So, what’s worse than seeing someone post a new record and getting excited about picking it up only to find the pressing sucks? A visit to the proctologist (or gynecologist for the ladies)? Sorry. Now you’re starting to get why they call me P.S. Idiot.
There are sometimes as many pressings as there are pressing plants (exaggerating a little). From colored variants, to deluxe editions, 180/200 gram, remastered to simple reissue and the always controversial “PICTURE DISC!” We all collect what we collect. There is no right or wrong, only opinion. That said, the industry in general has been flooded with “product” since the resurgence of popularity, and labels regularly put out a multitude of variations in color or splatter vinyl that looks cool and shows well on Instagram, but to what end when it comes to sound quality? Joel Andrews recently did an article on sound quality you should also read (link here) that sheds light on the subject in technical terms.
As an example, I bought S.O.D. Speak English Or Die on green splatter vinyl. As you can see from the picture, not a lot of care went into the copy I ended up with from a visual standpoint. No big deal, it was pretty inexpensive and I wanted the record as a record, not a show piece. Then I played it. The sound quality is garbage. My 30+ year old cassette sounds better. Care was obviously not taken to ensure it sounded good. Did they not care, or was it a case of pressing plants overwhelmed with RSD Disney soundtrack picture disc orders? I’ll never know,m but I have my suspicions.
Some variants are pretty normal like one of my local artists, Which Witch is Which, who did a colored pressing of their debut album. They released 500 copies, and when it sold out and they repressed it, they did a new color. A fun idea for a small band, no preorder and definitely not a money grab; but you see labels doing limited multi colored preorders to grab “collector’s” money all the time, and it looks like greed in my opinion.
Well, what can you do, right? You can’t solve this. It’s too big a problem. I’ve seen people try. Huge complicated grading scales and charts. Who’s got time for looking that up at a record store while flipping through bins? Not me. You can play a part in keeping people in the know by posting in groups like Vinyl Addicts on Facebook (link here), or whatever group you post in. Put the label name in the post, and your complaint about the pressing. Let people know. Don’t just show us the good stuff. Call out the crap for what is. That’s what you can do for your community.
Dig this series? Check out the full archives of Rapid Musical Perspectives with P.S. Idiot, by Andrew Earle, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/rapid-musical-perspectives-archives/