Vinyl Record Guide

A Review Of Vinyl History

The Beginning of Recorded Sound

The arrival of modern record player can be traced back in late 19th century with the idea of Phonograph by Thomas Edison. Thomas Alva Edison’s early attempts at recording involved recording to record and play back audio using a hand crank-powered needle for etching sound waves into a foil-covered cylinder. The recorded sounds could then be played back as the needle ran through the grooves left in the cylinder.

Edison’s phonograph was later refined in the form of the gramophone. Invented in 1877 by Emile Berliner, the gramophone used similar technology to the phonograph. However, instead of recording and playing back audio from a cylinder, the gramophone’s needle instead read the grooves in hard rubber discs, which served as the precursors to vinyl records.

In the early 20th century, the transition was made from rubber discs to vinyl records, but the gramophone’s technology is otherwise relatively similar to that of the modern record player.

Since the introduction of the vinyl record, one of the most notable innovations that has changed the format was the introduction of stereo sound in the latter half of the 20th century. Originally, records were recorded and mixed in mono, meaning the same signal would come out of two speakers attached to a turntable that would come out of one. With the introduction of records in stereo, albums began taking on distinct sound qualities that were previously impossible to achieve with a mono mix.

After stereo became the norm for vinyl records, the format continued to offer unparalleled. Subsequently, over the last several decades, largely overtaken by the advent of digital music stores and streaming services.

 However, vinyl has stood the test of time, even making a major comeback in the last decade and yet has a special place in the music industry over a century after the format’s invention. Vinyl is a music format loved and listened to by millions, and is still has a record demand due to is uniqueness.

Why Vinyl Records Offer High Quality Sound

Vinyl is considered as a peaceful audio format. By comparing digital formats, vinyl does not give you a signal that causes some of the highest and lowest frequencies to be inaudible. The process of the mixing and mastering in recorded music, makes louder parts of a signal quieter and quieter parts louder.

Simultaneously, the compression in audio formats like MP3 and MP4 cause the audio to sound different from the originally mastered song. The experience of listening to favorite album on vinyl is one of the best possible ways of joy for a diehard fan of an artist or musician.

This will make your ears able to discern the difference in sound quality between an MP3 and the lossless audio from a record. Initially you might not sense a world of difference but by the time listening to records can train your ears to recognize the true joyful audio. You will likely start to notice a sonic distinction between the delightful sound of a record as compare to audio of digital music.

The Dramatic Comeback Of Vinyl Records

According to the statistics of RIAA’s sales, over the course of the last decade record sales have been steadily increasing, even as streaming services have been on the rise. In 2019, over 19 million records were sold, a 14.6% increase from the year before. This proves that statistically speaking, records are at the boom in this present age.

Vinyl record sales have been on a steady yearly increase Since 2006,  after dipping and fluctuating through the 90s and early 2000s. By seeing this decline in the 90s and 2000s as CDs began to dominate the market. However, by the time streaming began to overrun the physical music market, CDs have largely gone extinct. Even though, vinyl continues to prevail over other formats of physical music, continuing to sustain its large devoted following.

Vinyl is the first preference of DJs and Producers

DJs and producers always love Vinyl records, especially those in the hip-hop genre. In musical culture, many of them in the music industry have a deep affection for vinyl. Rare records are considered extremely valuable, and rewarding experiences especially in hip-hop culture. For decades a physical copy of an album was a valuable artifact for a DJ or producer, both as a source of inspiration as well as in live sets and recordings.

Vinyl records have an enduring love from many of today’s best-known producers. Considering not only their sentimental value but also for their unique sound, and creative benefits of listening as well. The records’ distinct appeal with musicians has spanned decades and transcended genres.

Understanding Of Vinyl

Making of Vinyl

The vinyl records that you use today were replaced with the original rubber discs spun on gramophones. This transition gave way to a major increase in accessibility and sound quality. Each vinyl record is a re-pressing of an original master copy of an album. This master is used as the reference point for all pressings of an album.

A machine equipped with a precise lathe etches grooves into a lacquer master, each of which will produce sound when a pressing of a record is read by the needle of a record player. This process is completed for both sides of a vinyl. The lacquer masters for side A and side B of a record are then prepared to be copied in large quantities.

Vinyl Weights

The weight of a vinyl record is an important aspect to understand. The standard for modern presses is 180 grams, which is 40-60 grams heavier than records produced in the 20th century. There is a notion that the weight of a record necessarily have an influence on sound quality.Nevertheless, 180-gram vinyl records are widely considered the most durable among the different weights, making it the industry standard for modern records.


Vinyl Sizes

In context to different weights, there are three standard sizes for vinyl records: 7-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch. Each of these sizes of records can hold a differing number of minutes of recorded music on each side. However 7-inch records mostly contain singles whereas 10-12 inches are based on album length. The standard size is 12- inches in the latter half of the 20th century.

Vinyl Speeds

The standard speeds for vinyl records is measured in RPMs, or revolutions per minute. These speeds are 33⅓ RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM. You may see records of these speeds referred to as 33s, 45s, and 78s for short.

The speed to spin a record has a direct impact on sound quality. The faster is speed the quality will be high. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, the prominence of 78s containing one short single on each side began to give way to the widespread production of 33s and 45s.

A lot of modern players cannot play 78s and are only designed for use with 45s or 33s. So nowadays 33s are the most prominent records on sale, but to achieve higher-quality sound some bands still opt to release their EPs and LPs as 45s.

Each type of record has its own unique sound and is compatible with specific turntable speeds. It's important to know which type of record you have before playing it on your turntable to ensure proper playback.