Some notes about grading records.
I would prefer to use the Goldmine scale discogs offers, but it is more practical for me to have a bigger scale between VG+ and NM, so I use VG++ or EX then NM.

VG+ is basically a fully enjoyable record for me.
VG is still enjoyable, not trash, but has some background noise here and there, especially in lower passages and in between tracks. A House or Hip Hop record graded VG might play much differently than a brazilian bossa record from the 60s or an ambient record with a VG grading, the reason for this is within in the nature of the recording. Music that has less dynamics (e.g. 90s onwards), will be more forgiving than say a Klaus Schulze record on Ohr.

In my experience european grading standards can be stricter than outside europe, I try to be a conservative grader and send out records that I would expect when buying myself with that grading. The problem for me is that VG+ is the most overused grading used on the internet. That is the reason to highlight when a record is better than VG+ (compared to the VG and VG- records that I have received as VG+), but still not NM. All those records (VG+ / VG++ / Ex / etc.) should be a fully enjoyable listening experience anyway. I receive sometimes VG+ graded records that I would consider just VG, often from sellers that don't have the necessairy experience with vinyl (I'm buying strictly vinyl since I was 14 years old, a complete noob back then, that was in 1989). (And I am still learning, this whole vinyl topic is just shockingly surprising for me.)
I am sure that a VG conditioned record is a very common item when you look on fleemarkets or second hand stores, but people are afraid to name them what they really are: VG, because nobody want to buy them over the internet, so VG+ became totally abused. VG+ is in fact a high grading for me. I use VG++ or EX to indicate that you will receive a record that is totally enjoyable, but at the same time I don't want to piss off NM collectors, because true NM condition is rare. Most records that got played more than a couple of times show some ultra thin hairlines when you expect them under strong light, so that is not NM any more, but it is so much better than what I have received as VG+, so that is where I am comming from, using that extra scale between VG+ and NM.

I grade every record under strong light and try to playtest everything I list. Sometimes I can not listen to the whole LP, but often I do, before I list it, especially when it is an expensive record. I think that that is a great and necessairy service more sellers should offer, because at the end of the day, all we want is to receive records that do sound great and not only look clean. Some older LPs might look fantastic visually, but got played with a broken needle for example and play with a lot of loud background noise, which is not EX, but a G or Poor grading. As I am not a professional dealer, but just a privat selling music enthusiast, you can bet that I have listened to all records in the house anyway at some point, that means there should be no big suprises.

The other central point in this whole field is playback equipment. My perspective has changed massively in the last 5 years, because I used to be a DJ and now I am more like an audiophile. I am someone who is thrilled when the two elements come together, great performance plus the quality of the pressing, e.g. Blue Note or Columbia 6 eye. So that is two completly different worlds with different vallues, tastes and understanding of the topic. Simply put, better equipment demands better conditioned records. VG graded records on a simple DJ system might just sound right, but sound crackly and much poorer on high end equipment, because the system is more revealing. That means condition becomes more important for people with expensive needles, pre-amps, speakers.

Therefore I give you an idea of my chain, which is nice, but not high-end in any way. You can get an idea about what I use, to understand my grading better.

Technics 1200 MK2 Turntable with either Ortofon 2M Bronze needle or 2M Mono needle. That goes into a Pro-Ject Tube Box, which is a valve based phono pre-amp. That goes into a Harman/Kardon HK825 Pre-Amp to control the volume and on into two Klein & Hummel O98 active speakers (400 Watt).
Recent Activity
posted a comment on Arthur Verocai - Arthur Verocai . about 1 month ago
Incredible sound quality. The regular Mr. Bongo issue, which I have too, is really nice, but than this is just better. More clarity and details, less distortion, the regular issue is not distorted, but if you hear this, you will understand what I mean, ... See full review
posted a review of Pete Rock / InI - Center Of Attention. about 1 month ago
This is probably the definite Version of this LP. Boy, I generally dislike reissues, but this is something else!

To ground my statement.
I bought the orange label bootleg ca. 1999 when it came out, loved the music, did not care about the pressing at the ... See full review
posted a comment on Yabby You & The Prophets - Beware Dub. about 1 month ago
Exactly, I would advice anybody new to vinyl to buy their favorite vinyl (that they bought an extra expensive reissue of) as an EX 1st pressing and compare for themselves. This can prevent a lot of headache and loss of money in the first place.

I don't ... See full review
posted a comment on Sir Mack Rice - Baby I'm Coming Home. about 1 month ago
This is the original pressing. It does sound better than the L-1019 copy that I had picked up initially, but had to send it back. Here the hand claps are flying out of the mix.
The song starts... hmm, ... pretty cool, after 16 bars the engineer turns up ... See full review
posted a comment on Charlie Parker / Charlie Parker Quintet* - Bird Of Paradise / Dexterity. about 1 month ago
"Bird of Paradise" is an absolutely beautiful piece of relaxed music. This has a young Miles Davis on his muted trumpet and Max Roach is on the drums. Parker is credited for inventing Bebop which is a wild and fast genre of music, but this number is ... See full review
posted a comment on Ray Agee - The Monkey On My Back / Tragedy. about 1 month ago
I am relatively new to this genre of music, so I don't have too much knowlege to add. All I want to say is that this just a mindblowing piece of vinyl. According to 45cat this was released in 1963.
The Matrix is
a) Shirley 115-A
b) Shirley ... See full review
posted a comment on Bill Haley And His Comets - Rock Around The Clock / A.B.C. Boogie . about 1 month ago
Jesus! This has some serious balls!! If you believe you "know" this song go find the shellac.
posted a comment on Yabby You & The Prophets - Beware Dub. about 1 month ago
It is always a question of money and of how "crazy" the collector of music is imho.

I am crazy enough to look for originals, but this was a personal development that took at about 10 years of buying music. I also used to buy reissues, than at some point ... See full review
posted a comment on D.J. Cash Money* - Guess Who's Comin' To Dinner. about 1 month ago
Wow! As a friend of mine pointed out correctly: This is the best Hip Hop mixtape on vinyl from the 90s. Better than 60 Minutes of Funk Vol. 1 by Funkmaster Flex which by itself is an unstoppable killer Hip Hop mix.

What you get here is the usual way ... See full review
posted a comment on Digable Planets - Blowout Comb. about 1 month ago
Slept on...

As good as their first LP which is one of the best Hip Hop LPs from the 90s.

On the downside: The mastering is a bit dull, because it is too bass heavy on the OG 1st US pressing. One needs to add some treble in with the EQ. Not ideal, but ... See full review
posted a comment on Zakar (2) - Sensi. 5 months ago
Great smoked out 90s R&B track on the Sound Bwoy Bureill beat by Smif-N-Wessun which has dope raps in the second part. I had been looking for this track since I heard it on a DJ Ca$h Money vinyl mixtape in the 90s.
posted a comment on Goodie Mob - Soul Food. 6 months ago
Lol, you are right, it is Fighting the track after...
posted a comment that has since been deleted. 11 months ago
posted a comment that has since been deleted. 11 months ago
posted a comment on Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club. about 1 year ago
I am commenting on the issue listed on this page. I bought this when it came out (1998). It was my most expensive record back then. The retail price was very high: 80 Deutsche Mark, equally to 40€. I could have bought three other LPs for that money. The ... See full review
posted a comment on Mal Waldron With Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, Idrees Sulieman, Sahib Shihab , And Bill Hardman - Mal/2. about 1 year ago
I bought this from ebay in not very collectible condition and when it arrived, it was a personal highlight in record collecting! What A record! I was such a lucky boy that the seller advertised it as Mal Wadron (not Waldron) and the condition VG and G ... See full review
posted a comment on Ghostface Killah - Ironman. about 1 year ago
My personal best of Wu-Tang first wave LPs rating:

1. 36 Chambers - this was the most angry and innovative plus it contains the most hits.

2. Ironman - the soul chamber - the best RZA beats, only ONE weaker track (Black Jesus).

3. Liquid Swords - best ... See full review
posted a comment on Real Live - The Turnaround: The Long Awaited Drama. about 1 year ago
OG has Picture Cover and a printed insert. The original has the f/w mastering initials in the dead wax on Side A and Side C.

Classic LP that was cool when it came out and stood the test of time very well. I have been checking The Turnaround regularly ... See full review
posted a comment on Goodie Mob - Soul Food. about 1 year ago
This is the dirty version, as it should be, not clean radio versions.
posted a comment on Rudy Van Gelder. about 1 year ago
The Best. If it has that RVG stamp in the run-out groove, you can be pretty sure that the band will jump out of the speakers.
posted a comment on Roy Haynes Quartet - Out Of The Afternoon. about 1 year ago
One of the very best sounding records in my collection.
posted a comment on Goodie Mob - Soul Food. about 1 year ago
Stone Cold classic Hip Hop LP, kind of slept on. Gospel / Soul influenced, dirty south rappin' and singin', I'd say with anti establishment lyrics / slavery bashing. Beats; also using instruments, not only samples. Extremely consistant, no fillers and ... See full review
posted a comment on Herb Powers Jr.. about 1 year ago
The Rudy Van Gelder of the Electro / Funk scene (with best respect to both engineers) ;))
posted a review of Harry Mudie Meet King Tubby's* - In Dub Conference Volume One. over 2 years ago
Ok, this is my favourite LP out of all albums that I have. A bold statement, maybe untrue, but the best reggae/dub LP that I know of. Hm... maybe Treasure Dub (deep groove, red label, mono), King Tubby meets Rockers Uptown (OG Yard pressing DSR 2402) are ... See full review
posted a comment on Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else. over 2 years ago
One of the very best Jazz records ever, never getting tired of this one. Sometimes choices in music are the obvious ones.
Putting on the classics so to speak, no secret stash, this is a well known record. I compared four different copies, all pre 1966 ... See full review
posted a comment on Arthur Verocai - Arthur Verocai. over 2 years ago
This Polysom edition is better sounding than the Luv N' Haight or Kindred Spirits editions. It is very quiet (I mean loudness, not quietness of vinyl), has more dynamics / more dimension. The cymbals sound much better.
Still this is far from being ... See full review
posted a comment on Vincent Geminiani - Musique Pour Un Voyage Extraordinaire. over 2 years ago
Yes it is Stereo. I checked it only with my Mono needle when I listed it, sorry my mistake.
posted a comment on Jorge Ben - Fôrça Bruta. over 2 years ago
I also have this 1975 Stereo version you are talking about and the sound quality is exeptional. However, a friend of mine has a clean Mono copy from 1970 and belive it or not, it is actually a tick better. Despite the fact that this record has a lot of ... See full review
posted a comment on Nas - Illmatic. over 2 years ago
The difference in sound quality between the original EU pressing and the original US pressing was a real mind opener to me back in the 90s.
The difference is huge with the US version sounding so much fuller, more bass, more punch & generally louder.
I ... See full review
submitted Vincent Geminiani - Musique Pour Un Voyage Extraordinaire. over 2 years ago
posted a comment on Edu Lobo com a participação do Tamba Trio - A Música De Edu Lobo Por Edu Lobo. over 3 years ago
I don't know, this is just so mindblowing. I just love how music can transport you to other cultures and times, sophistication and melancholia.
posted a comment on Dizzy Reece - Asia Minor. over 3 years ago
Spiritus Parkus is a strong indica tune. The rest just blows minds. Jamaican trumpeter Dizzy Reece at it most affordable, the UK Esquire copy sounds mindblowing as well...
posted a comment on Prophets* / Vivian (Yabby U) Jackson* - Beware Dub. over 3 years ago
This is a 5***** Top Dub LP, fantastic sound quality on this UK pressing and highly recommended for any Dub lover.
posted a comment on Martin Rev - Martin Rev. over 3 years ago
So brutal & so relaxed at the same time. Fantastic not only for it's content, but as well for sound quality. Such a pure and dirty analog sound, fantastic rooms, I doubt that a reissue can touch that sound. Musically it's very experimental, still keeps ... See full review
posted a review of UK Apachi With Shy FX - Original Nuttah. over 3 years ago
One of the biggest anthems from the 90s, the remix 12" is cool as well.
submitted Ian Carr with Nucleus (3) - Labyrinth. over 3 years ago
submitted Linval Thompson - Train To Zion Dub. over 3 years ago
submitted The Heptones - Party Time. over 3 years ago
submitted Harry Mudie Meet King Tubby's* - In Dub Conference Volume One. over 3 years ago
posted a comment on Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - The Main Ingredient. over 3 years ago
What? No comment yet.
posted a comment on Bob Marley And The Wailers* - Soul Rebels. over 3 years ago
Doesn't sound great, but plays very clean, as long as you don't touch the EQ, it works.

Would be nice to compare to a clean Upsetter copy, in case anybody has an opinion
on the playback quality of an Upsetter's or Trojan pressing, let me know.
posted a comment on Blue Note Commemorative 75th Anniversary Series. over 3 years ago
For me, comparing sound has been always about references. What other pressings where available to compare with? What kind of equipment was used for playback? On some forums people make statements like: "It just sounds fantastic" or "The best sound I've ... See full review
posted a comment on The Godfather Of Soul James Brown* - The Payback. over 3 years ago
In case anybody is interested, this is a Bob Ludwig mastered Version with STERLING etched in the run out groove. Side 3 has a DJ etching as well.

Side 1: PD – 2 – 3007 – A – 1B STERLING (Stamped) RL (written)
Side 2: PD – 2 – 3007 – B – 1B STERLING ... See full review
posted a comment on Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). over 3 years ago
All the regular and promo only 12 inches sound great, otherwise I would seek the first US LP pressing, but of course the 12 inches do sound the best.

For this release you need at least five 12" Singles, as well as the LP.
Protect Ya Neck / Tearz 12" ... See full review
posted a comment on Blue Note Commemorative 75th Anniversary Series. over 3 years ago
This series is pure gold, the sound quality and packaging is outstanding.

I own most of these in the form of different reissues (70s Liberty or the 1997 / 180 gram series) and could only directly compare "Midnight Blue" to my mono original. The question ... See full review
posted a comment on Augustus Pablo - King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown. over 3 years ago
A good pressing indeed, clearly behind the first pressing, but very clean, no background noise, and good definition / seperation of instruments, worth a purchase and better compared to a lot of other reissues.
But compared to the OG on Yard, this sounds ... See full review
posted a review of Chico Buarque - Construção. over 3 years ago
This is so out of this world good and the epitome of what real acoustic music is supposed to sound like. The instrumentation, funkiness, melancholy, the general quality of production, level of excitement from the 70ties sound aesthetic, the arrangements ... See full review
submitted Stephan* - Astre . over 3 years ago
submitted Faustino Oramas - El Guayabero. over 3 years ago
posted a comment that has since been deleted. over 3 years ago