Boom of 78 rpm
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There has always been a problem posed before designers and technologists working in the field of sound recording - of prolonging the time of playing the disk - the notorious 2-3 min per one side having become quite unacceptable by mid-1950s. For contracting the recording data it was necessary to lessen the width of the groove and speed of recording.

  The two above requirements necessitated a new, more up-to-date stuff for making disks, the former - intractable and big-grained one did not correspond to higher demands. But in 1951 its modification allowed to start production of so-called "long-playing" plates. With the same radial speed (78 rpm) due to decrease of the groove size, time of playing of one side of a "grand" disk increased up to 7 min. But, of course, that was not enough. You can see one of the first home long-playing 78 rpm disks (matrix No. D-505, external nomenclature for the new standard was commenced).

A radical breakthrough was mastering a new material for disk production - vinyl co-polymer. Its color could vary by admixture of different paints. At the same time, one more problem was solved that had caused so many troubles for disk lovers - fragility of plates. The new stuff was light and solid, so it enabled to lessen the groove width and recording speed to the extent that one side of the standard "grand" could sound up to 15 min.

  After testing the new stuff using the former recording speed the latter could be reduced to 33 1/3 rpm, that having become standard speed of microgroove disks till the full termination of their production in Russia. "Transitional" long-playing disks with 78 rpm speed were produced for a short time and in small quantities. Right - a rare label of an early microgroove by Aprelevsky Works.

The new standard was not without drawbacks. Firstly, the problem of compatibility arose: all former playing devices could not be used for new long-playing plates. For that purpose a new light-weight pick-up with a small-sized sapphire stylus was necessary. All the newly developed apparatus was provided with two-speed turntables and phono cartridges with two switchable styli - for usual and microgroove disks.

Vinylite, being a much softer stuff, has greater requirements for its storage - with careless handling a long-playing disc can be completely deteriorated due to scratches and dust. The small gap between the neighbouring grooves (even using a variable square density of grooves according to the sound level) caused the appearance of the "copier-effect" (penetration of loud signals into the adjacent groove) which can be heard even on modern plates. The technological requirements were also very strict, neglecting which caused a considerable decrease of quality. As a result, the condition of 78-disks of 1960s makes it possible now to obtain even better performance than that of 33 ones of the same period, that could not stand the trial by time.
The speed of 45 rpm was also widely used abroad. That enabled to somewhat soften the technological requirements and improve the quality of sounding. On the other hand, attempts were made to lower the speed to 16 and even 11 rpm. But the gain in the longer playing was accompanied with unacceptable lowering of its quality.

With increasing technological requirements in producing LPs the output of local factories decreased considerably. Small gramophone co-operatives were closed. Only larger enterprises of local industry were able to adjust to new conditions. (e.g. Leningrad "Plastmass" Factory). The shown labels date 1960.

One of the last labels of Leningrad "Plastmass" Factory (LP mignon of 1959).

Since 1960 a new logo started to appear on home disk labels which looked like two wedding rings - the emblem of stereo sound. But for common consumers it remained just a symbol for almost a decade. Stereo players started to be produced in sufficient quantities and became accessible to the population by their prices only towards end-1960s. In 1964 the All-Union Company of Gramophone Record "Melodija" was formed, which comprised Aprelevsky, Leningrad, Riga, Tashkent, Tbilisi and Baku works. Here you can see two rare labels of Riga Works.

In 1960-1970s you could come across plates produced by "Melodija" company of red vinylite. 

Known from mid-1930s flexible disks became widespread in 1970s. Being compact and handy, those multi-colored films were another passion of the young. But their faults have been disclosed quickly - low durability (they could stand less times of playing) and insufficient quality of sound. It was clear that their range of use was restricted to informative records in sound magazines. Flexible disks were produced with both one-side and two-side recording.

Left - a standard-sized foreign-made disk for music machines diam. 175 mm with central aperture 38 mm for 45 rpm. Such disks were not produced in this country. But in 1980s some "giants" for 45 rpm appeared (e.g. the "Sports&Music" issue) and somewhat later 45 rpm "mignons" appeared (right).

Left: an experimental disc with four-channel recording ("quadraphonic" disk), made by Moscow Experimental Works "Gramzapisj" in 1980. Here, for recording of four channels on the two sides of the sound groove a special system of electronic encoding - the ABC adding-subtracting system was applied. As an example (right) you can see a disk of the Czechoslovak company "Suprafon" made in another coding system SQ-QS (matrix encoding). Four-channel disks (and quadra playing apparatus) were not widely used at that time (due to their complexity and high costs). The multi-channel sound recording became widespread only at the turn of XXth century in digital media (DVD, Dolby Surround, etc.).

In early 1990s several small sound recording companies appeared in the USSR (including some half-legal ones) which turned out disks under their own labels (and also without any copyright data). The 4 cited plates were manufactured by the companies "Russian-German Music" (SPb.), "SNC Records" ("Soviet Independent Gramophone Co."), Joint-Stock Company "Lad" (Moscow) and "Russian Disk".

The last of the four was made according to DMM technology (Direct Metal Mastering) developed by Teldec Co. It is a system of direct recording on a metal disk from which pressing the plates is done. It makes possible to markedly improve the quality of playback. In 1990s the "Melodija" company was also producing discs using DMM technology.

These two 1990s disks bear the logotype of the studio owned by A.B.Tropillo ("AnTrop") who also set up the "Producer's Center of Rock'n'roll Parishes of the United Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Russia". For information concerning numerous Russian sound recording companies of nowadays please visit

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