Vinyl records, after a brief period of obscurity, are making a comeback. Old vinyl records from past releases can fetch very high prices, but collectors also appreciate newer releases, and more and more artists are releasing their music on vinyl. What makes these discs so extraordinary?
Black isn’t the natural color of vinyl
The vast majority of vinyl records on the market are black, so it’s commonly believed that this is due to the natural color of the material they’re made from. However, vinyl is not black at all – it’s nearly colorless with a milky tint. The black color is achieved by adding a carbon-based pigment, which manufacturers believed improved sound quality and the durability of the record. Nowadays, the color of the vinyl has no impact on the sound, and at XDiSC, you can order them in any shade.
The term “vinyl” has a connection to wine
In reality, the black disc is made of polyvinyl chloride, but it is commonly referred to as vinyl for short. Polyvinyl chloride has a chemical structure similar to ethylene, which, when hydrated, forms ethyl alcohol. The German chemist Hermann Kolbe coined the term “vinyl” from the Latin word “vinum” because ethyl alcohol is found in wine.
Vinyl heats up to over 100 degrees Celsius during playback
However, this doesn’t mean that the stylus of a record player can melt the record. Heating occurs only at the point where the stylus contacts the groove, and since it moves very quickly, the temperature reached during playback doesn’t cause significant damage.
Turntable rotation speed is a matter of chance
Vinyl records are typically played at speeds of 33 or 45 revolutions per minute, while shellac records used to play at 78 revolutions per minute. These values are somewhat arbitrary – they were chosen because they allowed the creators to achieve the desired sound. The choice of 33 revolutions per minute was retained because it allowed for the playback of long symphonies without needing to change the record.
The most expensive sold record
In 2015, the highest price ever achieved for a vinyl record was for Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” – the only copy of this recording. The record sold for 2 million dollars.