Vinyl is back in a big way, but it was gone for a long time. Not here -- Masterdisk has been cutting records continuously since we opened in 1973. But many artists and labels haven't been around as long as we have, and don't know the ins-and-outs of how to cut a record. So we're going to tell you what we know.
Once you're done with recording and mixing, there are four steps in the vinyl production process: 1) mastering, 2) plating, 3) pressing, 4) packaging. Let's take a quick look at each stage.
This is what we do. Back in the day, all mastering was vinyl mastering. Artists, producers and labels would bring us their mixes, and we would master them to tape. Then the mastering engineer would put the master tape on a customized playback deck and cut the music onto a lacquer disc using a special lathe. That's still essentially what we do. The only difference is that instead of tape, we usually cut vinyl from high-resolution digital files.
Cutting vinyl is definitely one of those things – like instrument repair – where you want to make sure that you hire someone who really knows what they're doing. You don't want to pour your heart and soul into producing a great vinyl package and end up with a sub-par cut.
This step often gets lumped in with pressing, because many services do both. But it's an important, unique step in the process, and, like all the steps, you want to make sure it's done right. Once our mastering engineer finishes cutting your lacquer, we overnight it to the plating plant, where (to simplify it tremendously) they make a metal stamper from the lacquer. This is what your records will be pressed from.
The stamper is sent to the vinyl pressing plant, where the actual records are made.
Once the records are pressed, they need to be put into sleeves and made pretty. This is sometimes a service provided by the pressing company.
It seems kind of complicated, right? Well, it is... But you don't have to manage all those steps yourself. There are lots of brokers that handle plating, pressing and packaging coordination, and Masterdisk has partnerships with the best of them. So you can come to Masterdisk to make sure you get the finest vinyl cut possible, and then relax while you're taken through the rest of the steps by one of our broker partners.
Masterdisk offers world-class vinyl cutting. Let us be your partner in creating the best sounding, most appealing version of your music on vinyl.
Click here to download our free "Why You Should Consider Vinyl" report (PDF).