Miniaturisation

I have a large music collection, and today I wondered how physically large it might be in various obsolete formats (not including the playback equipment).

SD card

MiniDisc

CD

Cassette

LP

1/4″ tape

In its current form, it is stored on a hard disk as 59GB of MP3 and other digital compressed formats. It has a total playing time of 718 hours – just a touch under a month.

Format Weight Size
MP3s on 64GB SD memory card 0.002 kg 1.613 cm³
582 MiniDiscs 14 kg 21,338 cm³
538 audio CDs 59 kg 95,495 cm³
718 cassettes 57 kg 81,001 cm³
897 reel-to-reel tapes 449 kg 151,593 cm³
862 12″ LPs 172 kg 400,938 cm³
1724 12″ EPs 345 kg 801,876 cm³

OK, so EP was a slightly facetious choice of format for storing an entire music library, but if we compare the SD card to a stack of LPs, the LPs weighs 86,000 times more, and is 248,566 times larger. In fact, the LPs would be about the same size as a wheelie bin, and weigh as much as two people.

While the reel-to-reel tapes are a bit smaller, they also weigh almost half a ton!

If you’re curious about the definitions I’ve used in these back-of-the-envelope calculations, see the following section.

Definitions

  • Audio CD – Playing time 80 minutes, in hard jewel case with paper inlay
  • MiniDisc – Playing time 74 minutes, in hard case
  • Cassette – C60 cassette, playing time 60 minutes, in standard hard plastic case
  • Reel-to-reel – ¼” 1800′ tape on 7″ reel, 7½ips playback speed, playing time 48 minutes, in card box
  • LP – 331/3rpm 12″ vinyl, playing time 50 minutes, in thin card sleeve
  • EP – 45rpm 12″ vinyl, playing time 25 minutes, in thin card sleeve

2 Comments

  1. Stu
    December 20, 2011
    Reply

    Love it!

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