Heavy Vinyl

I did a search and see that this hasn't been discussed in quite a while. Heavy vinyl is touted as being better for sound quality. I wonder about this. For a start, it is more susceptible to warps and particularly those short duration warps that really give the cartridge a hard time. Second, in my own listening across a fairly extensive record collection, I'm not hearing any particular sonic revelations from heavier records. I'm more inclined to believe that the critical factor is the quality of the vinyl  and the stampers used rather than the thickness of it. Other thoughts?


Several 180 gm lps arrived with warps, a few I had to return, I'm not buying them anymore. 

You are correct, I don't hear audible improvement.

One trend I have seen is selling double lps, and having content only on 3 sides. I really dislike that. Other, older content could have been included, OR, 4 sides at 45 rpm could have been provided.


I haven’t found heavy vinyl to be more susceptible to warps at all. In fact, the most warped records that I can recall were the old RCA Dynaflex LPs, and they were incredibly thin.

By itself, a thicker LP is no guarantee of quality.


Did you ever hear the 3 sided album on one LP? One side has 2 tracks

Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief


Most audiophile pressings are done in heavy vinyl. Then there are old pressings, some of which are heavy vinyl.


I have found most, but definitely not all to be superior to the other pressings. I assumed for the reason of the mastering and extra care in the cutting. I assume the extra vinyl for staying extra flat. That has been my experience. Most every 180gm and 200gm record is very flat. There are a very few I have received that were warped. I probably own a couple hundred audiophile pressings.


I also own quite a few heavy vinyl records that were produced in the ‘60 and 70’s. I don’t think they sound better. But are a hold over from the 40’s and 50’s when most albums were thicker… I suspect from less flexible compounds. Over the decades standard pressings became thinner and more flexible. Some now you can bend to great angles without breaking or warping. Try that to an early 40’s album and it will snap.


"Did you ever hear the 3 sided album on one LP? One side has 2 tracks

Monty Python’s Matching Tie and Handkerchief"

Being the early 1970’s, certain smokable substances were consumed and the stunned confusion that ensued when a completely different album side appeared was comical to watch.



Better or different ?

unless you are adjusting your VTA for every record you will hear a difference in "heavy or light" records . 

I have set my VTA on a 160 gram record , my compromise since most records are between 140 and now 180 grams with 120 and 200 being on the extreme ends but still sound good .

I have ( had ) 2 John Denver Poems , prayers and Promises albums one was 105 grams and the other 150 grams , the lightweight one sound shrill while the middleweight one sounds like typical J.D. , the lightweight is no longer on the self .


"Did you ever hear the 3 sided album on one LP?'

That would have been Johnny Winter-2nd Winter


My own experience has been that many (certainly not all) contemporary 180g vinyl records I've bought have more discernible surface noise, tics, etc than many of my 'legacy' vinyl records from the 70's, some of which are absolutely perfect in that regard.



thanks for letting me know about those jokers tricks

wiki has some background




The initial pressings were designed to resemble a box containing a tie and handkerchief, the concept being that the record was merely a ’free gift’ included with the package. It was also notable for its inner artwork, which was visible through a cutaway hole in the album’s outer sleeve. It appeared to be a simple Terry Gilliam artwork of a tie and handkerchief, but when the card insert was pulled out it revealed that the tie and handkerchief were actually on a man hanging from a gallows. A second insert featured the album credits and the text to "The Background to History" sketch. The US release had a different cover design with the two insert sheets printed on either side of a card inner sleeve. Later releases of the album would have just a picture of the clothing on the front cover, without the inserts.

The album’s original LP edition is particularly notable in that it was mastered with two concentric grooves on side two, so that different material would be played depending on where the stylus was put down on the record’s surface. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as a "three-sided" record. The cutting was carried out by George "Porky" Peckham, who became known for etching messages into runout grooves. This was the first of many Python albums to bear one of these so-called "Porky Prime Cuts" – a brief message on Side 2 which reads: "PORKY – RAY ADVENTURE". To further confuse the listener, both sides of the record label were labelled "FREE RECORD Given away with the Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief – Side 2" – only the matrix numbers identify which are the first and second sides.[3] The album did not have a track listing, so that this feature would come as a complete surprise to listeners, who might on a subsequent listening hear material they had never heard before, creating genuine confusion.

Since the record had two concentric grooves, they were spaced considerably apart, halving the length of the playing time. Subsequent editions of the vinyl incorporated both grooves sequentially as separate tracks, eliminating the double groove. Likewise with promotional copies for radio stations, as they were banded for airplay. However, when Virgin reissued the album in the UK in 1985, the double groove was retained, but with the "Great Actors" sketch cut from the end of Side 1 and moved onto the start of the second side which previously began with "The Background to History". This meant the two B-sides no longer had equal length, resulting in a long silence following the "Phone-In" sketch at the end of the second Side B.

I have a decent collection of early pressings of albums from the 1960’s to the 80’s and would estimate less than 1% are warped. But I have also come across very few 180 gram that are warped.

As far as sound quality I believe most of my older pressings sound either superior or equally as good as replacements I have purchased thar are 180 gram. I will say that there are a number of remasters on 180 gram that do sound fantastic.

sound quality has a lot to do with who the mastering engineer was and who cut the laquers and plates and where the albums are pressed.

i agree with the statement that I have come across many more new pressings with ticks regardless of LP weight than I have on the older pre 1990 pressings.


I have a number of 180g recordings and can't recall any warped ones. Audiophile recordings are for a tough crowd and perhaps more care is taken in their manufacturing. OTOH, most folks my age (nearing 70) will have less than fond memories of making additional trips to the record store to return hopelessly warped commercial recordings during the 1970s (when vinyl got cheaper and thinner). 

IMHO the weight of the vinyl has pretty much zero to do with the sound. I have some great sounding albums from the 70's that flex like crazy. The sound is going to be affected by a host of other things, one of which is who mastered the music in the first place. If it was a lousy recording to start with, having it on heavier vinyl or even remastered, won't fix it. Specifically, I am thinking the first Chicago album (CTA), and Carol King's Tapestry - two of my fav albums (you can tell I am an old fart) but IMHO kinda muddy sound, even the remastered versions. And then released around the same time, BS&T 2 - incredible sound and music. My best sounding albums have one of the following guys (all guys) as the mastering engineer - they are normally listed in the fine print on the back of the album or in the liner notes somewhere: - Bernie Grundman; Stan Ricker; Kevin Gray; Steve Hoffman; Roy Halee; Bill Schnee; Doug Sax; George Marino; Todd Wunderlich (MoFi). I am sure there are others, but if I see one of these names, then I know it will be great sounding record. Also the label - Analogue Productions - IMHO - seems to do the best job of re-issues and re-masters. MoFi is also good, notwithstanding their lawsuit and marketing. There are other labels that are defunct that produced some great sounding music - you can find them on Discogs - Umbrella, from Canada; Crystal Clear Records, M&K Real-time; Recut Records (Sweden) - again, a short list from my old memory.

YMMV of course.

Ag insider logo xs@2x


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I haven’t found heavy vinyl to be more susceptible to warps at all. In fact, the most warped records that I can recall were the old RCA Dynaflex LPs, and they were incredibly thin.

Boy I remember those. They were beyond awful!


You mentioned 12” 45rpm .records. Do you have any?  Do you think they sound better? 
What are your thoughts?


45rpm is better, LP needs to be quiet of course.

Less content per side, which is why 45 lost to 33 except juke boxes ...

Ry Cooder, by the river, with an Indian master, learned about it here.


I have 2008 reissue by Analogue Productions, original all analog recording by Water Lily Acoustics in 1993

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Ry Cooder. Album notes are informative.

I have a couple other 45 rpm LPs, can't remember ....

Better, but I don't think I would spend the money for 45's anymore, and based on several warped, I'm not spending for 180 gram anymore either.

If well engineered, it's the content

" 45rpm is better, LP needs to be quiet of course. "

I agree with elliotbewcombjr  at the same time I've found that 2 record 33rpm version records sound better than the single version .  

I don't have a 2 record version of the same album at 45rpm and 33rpm so I can't say which is responsible or more responsible for the improvement of the sound the speed or the wider grooves . 

I have a album that is only available as a 45rpm 2 record set  and it is fantastic ,         "I Am The Resurrection"  A Tribute To John Fahey 




@vair68robert - A tribute to John Fahey? I didn't know such a thing existed; that must be quite the endeavor - I'm trying to imagine how you'd 'interpret' John Fahey without being him! I will look into this, thanks... 

Thanks for all the replies. I think, maybe I have a different definition of warped because its a very exceptional record that is truly flat in the first place.

Picking up on something else in the discussion, I don't buy much new vinyl because I'm not interested in anything sourced from a digital file (which is pretty much everything contemporary) but such recent vinyl as I have bought has been disappointing in terms of the quality of the vinyl and associated noise. This is even after ultrasonic cleaning, so it's intrinsic to the vinyl stock itself.

There are a number of record companies that still produce all analog pressings from the original tapes. Analog Productions is one of them and I have found everything that I have purchased from them to be of very high quality with excellent SQ. With that said even with MoFi having a digital step in their process most of what I have purchased from them is also excellent. That goes for a number of other manufacturers also.

My comment on 45 RPM records is that while the SQ can be exceptional based on who manufactured it I prefer a well made 33 RPM version. Having to get up every 10 minutes to flip the record can sometimes kill my enjoyment.


@relayer101 - I agree, Analog Productions work is excellent.

My comment about not buying much new vinyl relates to new releases of new music rather than reissued material. I've more existing vinyl than I can practically get around to listening to while keeping up with new releases in recorded on digital.


Honestly I couldn't imagine reinterpreting John Fahey's work  , but the musicians who tackled his genius come away sounding like geniuses themselves .

Nobody has mentioned the 45rpm 4 lp single sided releases by Classic Records , I have one , David Crosby's " If I could Only Remember My Name " , yes it sounds more dynamic but why the single side .

Speakers Corner from Germany makes some excellent all-analogue re-issues that look completely authentic; I got their versions of BOC's 'Tyranny and Mutation' and 'Secret Treaties' and they are superb. They don't sell direct, though - you have to buy their titles through other audiophile music dealers.

" Heavy is good,heavy is reliable. If it jams you can hit him with it"



@terraplanebob. That's probably the main reason people use VTA adjusters on their tonearms. Personally, I set my tonearm to an average between a standard pressing and 180g. Geometrically, the deviation in SRA from that average is very small across different records. In addition, SRA is changing dynamically in response to the modulation of the grooves and tracking warps.

other technical issues are involved, for simplicity:

Faster Speeds yield more physical material to record the content.

Tape: 3-3/4; 71/2; 15; 30 ips, each increase in speed yields twice the magnetic material to record the same amount of content, i.e. a violin note.

Tape: 1/4" tape: 4 track is 4 skinny tracks (less magnetic material). 1/4" tape 2 track has tracks twice the width of 4 tracks, thus twice the magnetic material to capture content.

1/2" tape; 1" wide tape, combined with the faster speeds: both factors combine to increase the magnetic material which increases recorded fidelity..

Physical Mechanisms: i.e. Cassettes, 1-7/8 ips (originally for dictation): the mechanism’s precision needs to progressively increase. Cassette speed and tape width stayed the same, it was the mechanism improvements (and cartridge improvements) that yielded acceptable suitability for music, along with improvements in the tapes formulation/material’s ability to more faithfully record and retain the content. Eventually 4 skinny tracks were successfully squished onto the same 1/8" width tape and same playback 1-7/8 IPS record/playback speed. Amazing.

8 track cartridges: take one apart, what a piece of crap. Originally made for commercials, discard when that commercial was kaput.

R2R machines: speeds involved, mechanism for 30 ips is no joke.

Back to 45rpm, likewise: it gives more material via it’s faster speed to capture the same content. Thus less content per lp side.

As for ’wider grooves’, that isn’t involved that I know of, 45rpm goes to the same phono stage/processing, and the same stylus tip is involved

think about RIAA equalization, which is what allows LP (long play). The Bass signal is ’electronically cut’ during recording to reduce the width of the bass grooves (thus more skinny grooves, thus more content per side), and the electronic cut is reversed via RIAA equalization, the bass is electronically boosted (back to it’s original pre-cut signal strength). Highs are electronically boosted, then RIAA electronically cuts the signal back to it’s original pre-boosted signal strength.

Now, bass and highs, properly restored, the signal is LINE LEVEL, (1 volt in the pre-stereo days), the amplifiers ready to receive AT LEAST 1 volt and boost LINE LEVEL signals. Pre-Amp’s Volume Controls allow more or less of the line level signal strength to get to the amp.

Original Ceramic Cartridges signal strength were stronger, and could go into any AUX input. My Vintage McIntosh Preamp has two phono inputs: one Phono Low (current MM cartridge signal strength); the other Phono High, to receive the higher signal a ceramic cartridge produces.

Modern content, like CDs output, i.e. their Line Level can be more, much more than 1 volt.

"Second Winter' was on 2 LP's - one side of one LP was blank."


Yeah,  my original post didn't come out as it should have-"not exactly the same but that would be Second Winter." Half the time I'm posting, it's from my phone while standing in an airport line or packed in a shuttle bus.  Proofreading/editing sometimes not done!

I haven't noticed a correlation between a record's thickness and its' sound quality. 

In the early 1980s, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs released a limited series of 200gm Ultra High Quality Recordings. One of the reported advantages of such heavy vinyl was that this greater mass of vinyl would absorb vibrations generated in the LP by the stylus as it travelled along the groove, decreasing the transmission of such vibrations back into the stylus where they would otherwise degrade the analogue signal.  These pressings, along with MFSL’s standard half-speed releases, utilized JVC’s proprietary vinyl.  Compared to the standard MFSL pressing, the UHQR of The Beatles’ “Sargent Pepper’s” (I’m fortunate to have both) is across-the-board better sounding.  Most notable is a striking increase in soundstage depth, this most appreciated on “Within You and Without You”.

Does such esoterica serve as a reason for current heavy vinyl pressings?  It doesn’t make sense that, in light of the Loudness Wars/overwhelming compression, most labels would consider this to be of importance, much less even be aware of such theories.  Save for the likes of Analogue Productions and such, it’s most certainly a cash grab.

@vinylandtubes. There is a certain logic to the "absorb vibrations" theory. But of course that is going to be system dependent according to how the record interfaces with the platter material. I agree that a lot of the "heavy vinyl" marketing of a lot of commercial releases is for marketing purposes. However, to be fair, I have come across some commercial releases - the Plant / Krauss Raising Sand album and Jackson Browne's Downhill from Everywhere, both of which have exceptionally good quality pressings. I wonder if that's because the artists involved are the kind of people whom one might expect to take more than a passing interest in how their work is presented?

I try and find the best sounding recordings of the artists i like.But I'm not spending alot.I'm 71 ,spent my whole like listening to music from all different sources. But the record companies want you to buy and rebuy ...vinyl albums,cassettes then cds and now back to vinyl but a higher grade of vinyl...if i have it ,i play .I'm done playing the rebuy game.