is. Not even when extended to past’s great releases, but alone to pick the right ones from now on.

    I realized that so far I thought, why not everyone simply makes the most meaningful choices, too…until this video made me aware that I have 35 years experience and practice in this, owning every best release important for me since then. And that it’s indeed not so simple for newbies.

    With the right choices, nearly every vinyl release is clearly better sounding than the digital one (independent of what one thinks about each concepts basic sound). With wrong or average choices, there’s not enough difference or worse.

    If one concentrates on new releases only (no out of print) in the genres classical or pop/rock, it’s less complicated imo and one can buy quite relaxed what’s available, as the majority of those is digitally sourced anyway (means there are more rarely different worthy masterings available of one album to choose from) and less analog reissues available. Less to think about here, but also less advantage of vinyl if n those genres the out of print mass is not included.

    Vinyl is not for the rather superficial of us who want the sound advantage without too much care. I guess more than a few therefore decided to go digital with the disadvantage of less comparably superior releases available, but with the advantage to not have to care about what’s not existing as worthy alternatives. And among those without alternatives there are enough good ones, too.

  6. If it is classical music – of course not all terrific but in general: Decca (and London to a lesser extent) engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson in Kingsway Hall; EMI (Angel to a lesser extent) with Christopher Parker and Christopher Bishop; Mercury & RCA shaded dogs and their reissues; Lyritas are usually pretty good. Wilson Recordings; Reference Recordings; and of course The Absolute Sound recommended list of LPs

  7. The comments so far have been about new records. Buying used adds other problems such as worn grooves and scratches. Always examine them in the brightest light you have available. The best in my experience is sunlight. It shows everything.

  8. In my vinyl buying days I would usually go With Deutsche Gramophone if I had a choice. To my ears they were the best recorded and mastered recordings. Also the vinyl seemed a bit darker and better quality.

    1. That’s interesting…for me DG is more or less the worst sounding classical label (doesn’t mean there aren’t also good ones among DG releases, I have quite a few).

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