The process of removing a vinyl record from its jacket, placing it on the turntable, gently positioning the stylus on the disk, and then letting the warm sound from the vinyl work its magic evokes an irresistible enchantment. So, it is no surprise that this form of analog sound has made a comeback and has made rapid strides in popularity amongst audiophiles since 2006. And we are not just talking about old LPs but also personalized vinyl records with modern music.
Many famous mainstream artists like Taylor Swift and Adele also create custom vinyl record pressing for their albums. And when it comes to a craze for music on a custom vinyl record, Australia is not far behind, with industry insiders claiming vinyl sales have surpassed over the past decade.
What is custom vinyl record pressing?
We will get you started with the basics if you want to make a statement with your music and create your own vinyl record. Vinyl records are disks that store music in analog form. They can be played on a phonograph or a turntable. They come in 3 sizes – 12”, 10”, and 7” – and can be played at different speeds – 78 rpm (not used now), 45 rpm, and 331/3 rpm. A vinyl record can hold music on both sides, side A and side B.
Sound is stored as 3D grooves on the vinyl. Creating a vinyl record involves getting the sound embossed on a lacquer disk, creating the metal work from this disk, and pressing the molten vinyl onto the metal work to get the vinyl record. The stylus moves on the grooves when the vinyl is placed on a turntable. We hear and enjoy our favorite music by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy and, finally, into sound waves.
If all this sounds too technical, don’t worry! Qualified pressing engineers handle this complicated process. But since you will be the one to give your music in digital format to the pressing engineers, there are a few things to keep in mind, so you get a high-quality custom vinyl record pressing.
Important check points for your personalized vinyl record
You are ready with your music in digital format and are a step away from sending it to the vinyl pressing engineer. But if you want a high-quality custom vinyl record pressing, you should perform a few more checks.
- Check the size of your album. The amount of music that vinyl can hold varies; two factors are the size of the disk and the spin rate. Typically, a 12-inch disk can hold 18-22 minutes of music per side at 331/3 rpm and 12-15 minutes at 45 Rpm. This means it can hold a total duration of around 45 min at 331/3 rpm and 30 minutes at 45 rpm. Similarly, a 10-inch disk can hold approximately 10-14 min per side at 331/3 rpm and 8-10 min per side at 45 rpm. Make sure the duration of music in the digital format is aligned with the capacity of the disk, or else you could end up with truncated music on your vinyl.
- Check for improperly balanced bass. Bass or low-frequency tones sound very rich on vinyl records. But you need to be careful about not going too low. Keep to the mid-side of the equalizer. For heavy bass, the needle needs to move further to each side, and this can cause the needle to jump. Control the deep bass, and you will be able to get the richness of the desired base on your custom vinyl record pressing.
- Control the volume on your album. For louder sounds, the needle cuts deeper and hence, wider grooves. This will lead to more space being occupied on the disk, cutting the total run time. The peaks should be kept between -3 and -6 DBS. Also, remember that volume of individual instruments can only be controlled at the mixing stage and not at the mastering stage.
- Pay attention to the treble or high frequencies too. During the process of pressing, high-frequency sounds can cause the cutting head of the needle to get overheated and hence, cause sound distortion. Also, while playing higher frequency notes, the stylus has to move over more minor, tighter grooves, which are more challenging to negotiate. So, while mixing your music, keep the high frequencies under control.
- Rectify the tttttrouble ffffformed from certain sssssounds. No, those are not typos…those are to emphasize the trouble you can run into with problematic sibilance in your music. Sibilance is the sound resulting from the overemphasis of certain letters like “s,” “t,” and “f” in the vocals. If these are not managed, they can lead to distortion. The best way to handle them is to apply a De-Esser at the mixing stage. This must be done carefully so that only the problematic sibilance is cut out without distorting other sounds.
- Look at the order of the songs in your album. As the stylus moves towards the center of the disk, sound quality tends to get compromised as it has a tighter space to move within. So, keeping your gentler tracks towards the end of each side of the album is advisable.
- Get to the fun part – the artwork! When you create your vinyl record, you can dial up your creativity. You can not only create gorgeous cover art for your album, but you can also customize the disk design itself. You can opt for colored, printed, or even scented disks. Be aware, though, that these may cost you more and can, at times, affect the sound quality too.
- The devil lies in the details. Remember to check the accompanying information sent to the vinyl pressers thoroughly. This will include information about the number of tracks, the title, and duration of each track, the album’s total run time, and the songs’ split between the two sides. All this information will also go on the record cover, so make sure it is aligned with what you have mixed.
After going through the following checks, you are ready to send that fantastic music to get your custom vinyl record pressing.
When it comes to vinyl pressing, Australia has several high-quality options to offer. If you are searching for the industry’s best vinyl record experts, do not hesitate to contact IMPRESS VINYL.
And, once it’s in your hand, sit back and enjoy the rich, warm sound from your new vinyl record.