Annoying trend? New vinyl equalization and compression

Hi...I searched discussions and didn’t find much mention of this. Direct me if there is a thread.

Is this just a few of the recent (maybe last 5 years or so) albums I’ve picked up reissued on vinyl or a trend by the big manufacturers (such as Rhino records etc.....not talking about "audiophile" Mofi etc.).....

-------Albums sound dynamically compressed, thick in the bass and very rolled off on top--------.

Of the thousands of albums I have.....these recent pressings/purchases have this same sound.

A couple recents.....David Bowie Scary Monsters, A new Samantha Fish Death Wish Blues, A reissue of Ozzy Osborne Blizzard of Oz etc.

Not sure if this might be an EQ that compliments new vinyl purchasers and sounds better on USB or maybe inexpensive tables or systems???

Or is it just a few of the releases I purchased and not so widespread?



I don't know that it is a new trend: there have always been dreadful sounding records of otherwise good music. You have to know which ones you have and refrain from using them when comparing two pieces of equipment! I have many records I love that I would never ever use for such a comparison, and a few that I'm don't particularly care for as music, but which make great records for comparisons.

Compression is used because it takes less time to engineer the LP side. You just start the source file (or tape) and let the cutter do its thing.

You might spend 4x as much money if you don't use the compression, trying to sort out how to cut the LP and still have a real world cartridge be able to track it. LP mastering costs the same as high buck lawyers.

So a lot of reissues are compressed to keep costs down.

Our response to it should be very simple. We will help them cut their costs much further by not buying this junk.

Send them back with a note. I read somewhere that 90% of new vinyl is played on junk suitcase players. The Gen Z hipsters will have no clue what a great analog record on a fine stereo will ever sound like.



361 posts


I don't know that it is a new trend: there have always been dreadful sounding records of otherwise good music. You have to know which ones you have and refrain from using them when comparing two pieces of equipment! I have many records I love that I would never ever use for such a comparison, and a few that I'm don't particularly care for as music, but which make great records for comparisons.

These recent releases all have this sameness of sound that….it may either be a trend….or the same engineer….either way, I really don’t like it.

Shame. So glad I held on to my LPs for over 50 years. It was a real pain with every move but so worth it.

My son and his girlfriend are around 40 and have one of those junk suitcase players.  She is so proud of the expensive lps that they buy from Barnes and Noble.  One time I couldn’t refrain from expressing my true feelings instead of just politely sitting through the sonic dreck and she hasn’t spoken to me since (yes, there were other issues, this seems to have been the straw).

  Are 90% of new lps being played back on such systems?  And is compression being used to accommodate them?  I listen primarily to Classical so I am out of touch as to what transpires in other genres.  One never sees the Audiophile press, when they crow about the triumph of vinyl over CD, mention any of this.  They assume that all purchasers are connoisseurs such as inhabit this site, not the gullible 

The Suits know their consumer base, and they aim for that. Anything above that percentile is a lucky bonus, any thing below, well, that's what's expected. Don't feel left out because you don't fit a marketing profile. You should feel excluded. The person that's about to be replaced by a robot at Taco Bell, is still making payments on the USB TT, yet manages to drop $30 (or more) on a vinyl "album". Think back to 45's in the fifties and sixties, those slabs were lucky if they found even a worn conical in the groove... usual fate was a sharp steel "needle" and waiting in a pile on the floor for the next "listening session"    It's numbers, baby, only numbers

My friends and I often look over at each other while listening and say "these guys knew what they were doing" (meaning the engineers recording skills). 

Perhaps better mastering to retain dynamic range was/is part of it, never thought about that. I don't think superior imaging, proper choice of mic type and placement is related to this issue.

This DVD

Buy it NOW.

Video Quality is scary, but the sound quality is quite enjoyable.

He plays one of the largest pianos I have ever seen (don't know which Bosendorfer model)

They have 6 mics on that piano, and his separate vocal mic.

Interestingly, at some point, one of the recording staff creeps up and changes his vocal mic, his voice changes for the better (he talks, no singing).

I shake my head at such excellent recording skills.

This is main reason why I rarely purchase mass produced new vinyl. Sound Quality is the main purpose for owning HEA! The best approach is go to a thrift store and purchase everything that appears interesting from the last 25 years on CD. You will be surprised at the SQ and content level of many of these unknown CD recordings.

Most modern day music merits being compressed to the size of the universe before the now hypothetical Big Bang.

Some good info here. Just pay attention to how a repressing is mastered and wait for a while to get a read on the SQ. A lot of older issues that I like weren't really mainstream and can be had in great shape for reasonable prices.

“Are 90% of new lps being played back on such systems? ”

I was at my local used vinyl store last month, some 20 year olds came in happily got four or five records. One said “ where can we get a player?” One yelled out “ Walmart!” And away they went!

Right, and it does not matter if they tout 180gm vinyl.  Mostly, if it is a lower than say $30 it will sound like crap. IMHP.

If vinyl pressing plants are being kept open by hipsters and their USB-direct-to-phone turntables, I expect we should be glad. Those pressing plants will also get some serious jobs, and one hopes they kept on an engineer who could do them justice. Otherwise we will end up with a virtual monopoly of plants that can do 'proper' pressings. Nothing about the music, record, or pressing industries makes me think that they will not charge whatever the market will bear, which will likely exclude me.

Period press for me. I listen to almost exclusively pre 1980, with a few exceptions up to 1990.

Might sound limiting, but there is an abundance of unheard music in the dirty bins I go through.

The "best sound" seems to be the late 50's thru late 60's with stuff thru the 70's becoming inconsistent. Doesn't really matter since the actual music is what it's about. 

After that, it's the quest to play those LP's on "the best" possible setup.

Play a period press and blame your dissatisfaction on the actual recording, setup and room.

Most(not all) reiussue LP's just sound like a good CD.

"David Bowie Scary Monsters" is a 1980's recording-right when things really take a turn for the worse as far as SQ. Same goes for the Ozzy LP. Much more processing going on compared to a  Hunky Dory or Paranoid.

Open your wallet and get one of these. 

David Bowie – Scary Monsters (1980, Indianapolis Pressing, Vinyl) - Discogs

Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz (1981, Vinyl) - Discogs

Period press-another polarizing audiophool subject.




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Quick story with parrallel links...

A few members of our (local and loosley formed) Vinyl Club were treated to a (rarely granted) tour of the newest and largest record pressing plant in Canada, just under two months ago. (We were told they produce about 16 million units/year, all DMM, for almost every Record Company) Our tour was arranged by a member's neice, who was an employee and surprisingly, our tour was conducted by the VP of the plant, a former Rock Musician  and Auto Industry Automation expert (all round Nice Guy too).

During the first stage, an orientation/Q&A session in the Boardroom, the VP was interested in what our interests were (all six of us have mid to Hi End systems), what our backgrounds were, specifically were any of us Musicians (I was P/T, early in life and one other still is) and how many records did each of us own (all in the thousands...). He told us about their short-ish history (about a dozen years) blah, blah, blah... Then we covered vinyl science, groove math, pressure, packaging... all that stuff but when we asked him about His Own System... it was a $200.00 Best Buy TT and wireless speakers...AHHHH WHATTT? And when one of us presented  Analogue Production and Mobile Fidelity records for comment and comparison in sound quality, packaging and marketing... we were told "Waste of material, lost revenue and general nonsense". Ooookay...

The tour proceeded to the Plant, it was clean, interesting and busy. We saw Taylor Swift, Picture Discs, 10"... all kinds of product being maufactured by ral people and most seemed engaged and happy. Great outing...fine people, but Yeah... gotta wonder...


"His Own System... it was a $200.00 Best Buy TT and wireless speakers...AHHHH WHATT?"


The majority of new "vinyl" is likely being consumed by non audiophools with similar equipment.

My neighborhood store owner tells me that his Millennial/Gen Z/hipster crowd

often buy "vinyl" and don’t own a turntable.



Vinyl today is the Hard Medium that assists with keeping a Band / Performer afloat.

It is the revenues made through this merchandise sales, that enables them to exist and be able to grow their exposure.

The remuneration from streaming platforms is killing off natural born performers.

Collecting Vinyl and keeping it in the Cellophane, is a trend that is proving to be very good financially for struggling performers. These collectors are not with a concern for the pressing Quality, they just want Covers without creases.    


Sad but so true. I have witnessed this with my own eyes, My wife's adult son

was horrified by my suggestion to actually play one of his records!

I can still remember saying "playing them is what they are for"

I still can't believe it!

@seekerbob my son has never bought a record, but has watched me all his life putting records on to a turntable. All we can do is to condition the young to regard this as just another way to play music. A few of them might be alert enough to the stimuli in their auditory cortex to understand that it might be the best way. Maybe we should play compact cassettes as an alternative?

I doubt that Technics is selling all their new turntables to just the high end market.

When we were mastering LPs for a digital source file, we would try to make sure that the file had no DSP other than normalization. In that way we could master an LP that had greater dynamic punch than the digital master. I know we were not the only mastering house doing that! Since the digital release is often thought to be played in a car, there is a tendency to compress it. LPs of course have no such expectation.

Irony is still in. If you want the most dynamic range out of a recording you stand a better chance getting it with the LP rather than the digital release simply on this account.



Columbia records classical division used to master records in the sixties with the expectation that they would be listened to on AM Radio


The radio stations have their own compression they've used for decades, even back in the 1960s.  I don't doubt Colombia was using compression though. I was commenting on much more recent releases.

Some of Hollywood released Queen vinyls aren’t just dynamically compressed , they sound like they used low but bit MP3’s as masters!

Well, there is vinyl and then there is vinyl. Always has been.  But of all my recent buys of both old and new music, some sound like a bumpy noisy thing with no range and can be even off center (but clear or colored WOOO!!!) and the others - usually the solid colored vinyl blow my socks off. But still, they are almost all better than CDs, at least for me on my system. 

But my recent purchase of the Pachinko soundtrack  (clear vinyl - how do they do that?) is so bad that it's going back.   

So yes, some sound like they were cut from redbook CD bit rates but others are amazing.  I see no trend.  



You have to do your due diligence when buying remastered vinyl. If you’re buying something originally from the 80’s, good chance the original engineering was garbage. Buy artists who cared about good sound. For example Steely Dan. And your sources should be vetted. I frequent Discogs and have yet to be disappointed. Of course I’m already choosing an album I’ve researched and they do a great job of rating their sellers. Surprisingly I’ve had good success on Amazon. But that’s due to the artists I choose who have control over their pressings.