Are new vinyls better than old vinyl records?

3 mins read

Since the vinyl resurgence, the modern collector is now battling with new bands and releases / re-issues as well as collecting older versions. As you go deeper into the rabbit hole of collecting you may also look to collect originals / certain re-issues of your favorite albums. Does this make a difference to the sound quality and output of the record?

The short answer – Which is better old vs new vinyl records?

It’s tough to determine, it’s all personal preference and to the general collector/music enthusiast you’ll not notice the difference apart from the price you may be paying for an older version of the record.

More details can be found which have affected the production of vinyl over the years which helps answer the age-old question; are your vinyls better than old vinyl records?

The changing qualities of vinyl over the years

Vinyl records issued I different periods have particular qualities, pros, and cons. Below we’ve highlighted some of the changes over the decades.

70s vinyl record quality

This was the heyday of vinyl as the main platform for playing music. It’s also worth noting that petroleum used to produce vinyl records was extremely expensive which meant the record producers tried to reduce the thickness of the records to save on manufacturing costs. Some record production companies even melted their own old records and re-pressed them using that. Therefore, the quality of the records would be subjective to the listener.

80s vinyl record quality

Cassette tapes and CDs were starting to get manufactured. CDs were cheaper to produce as well as portable CD players ensured a changing revolution in the way consumers listened to music.

To keep up with the changing times vinyl manufacturers tried to replicate the digital output of a CD onto the vinyl records at the time. Sometimes you’d see “digitally remastered” or “electronically enhanced”, it was best to avoid purchasing these items as the quality records should not be close to the analog, but not remastered.

90s vinyl record quality

This was the end of the era for vinyl. Lots of manufacturers were forced to close due to the operating costs as well as CDs fully taking over the music space as well as digital files starting to surge.

Original pressings from the 90s are quite rare and very expensive to find.

00s – 20s vinyl record quality

Vinyl is continuing to boom in terms of admirers. With that, you’ll find a higher quality output whilst these manufacturers remain quite a small scale even with the resurgence. Make sure you check the quality of the record before making a purchase. You’ll find better quality versions of older records on re-issues as well as 180-gram vinyl which usually come with better sound quality.  

Which is better; new and old vinyl records?

The main differences come down to the materials used. If you’re using a higher quality of material and producing a quality record, normally a thicker vinyl which will be more sturdy then the output should be better than the old vinyl pressing.

The sound quality comes from the audio setup of the user as well. Modern speakers aren’t the same used by those in the 70s and 80s with digital music and portable Bluetooth devices being favored over a full setup with a sub-woofer and speakers.  

Why are old vinyl records better than new ones?

Collectors will usually claim the original pressings and older versions are better. This is normally due to the fact that that record encompassed the band/artist at the time and was what the artist wanted to put out.

You’ll find collectors want rarer versions as well as original artwork.

Should I buy an original pressing or a reissue?

Again this is subjective and changes based on the collection you’re building. Reissues for most are just as good as an original and the benefits of the original will be simply; availability and artwork.

We would recommend choosing what makes sense for you. If you are at the early stages of collecting just have fun and get the records that mean the most to you. It may be later down the line you want to pick up a few rarer versions of a particular artist. This will mostly be based on the fact it means more to you as an individual.  

We would suggest new bands, vinyls are also worth collecting in the future. Supporting new artists and bands by buying their albums etc is great for the industry supporting new talent as well as helping the vinyl industry continue to boom. You never know you may have the latest rare find on your hands.

Roundup: new vs old vinyl – which is better?

It’s subjective and down to you as a listener, the equipment you are playing the record on as well as how much the artist/era means to you. New vinyl and re-issues offer potentially a better quality pressing with virgin materials being used, but older originals offer the prestige and ownership that collectors crave.

Music enthusiast with a love for vinyl, gigs and festivals. Here to educate, review, discuss and share the love of music and vinyl records for the next generation.

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