A new wave of audiophiles and music collectors have resurrected vinyl records.
Whether it's due to nostalgia or the unique listening experience, one thing's sure: analog is staying alive.
However, delivering this remarkable blast from the past is nothing short of a challenge. It takes tremendous craftsmanship, time, and resources to make a vinyl record available.
In this article, we'll take you on a tour of how to make a vinyl record. We'll also reveal why the process takes some time to complete.
Vinyl Records: A Ballad of Art and Technology
Phonograph pressers and music labels need talent, thoroughness, and time-tested techniques to make vinyl records.
The excellent sound quality of these timeless tangible records is no accident. That's why vinyl record manufacturers only hire experts to manage different production stages.
Each step is vital to creating a vinyl record. From mastering to plating, pressing, quality control, and packaging.
The following sections will discuss how to make vinyl records and why it takes weeks to finish.
1. Audio Mastering
The fascinating process begins here. A skilled mastering engineer prepares recorded music for the analog format.
Then, they ensure optimum sound quality by carefully adjusting volume levels, equalization, dynamic range, and spatial positioning.
Mastering is essential for establishing consistency and cohesiveness among tracks embedded in a vinyl album. It determines the characteristic and consistent volume levels and tonal balance needed for a superior listening experience.
After ensuring the highest audio quality, the mastered files are stored as grooves on lacquer discs. This process takes a few days to a week.
Plating is a crucial stage in vinyl record production. It involves intricate and meticulous processes to transform the lacquer master copy into a metal plate.
The plates are necessary for physically stamping records onto vinyl.
Engineers use electroplating technologies to embed grooves from the master lacquer disc as "negatives" onto the "metal mother." Once formed, these negative impressions are used to make positive metal stampers.
After a couple of weeks of labor, experts can make precision-made replicas of the mastered audio.
3. Record Pressing
Pressing is probably the most exciting stage in vinyl record production.
Pressing plants melt and mold PVC (polyvinyl chloride) vinyl pellets into playable vinyl "biscuits." These flat discs are the raw material for the vinyl record.
Pressing specialists shape the discs by using opposing stampers and heating and molding techniques. Heat allows the biscuits to flow and take the shape of the stampers. They apply controlled and perfectly timed pressure to ensure the grooves are perfectly transferred onto the vinyl.
Once set, they cut vinyl copies to smoothen their edges and remove imperfections. Depending on the demand and production requirements, this process takes up to two weeks or more.
4. Quality Control
Manufacturers perform vinyl quality checks throughout the production process. After pressing, the discs undergo a rigorous visual inspection to spot scratches, blemishes, and deformities.
Additionally, each record is meticulously tested for audio and playback quality. This process ensures that it sounds great and generates minimal surface noise.
This attention to detail and quality control adds significant time to the production process. It will take about a week, depending on the inspector's thoroughness.
5. Packaging and Customization: Breathing Visual Appeal Onto the Record
Vinyl records are the most profitable physical audio storage today. Aside from the one-of-a-kind and nuanced listening experience, the vinyl records' appeal lies in their packaging.
Limited edition and custom vinyl records typically include gimmicks like artistic jackets, sleeves, and inserts. Many cherish their production or custom vinyl copies due to these additions.
Custom made vinyl and personalized records emerge as unique gift options for purists and music enthusiasts. However, it's highly recommended to make your orders several months ahead. As demonstrated by previous sections, producing vinyl records takes considerable time.
Manufacturing and reproducing vinyl records is a time-consuming and expensive venture. Although possible, sourcing the equipment and expertise needed to generate these physical memorabilia is difficult for most individuals.
Consider CD or DVD duplicates for your customized recording needs.
Bison Disc has over two decades of expertise. We transform digital audio files into high-quality products with high resolution art covers. We also have responsive customer service to assist you throughout the process.
Get a Bison Disc quotation today.