Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Hardbopjazz

Which record company do you believe used the best quality vinyl?

19 posts in this topic

I recently bought an Argo first issue recording of James Moody, "James Moody." The vinyl on this record is so thick, unlike any other records I've ever had. You can see how good the quality of the vinyl used in this recording by just holding the records.

Which record company(s) used the best vinyl in your opinion?

MI0002210799.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Contemporary Records had the best quality of the independents while Capitol and Columbia were the best of the major labels for pressings. Decca was the worst. During the 1950s and '60s a lot of American issues were pressed by other companies here in Canada and usually the pressings were pretty bad. Impulses were manufactured here by a company called Sparton and they were terrible. Atlantics were pressed by London Records and they were equally bad. We were lucky that Riversides, Prestiges, Contemporaries and Blue Notes were imported so we got the U.S. originals - not that they were all that great. Prestige really deteriorated over the years and the Riversides were spotty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I always liked Prestige pressings (and Esquire Prestiges) - with one exception, you could party all over them and they'd still play - noisily, scratchily, but they'd play, and the scratchiness and noise was always an essential part of the experience, considering the kind of music I prefer to buy :D

Over here, it used to be said that Deutsche Grammophon/Polydor pressings were the best. Personally, among European labels, I preferred Odeon (French) and Oriole (UK). I THINK Oriole actually manufactured Woolworth's Embassy label. Oh yes, a quick shufti at Wiki confirms that the label was a partnership between Wooly's and Oriole. When US Columbia bought Oriole in 1963, the pressing plant was the main reason, and CBS continued using it.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One label that stands out in my mind is RCA. As a "late to the game" collector of vintage vinyl in the late 70's, and into the 80's and 90's, I came across more than my fair share of LP's that had seen better days. I suppose it could have been a coincidence, but I never ever found an RCA LP that didn't look pristine (or close to it), and sound great. Of course, "quality of vinyl" can be looked at different ways. Was it thick? Was it durable? Did it sound good? At any rate, I was always highly impressed by those RCA pressings, even if the label wasn't exactly a major player in the jazz genre by the time vinyl was introduced.

Argo was generally not very good at all, in my opinion. There are always exceptions, though.

I generally agree with Don's observations, although the few Sparton LP's I had were beautiful (perhaps just good luck there).

In addition to Decca, King was bad, Emarcy also (often brittle and subject to cracking/breaking, as were some Argo's). Also, I had more than a few Jazzland LP's that looked perfect, but sounded awful. I would not rank Prestige very highly, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim R says he had some LPs pressed by Sparton that "were beautiful". Were they mono or stereo, Jim? My friends and I found that the mono Sparton pressings were usually quite acceptable but the stereo pressings were often terrible. I remember in particular the gorgeous Lucky Thompson/Oscar Pettiford sessions that first appeared on ABC Paramount. The stereo versions were simply unplayable. Quincy Jones's This Is How I Feel About Jazz was the same. It's funny about Emarcy since the pressings on its parent company's label - Mercury - were excellent. I found the early Prestiges OK but by the time people like Eric Dolphy started recording for the company, sometimes on its Status subsidiary, they were really noisy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UK pressed Prestiges on Esquire, Transatlantic and Xtra were usually pretty good. Some of the UK Decca mono issues on Nixa and Tempo were excellent quality pressings too. Of the Blue Notes - German Liberty pressings were usually excellent, as was (predictably) SABA and the SABA-pressed Prestiges.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if quality vinyl and good pressings are always connected.

Re: pressings, the best luck I've had on vintage US pressings has been Columbia and RCA-Victor. Everything else has been pretty inconsistent - including such sacred cows as Blue Note, Impulse!, and Prestige.

European pressings are pretty wildly erratic but Teldec, German Polydor/DGG, Vogue, Transatlantic and Esquire are pretty good.

Japanese pressings aren't always high quality. I've had some really crappy Victors, for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim R says he had some LPs pressed by Sparton that "were beautiful". Were they mono or stereo, Jim? My friends and I found that the mono Sparton pressings were usually quite acceptable but the stereo pressings were often terrible. I remember in particular the gorgeous Lucky Thompson/Oscar Pettiford sessions that first appeared on ABC Paramount. The stereo versions were simply unplayable. Quincy Jones's This Is How I Feel About Jazz was the same. It's funny about Emarcy since the pressings on its parent company's label - Mercury - were excellent. I found the early Prestiges OK but by the time people like Eric Dolphy started recording for the company, sometimes on its Status subsidiary, they were really noisy.

I wish I had a clearer memory, Don, but I'm pretty sure that the standout for me (Curtis Fuller's "Cabin In The Sky") was mono

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Knowing something about this (for US pressings) without time to chime in, someone should remind me later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About 1969 RCA Victor introduced a vinyl which as I recall was called Dynaflex. You could bend it in two without breaking the record. Does anyone remember how it sounded?

In the mid-sixties, Verve and Impulse! releases cost a dollar more because their vinyl was better, supposedly. Does anyone recall if that was true?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Knowing something about this (for US pressings) without time to chime in, someone should remind me later.

I was going to say that we should ask you to chime in, but I didn't want to put that kind of intense pressure on you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before all of this, I was going to say that later Nessa recordings used very good vinyl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For jazz I'd have to rate early German ECM issues pressed by Deutsche Grammophone.

In general I find German and Japanese vinyl to be the best, or at least less likely to have issues.

French label vinyl often seems the worst or most problematic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know less about jazz, but yes, in my experience buying Beatles records German pressings are top of the line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a few Verve albums I'm looking for, and some of them are easier to find in the UK. Surprisingly, I own almost no UK Verve pressings. How were they, quality-wise, in the 60s compared to the US pressings? (Sidewinder, I'm looking at you. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

There are a few Verve albums I'm looking for, and some of them are easier to find in the UK. Surprisingly, I own almost no UK Verve pressings. How were they, quality-wise, in the 60s compared to the US pressings? (Sidewinder, I'm looking at you. :)

Not sure I can compare directly with the US but the 60s UK Verve LPs I have (e.g. Getz bossa nova stuff) all sound pretty good to me. Their early to mid 70s pressings are also more than acceptable. I find them to be usually quiet and noise free, which is sometimes not the case with the US pressings of that era. I think they were pressed by Polydor.

The UK Verve version of Getz’s ‘Sweet Rain’ is a sonic delight which comes to mind. I also have the set of those Getz ‘Meets the Sax Giants Vol 1 to 3’. Sonics on Vol 2 are lovely but Vol 3 was a disappointment so maybe the impact of the oil crisis was starting to kick in.

Edited by sidewinder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your input! Incidentally, my copy of "Sweet Rain" is pressed in Germany (as many other Verve titles from that era in the racks over here) and also sounds very good. But apparently not all titles came out in Germany back in the day (or at least weren't pressed there). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found Argo, ECM and Blue Note to have excellent pressings. Dot also had decent pressings. I also feel imports from Japan & Germany were excellent as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always found the very best jazz LP pressings came from Contemporary. This label was a class act all around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.