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The Record Collectors Guild -- Encyclopedia

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(properly Polyvinyl Chloride). Relatively flexible material used
since the early 1930s to make non-breakable records. Its fumes are an
acknowledged carcinogen, so don't breathe in deeply when you have your next
holy burning of Beatles or back-masked devil-worship records. :-) Usually
pressed by Compression Moulding which allows the label to be an integral
part of the pressing itself. This process also requires that there be
extra material which spills out the sides of the press, therefore this
extra material is routinely ground up and re-used. Because vinyl does not
re-heat and re-cool to a smooth, glossy surface, the excessive use of
"re-grind" mixed in with Virgin Vinyl can account for the inherently noisy
surface of even Unplayed Mint examples of the cheap pressings that some
record companies used. Noise can be seen AND HEARD by looking at and/or
playing the un-grooved surface of the lead-in and lead-out areas. If this
area looks or sounds grainy, then the grooves will also have some of this
grainy background sound. The stampers used for the compression moulding
process will start to break down after only 1,000 pressings because they
are forced to expand and contract when heated by steam at the start of the
pressing cycle and then cooled to solidify the record. Some companies
routinely overused their stampers for their pop record series.

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