How Does a Vinyl Record Work?

By Jennifer Brister ; Updated September 15, 2017
How Does a Vinyl Record Work?

What Is a Vinyl Record?

Though digital music is the wave of the future, any music enthusiast will tell you that there is a certain quality that can only be achieved on a vinyl record. Though few people know it, many contemporary bands even choose to see their new releases on vinyl as well as CD.

A vinyl record is an analog recording, as opposed to CD's recording, which are digital. Analog is able to catch the entire sound wave, while digital only recreates "snapshots" of the analog sound.

How Are Vinyl Records Made?

Sound vibrations are transmitted to a sensitive stylus (or needle), which cuts a groove into a wax record as it revolves. The vibrations of the stylus cause various depths and widths to be carved into the wax record, creating a groove.

How Does It Play?

When you place a record onto a record player, the needle on the stylus retraces the groove that has been cut into the record. As it retraces the groove, it recreates the sounds which caused the groove to bend and form in the first place by transferring the vibrations to a diaphragm in a speaker which picks up the sound and amplifies it to a reasonable level.

About the Author

Jennifer Brister a freelance writer located in Northeast Louisiana. She has enjoyed careers as an educator, a nuclear lab technician and a massage therapist. Her writing can be found in several publications, including "The Circle," "Carbon Cotton Magazine" and "Fashion Advantage Magazine." She has been employed as a professional freelance writer for three years.