LP Vinyl: Quality, Pressing, Label, Weight, Where to Buy ???

Getting back into LP vinyl...its been a long time = mid 70s?  Searching for an educational review on the forum for buying decent quality vinyl LPs...an overview of quality, weight, pressing, label, and best source/location to purchasing (prefer to stay away from ebay as it seems to be hit/miss on what you get). Does anyone have suggestions for an educational review on the subject? 

As a discussion point...I was looking at buying an older LP (vinyl only); I did an internet search = "Faces" - The First Step Album. Online search produces numerous results with prices from $18 to $120...older, used, remakes/repressed, various quality ratings (is there a uniform rating scale), unopened...list goes on. 

Greatly appreciate the forums experience and insight!


I search for and buy original pressings. Reissues cut from digital files IMO lack the "magic" of the OPs! Plus reissue prices are exorbitant! I'd rather buy and listen to a CD - particularly since secondhand CDs are so affordable!

Discogs is a "go to" site for LPs. An easy recommendation! I have made most of my LP purchase from eBay. I am happy to report no problems so far buying from different sellers.

go through private collections and get'm for cheap original ones as mentioned before.

Chesky and Phillips pressed in Netherlands have been very reliable Discogs purchases. The pressing quality is far better than what I’m seeing on many of my new reissues. I’m convinced that 180 - 200 gm vinyl is part of the problem, as I’ve heard that it’s difficult to maintain the correct temperature. I’ve had to return some of these recently due to crackly distortion, some of it cyclical, and additionally I see scuffs which are evidence of rough handling. I have yet to be impressed by digital on vinyl. They sound lifeless and harsh for the most part.

There is no end to the discussion of original pressing vs re issues.  I for one have had very poor experience buying used vinyl.  The odds of finding a used LP that does not have some damage are slim.  An LP can appear to be pristine, not a mark on it and still sound terrible when played.  Then you have the re issue.  New LP's that have been re mastered from the original tapes and properly pressed should be indistinguishable from the original, or at least so close that most of us are not going to hear anything but beautiful music.  Many companies like Blue Note, RCA and Deutsche Grammophon  are mining their vaults for opportunities to re monetize their assets.  We are not the beneficiaries of this exercise.  Pristine re issues of great music.  Are they all gems?  No. You still get poor pressings and damaged goods but that should not deter you in your quest to build a library of great vinyl.  My personal recommendation is buy through Amazon.  First, they have an incredible amount of re issues and re masters on both vinyl and CD.  For example,  RCA produced a remastered box set of the 7 albums Paul Desmond recorded on their label.  Each disc packaged in a cardboard sleeve with original cover artwork and liner notes.  $35.  About the average cost on one new LP.  Secondly, if you are not happy with the product they will refund your money and ship the product back at no cost to you.  Happy hunting.

I was in you same situation a couple years ago. Now, absolutley back into vinyl after may absence since the mid-80's.

I have purchased mostly period pressings, and if in VG-NM shape they can be outstanding (depending how the original was recorded, engineered, mastered, etc).  Rarely do I buy anything less that a stated VG+ condition. 

As stated, Discogs. First, I began my Discogs journey by cataloging all my existing music into Discogs. Took some time, but worth it. You will find you will then have all the information you need in obtaining and searching out a particular pressing that are available, and also available for sale. Then, I began purchasing from various sellers on Discogs. This has been hit and miss. Try to stay with sellers who have close to a 100% positive feedback, that means even 98% may not be good enough. As you begin purchasing, you will probably find reliable and consistent sellers, and do repeat business with them. I find some have a very different idea what a VG, VG+, and NM may be. And that can be frustrating.

eBay. I have actually had very good luck on eBay. Plus is you can usually see pics of the actual album(s), which can give you a better idea it's condition. And, as with Discogs, I save sellers I get consistently good vinyl from, and repeat purchase from them. 

In general, I have purchased better overall period pressings on eBay vs. Discogs.

New vinyl, there are many good outlets available to you. Popmarket is a good place to start, as is Acoustic Sounds. I have actually got some very good priced vinyl from Target as well, albeit the selection can be limited.

Have fun, and enjoy vinyl again. I know I am. But, it is a very large rabbit hole.

I buy from a variety of places - Amazon, ElusiveDisc, Acoustic Sounds, Ebay, Discogs and of course local used record stores.  Of all the places, my favorite is Amazon.  Can't beat the two-day Prime delivery as I hate waiting for things.  Out of maybe 100 albums, I've only had to return two - that's not too bad.  Their customer service has also gotten better and their price for new albums is pretty competitive.  At one time, Amazon even mailed me an album in a plastic bag (and I even started a thread on it), but it wasn't damaged or anything.  Despite all that, Amazon is still my go to for new readily available albums. Ebay and Discogs are a hit and miss as the NM grading is severely abused and often leads to disappointment. The local used record store prices are close to a new copy - at least that's been my experience in LA.

+++ all the info above plus invest at a minimum in a wet / vac record cleaner.

i frequent Discogs, rarely buy below 99% positive feedback and never below NM- on the disc. 

Enjoy the rabbit hole as Brian so aptly  said !

Do the discog research, if you're set on getting period presses  to justify  possibly spending more for a quality pressing.

Get ready to do some eye squinting to reference the deadwax. It's all in those often hard to decipher etchings to determine pedigree of a possibly overpriced used LP.

First run doesn't guarantee the best SQ, but generally may provide best chance of getting "closer to the master tape".

Greatest hits LP's are generally inferior in SQ compared to the same cut on the original album. I don't bother with them.

Easy way to immediately spot a reissue is a bar code on the jacket. If the original was released before 1980 or so, it usually wont have a bar code.