Decoding the Jargon: A Glossary of Vinyl Terms

Decoding the Jargon: A Glossary of Vinyl Terms

For new enthusiasts stepping into the world of vinyl, the terminologies used can be somewhat overwhelming. Don't fret! Here's a simple glossary to help you decode the jargon and better understand the vinyl community.


Analog refers to the method of recording audio in which the sound waves are represented by physical means, such as grooves in a vinyl record. This is in contrast to digital recording, which converts sound waves into numerical values.

Dead Wax

The dead wax, also known as the runout groove, is the area on a vinyl record between the end of the music and the label. It often contains useful information such as the pressing plant identifier and mastering engineer's initials.


A gatefold is a type of album cover that folds out to provide extra space for artwork or liner notes. It's often used for double albums or special editions.


Grooves are the tiny, spiral lines cut into the record where the audio information is stored. The needle of the record player follows these grooves to play the music.


LP stands for "long play." It's a type of vinyl record format that typically plays at 33 1/3 RPM and can hold around 22 minutes of music per side.


Pressing refers to the process of creating a vinyl record. The audio is cut into a master disc, which is then used to press the grooves into the vinyl.


RPM stands for "revolutions per minute," which is the speed at which a record is played. The most common speeds are 33 1/3 RPM (for LPs) and 45 RPM (for singles).


The sleeve is the protective cover in which a vinyl record is stored. It can be a simple paper sleeve or a more elaborate gatefold cover.


A turntable is the device used to play vinyl records. It consists of a platter (which holds the record), a tonearm (which holds the needle), and often a preamplifier.

Whether you're shopping at or browsing in-store at Zhivago Gifts in Galway, understanding these terms will help you navigate the world of vinyl with ease. So, welcome to the vinyl community! We can't wait for you to start your vinyl journey with us.

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