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Colored Vinyl inherently noisier than black vinyl

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  • Colored Vinyl inherently noisier than black vinyl

    Great to another pressing plant being open and honest about POS coloured vinyl. Kudos for them to actually try and explain the noise differences between the different colours.
    Gotta Groove Records pressing plant
    Color Vinyl | Gotta Groove Records »


    (Surface noise 1= quietest / 8 = noisiest)

    1. GGR Black vinyl

    4. Transparent Colors (Blue, Green, Clear, Gold [orange], Transparent Red, Coke Clear, Fluorescent Colors)

    6. Non-Mixed Opaque Colors (Pink, Red, Yellow, Violet, Brown)

    7. White

    7. Opaque Mix (Mixing opaque and translucent color(s) in particular; and also tend to have visible “staining” after a few hundred records, which can be seen in certain light).

    7-8. Random Color / Recycled Color Shades

    8. Hand-made variants

    8-10. Glow In The Dark / Glitter Records

    * Every record runs differently, and generally speaking, the louder the recording the less noticeable any “plastic noise” will be. Turntables also can track color vinyl differently than black — some people report skips on color copies which do not happen on the same record if pressed on black vinyl (typically on lower-end turntables -especially those which have plastic tone arms and/or lack tracking adjustment mechanisms. Such turntables can actually be problematic on both black and color vinyl records). Some people say the music itself can sound slightly different on color versions vs black versions of the same record (since the grooves are the same, this likely has more to do with the turntable/cartridge being used, rather than the plastic).

    No doubt, you will find many competing theories on the subject of color vinyl sound quality. The information on this page is based solely upon our experience running the various colors which are readily available in the USA today. From our experience, the main reason colors can run differently (and sound different) is due to the melt characteristics of the vinyl itself — it has nothing to do with the actual color pigments, but instead, the PVC formulations. (i.e., the color pigments themselves do not have sound characteristics — it is true that black vinyl has the black added into the PVC to give it the black look; however, the composition of the black PVC formula that we use runs much differently than the PVC formula which appears white). Different PVC formulations can have dramatically different melting results at various extruder, nozzle, and mold temperature settings – each leading to different molding results when the records are being pressed. Also, we find that the size of the biscuit can have a dramatically different result with different PVC formulations (which is why, for sound quality consistency, we do not offer 180 gram records in any color other than audiophile black vinyl).

    In any case, there are tons color records in the U.S. marketplace, and many people do not seem to notice/mind the differences. But, we try to be as transparent as possible sharing information to help you make the best decision for your project. If your utmost concern is a very quiet pressing, then you are probably better off pressing black vinyl.

  • #2
    Largely makes sense to me, but still raises questions. The older "black" records had carbon black or equivalent as an anti-static material in the formulation; somehow, I gather that something else is now used - I can't imagine that the clear or colored vinyl simply eliminates certain parts of the compound that may be necessary for quiet playback. The mottled or multi-colored vinyl would seem to be one of the worst, along with picture discs, since it has an uneven mix of materials- something that affect the thermal properties, flow and how it "presses" and cools, but without knowing more about the formulations, why should "clear" be worse? (Think "Clarity" from the late Classic Records era, Quiex or the ancient red translucent vinyl from the Audiophile label. DJM also used a dark translucent blood red on the UK and some EU copies from the era and the Japanese DJM pressings are more evidently red and sound good). I have not heard a quiet Dave Mason splatter record, but if I recall, they had no real inner sleeve when packaged either. The couple copies I have will not play quietly, but the black, from the same era, is fine. (Admittedly those were bought used --so another variable).
    I also suspect a couple of other things are going on- a lot of these are of the novelty/keepsake variety- special editions for RSD or whatever and may be pressed badly, even without regard to the formulation. I had two copies of Songs About Jane from the recent re-do: both exhibited stitching (non-fill) so there was a constant clicking/wooshing sound (one was the mottled red/white formulation, and the other was black so it wasn't 'color' per se).
    The other thing- it is harder for me to examine the record surface, and to cue on the table, with non-black vinyl. (That's a personal quirk that may not be a factor for other people).
    My recollection too is that while a majority of vinyl for the audiophile labels in the States comes from one source, the colored stuff comes from a different source, and it could be as simple as different basic compounds.


    • #3
      I just played the RSD 2014 Yardbirds "Little Games" on yellow/orange transparent splatter vinyl last night ( it looks kinda like a pizza ). DEAD QUIET.
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects


      • JCOConnell
        JCOConnell commented
        Editing a comment
        It SOUNDS fantastic too. There is one track on there, a Jimmy Page solo acoustic guitar piece, very Zeppelin-esque, with superb sonics.

    • #4
      This comes up all of the time when discussing vinyl and opinions vary as greatly as when having a discussion about cables. In both, the "science" (for lack of a better word) says one thing, but user experience tells a different story in many cases. My own experience is that I have not found coloured vinyl to sound inferior. However, I've never done an apples-to-apples comparison as I don't own identical pressings of varying colours. Even if I did I'm not sure what it could tell me as it's too small a sample.

      Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables


      • #5
        It certainly sounds like adding color affects more than record noise eg. sonics. My audiobuddies swear the old black Crystal Clear discs sound better than the white D2D. Wonder how that applies to the old colored records such as those released by Fantasy or even Audiophile labels?
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor,

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        • Rob
          Rob commented
          Editing a comment
          they're right, the black Crystal Clears are better. I think the Classic **Clarity** pressings were a mistake on their part, IMO they were all universally noisier than the standard black vinyl.

        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes that was an issue with the Clarity vinyl not to mention the spindle holes were uniformly too small. Or warped.

      • #6
        For me I always try to get black vinyl versions if it is available. I really don't get the appeal of coloured vinyl unless you want to put them on your wall for display.

        I cringe each time I receive a record and it is coloured vinyl. They invariably are noisier than black vinyl, but not always. Especially with so many crappy US pressing plants producing such lame quality control on their pressings.


        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          They do look cool on the turntable too. The red Audiophile (Bill's avatar) or the yellow LP on the VPI table that I used as a cover shot for the VPI table looked really slick.

        • Socrates
          Socrates commented
          Editing a comment
          Ha agree--I don't like the coloured versions-nor the picture ones--- no luck also if you have one of those Laser Vinyl players I read the colours are no no there


      • #7
        Record Industry - Europes largest pressing plant also warns of the inherent noisier nature of coloured vinyl


        Although our coloured vinyl has a very high quality standard, it might occur that some types of audio pressed on other than black vinyl, are more susceptible to a higher noise level and/or clicks in the lead-in and lead-out grooves or on quiet parts of the recording.


        • #8
          I think it all depends...I have heard both noisy and quiet colored. Same holds true for black vinyl. The only way to know for sure which is quietest if any is to press all formulations from the same plate, plant.
          System Gear


          • #9
            I have one LP from the Clarity vinyl series and have no problems with it (Shostakovich 5th Symphony.) Although I lack a direct comparator I believe the Clarity makes a positive difference on this album and would be fine with more vinyl issuances with Clarity vinyl if the results were similar. - spindle holes being a different matter.

            I vaguely recall Hobson(?) initiated a trial for the Clarity series after hearing Fremer demagnetize (Furutech?) a black Classic Records LP. Hobson compared a black and a Clarity of the same music, heard a positive difference and launched the rest of the series.

            Otherwise I won't buy colored vinyl. I did not care for the red Nora Jones release (but enjoy the same as a 'normal' LP.)