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Vinyl Record Slang Words and Phrases – The Record Lexicon

Girl pictured listening to a record in the far distance

Now for anyone out there who has just been into a record shop for the first time you probably came out wondering what on earth the weird dwellers inside were going on about. The world of Vinyl Records has like so many other hobbies a language all of its very own. Breaking into this world can be tough if you’re trying not to let everyone else know you’re a Vinyl Virgin. This why we’ve had a go about bringing light to this hidden language.

Below you’ll find an explanation of many of the slang words and phrases you generally hear being thrown around by Vinyl Record enthusiasts. Now by no means is this the complete bible of Vinyl Slang – its a big old list but there are likely other phrases out there we’ve never heard of – If you’ve got any others we’ve missed feel free to drop them in the comments at the bottom and we’ll add them in. Let’s help out the kids and the uninitiated – wax can be scary!

Vinyl Record Slang Words and Phrases Guide

  1. 45: A vinyl record with a play speed of 45 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute).
  2. 78: A vinyl record with a play speed of 78 RPM, often made of shellac.
  3. 12-inch: Refers to a vinyl record with a 12-inch diameter, typically an extended play (EP) or single.
  4. 33⅓: The standard RPM for long-play (LP) records, often simply called “33s.”
  5. 7-inch: A vinyl record with a 7-inch diameter, commonly used for singles.
  6. Acetate Disc: A type of record used for mastering and testing, often made of acetate material.
  7. Anti-skate: A feature on turntables that prevents the stylus from skating across the record.
  8. Analog: Sound recorded and reproduced through physical means, like vinyl records.
  9. Audiofile: An audiophile who prefers the sound quality of vinyl records.
  10. Audiophile Pressing: A vinyl record pressed with meticulous attention to sound quality.
  11. B-side: The lesser-known track on the flip side of a single or EP.
  12. Backcueing: Moving the stylus backward on a spinning record to cue a specific point.
  13. Bakelite: An early material used for records before vinyl, known for its brittleness.
  14. Bleed-through: When sound from one side of the vinyl record is faintly heard on the other side.
  15. Bootleg: An unauthorized or illegal recording or pressing
  16. Breakbeat: A drumbeat sampled from a vinyl record, commonly used in hip-hop.
  17. Crate Cruiser: A dedicated cratedigger who searches far and wide for records.
  18. Crate Digging: The act of searching for vinyl records, especially rare ones.
  19. Clipping: Distortion caused by the audio signal exceeding the limits of the recording medium.
  20. Collector’s Item: A vinyl record with significant value to collectors due to rarity or historical significance.
  21. Cork Slipmat: A slipmat made of cork material, often used for DJing.
  22. Crosstalk: When the audio from one groove leaks into another on the same side of the record.
  23. Cue: Marking a specific point on a vinyl record where playback will begin.
  24. Cue Burn: Wear and damage to the grooves caused by repeated cueing.
  25. Cutting a Record: Creating a vinyl record by cutting grooves into a lacquer disc.
  26. Dead Wax: The area on a vinyl record between the label and the grooves, often containing matrix numbers.
  27. Deck: Slang for a turntable.
  28. Dirtbox: A slang term for a DJ’s setup, including turntables and mixer.
  29. Digging in the Crates (DITC): Searching for rare records in crates.
  30. DJ Crate: DJs often have a collection of records that they use exclusively for DJing. These records are known as “DJ crates.”
  31. Djent: A genre of music characterized by palm-muted guitar sounds often found in metal records.
  32. Djungle Fever: The exhilaration of discovering a rare record while digging.
  33. Dust Cover: A hinged cover that protects the turntable and record from dust.
  34. Dust Magnet: A vinyl record that easily attracts dust and needs frequent cleaning.
  35. EP (Extended Play): An EP is a vinyl record that has more tracks than a single but fewer than a full-length album. It typically contains around 3 to 6 songs.
  36. Fadeout Groove: The gradual reduction of audio level at the end of a track.
  37. Flipper: Someone who buys records with the intention of selling them for a profit.
  38. Flipping: Buying records to sell at a profit.
  39. Gatefold: An album cover that folds out to reveal additional artwork or information.
  40. Gig Crate: Records a DJ brings to a gig for their set.
  41. Goldmine: A valuable record find, often unexpected.
  42. Groove: The spiral path on a vinyl record where the needle runs.
  43. Groove Master: An expert at finding the best-sounding pressings of records.
  44. Groove Wear: Damage to the grooves of a record due to repeated playback.
  45. Headshell: The part of the tonearm that holds the cartridge and stylus.
  46. High Fidelity (Hi-Fi): High-quality audio reproduction.
  47. Inner Groove Distortion: The distortion that can occur at the end of a side of a record.
  48. Inner Sleeve: A protective sleeve inside the LP jacket.
  49. Label Art: The design and artwork on the record label.
  50. Lead-in Groove: The initial groove on a side of a record before the music starts.
  51. LP Jacket: The outer cover of an LP.
  52. LP (Long Play): An LP is a full-length vinyl album, typically containing 8 to 12 tracks or more.
  53. Mint: Perfect, like-new condition for a vinyl record.
  54. Needle Drop: Placing the needle onto a specific groove to start playback.
  55. Outer Sleeve: A clear plastic sleeve that protects the LP jacket.
  56. Picture Disc: A vinyl record with artwork or a photograph printed on the disc.
  57. Playback Speed: The speed at which a vinyl record is played on the turntable.
  58. Rarities: Extremely rare vinyl records that collectors seek.
  59. RPM (Revolutions Per Minute): The speed at which the turntable spins the record.
  60. Scratch DJ: A DJ who specializes in using turntables and vinyl records to create rhythmic scratches and manipulations as part of their performance.
  61. Scratching: Manipulating a vinyl record back and forth to create rhythmic sounds.
  62. Shelf Queen: A rare, valuable vinyl record that is displayed but rarely played.
  63. Shellac Spinner: A vintage term for a record player used to play shellac records before the widespread adoption of vinyl.
  64. Sibilance: The hissing sound sometimes heard in vocal recordings on vinyl.
  65. Single: A vinyl record with one song on each side.
  66. Sleeve: The paper or cardboard cover that protects the vinyl record.
  67. Soundstage: The spatial representation of sound when listening to vinyl records.
  68. Spin: Playing a vinyl record on a turntable.
  69. Spindle: The central rod on a turntable where you place the record.
  70. Spindle Hole Adapter: A small insert that allows a 45 RPM record to fit on a turntable spindle.
  71. Stacks: A collection of vinyl records.
  72. Stash: A hidden collection of vinyl records.
  73. Stylus: The needle that reads the grooves on a vinyl record.
  74. Surface Noise: The inherent noise produced by the friction between the stylus and vinyl surface.
  75. Tonearm: The arm of a turntable that holds the cartridge and needle.
  76. Tonearm Weight: The adjustable weight on the tonearm to ensure proper tracking.
  77. Tone Poet: A collector who values the tonal qualities of vinyl records.
  78. Tracking Force: The pressure applied by the stylus to the vinyl surface.
  79. Turntablism: The art of using turntables and vinyl records as musical instruments, often involving scratching and mixing.
  80. Vinylhead: An enthusiastic collector or aficionado of vinyl records.
  81. Vinyl Junkie: Someone with an insatiable addiction to collecting vinyl records.
  82. Vinyl Revival: The resurgence in popularity of vinyl records in recent years.
  83. Warmth: The unique, rich sound quality associated with vinyl records.
  84. Warped: When a vinyl record becomes warped, causing playback issues.
  85. Warped Tour: When a DJ’s records warp due to outdoor exposure.
  86. Wax: Refers to the vinyl record itself.
  87. White Label: A vinyl record with a plain white label, often a promotional or test pressing.
  88. 100g Vinyl: Refers to a record pressed on 100-gram vinyl, which can affect sound quality.
  89. 180g Vinyl: A thicker, heavier vinyl record known for its improved sound quality.
  90. 240g Vinyl: An even thicker and heavier vinyl record, often considered audiophile-grade.
Colin Davenport