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The History Of Vinyl


Musicians often see digital music as a threat. Songs in digital format are very easy to distribute and people can get them for free. But back in early 1800’s, there were only two ways to listen to music, listening to it being played live or playing it yourself. Thomas Edison changed that with phonograph in 1877. His first prototype produced a scratchy sound that’s almost inaudible by today’s standards. At the time, Edison made an accurate prediction that the phonograph would be used primarily for music playing. Early phonographs were just a hodgepodge of various components and sound quality was all over the place. In fact, early recording media was made of shellac.

The Introduction Of Vinyl In The 1930’s 

RCA Victor introduced long-playing vinyl records in 1932 at 33 1/3 rpm, with 10-minute playing time on each side. However, it was initially considered as a commercial failure due to unreliable consumer playback equipment. Yet, the durability and lower surface noise level of vinyl music over shellac was made known. Pre-recorded radio programs and radio commercials were distributed widely in the later 1930’s. After the World War 2, two new standards, 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm started to replace the standard 78 rpm. Eventually, 45 rpm became the dominant standard and the last 78 rpm records were produced in 1959.

Lower Quality Vinyl From The 1970’s

The durability and sound quality of vinyl music depend largely on the material used. In the 1970’s, the industry started to reduce the quality and thickness of vinyl as a cost-cutting measure. Low-cost pressed vinyl records are a mixture of 70% virgin and 30% recycled vinyl. Collectors prefer to choose heavyweight records with virgin vinyl due to better tolerance against deformation. However, heavyweight vinyl records are more expensive, because they use more virgin vinyl weighing between 180 and 220 grams. Vinyl records with 30% recycled vinyl also have more impurities, which produce audio artifacts, such as pops and clicks.

Virgin Vinyl Records

Because virgin vinyl records are not made of recycled material, they are devoid of any impurities. Poor manufacturing, such as the use of worn molds could cause “orange peel” effects. Instead of having a mirror-like finish, defective vinyl records have orange peel texture on the surface that introduce noises, especially at lower frequency range.

Investment Quality Vinyl

Some people are also collecting vinyl for investment goals. Sealed, unopened vinyl LPs have the highest value. You can keep them in dry, dark and cool places, and your vinyl records will last for decades. Old vinyl records are pieces of history that must be preserved for future generations.

Contact Horizons Music

To learn more about the history of vinyl, contact Horizons Music today and shop a wide selection of new and vintage vinyl.

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