33 1/3 vs. 45 rpm

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Darles Chickens, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. Darles Chickens

    Darles Chickens New Member Thread Starter

    Have any of you made 33 rpm vs. 45 rpm comparisons of the same songs? I have Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" album from 1984 on 33 rpm vinyl and I also have the Perfect Strangers Maxi 12" single which has the title track on the A side and the ten minute long instrumental "Son of Alerik" on the B side. 45 rpm is supposed to give better high-frequency response and sound better but when I compare the 33 rpm version of the song "Perfect Strangers" from the album version with the 45 rpm version on the Maxi single, I can simply hear no difference. Is there something wrong with my ears or is my playback equipment not good enough to reveal the difference?
  2. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    it's a case by case basis
    JediJoker, sathvyre and Hi Lizard like this.
  3. Darles Chickens

    Darles Chickens New Member Thread Starter

    Have you heard any "cases" where the 45 rpm version sounded noticeably better than the 33 rpm version?
  4. mfp

    mfp Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    I have. But I later found out the 45 was mono and the 33 stereo, which explained the difference.
    I know people who are so certain that 45s sound better, they won't even buy LPs.
  5. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    The Recommended 45RPM reissue edition of Sun Ra's 'Nuits De La Fondation Maeght Vol. 1' sounds a LOT better than the original Shandar 33RPM edition. But that can be put down to better vinyl and better mastering (Nimbus pressing; those guys KNEW what they were doing :righton: ). Can't confirm that running speed deserves the praise.

    Nurse With Wound's 'Gyllenskold Geijerstanm And I At Rydbergs' LP was originally issued at 33RPM and it's second pressing was changed to split (side 1 @ 33, side 2 @ 45) at the request of Steven Stapleton. Apparently he compared masterings and liked the 45 better (why not change BOTH sides, though?) . I never owned the second one to compare (or confirm) though.

    I have a DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid LP ('Haunted Battle Breaks') that plays at 33 on one side and 45 on the other. I can't really tell any significant aural difference between the two sides, though.
  6. Geoman076

    Geoman076 Sealed vinyl is Fun!!

    Steve's 45 rpm Fantasy Jazz lps
  7. Leppo

    Leppo Forum Librarian

    Off Broadway
  8. Claude

    Claude Forum Resident

    Could it be that the 45rpm thing is just a current audiophile trend?

    For more than 40 years, LPs ran exclusively at 33rpm, and many consider today that the original pressings of old material are the best sounding, despite 45rpm superiority.

    In the 70's and early 80's, the audiophile labels were doing half speed pressings of recorded material, as well as direct cut sessions.

    For a brief moment Direct Metal Mastering and digital remastering (yeah! :) ) were the audiophile buzzwords for vinyl.

    Then everything had to be on 180g (and more) vinyl.

    Now it's 45rpm.

    So many ideas come and go. I'm sure there are good arguments for 45 rpm pressings, but maybe in 5 years or so vinyl will still be popular among audiophiles but the simply impractical and very expensive 45rpm sets will be a thing of the past.
  9. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    The classical Angel label released a series of LPs in the late 70s or early 80s that were cut at 45RPM. My one album sounds good (Firebird Suite), but the vinyl is noisy. :shake:
  10. Brian J

    Brian J Active Member

    The Perfect Strangers LPs are nearly identical in sound, not a good choice to evaluate 45 vs. 33, IMO. I typically find when there is a difference, 45 betters 33. The improvement is in the low end and dynamics. On my gear at least. My Gary Moore UK/45rpm/12" EPs are substantially better than my Canadian 33rpm pressings.

  11. Casino

    Casino New Member

    I have a couple of thousand 45's and the vast majority of them sound better their LP equivalents. More presence, more "punch," better bottom end.
  12. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    I was going to mention 45RPM 12" singles, but they are normally cut hotter than LPs would be (as are 33-1/3RPM 12" singles), so it's not really a fair comparison. They still do sound good though.
  13. cuddles

    cuddles Member

    Following on fron the PIL reissue thread, is there an advantage sonically at 45rpm over 33 1/3rpm? If the same songs were at a slower playing speed wouldn't there be an advantage in greater groove spacing and therefore louder cutting? Or, does playback at 45 allow more information to be packed into a groove and so afford greater information retrieval?

    From my experience, I've yet to hear louder records than my 'Metal Box' or 'American Girl' on 45. I also have a Japnanese 45 LP of Cannonball Adderley in Chicago which sounds fantastic.
  14. cuddles

    cuddles Member

  15. ezio gallino

    ezio gallino New Member

    torino (italia) NW
    Yes they normally sound better: but Classics onesided are a real pain of record switching and jackets that lay down all around my room.
    Definively a real mess with space. another problem is the risk of stylus on label (pain in my heart).
  16. cuddles

    cuddles Member

  17. BigE

    BigE Well-Known Member

    In my never-ending quest to learn more about the high-end side of audiophilia, I pose another question to those more knowledgeable than I.

    Why are some audiophile pressings done using 45 rpm instead of 33 (1/3) rmp? It isn't a huge problem to bump the belt to the other pulley, but why? There must be a reason.

  18. JMCIII

    JMCIII Music lover first, audiophile second.

    Simple. SOUND!

    45 sounds far more ral than 33. It's biggest drawback is not having to move the belt but the short playing times per side. But once heard, you may not want to go back.
  19. shane

    shane Active Member

    Oswego, NY, USA
    Besides the obvious what is the major differnce between a 45 and 33 rpm pressing. My reason for asking is that I just put on Matt Pond PA's Last Light. Its a full 12" 180g lp and upon the first couple notes I realized it was a 45. So what is the advantage of 45rpm on a full sized record?

  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

  21. 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.
    A6mzero likes this.
  22. 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.

  23. bliss53

    bliss53 Forum Resident

    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?
  24. 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.
  25. 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.

Share This Page