The life of a record is only 40 to 50 plays?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by vwestlife, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New Jersey, USA
    From an ADC phono cartridge ad in the June 1977 issue of Stereo Review magazine... the headline of "no perceivable wear over the life of your records" seems incredibly boastful until you read that they based this claim on the statement that "industry sources estimate the 'life of a record' (the average number of times a record is played) to be 40 to 50 plays".

    Considering that this was published when record sales were near their all-time high, doesn't that sound surprisingly low? And wouldn't that figure be even lower today, now that for most people, playing records is more of a special occasion than an everyday way to listen to music?

  2. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    It's an ad intended to sell cartridges so....
  3. jsr

    jsr Active Member

    Agree with Helom and would also think that low mass cartridges are much more prevalent today along with lower tracking forces. I remember in my early days of hifi we would tape coins on the headshell to get them to track better. These were not state of the art tone arms by any means but they were the ones most people had so 50 plays may be generous. I have albums that I have played in excess of 100 times and don't think they are anywhere close to end of life.
    qwerty, nosliw and seed_drill like this.
  4. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Dallas, Texas
    If I spend 45 minutes listening to a record, 60 times, that's 45 hours. For 1,000 records that's 45,000 hours. At 1,000 hours per year it's 45 years to play the average record 60 times.

    For me, record-playing time is less than this. I have more records than this. I've had all of them for less than 45 years. So 60 would be too high for me. Maybe 20 is more like it.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
    tmtomh, goodiesguy, Dan C and 5 others like this.
  5. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Don't forget back then people would put nickels and quarters on their headshells. That amount of weight is bound to damage an LP, especially over time.
  6. Gaslight

    Gaslight Q8 Listener

    Northeast USA
    I wanted to play some records this evening, but I'm about thirty times in for some of these now.

    Need to start playing them sparingly.
  7. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Sunshine State
    According to Last Preservative, records last (pun intended) up to 200 plays.

    Vinyl Record Care & Preservation - The Last Factory

    I 've read somewhere online that a record can be played with a modern cartridge as many as 1000 times before any measurable record wear. Usually the high frequencies go first and I bought many used records where the highs were missing in action.
    On the other hand, I have records that I bought 30 years ago and played them to death and they sound as new.
  8. George Blair

    George Blair Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    Wow, I guess my whole vinyl collection is trashed. :disgust:
    AidanB, 2trackmind, chacha and 10 others like this.
  9. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    Not if you take care of your collection and play them on proper equipment and handle them properly. I have records which have been played hundreds if not thousands of times and still sound like new.
    MYKE, AidanB, Man at C&A and 14 others like this.
  10. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    Same, I have a lot of jukebox records that look trashed, but still sound great.
    Man at C&A, SandAndGlass and McLover like this.
  11. Guitarded

    Guitarded Forum Resident

    Their claim has nothing to do with wear...just says the average number of times played.
    AidanB, OneChance, sakuraba and 2 others like this.
  12. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    It's an ad. And their "average" has no references. I guess between the many records that got into stores but never sold at all (plays = zero) and the #1 seller 45s or LPs that were played dozens and hundreds of times, they could say 40 to 50 plays was the average. Rolleyes.
    nosliw likes this.
  13. stax o' wax

    stax o' wax Forum Resident

    The West
    That whole add is Bulls**t.
    AidanB, goodiesguy, BrentB and 6 others like this.
  14. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    You dug up a 1970s marketing piece, not a technical paper on groove wear. Associating part of the heyday of the LP with efficacy in marketing is a low percentage bet. Marketing people were just as loosely associated with accuracy then as they are today.

    And exactly what does “... causes no perceivable wear over the life of your records” actually mean? If an LP is treated with great care, does it mean that it will last forever? Whatever. The ad seems to be saying that using an ADC cart will allow you to lay an LP hundreds of times without appreciable wear. Of course other similarlywell made carts are just as good or better, so that’s your answer right there in the ad.

    The marketing piece was just that. It didn’t specify LP condition or anything of the kind - only “industry sources” unnamed. An LP that is handled with grimy fingers, gripped on the playing surface, left to slide around on top of other LPs instead of in a good quality inner sleeve, never dusted or cleaned, and played on a cheap turntable with a cheap cartridge and a high VTF will definitely not last beyond a few dozen plays before even extensive cleaning and TLC can’t bring it back to life.

    For the rest of us who care properly for our records, well kept LPs easily last 150 plays or more before objectionable deterioration occurs. It’s quite remarkable really.

    Read all marketing carefully, including the marketing from 40+ years ago.
    SandAndGlass, nosliw and Whay like this.
  15. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Dallas, Texas
    I think most here are misreading the ad. It says the ADC causes no perceivable wear until after 60 plays. Not a crazy claim. The ad estimates the record will be played only 40 or 50 times in its life. Also not a crazy claim.
  16. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New Jersey, USA
    Exactly. ADC's claims here are actually the most modest I've seen -- many other manufacturers boasted about the ability to play records thousands of times with "virtually no wear".

    And more evidence that most people today who buy a record probably will never play it more than 40 or 50 times -- in a BBC survey, only about half of people who buy records today ever actually play them!

    Music streaming boosts sales of vinyl

    goodiesguy, Dan C, Tjazz and 2 others like this.
  17. Smackswell

    Smackswell Kossoff & Ralphs LA 76?

    Baile Atha Cliath
    Was there anthing like an Advertising Standards Authority or suchlike back then to approve or vet or complain to about such claims? I can't remember how many times I have played my records, it was easily 50 and as to how many were replaced due to overplaying there were certainly a few. It seemed normal then.
  18. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    That’s alarming. I’ve listened to my CD copy of the Beach Boys’ Friends (UICY 25598 Japan SHM) about 40 or 50 times this week alone!
    H8SLKC and Smackswell like this.
  19. caracallac

    caracallac Forum Resident

    Honestly? If you have a well set up system that tracks at a low weight, keep a close eye on the condition of the stylus and keep your disks clean and cared for, then the chances are that your LP's will out live you.
    AidanB, goodiesguy, bluesky and 12 others like this.
  20. heyMo

    heyMo Forum Resident

    Yes, absolutely. And don't forget the stacker type spindles, where the next record would crash down on the prior one. For your uninterrupted listing pleasure. Could not have been good for the records, albums or 45's.
  21. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Early in my audiophile life, I played some of my records 100's of times without any wear. My first turntable was an AR with a Shure M-91ED tracking at 1 gram.

    ADC cartridges used to be popular. I recently sold a Hitachi direct drive turntable which included an ADC 230-XE as a package. Now I'm sorry it's gone. Transferred to WAV during test was The Doors, "Soft Parade " test pressing. (also sold) Man did that sound good.. very happy to have an example of the album and the cartridge.
  22. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    The label area of an LP and the outer edge of an LP are thicker than the playing surface. When LPs are directly stacked, the playing surfaces are close to each other but not actually touching.

    People who were stacking for parties often handled LPs poorly though, flipping through unsleeved LPs like a deck of playing cards. That’s what caused major damage along with sliding them across each other in a pile strewn all over a coffee table or on the floor in front of a record player.

    I know only one person who still owns and uses a stacker. His LPs are still in pristine playing condition, although many of the labels are noticeably abraded.
    AidanB, Dan C, tin ears and 3 others like this.
  23. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    The advertising standards people then and now have bigger issues to deal with related to everything from hate crime to unfounded medical claims, dangerous claims and other serious idiocy that occurs in advertising. Our audiophile concerns are very far down the list, if they’re even on the list in the first place.
    Shak Cohen, The FRiNgE and vwestlife like this.
  24. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    These ADC cartridges have the lowest tracking forces ever. It's hard to find an arm to use one now. This was the marketing trend of the time.
    The FRiNgE, vwestlife and PhxJohn like this.
  25. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    If running a diamond over microscopic bumps made of wax causes the diamond to wear out, those wax bumps shouldn’t be immune from reciprocal degradation. No mater the set up, if there is contact, tracking force and drag, there should be some degree of wear. There is no logical argument that could lead you to believe each play of a record doesn’t grind away some of the detail.

    There is no answer as to how many plays it takes to be able to hear that wear but make no mistake, it’s happening. This is a reason I keep multiple copies of records I like to play in heavy rotation.
    snowman872 and 2xUeL like this.

Share This Page