Over 50,000 rare records have been archived online for your listening pleasure

Vinyl - just that little bit more natural and refined than a compressed Spotify playlist, don't you think? And, thanks to a collaboration between New York’s ARChive of Contemporary Music and the Internet Archive, you can now listen to over 50,000 rare records online.

As part of the Great 78 Project, a community project for the preservation, research and discovery of 78rpm records, this batch represents just a small part of the 200,000 record collection that's in the process of being digitised.

These records aren't made of the usual resin (although with records being made from blood, human ashes, chocolate, bone, and other strange materials who can say what's 'usual'?) but use shellac instead. These predate the traditional LP and are so brittle they could break apart in your hands.

This isn't an attempt to polish the sound, though - the Great 78 Project aims to preserve all surface noise and imperfections as well as demonstrate how different styli can affect the sound.

The photo above shows how four different recordings of the same album can be made simultaneously, using four different styli.

You can search through the archive by creator, the person that digitised the record, or the year of the original recording (as well as using other filters). Dive in - you've only a few thousand to go!

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Adam was a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?, reviewing consumer gadgets for online and print publication, as well as researching and producing features and advice pieces on new technology in the hi-fi industry. He has since worked for PC Mag as a contributing editor and is now a science and technology reporter for The Independent.