When you are out shopping for vinyl records you are undoubtedly going to run into messages such as “WOW EXTRA VIRGIN 200G VINYL,” “Special 180G Edition!,” any many similar claims.
Is this olive oil we are talking about? What are these weights and why do they matter? And of course the most important question: “Which one sounds best???”
Well, let’s start in the beginning. Back in the day, if you recall, there were what we call “records.” No one talked about how much they weighed. They all were generally the “standard” weight of 120g.
Compared to a 180g record, a 120g record is going to feel thin and floppy (it actually will be a bit bendy). But the important question is: Does it matter?
Answer: Yes and No (were you expecting something easy?!)
Let’s start with the “Yes” side of the equation. The problem with the standard 120G weight is that they are much more prone to warpage. You may notice with some of your 120G records that your tonearm bobs up-and-down nonstop while it’s tracking all of those warps. This normally doesn’t affect the sound much and we don’t think it’s a concern unless the warp is really bad and throws your tonearm off in left-field. Flat is better though.
This is where the thicker 180g and 200g records come in. Instead of feeling thin and wobbly, they are firm and robust. They are much less prone to warpage. They will also likely last longer.
The big question though, is the sound. Does having thicker vinyl automatically make it sound better than a thinner, lighter record?
The answer is “Nope.” Those thin, wobbly guys can sound incredible just like their heavy brethren. They just aren’t quite as heavy duty and are more prone to warpage.
Heavy Vinyl Pros:
- Less Prone to Warpage
- They feel great in your hands
- Arguably will last longer
- Bragging rights
- There is a good chance that the mastering will be good quality
- Probably doesn’t sound better than a thinner one
- Costs more
In conclusion, get heavy vinyl when you can, but don’t under estimate standard-weight vinyl, as they can be fantastic too!