Technology

18 November 2020
Retro Technologies: Gramophone Records and Gramophones

Gramophone records are defined as the purest version of sound by its fans. Millions of people around the world still have and listen to music from records and Gramophones. Are there any reasons for loving records, except for that they are fashionable? We need to take a closer look at these devices to understand this reason.

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The first known music recording system was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877. Edison recorded sound vibrations on a thin tin plate wrapped around a cylinder. Edison then turned the cylinder in the opposite direction to listen to the recorded sounds. Pretty genius, right? Edison initially named the machine a “talking machine”, but they later decided to use “phonograph”. The name was derived from “phono” meaning “sound” and “graph” meaning written, meaning the “written sound”. With the physical transformation of the cylinder used in the first phonographs, phonograph records were invented. Their Turkish name, “taş plak” was selected because of how easily they fractured if they were to fall on the ground. 

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First records played on a gramophone are also the first musical documents. The famous 45’’ records were much smaller than the first phonograph records, and they were not as easily fractured. These records were played on electronic gramophones and could record as long as five minutes on both sides. 

Until the cassette players were invented, people used to listen to music with records and from gramophones. Even though the technology altered how we listen to music, original records never really extinct. There have always been some record fans and they continued to carry on this love. Why the original gramophone records are once more becoming popular is closely related to the quality of the sound they offer.  

Today, the producers compress sound files to shrink the size of music files. Since the invention of the first CDs, sounds recorded on any albums are mostly compressed before reaching the consumers. Internet technologies also have to limit the files with a manageable size based on the nature of online transfers. During this operation, exterior sounds are deleted, meaning that the records are cleaned from “noise”. Since the phonograph records are analogue, not electronic, and since the files are not compressed, instrument sounds can be heard much clearer. Meaning that the gramophones offer a much natural, deeper, and special sound. Last but not least, there is a tip while buying gramophone records. Most of the recent gramophone records out there are copied from the CD versions of the songs, i.e. the compressed CD files are recorded on the gramophone records. This means that getting the desired sound quality from the gramophone is not possible. The best thing to do is to go for the older records, like many other record fans. After all, “oldies are goldies”.