Vinyl: Used vs new

Like more than a few of you, I love scouring the used bins at record shops for cool vinyl, not to mention finding weird stuff at garage sales. I’ve got a very modest collection. About 1000 records at this point. Half I had from before the “resurgence.” The other half I’ve picked up in the past couple of years. Maybe 150 are new, but most are used.

It’s such a joy to play pristine vinyl, but in the interest of increasing my collection of nostalgic stuff from the 60’s/70’s/80’s, I’ve been picking up used records with reckless abandon. On the surface, spending $10-15 is waaaaay more appealing than spending $25. Reminds me of my youth when everything was $6.99.

I have visions of building up a massive collection. And if they’re all new, that’s gonna be a fortune! :upside_down_face:

I love taking a road trip here and there, to find record stores an hour or two away. Hunting down great stuff. It’s a blast. And I’ve found some really cool albums in my travels.

But lately it’s been veerrrryy frustrating when I come home, clean the vinyl in my Degritter, and play some of these that LOOK ok, but when the needle drops, it’s more noise and skipping than it is music. And i don’t think i’m gonna drive back the 50-100 miles to the shop and complain.

Maybe it’s just the cost of doing business, but I think I need to up my vinyl game. Unless it’s a pristine copy, or some goofy rare out-of-print thing, I think my bin-hunting days are numbered.

What do y’all do with records that are less-than-playable? Drag to trash? Keep for nostalgia but put a big red X on the cover?

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I have started using a round removable label on all my albums to rate from A to F the (1) quality of the recording (2) the quality of the record and (3) the quality of the music. Helps me remember the album characteristics. Unfortunately like you I have found that quality of used records is getting more spotty at best. If I love the recording and music I will search for a new or better quality version. Part of the process of digging and discovering. I have found that I am.starting to purchase directly from the artists if possible. For example the Americana group Over The Rhine has some great deals right at their merch site.

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I have too, but it’s to indicate whether it’s been cleaned in the degritter!

On a couple tho, I’ve written in that little label with a “w” for “warp” or “s” for “skip”…

I’ll likely keep hunting down better versions. I hate to miss out on cool stuff in the bins, but it’s sooooo much more satisfying playing a record that is pristine. Just got the new Blue Note reissue of Dexter Gordon’s One Flight Up, and it’s such a treat.

(I was pretty good with my records back in the day, with discwashers and the like. But even ones that were mine from new aren’t perfect.)


I get it. I also record when it was cleaned in my Audio Desk machine. Looking forward when we can get together in the Twin Cities. Fully vaccinated so feel free to come over. You also need to meet @aangen


haha, yeah, we need a separate Twin Cities thread!

Fully vaxxed also. Three weeks since shot #2.



I’ve bought hundreds of used albums, and after meticulous cleaning, almost all are in near mint condition. Before buying them, I carefully examined them for even tiny scratches and any visible wear, knowing surface dirt can be removed. The few I bought online, I made sure that they were graded VG+ or better.

Yes, as have I. But I’ve never been able to clean away a scratch or a gouge. :frowning_face:

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I have been able to weed out those records by carefully inspecting them. Don’t know how much of that is skill, or just pure luck.

I buy a lot of vinyl from sellers on Discogs. They all have quality ratings and the most recent batch I bought were all in the VG+ rank. Of the eight records I got from the seller the one in the worst condition was a very important one, but the cost was low and with my current turntable a record is either completely unplayable or it’s fine. The one that had some noise is not disconcerting to me. The rest all cleaned up to perfect condition. I was marveled by the sonics of the entire batch.

I would like to come see a Degritter in action! My Audio Desk Glass cleaner had some bad moments with the wiper blades early on but once they came out with the black blades it’s been wonderful.

It bugs me that 97% of humanity would rip me up once side and down the other for what the Audio Desk class of record cleaners cost. Virtually everyone would just know it cannot be worth the price. The fact that it seems like a F’n BARGAIN to me for the usefulness and positive effect it has on my record listening enjoyment is an understatement. It solves vinyl.


My only tip for when inspecting vinyl in the shop before you buy is make sure you are looking at the surface under bright fluorescent light and tilt the LP to different angles (and obviously check both sides). If the shop keeper won’t let you take the album out of the sleeve move on to another shop. Generally a careful visual inspection results in great sound for me (after proper cleaning of course). It is time consuming if you don’t enjoy the process because I wind up putting lots of albums back in the sleeve after inspection and find something NM (near mint). Condition is everything for me so it does take longer.


Good thread. I’m only 2+ months into the journey, but all of my purchases are VG+ or up. I’ve labeled with small sticky on outer sleeve for condition/notes. I’m tracking condition/notes on discogs as well. I was fortunate to have folks encourage me to do this from the start, so it was easier than trying to go back in after. And still looking for tips and tricks from all you more experienced.

A good cleaner like the AudioDesk is vital. I have a Loricraft PRC4. I would get a Degritter if the PRC4 was not so good.

Old unmarked records once cleaned should sound like new. Static is as bad as dirt sometimes and I clean all new records.

Most of my records come from the same store and I can return anything if I don’t like it or it’s marked.

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The nearest local shop generally tapes up the “better” used albums in plastic sleeves, and if I don’t get the chance to inspect it there, they are very good about returns/exchanges. Sometimes the problem is that I don’t get the purchase on the turntable for a while, and by then, it seems like it’s too late. Need to be better about that, I reckon,

I’ve had great luck with Discogs, i’ll admit. I’ve found that most of the sellers I’ve bought from are pretty good with respect to grading, and I’ll go back to them again and again.

I love the in-person store visits, but as we can all attest, there’s something enjoyable about the words “out for delivery.”

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Ok, this just came to me, and it’s perhaps a fatal flaw in my personality!

I think I prefer to buy used albums because there’s something about it that says “I was into this before everyone else got back into it.”

But why should I care?

Not so much with jazz stuff. Sure, I’ll hunt down used stuff that’s out of print. But for that I’m good buying new, as I really appreciate the pristine fidelity, especially the stuff from Acoustic Sounds. And I didn’t really own much jazz back in the day.

But with, say, Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones or heck, even something like Bad Company, I generally don’t purchase NEW vinyl of that stuff.

I will admit that I bought a few new pressings of Dire Straits albums on Vertigo (vs Warner Bros), and they are brilliant. $20-25, so not much more than a good used copy.

Ehh I’m just nuts, that’s all.

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I also have an Auto Desk, but am considering a Degritter.

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I totally agree, good light, and tilting are vital. And where possible, try to use natural light, too. My favorite store closed down a year ago. They had floor to ceiling windows across the entire front of the store, and I faced the windows to give a thorough inspection with natural light, then turned away from the windows to block that light and did the inspection using fluorescent lights. By doing that, I got a couple of hundred albums for $1.99 or less that, once thoroughly cleaned on my Auto Desk, sounded brand new (maybe better!)

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I clean records before each play, new or not.

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I used to frequent “Fantasy Records” in Buckhead, Atlanta. Sometimes an entire collection would turn up, unsorted, but all from the same source.
It was easy to tell if the lot was well cared for by looking at a few and observing the content. There were great collections and outright trash. I found a lot of Reference recordings, Sheffield Labs and Concord Jazz that were barely played and discarded in favor of CD’s. I had to laugh as I loaded up the trunk of my car.

I see finding and buying really nice condition used LPs as “saving” them from who knows what fate. The rescue mission is critical to me!


The most recent purchase the records were packaged with the vinyl record and it’s sleeve outside and on top of the empty jacket. This seems like a really excellent way to ship vinyl as it protects the record jacket from being imprinted buy the record.