FAQ

Audio transfer in single copy

This is a transfer of an audio master from another medium (usually digital, but not necessarily) to vinyl. The procedure involves the engraving of a virgin vinyl disc using a special diamond needle. The vinyl engraved in a single copy is a copy of the master (but not a duplication). It is is suitable for listening, and is resistant to wear, sounding just like a classic vinyl.

Advantages of the transfer to vinyl

This is a unique vinyl “manually” produced by transferring the 1X audio. Quality and wear are virtually identical to an industrially produced vinyl. The audio transfer on vinyl is particularly suitable for those requiring a single vinyl or a small run.

Audio transfer on lacquer disc

This is a transfer of an audio master from another medium (usually digital, but not necessarily) onto lacquer or acetate. 14” diameter (usually) metal disc covered with a special lacquer/varnish and is then engraved with a small sapphire needle. This specially engraved record (not to be confused with the vinyl record) is the first step in industrial-scale production. The sound quality of this disc is very high, but it deteriorates with each listening.

Difference between printed vinyl and engraved vinyl

Industrially-produced vinyl records involve the fabrication of matrices that are used to generate (by pressing) identical copies of vinyl records in series and in quantity.

The vinyl engraved through an audio transfer process is a unique vinyl, made individually rather than in series.

From the point of view of audio quality and wear, engraved vinyl and industrially produced vinyl are very similar. However, there may be differences in the depth of the grooves, in the background noise (present in any vinyl) and in the exaltation of some medium-high frequencies.

From the aesthetic point of view, the industrially produced vinyl has the typical herringbone edge (this is because it is pressed and trimmed), while the single copy transfer vinyl has a flat edge (because it is produced in sheets and cut with a cutter)

How a vinyl is produced industrially

Vinyl production in a nutshell:

  1. Audio transfer from the audio master to the lacquer. Two laquers are used to engrave side A and side B. One for each side.

  2. Through the processes of silvering and galvanic baths, matrices (positive and negative) are produced from the lacquers. One for each side.

  3. After having their centres drilled, the negative matrices are cut to size and checked before being used for printing. Positive matrices are used as mother moulds to generate other positive matrices for reprinting.

  4. Test pressings are usually produced before going to press. The test pressingis simply a printing test run produced in a few copies (numbers may vary depending on the printing house) to verify that the product does not present any defects. It is important to know that the test pressingproduces a printed vinyl exactly like the ones that will be produced in series afterwards. Therefore, if there are defects it is necessary to start the entire production from the beginning

  5. In the meantime, round labels are produced and placed in the center of the vinyl. The labels are printed on a special paper that is resistant to high temperatures.

  6. Negative matrices, stampers or printers (side A and B) are placed in a press that injects vinyl between the two matrices. High pressure and temperatures press the vinyl paste. The doily (label or label) is “glued” during the press.

  7. The vinyl, still in the press, is trimmed to size.

  8. After being removed from the press, the vinyl is wrapped in the inner casing and left to cool for approximately 24 hours.

  9. Some printers automatically insert the vinyl into the case fresh off the press, other printers insert the vinyl in the case after 24 hours.

For a more accurate description:

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Production_of_gramophone_records
Video: pt.1 http://youtu.be/xUGRRUecBik
pt.2 http://youtu.be/IReDh9ec_rk

Test pressing

Test pressings are usually produced before going to press. The test pressings simply a printing test run, produced in a few copies (numbers may vary depending on the printing house) to verify that the product does not present any production defects. It is important to know that the test pressing produced is a printed vinyl exactly like the ones that will be produced in series afterwards. Therefore, if there are defects it is necessary to restart the entire production from the beginning.It is important not to confuse the test pressingwith the audio transfer onto vinyl. These are two different processes s with different functions. To learn more, see How a vinyl is industrially produced

Why the test pressing

The test pressings important for verifying the quality of the matrices that will be used to produce the vinyl. The test pressing, being a real printed vinyl, allows for the identification of defects such as tip jumps, excessive noise, closing the groove at the end of the stroke and so on. If the test pressing manifests real problems, it will be necessary to proceed with the production of the matrices (1-3) and carry out new test pressings.

Mastering

Mastering is a form of audio post-production. It is a process of preparing and transferring the recorded audio from a source containing the final mix onto a data storage device (the master), ie the source from which all copies will be produced (by methods such as pressing, duplication or the reply). Mastering mainly (but not only) provides corrections on equalization, enhancement of dynamics, control of possible out of phase signals.

The importance of mastering

Mastering allows for the optimization of the audio produced for the support onto which it will be duplicated. A good record is not only the result of a good mixing and recording, but also of a well produced mastering. Never underestimate the mastering process and always rely on competent and experienced technicians. A bad mastering, or a duplication of a mastering audio without mastering, results in a poor quality disc.! Before going to print always ensure the quality of your master, listen to it on different systems and, if you have doubts, make a vinyl audio transfer to test your master on vinyl.

Glossary

How to order your vinyl