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Styrene Vs Vinyl In 45S

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Styrene vs Vinyl in 45s

Postby VinzVideo » 21 Nov 2010 02:52

I mentioned this in another thread in the 45s forum...

I really dislike 45s that were made with styrene plastic, vs the usual vinyl.
I find them very brittle (break easily), I hate the glued on label, and they seem noisier to me. By that I mean, as soon as the stylus is placed in the lead in groove, you hear a "groove sound", a rigid, rumble kind of sound, that is much less noticeable in a vinyl pressing.

Speaking of pressing, my understanding is that styrene records are injection molded, thus the need to glue on (or even paint on) the label.

And one more thing, every styrene single I've seen has what appears to be very deep grooves. So much so, that's it's really impossible to see the spaces between the grooves.

Why was styrene used at all? Was it cheaper than vinyl - or was injection molding a cheaper process than using presses? I have always wondered about this. Most CBS (Columbia, Epic) and A&M singles were styrene, as I recall.
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Postby mysticfred » 21 Nov 2010 11:43

^ I think you mean USA singles with the 38mm centre made for juke boxes, i would guess few at the time thought these would endure for long and they would end up in the recycling plant in less than a year having served their purpose, lowering pressing and material costs. These are made of hard plastic and wear very quickly especially if played over and over all day on a juke box but were available for home use on an RCA record player with 38mm spindle.

European made singles are from vinyl though follow the US design, singles made for the British market tend to be made from vinyl and have a ring of "teeth" on each side and a small spindle hole for home autochange record players, these seem to be more sturdy and last a lot longer therefore a better investment, i have 50's and 60's singles that still look and play like new, though some US ones i have are covered in scratches though sound good too, so could support the deep groove theory?

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Postby VinzVideo » 21 Nov 2010 15:44

Thanks. mystic!

Over here in the States, all 45 singles have the large hole, not just the records that went into jukeboxes. I've never even seen a "small hole" 45 (7") - even though I know that's the standard elsewhere.

Jukeboxes used both styrene and vinyl records, as far as I know. So my question still remains - why was styrene used at all. I still think it's inferior.

It's very hard to describe in text the differences between the styrene and vinyl records - except that styrene doesn't flex the way vinyl does. Styrene is very rigid.
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Postby mysticfred » 21 Nov 2010 17:26

Juke boxes in Britain still had to be loaded with 38mm holed singles to work properly, so many singles were made with a removeable adaptor which could be pushed out leaving a 38mm hole..


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Postby Jimod99 » 21 Nov 2010 18:13

a lot of the 7" singles produced in North America these days have the small hole.
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Postby VinzVideo » 22 Nov 2010 00:45

Mystic, yes I have seen many photos of those UK 45s that are made for a standard spindle, but can be punched out for 38mm. Never saw one in person, however!

I guess I should have done the Google thing before asking my question here - but I know there are some industry members here, so that's why I asked here first.
But I did just Google styrene records, and I think I got my answer. I gather that styrene itself is a less expensive material. (Higher record company profits.) And the stampers that are used for styrene injection molding are not subjected to the "harsh" conditions used to press vinyl - so they last longer. (Higher record company profits.) And used styrene can be recycled with better results compared to vinyl. (Higher record company profits.)

Stampers for vinyl must undergo heavy pressing force (in the tons), and must continually be heated and cooled. But styrene is injected as a thick liquid, there is no pressing operation, and this is easier on the stampers.

So, once again it's the bottom line, profits, that is the reason styrene was used at all. From what I read, nearly everyone feels styrene is inferior (breaks easily, lousy glued-on labels, more prone to wear). I also read that styrene was not widely used in the UK, as it was here in the States.

You can check out this link:

http://vinylville.tripod.com/faq-1.html
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Postby mainrhythm » 23 Nov 2010 06:18

I dislike styrene 45s for the reasons you mention plus when shopping a styrene 45 can look perfect, but once you give it a listen it's junk. Also don't back cue or scratch on one or instant cue burn.

Even though I cringe when I come across styrene 45s, I have quite a few that sound really, really good.
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Postby Willem1671 » 24 Nov 2010 13:41

@Mysticfred,

As for punching out the centers if you want to play them in a juke box, that won't be needed if you live in British Commonwealth countries and own a Rock-Ola! Just remover the automatic speed change assembly underneath the turntable. The machine will no longer be able to change its speed in case a 33rpm small hole 7 inch is selected. However, you keep your British records in shape, without loss of value!

Bye!

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Postby mysticfred » 24 Nov 2010 14:56

that's interesting thanks Willem 8)


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Postby wintermute » 25 Nov 2010 17:21

Jimod99 wrote:a lot of the 7" singles produced in North America these days have the small hole.


Ever since the early 90's. I remember Island Records being one of the first.
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Postby Willem1671 » 08 Dec 2010 12:46

7 ich 45's were designed with a large hole. However, 7 inch 33 rpm records had the small hole. The juke box industry used these features. Extended play 33rpm 7 inch records often were specially made for the juke box industry (not for sale to the public), and were advertised as "album". The juke box turntable mechanism recognised a small hole record, the large hole adaptor was pulled down (or pushed aside, like most 50's Wurlitzers and Seeburgs that had a vertical turntable) and adjusted its speed accordingly, 33rpm for an album, 45rpm for a single. All American juke boxes were marvels of the era, no matter which system. All were very durable and were able to take enormous punishments. The best? I'd say Seeburg. Their carriage turntable machanism was truly ingenious. Capable of very fast changing. And spectacular to watch.
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Postby Jimod99 » 08 Dec 2010 14:54

Willem1671 wrote:7 ich 45's were designed with a large hole. However, 7 inch 33 rpm records had the small hole. The juke box industry used these features. Extended play 33rpm 7 inch records often were specially made for the juke box industry (not for sale to the public), and were advertised as "album". The juke box turntable mechanism recognised a small hole record, the large hole adaptor was pulled down (or pushed aside, like most 50's Wurlitzers and Seeburgs that had a vertical turntable) and adjusted its speed accordingly, 33rpm for an album, 45rpm for a single. All American juke boxes were marvels of the era, no matter which system. All were very durable and were able to take enormous punishments. The best? I'd say Seeburg. Their carriage turntable machanism was truly ingenious. Capable of very fast changing. And spectacular to watch.


The EP was a very popular format in the UK in the 60's, many of them are now highly collectable if in mint condition with the original sleeves.
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Postby Willem1671 » 08 Dec 2010 17:10

True. I have some here. But most of the British ones were 45rpm "extended plays" . Deutsche Grammophone (classical music only)also issued a large number of such records.
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Postby KentT » 09 Dec 2010 17:52

And for styrene 45 singles, use conical styli only. They cause the least wear. When new, they can sound a little bit better but not wear as well with repeated playings. I use a Stanton 680 A tracking at 2 grams for 45 RPM duty. And 45 singles are cut loudly and can be tricky to track well. The Stanton plays them like a champ.
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Postby Willem1671 » 10 Dec 2010 00:39

Conical stylus or not, it all comes down to compliance. Hence most, if not all, juke boxes will cause styrene singles to wear rapidly. As a rule, a rule that goes for all ways of mechanical reproduction of recorded sound by means of a modulated groove (in short: all forms of phonographic records) : if at some place a stylus cannot follow the groove accurately, excessive wear will take place at the point where distortion in sound is heard (or not, but that goes way beyond this discussion). So if the record is in good shape, AND sibillance is heard, that stylus is more or less destroying that part of the groove. So I do not agree with you that a conical stylus will cause less wear on styrene 45's, on the contrary. But, and I guess that's what's the real problem here, IF a fine liner or elliptical (and its offsprings like Stereohedron and the like) stylus is not adjusted properly, these can (will!) cause more wear than a conical stylus would. No matter what product, vinyl or styrene, the record is made of. The reason most DJ's use conical stylii only, setting up a DJ rig is less critical due to quite heavy tracking forces. Consequently: less detail in the reproduced sound, more distortion, more wear and tear despite (or maybe just because) conical stylii. Sometimes DJ turntables have very short straight tone arms. In this case ONLY conical stylii can be used.
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