LP Record Vinyl history, features, care of great audio support

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LP Record Vinyl
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LP record vinyl, never ceased to be an important audio support for quality sound reproduction.

Vinyl records: an ageless support

The famous Long Playing, is still considered today, rightly, by music lovers, irreplaceable support for quality sound reproduction.
Despite the music, or rather a substitute for it is available compressed in the most disparate digital media, the LPs recorded as they should be, fear no comparison.

Vinyl records: the quality of sound reproduction

It is understood that high-quality Compact Disc is produced, well-made vinyl can never be replaced by any support.

The softness, the roundness, the facets of analog reproduction, cannot fear comparison even with regard to the most recent recording and engraving supports, so much so as to make good old vinyl one of the most precious purchases for music lovers.

History of LP Record Vinyl

It all began, with the phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 (take a look on Britannica Biography), a real revolution in the field of sound reproduction.

A cylinder covered with tinfoil allowed the first musical recordings, subsequently, the cylinder was used in cardboard covered with wax.

The phonoautograph

However, it seems correct to mention that years before Edison, in 1857, the French Lèon Scott de Martinville developed the phonautograph (look on the Wikipedia page), that is a device that allowed to record sounds graphically, in a sort of shorthand.

The microphone

By the way, it was not yet possible to record, but the inventors and scientists of the time continued their studies until in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) invented the microphone.

The telegraphic repeater

The following year, as mentioned above, Thomas Edison developed a telegraphic repeater: a disc covered with paper, set to rotate on a plate, its engraving was made possible thanks to a stylet suspended on an arm, this stylet was going to impress on the support grooves arranged in a spiral.

A device equipped with a funnel designed to collect sounds, which produced a vibration of a metal diaphragm positioned at the end of the funnel itself, vibrations that set the stylus in motion.

The stylus, therefore, made it possible to engrave a groove on the foil sheet wound on the cylinder, which was operated manually.

The same operation was carried out in the sound reproduction: the stylus read the grooves engraved on the cylinder, moved at the same engraving speed, thus returning the previously recorded sound.

The phonograph and the LP Record Vinyl

The phonograph, developed by Edison, was not studied by him only to reproduce music: on the contrary, it was conceived as support where it is possible to dictate and record texts, written, in such a way as to allow their custody on support, ready to be to listen.

The sound reproduction, conceived and studied, was developed by Emile Berliner, German, a few years later after Edison’s invention.

Berliner and the gramophone

Emile Berliner (on Library of Congress), developed the gramophone, an evolution of the phonograph created specifically for musical reproduction.

The cylinder machine developed by Edison was soon replaced by the gramophone, which immediately found use also as a fun instrument, and a pastime, to listen to music.

The groove and the needle have entered the world of sound reproduction by force, far from being abandoned.

While cylinders were used to record dictations, discs had become related to music, recording and playback.

The materials before vinyl

There are many experiments to find the most suitable material to develop the support: shellac is destined to make history together with the 78 RPM record.

Very curious is the fact that shellac is a resin of organic production, secreted by a small insect.

Vinyl record around 1950

The vinyl record appears on the market in the early 1950s, the grooves were reduced, so much so that they were considered micro grooves, and the speed slowed down from 78 to 33 RPM, in order to obtain longer-lasting recordings: Long Playing.

A short time later, stereo was introduced, a qualitative revolution in sound reproduction.

Record Vinyl 45
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Features of LP Record Vinyl

The definition vinyl, which has entered the common language to mean Long Playing, refers to the material used for the production: PVC (Polyvinyl chloride or Polyvinyl chloride).

What is PVC

PVC is a vinyl chloride polymer: the polymer is a molecule characterized by a high molecular weight, in turn made up of smaller molecules (monomers and copolymers).

One of the main characteristics of this material is its extreme versatility to be used, mixed, with several thermoplastic substances, to make the final product better suited to the function for which it is built.

The micro grooves

The use of PVC in the production of discs has found great success thanks to the introduction of micro-grooves; with a considerable reduction of the rustle compared to discs made of shellac.

During playback on the turntable, the record spins at the same speed with which it was recorded: for this reason, in addition to the accuracy of the recording, the good ability of the turntable as a precision instrument is of particular importance.

Because this is the turntable: a precision instrument, on which the high, or less high, capacity of sound reproduction depends.

The first reproductions of the LP Record Vinyl

The first reproductions of the Long Playing were often made by the artists themselves, or at least those for them, and the engraving was made possible by exploiting the opposite procedure of reading.

The sound collected by the funnel produced vibrations to the needle (stylus), which with its weight affected the surface of the record as it rotated, turned.

It was not possible to duplicate the medium, and each disc had to be produced individually, based on the number of copies that were intended to be made.

LP Record Vinyl hot stamping

The hot stamping of the disc made it possible to find the right evolution in the mass production of discs.

The Master Disk, which is the first copy that must be recorded in the appropriate recording rooms, is the same as it used to be in the past.

However, thanks to the sophisticated evolutions in the technological and electronic fields, it is possible today to obtain high-quality engravings, which will then be the basic quality to give life to all the copies that you want to produce.

The Master Disk

This disc, the Master, can be made of wax because it is very malleable, thanks to this it is possible to obtain the two matrices; or rather the metal plates that faithfully reflect the grooves of the Master Disk.

The matrices

The two metal matrices obtained, which are a real mold, are closed on the vinyl support thanks to high pressure, thus creating the disc.

The recording of the master, however, can also take place with a magnetic medium, a tape.

This system makes it possible to modify the registration, which is not allowed by the wax support.

Once the desired processing of the magnetic tape has been obtained, we proceed with the creation of the Master Disk on acetate support, thanks to the use of a burin (thin chisel with a steel tip) that cuts in a spiral, from the outer edge to the center of the disc same.

Then proceed to the creation of the matrices, for the production of other supports.

Vinyl polycarbonate

Vinyl polycarbonate is an amalgam used for the production of records.

Even if the compact disc, and other digital media, have entered fully into audio reproduction, the very particular and sophisticated taste of analog can never be replaced by any support.

As always, among electro-acoustic and Hi-Fi enthusiasts, the object of admirers and detractors, vinyl is still a medium capable of giving very appreciable listening emotions.

After the CD

After the boom effect, of the now also old Compact Disc, and of the CD player which in its time revolutionized sound reproduction, in part also the boomerang effect due to the poor recording quality of the first copies, some companies specialized, lovers of good quality sound reproduction, have begun to produce with passion and professionalism, specimens of Long Playing that have nothing to envy to the CD.

The weight of heavy vinyl

The careful use of technology in the production of these discs makes it possible to produce audio reproduction jewels, often characterized by a weight heavier than the standard disc, in some cases even double.

The weight of an LP can even reach 200 grams, this to the advantage of the rigidity of the support, that is of the disc, less possibility of deformation, and higher audio quality.

Obviously, I'm talking about 33 laps, although many 45s still find space in the collections of many fans.

LP Record Vinyl care
(Photo by Lucas Alves from Pexels)

LP Record Vinyl care

The vinyl disc is not as resistant, neither to shocks nor to dirt, compared to a Compact Disc, made of aluminum and then covered with plastic material.

However, about bumps, there is no problem, Long Playing is not a Frisby, you just need to be careful not to drop it, and not to hit it, which is not difficult.

The cleaning

However, particular attention must be paid to this type of support, in particular as regards cleaning.

In the first place, avoid leaving fingerprints of the fingertips on the disc, which must always be moved by the edges.

The cleaning of the vinyl record has always been the subject of study by the most extremist audiophiles, even here, who supports one method, who another.

Clean from dust

From personal experience, without ruining my life too much, I use a thick cotton cloth to gently clean the surface of the disc, following the spiral grooves in the cleaning motion.

The cotton cloth that I always keep in a closed place, inside a bag in the drawer, in order to make it dirty as little as possible.

Periodic and thorough cleaning

Another method of cleaning, periodic and deeper, consists in using distilled water, however, care must be taken:

1) a minimum of practice;

2) and make sure it is completely dry before using the disc.

Both for this cleaning method, as for the use of other solvents, it is good to be sure of the use of the products: if safety is lacking, it is better to rely on the traditional cotton cloth, or special brushes such as carbon fiber, capable of discreetly cleaning the furrows.

By its very nature, vinyl records attract dust – nothing serious, really.

How to store LPs

Another essential point is to keep the vinyl record in an upright position so that it does not have to be subjected to pressure, which would inevitably cause it to deform.

If you want to read a really interesting article about cleaning vinyl records, I refer you to the excellent TNT Audio website, in an article dedicated to LP maintenance: tnt-audio.it.

LP Record Vinyl: restrict consecutive playback

Another important feature for the care of the vinyl record is not to overdo it with repeated consecutive listening.

The normal deformation of the microgrooves, which occurs during reading by the stylus, requires time to return them to their original shape.

Although the good quality of a stylus significantly reduces this aspect, not according to the fact that the record is made of heavy vinyl, this further reduces the deformation of the microgrooves.

A correct time interval between two plays (24 hours according to some), allows the disc to have a long life to the advantage of the good quality of sound reproduction.

Microfiber cloth to clean the vinyl

In the textile sector, microfiber means a techno-fiber, that is a material obtained with particular technologies, which has a title, in this case, the textile titration, it is a unit of measurement that determines the title of a yarn, less or equal to DTex, unit of measurement used in weaving that is used to quantify the linear density of the fibers.

It is advisable to pay attention to the product label, as microfiber in itself does not mean anything; it is enough to indicate the density of the fiber itself, used to manufacture the cleaning support, which can be polyester, cotton, or mixed.

Microfibre cloths are particularly used, in recent years they have had a certain response from consumers.

What do I use to cleaning LP Record Vinyl

I have a cotton microfiber cloth that I use to clean the surface of the LPs; it has the characteristic of capturing dust in a rather evident way and cleaning the vinyl thoroughly in an accurate way, it has always been not complex, but certainly demanding, because it must be performed meticulously, and often.

The purchase package shows how to wash the cloth when needed: do not use soaps, detergents, and softeners, but it is possible to immerse it in hot water with soap flakes.

This procedure serves to preserve the microfiber, which would otherwise be compromised by the use of various detergents and softeners; so that the cleaning of the vinyl can always be effective, thanks to the cleaning support, in this case, the microfiber cloth, always efficient.

LP Record Vinyl is for People who love the quality sound of music.


Felice Amadeo - af1.it
Since 2006 I have been working with the internet, writing content and managing the site. I've been using WordPress since 2013.
As I got older, I found that I like to wear the hat.