33 1/3 RPM versus 45 RPM

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by therealco, Mar 12, 2011.

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  1. therealco

    therealco New Member Thread Starter

    I have far more LPs than I do 45s. And I only have a few full length albums pressed on 45RPM, though I've often seen 45RPM special issues of some jazz albums, along with the latest Metallica re-issues.

    There are two questions I have concerning this :

    Is there any audible sound difference on middle end equipment ?
    A question of the downside of using 45RPM.

    From my experience with 45RPM singles, they don't sound as good. From my experience with 45RPM albums, they sound just about the same. Possibly better in terms of the higher frequencies. High end rolloff on slower turning discs could be due to lower "resolution" of the data on the disc. If it spins faster, it has the potential to read more of the data stored. But, you also must ask at what speed was the disc recorded? If it was recorded at the same speed, 45RPM, or faster, the quality may not be any different. If it was half-speed mastered, it could be potentially better sound quality, as the writing needle has more time to accurately engrave the groove.

    The other side of this is that if the disc is spinning faster, it has more potential to pick up imperfections in the vinyl. If you have a scratch on the disc, it is more likely that you will hear the pop or the crack more frequently than a 45 RPM disc. This could be one major pitfall. So, keep those discs in tip top shape. Imagine, then, the sound of a 78RPM shellack record with all of that extra dust and grime within the grooves during playback. It is bound to have a ton of cracks and pops.

    And then we have the convenience factor. A CD holds approximately 80 minutes of sound, without having to flip it over ever. This is extremely convenient. Think of an LP, which generally holds 20 minutes per side, with some exceptions, ie Bob Dylan's Desire (1976), a single LP with a whopping 56 minutes of audio. A feat in re-mastering if there ever was one. But, you still have to flip the disc to hear the second side. Most people do not find this to be problematic. But, then you have 12" 45RPM album releases that contain one or two, sometimes three short songs on a side before you have to flip, and these are generally spanned across two or three discs. Increasing the amount of time changing discs and flipping. Decreasing the amount of continuous listening time. Take, for example recent reissues of Metallica's albums, spanned across four to six 12" 45RPM discs. What a nightmare this must be to listen to. Sure the quality may be slightly increased, but the functionality of the format begins to wear thin at this point.

    Does anybody have any thoughts on this? I think it's a good discussion. I'm sure some audiophiles will disagree with my thoughts.
  2. Slightly increased SQ at 45rpm? hmmm.......put me at 180 degrees opposite.

    Examples? Search "45rpm vinyl" in the Music threads.(7" and 12")

    Learn by reading, then by experience. This is how I started when I stumbled upon this Forum. An ocean of information is available, and people with the same itch to answer questions.

    Welcome to the start of a lifelong hobby. Upgrade equipment as you can, buy the software now. It will be cheaper and more available in many cases.

    Flipping vinyl is the price of admission to the highest SQ possible, if you use a TT.

  3. bliss53

    bliss53 Active Member

    There are many new issues that are done on 12 inch vinyl but recorded at 45 rpm (Blue Note reissues). Some of them only record on one side of the vinyl as well. I would guess that mastering and pressing quality play a big part as well.

    I would assume that the there would be more area for the needle to travel for the same period of time with 45 rpm. Does more area equal better sound with all other things being equal?
  4. JBStephens

    JBStephens I don't "like", "share", "tweet", or CARE.

    South Mountain, NC
    The difference is groove curvature.

    Put your hand flat on a table with your fingers spread out as wide as you can. Now trace around them with a finger. It's pretty easy. Now close the fingers more tightly and try it again. As you can see, it is more difficult because of the closer spacing of the fingers. This illustrates the difference between 45 and 33 RPM. Because of the higher speed, the path traced by the cutting stylus is longer for a given frequency. This makes it easier for the playback stylus to trace the groove without getting pinched. It's also why they came up with the elliptical stylus. 0.7 mil is adequate at 45 RPM, but a little too fat to trace the highest frequencies at 33 RPM. And at 78 RPM a 2.5 mil stylus can be used. The tradeoff is that at the higher speed, surface noise is slighly increased. But on excellent pressings, I have found it to be insignificant.
    Dan Stephens likes this.
  5. JBStephens

    JBStephens I don't "like", "share", "tweet", or CARE.

    South Mountain, NC
    I've seen albums with over an hour of music, and one with an incredible 70 minutes. Of course, bass was nonexistent, which the only way you can squish that much programming onto a record.

  6. http://www.musicmattersjazz.com/sound.html#Why
  7. vinylphilemag

    vinylphilemag Member

    Kelowna, BC
    There one or two records with one track per side, one side cut at 33 RPM and the other cut at 45 RPM. Listening to those is a good way to test how much of a difference the speed makes. Two examples off the top of my head are Dusty Springfield's The Look of Love, and Bill Henderson's Send in the Clowns.
  8. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Twin Cities, MN
    Do you have to adjust anti-skate setting when playing a 45 lp?
  9. stuwee

    stuwee Forum Resident

    Tucson AZ
    Any mid-level TT or nice aftermarket arm will track them just fine if set up properly, not sure how a cheap TT would handle them though. The arm geometry should keep the needle nicely in the groove just like at 33 1/3. A pivot arm will put a tad more pressure on the outside groove at the beginning of the Lp and the inner towards the end, nature of the beast.

    Unless you have a Rockport, tangient trackers bang around more than most folks know.
  10. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Albums at 45 RPM have the advantage not only of the higher speed but almost all are spread over more than one single disc. That alone has a huge advantage of keeping more of the musical grooves in the better sounding outer groove area. Less compromise and inner groove treble loss and distortion.
    Many ive seen dont run the music way in towards the middle, as using 2 discs instead of 1, gives double the potential groove real estate, but only about 1.5 times as much more groove space taken up relative to the higher rotational speed.
  11. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Thats an interesting comment. Ive noticed surface noise to be not so much increased but at a different frequency range.

    Im not sure the exact reason but when ive played even 16 RPM discs, the sound of the surface noise seems to shift towards a lower frequency.
  12. perryinva

    perryinva New Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    Makes sense to me. Dust & scratches are the same regardless af the rpm. Same physical impression will sound higher pitched at higher rotations. Same with surface noise.
  13. JustGotPaid

    JustGotPaid Forum Resident

    All my 45rpm 12" albums are the best sounding in my collection.
  14. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    I think 45rpm sounds better, but having to flip any 60 minute album ever 2-3 tracks doesn't make it worth it to me.

  15. :eek:What? No Man-servant? How do you get through your day?:winkgrin:
    luckybaer likes this.
  16. stuwee

    stuwee Forum Resident

    Tucson AZ
    :biglaugh: :pineapple:
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