Vinyl Lingo (Part III)

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Vinyl records lingo can be a fun way to get out of your head. Here comes part III of this series!

Vinyl records lingo can be quite a diversion. Especially when you’re homebound due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When was the last time you spend some quality time with your vinyl? In fact, now might be just the time to geek out and dive right into your vinyl cradle.

Indeed you could make a point and clean all your vinyl. Also, have you checked your record player set up?

Vinyl records can be a welcome diversion in hard times

Make sure that the grounding is still working properly. Go to town and sort your vinyl collection by alphabetical order.

There are no boundaries when it comes to vinyl record love. A point often overlooked is the special vinyl records lingo.

There are certain words you need to know in order to play the vinyl game. Fear not! Here comes just what you need. Vinyl records lingo part III.

In case you were wondering why on earth I write about vinyl records being a digital consultant.

  • Lacquer:

The audio signal is transcribed into a master plate called lacquer through a dedicated cutting head comprised of two moving coils perpendicular to each other – one for the left and one for the right channel. Movements of both coils are transferred to a cutting stylus with a sharp triangular tip on the end. The stylus for cutting into soft lacquer is heated and is made out of sapphire or ruby gems and cuts a spiral V-shaped sound groove into a nitrocellulose layer covered on an aluminium disc. Stampers for record pressing are manufactured from such mastered lacquers by a three-step electroforming process in electrolytic baths. It is recommended to start these processes with already cut lacquers as soon as possible to avoid deformations of grooves caused by heat and other environmental factors.

*source: GZ Vinyl
  • Shrinkwrap: That is the plastic foil that’s around the vinyl record when it comes freshly out of the factory. It seals the vinyl record. That way, you can spot easily if a record has been open before or if you are the first one. There is a hot discussion about the pro and cons of shrink wrap, however. A dedicated Discogs thread is only dealing with this.

Do you want to learn more about vinyl records history?

  • Crate digging: This is sort of a slang word referring to the act of searching through boxes with vinyl records. Crate digging can happen in record shops as well as on flea markets. Most vinyl hunters spend many hours searching for a particular pressing or re-issue of their desired record.

What has ordinary PVC to do with vinyl?

  • PVC: This stands for Polyvinyl chloride. The official name for the plastic that makes a vinyl record. As much as we all love vinyl, at the end of the day, they only consist of PVC.
  • Reissue: The new pressing of a record that already existed before. With the vinyl resurgence, there were a lot of reissues happening with music that hasn’t been released on vinyl yet. A reissue gives the record label the chance to sell said product again. However, this is not a completely happy situation within the vinyl community. The Vinyl Factory has shown a light on this with their podcast: The issue with reissues.
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Do you fancy Vinyl Lingo Part I and Part II?

  • Bootleg: This term refers to an unauthorized copy of a record. It comes from the time of the prohibition of alcohol in the USA. At that time it was very fashionable to wear very high boots that were covering the calves. A perfect hiding place for a flask of illegal liquor. Hence the name bootleg for anything that is an illegal copy.
  • Virgin vinyl: Back in the heydays of vinyl records it was not uncommon for record shops to return unsold vinyl to the factory. They used it up and recycled the PVC again for a new pressing. The term virgin vinyl means that a vinyl record is containing only ‘new’ PVC that has no component of recycled PVC in it.
  • Black crack: This means the addiction that vinyl records can cause in people. It derives from a name for heroine ‘crack’. But instead of ‘white’ crack ie. heroine, vinyl records are ‘black’ crack because of their most common colour.

Many words in vinyl records lingo come as a surprise

  • Chasing wax: This refers to the hunt for the perfect vinyl record. Vinyl records sometimes have a nickname: ‘wax’. Back in the days vinyl masters contained wax.
  • Dead wax: Naming of the space between the last track on the vinyl and the label. This is the vinyl records blind spot where no music is happening onto. Besides the label containing the name of the musician or band as well as the title of the record, a matrix number states the processing of the vinyl.
  • Direct Metal Mastering (also known as DMM):

Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) is a system of vinyl cutting developed by Neumann and TelDec (Telefunken-Decca) in Germany during the 1980s, in an attempt to increase the reliability of the cutting and pressing process, and circumvent some of the common problems that can occur with conventional lacquer masters. Rather than cutting the audio to a lacquer-coated disc, the DMM lathe cuts straight into a copper-plated master disc.

*source: Abbey Road Studios

Is this the end for vinyl records?

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