Sunday, February 10, 2008


A very cool post from our blog buddy at: www.thecrimelounge.blogspot.com/


This year (2008) marks the 50th anniversary of Stereo and the 60th anniversary of Vinyl Long Playing Microgroove Records
I'm sure that many sites will dedicate much more space, time and knowledge than I can on the subject but I just wanted to mention it for those who weren't aware.

A few milestones:
Many people and countries contributed to the long history and invention of music on disc, for space sake we start our little list at the true birth of "modern" vinyl.

Production of records halted by the advent of World War II and the lack of shellac due to the invasion of South East Asia by the Japanese.The replacement of the base material was discovered from a plastic resin derivative of petroleum called vinyl

The first V-Discs were shipped from the RCA Victor pressing plant in Camden, New Jersey

RCA Victor releases the very first commercial vinylite record

Columbia introduces the first 12-inch 33-1/3 rpm microgroove LP vinylite record with 23-minute play-time per side it also has a special turntable to play them on made by Philco

RCA Victor introduce the 7-inch 45 rpm micro-groove vinyl single and compatible turn table.

The improvements in sound quality of the new vinyl format encourage record companies to embrace the technology, this marks the beginning of the end for the 78rpm shellac disc and RCA Victor issues records on Columbia 12 inch LP format.

First Jukebox able to play 7 inch 45 rpm records

Record companies deliver 7 inch 45 rpm record singles to radio stations instead of 78s

The Recording Industry Association of America chooses the Westrex standard for stereo records. Stereo vinyl is to became the dominant medium of recorded music

RCA introduces its first stereo LPs
This is the birth of the modern stereophonic microgroove long-playing record as we know it today.

The vinyl record has had somewhat of a revival in recent years, thanks in part to dj's it must be said, without whom they would probably have died out long ago (amongst the average user at least) but because of the dj crowd manufactureres have continued to produce turntables and even start to re-release albums on vinyl yet again.

Obviously the dj isn't the only reason for this, many people have re-ignited their passion for vinyl after years of collecting "invisible" music as mp3's, which great as they are, don't actually exist in the true sense of the word. These files are stored as millions of 0's and 1's on our hard drives and could all disappear over night (how reliable is your HDD?).

Another thing to look into is the life-span of the various media, digital music (mp3's etc) are OK as long as you continue to back them up (hopefully not having any data errors!).

CD's are good for decades, so the experts say but having had experience with laser rot on Laserdiscs I'm not so sure. Compact discs are pressed much like vinyl records, then to make them reflective they are coated with an Aluminium layer, this is then covered in plastic to protect it. the trouble is if the Aluminium layer ever gets exposed to the air it oxidies and corrupts the data (I have a couple of early discs which look very brownish and stained). Then you have the ink used to print on the disc eating into it!

Vinyl records are quite a simple beast and this is the very thing that makes them the most stable and long-life format to collect on.

With vinyl of course, they actually contain the music on the disc (as opposed to a data representation of it) and even the label is melted into the plastic during pressing, so no nasty glues to come unstuck, so they start out ahead in terms of longevity. They are also composed from a single piece/layer of plastic, whereas a CD is multiple layers of different material stuck/bonded together, which is never a great idea to start with.

All things being equal, a vinyl record should last for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years before the natural decomposition occurs. CD's on the other hand, having different material mixed together will start to internally corrupt after so long (how long, know one knows yet!)

As with many things in life we discover that the simple way of doing things really is the best (and most reliable).

I won't go into the relative merits of each formats sound quality, suffice it to say we all have our own preferances.

I hope this little article has been interesting and if anyone wants to add to (or correct) anything, please leave a comment. Tell everyone about your own collecting experiences.

I wonder if we will still be listening to CD's and mp3's in 50-60 years time?

1 comment:

  1. Your article was a direct shot to my heart. I still keep a large collection of vinyl LP's and 45 single and extended play records. I have two turntables. Number one is the most popular tt among DJ's; the other is a new kid on the block. It has an USB connector to download my beloved records to my computer. It also has a supplemented software intended to vanish -not completely though- all scratch, clicks and pops, but it does an excellent job. Eventhough I already have more than 1,500 CD's there are some times when I prefer to listen to vinyl. It brings me back to those days of yore when this media recording was king. I'll be looking forward for your next posting on this topic.
    Luciano Romero, from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, MEXICO


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