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Trade-Off in Sound Quality in Color vs. Black Vinyl

While colored vinyl is extremely collectable and trendy, there is a trade-off in sound quality between them and normal black vinyl. Clear and colored discs attain more pops and degrade faster when played.

Black vinyl sounds better than color vinyl.

In order to make vinyl records, little vinyl pellets are poured into a chute, which feeds them into an extruder. The extruder works like a waffle iron and melts the vinyl down into the shape of a biscuit that is roughly half the area but three times the thickness of a finished disc. Typically, the pellets are black, but different chemical compounds can produce unique colors or even transparent vinyl. The problem is the chemical properties of pigmented vinyl do not sound quite as good as black. The sound quality is somewhere between 90 and 95 percent of that of a black record, a large enough variation for even the average listener to notice.

All other things being equal, black vinyl sounds best, followed by solid transparent colors, then solid opaque colors, followed by splattered, swirls and two-colors.