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Vinyl sound quality 10 vs 12 inch
polymorphic
post Oct 8 2008, 21:36
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Hi folks

I wondered if any of the experts here had much of an opinion about the sound difference between these two formats?

I've been told by the mastering firm that 12 inch sounds better. The material is fairly bass heavy dance music. They talked about some kinda distortion the closer you got to the center of the record. Doesn't really add up to me but perhaps I just missed the point.

I'm aware that more space gives the ability for wider grooves and more bass. The longest track I wish to press is just under 7 mins which was the max they suggested for a 10 inch @ 33rpm.

I'd rather press a 10 inch but not if there's a *serious* difference between sound quality.

Thoughts very welcome.
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DVDdoug
post Oct 8 2008, 22:33
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I'm NOT an expert...

I would bet there are many other factors that affect quality such that the difference will be insignificant. In the old vinyl days, most records were mediocre... Once in a while you'd run-across a really good sounding "gem". (CDs are much more consistent, within a given style/genre.)

Is there any reason not to go with 12"? I've never seen a "modern" 10" record. (Well... I haven't seen that many modern/current records...)

QUOTE
I'm aware that more space gives the ability for wider grooves and more bass.
Yes... But hopefully the mastering engineer isn't adjusting the bass up or down to accommodate the format... Hopefully the Bass/EQ will be adjusted for sound, and the overall level will be adjusted to accommodate the pressing limitations. (You can always turn-up the volume.)

It's not just a question of how much modulation you can fit into the groove. If you over-modulate, you can have tracking problems at playback time.

QUOTE
They talked about some kinda distortion the closer you got to the center of the record. Doesn't really add up to me but perhaps I just missed the point.
Yeah, it has something to do with the tracking angle. It was never anything I never worried much about much (when I used to listen to vinyl, in ancient times). I was more bothered by scratches, ticks, pops, and poor-quality production, mastering, & manufacturing.
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--EDIT Ė
No!
The linear velocity is higher on the outer grooves. For a given frequency, the physical wavelength is longer on the outside. This means you can better high frequency reproduction. At the inner groves, the waves are more scrunched together. Analog tape is similar... At higher tape-speeds, you get better high-frequency reproduction.
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QUOTE
The longest track I wish to press is just under 7 mins which was the max they suggested for a 10 inch @ 33rpm.
It shouldn't have anything to do with the "longest track", it should be a function of total (per-side) playing time.


laugh.gif If you really want good quality GO DIGITAL!!!! laugh.gif : (OK... Iím biased... The "snap, crackle & pop" used to drive me crazy, and I donít miss vinyl at all!)

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Oct 9 2008, 17:27
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Axon
post Oct 8 2008, 23:35
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10" is still done. There isn't a whole lot of difference manufacturing-wise with a 10" compared to a 12", it's just a bit cheaper and uses different sized laquers/etc.

I will say that 10"s kind of suck in that they're too small to fit nicely in a row of 12" records, but too bit to fit with the 7"s, but too rare to set them aside on their own (unless you are a fan of 78s or really early mono LPs). So on that basis alone, not on any sound quality grounds, I'd lean towards 12".

You're correct that the main advantage to a 12" is that you have more groove area. You can use this in several different ways (alone or in combination):
  1. Put all the music on the outer areas of the record, leaving the inner area blank. This avoids the whole issue of inner groove distortion, which is more prevalent with DJ needles, increased record wear, etc.
  2. Cut the record at a higher modulation level (literally, make it louder). This can make the record stand out compared to other records, and it increases the SNR, but you'll quickly start bumping up against recording and playback limitations, in terms of what the cutting head can cut and what a cartridge will track, at a high enough level. It also increases tracking distortion.
  3. Cut a 45rpm record instead of 33rpm. Improves the theoretical frequency response of the record, reduces tracking/tracing distortion, etc.
If it were me I'd go for option #3 and cut at 45rpm, and then raise the cutting level at the mastering engineer's discretion. But all these are relatively small fry if you're looking at a significant cost savings to release a 10" instead.
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