180 gram vinyl records have stolen the hearts of millions of audiophiles for a long time. At the beginning of the digital era, people started to move on from vintage records. However, not everyone wanted to abandon them. The reason behind it went beyond the sound quality. Many wanted to treasure the unique experience that the vinyl record gave.
Currently, many artists are releasing their music on vinyl records too. The vinyl LPs are refined on the shelves of Walmart, Target, and other prevailing big box retail stores. This can be a perfect marketing strategy, as vinyl records have a solid record of selling at a high price even today.
That’s not all. Many vintage album collections that have been the epitome of time-honored classics are being re-released on vinyl records. You can see a little sticker on the front of the vinyl record that mentions “180 Gram Vinyl.”
Some of you may not be familiar with this type of vinyl record precisely. But, you might have seen some vinyl records marked as 180 gram vinyl that come with a very noticeably high price tag.
What Is 180 Gram Vinyl?
180 gram vinyl is unquestionably a thicker and heavier record than others. It comes in a standard 12 inches. This type of record is considered the “audiophile-grade” vinyl record because of its texture and size.
Most of the time, these vinyl records come in a standard black color. But there are other varieties of colors, and even some blended colors are available to hype up the consumers.
The records are sturdy and durable, as they last longer and have high resistance to breakage. As a result of their robust nature, the 180 gram vinyl records show resistance to warping better than the records with standard weights.
If a record tends to warp or bend over, it can distort the sound pressing upon the record and cause the stylus to skip or jump.
The heavier vinyl offers a more stable surface for the stylus and cantilever suspension by giving them additional support and protection from any unwanted vibration, which can degrade the sound quality from the micro-level.
The relation between the total vinyl weight and thickness of the record directly depends on the type of dyes used in that record. The dyes are designed differently and might vary from label to label.
Some famous labels, such as Classic Records with their Quiex SVP (Super Vinyl Profile), and Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab with their UHQR (Ultra High Quality Record), have designed pressing techniques using 180 gram heavyweight vinyl records. The dyes used in the pressing were created in such a way so that the record surface will be flatter than the regular record.
Is A 180 Gram Vinyl Better Than A Vintage Record?
This is a severe misconception in the world of audiophiles. There is nothing special about the 180 gram vinyl that makes it the best of the best. Since everyone started to move on with digital records, everything about vintage records became old school.
The variety of new apps, modifications, and technologies made the people run after modern technology, even the vintage audiophiles. However, the world has started to revisit the past. This applies to vintage records too.
The sheer weight is the leading cause of the 180 gram vinyl’s popularity among other vinyl records. Because of its weight, the 180 gram LPs run smoothly and quickly on the turntable. That is the only benefit the weight gives for this record.
People might think that a 180 gram vinyl is famous because of its properties such as noise reduction, deeper bass sound, and increased stereo imaging (recognized structural locations of the vocals, instruments, and other sonic components with respect to each other).
According to most surveys, the 180 gram vinyl is just a marketing trick. Many vintage records were there on the market. Because of its convincing appeal, the 180 gram vinyl made it to the top.
Back in the day, labels like Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab used heavyweight vinyl to create their UHQR (Ultra High Quality Record). However, heavyweight vinyl is mainly used to support the high-level manufacturing process. This means that using the 180 gram vinyl did not contribute any critical factor in the domain of sound quality.
In fact, the reason behind the improved quality of sound is the usage of original master tapes, modern mastering techniques, high-definition “virgin” vinyl, and the state-of-the-art manufacturing process.
The word “virgin” vinyl indicates the prevention of using recycled plastics that contain impurities, which leads to noisier playback.
As a result of this misconception, many myths about the vinyl record were raised. Those myths include that the 180 gram vinyl has deeper grooves, better playback angles, and other unbelievable myths. Many fell for it and the sales of this vinyl record reached the sky.
Why Is The 180 Gram Vinyl Expensive?
The astonishing growth of the sales of vinyl records and attempting to make the vinyl more appealing resulted in the making of 180 gram pressings. This, in turn, led to a massive amount of plants and factories opening to make more impressive heavyweight 180 gram pressings. It has still been happening for the past decade.
180 gram pressing became the standard pressing design for many factories. Another reason behind the appraisal of many factories is because their label does not influence the sales. Instead, the sales became dependent on the raw material used and the recently added value by the consumers. Therefore, it has compensated more than the highest marginal investment.
Consumers also didn’t care about the technical factors of the 180 gram vinyl. All they wanted to hear was that the record gave a good-quality sound and a vintage look. This opened the door for any labels, big or small, good or bad, to manufacture the 180 gram vinyl and price it in whatever range they wanted to.
After reading this article, it’s possible to say that the 180 gram vinyl is great, but not the best. The central selling spot for these records involves human psychology much more than you think. It does not matter that the record produces only considerable quality of sound or music.
It is proven that a heavier object gives more fulfilment for the human needs than the lighter ones. It provides a feeling of you receiving more for your money. Deep inside your mind, you will feel better when you purchase the 180 gram vinyl instead of when you purchase a lighter record.
Apart from that, the 180 gram vinyl record does not bear any unique properties to make it stand as the only one of its kind. It’s just the look of it. So truly, it’s not all that special.