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Old 19th Sep 2021, 12:45 pm   #1
Ekcoman
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Default 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

Just played a couple of PYE vinyl 78rpm records and forgot how good was the sound reproduction. I wonder why the format was dropped for singles. I'm guessing more expensive to manufacture.
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Old 19th Sep 2021, 12:53 pm   #2
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

My memories from the time was that the companies were phasing out 78’s, the presses were worn out and being replaced by vinyl presses but due to continuing demand they used those for a while. Of course it didn’t matter whether they were 78’s or LP’s, it was just a press for vinyl.
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Old 19th Sep 2021, 1:30 pm   #3
Edward Huggins
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

I think it was only Pye records, and their jazz label Nixa, that made Vinyl 78s. Don't recall others though. So why just Pye?
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 11:03 am   #4
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

The general assumption was that a 78 had to be playable on anything from a soundbox upwards, which is why the majors stuck to mixes with abrasive fillers. Whether it was expediency or conviction on Pye's part is hard to know now, but the vinyls do sound excellent - until you put them under a steel needle.
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 11:40 am   #5
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

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Originally Posted by Edward Huggins View Post
I think it was only Pye records, and their jazz label Nixa, that made Vinyl 78s. Don't recall others though. So why just Pye?
I think some V-discs were vinyl. The ones I have are bendy and certainly not shellac.
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 1:08 pm   #6
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

Shellac was a war priority material. I have a couple of laminated shellac V-discs, but most of them were vinyl. Shipping weight came into it as well, plus the fact that replay equipment was provided for the most part by the Forces, so could be specfied to suit.
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 1:38 pm   #7
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

There would be a risk of damage if played on a traditional steel needle. EMI have on
occasions re-pressed some original 78 rpm masters (new stampers) on vinyl.

The ultimate successor was the 12" 45rpm single. The available volume and dynamic
range lead to their popularity for audiophiles and live disco. I have a number of these
which cause my disc preamp to be overloaded without attenuation.
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 3:42 pm   #8
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

Higher speed = faster wear?
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Old 21st Sep 2021, 7:15 pm   #9
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

Second order effect at best.
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 12:49 am   #10
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

In North America you can find vinyl [or vinylite] pressings of 78 material by Decca, Majestic, Black and White and others. They can sound wonderful, unless they saw a steel needle at some stage.......
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 6:34 pm   #11
emeritus
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

When I was a child, I did try playng a 45 single on my late grandfather's acoustic wind-up record player. It was one I had bought cheaply from a second-hand record stall in a local street market. Not much volume and lots of spiral vinyl: "The Flea Song" by Lord Flea was never the same again! ( it certainly wasn't playable!).

Last edited by emeritus; 23rd Sep 2021 at 6:35 pm. Reason: typo
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 7:17 pm   #12
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

78's can sound really amazing it's true, whether on vinyl or the other materials. The high speed produced a wider frequent range as well as a shorter playback time-see Robert Parker's "Jazz Classic's in Stereo for what was recovered by him from acetate! The move to 7" vinyl singles at 45rpm was surely prompted by a number of factors eg non-association with the older, larger disc sizes, overlooked when that was the only option! There are many threads touching on related aspects of this question. I think 33 1/3 was also tried for singles but 45 won out for maximum quality and convenience as things "speeded up" socially in the sixties. The four track EP was a useful compromise between the playing time of singles at 45 and LP's at 33 plus it offered further marketing prospects.

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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 7:24 pm   #13
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

They are surprisingly difficult to dispose of playing wise. I have several PYE NIXA vinyl 78s and just as an experiment I tried to ruin one by playing first on a standard wind up gramophone about 20 times then on some very early thunderweight pick ups from the late 1920s literally dozens of times!
The record surface looked terrible but it still played just about acceptably.

As Ted mentioned many thousands of shellac records were recalled for salvage during the war. There is a vintage film of a guy smashing up thousands of records. It may have been at EMI. J.
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 9:07 pm   #14
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

At one point in the Second World War it was hard to import shellac from India so surplus stocks of discs were ground up & re-used.

My Dad remembers that 78s had a good sound quality for the first few plays before the needle pressure started to wear the grooves down.
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Old 23rd Sep 2021, 11:47 pm   #15
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

Without going too OT from vinyl 78's [most people won't know about those anyway as opposed to the more familiar acetate ones in use already-it's all interconnected] the Americans provided Dance Band and Sinatra records for the troops during WW2 along with Cigs/Chewing Gum/ Chocolate/ Nylons etc! In the thirties "Race Records" were a very strong [black][ US market featuring Blues material in particular for quite a while. Then it all collapsed and musicians went back to being "Share" Croppers and worse! Many were not seen again until re-discovered by teenagers like me and Eric Clapton during the English Blues Boom in the Sixties. Their product was ground up along with the rest and sadly , is why the remaining examples have been so valued ever since!

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Old 25th Sep 2021, 2:49 pm   #16
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

For a while in the late fifties some pop records were available on both 78 and 45 rpm.
The 78s were breakable so were still being made of shellac or something similar.
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Old 25th Sep 2021, 3:08 pm   #17
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

More than a decade ago there was a programme on, I think, BBC Radio 4 about the records produced during WWII for entertaining the US forces. My recollection is that, as a contribution to the war effort, they were allowed to be produced without any copyright fees being paid, on the strict understanding that they would be destroyed at the end of hostilities. Most of them were indeed destroyed, which accounts for the collectability of the ones that slipped through the net today.

Last edited by emeritus; 25th Sep 2021 at 3:09 pm. Reason: typos
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Old 25th Sep 2021, 4:32 pm   #18
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doghouse Riley View Post
For a while in the late fifties some pop records were available on both 78 and 45 rpm.
The 78s were breakable so were still being made of shellac or something similar.
I have somewhere a couple of immaculate HMV (? light blue and silver label) Presley78s which I was presented with by a grateful custmer. (Smile, and look pleased, laddie ) I am sure these are vinyl as they can be flexed quite a bit, but were produced in the early1960s. They were both available as 45s. Tony.
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Old 25th Sep 2021, 9:35 pm   #19
Doghouse Riley
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

This video is from 1956 shows the process of making an LP from vinyl.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvYXkRIz9OE

But I do know in 1958 they were still making some pop 78s from a breakable material, so I'm assuming shellac.
It was pretty much unavailable during the war years as it was used in the manufacture of electric motors.
I remember Humphrey Lyttleton mentioning in an interview about fifteen years ago, that during the wardue to the scarcity of the material, to obtain a new record he had to "hand one in."

I'm also aware that to make what shellac there was go further, some records produced had an inner core of sawdust.
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Old 26th Sep 2021, 7:45 am   #20
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Default Re: 78rpm vinyl why format dropped?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boxdoctor View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doghouse Riley View Post
For a while in the late fifties some pop records were available on both 78 and 45 rpm.
The 78s were breakable so were still being made of shellac or something similar.
I have somewhere a couple of immaculate HMV (? light blue and silver label) Presley78s which I was presented with by a grateful custmer. (Smile, and look pleased, laddie ) I am sure these are vinyl as they can be flexed quite a bit, but were produced in the early1960s. They were both available as 45s. Tony.
Don't grimace too much - these are extremely collectable and change hands for quite a sum. I believe they were pressed in India by an HMV subsidiary.
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