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Vinyl Record Album LP Pressing by
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Original vinyl record pressing by



COVER ever so very slight rounding at corners

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How Vinyl Records are Made Part 1
How Vinyl Records are Made Part 2

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The Vinyl Record...,

Vinyl records were introduced and marketed as the unbreakable record, unlike its shellac counterpart of days gone by, that would break at the drop of a hat and became more brittle over time.

Vinyl records are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which has been proven to be a most stable material for sound recording. As a practical matter, vinyl records provide excellent sound quality when treated with care.

Records were the music source of choice for radio stations for decades, and the switch to digital music libraries by radio stations has not produced a noticeable improvement in sound quality..., as a note most radio stations severely reduce the dynamic range of their broadcasts and the allowed frequency bandwidth for a radio station is less than the bandwidth on a well-made record. Casual ears cannot detect a difference in quality between a CD and a clean new LP.

A vinyl record is an analog sound medium that consists of a flat disc record with an inscribed modulated spiral groove usually starting near the outside edge (lead-in) and ending near the center of the record (lead-out).

The audio content of the record is contained within the spiral groove which extends for more than a half mile. The groove itself is actually narrower than the thickness of a human hair yet is capable of producing the highest frequencies the human ear can detect, to the fundamentals that are felt rather than heard.

The audio recording stored in this groove is played back by rotating the record clockwise at a constant rotational speed with a stylus or needle placed in the groove, converting the vibrations of the stylus into an electric signal and sending this signal through an amplifier to the speakers.

The normal commercial disc is engraved with two spiral grooves, one on each side of the record.

The Anatomy of a Record...No Bones About It.

There is an area about 0.25 in (6 mm) wide at the outer edge of the disk, called the lead-in where the groove is widely spaced and silent. This section allows the stylus to be set at the start of the record groove, without damaging the recorded section of the groove.

Between each track on the recorded section of an LP record, there is usually a short gap of around 0.04 in (1 mm) where the groove is widely spaced. This space is clearly visible, making it easy to find a particular track.

Towards the label center, at the end of the groove, there is another wide-pitched section known as the lead-out (dead wax). At the very end of this section, the groove joins itself to form a complete circle, called the lock groove; when the stylus reaches this point, it circles repeatedly until lifted from the record.

the catalog number and stamper ID is written or stamped in the space between the groove in the lead-out on the master disc, resulting in visible recessed writing on the final version of a record. Sometimes the cutting engineer might add handwritten comments or their signature, if they are particularly pleased with the quality of the cut.

Records Have Standards Too!!

Vinyl record standards for the United States follow the guidelines of the RIAA Recording Industry Association of America.

The inch dimensions are nominal, not precise diameters. The actual dimension of a 12 inch record is 11.89 in. (302 mm), for a 10 inch it is 9.84 in. (250 mm), and for a 7 inch it is 6.89 in. (175 mm).

Records made in other countries are standardized by different organizations, but are very similar in size.

Picture Discs, Colored Vinyl or Just Carbon Black

For the most part records are pressed on black vinyl. The coloring material used to blacken the transparent PVC plastic mix is carbon black, which is the generic name for the finely divided carbon particles produced by the incomplete burning of a mineral oil based hydrocarbon. Carbon black increases the strength of the disc and renders it opaque. Polystyrene is often used for 7" records

Some records are pressed on colored vinyl or with paper pictures embedded in them known as "picture discs". These discs can become collectors' items in some cases. Certain 45-rpm RCA, RCA Victor or RCA Red Seal used red translucent vinyl for extra "Red Seal" effect. During the 1980s there was a trend for releasing singles on colored vinyl sometimes with large inserts that could be used as posters. This trend has been revived recently and has succeeded in keeping 7" singles a viable format.

The sound quality and durability of vinyl records is highly dependent on the quality of the vinyl. During the early 1970s, as a cost-cutting move towards, use of lightweight, flexible vinyl pressings, much of the industry adopted a technique of reducing the thickness and quality of vinyl used in mass-market manufacturing, marketed by RCA Victor as the "Dynaflex" (125 g) process, considered inferior by most record collectors.

New "virgin" or "heavy" (180-220 g) vinyl is commonly used for modern "audiophile" vinyl releases in all generes. Many collectors prefer to have 180 gram vinyl albums, and they have been reported to have a better sound than normal vinyl. These albums tend to withstand the deformation caused by normal play better than regular vinyl. 180 gram vinyl is more expensive to produce and requires higher-quality manufacturing processes than regular vinyl.

Since most vinyl records are made from recycled plastics, impurities can be accumulated in the record, causing a brand new album to have audio artifacts like clicks and pops. Virgin vinyl however, means that the album is not made from recycled plastics, and will theoretically
be devoid of these impurities. In practice, this depends on the manufacturer's quality control.

Vinyl Records Down Side...
A Side B Side ....Down Side??

Vinyl records do not break easily, but the soft material is easily scratched and vinyl readily acquires a static charge, attracting dust that is difficult to remove completely.

Dust and scratches cause audio clicks and pops. In extreme cases, they can cause the needle to skip over a series of grooves, or worse yet, cause the needle to skip backwards, creating a "locked groove" that repeats the same 1.8 seconds of track over and over. Locked grooves were not uncommon and were even heard occasionally in broadcasts.

Vinyl records can be warped by heat, improper storage, or manufacturing defects such as excessively tight plastic shrink-wrap on the album cover. A small degree of warp was common, and allowing for it was part of the art of turntable and tonearm design. A once per revolution pitch variation could result from a warp, or from a spindle hole that was not precisely centered.

Vinyl records will degrade chemically when exposed to ultraviolet light or to heat. Humidity does not affect the PVC itself, but will affect the packaging it is stored in. PVC is also resistant to fungal growth.

A.K.A. -- Phonograph Records -- Record Albums - LP's Terms and Aliases of the Vinyl Record Album

The flat recorded disc has gone through many changes over time and generations and as a result has been referred to by several aliases. The terms LP and EP are acronyms for Long Play and Extended Play where 33's, 45's and 78's these designations refer to the records rotational speeds in revolutions per minute. Along with different rotational speeds records were made in different sizes 7" 10" 12". Typically a 7" record would be a 45 rpm speed, a 10" would be either 33 or 78 rpm and a 12" would be 33 rpm. Of coarse there are exceptions to every rule. Records have been made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) since about 1949, and as such may be referred to as a "vinyl records" or just simply "vinyl". The term "record album" originally referred to a set of 10" 78's coupled together and housed in a "photo album" style booklet, usually containing art work on the front side and on the reverse, information about the recordings, the result a nickname the "phonograph record album" or "record album" which has stuck. In fact for decades many people referred to them as "records" These are the more popular aliases for the "vinyl records", there are certainly hundreds more terms that hipsters and disc jocks alike have used over the life and time of the phonograph record.

While most vinyl records are pressed from metal discs known as 'stampers',
the original disc is lathe cut. The lathe cuts the long spiral microgroove into a aluminum disc which has been coated with a soft lacquer. This lacquer disc is then electroplated with nickel to form a negative known as a 'master' disc, which has a protrusion rather than a groove. The lacquer disc is destroyed when the nickel impression is separated.

This master disc is then electroplated with nickel to form a a positive disc known as a 'mother'. Many mothers can be grown from a single master before the master deteriorates beyond use. In their own turn the mothers are nickel plated to produce more negative discs known as 'stampers'. Again a single mother can grow many stampers before they deteriorate beyond use. It is these stampers that are then used to mold the final vinyl discs. In this way several million vinyl discs can be produced from a single lacquer original. For production of discs where a relatively small quantity is required, the first nickel negative grown from the lacquer original is used directly as a stamper. Production by this latter process known as the 'half process' is limited to a few hundred vinyl discs.
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