We see more and more of them in record stores: colored vinyl is invading our shelves and seems to be steadily establishing itself as the new essential of our record collections: to the point that its design is becoming almost as important as the music. Traditionally, however, vinyl records were pressed in black. So what is the difference between the two, and how to explain it?
Colored vinyl: the new standard
Colored vinyl is undoubtedly an object more and more requested by fans: as we know, vinyl conveys with it a real indication of the aesthetic orientation of the project, well beyond the music alone. From there, the choice made of the color of the disc is essential and generates all the more interest from buyers if it can also become a collectible and a decorative item. This is a great way for artists to sell very limited editions at a higher price. It is also in this way that it helps to grow ties with the audience, who knows they are in possession of a beautiful and unique object.
A unique product and its flip side
As we have already explained, vinyl is practically infinitely customizable (see our article on 5 types of extraordinary vinyl): each artist can leave room for their overflowing imagination. Each combination will yield a unique result for each buyer, making their experience all the more personalized.
Be careful, however, because not all color combinations work: for example, you are strongly advised not to make a color splatter on a black disk, or even to mix two solid colors without a transparent color! Also note that even if our team offers visuals that are as close as possible to the estimated result, each pressing is unique and may give a different outcome. This therefore remains at best indicative, it is necessary to accept a certain dose of chance…
In addition, color pressing is much more expensive than a standard black pressing. It requires obtaining specific pigments, some of which are particularly difficult to find given the frequent shortages that affect the industry: the manufacturing process is lengthened for artists, who must imperatively sell the product at a higher price to remain profitable.
Any difference in sound quality?
The first colored vinyl appeared around 1908 thanks to the Edison company. Not very practical and quite fragile, these first models were sold mainly for their appearance, but not really for their sound quality. Technological restrictions did not allow a satisfactory rendering to be offered: consumers had to confine themselves to the more robust black disk for that.
Manufacturers have since improved to make color records sound almost as good as black records, notably thanks to the Everclean vinyl, which reduced static. This is not true, however, for picture discs, where an image is superimposed directly on the vinyl puck, after which a thin plastic film is affixed. The tracks are therefore glued, in a way, and not engraved.
Even today, although colored vinyl records have largely caught up, black vinyl has a reputation for preserving the sound of records better. This is due to the fact that carbon black is more durable than other dyes, which explains why this color was preferred from the start. Conversely, some colors remain generally less qualitative (especially transparent).
Conclusion: it all depends on your expectations!
FAt the end of the day, your choice will have to be made according to the experience you are looking for!
Are you a confirmed audiophile, attached to the traditional look of your vinyl? Then standard black vinyl is best suited to your listening habits.
Do you like to display your vinyl as works of art and appreciate novelty? Then colored vinyl has its place among your shelves.
There, you now have all the weapons in hand to make your choice!
As a bonus, find a small selection of our most beautiful colored vinyl, produced exclusively at Diggers Factory: