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Vinyl records glossary

Practical guide trough the (not so) secret language of record enthusiasts, to navigate without trouble among the multiple sites and specialized blogs. For a better understanding of our used item descriptions, you can also consult our condition rating barem.


LP (Long Play)
Diameter : 12" ou 10" (30-25cm)
Speed : 331/3 tours
Content : 30 minutes par face

SP (Short Play)
Diameter : 7" (17,5 cm)
Speed : 45 tours
Content : 1 titre par face

EP (Extended Play)
Diameter : 7" (17,5 cm)
Speed : 45 tours
Content : 2 titres par face

Maxi Single (=70s EP)
Diameter : 12" (30cm)
Speed : 45 tours
Content : 3 à 4 titres par face

Disquaire vocabulary

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The acetate disc (also called "lacquer", "test acetate", "dubplate", "transcription disc"...) is made by mechanically etching a groove on the surface of a lacquered blank disc. The resulting record can be used as a basis for the production of the press matrices (the "negative" which will apply its grooves to a vinyl disc during its pressing).

Plyable on a phonograph, it has been used in many cases, from the 1930's to nowadays: first for direct recording (before the arrival of magnetic tapes), then to check the quality of the recording process. But also as dubplates in the 60s.

Adaptateur (adaptor)

Adapters are small parts (plastic, aluminum, etc.) used to adapt discs whose central hole is too big for the turntable, such as 7" records.


Originally a set of 78-rpm (10″) singles grouped in a binder. Then, when the "long-play" (LP) album containing a number of songs on a single disc replaced 78-rpm albums in the early 1950s, the name remained. Today, an "album" generally refers to a collection of songs recorded together and released as a single entity.

Artwork - Art Sleeve

A record or CD cover with a drawing on it, as opposed to a photography (picture sleeve).

Audiophile pressing

Often marketed in limited edition, it is a record with a high quality pressing intended for a demanding public. Most "audiophile" records are pressed with better quality, and therefore more expensive, raw material. They minimize surface noise and are mastered with tapes that are as close as possible to the original master tape. These pressings are usually heavier records (180-200 grams) and are sometimes pressed on 45 rpm, instead of the standard 33 1/3.


Some edition offers a booklet withe the record, it usually contains lyrics, credits, unpublished photographs, acknowledgements, etc.


Unofficial recording and/or pressing: a bootleg can be the audio recording of a concert that has not been officially released, or simply an unofficial reissue of a previously released record.

Budget Issue

A pressing edition originally sold at a lower price than normal.

Catalog number

The catalog number is found on the center labels and record sleeves. It is the manufacturer's reference number.

Cheesecake (cover)

Term generally used to describe album covers that feature seductive women in flirty outfits and sensual poses.

Coloured vinyl

A vinyl record that comes in a different color than the standard black vinyl. Its color is homogeneous, unlike the Splatter or Marbled records (on which the coloration forms a pattern).

Company Sleeve

A standard sleeve without personalized picture. The logo of the record company is printed on it, unlike the generic sleeves which are completely neutral.


Reproduction of a record, created in order to make buyers believe they are buying the authentic edition.


The outer face of the record sleeve. It generally contains the title and the name of the artist, accompanied by a photograph or an illustration.

Cut Corner

Refers to one of the corners of a cover which would have been cut out. This indicates that the record is "Cutout" (see below).


A "cutout" is a record that has been removed from a record company's catalog and then sold at a reduced price to get rid of inventory. The record inside is intact, but the sleeve is marked to indicate that the item will not be returned or exchanged. There are 3 types of Cutout markings:

  • Cut corner : the corner is cut diagonally.
  • Saw mark : the edge of cover is bitten by a vertical notch as if it had been sawn.
  • Drill hole : the corner is drilled as if by a drill (not to be confused with "Punch Hole", larger).

Dead wax

Indicates the area located in the central part of the disc: between the end of the recording and the label. It contains the run-out groove and its matrix numbers, but no recorded music (except in the rare case of an infinite loop at the end).

Deep Groove

A large groove that can be seen in the label area of some pressings from the mid-1950s to early 1960s. About 2 mm deep, it is a mark caused by certain types of pressing equipment. Record companies phased out this equipment by the mid-1960s, so the presence of a "deep groove" can usually be relied upon to differentiate an original pressing from its later reissues.


Demonstration disc. Not commercially available.

Die-cut Sleeve

Cover with a large hole in the middle, allowing to read the central label of the disc.


Type of CD sleeve : comes as a gatefold or trifold, the cover is made of cardboard, while the inner tray is plastic.


Disc published for radio broadcasting purposes only.

Double Groove

A disc that has two concentric grooves on the same side.

Drill Hole

Refers to a hole in one of the corners of a cover (or very rarely in the record label), as if made with a drill. This indicates that the record is "Cutout".

Envelope Picture Sleeve

Pocket with illustrated cover, with an envelope flap to close/open it.

Etched Disc

Single sided vinyl disc with laser engraved graphics on the other side.

Ever Clean

Japanese production series directed by Toshiba Records, specifically on translucent red vinyl. Can also be called "Aka-ban".

The purpose of these special pressings was to eliminate the static problems inherent to the medium, and to offer an audiophile version of the recording. For this purpose, a special mixture resistant to static dust was used as raw material. These editions are very limited and particularly rare (especially in very good condition). From experience, we have found that they do indeed have a unique sound quality.


First pressing

When the same edition of a disc has been pressed several times, "first pressing" is the very first series pressed.


Thin and flexible discs. See soundsheet.

Flipback Sleeve

A record sleeve whose collage leaves visible flaps on the back of the sleeve. See the "Record Sciences #1" blog post for more information.

Foldout Sleeve

A pocket that unfolds. It usually opens to reveal a poster.


Reddish or brown spots visible on sleeves as they age. These "freckles" can appear on all types of paper, but they are more visible on white paper. Foxing is quite common (about 7 out of 10) on covers coming from Japan. It is not a consequence of wear or bad treatment by a previous owner: it is rather a side effect of natural aging under normal conditions (since we do not constantly control the water conditions at home). An album cover can be in new and untouched condition, but still show traces of foxing.

Frame cover

A vintage cover construction method (in Japanese : “gakubushi”) for which the back paper has been folded over the front. This flaps collage remains visible by forming a relief under the front art sleeve paper, creating a frame-like shadow line along 2 edges (the framed cover has only 2 frame strips, never 4). The presence of frame construction can be helpful in determining the issue date of a pressing.


Gatefold Sleeve

A Gatefold is a cover that opens like a book, as opposed to standard covers that have only a front and a back and a slot to insert the disc. A Gatefold does not systematically contain 2 discs, it can only contain one. Nevertheless, the final object will always be thicker than a simple sleeve.

Hazed record / Hazing

Condition alteration present on some vintage vinyl records: a kind of whitish veil appears on the whole surface of the record. This does not interfere with the playback of the record, but causes a slight regular background noise, like a breath. Not to be confused with a simple trace of residue (dust, cleaning product), which would go away with an adapted cleaning.

Hype Sticker

Paper or plastic sticker put on the packaging or the cover of an album, generally with the aim of drawing attention to the presence of a particular track, the featuring of another artist, or a special edition (on a colored vinyl, including a poster, etc.)... the final goal being of course to motivate the sales.


An imported vinyl record / CD. For example : sold in France but manufactured and pressed in Japan to a Japanese audience.


designates the printed sheet which is slipped into the case of a CD behind the inner tray. Oriented to illustrate the back of the case, it generally contains the list of titles, the barcode, the legal mentions, orthe  price code.

Inner sleeve

Protective sleeve maintained inside the main sleeve: it protects the vinyl record from rubbing during its handling. For vintage records, the mention "OIS" (Original Inner Sleeve) is used if this inner sleeve has never been replaced. It can be completely neutral or printed (either with the label's colors or with those of the album/artist).

Inner tray

Interior part of a CD case having the function of fixing the disc.


An element that is part of the packaging of a record or a CD. An insert can take different forms: from the simple sheet printed with the lyrics to more collector accessories (poster, postcard, sticker...).

Interview disc

A disc where the recording is spoken. Generally promotional, these editions can contain a speech, a press conference, an interview...


Another term used to designate the cover of an outer sleeve, or possibly the sleeve itself.

Jewel Box

Standard transparent plastic box that holds a CD or a cassette. A variant with more rounded corners than the standard jewel box can be found: the Super Jewel Box.

Jukebox issue

A version of a record that has been specifically pressed for use in a jukebox.


The label is the publishing house that produced the record. By extension, the circular sticker in the center of a vinyl record is called a "label", as is the printed side (front) of a CD.

Laminated sleeve (lamination)

A cover whose printing has been "lacquered" by a shiny/mat finish.

Lead-in Groove

Refers to the quiet zone at the very beginning of the playing surface of a vinyl record (the rim : outermost circle of the disc).

Long Box

A long rectangular cardboard box sometimes used for CD packaging.


A vinyl record that comes in a different color than standard black vinyl. Its color is mixed and distributed in such a way that the record looks like marble, unlike  Splatter or Coloured records.

Matrix number

This is an alphanumeric code etched or stamped in the runout area of record. It can provide a useful source of information about the pressing serie.


A vinyl record or a CD whose edition has a small defect, corrected later in the subsequent reissues. A mispress problem will not necessarily prevent the marketing of the record, because the errors are generally minimal: incorrect track order, typos...


Limited edition with individual number.


Paper strip wrapped around the cover of Japanese pressings. It usually contains the main information of the record: title, label, tracks, price, etc. The word "Obi" comes from the term used for Japanese clothes, written with the same kanji.

Original pressing

Definitions of "original pressing" may differ slightly among record enthusiasts, but the general idea is that it refers to the first pressed version of a record in its country of origin.


Original Inner sleeve : is said in the case of vintage records, when the inside sleeve has never been replaced, and the original one is still there.

One-sided disc

A disc that can only be played on one side.

Picture disc

A vinyl record that is covered with a picture, instead of being completely black. Picture discs are of slightly lower quality because of the way they are made: the image is applied as a very thin film to a flat disc without a groove (usually classic black vinyl), and then covered with a layer of transparent PVC, on which the groove is etched.

Picture sleeve

A vinyl record or CD cover with a photograph on it, as opposed to an illustration (art sleeve).

Plain sleeve

A vinyl record or CD cover without illustration or photo.

Play hole

Refers to the hole in the center of a record that allows it to fit in the axis (splindle) of the turntable. Thus, it will be maintained centered on the plate in order to be read correctly.

Poster sleeve

A pocket that unfolds to reveal a poster.


Pressing is the action of making the record by a mechanical pressing process. More widely, the term designates the serie/edition from which the record is issued.

Price Code

Printed info element visible on a disc or cover, used to indicate the price category of the record. It usually consists of two letters followed by three numbers ("PM520" for example). The price code and its location are sometimes the only way to differentiate two very similar editions.


A promotional disc used for advertising purposes. Distributed for free, it is usually sent to radios, DJs, journalists, before the release of the album, in order to get a better exposure. The "promo" is usually marked "Licensed for promotional use only", or "For sale only". However, it is not illegal to sell vintage promotional recordings: being produced in small quantities, they are considered as collectable items.

Punch hole

A clean hole punched in the corner of an album cover. Not to be confused with the drill hole, which is usually smaller and rougher (as if made with a drill). The punch hole was most often used by record companies to indicate that the record was intended for promotional use (Capitol Records for example).

Push-out center

A circular piece of plastic that joins the center of a vinyl record by 3 or 4 thin and easily detachable legs. Removing the push-out center enlarges the play hole so that the record can be placed in the jukeboxes. Removing a push-out center is permanent, it cannot be reattached to the record afterwards: you will have to use an adapter to play it on a standard turntable.

Reissue / Repress

Reissue of a record: a pressing subsequent to the original presssing.


An alternative version of an existing song that has been rearranged.


The edge of a vinyl record (including the lead-in grooves). You can find two styles :

  • flat rim : the record surface is the same thickness throughout
  • beaded rim : the edge is more rounded and fatter than the playing surface


Abbreviation for "Revolutions Per Minute", indicates the reading speed of a disc : 331/3 ; 162/3 ; 45 ; 78...

Run-out Groove

Refers to the quiet zone at the very end of the playing surface of a vinyl record (the innermost circle of the record, just before the label).


A compilation of tracks that serves to introduce an artist or a label.


Refers to vintage records that are still sealed : the shrink wrap has never been opened. The term "shrinkwrapped" can be used too.

Seam split

Refers to a tear along one edge of the sleeve: this wear pattern is usually caused by the back and forth movement of the record inside the sleeve. It is very common on inner-sleeves.

Saw mark

Refers to a deliberate cut in a sleeve edge, usually near a corner, literally made with a saw. This mark is made to indicate that a disc is Cutout and cannot be returned or exchanged.

Shaped disc

A disc whose shape is not circular.

Shrink (wrap)

Transparent plastic film which is then shrunk (by heating) to form an airtight package protecting the record sleeve.


A cardboard cover used to overwrap CD and cassette cases.


Also known as a flexi-disc, it is a flexible disc pressed from ultra-thin plastic. Soundsheets were often inserted in magazines or newspapers as a bonus gadget.

Spindle Mark

Spindle means the end in which the record will be "plugged" to keep it centered on the turntable. A spindle mark is a common wear mark on the record center: it is caused when the record is placed on the turntable a bit too muchquickly, and the spindle will rub on the disc center before going into the play hole.  This mark is a clue to the previous life of a vintage record: the more it is present, the more likely the record has been played and replayed without particular care.

Splatter vinyl

A vinyl record that exists in a different color than standard black vinyl. Its color is mixed and distributed so that the record forms a splatter pattern from the center, unlike Marbled or Coloured (homogeneous color).

Stamper Number

Number scratched or stamped in the dead wax area of some discs, which indicates the serial number of the machine used for pressing.

Test pressing

This is the first factory-made vinyl record, produced in small quantities (less than five copies) to evaluate the quality of the record before launching mass production. Rare and sought after by collectors, it is usually accompanied by the inscription "test pressing" on the label, the catalog number, the artist and the time or date of recording.


A detachable tab attached to the top/bottom of the outter sleeve opening.

Warp / Warped

A deformation of the vinyl record that can occur due to heat or humidity. A disc can also be warped due to bad storage (if the record has not been stored flat).

White Label

A blank record label (without colored artwork like on regular pressings). White labels are usually found on promos et les test-press. They are usually never distributed to the public.

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