16 rpm — the forgotten vinyl speed

16 rpm records – Was that really a thing?

I have no idea why this just popped into my head, but I had a flashback to being a kid (yes Jared, I was young at some point), and being fascinated with my parents’ record collection. I remember a good selection of Sixties 45s (including Double Barrel on 45 that got given to charity before I could lay my much older hands on it), a diverse collection of seventies LPs (Carpenters and Johnny Mathis for my Mum, and Deep Purple for my Dad) and even the odd inherited 78 too.

But there was a setting on our stereo music centre (it had one of those interchangeable spindles where you could stack up a bunch of 45s too) that confused me, and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever come across one, and that’s “16”. Unlike my seven year old self who did accidentally break the odd 78 (you knew this anyway parents), I have the internet, so googled “16 rpm records” and got back everything I needed to know about the mystery that has haunted me since childhood.

So instead of me trying to sound like an authority on something I just researched, check out this excellent Bloggerhythms piece from 2011. I also did a quick check on eBay — seems that The Bible in spoken word form is reasonably easy to locate, but nothing in the way of music. I wonder if 16 rpm can even me mastered and pressed these days? At least my TTXs can run 33 rpm at -50% should I ever stumble across one.


Have you ever seen a 16 rpm record? Do you have particular memories of vinyl from your childhood?

Main picture courtesy of vinylengine.com. At least somebody had a picture of a 16 rpm sector. You might want to see if Techncis 1210s come with 16 rpm – (They don’t)

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