A vinyl or phonograph record is an analog sound storage medium mostly made of plastic. They are designed in a form of a flat disc with an inscribed spiral groove. The groove is usually centered at the periphery end near the center of the disc. The vinyl record players are categorized as electromagnetic devices that are responsible for the change of sound vibrations into electrical signals.
VINYL RECORD DESCRIPTION
The vinyl record is the oldest among other phonographs that came into existence in the 1940s. It is a phonograph record made of vinyl plastic and the sound is the best of all records. The vinyl record is the oldest among other records and turntables and has been making a comeback over the past several years. Approximately,13 to 14 million vinyl record albums were sold in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
It is described to be an analog audio recording pressed on vinyl. It usually contains 45 RPM records on each side. The sound is literally carved in a spiral groove starting at the outer edge of the platter, the undulations in the groove are an analog of the original acoustic waves.
A stylus is usually placed on the groove which oscillates as the platter rotates, these oscillations are converted to electricity, amplified, and finally sent to the peak.
The tip of this stylus is made of industrial diamond, an impure substance molded into a cone-like shape and attached to the little stripe of flexible material.
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HOW A VINYL RECORD WORKS
The vinyl record works with motion and in a way that the transducer changes mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. The mechanical energy from the sound waves is then converted into electrical energy which is then sent into the amplifier and most importantly out of the speakers.
The transducer is majorly responsible for converting these energies interchangeably to produce a sound in Vinyl records which is majorly made up of a stylus. Usually, when it spins, sound vibrations that get converted into electrical signals are created. It works in a way that electric amps vibrate and feed the resulting sound into speakers, thereby amplifying it and intensify the sound.
COMMON DIMENSION OF VINYL RECORDS
The vinyl record sizes and dimension differs, there are most common dimensions such as:
- 7 inches (17.78cm in diameter)
- 10 inches ( ranging 25.4cm in diameter)
- Lastly,12 inches ( 30.48cm in diameter)
HOW MUCH DOES A VINYL WEIGH
The vinyl record is designed in different sizes and can be quite heavy when the transportation of a bunch of 100 records is to be carried out. The weight also affects the durability and sound effect of the record.
Typical vinyl records can weigh up to 40 grams to 180gram. A 7 inches 45 RPM record will weigh about 40 grams, a 10 inches 78 RPM weighs about 110 grams and a 12-inch 33RPM record weighs between 80 and 180gram. It should be noted that the weights vary per record.
7-INCH RECORDS MODIFICATION
7-inch Vinyl records were released by RCA Victor in 1949. They are generally designed to run at the average speed of 45 RPM, they are smaller, less weighted, and easy to carry or store, unlike the 180-gram record. Typically, a 7-inch vinyl record will weigh about 40 grams which makes keeping and storing much more convenient. They can also only store 5 to 6 minutes for each side which can cause a low bit of content storage and can not be used for a full-length album which the 180gram can do perfectly well.
7inch Vinyl records are durable and serve as a higher fidelity alternative to the 78 RPM shellac discs that are used at that particular period. They were popularly chosen by the musicians because they were able to release up to 100 records of their music without releasing an album that will cost them more money and effort to produce and still give the listeners a cheaper album to listen to.
12INCH VINYL RECORDS MODIFICATION
The 12inch vinyl records which are often called the Lps ( long play) was also introduced by RCA Victor in 1931. They are larger records that can store songs as well as 180gram records than smaller records. They often contain an album or a larger collection of songs compared to the 7inch records. These records give room for louder levels and greater dynamic range and are mostly used by disc jockeys for disco and dance music.
DOES WEIGHT DETERMINE THE QUALITY?
Many have the opinion that the more the vinyl record is weighty, the better the quality. Although it is not so, the weight alone does not correlate to a quality sound on the record. Good and superior quality is majorly streamlined to:
- The integrity of the master source.
- The mastering process
- And the equipment used
The size and weight do not determine the sound quality of the vinyl record. The technical standard by which grooves are modulated and cut on a vinyl record is the same on all records, irrespective of their weights and sizes.
Although some heavier and thicker records like 180gram have been proclaimed as being more robust and durable, it is also assumed that heavier records have a more stabilizing effect on the stylus and cantilever suspension, which helps in providing extra protection from vibrations.
There are myths associated with heavier vinyl that should not be taken seriously, such as the thicker and heavier vinyl means the grooves can run deeper and punchy. This is simply a false notion, there are records that weigh 130 grams and can outrightly perform well in sound quality more than the 180gram, even though the 180gram is heavier.
DOES WEIGHT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
There have been numerous debate as to whether heavier records gives the best sound quality. The difference in this manner refers to features such as resonance reduction, deeper bass, and more detailed grooves. In some cases, vinyl records that weigh up to 180gram tend to deliver better performance, but it is important to note that it is not because of the weight of the 180 grams vinyl records.
Vinyl recorders often choose to go with higher audiophile standards for specific records like 180gram 12inch standard to add to the premium audiophile feel. It is not weighted itself in 180gram that makes a difference in sound quality, but the mastering, materials, and advanced manufacturing techniques.
Also, heavier records are desirable because of the durability that aligns with them. This is because 180gram and 200 gram “robust” that are recently designed are much more resistant to breakage and wear as compared to the lighter records. These records are also resistant to warping that is, the record won’t need much attention. This connotes a standard 150 grams LP and 180gram LP will be durable and able to resist wear than the lesser ones.