The Different Weights of Records and Why They Matter

A record player playing a vinylVinyl records have something about them that makes for an extra-special music listening experience. While the format has seen its days as the dominant form of music consumption pass by, listeners still love the novelty appeal vinyl albums hold. If you’re starting or expanding your collection, it’s important to become familiar with the finer details that allow your records to sound their best for the longest. One of those details is a record’s weight. 

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What Do Record Weights Mean? 

Record weight is easy enough to understand — it literally describes the number of grams the disc weighs. Most records weigh between 80 and 200 grams. As weight increases, a record is more likely to spin consistently without shifting or lifting off the turntable. Audiophiles consider 180 grams to be the ideal weight for a 12-inch record, while the best weight for 45s is around 50 grams. 

Does Record Weight Matter?

For many consumers, weight isn’t a top priority when shopping for records. More often than not, listeners simply want to find a copy of their desired album, regardless of its manufacturing quality. As you get deeper into the world of vinyl albums, you’ll realize record weight is actually very important for two main reasons:

  • Sound quality: To achieve the greatest sound quality, a record should spin steadily on the turntable with minimal disruption. A lightweight record is easier to knock off its track, causing the needle to jump in the middle of a song. Lighter records may also lift off the turntable ever so slightly as they spin, which can cause the record player to pick up background noise. 
  • Album health: The heavier a record is, the more durable it will be. Records weighing around 180 grams are the most resistant to warping or breaking. Also, because needles are less likely to bounce around on a heavier record, the record’s grooves will remain intact longer so you can enjoy years of scratch-free playback. 

Sound Solutions — Record Clamps vs. Weights

Record on Turntable with Record ClampBuying heavier records is the ultimate key to a quality listening experience, but if you have a few lightweight records in your collection, there’s still hope. Try using a record clamp or record weight to keep your album in place while you listen. 

A record clamp is a device that uses force to secure an album in place. These devices screw onto your record player when the album is in place and allow the listener to adjust the pressure to correspond with the disc’s weight. Clamps work fine, but you’ll need to take the time to carefully tighten the device before listening. 

Conversely, record weights are puck-like discs that rest on the center of a record as it spins. Weights are easy to use, but they offer less flexibility to work with different records. Neither clamps nor weights are a complete solution, but they can certainly improve a record’s sound quality and longevity. 

Complete Your Record Player Setup at Record Head

At Record Head, we carry a wide selection of record players and accessories to help you get the most from your listening experience. Visit our shop in West Allis, WI, to buy, sell or trade records, sound systems and more. To inquire about our current inventory, contact the Record Head team today! You can also shop our records online.

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