Grading & Glossary

Grading

Our records are generally in very good plus condition or better. It is just not worth the trouble of describing, photographing, storing, packing, cleaning and posting a lesser record to even chance a customer being disappointed.

This is not to say that none of our records have scratches and significant surface noise, some do. We include these in so far as their scarcity or other merit warrants their inclusion.

Therefore, we try to provide a more objective and detailed description of our records than the usual grading scales. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or criticisms.

The Process

Firstly, we try to get a sense of a record's history. Spindle hole wear, the number and eccentricity of spindle marks on the label, dirt, disc discoloration, cover condition, worn openings and tatty, torn or missing inner sleeves all reveal something of how much, and in what manner a record has been used. Discs are then examined for physical signs of defects such as scratches, dirt, warping or production flaws. The ones that are acceptable are carefully described for listing or may require cleaning and playing first.

We play records with light scratches, significant scuffs or evidence of wear in order to listen for scratches, mis-tracking, and (subjectively) the amount of surface noise and the audio fidelity.

 Currently, I use a Mitsubishi Direct Drive turntable DP-84DA. It has a fluid damped lowering tone-arm. The pick-up is a Stanton 681EEE with the tracking weight set to 1.75 grams.

Part of the allure of vinyl records is the accompanying cover art and other embellishments. Therefore, we take time to detail the condition and completeness of our records and include the photo of the actual album cover described.

All photos of covers and labels are of the actual record except when we are offering a number of new records. In this case, the photo is of a representative record.

All of the discs in this catalogue are covered and properly shelved in clean and temperate conditions.

Glossary

Adjectives
 - Faint - requires attention to discern, be it wear to the sleeve or surface noise on the disc.
 - Light - is noticeable but does not significantly detract from (very subjective).
 - Moderate - about the amount of wear expected for age. Usually pertains to sleeves.
 - Obvious, Intrusive - Less than acceptable condition. Discs and sleeves described thus may be included in our catalogue more for their scarcity and/or other merit.

Scuff - a mark on the surface of a disc which may not descend into the groove. Therefore does not cast a shadow when viewed with a light in front. May be caused by pressure applied to disc in its cover or the disc being placed and slid on a gritty surface. May or may not affect the sound.

Heavy Scuff - definitely impacts the information in the groove.

Broad Scuff - appears as an ugly mark on record surface. May be caused by fingernail, player spindle or other blunt object skating across record surface. Often looks worse than it sounds.

Scratch - a line in the surface of a disc which does descend into the groove and is identified by a shadow line when held up to light. Often caused by the phono needle or other sharp object gouging a groove across the record surface. Unless the scratch is very light, it will cause that annoying periodic click as the record is played.

Mis-tracking - is any defect in the record that causes the needle to leave its path in the groove. That is, to skip a revolution or get stuck.

Warp - The disc is not flat and may cause mis-tracking. Records that are warped may introduce noise as the angle of the needle in the groove changes. Also, warping causes frequency changes in the reproduced audio which is a form of distortion.

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