The First LP… ever

The year was 1948. The funk was about to go mobile.

Colombia debuted the 33 1/3 RPM long playing vinyl disc.

Some serious fiddle by this guy playing this. The breakdown run at 0:34 is amazing.

The audio linked is not from that vinyl however. See the actual label and read more info here:

http://www.33audio.com/enter/ML4001.html


Portable_78_rpm_record_player


This format lasted 40 years as the market leader before digital compact disc outsold it in the late 1980’s.

The CD format offered a lower noise floor, no dust issues, more portability, a wider allowable temperature range, more capacity, and instant access without manual cue.

All great advances, and within 10 years of it’s introduction, CD’s were the market leader.


The CD format was a step back, however, in three very important categories — sound quality, durability, and sustainability.


Durability is in the archival sense – when stored correctly, vinyl LP’s appear to have an infinite life.

I have records over 50 years old that play as they did when made. Proper storage conditions applied, they seem to last the longest.

CD’s, which consist of a thin piece of foil filled with millions of holes sandwiched between 2 pieces of clear plastic, have been exhibiting foil rust, mold, rot, cracking, and total failure at a alarming rate as the years pass.

A "new era" indeed, complete with Lasers and Lightning

A “new era” indeed, complete with Lasers and Lightning

There is also the issue of playback for future generations.

The vinyl record requires no computer, software, laser, integrated circuit, even electricity! – to be read.

It is unknown if CD playback will be possible in 50, 100, 500 years. Not that we will forget how, but based on materials available and demand, we can’t be guaranteed there will be readers in the future.

It is known that a stick can be dragged through a groove being turned on a spindle under a cone forever.


Sustainability is also an issue in that CD’s are practically indestructible plastic objects that are nearly non-recyclable.

We have been warned about throwing them in the trash, and many recycling centers in the US don’t even accept them.

Vinyl records (PVC) are also hard chunks of plastic and aren’t always recycled either.

In this case the difference comes from price to manufacture and the already discussed durability. CD’s are far cheaper than albums to produce so many more are made, and having less durability overall, so more end up as waste product.