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A phonograph record (also known as a gramophone record, especially in British English), or simply a record, is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc.
At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac; starting in the 1940s polyvinyl chloride became common, hence the name vinyl. In the mid-2000s, gradually, records made of any material began to be called vinyl records, or simply vinyl.
So how thick is a vinyl record?
Vinyl records are an average of .6-.7mm thick. This is the average thickness as some records may be .5mm up to as thick as .75mm.
If you would like to know more about how thick a vinyl record is, please keep reading.
You can also check out the video below if you prefer.
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Vinyl records have made a massive comeback over the past couple of years. They have been a great source of warm sound, pushing folks to experience the thrill of digging in record stores for the rarest LPs. The world will still find value in this once fading music format.
There has been considerable debate between vinyl and digital content, but we won’t talk about that today. You might want to convert your vinyl records to mp3 or other formats. This is a way to play your lovely records on a variety of devices or even backing up your collection. That is also a discussion for another day.
In this article, you will learn more about vinyl record sizes. Have you spent years collecting records? Would you love to identify them in various sizes? Knowing what vintage albums you have is an excellent place to start as you think about tackling those projects.
Types Of Vinyl Records
Do you know the size of your vinyl record? Chances are, most of your records are full size 12 inches around that spin at 33 1/3 RPM. You will also find singles 7 inches around that spin at 45 RPM.
Often vinyl records (maxi-singles and EPs) are made on a 12-inch disc that rotates at 45 RPM. Revolution per minute designation is essential when choosing a vinyl record.
A record player setting matched to the rotation needs of the disc to avoid distortion. This may render your records impossible to play again if not used properly.
Can you recognize some of your records by names such as Patsy Cline, Rod Stewart or Elvis Presley? Wow! You might also have the Beatle records from way back then called Quarry Men. These are just some popular records that are still popular today.
Vinyl Records Size And Sound
The science of vinyl records shows that the slower a record turns, the worse the quality of sound is. Such a record produces uneven vibrations so that the audio may sound choppy or disjointed.
A higher RPM produces even, spaced out vibration resulting in high-quality sounds. Yet, it loses the amount of the information it can store in the grooves on its surface.
This means an increase in RPM of the record shortens playback time. The faster the record spins, the higher its sound quality is. A quicker record player reads the record at a faster speed and increases the quality of sound.
This has also been the paradox of the vinyl records set size. Most listeners contest they could sacrifice sound quality for more music per disk. This resulted in the creation of the 45 RPM format that is widely used.
Yes, some vinyl records have unusual shapes and sizes, but for the most part they fall into the following 4 categories.
Vinyl Record Types
- 12-inch Albums (LP or Long Playing)
The 12-inch vinyl records are thick and black and generally known as LPs (Long Play) or long-playing. A 12-inch Vinyl record, most of the time, has an extended play at 33 1/3 RPM while others play at 45 RPM.
There’s a significant record size with each side holding up to 22 minutes of music. Vinyl records have reached a limitation in competition with modern media. They cap an album at around 45 minutes if it takes advantage of both sides of the disk.
This is quite important as the spinning rate/speed of the record affects the quality of sound. Vinyl records are designed to play at various speeds with the most common speeds being:
- 33 1/3 RPM
- 45 RPM
- 78 RPM
What do 33, 45, and 78 RPM mean?
A revolution per Minute (RPM) is how many times the platter spins in a minute.
You might have noted that vinyl records sound quality depends on revolution per minute measure. The 33, 45, and 78 is the speed at which most records spin at signified in RPM.
Vinyl records are identified using their speed. For example, a 7-inch round record features a single song denoted as “a 45” or a shellac disc called a “78”.
They often cite 78 RPM records when discussing vinyl record speed as an option. The option is uncommon in the current market. The 87 RPM records are often vintage records made of shellac instead of the PVC.
- 12-inch Singles
12-inch singles are more durable than vinyl records. You will find a vinyl record with “A” and “B” side. A 12-inch single A-side has one song from an album or single release, but the B–side contains other songs on the Album, live recording or remixes.
You can easily find a 12-inch single on the market today, surprisingly even new ones. They’re mostly purchased and used by DJs and vinyl collectors.
- 7-inch Singles
A 7-inch record called a 45 for its playback speed of 45 RPM and a standard diameter of 7 inches. You will find them on standard black or there are sometimes colored records which are uncommon.
Because of the size, a 7-inch vinyl record single has one song on each side. They have limited capacity, but best for a single release and used for jukeboxes. Standard vinyl can press both 7-inch records 45 RPM with about 4.5 minutes per side and 33 RPM with 7 minutes per side.
The records are smaller with a bigger hole. This is best for the jukebox to grab quickly and play the record.
- Extended-play Records
A cross between the LPs and Singles gave birth to Extended Play or EP with more songs than 12 inches single or 7-inch single vinyl records. Yet, an extended play has less music than a full length 12 inches Album. They are more flexible as they come in 7 inches or 12 inches designed for 33 1/3 RPM or 45 RPM.
Unusual Vinyl Record Sizes, Shapes, And Colors
While the four types of vinyl records are common, you can come across vinyl records of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Don’t be surprised to find a vinyl record with a picture printed on them.
The most important part of a vinyl record are the grooves which gives the records their sound. A designer may cut out specific shapes onto the non-grooved outer section of the record. A pictured vinyl record normally lacks good quality sound.
So after reading this guide above, it’s easy to spot what records are stocked in the huge box in the basement. Chances are, most of your records are full-size 12 inches around and .6-.75mm thick.
You may also find single 7 inch round discs that spin at 45 RPM.