Vinyl records present a fun and classic way to listen to music and bring a certain energy into your home. Listening to music on vinyl is a pretty different experience from that of CDs and MP3s. From sound quality to the number of songs per side, there are many differences. The size of the vinyl record impacts the number of songs that can be played before the record needs to be turned. This article will explain more about what sizes vinyl records come in and how that impacts the listening experience.
How Does Vinyl Work?
A vinyl record is a plastic disc with grooves in it. The grooves are used to store information in the form of audio signals.
Users need a turntable (i.e., vinyl record player) with an amplifier and speakers connected to it to play back this information. When you place your needle on top of those grooves, it will travel across them as they spin underneath it at high speeds. The needle creates vibrations that are then converted into electrical signals using magnets inside your cartridge or stylus assembly (the part that holds your needle). These electrical signals go through RCA cables before reaching an amplifier, where the volume is raised so they can be heard clearly through speakers near you or directly next to them.
What to Know About Vinyl Record Sizes
Now that you have a bit of a background about vinyl records as a whole, we can move onto discussing the sizes of vinyl records. Every prospective vinyl record shopper needs to know their records' size. Not all vinyl records are the same size, and if you're looking to buy new albums or want to make sure that they'll fit in your record player, you must know what size they are.
7-inch Vinyl: 7-inch vinyl records, also known as 7-inchers, 45s, or “singles,” these are the smallest type of vinyl record. They're usually around four inches in diameter, with three to five minutes of playing time per side. On most 7-inch records, there are two songs on each side-one song on each side has less room than the other, so it's shorter than its counterpart by about 30 seconds or so (and sometimes even less).
Freestyle Vinyl sells custom 7-inch vinyl records with about 6 minutes of audio per side. These records are the perfect way to commemorate your first dance, a special memory, or “your song.”
10-inch Vinyl: The 10-inch vinyl record is the same size as a CD and can be played on most turntables, but it's not commonly used for albums because of its small capacity. Instead, this format is mostly used for singles, especially in dance music genres like techno and house. If you have an old Technics SL-1200 MK2 turntable (the best DJ turntable), you'll probably want to use 10-inch records with it because they are compatible with that model.
12-inch Vinyl: 12-inch vinyl records are the most common size and are also known as LP records. The larger diameter means that 12-inch vinyl records can hold more music than 7-inch ones. There are many different types of 12-inch vinyl records, including picture discs and colored ones with splatter patterns that give them a unique look. Creating your own custom 12-inch vinyl record is easy with Freestyle Vinyl. We offer the option to either upload your own tracks or make a 12” vinyl with no MP3 required.
How to Care For Your Vinyl
Vinyl records are delicate, so it’s important to handle them with care. Follow these tips to protect your collection:
- Keep it clean! Dust and dirt can damage a vinyl record. If you find your sleeves dirty, use a soft cloth or brush to gently wipe away any debris before placing the record back in its sleeve.
- Don't expose it to extreme heat, or cold-this can warp both sides of the album's surface and cause warping over time as well (which makes playing music difficult). Also, avoid direct sunlight because UV rays will damage both sides of the album's surface over time as well (which, again, makes playing music difficult). If you live in extremely hot or cold areas, consider purchasing a record storage box. This will keep your albums safe from extreme conditions and good for playing when you’re ready for a listen.
Interested in creating your own custom vinyl records in various sizes? Contact us today at Freestyle Vinyl to get started.