FAQs

I want 500 records pressed - can you do it?
We are not a pressing plant. Our records are cut straight to vinyl, so each record has to be cut one at a time, in real time. If you want 500 identical records go to a pressing plant, if you want something more individual & unique, come to us.
Do you have a minimum order?
No
Do you have a maximum?
Ordinarily – as each record is cut in real time – we would prefer not to do more than 20 in one run, but we can make exceptions depending on the project and how busy we are. Get in touch.
How do I make an order?
  • Make sure you have read the FAQS and prepared your audio to be uploaded before you place your order.
  • Choose your vinyl format and the number of tracks you would like on each side. Add up to 19 additional copies to your order at a lower cost.
  • Place your order. Transfer your audio files in a zipped folder named with your order number.
  • Make sure you let us know what order you would like your tracks in by filling in the information box.
  • We will send you a receipt to confirm that we have received your order.
  • Our sound engineer John will check your audio files are suitable for cutting and contact you to arrange payment.
  • After we have received your payment your order will enter the queue to be cut. See the home page for current turnaround times.
  • If you require more copies of the same order at later date, you can get them at a reduced rate.
What are your postage charges?

Postage is calculated based on location and weight. Sometimes we use a courier (usually DPD, UPS or Parcelforce) and sometimes Royal Mail. UK excluding Highlands & Islands can be anywhere between £5 and max. £30. The vast majority of UK orders are between £5 and £15. Smaller orders are generally sent via 1st class signed-for. Larger and high value orders are always sent fully insured.

Will it sound the same as pressed vinyl?
Generally, the sound quality is about the same as pressed vinyl, though much depends on the quality of the provided master. We cannot stress that enough. Sometimes, in our opinion, it actually sounds better. Lathe cut records tend to have a little more surface noise than pressed records.

Lathe cut records should not really be thought of as being the same as mass-produced pressed records, more as a hand-made alternative.

Will it sound like a CD?
Short answer: No. Long answer: Most people are quite used to the sound of CD’s now. Vinyl is a very different beast to CD, so you should not expect records to sound the same as CD’s.
Digital audio is very linear, i.e., what you put in, you get out. Records are a physical medium – we are dealing with grooves in plastic, cut by an extremely sharp diamond, not ones & zeros, so records are governed by the laws of physics. This results in several ‘limitations’.
Vinyl will never be as loud as hyper-compressed digital audio can be.
You may also notice some slight high-frequency loss if your sounds contain very loud high frequencies, though this is partly due to the use of spherical playback styli. Excessive high frequency levels can cause a spherical playback stylus to mis-track the groove walls, resulting in audible distortion. Many of the physical limitations of vinyl are related to playback.
The duration of the supplied audio has a significant impact on the overall quality of the cut. Longer sides, cut at 33rpm, will typically have to be cut much quieter than shorter sides cut at 45rpm. Surface noise becomes more noticable at lower cutting levels. Distortion increases as the recording approaches the centre of the disc. This is true of all vinyl records, not just lathe cuts.
If you would like to know more, please contact us for some recommended reading.
What about packaging and labels?
We supply our cuts in plain white card sleeves with paper bags and white labels. The labels can either be stuck on the records, or left off for customisation by you. We can print labels for you, too. They are £1 each for black text on a white background or £2 each for colour. Sleeves are a bit tricky. A short run of record sleeves (that are the same as the ones you get pressed records in) is pretty much impossible, or at least extremely expensive. For example, we asked one printer how much they could do a one-off sleeve for and they came back with a quote of several hundred pounds…
There are a number of handmade alternatives and the best quality, least time consuming & most cost effective approach to this that we have found is screen printing. Obviously, this limits your design options somewhat. If you require blank sleeves for screen printing, we recommend the lovely folks over at Eco Craft.
If you absolutely have to have a photo-print sleeve, then you are into the realms of some quite involved DIY. We did offer this as a service for a trial period but found that, for a number of reasons, it wasn’t sustainable. Also, the card stock offered by all the printing services we tried was either too flimsy or didn’t take the print very well. We are constantly working on a way to offer this service in the future, but only when we are happy with it.
Are your records stereo?
Yes, our equipment is capable of cutting stereo audio. Care should be taken to avoid high levels of out of phase stereo information (where left and right channels are a ‘mirror image’ of each other), particularly in the low frequencies – see ‘how should I mix my music?’
If you require records cut at extremely high ‘club’ levels, stereo effects should be kept to an absolute minimum – most club systems are mono anyway.
Avoid psychoacoustic stereo processing and ‘enhancements’ altogether.
Do you cut on pressed vinyl?
The material we cut is not the same vinyl used for pressing, though it is equally as durable. Our supplier has spent many years perfecting a compound that is similar to pressed vinyl in many ways, but allows direct cutting with minimum surface noise when heated. Direct cutting into pressed vinyl results in unacceptably high levels of surface noise.
You may notice that the discs themselves are more flexible than pressed records.
Can your records be used for scratching?
Our records have been tested & approved by scratch DJs!
Will back-cueing wear the record out?
No more so than a pressed record.
How much can I fit on one side?
A lot depends on the frequency content and cutting level, but as a rough guide:
7” = 4 min a side
10” = 7 min a side (up to 10 min possible at ‘EP’ level)
12” = 10 min a side (up to 15 min possible at ‘EP’ level & up to 18 min possible at ‘LP’ level)
Cutting levels

Throughout this site, the following terms are used when referring to cutting levels (reference 0dB = 5cm/sec @ 1kHz):

LP level = peaking -4dB to 0dB
EP level = peaking 0dB to +4dB
‘Single’ level = peaking 0dB to +4dB
‘club’ level = peaking +4dB to +6dB

How should I mix my music?
The main thing is to mix it the way you like it! There are not really any specific ‘vinyl mix’ techniques beyond the basic rules of good mixing, however, if you would like to get the best from vinyl, there are a few things to bear in mind regarding mastering. This is true of all vinyl mastering, not just our set-up. Due to the popularity, convenience and linearity of digital audio and the lull in new vinyl releases between the late 90’s & early 2000’s, many mastering engineers have forgotten much of this information…

All bass instruments should be dead centre. Out of phase low frequencies may cause the playback stylus to jump out of the groove or track incorrectly. Also, avoid frequencies below 20Hz – not only are they acoustically redundant, but the resonant frequency of a tonearm is deliberately set there and this will cause problems on playback.

Check your mix for phasing problems by summing your mix to mono and listening out for disappearing instruments. Phase cancellation may cause a disappearing or interrupted groove on vinyl. If the groove disappears, the playback stylus will skip.

Avoid sibilance! Use a de-esser on vocals if necessary. Vinyl accentuates sibilance.

Avoid high levels in the >16kHz range and significant boosting in the 8 to 16k range, you won’t get it back on the record.

Go easy on the limiting and compression across the whole mix. Less is more. Light compression can make a good mix sound great, but it isn’t good for cutting if everything gets squished so that every single transient is hitting full-scale.

Leave a little headroom. Aim for peaks of around -3dBfs rather than -0.1dB.

What format should I use?
We can cut from digital files, CD or cassette. 44.1 or 48kHz, 16 or 24-bit WAV, AIFF or FLAC is preferred. We can use mp3 if that is all you have (320kbps only – the compression artifacts on lower bit-rate material do not sound too good on vinyl), but please do not ‘convert’ mp3’s to lossless formats expecting them to sound better – they won’t, all you are doing is increasing the file size and probably losing a little more quality in the conversion. An mp3 will always sound like an mp3. Please bear in mind that there is no advantage in sending us 32-bit files.
Will you process my audio in any way?
Some light mastering may be applied when cutting, such as light compression & EQ, in order to produce a cut that is as close as possible to the original. This is done using hand-built, custom-made analogue equipment that is constructed from only the finest components. We always aim to make your records sound as close as possible to the provided master & if any drastic changes need to be made you will be informed and given the chance to submit your files again until they are acceptable.
We are confident that you will be as happy with our records as many other people before you have been, however, if you are in anyway unsure about this, it is recommended that you order a one-off cut.
Do you offer a mastering service?
Yes, but only in order to ensure the cut sounds as good as possible and this is part of our standard service. See above. We do not cut master lacquers…yet.
Do you offer a recording service?
Yes. If you have some sounds you would like on vinyl, we can offer a complete, end-to-end service. If you have some sounds you would like to record, our experienced engineer John can come to a location of your choice for the day to make sure they are recorded just right before being cut to vinyl! Please contact us .
I am a sound recordist & would like some field recordings cut to vinyl, is that possible?
YES!
What about clear/coloured vinyl?
We regularly stock clear vinyl blanks. They are an extra £0.50 for 7″ and £1 for 10″ and 12″. Please contact us for other options .
Can you do picture disks?
Please contact us .
Do you offer free samples?
Unfortunately, the cutting process is too expensive and labour intensive for us to offer free samples any longer.
Where are you based?
All our records are hand-cut in Manchester.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes. Please contact us for a quote.