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Styrene Vs Vinyl In 45S

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Postby KentT » 12 Dec 2010 19:06

We are talking about styrene 45 singles. They get cueburned easily with most ellipticals or line contact styli. They play best on high compliance, light tracking conical styli. The cueburn is why broadcast stations use conical styli on them. This is with all 3 types of styli discussed aligned correctly and overhang set correctly. I am a broadcast engineering professional. With vinyl pressing 45 singles ellipticals and line contact styli are fine if correct overhang and alignments apply. And on good tonearms.
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Postby daveobieone » 13 Dec 2010 16:54

I'm also a broadcast engineer. I worked all through the 70's at stations playing (mostly) 45's on the air directly...not dubbed to carts.

We always tried to put vinyl 45's in the studio if possible. We used to ask for them specifically from the labels...and usually got them (except from Columbia). The reason was the cue-burn problem was MUCH worse with styrene 45's.

We also used only conical styli, tracking at 2.2 grams. Most cartridges were Stanton 500a during those years. Cue-burn could still develop after a hot single was in play for much more than a month (or around 300 plays), so it usually got cycled out and replaced with a new copy...if we had one.

Whenever we tried eliptical styli (and we did), they always seemed to cue-burn the styrene 45's after just a few days. Perhaps the smaller contact patch was just putting too much pressure on the fragile, inflexible styrene.?. Styrene is quite hard, and doesn't deform under the stylus as vinyl does.

Seeburg jukeboxes (the best in my opinion) used cartridges made by Stanton/Pickering...with conical styli. Most of the later ones were capable of tracking at around 2-2.5 grams. The actual stylus assembly in the 345 series was very similar to the Stanton 500a. You can actually stick a later Seeburg 345 stylus into a Stanton 500 series cartridge, and it will play just fine. Styrene 45's would last pretty long in those.

Other juke brands used variants of the Shure M44-7 or M44-c cartridges...which were also pretty gentle.

If the juke operator changed the stylus at reasonable intervals, even the styrene 45s could still sound pretty good for many plays.

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Postby Willem1671 » 13 Dec 2010 20:01

I see what you mean. Most likely due to extreme side force (towards the edge) if a record is turned back. I was a DJ way back when and I've got quite a number of styrene records. Despite heavy use, none were destroyed by playing, some broke in transit and while handling them however.
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Postby Willem1671 » 16 Dec 2010 11:57

As for juke boxes, I've modified quite a number of M-44's that were in use in Rock-Ola juke boxes. What I did was this: decrease tracking force, replacing the M-44 conical stylus by a M-95 (!) elliptical one. However, due to the way too high compliance this stylus cannot be used just like that. So I used a very small piece of soft foam that filled the gap between the cantilever and the tube, gently pushing it as far as it would go. By doing so, compliance was limited while still retaining the higher detail in sound. This modification greatly improved sound and it turned a juke box into real hifi producing equipment. Tracking force was set to around 2.5 grams, worked fine. But, as a consequence, the box was more susceptible for jolts and vibration if placed on a wooden floor. For home use this modification worked just fine. But as a rule, if you want to preserve a treasured record, never play it in a juke box. A record can be destroyed instantly if the machine is malfunctioning.
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Postby dewey70 » 27 Jan 2011 01:22

I've come to hate styrene also. I have quite a few Columbia 45s from the late 50s, early 60s, and while they all appear mint and unmarked, the quality on most is terrible. US London was also bad about this.
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Postby Daws Hewson » 08 Mar 2011 07:50

If the Styrene 45rpm Record Era was, then it also ceased to be.
When did death come to the Styrene 45rpm Record?
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Postby Willem1671 » 09 May 2011 14:58

This was due to the reason that the machines for manufacturing these records were ageing and spares obsolete. Apart from the fact that 45's were no longer mass produced, it was also more economical to use only one type of plastic for both lp's and singles: pvc, specially developed for records. That explains it :-)
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