Triple Plus: Our
Top Grade, awarded only to sides that sound just right in our
experience. The ultimate in sound for that album, often Demo
Disc Quality. These are very special records, the best we can find.
Double Plus to Triple Plus: An
exceptional side that is just a small step below our best Triple
Plus copies but clearly better than a Double Plus. You'll have an incredibly tough time finding a better sounding side.
Double Plus: A side
that should be dramatically better than the average copy or any audiophile reissue. An extremely impressive
side that will be very hard to beat.
Single Plus to Double
Plus: A wonderful sounding side with many impressive qualities,
notably better than a Single Plus copy. A big step up from the typical pressing.
Single Plus: A side
that is significantly better than the average copy that should
handily beat most pressings and audiophile reissues in a shootout.
Vinyl Playgrades for Hot Stampers
Notes on the grades we use, with each vinyl playgrade ranked on a scale of 1 to 10 -- 10 being the quietest.
Mint Minus (M-)
9 - 10 on a scale of 1 to 10
An exceptionally clean record. An exceptionally well-cared-for, properly pressed modern record (say from the '70s up to today) should play this quiet when cleaned. Records from the '50s and '60s will have a much harder time making this Mint Minus grade, regardless of what kind of music they contain: rock, jazz or classical. Classical records, with so many quiet passages in the music, will have an especially hard time.
Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus (M--)
8 - 9 on a scale of 1 to 10
Between Mint Minus and Mint Minus Minus. This is a very typical grade for a record from the '70s or '80s. There will be some surface noise, likely in the quietest passages, but overall the surface noise should not be objectionable to most. Customers often remark how quiet they consider our records at this grade, because we are very conservative graders.
Mint Minus Minus (M--)
Around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10
Typical vinyl for ’50s & ’60s recordings and very common for classic rock records from the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and so on. Will probably have constant light surface noise behind the music but it should not be of a terribly objectionable nature. Might have a click or pop here and there but nothing that repeats for very long. We make every effort to comment upon marks that make more than three ticks or pops. For many vintage records, even after a good cleaning this is as quiet as they will play.
Excellent Plus Plus (EX++)
Surface noise will be more objectionable but still tolerable. This grade is rarely used, if for no other reason than the fact that most audiophiles will not put up with vinyl that plays this poorly. At this grade and below this grade we rarely will bother to list such a record. M-- to EX++ records are a bit quieter and may be listed in the case of excellent, hard-to-find recordings.
It's rare for us to have a record returned for sound or condition, most customers consider us very conservative in our sonic grades and vinyl playgrades. This is because we play a ton of records every day and make every effort to grade accurately. Your satisfaction is always guaranteed on all counts.
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