Can you play 7 vinyl on a 12 player?


In the world of vinyl records, understanding record sizes and compatibility is crucial to ensure a smooth and enjoyable listening experience. In this article, we will delve into the different sizes of vinyl records, the meaning behind LP, EP, and SP, how to identify a record’s speed in RPM, the evolution of record sizes over time, and the capabilities of record players to switch between sizes. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Record Sizes

Comparision of Vinyl Record Sizes

Vinyl records come in various sizes, with the most common being 7″, 10″, and 12″. Each size serves a different purpose and holds historical significance.

Starting with 7″ records, also known as singles, these were popular during the early days of vinyl. They typically contain one song on each side and were commonly used for hit singles or promotional releases. Due to their smaller size, 7″ records are more portable and easier to handle.

Next, we have 10″ records, which were introduced in the 1940s. These records offered more playing time compared to 7″ singles and were often used for EPs (Extended Plays) or albums with a smaller number of tracks. 10″ records are less common today but can still be found in certain genres or as limited edition releases.

The most common size for vinyl records is 12″. These are commonly referred to as LPs (Long Plays) and can hold a significant amount of music. LPs are the standard format for full-length albums and offer superior sound quality due to their larger grooves.

What Does LP, EP, and SP Mean?

LP, EP, and SP are terms used to describe different types of vinyl records.

An LP, or Long Play, refers to a vinyl record that typically contains a full-length album. LPs are 12″ in size and can hold more music compared to other formats. They are known for their high-quality sound and are the preferred choice for audiophiles.

An EP, or Extended Play, is a vinyl record that contains more tracks than a single but fewer tracks than a full-length album. EPs are often 10″ in size and offer a taste of an artist’s work or a collection of remixes and B-sides. They are a popular format for independent artists or limited releases.

An SP, or Single Play, refers to a vinyl record that contains a single song on each side. SPs are typically 7″ in size and were widely used during the early days of vinyl. They were the go-to format for hit singles, allowing fans to enjoy their favorite songs without purchasing a full album.

How to Identify a Record’s Speed in RPM

The rotation speed of a vinyl record, measured in RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), directly affects its playback. It is essential to correctly identify the RPM of a record to ensure it plays at the intended speed.

Most vinyl records are either 33 1/3 RPM or 45 RPM. 33 1/3 RPM is the standard speed for LPs, while 45 RPM is commonly used for singles. However, there are exceptions, and it’s crucial to check the label or sleeve of a record for the correct speed.

To determine the speed of a record, you can use a turntable with a speed selector or a dedicated RPM gauge. Alternatively, you can listen to the first few seconds of a record and compare it to a known recording at the correct speed. If the pitch sounds too high or too low, adjust the turntable’s speed accordingly.

The Evolution in Record Sizes

The history of vinyl records is marked by a shift in record sizes over time. Understanding this evolution provides valuable insights into the development of the format.

In the early days of vinyl, 10″ and 12″ records coexisted. However, as technology improved, the 12″ LP became the dominant format for full-length albums. The larger size allowed for better sound quality and more extensive artwork, making it a preferred choice for both artists and listeners.

With the rise of digital formats and the decline of vinyl in the late 20th century, record sizes became less standardized. Many releases were issued on compact discs, and vinyl records took a backseat. However, in recent years, vinyl has experienced a resurgence, leading to a revival of different sizes, including 7″ and 10″ records.

Record Players and Their Ability to Switch Between Sizes

Record players, also known as turntables, have evolved to accommodate different record sizes. Some turntables come with interchangeable turntable platters, allowing users to switch between sizes effortlessly.

Interchangeable turntable platters are designed to fit different sizes of records. They typically have a spindle in the center that can be adjusted to match the size of the record being played. This flexibility ensures that records of various sizes can be played without any issues.

When choosing a record player, it’s essential to consider its ability to switch between sizes. Look for models that offer interchangeable platters or adjustable spindle sizes. This feature will allow you to enjoy your entire vinyl collection, regardless of the record size.

Some recommended record players that offer this flexibility include:

  • Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB
  • Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC
  • Rega Planar 2

Take Away

Understanding record sizes and compatibility is crucial for vinyl enthusiasts. Whether you’re playing 7″ vinyl on a 12″ player or exploring different formats like LPs, EPs, and SPs, knowing the differences and how to identify a record’s speed ensures an optimal listening experience.

By delving into the history of record sizes and the evolution of vinyl, we gain a deeper appreciation for the format and its enduring appeal. Additionally, record players with the ability to switch between sizes offer the flexibility needed to enjoy a diverse vinyl collection.

So, remember to choose a turntable that suits your needs and supports the record sizes you wish to play. Happy listening!


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