Record Overgrading

Today I’d like to make a point about record grading, an essential instrument for trading records when both seller and buyer can’t make it possible to be in the same place at the same time to make their deal.

Decades ago a record-collector magazine, Goldmine, installed their Goldmine record grading system wich has become the standard language in describing the condition of (particularly used) records. uses the same standards as nearly every experienced record person does – more or less. Only some little differences exist (as where you have an “EX” between  NM & VG+ or whether can put ++ or – behind the condition term or not) which dosen’t make it easier … but that is fine adjusting of a more advanced level i don’t feel the need to discuss here.


A little listening lession concerning the grading system:


By the nature of capitalism the seller of a record always tends to describe his record very positive while buyers on the other hand are often quite tight. A totally unplayed record almost for free is basically the secret buyers hope on every record-hunt, be honest.

So by nature it’s often a difference of what arrived your mailbox and what you hoped to do so. The tradition of the seller up-polishing the describtion of the offered item is so old that the language of describing a record basically shifted out of space ever since. What is termed a “Good” record is hardly enjoyable if even playable, a “Very Good” piece of vinyl sounds most of the times quite bad and a “Very Good Plus” record is actually the lowest existing grade where you can expect a record that sounds: good. Record nerds are used to that language but most certainly it is nothing else but absurd.

Another factor of different grading is the listening equipment. It can be a huge difference to hear the same record on two different setups in general. According to the wear of a record it’s maybe even more drastical. With a real bad equipment you might not hear too much of the whole recording at all, now less than ever the treble (where the pops, scratches and crackles are mainy located in the frequency spectrum). We have here: worn stylusses, portable kiddie turntables and supermarket stuff of the Crosley or Silvercrest league, damaged loudspeakers or bad headphones to listen, or simply a lot of dirt on the needle-tip and in the record grooves and no $1.00 spent on a simple micro fibre cloth to clean the record at least a bit.

On top of that there is an issue with the stylus shape. A variety of different shapes exist. Every stylus type contacts more or less at another region in the record groove. So, for example: if you have some surface scratches it might sound better with a more spiky cartridge type that dips deeper into the groove wile some dust and pressing remains down there might be more evident with the same thing. (More about that styus topic in general and especially for dj concerns soon here in this section)

Another piont i wanted to make: There’s an evident problem with the Goldmine / Discogs system. Sellers often do grade the visual state of the label and the record together as the condition of the record itself, especially when it comes to 45’s. Although I’m a big fan of nice labeldesign, I prefer to listen to music instead of getting exited about how “minty” a recordlabel is. Especially with 45’s it’s more and more that sellers claim records to be in a good contition because they look good. Maybe it might be much better to change the system of grading from: first record, than cover into: first sound, then cosmetic looks of the redcord along with cover and any poster-gadgets or whatever else you lp freaks ever may expect in your record-foldout-envelopes 😉

We all attracted by disaster stories, so here’s one! To get a picture how this record grading can get way out sometimes (actually one of my top 3 of the worst  experiences in those nearly four decades of buying mail order records now)

This copy of “Jah Woosh – Love I Version” was sold on Discogs as a VG+ condition, wich claims: “Defects should be more of a cosmetic nature, not affecting the actual playback as a whole”

The pictured 45 was already cleaned with a vacuum record cleaning machine. Before It had a strange smeer in the grooves but the scratches certainly did remain. This is how it sounded freshly cleaned and played on decent equipment.

But enough sensation here. I think there’s no way at all to really 100% standartize the grade of recordwear, but I think we all should make our efforts for keeping the standards as good as we can. It is a communication tool and I am not looking forward to the point where  a “Double Mint with three stars” record is the only piece of not totally rotten crap record you can buy.


Perfect 45 inner sleeves!

Perfect 45 inner sleeves!

A quarter of a century ago – or even more now- I ordered my first big lot of 45 inner sleeves from a small ad in Goldmine magazine (one of the very few sources to find stuff like that back then before the internet days). I soon forgot where i bought that sleeves from and with every new order at other providers in Germany, UK and USA I found out how perfect those sleeves actually are.

Sleeve City USA anti-atatic polylined 7" 45 paper sleeves
Sleeve City polylined paper sleeve after 25+ years

pure paper sleeves do mechannically harm the records (paper scuffs !!!) and while slowly decaying, sever wood fibre dust is piling up in the recordgrooves.

Paper scuffs & woodfibre dust. Typical for paper record sleeves


“Rice paper” or “Nagaoka style*” sleeves paper High-density polyethylene (HDPE) without additional paper are too flimsy! They are antistatic, free of softeners (and other vinyl destroyers) and produce no dust, but they do wrinkle if you put the record back into the outer sleeve. Plus: due to their much thinner material too delicate to handle in time while dj’ing.

*The term “rice paper” is confusing since it’s material is not paper but plastic. I never spotted a recordsleeve made out of actual rice paper. Nagaoka is a well known producer of this kind of LP sleeves, but since they don’t do 45 ones, some call’em “Nagaoka style”

rice paper 45 inner sleeve
“Rice paper” 45 inner sleeve, too thin to handle


polylined paper sleves: Most of them are just too thin, often not antistatic wich causes audible crackles and pops while listening and keeps the record magnetic to the slipmat and every single dust particle around. The label might be hardly visibe due to the often corruated and milky plastic, typically the size is not precise and often too large to fit into standard cardboard outer sleeves, and -most important-  the polylining and the glue can destroy your records! Some of them do really chemically react with the vinyl if you wait long enough. I always thought they wouldn’t use that kind of acidic material since they found out about that issue anymore. Unfortuately some budget producers still do.

cheap 45 sleeve with glue that chemically reacted
Sleeve with glue that chemically reacted


cheap 45 poly lined sleeve not good for professional use
Thin paper & hard to see label, not good for professional use


chemmically reaction with vinyl record and pvc sleve
Image © from Sheila B’s “Cha Cha Charming” blog


Most inner sleeves in general are not suitable for professional use! If you don’t have all the time in the world but rather try to put on another tune every two or three minutes, all regular sleeves i ever experienced hardly slip back into the cover without getting stuck, warping and wrinkeling the paper thei’re made off (causing clumpy paper/plastic areas wich do press into the vinyl), ripping the paper off the plastic or just fall apart soon after you bought them.

The Sleeve City heavy duty sleeves are still fully intact. I don’t remember exactly if i bought 500 or more. About 10 sleeves all together broke by split seams, one got spilled with booze: it didn’t survive but the record perfecty did … wich is the innitial reason to have such things! and all the rest of the sleeves still perfectly do their job!

The inner lining of the discussed sleeve is thick and sturdy, made of hi-density polyethylene (HDPE). It’s feel is like cellophane as from japanese gift wrappingfoil. The paper is quite thick and dense. Neither the inner lining itself as well as the glue didn’t react in any noteabe way after all those years. Only some yellowing of the paper and that’s it. They do fit perfectly  inside the UK cardboard outers. Some records I played frequently over the yeas must have slipped in and out of the sleeves many dozends of times.

Sleeve City USA anti-atatic polylined 7" 45 paper sleeves. 25 years old & new
Slightly yellowed but no other issues

I finally found them again at Sleeve City who made them back in the days – and they still do in the same top quality!


They are costy (roughly $0.25 a piece plus shipping etc) but i promise it is a much better investment than cheap ones that bother by short life span, laborious handling and ruin your records in the end.

High Class Vinyl Storage

After years of research and endless fine adjusting efforts in his mad scientist castle, Atomic Cafe‘s Roland Schunk is about to start his line of hi-class vinyl record storage furniture soon on his website.

Expect nothing else than great looking and hyperfunctional phono furniture and accessoires, handcrafted of the finest materials.

Pricerange: costy


Breakdance, Nigeria 1959

Kaduna, Nigeria 1959. As though we thought we knew it all. Nope. Stay a student because everything has been done before, and manifested through time with different groups. All of our expressions can always be traced back to our Human ancestors. This is beyond Breakin events, Breakin competitions, competitors, sponsors, brands, contracts, promoters, sellers, buyers, merchandise of Breakin as a commodity. This is purely the #CulturalTradition side. You want to know the truth? Keep digging and reconnect. ???? HuntleyFilmArchives#breakin #bboying #bgirling #bboy #bgirl #breakdance #culture #cultural #expression #dance #afrika

Geplaatst door Tyquan Hodac op vrijdag 9 maart 2018

“Kaduna, Nigeria 1959. As though we thought we knew it all. Nope. Stay a student because everything has been done before, and manifested through time with different groups. All of our expressions can always be traced back to our Human ancestors. This is beyond Breakin events, Breakin competitions, competitors, sponsors, brands, contracts, promoters, sellers, buyers, merchandise of Breakin as a commodity. This is purely the #CulturalTradition side. You want to know the truth? Keep digging and reconnect. ???? HuntleyFilmArchives

Tyquan Hodac

Professional Dj Headphones For Cheap!

Just bought a new set of Beyerdynamic DT770’s on te manufacturer’s website as b-stock and they attached a set of free Custom Street headphones.

Solid built, extremely good in isolating the ambience around which is essential for loud clubs since: You can mix much better when the volume of your headphone is at a low volume (after you checked the tune, just in the phase of blending two tracks). If you never experienced that: Try it, you’ll be surprised!

Anyway, Custom Street headset has a solid, durable construction, sounds loud and nicely neutral (as long as you don’t turn on that very affective bass boost) comes with a detatchable 1 m cable (changeable with any 3,5 mm cable on the market) and a gig bag (plus some nerdy things to “style” your ear cups.

Wyh am I mentioning this? Because the thing costr regularely €120.00 it seems they didn’t suceed to marked that model and now you can find it for €40.00
Which makes it the cheapest serious dj headphone around. Be quick if you wanna catch one!

Cheapest german shop