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Why European 7" 45s are not dinked and sound better?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by 12" 45rpm, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York City
    I've recently picked up some UK and France pressed 7" singles that have a solid center. The sound is very good and I am wondering if it has more to do with the solid center or the pressing quality? Or maybe both.. It could also just be the source material..

    Without getting into specfic pressings/releases, are non-dinked 45's generally better? And does Europe tend to have better quality standards with making 45s?
  2. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    It varies by country, in general German 7'' singles used to have large centre holes. Small holes are typical for UK pressings. Don't know where France falls in this regard.

    No. The size of the centre hole has no influence on audio quality.

    Apparently there was a phase when US singles were made of lower quality styrene instead of vinyl. I don't think that ever was a thing in Europe. Otherwhise, no.
  3. Some UK singles were solid centre, some were "dinked" so that the centre could be pushed out by hand if required, and some had a large centre hole.

    Some had paper labels and some were injection-moulded.

    The quality varied from company to company but Decca had a really good reputation, and their singles normally came in the nicest boxes of 25. These were made from thick, light grey soft board with a lift-off lid.

    EMI sent their records in thin and flimsy cardboard with a hole in the top of the box for reading the label.

    CBS used thicker cardboard with the catalogue number printed on the outside.

    Bottom of the pile were probably Jamaican records pressed in cheap, impure vinyl and packaged in boxes that were made from old recycled cardboard packaging.

    Quality challenges in the UK were getting the centre hole in the centre and, in the mid-70s with EMI, lower quality vinyl that would result in some singles exhibiting a scraping noise as they played.
    Man at C&A and anorak2 like this.
  4. By the way, Decca pressings were always dinked so that the centre could be pushed out by hand. The dinking process through the 60s and 70s left four little prongs connecting the inner centre with the rest of the disc.

    1950s Decca vinyl singles, however, came with a triangular inner centre, I.e. somehow they dinked out a lot of vinyl. I have a copy of “Great Balls Of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis with a triangular centre piece. It’s a seriously lively cut as well, with piles of loud, mid-range kick. Certainly not audiophile, and I’m really glad about that.

    In 1979, however, Decca was bought by Polygram, and that was the end of real Decca pressings.
  5. I’d suggest that most UK vinyl singles were of a high quality in terms of sound and low noise. On the margins were President Records pressings and picture discs on any label.

    My experience of US styrene discs is that they’re lovely to look at, having an almost mirror finish to the run-in and run-out grooves, are lovely to listen to, being extremely quiet and clean sounding, but are also of low durability and are very vulnerable to groove damage if played with the wrong type of cartridge and stylus. Look after them and they’ll sound a lot better than a lot of US vinyl, which varied from high quality to rubbish quality depending on where they were pressed and who by.
  6. Stan94

    Stan94 Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    French 45’s have large holes. Always have. Small holes are a UK thing.
    Veronica Mars likes this.
  7. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York City
    Are you sure about this? I would think the extra mass gives the record more stability? Also less chance of off-center hole with a smaller one ( just a speculation )..
  8. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    East TN
    Typically European 45 singles are better quality, on more durable vinyl. French and German 45 singles usually large holes. UK either pop out centres or solid centres.
    greelywinger and bever70 like this.
  9. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Forum Resident

    North West England
    45s in the USA had large holes to suit their phonographs and jukeboxes.
    To cater for both USA and UK markets, records were produced with "dinkable" centres.
    Eventually, records produced in the UK were no lnger made with dinkable centres.
    The hole size made no difference to the quality of the sound that was down to the vinyl used.
    jukeboxes for the UK market were produced that could take either large or small hole records.
    McLover likes this.
  10. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    What kind of instability could a record possibly face? :)

    I guess they're caused by someone putting the record wrongly into the centre hole punching machine, or whatever it's called. Why should that error happen more or less likely dependent on the size o the hole?
  11. The position of the centre hole is determined by the position of the larger centre hole used to mount the stamper in the press. If that large hole is off-centre then the stamper will be mounted off-centre and the record will be off-centre, irrespective of the size of its own centre hole.

    I have on-centre and off-centre UK singles with all types of centre holes.

    This is the cause of off-centre records.

    It's lack of care when preparing a stamper for mounting in the record press. I have visions of an untrained labourer being delegated this job to save money. The funny thing is that the problem still occurs now, long after lessons should have been learned. Tradition can sometimes be taken too far. :)

    The useful thing with a large centre hole, however, is that with a gentle hand and a sharp eye it's possible to realign an off-centre single while it spins on the turntable.

    In case someone asks, by the way, it's not possible to manually dink a record to correct the problem. All dinkers are positioned using the small centre hole, wherever it is.
  12. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    That's the only thing I was talking about :D
    RolandG likes this.
  13. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Some turntables allow to remove the spindle, with those it's possible to correct for off-centre small holes.
  14. My earliest decks had this feature.

    The Garrard 5-300 deck in my first real stereo even had two spindles - a long one for stacking records and fully automatic operation, and a short one for single play hi fi-style.

    Because the spindles were interchangeable, it was possible to play records with no spindle in place at all.

    All that and 10W/channel RMS driving 2-way Goodmans speakers plus a Goldring G850 cartridge . Audiophile heaven at 18!
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
    anorak2 likes this.
  15. james carson

    james carson Member

    fleet hampshire
    When 45RPM records first came to England in 1953, they actually had natural large centers like those from the US
    However, the majority of 45s from that era have become notoriously difficult to find.

    Here are a few examples[​IMG]
  16. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Forum Resident

    North West England
    USA phonographs were usually made for large hole records. but this large centre spindle could be removed, revealing a pin for small hole records.
    There was a pin in a corner near the turntable to secure the large hole spindle when not in use.

    If like me you have a jukebox which only takes large hole records, you can get a "dinker" to cut out the centre of small hole records.

    Conversely, if you've a turntable (like on my second jukebox) which has a spindle for small hole records, you can get "inserts" to clip in a large hole record to convert it to small hole. Millions will have been sold.

    Some jukeboxes will take records of either size. On Rock-Ola jukeboxes some have a spindle for small hole records and three chrome prongs around it that a large hole record will set down around. If it's a small hole record, the force of the gripper arm lowering the record onto the turntable will push the pins down so the record settles on the centre pin. The pins are spring activated, when the record has been played, as the record is removed the merchanism raises the three pins back to the original position.
  17. Veronica Mars

    Veronica Mars Forum Resident

  18. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    That's the UK term for a record that did not have the large 45 hole that had a large hole punched into it - the record would be called "dinked" or a "dink" record. They had special "dink" punches to punch the big hole, for jukeboxes from US. Something like a levered hole puncher for paper - put the record in, and it would fit precisely in place, pull the lever down and punch the big hole, and that record would be "dinked".
    Veronica Mars likes this.
  19. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Forum Resident

    North West England
    The USA imports of 45s with small holes generally had a detachable centre to make it large hole. Secured in three places, I say "detachable," but you couldn't push it out, you had to nip the three points of contact which were only two or three millimetres wide with cutters.
    Those records pressed in the UK had solid centres, hence the need for a "dinker" if you wanted to convert it to a large hole record.
  20. I was that dinker!

    I would have a jar of Vaseline handy to keep the cutter sufficiently lubricated to not crack record while dinking it. Injection mould singles without paper labels, pressed by Polygram, seemed to be the most prone to cracking.

    To be honest, however, I don’t think that vinyl records were designed around the idea of hitting them at high speed with a heavy steel cutter, so it’s probably more of a surprise that any records survived this rather violent process.
    _cruster likes this.
  21. The detachable insert was also used in the U.K.

    There were two distinct types: -

    1) With three distinct “spokes” that was used by Polydor and Phillips, when brand-new dinked records were sold to shops.

    2) A fuller-shaped but less rigid insert that was the standard insert for ex-jukebox records when they were resold via newsagents.

    These inserts were referred to as “spiders”.
  22. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    To me they are the same it's just dependent on the label and your luck.
  23. Picking up on the original post, the sound of a single was also often the result of mastering in the country of sale. Other considerations such as quality of pressing might serve to disguise a good mastering.

    I have an original US Motown pressing of “Where Did Our Love Go” by The Supremes. The mastering is great, but the pressing is just awful. The end result is, therefore, awful.

    I also have an original U.K. Stateside label pressing of “Baby Love” by The Supremes, and that’s the best mastering that I’ve come across of that single mix, plus the pressing quality is superb, giving a superbly superb end result.

    I also have two early U.K. injection mould pressings of “ Children Of The World” by Bee Gees. The first is an initial mastering, probably for promotional purposes only, that sounds lovely. The second is a second mastering, which is the mastering that was used for the majority of pressings, and it’s over-loud and distorted to the point of being unpleasant to listen to.

    So there are no hard and fast rules, really.
  24. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Forum Resident

    North West England
    I always thought pop records back in the fifties and sixties were "mastered" to sound good on cheap record players.
  25. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    East TN
    For Americans, the spindle with the 3 chrome prongs, was there to accommodate the large hole/small hole, and it activated the speed change for 7" 33 1/3 RPM Little LP discs, if the machine had two speeds.
    sotosound likes this.

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