Old Sealed Vinyl

Steven J. Gross

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Old sealed vinyl records are like a slot machine, you either hit a jackpot or get a real disappointment. It's usually warping but that's not all. I'd say my average is about 75% positive. You?


Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
That's about right. When an old sealed record is first opened, it's a crap-shoot as to whether it plays perfectly or not. I've found though that they usually clean up really nice. The noise you might get is from particles of paper anchoring themselves in the grooves. I've been lucky in that I've not encountered warped records.


¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
I've only bought only two or three sealed old stock records out of several dozens (likely near 100) that have been bad over the past decade. No warpage, or if it is, it's usually so mild as to be easily playable. (And using a spindle weight and periphery weight, or a vacuum platter mat, can flatten those anyway.)

One thing I notice is that if they are sealed, it's usually dust that gets caked onto them, and it takes an ultrasonic cleaning (or at least a good vacuum cleaning system) to get that off. In the rare instance a record has a plastic sleeve (not the "rice paper" or milk bottle plastic, but the "gummy" plastic like Saran Wrap, like those awful sleeves A&M used to sell) that adheres to the record and leaches deposits onto the vinyl. That requires something stronger to remove like pure isopropyl alcohol (which really isn't good for vinyl, but it's the lesser of two evils).

So overall, once I've cleaned a sealed old stock record, just about all play perfectly fine. A few are still noisy, but they are often on labels that have had notoriously noisy vinyl to begin with. So even if it were a used record, it still would have had the noise...but without the wear.

I should also add that I've rejected more new vinyl pressings than sealed old stock vinyl. With those, it was occasionally noise, but other times it was for off-center pressings. But even there it's not a huge issue--I have hundreds of newer pressings that sound wonderful. And in most cases, it was no issue getting the defective records replaced.

My main issue with buying older records is wear, which is why I only buy sealed old stock vinyl now. I found I was rejecting about six out of ten used records purchased locally (and some via Discogs) due to a lot of groove burn (wear). I have a stack of at least a hundred used records I played only partially and put in the reject pile--I'm not sure if I'll donate them to the record store on the corner, give them away (locally--I don't ship), or just toss them in the trash bin, where they really belong. In a couple of rare instances in recent years (as I've been buying primarily sealed old stock records), I've lucked out in buying used records that have been acceptable. I'll only buy those if there are no sealed copies available. Otherwise, my days of visiting record stores is pretty much over--anything local I've found has been a waste of money.

Or as I've said many times--I'll spend $25 on a sealed old stock record over buying five or six used records and spending at least double that to own something that is still probably flawed in some way.
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