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Past and Future of Phonograph Record

Past and Future of Phonograph Record2018.07.24

Music is a great pleasure in our daily life. People have tried many means with different materials to save it since its first appearance. Nowadays, people usually listen to the music with their cell phones, but before that we also have some other important music carriers in the 20th century, such as CD, tape and phonograph record.


Now, the phonograph record has gradually withdrawn from the music market and entered into the collection market. It no longer just means music, but also means fashion. As a popular music carrier, the phonograph record has experienced many changes, especially in material.


At the beginning, phonograph record was made of a type of natural resin named shellac. It is a thermoplastic and thermoset yellow wax with strong hardness, adhesion, good electrical insulation and luster. However, with the development of the industry, it turned out that shellac was not resistant to water and had poor durability. Therefore, it couldn’t satisfy the basic requirements for a phonograph record, and was finally replaced by the vinyl.


Compared with shellac, vinyl is harder and more flexible. It also has good performance and can show us better electro acoustic. The purity of the vinyl used in the 180-220 gram record is much higher, which has a positive effect on improving the sound quality of the record.


Now, vinyl is the principal material of this medium of music, so you can call the phonograph record as vinyl record, or simply vinyl. As long as it keeps standing upright and not be heated or squeezed, the phonograph record will have no loss without play, so it is a product much more suitable for collection.


But the vinyl record also has some impacts due to the material itself, according to Chicago acid jazz and IDM producer Benn Jordan “ If you break down PVC, you get deadly chlorine gas and heavy metals. Its service life also comes into question. Without lead used as a stabilizer, you can expect your family to be absorbing toxic particles from your vinyl collection as it ages.”


Though the mobile phones have become a mainstream when we listen to the music, record market is still hot. However, limiting the use of plastic is imperative, perhaps the record industry can also make some breakthroughs in its materials in the future.

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