This page is here to provide more information for people wanting to order lathe cut vinyl dubplates from us. All information below should be read thoroughly BEFORE placing an order so that you understand fully what you are ordering and what is possible to avoid any confusion.
What exactly is a “Lathe cut vinyl dubplate” – We use a vinyl recorder T560 to cut your audio into a blank plastic record in real time – if your track is 7 minutes long it takes 7 minutes to cut it! A blank record is placed on the machine and heated with the heatlamp then your audio is fed through the machines hardware units and cut into the record using a sharpened diamond stylus with a heating coil attached. These are not “acetate” or “laquer” dubplates but are plastic and have the same look and feel as a normal vinyl record. The cut records do not wear out like Acetates or Laquers do with repeated plays and are extremely hard wearing, If they are looked after properly they should last you longer than a normal pressed vinyl record.
The blank discs we use are 2mm thick variants to ensure a good heavyweight end product that will look and feel slightly thicker than a pressed record. our 10″ cuts will be 120gr and the 12″ will be 180gr the same as a heavyweight pressed vinyl record. They look and feel fantastic and are certainly a lot higher quality than what you would expect from a pressed vinyl record.
What do they sound like? – You can get cuts that sound as good if not better than a pressed record with our lathe how ever you have to be aware of the limitations of a vinyl record. You may of heard people talk about “vinyl warmth” before. This is down to the fact that certain frequencies can not cut well on vinyl so they are optimized or removed before the cutting process. For example bass under 30hz and treble over 4k will start to distort, this is not to say that we can not cut anything over 4k but volume will be reduced and treble will be lower which is what will result in that “vinyl warmth”. these days producers are not limited by this so we find music has a lot more low and top end in it how ever these will not be on your finished record so expect a difference in your cut records sound versus a digital file of the same track.
It is important that you understand that as part of the cutting process the sound of your track will change, How ever its not as drastic as you might think from reading the above BUT you should make sure you understand the process of how vinyl works and that it will make some changes to the sound of your track before ordering your lathe cut vinyl dubplates.
The very best sounding records will be tracks that are mixed for vinyl – think back to the 70s and 80s before CD took over, at that point everything was mixed to sound amazing on vinyl, these days everything is mixed for digital and loudness due to this your music will sound different as we have to work within the limitations of the record. If you want your track mixed and mastered specifically to sound its best on vinyl this is a service that we provide – please get in touch for more info.
It is worth also noting that there is a small increase in what we would refer to as “Noise Floor” with any record cutting due to the method of cutting. Noise floor would be what you would know as residual hiss or back ground noise. You will not notice then in loud parts of the record but in quieter parts of the record such as the lead in or run out grooves you may notice they are not completely silent. How ever it is evident even on pressed records not just lathe cut dubplates
The link below contains a small audio sample of a track which we have cut onto a lathe cut vinyl dubplate. We have uploaded the original pre master, a recording from a pressed vinyl record and our lathe cut dubplate. The pressed vinyl and the cut dubplate were both cut from the same pre master which is the one we have uploaded. Both the pressed vinyl and our cut dubplate were recorded on the same turntable and mixer set up using the same settings. All files were normalised to 0db before uploading.
How long can they be? – This comes down to multiple variables but the main factor is the longer the track = less volume X the louder the track = less time so for example a track that is very long you will get less volume as the groove distance needs to be closer and the louder the track means you will get less time as the groove distance needs to be wider. Groove distance is the space between each groove on the record – Too close and the grooves will touch which makes the record jump and too far apart means that you have wasted space on the record meaning less time.
Ideal track lengths for optimum cutting are around the following:
10″ vinyl – 7 mins @ 45rpm or up to 8 mins @ 33rpm & Max – 15 mins @ 33rpm
12″ vinyl – 8 mins @ 45rpm or up to 12mins @ 33rpm & Max – 22 mins @ 33rpm
Note these are not exact and times will vary depending on the track being cut – lots of bass = wider grooves etc etc
If your track is longer than these ideal track length times then you will find the volume of your track will have to be reduced to fit the track on the record – there is no working around this as we are limited by the size of the disc. We will always try to cut as loud as possible to ensure the best quality cut for you but please bare the above in mind.
We cut at 45rpm as standard as this give the least surface noise on the finished product – 33rpm will be used if needed but this is at the discretion of the engineer when cutting – If you would like to specify a speed that you would prefer then please contact us before placing an order and we can see if it is possible based on your track times.
Sleeves – Our lathe cut dubplates are sleeved in a 36 Hertz Mastering branded white card sleeve which is placed in a resealable clear plastic sleeve – We are able to offer sticker printing for your sleeves if you want to customise them – please get in touch for info and pricing.
Batch order differences – Each record is a one off individual cut, the process can not be automated and everything is done by hand on each record. The run in groove (silent grooves at the start of the track), run off groove (spiral groove to the centre of the record at the end of the track), end loop (the looping final groove in the centre of the record) and any spaced grooves between tracks (The silent grooves between each track) has to be done by hand manually on the fly when the cutting process is happening so if you order multiple versions of the same vinyl with multiple tracks on each side then the track seperator grooves for each different record may vary in size as well as the run in and run out grooves being slightly different. The differences will be small if any and might not be noticable to the eye but we are just letting you know each record will be unique unlike a batch of pressed records which are all stampled from the same stamper. The audio silence between tracks however will remain the same as this is set manually before cutting and will be the same on every multiple variant of the record.
Don’t Panic! – Please do not read all of the above and panic thinking your lathe cut vinyl is going to sound terrible, the whole reason behind having all this information available is to make sure that you know what it is we are selling you and that the finished product may sound slightly different to your digital audio file. We also want to give you the above information to ensure that you take your time and make sure that you choose the best options and prepare your tracks in the best way possible for transfering to vinyl. Rest assured we are VERY passionate about vinyl cutting and will make sure that your tracks sound amazing for you. We are not here to push through as many cuts as we can each day and we will always ensure that we take our time to get you a great finished product.
Please do get in touch via our contact page with ANY questions you may have about getting tracks cut or what the best options for you are – we would love to hear from you.