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Record Collecting Dictionary

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

In the world of vinyl there is quite some eccentric language going on…and that can be quite confusing or puzzling at times, especially when starting out. That is why we decided to summarize all essential definitions, vocabulary and terms used by collectors and audiophiles. We hope this guide and dictionary will help both the beginners and more experienced collectors navigate through what we call, "vinyl slang".



LETTER A

Acetate: The first step into vinyl manufacturing process: An acetate is a lacquer-covered metal plate upon which the music is encoded by lathe.

Adapter: Record adapters are used for converting records with large sized centre holes to standard UK sized holes.

Album: A collection of songs recorded together and released as a single product, usually one disc, but sometimes released as a multiple-disc set.

Alternate Take: A recording session with more than one take or recorded version of a song.

Art Sleeve: A record or CD sleeve that has a pictorial (handmade) drawing on it as opposed to a photograph.

Audiophile Pressing: A high quality pressing (often 180 grams or heavier and cut from original mastering tapes) preferred by HIFI enthousiasts.


LETTER B

Binaural Record: Early attempt to press records in stereo - Not successful due to playback issues.

Bonus Disc: A disc given away for free with another disc when purchased by the customer.

Bonus Track: Additional track that wasn’t originally released with the standard version of the album.

Bootleg Record: An album of previously unreleased (live) material, pressed and released to the market without the permission of the artist or label.

Box Set: Vinyl Records that are released in deluxe packaging, a box. A boxset often includes extra’s not included with the standard release.

Budget Issue: A specific pressing that was originally sold below the actual full price.


LETTER C

Catalogue Number: The catalogue number can be found on record labels and sleeves. It is the manufacturer's reference number.

Cheesecake: Album covers (from the 50’s and 60’s) that primarily feature attractive women, often depicted with minimal clothing.

Colored Vinyl: Any record pressing with a color of vinyl other than black. Often these pressings are limited editions.

Counterfeit: A reproduction of a record, created by dishonest individuals with the intention of fooling buyers into believing they are buying a genuine item.

Cover: The outer covering provided by the record company to hold a single or album. Covers usually depict the title, photo of the artist and the tracklist.

Cover Mouth: The portion of the cover that opens to allow for insertion and removal off the record, often at the side of the jacket.

CSG Process: Short-lived process used in the 60’s to compensate for overwhelming vocals when stereo records were played back on mono record players.

Cut Corner: A record album with a cover that has part of one of the corners cut off, done to indicate that the album had been discontinued and discounted.

Cutout: Known in the industry as a “remainder,” a cutout is a record that has been deleted from a record company’s catalog or has been imported from the USA. Cutout albums are usually defaced by drilling a punch hole through the cover, removing a corner from the cover, or cutting a notch in the cover with a saw.


LETTER D

Dead Wax: The area at the end of the record playing surface between the end of the recording and the label.

Deep Groove: A ring found in the label area of some pressings from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s, caused by some pressing machines.

Demo: Record for demonstration within the record company , not commercially available (yet to the public.

Die Cut Sleeve: Record sleeve with a hole in the centre.

Direct Metal Mastering (DMM): A process used in the manufacture of record albums where the music is cut to a solid metal plate, rather than a softer lacquer.

Direct to Disc: A process where the recorded material is performed live and recorded directly to lacquer (one take), without being recorded to magnetic tape.

Double Album: An album containing two records, rather than the customary one, often presented in a gatefold sleeve.

Drill Hole: Known in the industry as a “remainder,” a cutout is a record that has been deleted from a record company’s catalog.

Duophonic: A system used by Capitol Records in the early 1960s to to give a stereo effect to mono recordings.

Dynaflex (Dynawarp): A short lived manufacturing process used by RCA Records using less vinyl, resulting in an exceptionally thin records prone to warpage.


LETTER E

EP (Extended Play): A 12 or 10” inch record with more than four tracks but fewer songs than one might find on a complete album.

Etched Disc: A vinyl record with on one side music tracks and on the other side laser-etched graphics, usually a pattern or picture.

Export Press: A vinyl record or cd that has been pressed especially for sales in overseas countries.


LETTER F

Factory Custom Press: An unofficial record that has been custom pressed at an official pressing plant.

First Pressing: The very first time a record has been pressed on vinyl. Sometimes these pressings can be quite rare and worth a lot of money.

Flexidisc: Thin and flexible discs that are often inclosed in magazines to promote a vinyl record to the broader public.

Foxing: The appearance of brown spots on picture sleeves or album covers as they age, this is not an indication of mistreatment by a previous owner.

Freebie: A record given away by a recordlabel or recordstore free of charge.


LETTER G

Gatefold Sleeve: A record cover that is intended to fold open, much like a book. Often a gatefold will include lyrics, posters or additional photos of the artist.

Gold Record: A framed, gold-plated record, usually with a RIAA official plaque, created to celebrate the sales of $1 million copies of that particular record. These special awards are usually given by the record company to the artist, the producer, and other people who were instrumental in helping the album achieve that particular milestone in sales.


LETTERG H

Hype Sticker: A paper or plastic sticker attached to the shrink wrap or cover of an album, usually with the intention of drawing attention to one or more songs. Sometimes a hype sticker will indicate that the particular record is pressed on limited colored vinyl, contains a poster, or is in some other way special.


LETTER I

Import Press: A vinyl record or CD that has been pressed overseas, but is sold in your country of residence.

Inner Sleeve: A (rice) paper or plastic sleeve - sometimes with printed lyric or promotional pictures - included with a record album that is intended to protect the disc from coming in direct contact with the cover, as the rough surface of the cover might damage the record when taking it in and out.

Insert: Any piece of paper included with an album other than a poster or inner sleeve. An inserts often provides the listener with lyrics from the album.

Instrumental: A recording of music that contains no vocals. Found often with jazz, classical, and surf music recordings.

Interview Disc: A spoken word disc, which is usually recorded in a promotional setting and sometimes contains a press conference.


LETTER J

Jacket: More commonly known as the sleeve or cover. The jacket is the external pocket the inner sleeve is inserted into.

Jukebox EP: A 7 inch extended-play record (three songs on each side) manufactured exclusively for use in jukeboxes.


LETTER K

Has no difficult words :) Or not that I know off at least…


LETTER L

Label: The round piece of paper in the center of a record that lists the name of the artist, the name of the album or song, the name of the record company, and other information that may be useful to the buyer or listener.

Laminated Sleeve: A high-gloss plastic sleeve used to protect your record covers from damage or shelve wear.

Lead-in Groove: The quiet area at the very beginning edge of a record.

Limited Edition: A record or cd produced in a limited run. These records are often of higher quality, colored or include extra materials. Sometimes limited editions are numbered. These records overtime can be worth a lot of money, but this does not have to be the case.

Live Album: Usually, an album that contains a recording of an artist performing “in concert”, with a live audience to be heard in the background.

Living Stereo: Name used by RCA Records from 1958-1963 for their stereo recordings, which often had a rich, and unusually lifelike recording quality sound. Many Living Stereo albums are highly valued by collectors.

LP: Technically, a trademarked term by Columbia Records (correctly printed as “Lp”) in the late 1940s to denote their then-new long-playing record format, which could theoretically play up to 26 minutes per side at 33 1/3 RPM. Nowadays, the term is used to reference to a vinyl album.


LETTER M:

Marbled Vinyl: A record pressed from multicolored vinyl, with the colors showing a marble effect pattern.

Matrix Number: A stamped or handwritten number in the dead wax area of a record. Matrix numbers can be used to track down which pressing you have.

Maxi Single: Term used in the 70's to describe a EP.

Megamix: Normally associated with dance records, megamixes are a medley created of different tracks.

Mid-Price Release: A discounted record upon release.

Mis Pressing: A record or CD with incorrect music or tracks or another fault made at production.

Mono: One-channelled playback system.

Multicolor Vinyl: A colored vinyl record that shows two or more colors of vinyl on a single record disc.


LETTER N:

Numbered Release: Limited edition pressing with an individual and unique number.



LETTER O:

Obi: A paper strip on Japanese albums, around 4 cm wide, that wraps around the cover. The information on the obi is almost always printed in Japanese and includes extra information for the buyer. In the past, many buyers discarded the obi shortly after purchase, as they are very easily torn. However is some cases, the presence (or absence) of an obi can dramatically affect the price and worth of the record.

One-sided Disc: A record that has playback on one side only, the other side may be etched.

Original Cast Recording – A recording of the music, score, or songs from a play or musical, performed by the original cast.



LETTER P:

Picture Disc: A record pressed from two layers of clear vinyl with a paper image or photo sandwiched in between. Picture disc albums are usually limited edition or promotional items and are often packaged in covers with a see-through window so that buyers can see the record itself. The sound quality of picture discs is usually not as good as conventional pressings.

Picture Sleeve: A paper sleeve included with a record (usually a 7 inch single) that has a photo or image printed on it. Picture sleeves usually list the artist and the name of the songs included on the record. Picture sleeves are usually limited in production and many are quite collectible.

Pirate Pressing: A record that contains previously and officially released material, but is now pressed without authorization from the artist or record company.

Platinum Record Award: A framed, silver-plated record, usually with a RIAA logo and official plaque, created to celebrate the sales of $1 million copies of that particular record. These special awards are usually given by the record company to the artist, the producer, and other people who were instrumental in helping the album achieve that particular milestone in sales.

Plain Sleeve: A sleeve with no artwork or photograph on the cover.

Play Hole: The hole in the center off a record that allows the record to fit over a turntable spindle and lay steady for correct playback.

Poster: A photographic insert included with an album that usually folds out to a size that is larger than the album cover itself, they can become quite rare.

Poster Sleeve: A sleeve that folds out to reveal a poster.on the inside.

Press Kit: Information pack (often send to radio stations) used for the purposes of promoting a newly released album.

Private Pressing: A record distributed by a private individual.

Promotional Copy: A copy of a record that was pressed for distribution to radio stations or other promotional outlets, but were not pressed for retail sale.

Promotional Stamp: Rubber (machine) stamped indicator on a record label or cover that indicates that the record is intended for promotional use only.

Prototype: A (colored) record that was manufactured as an example of a potential release that was ultimately never released in that form or color.

Punch Hole: A clean hole punched by machine through the corner of an album cover off a promotional copy.


LETTER Q:

Quadraphonic: A short-lived 1970’s audio format that presented music in four channel sound playback, as opposed to the two channels of stereo.



LETTER R:

Radio Show: A program of live performances and interviews with recording artists intended for radio broadcast only.

Record Grading: A way to describe the physical condition of a vinyl record accurately to potential buyers.

Reissue: A pressing of a record, released later than the original pressing. These reissues are often less desirable than the first press.

Remix: A alternative version of an already existing musical track that has been rearranged.

Removable Centre: A removable centre is used to play records that have a large centre hole, such as most 7” singles.

Re-recording: A song that was previously recorded by another artist. Sometimes a re-recording is a tribute.

Run-out Groove: The groove at the end of the playing surface of a vinyl record. Also commonly revered to as dead wax.



LETTER S:

Sampler: A compilation of tracks that are used to showcase an artist or record label, much like a portfolio of a photographer.

Saw Mark: A cut in an album cover made through the use of a literal saw. It indicates the record as discontinued or as a copy that can’t be returned.

Sealed: A record that is still in its original shrink-wrap or a factory applied bag, without it being opened in any way. The record inside is never played.

Seam Split: A tear along an edge of an album cover, usually caused by the record inside moving too much inside the album cover.

Shaped Record: A record in any shape other than round. The manufacturing process starts with making a round vinyl record which is cut in shape later on.

Shellac: Breakable material that was used to manufacture 78RPM records.

Single: A vinyl record containing one or two songs which plays at 45RM. Singles are most often 7”, but can also be 10” or 12” in size.

Solid Centre: Records that have a solid and unremovable centre.

Sound Sheet: Another word for flexidisc: Thin and flexible discs that are often inclosed in magazines to promote a vinyl record to the broader public.

Soundtrack: A recording of a score, music, songs, or dialogue from a motion picture. Often original scores, but often soundtracks include popular hits as well.

Spindle Mark: A physical mark left on a record label caused by an inaccurate attempt to place the record on the turntable.

Splatter Vinyl: A record pressed from multicolored vinyl where the colors show a random scattered pattern.

Spoken Word: A recording of someone speaking or reciting material, in stead of singing it.

Stamper: The metal plate used to press a record in a vinyl factory.

Stamper Number: A number, etched or stamped into the dead wax area of some records that indicates which of a series of stampers was used to press that particular record. Many collectors prefer earlier stamper numbers, either because an such stamper number indicate that a particular record was made closer to the album’s original release date or because records pressed from lower-numbered stampers sound better than records pressed from higher-numbered ones.

Stereo: A recording format (standard since 1968) where the recorded material is presented in two channels of sound, one on the left and one on the right.

Stickered Sleeve: A record sleeve with a - often promotional - sticker on it. Stickers often state the color of the vinyl record, the tracklist or inserts included.

Stock Copy: A copy that was pressed for commercial sale to the public, as opposed to a promotional copy, which was pressed for use by radio stations.


LETTER T:

Test Pressing: A copy of a record pressed specifically and only for quality control by the artists, record company personnel and manufacturers. Test pressings are often indicated with custom labels that say “test pressing” or blank labels without any information.

Timing Strip: A strip of paper that appears on the covers off some promotional copies from the 1960s. This strip usually listed all of the song titles on the album, publishing information, and the running times of these songs.

Title Sleeve: Paper sleeve for a 7 inch single that only shows the name of the artist and the tracklist. No photograph or artwork is printed on such sleeve.

Tri-Fold: A triple fold-out sleeve, which will often contain a set of three vinyl records.


LETTER U:

UHQR (Ultra High Quality Record): A type of record pressed by JVC in Japan in the early 1980s. The UHQR was distinguished by its heavy 200 gram weight and its unusual “flat” profile with an uniform thickness across its entire surface, where most records were thicker in the middle than they were at the edges. Only a handful of UHQR titles were ever pressed. These copies are highly collectible wanted by many audiophile collectors.

Uncut Picture Disc: A shaped picture disc that has not been cut to the correct shape yet.

Unissued: Also known as unreleased, this is a disc that has not been made commercially available.


LETTER V:

Vinyl: The material used to create vinyl records.


LETTER W:

Warp: Damage to a vinyl record caused by heat or damp.

Wax: Slang language for vinyl. The word “wax” is usually used by older collectors. “Red wax” and “red vinyl”, for example, are synonymous.

White Label: A blank record label, which is usually found on promos, demos and test pressings.

White Label Promo: A promotional copy of a record showing a white label with promotional indications on it. White label promo copies are distinctly different from the stock copies of the same record, which were sold with colored labels.

Withdrawn: A record that has been removed from sale by the record company, manufacturer and distributor.


LETTER X:

Has no difficult words :) Or not that I know off at least…


LETTER Y:

Has no difficult words :) Or not that I know off at least…


LETTER Z:

Has no difficult words :) Or not that I know off at least…




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