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Vinyl Cutting FAQ

Vinyl is a totally different beast to CDs and other digital audio formats. So if this is your 1st track to vinyl please make sure you have read our Preparing Your Tracks For Cutting page.


Is This Legal? What About Copyright?

Yes it is. As of the 1st of June 2014 the UK copyright law changed, allowing you to back up or copy media. As long as you have bought and paid for the original CD, mp3, wav or record you are now allowed, by law, to copy from one playing device to another, e.g. transferring a downloaded digital file from your computer to your phone, ripping a CD to your mp3 player or transferring digital files to vinyl (yes folks since 1988 doing this has been illegal) Here is a link to the UK Governments I.P.O site with all the legal stuff.

What Is A Dubplate?

With its origins in the Jamaican reggae sound system culture, a dubplate refers to an exclusive “one off” recording. Originally a dubplate was cut onto a 10″ or 12″ acetate record and used by sound systems at sound clashes. Now it refers to any exclusive “one off” recording be it reggae, dubstep, d&b and be it on acetate, vinyl, cd and even mp3.

What Is The Difference Between Acetate & Vinyl Dubplates ?

The difference between acetate dubplates (also known as lacquers) and vinyl dubplates is the material they are made of. Although called acetate, an acetate dubplate is in fact a metal disc covered in a nitrocellulose lacquer. The music is cut into the lacquer on a lathe using a sapphire cutting head. As the lacquer is a soft material acetate dubplates tend to have a short lifespan.

Again, although called vinyl dubplates they are not in fact the same as a pressed vinyl record. They are made of a very durable plastic compound, giving them a lifespan similar to a pressed record. The music is cut into the plastic on a lathe using a diamond cutting head.

How Do Records Work ?

Sound is made of waves, these waves are cut into records as grooves. Based on the amplitude and frequency, the groove changes. A needle runs in this groove and transfers the vibrations to a diaphragm. From here a pre-amp picks up the sound and amplifies it to a level that is reasonable for the stereo to reproduce. The stereo amplifies this signal to whatever volume your choose.

Why Does The Record Sound Different To The Wav/CD ?

In these day’s of digital formats we have no real reason to concern ourselves with frequencies, loudness, having all instruments and effects in stereo, out of phase signals or track length. There are, however, physical limitations when cutting records so there is a very good chance your record will not sound exactly like the digital files you provided, there are also other reasons the record might sound different such as your stylus or turntable. 

For best quality dubplates, where you can, select a record size the running time of your tunes fits on to easily and 45RPM. 

HERE is a great explanation and there are a few good videos on YouTube, if you search for “mastering for vinyl”.

But the bottom line is -

  • Too loud a recording and too much bass = Shorter playback time and playback stylus skipping.
  • Too loud high frequencies = Distortion.
  • Too much stereo or out of phase signals = This can cause big problems, especially with low frequencies making it impossible to cut!!

Please keep these limitations in mind. Our engineer will do everything he can to make your Dubplate sound of the highest quality, but even he cannot defy the laws of physics !!!

Will the Dubplate be quiet then ?

No, we can cut Dubplates at up to +12dB, as long as the original tracks are not too loud to begin with.

How Much Recording Time On A 7/10/12″ Record ?

A rough guide is -     

  • 7″ - Ideal - up to 4 mins @ 45/33rpm & Max - 7 mins @ 33rpm
  • 10″ - Ideal - up to 7 mins @ 45rpm or up to 8 mins @ 33rpm & Max - 15 mins @ 33rpm
  • 12″ - Ideal - up to 8 mins @ 45rpm or up to 12mins @ 33rpm & Max - 22 mins @ 33rpm
  • All 'Ideal' times quoted are recorded at +3dB (45rpm or 33rpm), like a pressed 7", 10" or 12" single. 
  • All 'Max' times quoted are recorded at +-0dB for 45rpm and -3dB for 33rpm, like a pressed 12" LP.
  • Running times on vinyl are very strict and exceeding these 'Ideal' times means the recording level has to be lowered, so if you want your record to be loud do not exceed these times for any size record or RPM.

So the louder the track/bass the wider the grooves are and the shorter the recording time is e.g. At a low level you can have over 20 mins on a 12″ @ 33 rpm but if cut at +12dB that can go down to around 5 mins !

If your record has one side over the ideal time for the size/speed selected (e.g. 12" @ 33rpm - A side 10mins - B side 14mins) both sides will be cut as loud as the running time allows, unless instructed to do otherwise.

Please make sure you select the correct timing and Dubplate size for the length of your tunes (if your tune(s) run longer than the timing you have selected it will be cut down and faded out to the timing you selected).

Which is best 45 RPM or 33 RPM?

Technically the faster the record spins the better the sound as more information per second passes through the cutting stylus/pick up stylus meaning high frequencies are clearer, especially towards the end/centre of the record, there is also less chance of hearing any surface noise.

For longer running times the slower the record spins the better as you can fit move music on each revolution of the record.

Bottom line use 45rpm when you can and 33rpm when you have to.

My tracks have been mastered by myself/a professional, will you have to do anything to them?

Yes. All tracks have to be mastered on the cutting machine itself. Please note this is purely to prepare the track(s) for cutting and not a full mastering of your track(s).

Do You Have Label Templates?

Yes. HERE is a pack with templates for all records.

Please note the following :-

Using photographs of real record labels is not advised as they rarely line up correctly with the supplied label templates.

Record labels are round so if you send a square image for your label it will not work correctly.

How long will it take?

Cutting records is a very time consuming business as everything has be done in real time and there are no shortcuts.

Orders normally take 7-10 business days* (approx. 2 weeks) to process, once everything needed for your order is received. It can sometimes take longer than 10 business days if we are busy and orders of 10 or more records may take longer.

*UK Bank Holidays, Saturday & Sunday do not count as business days.

How Do I Pay?

You can pay by PayPal, Credit/Debit Card, Cheque or Bank Transfer.

To pay by credit or debit card select PayPal as payment and once you are taken to the PayPal log in click on the 'Pay by debit or credit card/Guest Checkout' option.

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