Reading forums and comments on the Internet can be enlightening and saddening. Occasionally, it’s just downright maddening. The other day I read this:
“Records always sound better when they’re 200 gram pressings.”
This saddens me, because it shows how marketing has invented truth, and how the tactic of waving something shiny is a sufficient distraction. Aside from the subjectivity of determining what sounds better, there is no sufficient way to actually prove this statement. And honestly, it doesn’t need proving… because it can’t be proven… it’s just wrong.
I don’t know any record where the exact same content was sold in 200 gram and regular vinyl. And when I say exact same content, I mean just that. I mean the same master tapes were used, the same mix, etc… There’s obviously reissues of older records on heavier weight vinyl. But this isn’t the same content that’s on the original record. Most of the time it’s advertised as such. It’s a marketing tagline. You’ve seen the hype stickers with “Newly Remastered” in neon red.
The heavy weight vinyl makes the record heavier. That is indisputable. I’m not sure how it correlates to better sound. I’m sure there’s scientific minds out there that can prove it does by whipping up some obscure formula. But I don’t care about that. It’s not real world.
I’m talking about a noticeable difference in sound to the average ear in average listening conditions.
I don’t think there’s any harm, obviously, from pressing records on heavier weight. If anything, the heftiness tends to make me treat the record more gently. And the weight makes the record seem more significant than the normal weight counterparts. But actually improving sound? I’m not convinced.
I have to believe the sonic quality of a record is more determined by what source tapes are used, how it is mixed, mastered, and pressed onto the record. These components seem more significant than the weight of the vinyl.
If you think I’m wrong, please, PLEASE, consider this: I have some Beatles reissues that were pressed on heavyweight vinyl. If you have any 1960 pressings of the Beatles on that flimsy bad-quality vinyl, hit me up. I’ll gladly trade you… (hell, I’ll even pay the shipping costs).