History and Making Vinyl Records

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Only Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877, making it possible to record and playback sounds compares to the vinyl LP in terms of bringing recorded music into the average home. Although technology has come a long way since, vinyl records are still widely produced and collected for the unique sound one can only get from a vinyl disc.

The mid-1920’s brought about the era of “electrical recordings” and the equalization of sound during playback. The first record vinyl invented was the 78,  then the 33 RPM vinyl record, followed by the big war between 45 records and LP records. Eventually, everybody decided to work together, sharing the wealth of the 45 record and Vinyl LP equally.

The press record process involved in creating a vinyl is not a simple nor a cheap one, which is why commercial or custom vinyl records have only ever increased in price. The first step is the production of a master disc, which, unlike the molded vinyl LP, is physically cut, inspected, and then sent off to another factory which makes a metal cast of the lacquer. The “mother” metal press record is cut from a matrix before being replated to create yet another negative; the “stamper”, used in the actual vinyl pressing. At the vinyl factory, the stamper works a little like a waffle iron, turning a preheated vinyl biscuit into a true LP record. Once the vinyl disc is cooled and hardened, it’s labelled, trimmed and closely inspected. Even the slightest imperfection means that the finished LP record will be melted back down into the vinyl biscuit to start the process over again. The vinyl records that pass inspection are carefully packaged and shipped out to be gobbled up by music-hungry consumers.

Content provided by Melissa Peters

History and Making Vinyl Records

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