“Why are you still buying vinyl?” I asked my friend.
“Well, for people like me who are into high-fidelity, raw music, vinyl record is the one. It’s the Romeo to my Juliet.”
Sweet. Just like the sweetness you hear when the stylus touches the disc then plays the melody you’ve been singing in your mind. Ah! Bliss.
Now, you’re sitting there visualizing what it feels like to listen to this “high-fidelity, raw music.” Yearning for that “warmth” only vinyl records give. But then you ask yourself, “To buy or not to buy?”
Tell you what, purchasing a vinyl record is sooooo worth it. But first, you have to decide if you are getting it brand new or pre-owned.
Buying a brand-new one should not be a problem except you have to make sure it is not just a reissue of an old album on vinyl. Reissues are still brand new, but they are the inferior version of the original vinyl pressing. It’s like hearing Arnel Pineda sing Journey’s songs. He sounds exactly like the Steve Perry, but he isn’t Steve Perry. If it doesn’t matter to you at all, then a reissue will definitely do.
Getting a second-hand vinyl record, on the other hand, warrants a punctilious consideration of different factors. Here are some of them:
- Grade. An album’s grade refers to the grading a seller gives a record he or she is selling. You should look out for Very Good Plus (VG+), Mint (M), or Near-mint (NM or M-). These grades will assure you that the record you are getting is (almost) free from scratches that affect the listening quality. But you have to make sure the seller isn’t grading it the way my high school history teacher graded me—“ceiling” grade. She looked up at the ceiling and for some reason found my grade there.
- Weight. Contrary to what your doctor is saying about your weight, the heavier the vinyl record, the better. It means the less played it is. It means you have a higher chance of getting a less scratched one. However, how do you know which one is heavier when you have nothing to compare it with? A standard vinyl record averages at 120 grams, but if you are after an audiophile grade, look for one that’s between 150 to 200 grams.
- Date of manufacture. Buying vinyl records is like buying pizza. The newer the vinyl record is, the better. Hence, you should also consider the date it was pressed. Look for the pressing and pressing size and number. The latter is usually printed on the cover. The more limited it is, the better. However, you have to make a careful research about the date it was pressed to make sure you are getting the real deal. You don’t want a warm pizza that’s just been reheated several times, right?
- Design. “It doesn’t matter what you look on the outside; it’s what’s inside that counts.” Meh. That doesn’t apply to vinyl records. When buying one choose what’s beautiful inside out. Although the design does not have a direct impact on the sound quality, it does affect the record’s value especially if you are planning to sell it in the future. So, go for designs that are not only aesthetically attractive but also valuable over time.
Just like when shopping for gadgets, clothes, and so on, asking the seller a lot of questions when buying a vinyl record is a must. The same rule applies when looking for a rare album. Ask questions like you want to understand your life. And when the seller cannot confirm your doubts, Google it.