Music Vinyl CD LP Audio Terms You Might Find on eBay

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Here is an alphabetical list of some audio and video terms that you may find on eBay but not know what they mean.

Acetate Metal discs covered in a waxy lacquer, onto which the track or tracks are then "cut" by a lathe. They are noticeably heavier than ordinary vinyl records; usually having hand written or typed labels, and have a very distinctive smell! Generally only a handful ever made, sometimes containing unreleased tracks or unique versions. Commonly to be found cut on one side only, or as a 10" disc cut with a 7" playing area. Generally better quality than vinyl as they are closer in generation to the original master tape, however the lacquer covering is not as hard wearing as regular vinyl and will not stand up to repeated plays. The 1990s has seen a decline in their production for promotional purposes with the advent of recordable CD-Rs.

Catalogue numbers Almost every commercial release has a unique catalogue number. This can be a combination of both letters and numbers. Promotional items very often have different catalogue numbers to the commercial release and are often easily spotted as the catalogue number will be prefixed "PRO", "DJ" or "PR". There is however no set pattern at all and catalogue numbers are rarely issued in sequence for a particular artist. Our descriptions often use the abbreviation "cat#" or "cat no.".

CD3 or 3" CD The smaller 3" CD disc, now mostly only produced in Japan (see Snap-packs). Not to be confused with the Minidisc. A large number of early CD singles were made in this format. Should play on most CD players without the need for a plastic adaptor.

CD-R or CD acetates Recordable CDs, usually gold or silver in colour. These differ from regular CD discs as the audio information on them is "burned" on in real time rather than "pressed". This makes them suitable for short production runs, where anything from a single copy to several hundred copies are required.

CD-Video A largely obsolete but highly collectable format, briefly popular during the late 1980s. CD-Videos were produced on 5", 8" or 12" size discs and can be played on some laserdisc players. 5" CD-Video discs have the advantage of containing audio tracks which can be played on a regular CD player.

Colored/Coloured vinyl Any colour in the spectrum other than black. Can be a single primary colour, or a mixture of colours, e.g. "splattered", "marbled" etc. Occasionally vinyl which appears, at first glance, to be black may well be pressed on translucent coloured vinyl, hence when held to a strong light source the disc will appear brown or red.

Counter Display Similar to a display card, but has a piece on the reverse which will enable the display to stand upright. Usually placed around the cash desk area in a record store (where it's most likely to attract your attention).

Custom sleeve A picture or title sleeve that is unique to the promotional pressing and is not used for the commercial release.

Cut out A deleted item that has been saw cut, clipped or drilled by the record company to prevent it being sold as full price product.

DAT (Digital Audio Tape). About half the size of a conventional cassette. A few titles were made commercially available on this format in the mid 80s. No longer considered a domestic format, it is still used widely within the music industry for recording and mastering purposes.

DCC (Digital Compact Cassette). Slightly smaller than a conventional cassette. An early competitor to Minidisc which did not really gain popularity.

Double pack A set of two CD or vinyl discs. The term is usually associated with promotional double 12" releases issued for DJ purposes, double 7" single sets or two part CD singles.

Deleted An item is termed deleted when it is no longer possible to order new stock direct from the record company.

Die-CutA sleeve with a custom cut area or hole, usually intended to reveal a picture disc, coloured vinyl disc or the label, without having to remove it from the sleeve.

Digipak A folding cardboard CD sleeve into which is glued a plastic tray that holds the disc.

Display card / Display flat Picture, title or colour display on card for promoting an artist or single. Usually the type of thing you would see stapled to the wall of your local record store.

DVD (Digital Video Disc) CD sized visual/audio format. DVD's are region specific (see below) and require DVD player or other compatible hardware.

DVD-A (DVD Audio) CD sized format which betters the audio experience through dvd technology. DVD-A needs a dvd-a player or dvd player, they are not cd player compatible.

Gatefold A sleeve folded down the centre to create a double pocket. Often abbreviated to "g/fold" or "g/f".

Gold stamped Regular or promotional sleeve to which an embossed gold "stamp" has been applied stating that it is a promotional or advance copy. Does not necessarily mean the actual disc will be a promotional copy.

HTF Hard to Find

Jewel case The transparent outer plastic case of a compact disc. Sometimes manufactured from translucent coloured plastic or custom etched.

Limited edition Limited pressing or issue where a strict number of units has been manufactured & distributed, usually with no likelihood of a repressing once sold out. Differs from a regular issue, which is intended to be available for a longer period and may be repressed to meet demand. Usually abbreviated to "ltd" or "ltd edn". May sometimes be individually numbered.

Matrix number The number or numbers in the run-off groove of a record or around the centre ring on the playing side of a compact disc. Identifies a particular pressing from other pressings of the same item. For example, the only way to tell which mix of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'Relax' 12" you may have (there are three different ones with identical labels) is purely by the matrix in the run off groove.

Maxi-Single European term for an extended play 12" or CD single.

MiniDisc An increasingly popular digital format housed inside a 5cm x 5cm cartridge. Not to be confused with the 3" CD.

Minimax CD A 5" CD with a 3" playing area in the centre and clear plastic surround.

No'd Numbered - usually referring to the packaging of limited editions.

NTSC Video standard for North America & Japan. Will not play on PAL systems.

OBi-strip The outer paper band around Japanese vinyl releases or the strip affixed to Japanese CDs. These give Japanese language information concerning the item and are usually decorative and highly attractive. Obi-strips are very rare on Japanese items dating from before the late 1960s.

O.S.T. ost st Original Sound Track. The soundtrack to a film, play, show or TV programme.

OOP Out of Print.  They don't make it anymore.

PAL Video standard for the UK, Australia & most of Europe. Will not play on NTSC systems. All our videos are PAL system unless stated otherwise.

P/S Picture sleeve or picture cover. Will not necessarily feature a picture of the group. We will still sometimes refer to an item having a picture sleeve even if there are only titles on the sleeve.

Picture insert A printed flat paper or card insert placed in front or behind a disc and housed in a plastic sleeve or case. Picture discs sometime come with a printed backing card and most Japanese 7" singles have a picture insert rather than a printed pocket sleeve.

Poster sleeve Vinyl record that comes in a picture sleeve which when unfolded can be used as a poster.

Press Kit As below but with the addition of a CD, cassette or vinyl format.

Press pack / Press kit A combination of printed or photocopied literature (possibly on Record Company headed paper) usually accompanied by a promotional photograph. Sent out to the media, newspapers, magazines, etc, containing new release information and/or biography material about an artist. Sometimes contained in an A4 folder, possibly customised for the artist/release concerned. No set formula, but most DO NOT contain any music. We generally refer to a combination of music format & press information as a press kit.

Press release Usually a single A4 sheet sent out with advance or promotional copies of a release and containing additional information for journalists or urging DJs to feature the item on their playlist.

Promo A very broadly used word! Technically this is any item produced specifically to be used in promoting an artist or release to the media, DJ's, shops, radio stations, etc. Any item classed as promo or promotional will have some distinguishing feature that makes it different from any commercially available release. Promo items commonly contain one of the following phrases: Promo(tional) Use Only, DJ Use Only, Play It Say It Don't Sell It, Not For Sale or Not For Resale. Not every promo item states that it is promo or uses any of the above terms, some merely use specific catalogue numbers or prefix/suffix the catalogue number of the normal commercial issue with "DJ", "ADV", "PR", "PRO" or just plain "P"! Items referred to as PROMO-ONLY in our descriptions generally do not have an exact commercial counterpart.

Proof artwork or sleeve Basically a test run of a sleeve or other piece of packaging. Probably will not have any promotional markings but will be noticeably different to the finished commercial item as they usually retain the printers colour keys and are generally not cut or folded as the finished item would be.

SA-CD - Super Audio CDCD sized format which betters the audio experience through dvd technology. SA-CD are only playable in SA-CD players, the SA-CD 'Hybrids' will play in CD & DVD players

SECAM French video standard. Only plays in black & white on PAL systems.

Shaped picture disc or CD A disc which is custom cut to whatever shape required! Vinyl discs are cut with a 7" or 10" playing area. Usually a collectable limited edition pressing.

Snap-pack Unique form of packaging for Japanese 3" CD singles. A 6" x 3" card sleeve folded over a plastic frame which holds the CD. The frame can be "snapped" down to 3" x 3" size and the sleeve folded around it. We sell these "snapped" used Japanese 3" CDs at a much lower price than unadulterated examples.

Test pressing A pressing made to test quality in advance of a longer run or for use as promos prior to finished promo or commercial product being available. Some test pressings have studio labels or just plain white labels instead of record company labels. Some test pressings have different catalogue numbers to domestic releases. Sometimes abbreviated to "T/P".

Uncut picture disc An item which when commercially released was a shaped disc, but for test pressing purposes has been left circular with either a clear or coloured surround around the actual picture. Only ever a handful in circulation.

White label A promotional pressing with a completely blank label denoting it is promo only. May also have unique black on white printed labels with just artist & title information or "A" & "B" symbols. Some white labels have different catalogue numbers to domestic releases.

Wallet sleeve Cardboard pocket into which a CD can be slipped.

Wax North American term for vinyl. Commonly found in the phrase "Coloured wax".

Z-Pack CD case that opens out to a "Z" shape. Generally narrower that a regular double CD case and usually intended to hold a double CD single set.

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