12" 45 RPM records: What's the story?

What's the advantage of producing these? If there is one, why aren't they all 45RPM?
The main advantage is better signal to noise ratio and secondarily, better frequency response (because the groove wiggles are stretched over a longer length of groove.)

The downside is that there is much less playing time per side (which is the answer to your second question.)
The main advantage is better signal to noise ratio and secondarily, better frequency response (because the groove wiggles are stretched over a longer length of groove.)

I'll also add "better dynamic range"...those 12" 45 RPM records were simply awesome compared to regular LP sound. I used to buy tons of them (about half my old collection). The most noticeable improvement was in the bass. Less feedback issues especially at higher SPL levels. I am not sure if many night clubs still use them today, but these used to be the pro's choice to blast out quality hits over high end club systems and draw crowds. (A quality of sound production that few could match at home)
One advantage is more exercise for audiophiles than 33 1/3RPM....You will notice in general audiophiles with Turntables are in a little better shape than those with cd only and those that listen to tuners more are a little plumper than the average audiophile...JD
As Shadorne says the ones I used to own always claimed better dynamic range and it seemed that way to me. Although I always felt like I was being taken advantage of because of the shorter playing time.
remember the 45rpm versions are usually done well after the 33's so you can buy them twice. god bless the music industry.
Mo money Mo money Mo money
you need to make a distinction between the 12" 45's that were 'dance club' singles......and the 12" 45's that are audiophile reissues of various very popular older recordings.

the 'dance club' 45's are all over the board in quality.....mostly bad. i spent about 6 months buying 30 or 40 of these on ebay a couple of years ago. some are very good and definitive recordings of some very popular hits. but many are poorly mastered and poorly pressed. 'dance club' needs and audiophile sensibilities are not the same.

the 45 reissues are another story entirely. most (but not 100%) are dramatically better than even original pressings in almost every aspect. these are generally mastered from the original master tapes and have the finest level of production. they typically only have 5 to 10 minutes per side and therefore can be cut as hot as needed with widely spaced grooves and wide dynamic range.

i have most of these and they are my most played records, by far. if you hear these 45's on a quality tt you will be hearing the music the best possible way this side of the original master tape.

yes, they are expensive and require more effort. to me, they are easily worth it.
the 'dance club' 45's are all over the board in quality.....mostly bad.

I would agree that they are all over the board (so true of all recorded music whatever the media but especially pop....a real mixed bag).

However, I would point out that in comparison to the LP's produced at or around the same time, I often found the 45's sounded better than their LP counterpart...

Are dance club goers sensitivities less discerning of high quality sound reproduction than audiophiles?

I have to think about that one. Admittedly, I have not been to a club recently, but in younger days, when my hearing was at its very best, the top high end club systems in the big city (where you had to line up for hours as well as pay to get in)....well....their sound systems sure impressed me!

In fact this alone probably started me on the quest for a better home sound system as NONE of the big city audiophile stores came close in terms of exhilarating accuracy at high SPL's....I recall Blue Monday (New Order), Two Tribes (Frankie) and many other tracks that just blew me away....especially the accuracy in the hard to produce bass frequencies.

...and I don't mean boominess as top end clubs really had great gear...plus they had the advantage of packed crowds to absorb the longer reverberations. As Sabine put it...one person is roughly acoustically equivalent to 8 cushions in a lecture hall ;-)
I do not agree that "most (not 100%) are dramatically better than the original pressings in every aspect".

That is pure hyperbole.

Some are better; most are not. Save a second or third issue, my entire collection of 5000+ is comprised of original pressings spanning 1957-present.

I own three dozen of these 45RPM reissues. To a large extent, IMO, they are a waste of money. I believe you are better served seeking out pristine originals. YMMV
Yes, reissues 45s are better than their 33.3 originals. More dynamic and transparent. They take two records to equal one record in 33.3 and thus why they were not issued that way. LPs were issued because they could provide 30 minutes of music per side.
No has to buy them Audioieool! BUT if you care about good sound, I would recommend them. I have perhaps twenty of them and I have yet to hear one that is not far and away better than the original LP.

I'm not talking about dance club issues, but decent Classic Reissues, or MoFi stuff. Buy one and hear the difference. If it's not markedly better, you learned your lesson. The version of "St James Infirmary" from Satchmo Plays King Oliver is just unreal, or maybe I should say too real. Give it a try...
Some (45's) are better; most are not....my entire collection of 5000+ is comprised of original pressings spanning 1957-present

Well that doesn't match my experience but I never got close to 5000 LP's

I also used to buy import Japanese pressings of good LP's that I liked...expensive to own the same LP twice but I honestly felt there was an improvement in the better pressing quality.

I must admit that this is a long time ago and I can't be absolutely sure if my findings were not related to wear and tear on the originals too as I never compared brand new with brand new...although some North American pressings were obviously bad (light weight and they had warps in them)

...my TT rig was like $300 dollars (as a student)....nothing like the beauties most of you Analog guys own on these forums... that might be a factor too...just my two cents
Two brief caveats to my prior email. Your point is well taken. In most cases I find that UK, German, and Japanese pressings are better than their US counterparts.

Second, I don't mean to imply the 45RPM reissues are not good products. In fact most are very good. However, my experience is the difference in the reissues that are better than the originals is marginal not drastic and not worth the high price. With few exceptions, as I posted, I prefer original pressings.

Thanks for your comments.

At 33 rpm the speed of the vinyl passing the stylus as the LP reaches the inner grooves is too slow. This will result in sonic degradation either because of the slowness, or because the recording engineer has manipulated the signal so as to better tolerate the slow speed. By spinning the disc at 45 rpm audio quality of the inner grooves is maintained, and it doesn't hurt the outer grooves. In addition to the higher rpm, audiophile recordings may use wider groove spacing to minimize pre-echo, and various other tricks that improve sound at the cost of playing time.
I have to side with Audiofeil here.Though the re-issues are wonderful,for the money(since many originals command big dollars),the earliest first pressings,will have the more natural timbral and harmonic presentations.
Still,the collector will do well to acquire the re-issues(I'm talking about the Mercury and RCA Shaded dogs)as it is very tough to find really early,and clean pressings at a good price.BUT just as some have no problem spending the extra bucks for pricey equipment,the "best" early pressings out class the re-issues. So a case can easily be made for the dedicated "original" collector.
to minimize pre-echo


I always wondered about that....I used to think it was the fault of the master tapes and how the magnetic field transfered slightly to the adjacent tape above and below, as stored on the reel...

But your descripton of vinyl pre-echo makes a lot of sense too, after all, stamping a relatively elastic piece of plastic with squiggles is sure to leave stress patterns everywhere and some leakage of squiggles between adjacent grooves once the stamp is removed...furthermore, other effects, like plastic expansion/contraction/curing may play a role as the ridges between the grooves will all be of differing thickness and therefore behave differently under stress from thermal effects.

Shadorne...Pre-echo is a well known fault of LPs, and, to the best of my knowledge, comes about when the master is cut, not when copies are pressed. Mag tape "print through" comes about when reels are stored for a long time (years). I personally have never heard a print through problem, but just about every LP exhibits pre-echo.
Pre-echo is a well known fault of LPs, and, to the best of my knowledge, comes about when the master is cut, not when copies are pressed.


Do you mean it is only at the beginning....or throughout the whole LP??

If you have echo going on throughout the LP (coming from the master or otherwise), I can't imagine how badly that would affect the noise foor (if it happens throughout). imean sometimes it was plainly audible even at low volume levels. What an awful thought... could this be why I preferred the 45's so much and found they had more clarity? (the 45's were insanely expensive compared to buying LP's with 8 or 9 tracks....often the 45 B side was garbage)
Pre-echo is evident throughout the record, if there is a loud passage preceeded by a soft passage. I must also say that I have one cd with pre-echo, but it is a reissue with remastering, so it could be magnetic transfer.

I view pre-echo as one of the liabilities of vinyl like pops and clicks or noisy vinyl on 70s records.
Pre-echo is evident throughout the record, if there is a loud passage preceeded by a soft passage.

I see, so you only hear it clearly when there is a loud passage preceeded by a soft passage...but does that mean it doesn't matter except in these instances?
Shadorne...A heavily modulated (loud) groove will always affect adjacent grooves, before and after, throughout the LP. It is always audible during the silent (supposedly) first groove of a cut but is masked by the music at other times (but is still there as "noise").

If you have an LP of Beethoven's fifth, that would be a good one to check for pre-echo. It begins with loud chords.
I think that pre-echo is ever present. A low noise system will unveil it. I have been listening more for it lately and have heard both on lps and cds. I maybe that good practices with the magnetic tape and important. As yet I have not heard it on any sacd.
Tbg...You really don't need a "low noise system" to hear pre-echo on the first grooves of an LP. But, for the rest of the LP the program material (which for purposes of hearing pre-echo) might be considered as "noise" will make it impossible to hear. But it is still there, which ought to give the vinyl perfectionists fits.

Pre-echo on a CD is hard to understand, unless the CD was remastered from a vinyl recording. Certainly any digital master tapes would not have this problem. If there were pre-echo from print through of a mag tape, this could easily be edited out when the CD data file was created.

Can you cite a CD with pre-echo so that I (we) can check this out?
I think all "pre-echo" is just due to analog mastertape print-through. And as Eldartford points out would not happen in digital recording (either tape or hard drive.)

I never EVER heard of one groove affecting an adjoining groove. Even if the vinyl did expand/contract/deform slightly in manufacture, it could not do so with any degree of correspondence to actual groove modulations. In fact, RCA Dynagroove records (which have other problems ;--) do not suffer from this alleged effect, and if any records should, it would be Dynagrooves because the whole idea was to pack the grooves tighter together.
If there were pre-echo from print through of a mag tape, this could easily be edited out when the CD data file was created.
Eldartford, how would one go about eliminating pre-echo/print thru not just before the first notes, but the entire album during a transfer from analog to digital formats?
Can you cite a CD with pre-echo so that I (we) can check this out?

I second Eldartford's question.

Can anyone name a single CD with a pre-echo?

I own a large number of CD's and haven't come across one with a pre-echo...yet. My experience tends to support Eldartford's statement that it is a problem in the "vinyl production process". Well over half my CD's are from analog master tapes....so the mag tape print through explanation seems to be on thin ice.
Onhwy61...I was thinking only in terms of the first groove. But, if I were in the high end audiophile business I might claim to have a secret process to eliminate it throughout the LP, and challenge anyone to prove me wrong :-)

Nsgarch...It's when the master disc is cut, and it is well known that the effect can be minimized or even eliminated by wide groove spacing. In the real world, in order to get acceptable playing time groove spacing is variable as the nature of the program material varies, and the spacing is only wide enough to make the pre-echo "acceptable". With regard to "Dynagroove"...this was a proprietary signal compensation to compensate for vinyl flexure of the groove being played, and had nothing to do with adjacent grooves.
Nsgarch... One more thought. If the pre-echo leads the music by 1.8 seconds (for a 33rpm LP) it isn't print through. (1.33 seconds for a 45 rpm).
Shadorne, just because well over half your CD's are AAD and don't exhibit print through doesn't put print through on "thin ice" at all!

First of all, if there was any print through between bands on the master tape, that's easily eliminated when transferring the album to CD, just insert new silences between bands.

Print through in the middle of a band, during rests or long silences, can't be eliminated of course -- but is also a LOT harder to hear, except in those occasional instances when a sharp crescendo follows a few bars of silence.

And last, the vast majority of analog masters do not contain print through, which was all but eliminated by thicker mylar and metal tape formulations which provided good S/N ratios with less tape saturation.
Eldartford, I'll say it again: Even if the vinyl did expand/contract/deform slightly in manufacture, it could NOT transfer with ANY degree of accuracy (much less an EXACT copy of) the modulations from one groove to an adjoining groove. Think about it -- it would be physically impossible! Or maybe I don't understand what you mean when you say, "It's when the master disc is cut." What "it" are you referring to?

There is a great explanation of the Dynagroove process at:


After reading it, I think maybe I meant Dynaflex (another RCA disaster;--))

Close groove spacing is achieved by a computer driving the lathe which is attached to a "pre-read" head in the master tape playback machine. Not possible in direct-to-disc recording, which is why they customariuloy have less material on them.


First of all, if there was any print through between bands on the master tape, that's easily eliminated when transferring the album to CD, just insert new silences between bands.

Good point I hadn't thought of that...but hang on...if they could do that for a CD then couldn't they do something similar on Vinyl?


I am with you. Do you need VC capital? How much money do you think there might be in a box between TT and amplifier. A pre-echo could certainly be detected by a simple cross correlation technique. To do this at reasonable cost, all you would need to do is digitize the signal. Then an adaptive filter could be designed to eliminate it. This is done all the time in countless other engineering domains where correlated noise (ghosts, multiples and echos) are removed using adaptive filtering. (Technically this is called a "convolution" filter...and knowing that the echo is 1.8 seconds ahead and behind the main signal would make it fairly easy to detect versus other time correlated information such as a repetitive drum beat...you would simply use a 1.8 second window to cross correlate)
Nsgarsh,sorry to go off topic,but can you help me?I was running a PS Audio P-500 on front end componentry,with fabulous results(Balanced/Regenerated a/c for cd's,lp's,pre/phono only).Yet,it blew up after three weeks.The second replacement lasted for six days.
I am getting my money back,and want to get something as good,yet I realize that "Balanced/Regenerated" power comes at the price of two units,from companies like Exact Power(who are my first choice).I know Equitech makes great stuff(balanced)but no regeneration.
Truthfully,I don't know whether the fabulous sound was the result of the balanced output,or regenerated,but I'd like to go with a one unit approach.Maybe the new Exact Ultra Pure,which is suppoded to be great,and is balanced,yet NO regeneration.HELP!!!BTW,i,previously,had two Ultimate outlets in service,here,but they were "smoked" by the P-500.I'm not trying a third unit,and have no more confidence in PS stuff.
Sorry,guys,for going off topic,but Neil is a maven at technical stuff,and I am banned from my usual haunts.-)
Shad, it's easier (maybe only even possible) to do these manipulations/corrections in the digital domain -- but then there you are...............in the digital domain!!

Which is why, once CD's were available of course, I could never understand the point of buying a "Digitally Mastered" LP?
Shadorne...Your technical snow job is inspiring! How would you like to do marketing for me?

Nsgarch...Not "during manufacture" (pressing of the hot vinyl). It's done by the cutting head. And the fidelity of the pre-echo is quite good if you boost the volume enough, and, most important, chop it fast so as to not toast your speakers when the real music starts.
Eldartford -- not to belabor the point, but can you explain just how the cutting head can cut the primary groove AFTER cutting a "ghost groove" (pre-echo) 1.8 seconds beforehand. Pretty fancy physics ;--)

Or if you can, please direct me to any technical writing that explains this phenomenon. So far I'm unconvinced.
This thread just shows how interesting Audiogon can be. We went from 45 RPM to pre-echo somehow...but it meant that I learnt something new. Thx everyone.

Most of you may not be aware of this; recording engineers will often make a dub of their finished mix or of the vocal tracks on the finished mix. This dub is then given a heavy dose of reverb and remixed in with the final mix at a much lower volume level (20 db down). This creates ambience in the music and very often improves the sound, as judged by listeners, Grammy awards etc. I am not talking any old sound engineers here....but the high $$$ pros in the top studios that use these tricks....people like Chuck Ainlay and the guy who perhaps jump started all the modern studio "enegineered" sound; George Martin with Sgt Pepper.

Basically these tricks are just another form of Vinyl "pre-echo" if you think about it carefully.

Could "pre-echo" be one of the reasons that some people consistently prefer the sound of vinyl over CD...more ambience, warmth, less fatiguing or clinical sound??

Acoustic studies suggest that this might make sense too...as the hearing can be very sensitive to difference tones and obviously the more background ambience in music the more chance that difference tones allow one to sense more detail or nuances in the music...

Sabine studied this stuff and it is now well accepted that a completely "dead" room is just as awful sounding as a overly "live" room. Today architects use RT60 rules to design lecture halls all over the world.

Just a thought...that I wanted to share..certainly for me this offers an excellent explanation why Vinyl might be preferred over CD.

For you Vinyl enthusiasts, please respect that I understand where you are coming from in your love of Vinyl sound...I have a great respect for Vinyl and fully admit that on an individual recording Vinyl can sound much better than a CD (and vice versa btw). However, I don't accept many of the explanations of why Vinyl sounds better (such as the "digital has gaps" argument).

Pre-echo seems like a plausable explanation for Vinyl sounding better than CD. At least Vinyl pre-echo can be measured and it is certainly audible. (whereas science, measurements and listening tests can easily show that "CD digital gaps" are inaudible when played back through a good quality DAC)

Anyone disagree?
Nsgarch...As the cutter cuts, it disturbs the surrounding material, like the wake of a boat traveling through water. Adjacent to the cutter is the material for 1.8 seconds earlier. I learned this so long ago that I can't give you a reference. Sorry about that.
Eldartford, if what you're saying were true, the cutter would disturb the vinyl (and VERY ACCURATELY too -- carbon-copy accurately) on both sides of the groove it's cutting. But that would only produce a post-echo (in the previous groove), because the groove in which the pre-echo is supposed to occur hasn't been CUT YET!

And if you think about it, it just can't be physically possible for a cutter to produce an accurate, duplicate, identifyable signal in an adjoining groove, across the intervening uncut vinyl.

So, I still don't buy it, but thanks for making me think about it critically; it is a bit of a brain twister;--)
Sorry Eldartford but if we want to form a company then we should have thought of this more than ten years ago and filed a patent.

A cursory investigation indicates we might have to negotiate a patent license or find a workaround....

French Telecom Patent on Pre-Echo

Somebody already thought of it.....I knew it was too obvious!

Of course, if we just made the science up and sold a brightly colored interconnect exactly 1.8 meters long (get it - the perfect length to cancel the pre-echo); we wouldn't have to worry about a patent license...just rely on testimonials!
Did anybody find a CD with pre-echo yet?
Nsgarch, the preecho is in the other channel in the groove that has already been cut. The cutter cannot deform the vinyl in the groove yet to be cut.

What I would really like to know is how I get preecho on cds which are cut from the master tapes.
Tbg...You are correct about disturbance of the subsequent groove. Even if the recording media were upset by the cutter it would be "overwritten" when the cutter came by.

As for CDs with pre-echo, name one.
If the original source is analogue tape, the tape can have print through that will sound like pre-echo in any subsequent playback media.
So far, no one has explained just how this "pre echo" signal could be subsequently produced by deformation of the uncut vinyl, into a groove just cut, and "superimposed" on that already-cut groove with the ACCURACY of an actual cut groove, necessary to be able to identify the resulting signal (traced by the stylus,) as not only containing some kind of an "echo", but having the fidelity necessary to identify the original music signal that gave rise to it.

As for CDs, I agree with eldartford, never heard even an AAD CD with a tape print-through signal between tracks.
Rushton...Master tape print through at the start of a selection is easily edited out when the LP is cut, or the CD data file is made. Also, FWIW, print through happens when tapes are tightly wound and stored unplayed for years. Also, newer tape formulations have minimized the problem.
Eldartford, thank you. I was aware of the cause and that newer formulations were more resistant. I'd never understood that print through was easy to edit out.
Rushton...Just to be clear...it's easy to edit out just before the music starts. It can't be removed throughout the music and is a significant problem with very old archived tapes.
Eldartford, I am gathering a number of cds and the tracks showing pre-echo.
Nsgarch, go to this link and scroll down to the section about disc cutting. It will explain adjacent groove deformation due to a number issues involved in the cutting process.