Greg Lake on why ELP reissues won’t be on heavyweight 180g vinyl

BMG’s Emerson Lake & Palmer reissues are due next week and as well as two-CD deluxe editions, the group’s first three albums, Emerson Lake & Palmer (1970), Tarkus (1971 and Pictures At An Exhibition (1971) are scheduled to be reissued on vinyl. However, these won’t be ‘heavyweight’ 180g pressings and Greg Lake explains why…

“To all friends of vinyl.

Ever since producing and recording with King Crimson and ELP, it has been my personal goal to achieve the best possible sound quality and that remains true to this day.

Regarding the audio reproduction quality on vinyl, the popular perception for some time has been that the best sound quality is achieved by using 180gsm weight. The reality, however, is that particularly when using modern decks, the best audio quality is actually achieved using the lighter 140gsm weight. I am honestly not sure why this trend of using heavyweight vinyl came about? Probably because of the ‘more equals better’ in the world we live in. However, in the interests of delivering the best quality audio to our fans we have decided to go for quality rather than quantity.

Just to underpin the above vinyl quality issue, here below is a short explanation/statement  from Mr. Helmut Brinkmann of Brinkmann Audio, a leading authority on this subject.”

Greg Lake, 2016

“180 or 200 grams records often don’t sound as good as the thinner ones. In my opinion this comes from the massive acrylic material. As this is plastic of quite some softness, it reacts in the form of resonances during the tracking process.

As good as the recorded music may sound, the plastic sound of vinyl does not…. the music is disturbed by those resonances.

Though the thicker record may be stiffer than a thinner one, the resonances are heavier because of the sheer mass of the material (which is not that stiff compared to the dynamic tracking forces).

We know that the needle is accelerated to a few G gravity, and that causes back force resonances in the vinyl material. The more vinyl is under the needle the more these resonances can arise.”

Helmut Brinkmann, 2016

What are your own personal views on this? Leave a comment and let us know.
The CD deluxe editions (more here) and vinyl are issued on 20 July 2016.

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.


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Matt 87

I’m about 4 Years to late for this Thread but that has been a very fascinating half-hour of my life, reading this in it’s entirety.
I am rather interested in this whole “Audiophile” thing, however £££ dictates I shall never be apart of it.
I own roughly 2000 CD’s, from Aerosmith and Prince to Jobriath and Tim Curry; mostly using Discogs to make sure I get the CD Pressing I want (German Teldec Record Service Warner pressing for example).

I’m not much for Vinyl, mainly because you can’t put it on your iPod, or take it in the Car; CD all way for me, haha :-)

I use an iPod simply because I need INSTANT access to music most of my Days… and I use In-Ear Earphones to get the most out of the ‘dynamic’ sounds; I like being the ONLY person at the Gig (in my head) lol makes me sound mad, but thats what I think about while listening to Music; watching them perform.

Dave Page

With all due respect to Mr. Lake, it’s all irrelevant really as someone was fool enough to master these from digital (24/96). As such, in terms of both value and sound quality, they’re worthless…

David Fuchs

You can roll a joint on a record cover with ease. Yah can’t do that on a jewel case! ( a little humor there)
Also..lets not forget the quality of the cables and speaker wire that we use in our system for either our turntable of CD ( SACD or DVD audio ) . Every little thing helps and we all like things differently . To speak philosophically …some of us like mustard on our hotdogs…some like ketchup. It is what ever our ear and brain perseve and like.
How about a 12 inch vinyl that is cut at 45 rpm. How much better does that sound then a 33.3? ( on quality vinyl and mastered with care)!
I now have tinnitus in my older years and can’t find the dam dolby switch in my brain to cut off the hi pitched frequency noise I constantly hear in my head. The best sounding quality of music from both Vinyl & Cd’s these days sound like trash to me due to this incurable medical condition…where at one point as a musician I had perfect pitch and ability to hear clean sound, as well as a quality ear for mixing/mastering music ( analog or digital recordings ) from whatever I choose to work with. To each their own…a mixture of audio media…. Life goes quickly so enjoy the music that is out there. Funny after reading some of the postings…seems ( like politics ) there is a left and right for vinyl & Cd’s. Perhaps I wondered a little to far from what this original posting was all about! 180 gram weight vinyl…who cares.. Just one mans opinion…and you know what they say about opinions? Opinions are like assholes..every bodies got one!


Oh, yes you can! ;)

Daniel John Henderson

You could say they’re in stereo.

Michael Fremer

What I want to know from Greg Lake—which is more important than the record thickness are the following:

1) What is the source being used for these reissues: master tapes? Digital files?
2) Who is cutting the lacquers and where?
3) Where are these reissues being pressed?

140 or 180 matters far, far less.


So are these going to have the original UK Island Records labels or the US Altlantic versions?


Spot on!!! As to 100% vinyl, it disappeared by 1974 when the oil crisis took full effect. Today most pressing plants use a 80/20 or 70/30 mix. The constituent elements and mix content are proprietary and known only to the manufacturer & government regulators.

If anyone is interested there is a Hoffman forum that goes into great detail @

Michael Fremer

The Steve Hoffman Forum is where anyone can post anything. Much of what’s there is speculation from people who don’t know all that much. Please do not cite the SHF as a necessarily good source of information.

On what basis do you make the statement: “Today most pressing plants use a 80/20 or 70/30 mix.”

Mix of what?

Pressing plants buy specially formulated PVC pellets from a few suppliers. It is costly to manufacture to ship and to process.

If you are suggesting these pressing plants will risk contaminating an expensive shipment of PVC pellets with “old couches” etc. I don’t think you’ve thought this through carefully.

Most plants will re-use defective records they press from virgin vinyl (called re-ground) and re-use trim but the idea that they would buy suspect recycled “vinyl” and mix it in with the expensive PVC pellets they buy, doesn’t make much sense.


Some issues and observations…

The 180g vinyl thing developed out of the eighties “original Master”/Mobile Fidelity days – particularly their “guaranteed flat” super-high-quality editions. (We won’t get into the issue of “de-horning” here)

But, something nobody seems to have mentioned anywhere, is that virtually all vinyl used back in the day, (and I would imagine most of it today), was re-processed vinyl – what we would now call recycled. The new Smiths, Bowie, Stones album you cheerfully went out and paid money for was possibly someone’s couch or outdoor table in a previous life. Perhaps it was even made from a dumpster-load of recycled records. Other than Deutsche Grammophon and most of what came out of Japan, NOBODY was using virgin vinyl in record manufacture. And , if there’s one thing that vinyl is really good at, it’s holding on to static electricity! Whether your new record came with a plastic inner liner or a paper one, any static in that record was going to be with you forever. Clicks and pops weren’t always down to scratches – it was more likely to be a combination of static discharges and impurities, (“lumpy bits”), in the reprocessed vinyl.

And a quick observation on the hoary old “vinyl sounds better than CD” issue. A quality sound system built around a good turntable should sound great. It should always sound better than a CD player plugged into that system. BUT. A quality sound system built around a good CD player should also sound great! It should always sound better than a turntable plugged into that system. Why do people not understand this?


Excellent explanation!,says it all.I once had an ELO album with a chip of wood in it(Out of the blue,blue vinyl!).
If vinyls your thing go for it ,enjoy ,but dont decry all else is what i meant.

dumitru ungureanu

@ JohnC, Andrew r : old decks is made for use it, new decks is for sell it…

Paul Wren

It’s simple – just trust your ears and don’t agonise over this!! Modern, quality CD or vinyl systems are all capable of producing great sound, so go with what you prefer. I happen to like the tactile feel of a good vinyl package, so that is my bag.


Each to their own and that but i have to say vinyl sucks ,i have a loft full dating from the early 70`s to the 90`s and was glad to leave it behind.
As for hipsters spouting off what do they know ?,their ears have been detuned by years of crap compressed itunes rubbish.
In the old days bands used to at least get involved in the mastering process from the analogue tapes.
God knows where todays digitally recorded stuff is mastered and then pressed in eastern european pressing plants on archaic machinery.
I re bought my favourites albums on CD and they DID sound better,if you miss the crackle eat a bag of crisps while you listen.
Another Porky prime cut my arse.

Michael Fremer

You are certainly very bitter for someone who claims to have left vinyl behind. Clearly it’s still with you. Records sound better than CDs. That’s easy to prove to anyone open to actually listening. You surmise many things about how records today are made and who is doing it and your comment clearly indicates you know very little about it. but you sure are opinionated. Why drag George Peckham into this? What’s your problem?


140g sounds better than 180g? That does not surprise me at all! I am from Canada. I have a lot of original Canadian records of the 60s, mono or stereo (Beatles, Cream, Stones, Hollies, and so on …), weighing + or – 140 g, offering a good sound on my REga turntable (beautiful definition of high and low frequencies, pleasant sound extent despite the passage of time). My 180g? It all depends of the pressing plant! That’s what I’ve noticed over the years, when copies of 1997 EMI 100 until RECORD STORE DAY 2008 to 2016 (not to mention BACK TO BLACK Universal) arrived on the market. In fact, I think it is the care given to the pressing of the disc that determine its quality, its reproduction and its conservation. If it’s done quickly, it might give us background noise or unwanted frills (a pre-scratched records, a decrepit disk like some Adele, some new Beatles…). No need to be audiophile to hear that! So, I look forward to compare my old vinyl of Tarkus and my 180g Music On Vinyl with this new press…


next move marketing geniuses will figure out probably is to produce a couple of vinyls varying in weight for a single release (kinda like classic did) so people can buy 140, 150, 180, 200 or 220 g vinyl, whatever suits their listening requirements best, or all of them.

Richard Allen


I had a little gramophone,
I’d wind it round and round.
And with a sharpish needle,
It made a cheerful sound.

And then they amplified it,
It was much louder then.
And used sharpened fibre needles,
To make it soft again.

Today for reproduction,
I’m as eager as can be.
Count me among the faithful fans,
Of high fidelity.

High fidelity,
Hi-Fi’s the thing for me.
With an LP disk and an FM set,
And a corner reflex cabinet.

High frequency range,
Complete with auto-change.
All the highest notes neither sharp nor flat,
The ear can’t hear as high as that.
Still, I ought to please any passing bat,
With my high fidelity.

By Flanders and Swann

Michael Fremer

Yes! That’s hilarious but you left out the best line at the end ‘but I never did care for music that much”.

And I write that as a serious audiophile (but in it all for the music).


Read somewhere that 180gm means bollox quality wise – A marketing man’s fream ! It’s the production that counts imo – Bring back CDs lol !


These comments pretty much sum up why I’m here. I’ve been buying music since 1963 through all formats. I’m technical enough to appreciate most finer points of mastering and the effect it will have on what the punters hear. I made the transition from vinyl to CD fairly painlessly and if only for the reduced loading on my floorboards I’m not going back. I appreciate it when artists and record companies produce new versions of old albums – but only if I’m getting something new from them. How many copies of ‘Revolver’ can I listen to!!

We all have differing requirements (and preferences). I think there’s room for all of us here.


A record album’s sound quality is strictly a function of 3 things:
1) The studio recording itself which includes mic placement,board mix, producer and so on
2) The pressing plant where the run is effected by lacquer quality, plating, pressing, etc
3) The playback system is the 3rd factor

Is 200g better than 140? Clearly, the answer is maybe.

If you are a DJ thicker is better. If you are looking for consistent sound quality 140 will achieve an optimal natural playback. The quality of 200g is all about avoiding non fill. Sometimes we buy an “audiophile” record and it sounds like crap. In this case, the deep part of the groove is missing info. Believe it nor not but it is harder to press a quality low gram lp than 200g. If you believe that 200g is superior in all cases that is incorrect. Listen to the first BTO lps where Mr Bachman shows the world that light weight platters can sound amazing.

@ the end of the day whatever weight you choose makes you happy then off you go


Yup. And I’d even add a 4th item for how much music each side contains. Under 18 minutes, and there’s no limit to the potential fidelity quality. Over 22 minutes, and now you’re reducing volume, suppressing bass, and other noticeable audio concessions to be able to squeeze it on the vinyl. Gram weights won’t save that.


hi. it all boils down to what kit this stuff is played on and nothing else . gold yellow pink remasterd so what !


Surely you need to compare like to like. I have an original Joy Division pressing I’m not sure how many grams it is or how it sounds to a new 180 gram pressing but even so, both have been remastered differently.

CJ Feeney

I don’t get the praise for 80’s vinyl. Most of my 80’s vinyl seems very light and is now very noisy, whereas the modern more heavyweight stuff is nicer (but admittedly not so old so I don’t know how noisy it will get).

Vinyl is designed to be flexible. It replaced a format (shelac) that was very brittle. The original design brief (according to my A – level chemistry teacher) was to produce something that could be bent into a circle and still bounce back to a playable disc. Flexi discs did this (if any 70s and 80s NME readers remember them!) but the amount of flexibility required too much softness for a long lasting playing surface.

I think 140g will still be a heavy disc compared to the stuff I bought in the 80s, and hopefully comes with protective sleeves as the poor packaging, particularly for 12″ singles is another reason why records got so noisy.

Adam shaw

The thing I find funny is that when cd first came out artist couldn’t stop praising it , saying it was perfect for all the quiet passages of their music to be heard at last without the clicks and crackles that vinyl gives you .
And now vinyl is king again !
Is made any better than it was before , proberly not .
Does play silently, no .
To me it’s all just another way to sell “product”
Although I like buying a good SDE box set with vinyl in it , I think I will stick to my old vinyl and buy new cd’s .


I am not an audiophile, but I do like my music on vinyl and have always held on even in the difficult period of the Nineties when CD had taken over and the number of copies pressed was drastically reduced or in many cases (new bands, etc.) not even considered. I never thought of the consistency of the record itself, but I admit that confronting certain LPs or 12″s of the 80′ s with the 180g ones does make them appear “inferior” in that they are really flimsy and bendy. However even though I think I have a good ear I am not so expert as to detect a great difference in sound quality between them.
I therefore conclude that the 180g story is like all other stories related to the industry, which has to always invent something new (which does not mean better) only to sell. The same happened at the time when they told you 100Hz TV sets were better than the “old” 50Hz ones, which was not true. Or today, when they tell you that LCDs are better than cathodic TV sets. Or when they said CDs were indestructible.
Most probably, there is no difference between the various possible weights. Maybe there might be a difference in the warmth of sound if it is distributed on more vinyl, i. e. “the double LP”, but that, to comment also on a very interesting past thread by Paul on the subject which I did not manage to reply to at the time, is not strictly necessary and therefore is further crap from the industry and an excuse to ask absurd prices for vinyl records.
To conclude this ranting on both industry “new revelations/discoveries” and the current prices, yes Paul I agree that prices are now ridiculous. At the “time of transition” between CDs and LPs I paid HALF the price for Queen’ s Made in Heaven (gatefold, cream vinyl, posters) vs the CD. Now, it is the opposite. The industry has committed suicide “progressing” from CDs to arrive to the “digital”, thus taking away the incentive in buying that is brought by the pleasure of possessing a beautiful physical object together with the music. Somehow, I don’ t know when and how, the vinyl has resurged and they have an undeserved chance to breathe and start selling again. And what do they do? As everybody these days, they want everything, immediately. So with futile excuses now prices of vinyls have ridiculously soared, to the point that if I hadn’ t established good “supply channels” in time I would now be thinking of stopping buying music (or start buying the now “cheap” CDs???), because I really don’ t like to be blackmailed, nor that the p**s be taken out of me.
Sorry for the length of this (my first) comment.


Cris, great comment. I’ve also been around this loop and darned if I’m ditching my collection again to buy new vinyl versions of the vinyl albums I was told to upgrade to CD in the 1990s. Fool me, well, a few times, but eventually I learn.

The new vinyl renaissance isn’t, really, but if it reconnects record lovers with their music (and reminds them why they love it) all the better. I see no future in vinyl, though, except as a marketing device to keep fleecing fans — vinyl as ersatz coffee table book. The moment you think to yourself “love this vinyl — I’ll play the CD though so I don’t degrade/damage it” you’ve negated the point. So, no more spins around this circle for me, thanks. As Eddie Izzard said “Kind of cool…COOL…HIP AND GROOVY…” you know the rest.


Cris, with you all the way on this. Well said.

Auntie Sabrina

I think the sound from vinyl is warmer, less sterile, for example reggae sounds much better on vinyl. In the 70s and 80s there were turntables with S -shaped tone arms and also a front-loading turntable with a horizontal tone arm, all meant to improve the sound.


I somehow missed this last night and before I start I have vinyl, CD and stream music. I noticed no-one picked up on a comment from Greg

“that particularly when using modern decks, the best audio quality is actually achieved using the lighter 140gsm weight”

Does this mean on my 40 year old deck 180 is better?


As per my comment above your 40 yr old deck probably is better
in the sense that the motors and drive belts were probably better engineered.
A lot of modern budget decks are built down to a price .
I think that is what Greg Lake is alluding to.


It really comes down to good mastering decisions and pressing quality. I have loads of “thin” vinyl from the ’70s and ’80s that absolutely embarrasses so-called “audiophile” (ahem…) 180-200g wax in terms of sound quality.


With all this debate about what is best in weight for vinyl I found this very interesting article http://www.vnylst.com/stories/2015/11/8/180-gram-vinyl-is-it-worth-the-weight
My own personal preference is to stick to the CD format because for me it’s the best sound with none of this crackle or clicks that vinyl can sometimes if not always bring up on the quieter tracks…when the artist was producing their album in the studio it was pure no crackle, pops or clicks or hiss…we weren’t meant to have this unwanted extra noise to put up with…CD’s have come a long way since the 80’s…Vinyl just has too many flaws to pay big prices for compared to CD…plus you need space to store all this vinyl at home…also a lot of recent albums have never been released on Vinyl or never will be.


It was interesting last night to compare the new XTC ‘Skylarking’ 45rpm LP with the new CD. In the same system on roughly similar level of turntable/CD player, the former sounded notably better – not by loads, but definitely superior.

Michael Fremer

And the better your turntable and cartridge, the better the vinyl will sound.


This is something I’ve posted about several times on this blog. It’s a well known fact that 180g Vinyl is purely down to marketing – it is not better than 140g, Never was.

Still, people are more likely to believe it coming from people in the biz. LOL

Tom M

Do any of the anti-resonant turntable mats, feet, weights, etc, actually solve any the vibration problems? And did anyone attempt to press an LP from material other than vinyl? I know of a few that were made from polycarbonate but they were cut individually and not pressed, which severely limits the size of the run.


I’ve never really bought into the heavy weight thing. A marketing ploy really. I have ’80s 12″ singles that are flimsy as hell that still sound good. Very good. I don’t even like the feel of the heavy weight and who wants heavier records to lug around!?


The weight will have some bearing on sound quality if you are using an audiophile turntable as
the mass will have a damping effect. This has to be offset by how much your platter motor struggles to get up to speed. A lot of pressings from the sixties were frequently in the 155-170 gramme range, lighter pressings came about during the energy crisis that began 1972-73 when the price of raw materials in the petro chemical industry doubled overnight. My opinion is the quality and care taken with pressing is far more important ,which is why mint original vinyl from the heyday of British vinyl manufacturing commands such high prices.


Just taking this comment as an example and bearing in mind the myriad other factors involved with buying and playing vinyl, why bother? Sorry, but the sound is equal or bettered via other hassle free and versatile sources.

Chris Squires

Then why bother with anything physical at all. I do it because I want to, I like it. I am not hurting anyone. Not you personally, but so many here keep on with the same moans, digs and quips to people who are doing you no harm. So they don’t like what I and others do like, it’s just intolerance and lack of understanding. My mate drives round in a 45 year old Hillman Imp and so what. He loves it. yes there might be technically better and safer cars, but there is more to it than that….. ditto Vinyl. There is more to it than buying new music, more to it than convenience or cost. It would be lovely if just once there weren’t the few intolerant smart alec moans. Each to their own and celebrate physical music in it’s entirety rather than try to put others down for what THEY enjoy. Rick, genuinely not targeting you personally, but it is a tiresome theme, particularly considering the website that it is all done in the name of.


I like to read the differing opinions in the comments left by visitors to this site. It would be very dull if most comments just consisted of “Ordered! Thanks!”. There is no need for you to repeatedly lash out when people offer an opinion that you don’t agree with.

Paul Murphy

Well, RJS berating somebody for “lashing out” must be a new definition of pot-kettle-black-calling, but on the main subject, what then happens in instances of the vinyl being half-speed mastered? Does a half-speed master on 180g sound better than a standard master on 140g? Will we have the entire Beatles catalogue re-issued on flexi-disc for next Xmas? Personally, after many decades of research, I have noticed that the more wax I have in my ears, the worse the LP I am listening to sounds.
[Who said “Unless it is Nick Kamen.”?].

Guy Vitti

I believe that 180 – 200gm vinyl does provide a more rigid disc that minimizes warping. The heavier vinyl provides a smooth plain and yields better sound. I do not have a problem with the lighter weight provided the disc is carefully produced for a smooth surface.


They’re already sobbing in the streets in Hoxton! Spare a thought for all the bearded hipsters who’ve snubbed anything other than 180g vinyl all these years since some style mag told them vinyl was trendy – Oh, the humanity!!


Remember Dynaflex?

Auntie Sabrina

A very interesting expkanation from Helmut.

There is a typo on line 5 with “has been”repeated


It’s no big deal really and I doubt there would be any noticeable difference in audio quality either way. The only people likely to be upset are audiophiles who obsess about the quality of the sound instead of the quality of the music.

John Evison

I can assure you there is a notable difference with reissues on heavyweight vinyl and with original pressings.
As an audiofile my goal is to hear exactly what the artist intended, all the emotion and beauty of the music or voice. If the recording is of the highest quality but the performance is poor I would not buy the record. Early pressings were always taken from an analogue master tape, later digital pressings were digitally remastered from the original analogue tape and all digital recordings were of course all digital.
Many of the early digitally remastered pressings are now being remastered again, because the record companies realized that some if not all of these were very poorly done.
We audiofiles are fanatical about the sound that is reproduced, but at the same time you need your equipment to offer all the emotion that is present in the recording.
This brings me on to streaming and mp3 files all the emotion has gone from the music.
Seeing a recent programme , on the BBC , showing the History of Recording and watching the piece with the Recording Engineer listening to an mp3 of a song, he puts the Headphones down shaking his head and says something along the lines “well I recorded that and it sounds nothing like I intended it to sound, 95% of the emotion has been lost”.
This I believe to be true of streaming as well. Nothing I have heard comes close to Vinyl or for that matter good CD all digital recordings.
To capture that magical moment on Vinyl , the Classic EMI recording of Elgar Cello Concerto , Jacqueline du Pré vc LSO / Sir John Barbirolli , not as good on the cd digitally remastered from analogue tapes.

Chris Squires

Last week I would have argued, but found the response from Daniel Wylie in the Best of Hall and Oates comments quite instructive. It’s all very confusing.

Stan Butler

I missed the Hall and Oates thread so didn’t realise that Daniel Wylie had posted. He’s a brilliant songwriter. For anyone who doesn’t know check out early Cosmic Rough Riders and his solo stuff.

I must weigh my old vinyl from the 80’s. Surprised if some of those top 100g. You could almost bend them in half.

hugh watson

vinyl….well after producing the best masters, it’s all down to the cleanliness in the pressing plant. I have bought some of these ‘new’ 180gm pressings and most of them needed cleaning (on my Moth record cleaner, if you are wanting the best out of vinyl – you need one of these)
one of the worst was U2’s Joshua Tree on 2 LP’s – supposedly more dynamic…it wasn’t cheap and the quality was crap. There are a few companies pressing these so beware.
I still have my old Bowie MWSTW on super thin Dynaflex and it sounds great.

Chris Squires

Agreed, I invested in a Hannl Aragon last year after first buying an Okki Nokki, which was very basic. The Aragon makes a record absolutely noiseless, yes if it is badly scratched there is nowt much you can do, but a decent cleaner is essential. I had “Waterloo” on this morning and there was nothing but music.