Summary: themselves work and the evolution of


For my research into a
pace of audio equipment I chose record players. The research will be about the
history of the record players when they were made and what caused them to be
made. I will also be looking into how they work and how records themselves work
and the evolution of these throughout the years for this I will be using images
and diagrams to show how they work. I will be considering the cultural impact
of record players and why they are so popular and is considered the best way to
listen to music. I will also be looking at the records in detail and how they
hold music and how they are played with record players. I will be looking into
the technology leading up to Vinyl records and give some insight into them as
well. The start of this report will focus on the history of record players
starting at the beginning with the phonograph and ending with Vinyl player.


History of Record Players:

The Phonograph

Record players began in 1877
when Thomas Edison invited a device that could record and play audio that he
called the phonograph it worked by having a wooden cylinder with a sheet of
foil wrapped around it and then the needle attached to the phonograph would
press against the foil then you could speak into the horn on the phonograph and
turn the handle and the needle would create groves in the foul that would
recreate the sound  but only short
messages were able to be recorded at the start but this was the start of
recording audio that wold eventually lead to Vinal record players.

Phonograph diagram from:


As you can see from the
diagram above the phonograph is made up of five main parts the recording sound
box which is number 1 on the diagram, the recording needle which is number 2,
the tinfoil covered cylinder is number 3, number 4 is the hand crank and number
5 is the reproducer sound box. A big problem with the phonograph is that the
tinfoil sheet would tear, so you could no longer hear what you have recorded but
then later on phonographs started to play records in a cylinder shape with the
music on the outside of the cylinder as seen in the image below, the records
were made out of black wax. Edison loved this invention and continued to
improve it over the next fifty years such improvements included the already
mentioned jump from using tinfoil cylinders to the black wax ones that don’t tear,
but he also made the records into sick shapes later on leading the way to the graphophone.

Phonograph information



Wax cylinder image from:

The graphophone:

The graphophone was
invented in 1877 by Alexander graham bell which also started out by playing wax
cylinders but the problem with that is each cylinder had to be recorded
separately which made mass production of the same song pretty much impossible. In
1887 a German immigrant named Emile Berliner invented a way to stop using
cylinders and switch to flat disk records as we know them today. The flat disk
records that Berliner made were made with glass but later on switched to
plastic as I imagine buying glass records would be pretty expensive compared to
plastic. Flat disc records were made by making a spiral groove with the found
information on the record similar to the ones that the phonograph made in the
cylinders when recording and the ones used in the cylinder records. The record
is rotated and the arm of the graphophone which has a needle is then placed on
the rotating record and that how the graphophone reads the information on the
flat disk record and then sends that information to the graphophone speaker and
the music is played. Emil Berliners flat disk records were able to be mass
produced which was very important to the music industry as a whole and changed
the way people listened to music and all this paved the way for the Vinal
record players. Below is a diagram of a graphophone and it is pretty similar to
a phonograph and you can see the clear inspirations from the phonograph such as
the needle and reproducer, but it adds a lot too such as the turntable and the
horn being the most obvious additions.

Information about
graphophone from:


Graphophone diagram from:


Vinyl record player:

The Vinyl record players
we know today first began in 1895 when Emile Berliner invented the first flat
disk record he then produced a working version of the record player after developing
it for seven years. Record players used records that were made from Vinyl and
this made it easier to mass produce unlike Edison’s cylinders so now the music
industry could sell the same song to everyone without all the hassle of cylinders.
Improvements to record making came after world war one when radio technology
was being sold cheap and that threatened the record industry but without
knowing it radio technology helped records by introducing electronically amplified disc cutters.
record players were in wide use all over the world and became the most popular
audio device of its time which nearly went bankrupts after radios became
cheaper to buy but the record players stayed pretty popular and overcame that
but then it went into another slump in the late 1980s early 1990s with the
arrival of CD players. With the arrival od CDS and CD players and then record
players went away as CDs became the popular format to record music and how
compact they were, it also did not help that cassette and CD players were later
built into cars and record players could not and for a long time the only place
where records were still being used was DJs and older people. Vinyl went away
for a while, but it was not forgotten though as now in 2017 going into 2018 its
making a comeback with many modern bands making their albums available in Vinyl
format for those who chose it and there is a reason that people do prefer Vinyl
than CD or digital it sounds better and warmer, which we will discuss later on
in more detail. As you can see from the diagram of a modern turntable record
player below it has a lot of features that the phonograph and the graphophone
did not. You can see that the design of the record player has changed and is
now more compact and easier to carry it also has some new additions such as the
speed selector, so you can decide how fast your record plays, the anti-skate,
the speed calibration strobe and many more features that improve on the
original design from 1895.

Vinyl record player information from:!-turn!-turn!-a-history-of-turntables.aspx


Turntable Vinal player
diagram from :


Vinyl versus digital:

In todays culture it is
easy to go out and buy a CD or to simply download or stream it from your own
computer with sites such as Spotify and iTunes so why would people still prefer
the sound of Vinyl records when they are so much more expensive and harder to
get, well that’s because they sound better. Vinyl records has very good
resolution and sampling rate and this is because of the way sound is stored on
a Vinal record, sound is stored by imprinting the shape of the sound onto the
Vinyl record as precisely as possible. The groove that is imprinted onto the Vinyl
record is the same as the pressure waves, so the record player connects these
dots in the wave form to play the sound its kind of like join the dots as you
can see from the charts below. The sound from Vinyl record also depends on the
with of the needle that cut the grooves, if you cut the grooves with a wide needle
it will lose some information so the wider the needle the more information that
is lost which mean that the sampling rate would be lower. Vinyl records have
great sound quality and it would take up a lot memory from a computer to play a
song that has that level of quality that’s why in digital format they use lossless
compression in their audio formats such as .wav to lower the size of the file
so it won’t take up as much computer memory. The trade-off for using lossless
audio formats is that the song dose not sound as warm because it has lost so much
of its data but the human ear can only hear so well and we don’t actually hear
the loss of quality when we are listing to the songs themselves but when you
actually compare it to the Vinyl version it just does not have the impact, as
seen in one of our lectures when a group of students for their
presentations  played the digital version
of a song and then they played the Vinyl version and there really was no
comparison as to which one sounded better. But it is important to use lossless audio
files when on computer because otherwise it may slow down your computer when
using a large sound file and using lossless saves you space on your hard drive
of phone and the quality of a lossless audio file really depends on where you
get it because I have tried to listen  to
songs on some sites and at times it is really bad to the point where you just can’t
listen to it I was listing to a song a few days ago and you could not even hear
the drums in the song so you have to be careful from where you get it. So, in
conclusion with the vinyl versus digital, vinyl is the better option to listen
to your music but its more expensive and is not as convenient as just typing
the song you want into Spotify and listening to it there and I think that’s the
reason that digital audio is the more commonly used format for average everyday

Information from:


Wave pressure chart from:











Impact on society:

Vinyl records and record players had a huge impact on
society they were used everywhere especially since they were able to hold a
huge amount of songs per record and when they were released this was unheard of
so everyone one had them eventually and all the music studios used them as they
were able to mass produce them and this was  huge especially in comparison to the cylinder
which was difficult to mass produce with as you had to record the song multiple
times and each cylinder rarely sounded the same. Like I said earlier on in this
report vinyl record sales hit a slump in the late 80s early 90s due to CDs and
they really have been in the background for a while with only DJs and the older
generation still using them but they seem to have hit a boom again with several
bands now making vinyl records as well as CDs to give people the option and
many video games and movies soundtracks 
now becoming available on vinyl and in 2016 vinyl record sales hit a 25
year high as reported by the Gaudian which is great news and could mean a full
on comeback for vinyl records and record players. Even when looking back to the
60s and 70s one of the main things people remember is record players and the
music, nearly everyone had them.

The guardian article: