• thomasrochford over 5 years ago

    I Am in the middle of an argument with a fellow vinyl enthusiast as to whether there is any difference in sound quality between coloured vinyl,ie.non-black vinyl and ordinary black vinyl.My friend says he thinks coloured vinyl results in poorer sound quality,but i have to disagree.I own many coloured vinyl records and cant hear any difference.I have found some picture discs to be of a poorer sound quality,generally,what is the consensus on this,any views.
  • BEZ over 5 years ago

    Black definitely holds up better over the years (higher carbon content). Inevitably this would lead to lesser quality with coloured vinyl...
  • Dec over 5 years ago

    Carbon black (a commodity raw material) gets added to the PVC that vinyl plants use, to make the records more durable.
    Records pressed on non-black vinyl will not last as long.
    Picture discs are a different story: instead of a disc thick enough to have a deep groove pressed into both sides, a picture disc is a sandwich of vinyl and paper, with a thin skin of clear vinyl on the outside. The groove has to be cut very shallow, like a flexi, to fit.
    Personally I would expect a picture disc to wear out after 3 plays. Anything more is a bonus.
  • unsane over 5 years ago

    In my experience, older coloured vinyl seems to be significantly less durable than modern stuff. Old thrash metal tunes I have from the mid 80's have degraded very fast on play. Modern stuff seems to last better.

    Nothing beats black for strength though. (I am still a sucker for coloured vinyl though :)
  • la-voie-du-sabre over 5 years ago

    the only coloured vinyl i found to be approaching the audio quality of black one is white vinyl.

    as for picture discs, let's say you're better off staring at them rather than playing them
  • cypherism over 5 years ago

    Coloured vs Black

    Very un-pc

    There's only one way to find out which is best ............. FIGHT !!!!!
  • djcatfood over 5 years ago

    mu 0.02, colored vinyl doesn't hold up very well relative to black vinyl. when given a choice of ltd edition colored or normal run black, i'll choose the black every time. i may not find the record as nifty looking later, but i won't be bitching about the crap sound from it.
  • double-happiness over 5 years ago

    Dec
    a picture disc is a sandwich of vinyl and paper


    Wow! Really? Never knew that. YLSNED.

    cypherism
    There's only one way to find out which is best ............. FIGHT !!!!!


    LOL'ed!
  • ricky_ramjet over 5 years ago

    Clear and colored records in my collection sound fine but they were all bought new and most probably have no more than 10-20 plays on them or so.

    One exception is the clear Basic Channel represses from ~2003. But those are pressed from the original NSC cut whereas the new black pressings, circa 2008, are remastered (at D&M, and they sound much, much better).
  • tekkno-guy over 5 years ago

    There is a thread around here somewhere where a plastics hobbyist discussed the different properties of the colors added to the vinyl solution. He said that it is the temperature difference between the colors that make some better than others. Black was the best overall and Red and Blue were the best colors other than black.

    My white vinyls have held up the worst. Clear is next worst.
  • just_the_sound over 5 years ago


    Dec
    Personally I would expect a picture disc to wear out after 3 plays. Anything more is a bonus.


    They last a hell of alot longer than that. I've got picture disks that i've played loads of times and still sound great.
  • RiP057 over 5 years ago

    I guess it all depends on the mastering and the cutting house....

    I have Ram Records pic discs that sound absolutely superb

    There are other colored records like the Sm:)e records that dont sound nearly as good

    Then again Ive got this Hardkiss record that is White and it sounds GREAT, but then again I love God Within

    I think the technology is also a factor as older colored/marbled/picdiscs didnt have the tech stuff they do today, as in the material science benefit
  • type over 5 years ago

    You are very wrong about the the picture disc info - printed paper with thin plastic film glued on (flexidisc basically) was the way they were done in the 30'ties - modern picture discs are PVC film with printing and simply clear vinyl on each side - they should sound nor worse or have lesser durability than a standard clear vinyl record.
  • cypherism over 5 years ago

    My picdiscs from early 80s still sound good

    Bad pressings don't help whatever the colour, plenty of DBX (Daniel Bell) black vinyls are skippably unplayable as the grooves might as well be on a flexi they are so shallow
  • nickacid over 5 years ago

    Dec
    ersonally I would expect a picture disc to wear out after 3 plays. Anything more is a bonus


    just_the_sound
    They last a hell of alot longer than that. I've got picture disks that i've played loads of times and still sound great.


    Agreed -i got pic discs that have been played loads and still sound great; I got a couple of Acid Files pic discs that sound awesome, but they are heavy, so maybe it depends on the weight of the vinyl used - all the coloured vinyl I have sounds just like *regular* vinyl.

    Some black vinyl I have is pressed on really thin wax and you can def tell the difference in sound quality; I'd have to agree that it depends on the pressing plant & quality of vinyl, and the weight of vinyl used - The Black Dog LP's i own (Radio Scarecrow & Further Vexations) are both pressed on heavyweight vinyl and sound great.
  • zevulon over 5 years ago

    The German clear/coloured vinyl 12"s of Depeche Mode, usually sound a lot better than the UK black vinyls - I've tested several, and came to the same result every time.

    Guess the main difference is that they are pressed at different plants.
    Maybe the German ones will deterioate faster, but they sounded better at the start, so I have my preferences clear.

    I'd say that the difference in sound quality between different BLACK vinyls tend to differ from Superb to "sounds worse than a picture disc after three plays".

    At the very best, yes, the black vinyl COULD present the best possible sound, but, we don't live in a world where we can choose The Best Material for every record that we buy. Maybe 1 out of 100?

    Then, we also have to hope for a good Master/lacquer - a good Mix, Arrangement etc. by the artists...

    I have a yellow vinyl pressing that kix many of my other vinyl like they're CDs/MP3s...
    This is a superb pressing, but only exist on pink vinyl (and maybe red)
    Jamelia - Beware Of The Dog (the Radio Slave Mix)
  • Dec over 5 years ago

    The only picture discs I have were bought in a cynical "let's see how much these will be worth in 10 years" kind of way.
    Apart from a few to complete the entire works of an artist.

    la-voie-du-sabre
    as for picture discs, let's say you're better off staring at them rather than playing them

    Or hoping that they rise in value - which they often don't.
    Which was why I stopped buying them.

    just_the_sound
    They last a hell of alot longer than that. I've got picture disks that i've played loads of times and still sound great.

    The ones that I bought to listen to didn't sound good at all.

    type
    You are very wrong about the the picture disc info

    Have you worked in a pressing plant, or are you going by any kind of experience?
    In my experience (looking carefully at picture discs that I bought) it was always normal vinyl, sandwiched with paper, and with a clear flexidisc grade finyl sandwiched outside the paper.
    This is easy to see when the central disc is clear vinyl, and the artwork was light enough to allow light through.
    Or with a black central disc, you can easily see the layers if you look at the inside of the hole.

    type
    modern picture discs are PVC film with printing

    And "modern" is how long ago?
    Sure, they could have replaced the paper with something better, but the use of paper didn't stop in the 1930s!
    I'll see if I have any (from 1970s/1980s) with tearing (or other damage) that could only be paper, and scan them.

    type
    should sound nor worse or have lesser durability than a standard clear vinyl record.

    Every picture disc that I have ever had, has got the same ultra-shallow groove cut that flexis have.
  • syntaxfreeform over 5 years ago


    just_the_sound
    They last a hell of alot longer than that. I've got picture disks that i've played loads of times and still sound great.

    +1
  • copainpale over 5 years ago

    the picture disc quality sure got better at some pressing plants, but still it can't reach the sound of "normal" pressings.
  • cypherism over 5 years ago


    Dec
    ultra-shallow groove cut that flexis have.

    Does this mean normal vinyls grooves are almost deep enough to touch thru the middle of the record ?
  • zevulon over 5 years ago


    cypherism
    Does this mean normal vinyls grooves are almost deep enough to touch thru the middle of the record ?

    They're even underground!
    Otherwise it doesn't count.
  • Eviltoastman over 5 years ago

    I heard they're so deep that the record can also be played simultaneously in China.
  • RiP057 over 5 years ago


    copainpale
    the picture disc quality sure got better at some pressing plants, but still it can't reach the sound of "normal" pressings.


    total horse shit, like I said before grab a recent, as in the last 5 years, ram picture disc, or better yet a breakbeat kaos picture disc.... like F-Zero sounds awesome
  • copainpale over 5 years ago

    k boss
  • DJFrodo over 5 years ago

    So what about records that have multicolors? Like red and black, or clear and green. So that will mean the red will were out before the black? And everytime the needle passes over the red sections, you'll notice a quality drop?

    One of my favorite pic discs:
    http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=186752
  • Eviltoastman over 5 years ago

  • stalkism over 5 years ago

    stalkism edited over 5 years ago
    type
    modern picture discs are PVC film with printing and simply clear vinyl on each side - they should sound nor worse or have lesser durability than a standard clear vinyl record.

    I'm afraid you're wrong here. Nowadays picture discs have horrible surface noise which you'll hear during the end of a song when it fades out or in silent passages. If it was clear vinyl then a lot of picture discs would be useless for the looks as most clear vinyl is actually not really clear but more milky-like. in terms of audio they're pretty useless. I only buy those as a last resort but for some bizarre reason people go crazy on picture discs. Tells you how much they care about sound quality and most of the time it's those people that say that vinyl sounds better than CD or mp3 lol.
    You can tell how they are made from looking from the side or inside the spindle hole: a "core" blank vinyl record, on top of that the picture on paper or foil and on top of that a thin layer of clear vinyl or even foil which contains the actual music. The laquer is cut the same as a regular record, so it has nothing to do with the cut. It's the clear material where the music is pressed on.
    As for the colored vinyl, you usually won't be able to tell the difference between black and colored vinyl unless you A/B compare them. I have a half black/half red record where you can hear that the surface noise on the red part is higher than on the black part (just in the run in area though). It's this record: http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=1932969
    it might also be down to the fact that such records are made by hand (black and red PVC biscuits cut in half and mangled together, prone to impurities, I guess).
  • DJFrodo over 5 years ago


    Eviltoastman
    This is my favourite:

    http://62.253.162.19/eviltoastman/My%20Rega%20Planar%20and%20Bungle%20ST.JPG

    NICE!! Might have to pick that one up! I was into Bungle when they first came out. I still rock "My Ass Is On Fire" from time to time.
  • Eviltoastman over 5 years ago

    They just reissued all their albums (black vinyl 180grm). I got another Disco Volante and a copy of California from Aural Exploits (excellent). I'm not sure what joy you'd have getting the picture Disc though.

    I love this disc as there's so much going on with it visually.
  • Dec over 5 years ago

    cypherism
    Does this mean normal vinyls grooves are almost deep enough to touch thru the middle of the record ?

    No.
    But deep enough that minor surface scratches are not audible at playback. And deep enough that the vinyl underneath the groove (or between the grooves for a disc that has a groove pressed on both sides) is able to support it as the needle gets dragged through it, and not deform.
    And deep enough to have a reasonably loud modulation that can still be tracked without skipping.
  • Dec over 5 years ago

    stalkism
    The laquer is cut the same as a regular record, so it has nothing to do with the cut.

    For all picture discs? Really??

    The first few picture discs that I bought sounded like shit. So I got a good magnifying glass, and looked at the cut on a black vinyl 7", a black vinyl 12", a 7" round picture disc, a 12" round picture disc, and a 7" black vinyl flexi (made by Lyntone).
    The picture discs had extra-shallow cuts, just like the flexi.
    After seeing that, I didn't buy too many picture discs.

    stalkism
    PVC biscuits cut in half and mangled together

    Hopefully the cutting and mangling happens before the 2 halves of the press come together, not after ;-)
  • ajtonic over 5 years ago


    stalkism

    I'm afraid you're wrong here. Nowadays picture discs have horrible surface noise


    Theyre certainly not the best, but they are playable and fun to look at and enjoy.

    If it was clear vinyl then a lot of picture discs would be useless for the looks as most clear vinyl is actually not really clear but more milky-like.


    huh? Ive got some clear vinyl thats like looking through glass. VERY TRANSPARENT. Just sayin


    As for the colored vinyl, you usually won't be able to tell the difference between black and colored vinyl unless you A/B compare them. I have a half black/half red record where you can hear that the surface noise on the red part is higher than on the black part (just in the run in area though). It's this record: http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=1932969
    it might also be down to the fact that such records are made by hand (black and red PVC biscuits cut in half and mangled together, prone to impurities, I guess).


    I think the number one reason(s) there is such a vast difference and range of opinions from record to record has to do with the quality and purity / coloring agents used in the pressing. This would also be associated with the pressing plant and what quality materials they use. Some plants may use a red that sounds great and other pressing plants may use one that has lots of impurities in it

    Next would be the mastering quality. How deep the groove is cut. etc.

    Lastly and possibly under rated would be the condition of the record in question. Is it dirty or does it still have factory dust on it? This will ofcourse make the record sound pretty bad and if its something significant it will get embedded in the surface groove while playing and then sound worse and worse after each play unless its cleaned.
  • Christopher_Jion over 5 years ago

    some questions for the picturedisc experts here:
    maybe some like this exist, maybe not, but I figured I'd ask....

    1.) Can you do a picture disc with lets say.... a printed transparency at the core rather than the PVC film/paper/cardboard/whatever? so that the artwork and text seem to be floating??
    Know what I mean?

    2.) Does a picturedisc HAVE TO be made with clear vinyl?? or is it possible to use any colored transparent vinyl? (yellow, orange, red, blue, etc...)

    3.) Lets say one had picturedisc blanks made, would it be too dangerous to have them lathe-cut due to their shallow nature?
  • stalkism over 5 years ago

    stalkism edited over 5 years ago
    I don't know about the thin layer that actually contains the music but it is a lot more fragile than a regular vinyl surface. I don't think lathe cutting a blank picture disc will work. Then again I think that Peter King dude in New Zealand does customs picture discs, I believe.
    Since not a real vinyl biscuit is used as the top layer I don't think anything else than clear is possible for the top layer but like I said I highly doubt it actually is the same vinyl that being used for regular pressing.
    ajtonic
    huh? Ive got some clear vinyl thats like looking through glass. VERY TRANSPARENT. Just sayin

    Of course I also have some clear vinyl that is actually crystal clear but for example the GZ picture discs obviously all have a crystal clear top layer but their regular clear vinyl is more milky so it's obviously something else.
    I guess you can use whatever color you like for the "core" record and I guess you could also print the picture on transparent material.
  • Christopher_Jion over 5 years ago

    hmmm interesting...

    stalkism
    GZ picture discs


    yeah, so about those... how's the quality? physical quality AND sound quality?
    when GZ did my marbled 7" they fucked up the colors and the sound.
    So I've pretty much sworn off GZ forever, ...but I would like to do a picturedisc someday.
  • copainpale over 5 years ago

    Christopher_Jion
    they fucked up


    they always manage to fuck up a lot.
  • Christopher_Jion over 5 years ago


    copainpale
    they always manage to fuck up a lot.


    yeah, for every 1 good story you hear about them, you hear about 20 horror stories.
  • stalkism over 5 years ago

    stalkism edited over 5 years ago
    yeah, their cuts are still extremely shit. worst cuts in the history of vinyl production. anyone who says otherwise has no clue. their picture discs look good and sound horrible but I've never come across a picture disc that truly sounds good. sure you can play them but the surface noise is brutal, no matter where you get them pressed.
    I do have some records pressed by GZ but cut by someone else. These are great! Their vinyl compound is truly great, it's just the cut and thus the sound quality that is lacking.
  • Christopher_Jion over 5 years ago

    I actually had my 7" cut/mastered/etc by someone who cuts alot of noise records (I forget his name at the moment, this was years ago) and had the plates sent to GZ.
    they said they got them and put them on the shelf, then later said they never arrived. pfffff.
    so I had to have them cut it and ..yeah... sounds like ass.
    (my frequencies were bonkers, BUT I have plenty of records with extreme highs and lows)
  • tekkno-guy over 5 years ago

    stalkism
    their picture discs look good and sound horrible but I've never come across a picture disc that truly sounds good. sure you can play them but the surface noise is brutal, no matter where you get them pressed.


    Audio quality on these is fine, I think.

    http://www.discogs.com/Various-NSC-1-4/release/66253
  • tekkno-guy over 5 years ago

    finally found that thread about the color temps and the quality of vinyl. Look at what schnicki81 wrote.

    http://www.discogs.com/groups/topic/222335
  • stalkism over 5 years ago

    stalkism edited over 5 years ago
    Dec

    [quote=stalkism]
    The laquer is cut the same as a regular record, so it has nothing to do with the cut.

    For all picture discs? Really??

    This record first dropped as picture disc and afterwards on regular black vinyl. http://www.discogs.com/master/15455
    I have both versions and the runout engravings on both sides are in exactly the same spots, so both pressings were done from the same master. I have uploaded a sample of both records, so you can hear yourself. The surface noise at the beginning of the track is from the picture disc. The regular version comes afterwards. I played the picture disc from the beginning so you can hear when the picture disc surface actually starts.
    http://www.zshare.net/audio/871122656e392ab9
    Both versions of this record were pressed at Optimal in Germany which is a very good pressing plant. This is probably the best sounding picture disc I have since there is only one song per side and the output of the music is very high. But still you can clearly hear the surface noise at the beginning. It becomes more or less overwhelmed when the music sets in but in more silent passages and at the end of a song you can clearly hear it. Of course this gets worse the longer the record and thus the lower the volume is (as with every record). I have a Slayer LP on picture disc which is nearly unlistenable due to the high level of surface noise when you turn it up.
  • tekkno-guy over 5 years ago

    I think most my records have some noise at the beginning...
  • la-voie-du-sabre over 5 years ago

    that's because you're a very good guy
  • microfiche over 5 years ago

    DJFrodo
    So what about records that have multicolors? Like red and black, or clear and green. So that will mean the red will were out before the black? And everytime the needle passes over the red sections, you'll notice a quality drop?

    I love that no one touched this. I have a handful of split color records some of which are half black and I love doing that to people... "please raise your hand when it sounds bad". I've got a black & white split I've played a ton and you can't notice any sound differences. I've had bad split pressings where one color did sound bad but that was no different than a random record sounding bad. I think the color thing is over blown. Take records that were made with the same parts like the black 180 version of White Light White Heat compared to the standard weight white vinyl version... I bet you couldn't tell which is which. Same can be said for the black 180 Ramones reissues compared to the standard weight red versions. No one would be able to tell the difference.
  • cypherism over 5 years ago

    Ramones, Now ya talkin' !!!!!
  • harristablist over 5 years ago

    I work in a pressing plant i haven't been there long, a few months... but,
    As far as i am aware "Black" vinyl is the best all round hands down!
    it is made up of small black pellets similar looking to blue slug pellets, but black obviously.
    It has been designed especially for the use of making records, it contains special oils etc which lubricate the stylus within the groove as its played, my advisor told me it has had 100's of thousands of pounds put into formulating the special blend of chemicals and plastics to form the perfect record, it plays & provids the very best in audio qualtiy and durability of the coloured or black records. it can be recycled and usually there is about a 2% of old recycled records in a new record.
    "Colored vinyl", is made up of pellets of clear vinyl, similar to the black vinyl and the color is just added in the form of whatever color pellets and the clear pellets..., there is a formular but it is mostly clear pellets rather than color pellets. so all color records are made from clear plastic pellets mostly therefore all color records should technically sound roughly the same(providing the same stamper was used).
    the colored vinyl can come in a whole array of colors and we have a color swatch with many shades etc possibly a 100-150, it looks like a paint chart its quite amazing really. Colored vinyl is nowhere near as good in terms of audio quality, however dope it looks!
    the main problem i am told is that color vinyl has a problem with surface noise. the wear rate is roughly the same as black, however black will sound better through its entire life span.
    coloured vinyl isnt specially manufactured for records like the black vinyl is and this is the reason for lesser quality. the same plastic pellets could be used elsewhere to make cups or whatever... You could in theory spend £100,000s on formulating a special blend pellet but who really has that kind of money to throw away....

    Id say if you where to release something go for black viny, coloured records are more of novolty/specialist items...

    The only real way of distinguishing would be to have a record pressed in black and whatever colour, made using the very same stamper. some releases in the uk may have been stamped differently so will inevitebly sound different.
  • cypherism over 5 years ago

    If people are that bothered they should be buying CDs LOL

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