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Grading : How We Grade Vinyl

We grade records using visual inspection unless otherwise noted. Our highest grade is usually EX. We rarely use NM and tend only to grade NM when something is absolutely dead mint or sealed. We note grading as Cover/Media in our listings. See the below details for the standard we use. The goal is that your expectations are met so that you are extremely satisfied with your purchase. If you receive a record from us and the grading is off please reach out ASAP so we can help! The quickest way to get in contact with us by clicking the message chat button on our website in the bottom right corner.

Clean Your Records

Other than our ULTRASONIC Clean albums, It's always a good idea to clean "new to you" records before playing them. We do clean some of our records but we just don't have the time and resources to clean everything. If it's been cleaned in our professional grade ultrasonic machine it will be noted in the listing, otherwise, when in doubt, you should just clean it. Your ears and stylus will thank you :)

Vinyl Media Grades

  • ULTRASONIC Clean: These are cleaned using our German manufactured Audio Desk Pro ultrasonic cleaning machine and will usually play a full grade up from their visual grade. This cleaning has miraculous effects on a VG record and makes for super quiet VG+ and above wax.

  • Mint (M) and Near Mint (NM) Perfect and never played. Usually sealed. We really don't use these two grades for many things, there are just too many inherent imperfections even on brand new records and everyone's expectations are different. We will usually only use this grade on SEALED records that we haven't laid eyes on. Even sealed records are rarely Mint or NM.

  • Excellent (EX): A record that's been very very carefully handled and played perhaps only a few times. Appears pristine. These records are spectacular in appearance and should play as well as vinyl can typically play when clean. This grade may tolerate a tiny scuff or something extremely minor that doesn't take away from the overall pristine appearance.

  • Very Good Plus (VG+): Should play just about as good as EX when clean. These records are still considered close to pristine but may have a very limited number of minor and usually inaudible imperfections. Allowable types of imperfections (but certainly not too many at once) are inaudible sleeve scuffs, light or superficial marks, or a rogue inaudible hairline or two. You should never be able to feel any of these marks and overall this media should present very nicely to the eyes and play beautifully.

  • Very Good (VG): These are usually downgraded from VG+ due to a greater number of visual imperfections than is acceptable on the more discriminating VG+. These may (but usually don't) have some light surface noise at times or between tracks but it should not overpower the listening experience. Often times it's just cosmetic and they just didn't make the VG+ cutoff.

  • G+ or Very Good Minus (VG-): Surface noise can be expected but usually no skips should be present. These will not be trashed records like many may find on eBay or from other sellers. They are usually just not quite VG, normally from too many micro scratches or hairlines. Not gouged or deeply scratched. These should still be relatively safe to play on a mid level stylus.

Album Cover Grades

  • Mint or SEALED or NM: Visually perfect.
  • EX: Beautifully preserved, corners look awesome, cover looks pristine or virtually pristine. 
  • VG+: Most fall into this grade. This is a clean album cover that may present as vintage with some light corner wear or other light imperfections that don't take away too much from the overall presentation.
  • VG: We typically downgrade to VG when we see some splitting towards the edges, a bad wrinkle, or perhaps some excessive spine wear or someone other than the artist wrote their name extra large on the front.
  • VG- or G+: These may still look OK but they typically have full splits or a chewed up spine.