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From my experience, most of the major label repressing tend to be a bit pointless. A lot seem to be done from digital remasters which defeats the purpose of listening to music on an analogue format anyway. Those back-to-black issues are terrible for instance and no care seems to be taken over the releases at all. They're just slapped out to fill the shelves at Fopp and for people to say they have, rather than enjoy listening to.

 

Most reissues are a waste of time anyway – just browsing through a few links posted here, there's a Stan Getz album that's going for £15 on reissue. It's a £5 second hand purchase maximum and comes up constantly. Why not just get an original pressing in glorious mono as intended? Unless it's being presented as an audiophile heavy pressing and costs accordingly, lots and lots and lots of reissued music is dubiously sourced and sounds wack. You get Kind of Blue for £6 sometimes in HMV etc., it's no surprise it's flimsy and weak. 

 

I'm feeling free to talk like a snob as it's a snobby pastime, and being a bit of an audiophile is important. Otherwise why bother buying them? They're bulky, inconvenient and degrade but the sound is unparalleled. I guess what I'm saying is, always try and get the original pressings where possible. Certain genres – pretty much anything from Africa or India for instance – only seems to exist in dreadful condition so reissues are the only option, but there's so much second hand stuff that's affordable it's not worth compromising in my opinion.

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24 minutes ago, Art Vandelay said:

From my experience, most of the major label repressing tend to be a bit pointless. A lot seem to be done from digital remasters which defeats the purpose of listening to music on an analogue format anyway. Those back-to-black issues are terrible for instance and no care seems to be taken over the releases at all. They're just slapped out to fill the shelves at Fopp and for people to say they have, rather than enjoy listening to.

 

Most reissues are a waste of time anyway – just browsing through a few links posted here, there a Stan Getz album that's going for £15 on reissue. It's a £5 second hand purchase maximum and comes up constantly. Why not just get an original pressing in glorious mono as intended? Unless it's being presented as an audiophile heavy pressing and costs accordingly, lots and lots and lots of reissued music is dubiously sourced and sounds wack. You get Kind of Blue for £6 sometimes in HMV etc., it's no surprise it's flimsy and weak. 

 

I'm feeling free to talk like a snob as it's a snobby pastime, and being a bit of an audiophile is important. Otherwise why bother buying them? They're bulky, inconvenient and degrade but the sound is unparalleled. I guess what I'm saying is, always try and get the original pressings where possible. Certain genres – pretty much anything from Africa or India for instance – only seems to exist in dreadful condition so reissues are the only option, but there's so much second hand stuff that's affordable it's not worth compromising in my opinion.


Thanks. With so many reprints of old albums out there I guess it’s pretty hard to establish which are the best versions to buy. I see a lot of ‘limited 180g’ tags which suggests A high quality product but I guess a lot of the time it’s just a marketing ploy. 
 

Do you generally think that visiting record shops and buying decent (looking) quality vinyl of classics (assuming a reasonable price) is the way to go? 
 

For example, I love Pet sounds (Cliche but whatever) and would like to get it on vinyl. I could choose...

 

The modern reissue

Any old version that looks In good condition

A more expensive fancy limited reissue which, presumably a company might take some time over 
Another choice! 
 

Or is it all about doing some research and taking each case as it comes. 

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With a release like Pet Sounds (no cliché there at all, everyone should have it!) I'd maybe go for a good original or a fancy reissue if it has some bonus material. I think the Australian version of it with an unusual cover is usually around £25 and a very good condition LA pressing would be north of £50. This is where it gets tricky – it's a big jump up from the £15 reissue to owning the original pressing, so you just need to question why you want it. If it's to listen to it at home on a nice format and have the package to own then that's absolutely fine. I don't want to recommend wasting money based on my admittedly narrow opinion of collecting records. My experience is that I've regretted spending £15 when for a bit more I could have the original, which generally increases in value over time and has a good chance of being close to how the artist intended it to be heard.

 

There's no right way of building a collection though, so don't take my word as gospel. I tend to scour Discogs a lot before getting a reissue as the nerds over there are usually good at spotting a bad one. 

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You've got to be careful with remasters too. Quite often all they do is make them louder and decrease the dynamic range. 

 

It's not true that vinyl is a superior recording format to a CD. 

 

It is true that horribly compressed loud modern masters would cause the needle to jump all over the place on a record, and so often they master the vinyl either quieter or with more dynamic range. 

 

The dynamic range database is a good resource to check whether the vinyl will sound better than the digital streaming/CD version. 

 

https://www.vox.com/2014/4/19/5626058/vinyls-great-but-its-not-better-than-cds

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Pet Sounds. I think in the last decade of record fair shopping I've yet to come across a decent copy, if one at all. Strangely allusive given its popularity in it's day. I mentioned it to a a seller once, he said the majority they get in are just so mashed they get binned instantly.

 

Represses and remasters are a bit of a horrible minefield of trial and error. Some reissues and remasters are better than the originals (Zappa for example), but it is very rare indeed. Bad pressing plants can play their part in the travesty, but for me its mostly about if the cutting engineer doing the cut knows what they are doing, there are so few about these days.

 

Recent reissues that have been worth their salt are...

 

Zappa

Stereolab

Prince (Warner material)

Beatles

Prefab Sprout (Can only vouch for Jordan the Comeback)

Japan (Virgin era)

 

Music on Vinyl are quite a trustworthy label for reissues, I don't think I've been disappointed with their stuff so far. Also Warp Records, when they do them.

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The Prince stuff that's been released is brilliant. Really generous packages full of unreleased material and they sound great. Loads of his stuff on CD sounds dreadful as they fell in that weird period where engineers hadn't a clue how to make anything sound good on the format, so these are a great resource.

 

I forgot about Music on Vinyl – I have a few and are great. I picked up a Placebo (the Marc Moulin one, not the 90s band) in Gent that's superb. They're perfect for holy grails you've given up owning.

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Well I picked up (ordered) the Prince 4LP 1999 remaster, the Mono Analogue Productions Pet sounds 2LP set and the Frank Zappa Live in New York 3LP 40th anniversary set. So looking forward to trying all those. 
 

Question on cart changes. I’m gonna replace / upgrade the cartridge on my Project Debut 3 to the Ortofon 2m red. I actually bought it ages ago but never got round to it. Never changed a cart before. 
 

I’ve watched a few vids. I have a force gauge and a laminate cart alignment template. Any tips? Videos make it look reasonably easy with the main tip to be to take your time but hit me up with any of your experience. 

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I'm wondering if I should upgrade my stylus/cartridge.

 

I have a NAD C588 which comes with Ortofon 2M Red. 

 

Is there a solid upgrade for this that I can get by spending a couple hundred?

 

Cheers more well versed turntable heads!

 

EDIT: Also, my turntable goes into the line in on a Sonos setup, and the preamp I currently have is always on, meaning the Sonos cannot auto switch to the turntable as the line in is always hot. Is there a preamp that powers down after a while and turns on automatically when it 'hears' a record? That would be a sweet user upgrade.

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6 hours ago, Horribleman said:

I'm wondering if I should upgrade my stylus/cartridge.

 

I have a NAD C588 which comes with Ortofon 2M Red. 

 

Is there a solid upgrade for this that I can get by spending a couple hundred?

 

Cheers more well versed turntable heads!

 

EDIT: Also, my turntable goes into the line in on a Sonos setup, and the preamp I currently have is always on, meaning the Sonos cannot auto switch to the turntable as the line in is always hot. Is there a preamp that powers down after a while and turns on automatically when it 'hears' a record? That would be a sweet user upgrade.

 

The Audio Technica VM540ML 

https://eu.audio-technica.com/VM540ML

 

No more IGD with this. I had the 2M Red for a couple of weeks, didn't like it and sold it on as-new.

 

Its been around for a while in different guises this one, was previously AT440MLa and 440Lb, but AT got wise to its popularity and put the price up 

 

Don't take my word for it, have a read around, but look at articles on the 440MLa/b and VM540ML as they are pretty much the same thing

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17 hours ago, Yiggy said:

Well I picked up (ordered) the Prince 4LP 1999 remaster, the Mono Analogue Productions Pet sounds 2LP set and the Frank Zappa Live in New York 3LP 40th anniversary set. So looking forward to trying all those. 
 

Question on cart changes. I’m gonna replace / upgrade the cartridge on my Project Debut 3 to the Ortofon 2m red. I actually bought it ages ago but never got round to it. Never changed a cart before. 
 

I’ve watched a few vids. I have a force gauge and a laminate cart alignment template. Any tips? Videos make it look reasonably easy with the main tip to be to take your time but hit me up with any of your experience. 

 

The Zappa one is superb. Unless you a Prince nut, I think the 2 disc 1999 is better, as the 4 disc has a lot of repetition on it, even I don't play it. I didn't personally rate the remaster, but I had grown up with the original so its still my go-to. 

 

Sounds like you have the right kit for the cart change, just take your time. I've got a Technics now, so the headshell detaches nicely, but I did it once on a Rega and it was awful. I think the hardest bit out of all of it is the 4 tiny cables sheaths from the arm onto the cart itself. 

 

Give yourself an hour, plenty of room, a flat surface, plenty of light, the right tools, magnifying glass helps, and a swear jar. You'll get there

 

 

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I don’t know how often I will get chance to do this, or how long it will last, but tonight I listed my Discogs vinyl collection alphabetically (by title) until I got to a release I wasn’t 100% familiar with - then dug it out and stuck it on. First up was A Fifth of Beethoven by the Walter Murphy Band, from 1976. Here’s my review:

 

The whitest kind of Disco. Tracks A1-A3 are all pretty cheesy and bad. The title track is good, but I can’t see myself playing it often. Closing track on side A is a nice smooth jazz-funk groove which ends rather abruptly.
B1 has a section that’s slightly reminiscent of Love Hangover and that’s the most positive thing I can say about it. B2 and B3 are both smooth jazzy disco numbers, which are not bad. B4 has a funky beat and is just ok. Dull ballad to finish. 

 

Gonna list it for sale. 

 

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13 hours ago, acidbearboy said:

I don’t know how often I will get chance to do this, or how long it will last, but tonight I listed my Discogs vinyl collection alphabetically (by title) until I got to a release I wasn’t 100% familiar with - then dug it out and stuck it on. First up was A Fifth of Beethoven by the Walter Murphy Band, from 1976. Here’s my review:

 

The whitest kind of Disco. Tracks A1-A3 are all pretty cheesy and bad. The title track is good, but I can’t see myself playing it often. Closing track on side A is a nice smooth jazz-funk groove which ends rather abruptly.
B1 has a section that’s slightly reminiscent of Love Hangover and that’s the most positive thing I can say about it. B2 and B3 are both smooth jazzy disco numbers, which are not bad. B4 has a funky beat and is just ok. Dull ballad to finish. 

 

Gonna list it for sale. 

 

 

It's on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack I seem to remember. I think it's part of a huge swathe of over produced disco from that era that is really unpopular now. Having said that, it's a fun track and there's a Soulwax remix that is genuinely very good. Also, Walter Murphy did Afternoon of a Faun which is a brilliant, and much less cheesy tune so he has some pedigree I suppose.

 

I have a few bits like that which I've probably got from charity shops which never get played, but occasionally you hear someone play them in a different context and you get a chance to reevaluate them a bit. That's always the dilemma with getting rid of records I guess! 

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47 minutes ago, kernow said:

I get rid of records I know for a fact will never play again. Makes more sense than just keeping it

Exactly. Hoping to trim down the collection a little further. I've already sold loads of vinyl over the last 10-15 years, but mostly singles. What I am left with now is a lot of albums that I bought for one particular track, or just on a whim. If I have the good tracks elsewhere, either 12", CD or digital, I'll probably get rid. I like to keep albums that play well from start to finish, or at least one side. I have the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack LP anyway, and I'm almost certain I'll have A Fifth of Beethoven on a disco compilation anyway, and there's the A+ track from the 90s which sampled it.

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Discogs will give you an estimate once you enter the grading, though I'm not sure what information they use to arrive at that figure. I tend to look at other sellers' prices and adjust accordingly, trying to undercut them if possible, whilst also taking into account the item condition and how many other copies are for sale - paying particular attention to what's currently available in the UK, as international shipping for vinyl is never cheap.

 

Let's take that Walter Murphy LP as an example. There are 18 copies for sale (plus many other variants I'm sure) but only one of those is in the UK. Asking price is £5 +£3 shipping, with a make offer option. Assuming my copy is also VG+/VG+ or better, I would list it for £2 (my shipping cost is £4).   

https://www.discogs.com/sell/release/5625932?ev=rb

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I generally take stuff to the charity shop if it's worth less than a pound (profit) or if the condition is a bit worse for wear.

 

Next up in my list is About Love by Gladys Knight and The Pips, from 1980. This one was written and produced by Ashford & Simpson and they did some great work. Landlord is a good mid-tempo disco/soul number to start things off. Taste of Bitter Love is the killer track from the LP, but I also have it on 12" (b/w Add It Up). Still Such A Thing is a traditional soul track and pretty average. Get The Love is more uptempo, but again, nothing special. Side 2 starts in much the same fashion as side 1; Add It Up is another good mid-tempo soul track, followed by disco classic Bourgie', Bourgie'. I have the single edit on a CD compilation, a tidy alternative vocal version by John Davis and the Monster Orchestra, as well as the classic original instrumental by Ashford & Simpson themselves. Friendly Persuasion is next (which Breakbot sampled on Easy Fraction from their debut LP) and it's a decent soul number. We Need Hearts closes the album but I lose interest before the track itself has ended. So that's 3 sub-par tracks, 3 good tracks and 2 great tracks which I have elsewhere. I think I might let this one go too and buy the couple of album tracks I do like digitally. 

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Spent a couple hours setting up the tracking angle, all the shit with protractors and stuff.

 

Swapped out the Ortofon 2M Red stylus for a 2M Blue and swapped the hidden preamp for a NAD one to: 1) Match my turntable 2) Add auto power off.

 

The main upgrade aside from everything sounding properly balanced and nice, with no distortion, is that I can just click the button on the preamp to turn it on and the line output goes live and automatically selects the line in in the Play 5 (left speaker). This saves the faffing about looking for a phone when someone else has had spotify on last, and because the previous preamp never turned off, there was always a hot signal to the Sonos line in, so it didn't know when there was any change in the input.

 

Sorted out nicely!

 

I massively fucked the RCA cable though, I sprayed it black to make it less conspicuous on my setup because it was a clear one. But the paint never dried. Gross.

 

Hunting around in the cellar I found an old Cambridge Audio cable that was an ok colour and chopped and soldered the ends back on so it doesn't have about a metre of unneeded cable to hide somewhere.

 

I think it's great!

 

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On 05/03/2020 at 09:17, Art Vandelay said:

To all the superstar DJs here, can I have an opinion on mixers? I currently have an Allen & Heath xone 32 which frankly is my world. Glorious analogue warmth hand crafted in Cornwall. However, I am seriously attracted to one of the Pioneer DJM series, quite probably the 800 for all the bells and whistles. I’ve tried adding effects pedals to my setup but it’s a workaround at best.

 

Does anyone have one from that series? They’re approaching industry standard so I’m guessing the sound quality is decent and I suspect viewed in the cold hard light of day, the Pioneer is probably better but that’s speculation on my part. 

 

Did you get sorted for something here? Why do you want to get rid of the A&H?

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I found that the anti skating dial on my record player is way out. It seems to me that you want a slight inward trajectory to counteract the outer groove 'pushing' the tonearm towards the centre of the record, which would mean you get distortion / slight volume bias on the left channel.

 

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10 hours ago, Don Rosco said:

 

Did you get sorted for something here? Why do you want to get rid of the A&H?

 

Ah, thanks for the follow-up. I wanted to replace the A&H, albeit very grudgingly, because I buy a lot of music that doesn't fit into rigid time signatures like latin, jazz, dub, soul, disco etc. and wanted to smoothen out transitions with some nice delay and reverb effects – just like the pros! Also, the x:one 32 has 3 channels and I needed an extra for the two deck / two CDJ set-up I have without switching about input settings as I went. 

 

I went for the Pioneer DJM 800 second hand and was lucky and got a practically unused one for £600. It is a lot of mixer for the money and is all sorts of fun to play with. I feel it's opened up my DJing a lot and I can do some cool mixes between different genres now which I would struggle with before. The echo sounds incredible when playing a bit of techno too. The filters aren't quite as subtle, and there's probably a very small trade-off in the warmth of the sound. Having said that, I have Technics SL–1200s which are an incredible piece of kit, but not exactly audiophile standard so some of this will be moot.

 

I haven't had it in me to sell the Allen & Heath yet as it's such a nice thing to own. What do you you use out of interest?

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Ah yeah, the effects come in very handy for that kind of thing alright. Filters on the pioneers are definitely a weak spot, they stand out a mile I think. Loads of other really useful stuff on them though. How do you find the sound after your Allen & Heath? I think the first generation of the pioneers didn't sound great, but they've improved massively. 

 

I went for a Mixars Duo. I needed integrated serato so I could play Mp3s and vinyl in the easiest way, and that was really the cheapest option. Really pleased with it for the price I paid. Sound is great, serato controls are nicely integrated, filters sound lovely. The only thing is effects are all on Serato (though controlled through the mixer), so I can't use them on records, but I had to sacrifice something for the budget I had. I'm playing mostly footwork on mp3 and jungle on vinyl through it so I don't miss them too much, as they're both pretty wild to start with.

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The filters are fun when you want some 'working the EQs' madness going on, but the A&H had a beautiful crossfader style one which could make long mixes silky smooth. You could also filter top and bottom and at the same time to give this great spacey feel to things. The sound in general on the Pioneer is strong though – I think you can maybe tell a difference if you compared them, but it would be just that, a difference and not necessarily better or worse. My only slight gripe is you can't apply a filter to the built in sampler loop like you can with the very latest versions, but that is very minor indeed.

 

The Mixars units always look like loads of fun. I've not gone down the Serato route and still play 90% vinyl, leaving the CDJs to pick up the slack when I want to play edits for now. For footwork it seems like a no-brainer though, there's so much stuff I can only seem to find on MP3 and the rate at which is comes out is mind blowing. 

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Working from home permanently and having my record player in my office has meant I have been listening to a lot more vinyl. Gradually building up my collection with a focus on The Wedding Present at the moment. A few arrivals from this week.

 

 

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