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January 2019 Retro Gaming Article


January 13, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Amidst all the mini video game consoles on the market, I'd never heard of a 3-inch vinyl record format

3-inch record turntable
Crosley seeks to bolster the rare 3-inch format turntables, also known as 8-ban, on Record Store Day.
As a kid, I had a hefty stack of 45rpm records with a hit song on one side and unknown mystery tune on the B-side (sometimes a rare gem). But 8-ban turntables won't play 45's. They play a 3-inch vinyl format closer in size to CD singles on 3" CDs or those cute little GameCube games on mini DVDs, also 3 inches.

Known as 8-ban, these seemingly mini turntables play these mini records. At 3" they are limited to only four minutes of audio.Popular in Japan, it's easy to see why such a format would be niche at best. Most commercial songs exceed the 4-minute limit, making it hard to comply with. Jack White of the White Stripes has issued his songs on 3" records as many are less than four minutes... and he's a quirky kind of guy. His Third Man company sold the format.

Cruiser portable turntable Vinyl has made a big comeback in the age of faltering CD sales. From curious Millennials to those who appreciate vinyl as a beautiful analog format, many new releases are coming to the vinyl format. Crosley Radio has aided the cause with $80 (and up) portable turn tables. Many of their portable turntables are sold next to newly stocked bins of LPs.

Crosley wants to reinvigorate the 8-ban turntables on Record Store Day with the release of an affordable turntable geared toward playing 3' records. Their 8-ban turntable was shown at this year's CES. It's powered by USB or battery, with an Audio-Technica cartridge, pitch control and a dust cover. Third Man and Epitaph will be pressing music for this format to extend it's interest beyond the one-day event of Record Store Day.

I'm not sure if 8-ban is ready to shed it's obscurity, but this is certainly an interesting idea and Crosley seems intent to the point of selling the requisite hardware. I like quirky things of this sort, but will enough folks, outside the usual audiophiles, jump on this? Look for this format on April 13th - Record Store Day.

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