Vinyl Records Lingo is the secretive way to communicate with anyone who loves vinyl. Any aspirational vinyl lover knows, there is no way to beat around the bush – you just need to know the vocabulary in order to be part of the conversation. If you’re a newbie, fear not, here is important Vinyl Records Lingo (Part I.)
Disclaimer: This collection of vinyl vocabulary does not have the means to be complete nor finished.
- RPM: Revolutions per minute. Or the number of turns in one minute. A vinyl spins at 33 1⁄3 (12 inch diameter), 45 (7 inch diameter) or 78 rpm (10 inch diameter) (0.28, 0.55, 0.75, or 1.3 Hz respectively).
On the contrary, the second hand of an analogue clock turns at 1 round per minute.
A lot of vinyl lingo has a historical background.
- 33s/45s: Refers to the different vinyl products. 33s refers to an album that spins at 33 RPM. 45s means a single.
- 7inch: The diameter of a single with 45 RPM.
This started with a lot of old fashioned terms. If you fancy dipping your toe in some real history, read here: Doing Vinyl History The Right Way.
- Vinyl is already plural, no s at the end!: This is very important, the word ‘vinyl’ is already in the plural. If you want to talk about two or more vinyl just say that and don’t add an ‘s’ at the end to indicate a plural.
- Test Pressing: Within the vinyl pressing process there comes a time for checking in. The record label receives some test pressings of the production. This way, they can make sure that everything sounds like it should. It is literally the last step to check-in. Some labels number those test pressings and sell them later as collector items.
- ‘Mother’: This lovely word refers to the master vinyl in the pressing process. She is the blueprint for the whole process. She can be stored for later use. For example, if the record label needs more quantity or if they decide at a later point in time to do a reissue.
Vinyl are anything but mothers darling.
- Lossless audio format: This refers to a digital audio file that is not or just very little compressed. Meaning that the digital audio file of the sound or music is as close to the original as possible. There are different lossless audio files such as WAV (Waveform Audio File Format), AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) and FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec). Those are the digital audio files that are supposed to come as close to the analogue vinyl listening experience as possible.
- 180 gram: This refers to the actual weight of vinyl. A ‘standard’ vinyl weighs around 120 gram. However, some vinyl lovers feel that a vinyl that weighs 180 gram is running smoother on the vinyl player due to its weight.
Wanna learn more about Vinyl? Read everything about 10 Secrets Nobody Tells You About Vinyl.
- Picture disc: When a vinyl has a picture or a graphic on the grooves, it is referred to as picture disc. However, normal vinyl are simple pitch black.
- Digital download code: Most modern vinyl contain a digital download code. This enables the buyer to also get the digital files of the music in order to play it on the computer or mobile phone.
I hope you learned some words you didn’t know before and expanded your vinyl vocabulary.