Limits of time on a 7”
November 10, 2019 7:53 AM   Subscribe

I’m working on an EP that I planned to release on a 7”. I’ve read that 7” records have a limit of seven minutes a side, and one side is coming out to eight-ish minutes. Is seven minutes at 33 the hard limit for time on one side of a 7” record?
posted by pxe2000 to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you are willing to compress the dynamic range of the recording and hence require more amplification, you can fit upwards of 10 minutes on a 7" record. However, you will likely have challenges finding a place to produce that record, as the result will have quite poor sound quality.
posted by saeculorum at 8:01 AM on November 10

My musician husband says: "You can fit up to 10 minutes on a side but it's going to sound crappy. The best sound comes from about 3-5 minutes per side."
posted by cooker girl at 8:01 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]

You should definitely talk to the company who will be pressing the vinyl as well as who will be mastering it for vinyl. The longer the track, the less low frequencies you'll be able to fit on there.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:16 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

Aardvark Mastering on the tradeoffs of longer length vinyl. The TLDR is that longer vinyl is quieter and may require some equalization changes to fit on the record. So, nthing all the above answers, you can probably get longer than 7 minutes, but you will probably have to compromise the sound of the record, and not every vinyl mastering engineer or pressing plant will be willing to do this.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:41 AM on November 10

For a data point, Richard Harris' version of MacArthur's Park clocked in at 7:24 and my 45 from 1968 sounded fine to me. If you're slowing down to 33⅓ seems like you could easily fit 8 minutes in.

the result will have quite poor sound quality.

It's vinyl -- it's going to get scratched and then sound awful anyway.
posted by Rash at 8:42 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]

Possible but not recommended and will depend on who's pressing it. The above answers are correct.

As someone who makes a living selling vinyl, I can assure you that savvy customers consider the length of a side when contemplating purchase.

It's vinyl -- it's going to get scratched and then sound awful anyway.

Completely wrong. I have 60+ year old records that sound amazing and don't have scratches on them.
posted by dobbs at 9:02 AM on November 10 [8 favorites]

Oh, and congrats on the EP. You've always had great taste in your music posts.
posted by dobbs at 9:03 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

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