**IMPORTANT PLEASE READ*** Be sure to read the information below before clicking on the Color Vinyl Gallery link.
SPECIFIC COLOR VINYL CONSIDERATIONS:
Not all colors are available at all times.
Not all variants will work / look the same on a 7 inch record as they do on a 12 inch record. Generally speaking, the only color that maintains consistent separation as a swirl on a 7inch is black, or custom-order swirl material (which costs extra).
Not all colors mix together well. Generally speaking, you can mix black into any other color, and it will maintain separation. Most other colors cannot be mixed together and still maintain separation.
Custom mixes can sometimes vary a bit throughout a run of records; and can also vary from one order to the next – see our Appearance Characteristics below.
Very generally speaking, the more you mix, the more sound quality is affected. Please see our Scale of Color Vinyl Sound Quality below.
We do not press 180 gram color vinyl. 180 gram vinyl is only available in audiophile black vinyl, or natural (uncolored) vinyl.
HANDMADE variants have strict limitations on the quantities that can be pressed, and also cost significantly more than all other colors. Please call us at (800) 295-0171 to discuss any handmade options.
SCALE OF COLOR VINYL SOUND QUALITY CHARACTERISTICS:*
(Noise characteristics — 1= quietest / 10 = noisiest)
1. GGR Black custom formula made by CAF, Srl
2-3. Natural (uncolored) vinyl, transparent colors
6. Non-Mixed Opaque Colors (excluding White)
7. Opaque Mix (Mixing opaque and translucent color(s) in particular; and also tend to have visible “staining” after a few hundred records, which can be seen in certain light, and causes a sound issue).
7-8. Random Color / Recycled Color Shades
8. Most hand-made variants
8-10. Glow In The Dark / Glitter Records
* No doubt, you will find many competing theories on the subject of color vinyl sound quality. The information on this page is based solely upon our experience running the various PVC formulations that we use at GGR. (In other words, please don’t use this information against other pressing plants, or when considering purchasing a new record — every plant has their own approach, and every record has its own unique characteristics). We only provide this information to help customers in the decision making process for records we press at GGR.
From our experience, the main reason colors can run differently (and sound different) is due to the melt characteristics of the vinyl itself — it has nothing to do with the actual color pigments, but instead, the PVC formulations. Different PVC formulations, which have varying specific gravity characteristics, can have dramatically different melting results at various extruder, nozzle, and mold temperature settings – each leading to different molding results when the records are being pressed, as well as different edge characteristics during edge trimming and cooling. Also, we find that the size of the biscuit can have a dramatically different result with different PVC formulations (which is why, for sound quality consistency, we do not offer 180 gram records in any color other than audiophile black vinyl, or natural).
Every record runs differently, and very generally speaking, the louder the recording the less noticeable any “plastic noise” will be. Turntables also can track color vinyl differently than black — some people report skips on color copies which do not happen on the same record if pressed on black vinyl (typically on lower-end turntables -especially those which have plastic tone arms and/or lack tracking adjustment mechanisms. Such turntables can actually be problematic on both black and color vinyl records). Some people say the music itself can sound slightly different on color versions vs black versions of the same record (since the grooves are the same, this likely has more to do with the turntable/cartridge being used, combined with the variance of specific gravity between different PVC formulations).
The way a record is cut, and also very specifically, the lathe and lacquer used for the cut can also have dramatically different results with different PVC formulations.
In any case, there are tons color records in the U.S. marketplace, and many people do not seem to notice/mind the differences. But, we try to be as transparent as possible sharing information to help you make the best decision for your project. If your utmost concern is a very quiet pressing, then you are probably better off pressing black vinyl.
GGR BLACK VINYL, MADE BY CAF, SRL
All GGR black vinyl pressings are made with CAF, SRL HF Black vinyl. CAF, based in Italy, has been present in the European vinyl record market for over 40 years. This particular grade is one of the most preferred grades of vinyl used by European pressing plants. We conducted extensive testing in collaboration with CAF during 2018, and we have found the formula to be superior in terms of both surface noise as well as prevention of non-fill and other molding issues. When compared to other PVC’s manufactured around the world, the CAF formula (which is an unleaded compound) is also very clean in terms of comparative PVC environmental impact; as well as the prevention of particulate contamination provided by the customized container it is shipped and stored within.
NATURAL (UNCOLORED) VINYL:
This vinyl is the natural color of PVC without any colorants added – it appears white, but can show light through if held up to a light source. In theory, it is the “cleanest” formulation of phonographic record PVC available, because it does not have any colorants added. (Contrary to what one may think, actual transparent “clear” vinyl has colorants added to reduce the haziness of appearance — Natural Translucent does not have these colorants, and therefore looks hazy white). This color is extremely quiet, and molds exceptionally well on records with very dynamic program material – similar (though not identical) to black. This color can be considered an “audiophile” sounding PVC, like black. The cost of Natural is more than black, because it costs more from the PVC manufacturer that makes it, and has a longer cycle time than black.
APPEARANCE CHARACTERISTICS OF COLOR VINYL:
Please note that colors can vary – even within a single pressing. The most prevalent thing you may notice is small black marks in the color, which is most noticeable in white and clear records. These marks cannot be completely removed, and are just part of the record pressing process. Runs of quantities less than 250 records of the same color tend to exacerbate the appearance of these “smudges” “dots” and “streaks”. Again, while we do take measures to minimize them, and if you are paying for a color setup, we do clean/change the extruder nozzle; these attributes of color vinyl pressing cannot be completely removed.
Also, please note that mixed colors can vary dramatically throughout a single pressing run. For example, you may order a transparent color mixed with black — you may wind up with some records which are predominantly the transparent color; or some records which are predominantly black. Or, you may order a purple mix, and get some records that are straight red, or straight blue. This is just a side effect of mixing different PVC colors together, and cannot be avoided.
Similarly, the same color mix ordered on more than one separate record order could turn out slightly different each time it is run.
RANDOM COLOR VINYL:
Random color vinyl is just that — completely random. Since it is 100% recycled vinyl, we sell it at a discount. But, we do not know exactly what colors you will wind up with, and they are going to be all over the board – no two records will look exactly alike, and you may have many distinct shades. Sorry, there is no cost effective way to guarantee you a specific quantity of any color, or to provide you with counts on individual shades. Also, please note that there are times we do not have enough in stock to run an entire order with it (since it is recycled, we have to accumulate enough of it to cover demand, which is not always possible). You may want to have an alternative plan in case we do not have enough random color on hand when your order is ready to press.
The following picture is an example of a random color 7 inch job. But, we cannot stress enough that every random color job is different, so please do not take this picture as an exact replica of what your order may be – even we do not know in advance exactly what colors you will wind up with on your order.
HANDMADE COLOR VARIANTS:
Machine-run color records are “melted” in the extruder prior to being pressed in the molds on the record pressing machine. Conversely, “hand-made” variants (such as splits, splatters, stripes, “dots”, coin flips, hand-pours, nebulas, pinwheels, and other extreme color variants), have PVC inserted into the molds by hand which does not pass through the extruder. Therefore, this PVC does not melt as consistently as it would if passing through the extruder. This causes various unavoidable issues in the hand-made color records – nonfill, noise, and chipped edges. The lack of consistent melt temperature makes each of these imperfections an unavoidable trade-off of making such striking color variants, and therefore should be taken into account when ordering such colors.
Please note, there is a strict limit on the number of handmade color copies per order. Please refer to the photos in our Color Gallery – in the Handmade folder, each photo will tell you the limit on the number of records per order in its file name. (Note, other than splatter, the max combined number of handmade units available in any single order is 100 copies). Finally, it should be noted that handmade colors cost considerably more – ranging from $4 per unit up to $12+ per unit in addition to normal color vinyl pricing, depending upon the specifics of the variant. We strongly encourage you to call us at (800) 295-0171 to discuss any handmade color variant before placing your order (and especially before advertising any variant for sale), so that there are no unnecessary surprises.