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US singles...polystyrene vs. vinyl...   


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  11th Feb 2012, 8:07 PM#1  QUOTE  REPORT  
BEATLEJOHN

...and your "Byrd" can sing!
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Mickey Rat posted in the forums yesterday....
Quote:
Just a quick comment on American pressings in general. Apart from crap recycled vinyl in many indie pressings, I learnt years ago to try and avoid styrene (you know those brittle 45s with pasted on labels). After a dozen or so plays they sound terrible. From memory Bell was one company that pressed on both vinyl and styrene, depending on the pressing plant used I guess. Vinyl copies with labels pressed with the record sound fine, but get a styrene copy and it will probably sound crappy. Professional DJs avoid them I'm told. And for the record, although I've lived in Australia for many many years I still think U.K. pressings from the 1950s and 1960s were the best in the world.

Aside from British pressings pre 70's (which are cut loud and can have surface noise and get away with it!).and they're still better than most US singles...I sort of disagree....In the USA...It depends what you have...What label, what pressing plant, what era, what type of vinyl....

As far as polystyrene DJ copies, If it looks like they were ever in the hands of a DJ, it probably plays like crap (and has a mountain of cueburn at the beginning)...avoid them....(unless it's rare of course)...

For the most part, many US vinyl singles before 1970 play poorly, because most of the major labels used garbage for vinyl, with a ton of surface noise built-in!!!. If you find an unplayed polystyrene US 45, take care of it, treasure it, transfer it digitally ASAP, it will play quietly! and they're usually cut loud!...(especially if it's pressed by Monarch in California) ...but once it's been played with a poor or heavy stylus.....throw it away, use it for target practise,go play frisbee......

heres an example of one label:
Philles Records (a small-ish major label) (yellow label pressings only)
First: is a west coast "Monarch" California polystyrene pressing (Heavy line under logo / large group name and title) ....mint copies play loud and surface noise is quiet.



Second: is an east coast "Savoy" New Jersey, vinyl pressing (thin line under logo , large group name, smaller font song title).....these tend to be "OK" but have some built-in surface noise..



Third: is and "east-coast" (actually in the middle) "American Records" Michigan (thin line under logo, small group name and title)....brand new, these play like a disc played 10,000 times...awful...garbage for vinyl, most times you can actually see bumps in the dead-wax from the fingernail clippings underneath.......

...


This is just one label.....Atlantic/Atco...Motown...can have wide variables within one record release....even Bell has different vinyl pressing plants....(It's what makes US record collecting.......Fun?).....John

Edited by BEATLEJOHN on 11th Feb 2012, 9:49 PM

  12th Feb 2012, 3:27 PM#2  QUOTE  REPORT  
Ade Macrow

Beware Of Darkness..err...'Gripers''
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 1368
Feascinating stuff, John. Thanks.

Are there any differences in the outer edge of the singles? Are they all uniformly, say, cut as a 'knife edge' finish or 'straight edge' finish or even 'chamfered'? Or does it vary from plant to plant, depending on equipment used? f


  12th Feb 2012, 3:58 PM#3  QUOTE  REPORT  
BEATLEJOHN

...and your "Byrd" can sing!
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Ade, you've answered yourself about the edges, but almost all polystyrere edges are flat, vinyl edges vary..from plant to plant....John


  12th Feb 2012, 4:31 PM#4  QUOTE  REPORT  
Ade Macrow

Beware Of Darkness..err...'Gripers''
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 1368
Good to have it confirmed. Thanks again, John!


  14th Sep 2012, 2:40 AM#5  QUOTE  REPORT  
Kent T

Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 462
Another thing to note with styrene records, play carefully on lightweight tonearms with light tracking conical styli for least wear.


  14th Sep 2012, 5:11 AM#6  QUOTE  REPORT  
Bobzyeruncle

Why don't we put a @#%&ing 12 string on it?
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1515
Sadly, I still can't warm to Polystyrene singles.
Even ones in mint condition have an over-modulated 'steely' sound, to my ears.
Not unlike digital, which I'm not a huge fan of either.


Edited by Bobzyeruncle on 14th Sep 2012, 8:38 AM

  14th Sep 2012, 4:36 PM#7  QUOTE  REPORT  
TheJudge

In the locked groove of existence
Joined: Aug 2010
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Quote:
Sadly, I still can't warm to Polystyrene singles.

Oh, I dunno - I reckon if you burned enough of them at once.... :wink:


  16th Sep 2012, 4:35 AM#8  QUOTE  REPORT  
Bobzyeruncle

Why don't we put a @#%&ing 12 string on it?
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1515
TheJudge wrote:
Quote:
Sadly, I still can't warm to Polystyrene singles.

Oh, I dunno - I reckon if you burned enough of them at once.... :wink:

But then, there would be all those lovely toxic fumes to deal with.


  18th Sep 2012, 7:59 AM#9  QUOTE  REPORT  
W.B.lbl

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Posts: 6759
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There were many variances in styrene pressings, because the following plants handled same: Besides Monarch, there was Bestway Products in Mountainside, NJ (which actually pioneered such a process - as well as printing directly onto the record itself via silk-screen process, but that's another matter and for another thread); Shelley Products in Huntington Station, NY (which until 1966 or so was infamous for paper labels that ultimately popped out of the record); Mercury's Richmond, IN plant that around 1970 became Philips Recording Corp. and was then spun off in 1972 as the independent PRC Recording Corp.; Allied Record Co., Los Angeles, CA; RCA in Indianapolis, IN (after about 1979 or so, which would have dovetailed from them moving their pressing from one plant to another in that city); and, of course, the plants of Columbia Records (Bridgeport, CT, up to 1964; Hollywood, ditto; Terre Haute, IN, from the mid-'50's until they ceased pressing vinyl and styrene in 1982; Pitman, NJ, from 1964 to its ceasing manufacture of vinyl and styrene in 1986-87; Santa Maria, CA, from its 1963-64 open to the end of 1968 and again from 1976 to its shutdown in 1981; and finally Carrollton, GA, 1981-91).

Columbia was first to use 3.5" diameter labels for styrene (and even vinyl) pressings. Shelley had 3.625" diameter labels until the early to mid '60's, then switched to 3.5". Bestway first used paper labels (3.5", natch') in 1964. Allied had 3.5" labels up to about 1966, then switched to a 3.5625" size. Monarch, well into the late 1960's, had 3.625" labels, then shrunk a bit to 3.59375" before going to 3.5625" by about 1969-70 (this solidified at the point the plant's owner from 1961-70, Jubilee Industries, sold it to Viewlex). Mercury / Philips / PRC was 3.625" for years, but by the early '80's they shrunk to 3.59375" as well.

Into about 1971, the majority of Monarch pressings even had the labels pressed onto the styrene just as if they were vinyl (compression), but a few years before that they fell in line with the other plants that just had the labels glued on (heat seal).

And that's not counting all the typesetting variations and different printers across the country.

Edited by W.B.lbl on 18th Sep 2012, 8:00 AM

  18th Sep 2012, 11:48 AM#10  QUOTE  REPORT  
goodrats

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 266
As usual, W.B. comes up with the detailed and informative stuff. Which brings up the questions: what was the first 45 pressed on styrene? What year and/or date?


  18th Sep 2012, 3:22 PM#11  QUOTE  REPORT  
W.B.lbl

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 6759
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Bestway, in the late 1940's. Columbia pressed in styrene from the point they first issued 45's in the summer of 1950.


  19th Sep 2012, 4:09 AM#12  QUOTE  REPORT  
washlively

Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 955
Styrene LPs?

In 30+ years of collecting, I've come across only this one.

When you tap the edge it sounds like a thin sheet of glass.

Anybody else?


  19th Sep 2012, 11:56 AM#13  QUOTE  REPORT  
goodrats

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 266
W.B.lbl wrote:
Bestway, in the late 1940's. Columbia pressed in styrene from the point they first issued 45's in the summer of 1950.

So the earliest photo proof shown here is Columbia 4-7653-M from Dec. 1950?
Or is the first that Johnny Bond single from that summer with no photo?


  19th Sep 2012, 11:59 AM#14  QUOTE  REPORT  
BEATLEJOHN

...and your "Byrd" can sing!
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I've actually seen a few US Columbia 10" LP's from the 50s in polystyrene!...John


  19th Sep 2012, 3:12 PM#15  QUOTE  REPORT  
Bobzyeruncle

Why don't we put a @#%&ing 12 string on it?
Joined: Dec 2011
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I've got one LP on Sunset (Liberty) on styrene.
Those infamous Bell 7" 78's all seem to be, as well as quite a few children's records in the same format.


  19th Sep 2012, 4:33 PM#16  QUOTE  REPORT  
W.B.lbl

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 6759
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goodrats wrote:
W.B.lbl wrote:
Bestway, in the late 1940's. Columbia pressed in styrene from the point they first issued 45's in the summer of 1950.

So the earliest photo proof shown here is Columbia 4-7653-M from Dec. 1950?
Or is the first that Johnny Bond single from that summer with no photo?
The first 45's, between August and December 1950, had the same three-digit catalogue number as their 7" 33-1/3 counterparts, except the prefices differed:
- 6- (pop)
- 7- (Masterworks)
- 9- (country)
What 8- signified, is anyone's guess. It should also be pointed out that on some releases there was a gap anywhere from a few months to a few years between the original 78 and 7" 33-1/3 release and that of the 45 version (I have a Mitch Miller single on 4-38971 whose catalogue number dated to 1950 but the 45 of which came out in '53!)

It was in Dec 1950 (the week of the 11th) that all speeds bore the same catalogue number, with 3- for 7" 33-1/3 releases and 4- for 45's.

I have a few of those Aug-Dec 1950 releases. In the future they shall show up here.


  19th Sep 2012, 4:35 PM#17  QUOTE  REPORT  
W.B.lbl

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 6759
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BEATLEJOHN wrote:
I've actually seen a few US Columbia 10" LP's from the 50s in polystyrene!...John
I actually have a few US Columbia 10" LP's - and a few 12" ones, on both that label and Harmony - from the '50's in polystyrene. The label size was exactly the same as on the vinyl ones, 4", except the label hole was 0.34375" rather than 0.28125". Alas, no stereo LP's were pressed in styrene.


  19th Sep 2012, 4:36 PM#18  QUOTE  REPORT  
W.B.lbl

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 6759
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Bobzyeruncle wrote:
I've got one LP on Sunset (Liberty) on styrene.
Those infamous Bell 7" 78's all seem to be, as well as quite a few children's records in the same format.
Shelley pressed LP's in styrene from the late 1950's up to about 1967, after which the LP's that came from that plant were strictly vinyl (but with the same label diameter size of 3.875" which was a tad smaller from the 4" standard of other plants). I have three such Sunset LP's.

Edited by W.B.lbl on 19th Sep 2012, 4:36 PM

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