Just as high-waist, wide-bottom jeans and crop tops have come back from the dead, vinyl records have been resurrected, too! Yes, you heard it right—vinyl records are coming back!
They were all the rage in the ‘70s but were dethroned by updated formats like the compact disc (CD) in the ‘90s. This caused a decline in vinyl record sales, making them almost obsolete.
Not until vinyl resurgence happened, though! Thanks to Gen Z, vinyl records have been slowly regaining their power.
Especially because they’re being produced as 180-gram vinyl; an upgraded version of the standard records that were the buzz in the past.
If you just started your vinyl journey and you bought your first record, we’ll show you How To Play 180 Gram Vinyl so you can hop on this “new” old trend!
How Do You Play 180 Gram Vinyl Records?
You’ll be needing a turntable to test out your 180-gram vinyl records. A turntable is responsible for translating your records into sounds.
To understand how it works, you’ll need to familiarize yourself first with the basic components that make up a turntable.
What Is a Turntable Made From?
Here are a turntable’s six essential parts:
The platter is the spinning surface on which you place your vinyl record. It’s responsible for maintaining speed consistency once you play your record. It also keeps unnecessary vibrations from reaching the stylus.
The spindle is that small, metal, bullet-looking pin that’s protruding in the middle of the platter. You slip your record onto it to prevent it from moving once the platter starts spinning.
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The turntable mat is typically made of rubber and is placed on top of the platter. Its purpose is to grip the record on the platter as well.
The tonearm looks like a long stick that’s attached to your turntable. It holds both the cartridge and the stylus.
The cartridge is connected to the end of the tonearm. It clasps the stylus in place.
The stylus is the needle tip that’s fixed to the cartridge. It makes contact with your record to play music.
How Does a Turntable Work?
Once you’ve turned on your turntable, the platter is going to start spinning your record. This is when you’re going to have to swivel the tonearm until it’s positioned right above the record. Slowly lower down the tonearm until the stylus meets your vinyl record’s surface.
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During this part, the stylus is going to ride in your record’s grooves which will cause it to vibrate. The stylus is then going to pass those vibrations onto the cartridge where they’re going to be converted into electric signals. These signals are also known as phono signals.
At this point, the sound being produced won’t be audible to the human ear. That’s why the cartridge is going to pass along the phono signals to the preamp of your turntable.
The preamp will then boost the phono signals into line signals so your external speakers are able to receive them and turn up the sound.
What Is a 180-Gram Vinyl?
A 180-gram vinyl is a type of record that basically, from the name itself, weighs 180 grams.
It’s 12 inches wide and approximately 2.8 mm thick. It’s a heavier and thicker record compared to the typical 120 and 140-gram vinyl records that preceded it.
While many have expected that the 180 vinyl should provide higher sound quality because it weighs more than the standard records, its weight doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with its improved sound properties.
Why Is the 180-Gram Vinyl Better?
These 180-gram records are exceptional because record companies have been producing them with their improved mastering techniques and pressing procedures.
For these records, they’ve also been investing in high-quality materials like virgin vinyl. This type of vinyl has fewer impurities as opposed to old records that are made of recycled vinyl.
This allows these 180-gram records to produce quieter sounds with fewer clicks and pops.
Companies also enhanced their cutting processes and quality control in the mass production of these vinyl records.
Furthermore, even though how they weigh doesn’t have any impact on their sound quality, 180-gram vinyl records present more advantages. These are some of the pros of these records:
Because it’s much thicker, 180-gram vinyl lasts longer than the regular record. It’s strong enough to resist the eventual cracks, scratches, and wear and tear.
Additionally, it’s pretty sturdy so it’s less likely to warp and bend. Most standard records tend to warp and bend if you don’t store them properly.
This then results in a distorted sound and a skipping stylus.
The 180-gram vinyl’s heavy weight makes it stable enough to prevent it from moving around while it’s being spun on the platter. This keeps the stylus and the tonearm from bouncing on the record due to unnecessary vibrations.
Because of the item’s stability, it allows the stylus to read the vinyl more accurately, providing you with high-fidelity music.
More Storage Capacity
A 180-gram vinyl has been designed to play at 33 revolutions per minute (RPM). This means that it can hold numerous songs on each side compared to the standard, lighter ones.
Lightweight records are usually played at 78 RPM which limits their space to only accommodate one or two songs.
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When Did the 180 Gram Vinyl Come Out?
180-gram vinyl records were released around early 2012. The production of these new records was brought about by the vinyl resurgence.
Why Did Record Companies Start Releasing 180 Gram Vinyl?
The comeback of vinyl records skyrocketed due to the growing interest the Gen Z had in this old trend.
Because of that, record companies were motivated to release more vinyl records.
Additionally, to entice consumers to keep buying their product, record companies started launching vinyl records that have been enhanced in many aspects.
These include the manufacturing process and the recording quality of the source materials. All these upgrades resulted in increased sales.
In the early part of 2021 alone, 17 million 180-gram vinyl albums were already sold. This spiked sales up to 86% from the year 2020.