What's the optimum length for one side of a long playing vinyl record?
October 4, 2013 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend who's planning to press some old recordings to vinyl. He knows that album sides can range from 15-25 (even 30) minutes, but he wants to know what the optimum is. In other words, at what point does overall sound quality suffer and/or production challenges start to occur?

Please no guessing. We've done lots of that already. The hope is that someone who's already been through this process (or is aware of relevant online info) could weigh in.
posted by philip-random to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
Best answer: maybe ask on the tapeop message boards? otherwise I bet the staff at whichever vinyl pressing plant your friend is going to work with would be more than happy to offer suggestions.

here's a quick answer from United Record Pressing.

posted by kittensofthenight at 10:42 AM on October 4, 2013

Todd Rundgren has been through this already, check the initial text in the Wikipedia page for A Wizard A True Star whose LP had almost 30-minute sides.
posted by Rash at 10:52 AM on October 4, 2013

Steve Albini discusses optimum LP length on this recent podcast linked in the blue and explains the way the sound changes as the stylus gets closer to the inside of the record. As I recall, his conclusion is that the best way to ensure fidelity is to have short sides at 45 RPM, which is how the new In Utero LP release has been formatted.
posted by Gortuk at 11:04 AM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Recommendations from mastering engineer Kevin Gray.
posted by in278s at 11:26 AM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks. I've got my answer. 16-18 minutes seems to be optimum for 33rpm 12-inch side.
posted by philip-random at 12:40 PM on October 4, 2013

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