7″ Records (often referred to as 45’s) can be cut at 45rpm or 33⅓rpm. When cut at 33⅓rpm you can have more minutes per side, yet the sound quality deteriorates the more content you want to press on a record (hence we suggest that you rather enlarge the format than compress the content and stick with 45rpm for a 7″). You have a choice of 7″ records with small and large (jukebox style) center holes.
10″ Records (same size as classic 78’s) can be cut at 45rpm or 33⅓rpm (we can cut them at 78 too but few would be able to listen to them).
12″ records are both the standard LP size cut at 33⅓rpm and the standard for club DJ’s cut at 45rpm. We also offer heavier vinyl records at 180g, if this is a preference.
To find out about recommended lengths and technical specifications please read on to the end of this section.
The standard is black vinyl which provides you with the best sound quality, but we happily press your record on a variety of different colours or blend/combine colours to create something truly unique.
Available options are:
- Single colour, transparent or opaque
- Colour in Colour
Picture discs are vinyl records, which have a printed label “sandwiched” in between two clear vinyl sides. The label can cover the whole or part of the surface area. We offer 12″, and 7″ Picture Discs each in one weight category.
What are the maximum playing times for each format
These are the theoretical recording lengths for various disc formats and different types of music recording. The table lists guideline values for one side of the disc:
|Suitable for MOST COMMON types of music|
|Groove width||40 µm||Diameter||At 33⅓rpm||At 45rpm|
|Mirror size||10 µm||30cm / 12″||19.38 mins||14.36 mins|
|Horizontal A.||20 µm||25cm / 10″||13.62 mins||10.09 mins|
|Vertical A.||10 µm||17cm / 7″||6.92 mins||5.13 mins|
|Suitable for TECHNO music|
|Groove width||50 µm||Diameter||At 33 1/3rpm||At 45rpm|
|Mirror size||10 µm||30cm / 12″||11.45 mins||8.48 mins|
|Horizontal A.||70 µm||25cm / 10″||8.05 mins||5.96 mins|
|Vertical A.||5 µm||17cm / 7″||4.09 mins||3.03 mins|
|Maximum TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE Values*|
|Groove width||100 µm||Diameter||At 33 1/3rpm||At 45rpm|
|Mirror size||10 µm||30cm / 12″||7.20 mins||5.33 mins|
|Horizontal A.||100 µm||25cm / 10″||5.06 mins||3.75 mins|
|Vertical A.||10 µm||17cm / 7″||2.57 mins||1.90 mins|
*This should be applied only in special cases, only when the frequency spectrum of the recording allows it or if it is not otherwise limited. A larger width of the groove than 70 μm is only feasible on the lacquer foil, and significantly impacts reproduction time. It also creates a certain dampening on the high frequencies, especially at the center of the record, which is limited by the maximum possibilities of lacquer technology.
Printing & Pressing
How will my Vinyl be pressed?
Whilst essentially pressing records is an age old technology there have been modifications to make it more efficient such as electronically controlled presses. The basic principle is that we start with a hydraulic press fitted with 2 pre-heated moulds and fitted with stampers (which holds your music!). The pre-heated vinyl matter is forced into the machine and sandwiched between two completely dry labels and the stampers are copied exactly into the vinyl matter. During this process the labels and vinyl matter are pressed under a pressure of 100 or more tons at a temperature of 160°C (345°F.
After the pressing mould is sufficiently cooled, the press opens and the vinyl record is removed, trimmed to the required size and visually inspected.
What kind of Label Printing does Duplion offer?
Centre Labels for Vinyl are printed on a special matt 150gsm material. These labels can be plain white, printed in 1 to 4 colours or have special pantone colours added as required. After printing they are baked to remove all humidity and then are pressed into the records at the same time as the record is pressed.
Duplion recommend that you do Test Pressings, this is why it is built into our prices as a standard offering. Test Pressings allow the artist, band or label to ensure they are happy with the overall quality of the cut, sound and metalwork used before the full amount is pressed. Your test pressings will arrive with blank white labels and once approved we can finish your production.
What is the Mastering Process for Vinyl?
The mastering process starts with the checking of the supplied audio master, making minor changes (if necessary) to the final version to ensure that it is suitable for the cutting and production of vinyl records and the final transcribing of the prepared audio onto a physical carrier by cutting the grooves into the master plates. This is then processed by using DMM (Direct metal mastering) or in special situations, lacquer technology.
What types of mastering do you offer?
Duplion provides both Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) and Lacquer Cutting for master cutting.
Direct Metal Mastering (DMM)
Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) is an analogue mastering technique developed in the 80’s by two German companies, Teldec (Telefunken-Decca) and Georg Neumann GmbH. Neumann was responsible for the manufacturing of all DMM cutting equipment as well as supplying complete mastering systems until the 90’s when the company was no longer active in the record pressing industry.
The principle of DMM technology
The audio signal coming from the mastering workstation or from a tape is transcribed into a metal master plate through a dedicated DMM cutting head. All modern stereo cutting heads are comprised of two moving coils perpendicular to each other – one for the left and one for the right channel. Movements of both coils are transferred to a cutting stylus with a sharp triangular tip on the end. In the case of DMM, this stylus is specially made out of ground diamond and cuts a spiral V-shaped sound groove directly into a high purity copper layer plated on a non-magnetic flat steel substrate. Stampers for record pressing are manufactured directly from such mastered copper plates by a single step electroforming process in electrolytic baths.
Advantages of DMM cutting
- more accurate reproduction of high frequencies
- less background noise, better signal-to-noise ratio
- reduced print-through sounds (pre-echo) between adjacent grooves
- no groove wall bounce-back effects after the cutting (improved transient response)
- more efficient usage of the total available record surface resulting in longer playing times
- only one subsequent electroforming step
- more stampers from one copper plate without damage being caused to the plate
- DMM is suitable for both standard LPs as well as high quality audiophile 45rpm records
Cutting into lacquers is an older method of mastering for vinyl records, but still has many supporters and fans. This analogue mastering technique is widely accepted and used thanks to bigger number of lacquer cutting lathes available and the tradition of lacquer mastering through the years. Hundreds of various lathes were produced during the golden era of vinyl records between 50’s and 80’s and many of them are still operable.
The principle of lacquer technology
The audio signal is transcribed into a master plate called lacquer through a dedicated cutting head comprised of two moving coils perpendicular to each other – one for the left and one for the right channel. Movements of both coils are transferred to a cutting stylus with a sharp triangular tip on the end. The stylus for cutting into soft lacquer is heated and is made out of sapphire or ruby gems and cuts a spiral V-shaped sound groove into a nitrocellulose layer covered on an aluminium disc. Stampers for record pressing are manufactured from such mastered lacquers by a three step electroforming process in electrolytic baths. It is recommended to start these processes with already cut lacquers as soon as possible to avoid deformations of grooves caused by heat and other environmental factors.
Advantages of lacquer cutting
Thicker lacquer layer allows:
- bigger vertical amplitudes which can carry more out-of-phase low frequency signals (e.g. a bass guitar or a kick drum placed only in one channel), but with higher risk of mistracking
- wider and deeper grooves which are more tolerant for most kinds of surface damage and offer a little bit higher resistance for skipping caused by badly calibrated turntables. Very wide and deep grooves can cause issues in the subsequent galvanic and pressing processes. It often results in higher noise and more crackles and pops.
The softer lacquer material allows very high cutting levels resulting in very loud records, but with risk of various distortions and mistracking on some turntables. Lacquer mastering is more suitable for loud and shorter recordings, esp. for DJ records, dance genres and scratching.
Full Plating Process (Galvanisation) and the Stamper
During the galvanic process a metallic copy of the lacquer foil is made. For this step the surface of the foil has to be made electrically conductive. Then a thin silver layer is applied, this silvered foil is immersed in a galvano-plastic nickel bath and the foil works as the cathode and the nickel is used as anode.
Once electricity flows through the solution, the metallic nickel settles on the silvered surface of the foil. After achieving the desired thickness (ca. 0,23 mm), you have to remove the foil from the nickel layer.
By doing this you receive the first Galvanic, also called “father”. It is a negative, which means, instead of grooves there are the corresponding elevations. At this point the “father” is used for making another copy, called “mother”- this one is then used for making the “son”, which is the stamper that is essentially used for pressing. The stamper is then attached to the press and used to press the grooves into the vinyl.
Pressing vinyl records over and over again is hard on metal stampers, causing them to wear out over the course of a pressing. A set of stampers is usually good for around 1000 to 1500 pressings. As long as they are kept in good condition, you can make virtually endless stampers from a single mother. Once a stamper has been used it is recycled.
What are your usual turnaround times?
Vinyl demand has increased at tremendous rates in recent years, with demand in peak times exceeding available capacity in the market. We have secured capacity at the plant but this is quickly taken up, so it is impossible to give you an exact turnaround time without knowing your detailed requirements. We aim to deliver within 8 weeks from receiving your order, at times lead times can be shorter, and it also depends how much time you need to review test pressings.
How are my orders delivered?
We deliver to you using the best method that gets to you one the day you need your goods to arrive. This may be Royal Mail, UPS or even our own vans. If more than one option suits your needs, we will use the most economical option.
How much will delivery cost?
Again this depends, smaller orders are usually free if you are in the UK (excludes N.I and Scottish Highlands). Our pricing models for larger orders and international shipments are very competitive, so please contact us for an exact quotation.
How should I prepare my Master?
In order to provide the best source files Duplion would always recommend that you use a professional mastering engineer familiar with vinyl to master your tracks.
When we receive an audio master, we expect this to produced ready for vinyl production – meaning that the dynamics and range of frequencies have already been approved by you. Unless advised otherwise, we expect that you want the end product to sound the same as the supplied master. Our objective is to achieve the truest possible transfer of the supplied audio material to vinyl through the available technologies.
We ask that you supply a CD-R master burned in a mixed mode (audio-tracks and data tracks as WAV or aif) OR a pure data CD with wav or iaf with 44.1 KHz 16 /24 bit stereo (other formats on request). The file names should begin with the side/track positions, e.g. A1.wav, A2.wav, A3.wav for side A…and B1.wav, B2.wav. etc.
To help you in creating the perfect source material we have listed some important steps…
- Intensive high tones such as S and F vocal sounds in singing, high tone instruments, synthetic sounds or squeaking and peeping noises may sound distorted in the playback and also cause problems during the cut.
- As far as the acoustics are concerned, a range below 20 Hz is not recommended in any event.
- If the differences between the channels are too large, this may also result in distortions. In the same way, restrictions apply in regard to the cut: more space is required, and this may result in less play time and/or in a lower cutting level.
- The identification groove has no influence on the playback result and does not create any pauses (adjacent titles). In the absence of special instructions, an identification groove will be assigned to each title.
- Loop (locked groove): In the case of a cut of 33⅓rpm, a loop must have a length of exactly 1.8 seconds and in the case 45rpm of exactly 1⅓ seconds (one rotation)! The sequence which is to be repeated in the loop must be arranged in the master at least five times in succession, just as it should be heard in the playback.
- We recommend that you create and assign a catalogue number to your Master (CD-R or WAV files) and associated artwork files. This will enable your materials to be easily identified.
- When crrating your catalogue number it is quite common to use a short abbreviation for your label and a number for your release like ABC-001 for example
If you want to upload your files you can use the link in your order confirmation email or please ask your Duplion service contact for FTP details.
Remember you will need to submit a Copyright Declaration to confirm that you have the right to use the content and take full responsibility for the use of the content.
You will also need to submit a track listing form, this must list the track number, song name and file name, Time/size of track, copyright owner, license status and which Vinyl side the track belongs to. You can label the songs A1, A2… and B1, B2…, corresponding to your master track list.
Now use the following checklist to ensure you have everything ready for placing your order:
- Your Order reference & part numbers, if you have them
- Your Master
- Your Artwork files, zipped
- Your Tracklist
- Your completed Copyright Declaration Form
- Any special instructions
Please thoroughly check, listen to and label each master before delivery as the contents of the master will – unless otherwise stated – be cut 1:1. Any special requests in regard to technical / sound processing must be clearly indicated and any additional charges will be provided by our audio mastering team.
How should I prepare my Artwork files?
Specific file format requirements are listed below, as a general guide you should observe the following:
- Colour images must be prepared in CMYK (NOT colour RGB, Lab etc.).
- Spot colours defined ONLY by the Pantone sample book (Matching system or Metallics).
- Resolution of colour images and images in greyscale – minimum 300 dpi in actual size!
- Resolution of black and white images (monochrome) – minimum 800 dpi in actual size!
- Files must not contain images in DCS1 or DCS2 (separated EPS) format , images in EPS format with postscript colour management or ICC profiles.
- For all types of printed materials add minimum bleed of 3 mm to each outer edge.
- Include imposition for staple (V1) binding in the case of a document of 4 and more pages.
- Ensure that final size is indicated by crop marks.
- Ensure these are composite (do not set separation!), we recommend original print drivers from Adobe or use the driver of our platesetter ScitexDolev4Press which we can send upon request.
- Don’t use a Linotronics driver, which creates a separated postscript file.
- Ensure that all fonts are supplied or properly embedded
What source formats can I submit?
We accept source materials only in the following formats:
This must be created from composite postscript using Adobe Distiller with appropriate JDD settings.
Do not create it by saving or export directly from your source application (e.g. Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, etc.). PDF files created in this manner have a different internal structure, which is not compatible with our output equipment (proof, CTP, platesetter). Problems can occur with processing fonts and with transparency, so in some cases PDF files created in this manner cannot be processed. Sometimes this can be resolved by re-saving into postscript and back into PDF.
However we advise against that as we cannot be held responsible for small text errors that might occur due to re-saving.
Your PDF files must be set to be compatible with Acrobat 4.0 (PDF version 1.3) , set Adobe Distiller for commercial printing purposes with preset profile (Press Optimized / Press Quality).
Please do not use OPI comments during creation.
Embed or outline all the fonts, if in doubt supply them separately.
If you use transparency in your files (Adobe InDesign, Illustrator) ensure that document resolution is set to 300dpi or above before printing to PDF.
Postscript (*.PS, *.EPS)
Submitting your files
How do I submit my Master and Artwork Files?
Once your Master Data and Artwork files have been prepared to our specifications you will need to get them to us, this can be done in two ways.
- Send Physical copies of Master Data on CD-R or CD-RW and then a second Disc Containing Artwork and other attachments.
- Upload a ZIP file(s) containing all required files
Option 1 – Sending Physical copies of Master and Other Files
When submitting Physical Masters please ensure you have submitted your Master Data according to Duplions Master Vinyl Data Preparation requirements and your Artwork according to Duplions Artwork Preparation Requirements. Please submit your Master Data on CD-R or CD-RW separate to your Artwork file, which should be on another Disc.
Send your physical master and artwork files either by post or courier to:
FAO: Studio Ref – [Order Number] 2 The Valley Centre
Checklist – please include the following:
- Your Order Confirmation Email Printout from portal.duplion.com
- Your Order reference, Catalogue number and part numbers
- Your Physical Master Source Data on CD-R or CD-RW
- Your Artwork files, Zipped on a Disc
- Your Tracklist containing Track number, Song Name, File Name, Time/Size of Track, Copyright Owner, Licence Status and which Vinyl side the track belongs to (e.g. A1 – A Side Song 1, B1 – B Side Song 1).
- Your completed Copyright Declaration Form (and Track-list as above)
- Any special instructions