Track Times Explained

  • Judging the track time for a piece of vinyl is more complicated than digital media, like burning a CD for example, because the grooves are spaced apart slightly differently with each revolution of the disc. Sizes and speeds can also vary the track time, as well as the loudness of the audio (see here for rough guidelines for each type of disc). When choosing a dub, its important to be aware of the track times and which discs would be suitable, so this guide is to help you decide.

     

    The Variables

    Disc SizePlaying Speed (RPM)
    Discs come in three main sizes: 12 inch, 10 inch and 7 inch. The larger the disc, the more audio it can usually hold. The slower a disc turns, the tighter we can pack the grooves, giving more 'lines per inch' (LPI) and longer recordings.
    Disc LayoutLoudness
    The standard disc layouts are LP, EP and Single. LPs normally hold about 8 tracks, EPs hold about 4 tracks, and singles hold 2 tracks. LPs and EPs are usually cut on 12 inch, but singles can be cut on any size disc. Singles and EPs are occasionally cut on ten inches too. The LPI is also affected by the loudness of the recording - the quieter the recording is, the more LPI we can fit. For example, a 12 inch disc can be used to cut one or two loud tracks, or 4-5 tracks at normal 'LP' loudness.

     

    The Rules... (well, the guidelines)

    Tracks can be any length you like (up to a maximum of about 20 minutes), but some dub formats allow greater track times than others. So if you are not sure which dub to get, just make a list of all the of the times for each of your tracks, and see how they will fit using the table below.

    Singles  EPs LPs

    7 inch single


    45rpm

    10 inch single


    45rpm

    12 inch single


    45rpm

    10 inch EP


    33rpm

    12 inch EP


    33rpm

    12 inch LP


    33rpm

    Per Side:          
    up to 4 mins
    up to 7 mins
    up to 9 mins
    up to 10 mins
    up to 15 mins up to 20 mins
    inc. 1 track inc. 1 track inc. 1 track inc. 2 tracks inc. 2 tracks inc. 4 tracks
    max. 1 track max. 2 tracks max. 2 tracks max. 3 tracks max. 3 tracks max. 7 tracks
               
               
    Per Dub:          
    up to 8 mins
    up to 14 mins
    up to 18 mins
    up to 20 mins
    up to 30 mins up to 40 mins
    inc. 2 tracks inc. 2 tracks inc. 2 tracks inc. 4 tracks inc. 4 tracks inc. 8 tracks
    max. 2 tracks max. 4 tracks max. 4 tracks max. 6 tracks max. 6 tracks max. 14 tracks

    * this table is just a rough guideline for the most common combinations of size, layout and speed, recorded at a standard loudness.