Grooved Media Examples

Grooved media is the oldest sound recording format going back to the late 1800s, and is arguably the most analog of all the analog formats. Possessing the unique ability to be played without any electricity, it was able to be used in even the most remote places of the planet, and was the format of choice to send into space on NASA’s Voyager spacecraft.

The sound modulation is recorded as either a groove moving from left to right, or a groove moving up and down. A wide range of media types have been used to record the grooves including tinfoil, wax, aluminum, plastic, and lacquer coated aluminum. The shape of grooved recording media can also vary widely from 2” diameter cylinders up to 20” diameter discs.

In order to retrieve the audio, a playback stylus is used to trace the grooves made by the recording machine. Initially this was done mechanically with a diaphragm and horn, but by the mid-1920s it was possible to play the grooves back electrically. From the first commercial wax cylinders in the 1890s to modern vinyl LPs, grooved media has delivered almost the full history of commercial music into homes across the globe.

Professional Disc Base Types

Wax Cake

Metal Pressing Parts

Shellac Pressing

Uncoated Aluminum

Lacquer Coated Aluminum

Lacquer Coated Glass

Vinyl Pressing


Cylinder Types


Black Wax



Grooved Belts