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Vinyl Records

Long before CDs were used for distributing music, gramophone records or vinyl records were in use. Gramophone records may not be the preferred medium of music distribution anymore, but vinyl records are still used by DJs and collectors. Today vinyl records have become collector's items and older vinyl records are in demand the world over.

Vinyl records have been in existence for nearly 100 years now, the first gramophone record player was invented by Thomas Edison in the year 1887. The vinyl records in use today were available to the masses only in the year 1918 when the exclusive patent for the production of vinyl records expired. Gramophone records are meant to be played at different speeds and all record players come with a speed control system.

Vinyl records come in two popular flavours, the 12 inch vinyl album is meant to be played at 33-1/2 RPM (revolutions per minute) and the 7 inch single at 45 RPM. Popularly known as LP (long playing) records, LPs were the primary means of distributing music unil CDs came along. A traditional LP can store around 52 minutes of music at most (26 minutes on each side), and is available in 10 and 12 inch diameters.

Although regular vinyl records are very stable, unlike magnetic media like cassettes and floppy discs, vinyl records are not easily susceptible to the earth's magnetic field and even the oldest vinyl records are available in excellent condition. Today vinyl records are mainly used by DJs.Since it is possible to directly manipulate vinyl records, DJs prefer using vinyl records for carrying out complex moves like scratching. Vinyl records can be played in any direction and the speed can also be controlled using both the playing device and manually by the DJ as well, this is why vinyl records are still popular. There is CD software available that allow DJs to simulate effects similar to a traditional vinyl record, however DJs still prefer to use vinyl records to carry out more complex effects like slip-cueing. In addition, a limited number of vinyl records are produced each year by independent rock bands and record labels.

Today vinyl records occupy a niche market and are largely purchased by collectors and DJs. A rare vinyl record can fetch hundreds of pounds. Any one looking to buy vinyl records should look for original issue vinyl records from the 60s and 70s. Retro vinyl records are in demand and it has become increasingly hard to find original vinyl records of artists like The Small Faces and Jimi Hendrix. Retro records are popular with not just collectors but also with DJs as the combination of fuller sounding analog music and great packaging make them superior to CD & MP3 formats.

Resource box - vinyl record album cover art,classic examples of record sleeves.

Andrew Whibley is the author of this article on Vinyl Records. Find more information about Rare Vinyl here.

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