The Modern Vinyl Record (1960s)

Let’s define what is meant by the term the modern vinyl record.

It has a relatively long playing time and does so while reproducing sound in what is called high fidelity.

High fidelity, or Hi-Fi for short, simply means that the device is capable of reproducing sound accurately throughout the full hearing range of the human ear, and does so realistically, i.e., without introducing significant quantities of noise or distortion.

That is not to say that every record meets this definition.

As an example, a recording from the 1920s when transcribed and played back on a modern vinyl record is not going to exhibit high fidelity characteristics.  It remains limited by the original recording’s characteristics and cannot be improved upon just because the media is capable of high quality.  And not all records were manufactured with the same quality.  In fact there were some pretty cheaply made records that do not provide good sound reproduction.  And there will always be poorly engineered and/or mastered recordings.

For our purposes of describing the Classic Vinyl Listening Experience we are referring to records that provide high fidelity sound quality.  For their first 25 years, vinyl records were made from a high quality raw material, but this changed in 1974 with the oil shortage (vinyl is an oil bi-product).

Vinyl records produced during and after the oil embargo were not necessarily of the same quality as before that time, because manufacturers searched for replacement materials and filler to stretch what vinyl they could acquire.  And a few years later, it is likely that record quality was purposely sabotaged with the advent of the compact disc (CD), as the record companies wanted consumers to switch to the “superior” sound of CDs because of the reduced costs (increased profits) associated with making CDs.

Thankfully, the vinyl records produced in recent years are of good quality once again.

2 comments on “The Modern Vinyl Record (1960s)

  1. Anonymous on

    I admire the useful information you offer inside your content. I will bookmark your blog and also have my children check up here typically. I am very sure theyll learn a lot of new stuff here than anybody else!

  2. Gerard Gadigian on

    Great read. Sometimes as a fan of music it’s easy to forget that their is an overriding business principal that may adversely affect the fans, i.e. reduced quality in CDs and the forceful move to an inferior product to increase the bottom line.

    Some questions come to mind:
    Why can’t a CD reproduce the sound of vinyl?
    Considering that the main difference is analog vs digital, I would think that audio engineers could somehow overcome this rather apparent obstacle with some sort of science. The size of the media is one seemingly obvious reason; the max a CD will hold is 80 minutes of audio.

    Can we not sacrifice size for quality?
    Is CD audio already compressed?
    Is it an inherent limitation with the medium that it is just not possible to reproduce/mimic analog sound waves?

    In calculus you can smooth out the hard edges of step functions by increasing the number of steps (i think). It seems most people don’t seem to care if their music is compressed, so maybe it’s not worth the time.


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The Classic Vinyl Listening Experience

  • History

    Intro To The Classic Vinyl Listening Experience

    Welcome to the Sound Exchange reference guide about vinyl records. On these pages we will explore any and all topics that are relevant to the enjoyment of vinyl records. Read more...

    The Emergence of Long Play (1948)

    The Classic Vinyl Listening Experience began with the emergence of the 10” and 12”, 33 1/3 rpm, Long Play, Micro-Groove, Vinyl Record in 1948, and its smaller sibling, the 7” 45 rpm record. Read more..

    Modern Long Play Records

    The modern long play, micro-groove record brought to the market had a tremendous impact on artistic creativity. Read more..

    The Modern Vinyl Record (1960s)

    It has a relatively long playing time and does so while reproducing sound in what is called high fidelity. Read more..

    The Classic Vinyl Listening Experience Timeline

    Let’s put all of this information in the form of a timeline. Read more..
  • Analog Vs. Digital

    Which is better, CDs or Vinyl Records?

    This question can be reduced to studying their differences. Read more..

    How Sound is Created and Heard

    This discussion begins with the creation of sound itself. Everything in nature that creates a sound creates an analog sound, which also happens to be the only kind of sound that we can hear. Read more..

    Analog to Digital Conversion

    The digital process begins at the point where the electrical impulses generated by the microphone are encoded onto a recording device. Read more..

    Playback Pros and Cons

    An analog recording doesn’t attempt to describe the sound as it simply records its input continuously, so it doesn’t have the sample size and sampling rate issues that digital has. Read more..

    What about CDs?

    First you must remember that the specification for CDs was developed way back in 1979. Read more..

    My Thoughts on Digital Vs. Analog Sound

    The vinyl record is my preferred media for active listening to recordings made in the 1950s and into the 1980s. Read more..
  • Stereo Recordings

    Stereo Recordings

    Any discussion about music and sound reproduction will eventually make reference to how it is presented to the listener. Read more..

    Stereophonic Recordings (1960s)

    Regarding stereo recordings, when stereo first came out it was a brand new world and exactly how to represent a recording in a stereo format was very subjective. Read more..

    Mono Vs. Stereo Recordings

    Beginning with the comparison of Mono and Stereo recordings, it was typical that both mono and stereo records were made from the late 1950s until around 1970 when they ceased production of mono records. Read more..

    Quadraphonic Recordings

    Finally let me touch upon quadraphonic recordings as they appeared on vinyl records. Read more..
  • Turntables

    The Record Player

    “For the record,” a record player is generally thought of as a turntable with a built-in amplifier and speaker(s). Portable units are typically record players. Read more..

    Anatomy of a Turntable

    The turntable has several basic components including the plinth (base), the revolving platter, the tone arm, the cartridge and stylus, and the mechanical and electronic components to make it all work. Read more..

    Reducing Unwanted Noise

    Isolating the noise generated from the turntable’s motor from the platter is essential. Read more..

    Choosing a Quality Turntable

    So how do you know how good a turntable really is regardless of cost? Read more..

    Turntable Belt Replacement

    Occasionally, belt drive turntables require turntable belt replacement.

    All about Phono Cartridges

    At the heart of any turntable system is the phono cartridge. Read more...
  • Other Stereo Equipment

    Classic Stereo Equipment

    Stereo equipment is one more significant variable that can greatly affect the Classic Vinyl Listening Experience. Read more..

    Phono Preamps: Amplification and Equalization

    When the discussion turns to the phono preamps (short for pre-amplifier) we are really getting down into minute details of the record groove in order to understand its role and its importance. Read more..

    Purchasing Quality Preamps

    Like all components of a stereo system there are significant variations in quality in the preamps, which has significant effects on the quality of the playback of your records. Read more..
  • Records

    On First Pressings

    Typically, a first pressing is defined as what the actual record album looked like when it first came off the manufacturing line. Read more..

    Grading the Condition of Records

    At Sound Exchange we use visual grading (as opposed to play grading) for our records. We do not grade jackets, only the vinyl itself. Read more..

    About 78 rpm records

    The 78 rpm record was the primary format for music sold during the period from the early 1900s into the 1950s. Read more..

  • Taking Care Of Your Records

    Record Storage

    Always store your records in a cool, dry, dark environment in an upright position (never flat) that is high off the ground, and that provides some airflow around them. Read more..

    Tips for Handling Records

    Always handle your records by the label and the outer edge and never ever touch the record grooves except when performing a deep cleaning. Read more..

    That’s Not a Scratch on Your Vinyl – It’s Dirt!

    Dirt and static electricity may cause good records to sound “scratchy”. A proper cleaning will remove dirt and static electricity from the vinyl. Read more..

    How Often Should Records Be Cleaned?

    Record cleaning, like most any other type of cleaning, is a matter of degree. Read more..

    Record Cleaning Solution

    Wet cleaning of vinyl records is the best way if not the only way to really get them clean and to get them free of static electricity. Read more..

    How to Clean a Record

    Use plenty of solution and really get the record wet while being very, very careful to keep the solution off of the record label, as it will cause the paper label to “rise” or stain the label, etc, and it will never look like new again. Read more..

    Salvaging Vinyl

    An old trick of “last resort” is to actually play a record while wet. Read more..