Need advice related to importing vinyls

Deadhead72

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Hello everyone! This is my first post on the forum, besides the introduction, and as I explained in the introductory post, my main reason to immediately join this helpful community.

So, I am sailor who was expected to sign off from Singapore on 21st of September. Now that is unlikely due to some changes in vessel schedule and maybe the vessel might not go to Singapore at all. As the original plan was for going home from Singapore, I had asked one of my friends living there to keep a hold of vinyls I order to his address and then later I'll carry them along.

Now, since I've just started building my collection, obviously there were going to be plenty records 😅

It turns out that the order that I'm finalizing, more on it later, is around 18.5 kgs, containing 40 titles.

The thing is that the store where I've placed the order isn't in Singapore, I found out after some online searches that most Singapore (online) vinyl stores weren't much cheap, and also had quite limited catalog. I stumbled upon this Danish store called imusic, which had reasonably (compared to Amazon) priced LPs and a much wider selection. The order hasn't shipped yet and the shipping prices are similar for India or Singapore. I have about a week to confirm where to ship it.

Well the decision I now have to make is which option is the best:
1) In case the Singapore sign off is confirmed, I can ask the order to be shipped to Singapore, pay 7% GST, and carry that 18.5 kgs of vinyl to India. With this option, my only concern is whether or not I have to declare custom. The order will be worth just over 1 lac in INR. So, it is above 50k limit for exemption. I assume it won't be wise to try to take chances with non declaration, especially with such conspicuous quantity?

2) In case Singapore sign off is not possible, I can get the shipment directly to India. Pay custom fees. 30% if I'm not mistaken?

3) Get it shipped to Singapore regardless and just go with my family on 4-5 days trip to Singapore, carry vinyl in our now divided luggage. Shouldn't have to pay customs in India, only the GST in Singapore. Family won't mind a trip, been a while in covid times, and the money spent is more like money enjoyed so 🤷🏻‍♂️

So, that's that. I'm sorry for posting such a long wall of text, but I think most of the information is relevant.

Really looking forward to hearing some advices from people who have carried vinyls through plane, and/or got them imported in bulk.

Thanks in advance!
 

balavignesh002

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Are you the only one to come to India? See if you can split the LPs by three or two and collect them post clearance.

If you are alone then 50k you will get an exemption and you endup paying duty only for the remaining 50k
 

arj

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I have never paid Duty on vinyl in india. you can declare it overall at less than 50K . But then 40 is a large number and I have never done more than 10. Vinyl is not Covered under duty AFAIK

Hand-carrying will definitely not be an issue
 

HIEND-Raja

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Hi if you carry with you higher quantity LP's you will facing issues with customs they think LP's commercial purpose! Personal use we can carry up to 10nos LP's no duty. Shipping LP's via international couriers like DHL, FedEx & UPS you'll have to pay duty 45% from total values. If you ship through post office normal shipping (Not EMS) maximum up to 2 to 3nos no duty. More than 10nos of course you have 45% duty.
Note: I have carried 10nos LP's from Vietnam to Chennai no duty.
 
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reubensm

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A note of caution on FedEx, they dont operate in India and work with vendors under the guise of FedEx India. Their invoicing is full of grey areas when they pay duty on your behalf. The invoice that is presented to you at your doorstep usually includes GST (usually very high) for customs duty and warehousing charges (which is actually the courier charges of their Indian vendor, in disguise). Not sure about LP records but if importing gear, its better to opt for DHL. Although they seem to be a little more expensive upfront, there are no hidden costs that come up in the invoice at your doorstep and eventually the net spend will be much less when compared to FedEx. Also never use transit agents like ship7.com and others as they will fleace you and your net spend after delivery will be nearly 3 times of what the item cost :)
 

Deadhead72

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Well it seems that Singapore is definitely canceled as a port call. It is option 2 or 3 now. I was the only one coming to India, so dividing was unfortunately not an option, but it would be if I go route 3. But 45% duties seem crazy?! Most online searches for gramophone records were showing 1% CHS and 29.8 duty. I still had further orders besides the mentioned 18 kg one which I was going to get shipped to home directly. I guess I have to allocate more towards the tax, and less towards records 🙁

The shipper I have finalized on is UPS express (2-3 working days international delivery), and had options for DHL or some Nordic parcel company. No FedEx, but thanks for the heads up!
 

Lizard King

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I have often imported vinyls, though never at the volumes you mentioned. I'll narrate my experience.

1. Amazon UK. They sent by Royal Mail/DHL. Delivery takes upto 3 weeks. No damage, no loss, no questions asked by customs. On one occasion the mail man dumped 3 CDs in mailbox, that I didn't check for a month. When I wrote to Amazon, they promptly refunded. When I found the CDs, I fought my dilemma for a day, then kept them as a partial repatriation of the wealth stolen by the British from India :)

2. Friend bought and sent from UK. By Royal Mail. 3 vinyls in single vinyl mailer. 2 weeks to deliver. No loss, no damage, no questions by customs.

3. Hand carried from Dubai. About 20 titles. No questions asked at Hyderabad airport.

4. Hand carried from UK. About 25 titles. No questions asked at Hyderabad airport.

YMMV
 

rikhav

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A note of caution on FedEx, they dont operate in India and work with vendors under the guise of FedEx India. Their invoicing is full of grey areas when they pay duty on your behalf. The invoice that is presented to you at your doorstep usually includes GST (usually very high) for customs duty and warehousing charges (which is actually the courier charges of their Indian vendor, in disguise). Not sure about LP records but if importing gear, its better to opt for DHL. Although they seem to be a little more expensive upfront, there are no hidden costs that come up in the invoice at your doorstep and eventually the net spend will be much less when compared to FedEx. Also never use transit agents like ship7.com and others as they will fleace you and your net spend after delivery will be nearly 3 times of what the item cost :)
Absolutely agree with you Reuben
I got a parcel recently where duty was rs 220 and igst on duty was 600 rs.
I absolutely could not understand on what basis this was calculated but i knew if i wanted answers i will have to waste lots of time and still in the end FedEx would not give a satisfying answer. I was more then happy to receive it on time
 

Deadhead72

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So just for update, I have decided with option 3. Visiting Singapore sometime in October or November. Have ordered another set of 27 titles, weighing 12 kgs. The average cost of LPs after division will still be under (just lol) 50k limit per person, so I think I have optimized my gains here. Will post about the experience when I do bring it along, just for other's reference, though going by the testimonials here, everything ought to be fine.

I guess now have to plan another trip later to get HifiMan HE6SEV2, as they don't ship them to India 🙃
 

Deadhead72

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Unfortunately they aren't old pressings. The store in question doesn't stock vintage/ used pressings. But as I'm just starting with my collection, I didn't care as much about it. I'll hunt vintage pressings personally when I can. I checked for the pressing quality of most of them on discogs before ordering though. Most Jazz records are either from Acoustic Sounds Verve reissues or Blue Note Tone Poet/ Classic. As a person with no experience, my opinion doesn't hold any weight, but I guess the Mofi DSD controversy has shown that analog vs digital debate is kind of useless. You want to hear the best mastering, AAA doesn't necessarily make it so. Also as a deadhead, I know the Dead have been releasing their vinyls plangent processed with quite critical acclaim. It's more about the tangibility and the big artwork for me. There are even a couple of MOV titles (yeah I know 😅). Attaching the order excel sheet just for reference, and comments.
 

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Deadhead72

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Ok I noticed this after posting, but my attached excel sheet isn't much useful as it doesn't give info about the pressing details, besides some titles marked as Acoustic Sounds or Tone Poet , etc. To further clarify the purchase order, I would like to point out that LZ studio discography here in order is digitally '14 remastered versions. Stones Sticky Fingers and Exile are half speed Abbey Road remasters from 2020. Miles' Kind of Blue is Columbia '21 reissue and Tribute to Jack Johnson is from '20. In a Silent Way is 50th Anniversary reissue, and Bitches Brew is '15. Romantic Warriors and 8:30 are MOV titles. I don't want to elongate the comment further needlessly but will just add that while I did due diligence on checking the pressing quality, sometimes there was an album that I needed, even if the comments about its pressing QC weren't universally good like for Herbie Hancock Trio or Return to Forever debut album. I hope this makes sense.
 

[email protected]

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Unfortunately they aren't old pressings. The store in question doesn't stock vintage/ used pressings. But as I'm just starting with my collection, I didn't care as much about it. I'll hunt vintage pressings personally when I can. I checked for the pressing quality of most of them on discogs before ordering though. Most Jazz records are either from Acoustic Sounds Verve reissues or Blue Note Tone Poet/ Classic. As a person with no experience, my opinion doesn't hold any weight, but I guess the Mofi DSD controversy has shown that analog vs digital debate is kind of useless. You want to hear the best mastering, AAA doesn't necessarily make it so. Also as a deadhead, I know the Dead have been releasing their vinyls plangent processed with quite critical acclaim. It's more about the tangibility and the big artwork for me. There are even a couple of MOV titles (yeah I know 😅). Attaching the order excel sheet just for reference, and comments.
I’d agree with your rationale, except the fact that with respect to value , the vintage analog pressings - doesn’t matter if it’s even 5th , 6th or 10th - still triumphs over the DSD reissues, both wrt SQ as well as authenticity of artwork, provided , of course you get NM copies. :)

Moreover , DSD reissues from most labels doesn’t sound that good also always.It’s kind of hit or miss. The Bernie Grundmann Meddle of Floyd 2015 reissue is too bass heavy with compressed midrange , so is the Abbey Road reissue. I have compared them with 70s analog Japanese pressings and they sound way superior.
There are exceptions of course - like the fantastic Steve Wilson remix of Jethro Tull TAAB , which actually sounds better than the first or second pressings.

Ok I noticed this after posting, but my attached excel sheet isn't much useful as it doesn't give info about the pressing details, besides some titles marked as Acoustic Sounds or Tone Poet , etc. To further clarify the purchase order, I would like to point out that LZ studio discography here in order is digitally '14 remastered versions. Stones Sticky Fingers and Exile are half speed Abbey Road remasters from 2020. Miles' Kind of Blue is Columbia '21 reissue and Tribute to Jack Johnson is from '20. In a Silent Way is 50th Anniversary reissue, and Bitches Brew is '15. Romantic Warriors and 8:30 are MOV titles. I don't want to elongate the comment further needlessly but will just add that while I did due diligence on checking the pressing quality, sometimes there was an album that I needed, even if the comments about its pressing QC weren't universally good like for Herbie Hancock Trio or Return to Forever debut album. I hope this makes sense.
Yeah it does , and our music taste matches quite a bit. Cheers. KoB ‘21 reissue if mono will sound terrific.
 

Deadhead72

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I’d agree with your rationale, except the fact that with respect to value , the vintage analog pressings - doesn’t matter if it’s even 5th , 6th or 10th - still triumphs over the DSD reissues, both wrt SQ as well as authenticity of artwork, provided , of course you get NM copies. :)

Moreover , DSD reissues from most labels doesn’t sound that good also always.It’s kind of hit or miss. The Bernie Grundmann Meddle of Floyd 2015 reissue is too bass heavy with compressed midrange , so is the Abbey Road reissue. I have compared them with 70s analog Japanese pressings and they sound way superior.
There are exceptions of course - like the fantastic Steve Wilson remix of Jethro Tull TAAB , which actually sounds better than the first or second pressings.


Yeah it does , and our music taste matches quite a bit. Cheers. KoB ‘21 reissue if mono will sound terrific.
Thanks for your kind and valuable input. As I said, I don't have any first hand experience, so I'm really eager to explore these things for myself. The biggest reason for me bulk ordering the reissues was the convenience, I wanted to get started and sifting through discogs on a sub-par internet connection wasn't gonna do it. I'll definitely be adding some analog vintage titles, even if it's just for comparison sake.

It's nice to find someone with similar music taste btw! And to answer about KoB, it's actually stereo lol. There probably is still mono '21 on amazon.com, and it was in my basket before I came upon this website with a much larger collection and decided to bulk order from there.
 

Lizard King

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LZ studio discography here in order is digitally '14 remastered versions. Stones Sticky Fingers and Exile are half speed Abbey Road remasters from 2020. Miles' Kind of Blue is Columbia '21 reissue and Tribute to Jack Johnson is from '20. In a Silent Way is 50th Anniversary reissue, and Bitches Brew is '15. Romantic Warriors and 8:30 are MOV titles. I don't want to elongate the comment further needlessly but will just add that while I did due diligence on checking the pressing quality, sometimes there was an album that I needed, even if the comments about its pressing QC weren't universally good like for Herbie Hancock Trio or Return to Forever debut album. I hope this makes sense.
Our tastes match a lot.....
 
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