The Ultimate List of Vinyl Record Terminology

The Ultimate List of Vinyl Record Terminology

Whether you're new to collecting vinyl or a seasoned veteran, vinyl terminology can get overwhelming.  With so many different names for the same thing (like vinyl? record? vinyl record? LP? vinyl record album?), it can be confusing.  Have no fear though, because we have put together a list of useful vinyl record terminology that you can whip out next time you find yourself in an independent record store or having drinks with your audiophile friend. Let's dig in: 


Vinyl or Vinyl Record - a phonograph record made of vinyl 

LP - a vinyl phonograph record played at 33  1/3 rpm and with seven or more tracks

Maxi Single - a music single release with more than the usual two tracks. Usually a 12 inch vinyl

Shellac - a phonograph record made of a breakable material containing shellac, especially one to be played at 78 r.p.m.

Phonograph - any sound-reproducing machine using records in the form of cylinders or discs 

Turntable or Record Player - the rotating disk that spins the record on a phonograph 

Liner Notes - the printed information on a record sleeve  

45's - a seven-inch phonograph record played at 45 r.p.m., especially a popular-music single 

Single - a music release with oner song on either side of the phonograph. Usually 7 inches and played at 45rpm

EP - a phonograph record that is typically played at 45 rpm and contains more tracks than a single, but fewer tracks than an LP

RPM - acronym for "Revolutions per Minute"

Picture Disc - a phonograph record with a picture on the vinyl.Remaster - to make a new master tape or record from an old master tape, usually to improve the fidelity of an old recording

Fidelity - the degree of accuracy with which sound or images are recorded or reproduced

Reissue - to mint, print, or publish for sale or distribution again

Pressing - any phonograph record produced in a record-molding press from a master or a stamper

Master or Stamper - a mold, usually of metal, from which disk recordings are pressed

Cartridge - an electromechanical transducer that is used to play records on a turntable

Stylus or Needle - a needle for reproducing the sounds of a phonograph record.

Tonearm - the mechanism that holds the cartridge and stylus over the record

Lead-in Groove - Appearing near the outer edge of the record and leading the stylus inward to the performance

Grooves - the track or channel of a phonograph record for the needle or stylus

7" Record Adapters / 45 Adapters - a little plastic piece that allows a 7" record to be played on a 12" turntable

Disc Stabilizer- a weighted disc placed at the center of a vinyl record to correct any minor warping or distortion

Variants- pressings of the same music release usually with different color or patterned vinyl. Can also include objects inside the vinyl.


Most of these definitions have been pulled from, a great reference if you want to learn more!
Back to blog