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Styrene LPs...........

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tetrack, Feb 7, 2005.

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  1. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    The ones I have are since they were pressed before 1961,
    What sucks about them besides the inner-groove distortion is some of those albums are stereo re-recordings.

    I thank the heavens that my original stereo "Charles Brown Sings Christmas Songs" is NOT a styrene press.

  2. EasterEverywhere

    EasterEverywhere Forum Resident

    Don't have the Five Royales,but I DO have this Charles Brown on a vinyl blue label.
  3. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    Same here, and the stereo mix has never been re-issued.
    Gusto reissued it in mono ages ago, we sold tons of them.
  4. EasterEverywhere

    EasterEverywhere Forum Resident

    Non classical Mercury LPs were styrene too for a while in the mid to late fifties.I have seen more styrenes on Emarcy than I have on Mercury proper.
    Man at C&A and WMTC like this.
  5. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Great topic, and just in time for something I'm working on...by the way, does anybody recall any threads here devoted to styrene 45's?

    Now playing on Ariel Stream: Vanessa Daou - Two To Tango
  6. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Eastern Shore
    Second Beau Brummels album on Autumn (Vol. 2), but not the first, as I recall.
  7. ShawnMcCann

    ShawnMcCann A Still Tongue Makes A Happy Life

    The Village
    I had a styrene Chipmunks Song Book LP on the Sunset label. Got it for Christmas in 1968 or 1969, and after just a couple of plays on my kiddie record player it was practically unplayable.
    WMTC likes this.
  8. davidshirt

    davidshirt =^,,^=

    Grand Terrace, CA
    I'm helping someone sort through their parent's record collection to find any collectible/rare stuff. I came across a Dinah Shore album, pressed on the budget Harmony label and it's interesting because this is the first polystyrene album I ever came across. It's weird holding it and tapping the edge and just hearing (from tapping the edge of the album) and feeling how different it is from traditional vinyl.
    MartyTem likes this.
  9. OK. I just went through my 10" LP collection, all from the early to late 50's and not one of them were made of styrene. A few were Decca's and they had Microgroove and Unbreakable printed on the labels. All had labels which were simultaneously applied during pressing. One was wrinkled which happens during pressing. None were glued on. With the terms "vinylite" and "Deccalite", people are confusing polystyrene with the lighter and stiffer vinyl/acetate mixture. I have also seen labels glued onto vinyl records.
    To my knowledge, polystyrene is injection molded. A friend of mine worked for MCA(parent of U.S. Decca) back in the day and toured one of MCA's record factories. He only saw only vinyl records being pressed. He works with injection molding companies currently and knows the difference in materials. I showed him several 45's and he was able to pick out the polystyrene ones and said that they were injection molded. He currently has a project going with RTI and has been dealing with Rick. My friend told me that the pressing going on at RTI was very similar to when he was watching Decca records being pressed. Rick gave him a 180g vinyl puck to give to me. It's hard and round and makes a great paperweight. People think it's a hockey puck when they see it.

    One way to tell a polystyrene record from one made of a vinyl compound is that polystyrene pretty much won't warp. I set several records out in the sun on a hot CA day and the records made of polystyrene didn't warp.
  10. narkspud

    narkspud Forum Resident

    Tustin, CA, USA
    The problem with this whole thread: There were styrene pressings that were pressed, not injection moulded. Many of them have been described by posters in this thread. (The King and Mercury stuff, for example.)

    These look exactly like vinyl records - labels pressed into the plastic, and rough or tapered edges - but they "ding" like styrene and exhibit the same shredding problems. The late 1950s "Deccalite" LPs fall into this category, as do some of Monarch's early-1960s LPs and late-1950s 45s, the Halo/Concertone/Varsity/etc. budget label LPs, and many an LP on King. They will often have strange little hairline wrinkles in the label paper, but not necessarily.

    And they definitely DO warp, just ... differently. It's more of a full-surface distortion rather than little hills and valleys. I know this all too well - my styrene pressing of "Don't Be a Bunny" by Sugar and Spice (on Wing) is just barely playable thanks to a nasty warp.

    Jubilee, BTW, owned Monarch, so it's no surprise that Monarch styrene popped up on a lot of Jubilee records from the early 1960s. But it all depended on where you lived. If you were on the East Coast, you didn't see much Monarch (even from Jubilee), whereas West Coasters didn't see much Shelley from the Liberty/UA labels.

    The Decca styrene pressings ended right around 1962, which was when MCA bought out Decca.
    eddiel likes this.
  11. MonkeyLizard

    MonkeyLizard I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

    I also have "The Guitar Genius of The Ventures" and it is in fact pressed on Styrene.
  12. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I discovered this recentlyish much to my annoyance! I thought I had it down pat in terms of working out if a record was styrene just through good photos alone, or at least I could obtain enough doubt to have to double check. But it seems the only way to really tell is to do the "ding" test.

    I've asked some online sellers if a certain record they had was a styrene press and many replied that they had no idea what I was talking about despite the fact they had been collecting for 20 years, etc. I always wonder if they think I'm some crazy fool as many don't reply to me after I tell them the difference between styrene and vinyl pressing. :)

    Unfortunately, many of the records I'm searching for e.g. early King, Decca are on styrene. In some cases I just get a later issue.

    On a positive note, I noticed my styrene pressings don't attract the level of static my other records do
  13. Walter H

    Walter H Santa's Helper

    New Hampshire, USA
    I don't think the ubiquitous 10" classical mail-order label Musical Masterpiece Society has been mentioned. From what I've seen the styrene records have darker blue labels, and the (more common) vinyl pressings have light blue labels.
  14. It's funny. I have many Decca, Coral & Brunswick 45's dating back to the early-50's, and every one of them is vinyl. As it was 45's which were usually styrene, it surprises me to hear that their LP's were styrene. Seems like Decca was bucking the industry trend.

    As I said, I set several 7" 45rpm records outside in the sun on a hot day(around 100 degrees F), half were vinyl and half were styrene. The vinyl ones warped, the styrenes stayed flat. The reason I did this is because the topic of warped records came up in a jukebox group I am a member of . The consensus was that styrene records don't warp. Several of the members have worked for jukebox companies for many years and know firsthand about record warping. They would get called out on a jukebox repair because it was jammed up. The culprit was a vinyl 45. The jukeboxes had too much exposure to the sun. They never had a service call because of a warped styrene 45.

    Never heard of a connection between Monarch Records and Jubilee. All my Jubilee, Josie and Jay-Gee 45's are vinyl. You'd think that if they owned Monarch they'd be pressed on styrene. The first vinyl 45's I've seen from Monarch were a few promo 45's on the A&M label, maybe in the early 70's? Other A&M 45's pressed on vinyl were pressed by Columbia Santa Maria. I have lots of those. In the mid-80's Monarch switched to vinyl 45's and their LP's also became more pliable.
  15. narkspud

    narkspud Forum Resident

    Tustin, CA, USA
    Yep. Weird, ain't it.

    IIRC Jubilee owned interest in several factories, which they later sold. But I've seen PLENTY of styrene Jubilee singles pressed by Monarch. Example: https://www.discogs.com/Raindrops-T...et-Even-Though-You-Cant-Dance/release/4283789
  16. Walter H

    Walter H Santa's Helper

    New Hampshire, USA
    Interesting to learn that some styrene records were pressed. I had assumed they were all injection molded.

    Compounds differ, whether styrene or vinyl. I classify Deccalite with the styrene records based on the sound they make when you flick the edge of the record. Yes, it's a bit odd that Decca always used vinyl for their 45s. I've never seen one in styrene.

    Warping: maybe styrene records can withstand higher temperatures before they deform?
  17. Sax-son

    Sax-son Forum Resident

    Three Rivers, CA
    I have yet to ever see a styrene LP. 45's and 10" yes, but no LP's. I am not saying that they don't exist, but out of my LP collection of over 800 I can't remember a one.
  18. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    I just picked up my third copy of The Crusaders Images and it looks to be styrene? I'm actually shocked. Off the top of my head, I also have a Trammps III that's styrene and long gone copy of the Jackson 5's Joyful Jukebox Music. Probably more but it's really noticeable when you look for it.
  19. As I stated earlier, Deccalite is a vinyl/vinyl acetate compound and not styrene. Like styrene, the Deccalite is inflexible and hard. What I have noticed is that materials like Deccalite will chip whereas styrene cracks.
    Also as I stated earlier, I placed styrene and vinyl 45's in direct sunlight on a hot summer day outside and the vinyl 45's warped while the styrene 45's didn't. I've never seen a warped styrene 45.
    Also, this week when it was 101 degrees outside, I put a Decca record marked Deccalite out in the sunlight and it warped.
    OldMusicOnVinyl1 likes this.
  20. If the Crusaders LP is an ABC/Blue Thumb U.S. version, it would most likely have been pressed by Columbia, Santa Maria(very flexible vinyl) or Monarch "MR" and would be a poorer quality of stiff vinyl. Discogs lists all U.S. versions of the LP to be vinyl. Same goes for the Trammps LP, all are listed as vinyl. At the end of the matrix number on the labels, there should be an SP, MO, RI or PR. The SP is for Specialty Records and it would definitely be a high quality vinyl. MO is Monarch Records and it would be a stiffer lower quality vinyl. RI(Philips) and PR(Presswell) could have also been lower quality stiff vinyl. I can't imagine a styrene LP in 1977.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  21. Walter H

    Walter H Santa's Helper

    New Hampshire, USA
    Yes, you mentioned that twice before, and I'm not disagreeing. What I suggested was that styrene records probably deform at higher temperatures than records pressed from vinyl compound. Try a pizza oven and let us know how that turns out. :laugh:
    zebop likes this.
  22. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Did Decca use styrene as well as Deccalite? I have some Decca's that appear to be Styrene since they have similar characteristics to other styrene pressings I've come across. Is there a way to tell the difference? I haven't noticed any difference but I'm not sure what to look for. In your experience is Deccalite as bad as styrene in terms of durability and required care in choosing a stylus?
  23. It's hard for me believe that Decca used styrene. My 10" Decca LP's were made throughout the 50's and all appear to be some sort of a vinyl mix, which would include Deccalite. If you have some expendable junk records which you think are styrene, expose them to 100+ degree Fahrenheit heat or maybe even direct sunlight might do it and see if they warp. If they do, they are not styrene but a form of vinyl.
    On another note, I have never seen a Canadian record made of styrene, even 45's, and I've got quite a few Canadian 45's, 78's and LP's in my collection.
    In the U.S., Decca bought Universal in 1952 and then merged with MCA. In 1962, MCA became the main company and Decca became a subsidiary. MCA then owned Decca and some other labels. Interestingly, many of the MCA subsidiary labels, like UNI and Congress, farmed out their pressings and the 45's were often styrene and pressed by Monarch in the U.S.
    Styrene or Deccalite records don't need any different type of stylus. It all depends on how you play the records and what their groove width is. If you do a lot of back-cuing, you should use a conical stylus. Normal playing of a microgroove record, a .7mil elliptical is fine. The mono records were cut for a 1mil stylus and if the records are in excellent shape, that's what you might use. If they are worn, and you know they have always been played with a 1mil stylus, a .7mil stylus will ride deeper in the grooves below the surface wear.
  24. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    I just received a near mint Procol Harum debut album with BW after the matrix numbers in the deadwax. BW is Bestway Productions Inc., which indicates a styrene LP. I think it's the first Procol Harum LP on Deram pressed on styrene. Here is what Discogs said about Bestway Productions:

    "Defunct injection-molding record pressing plant which was located in Mountainside, New Jersey, USA.
    Founded in 1946 and active until the mid-1980s.
    The company pressed for labels such as Bell, Scepter, Yew, etc. Bestway's Founder, Al Massler, was responsible for pioneering the manufacturing practice of using styrene to press records (particularly 45's).

    Often marked with a "B", "BW", "BEST", or oblique "Bestway" stamped in run-out. "BW" may be found also in the label matrix."

    That said, styrene LPs are quite rare during the period of my main concern (1960s and later) but 45 rpm singles on styrene were quite common. It seems that Bestway pressed only styrene, mostly 45s at that.

    My newest "Procol Harum" is a beautiful clean pressing, but now I am afraid to play it before doing a bunch of research.
  25. Francisx

    Francisx Forum Resident

    5,123 or maybe 5,127.
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