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One-off Vinyl

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One-off Vinyl

Postby Dave B » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:16 pm

Interesting. Someone I know is working on a 'secret EP' (her words, not mine) and was thinking of pressing a copy onto vinyl purely for her own amusement / posterity. I had to admit that I was fairly clueless and a google search seems to have thrown up some interesting results for "one off vinyl pressing". It looks like it can be done - so has anyone done it, know about it, have useful help / info?

The facts :
* this will be a collection of covers done at home
* currently potentially 12 songs - ranging from 2:30m to the usual 4m
* some places seem to offer actual one-off vinyl
* another claims it is pvc (which I thought vinyl was!) which lasts longer than an acetate but is not a full vinyl
* the range of costs is quite broad, as are the range of times
* many offer additional mastering services which tend to bump the price dramatically
* one I have seen offers 10mins a side with basic artwork for 99€ but goes up to a few hundred with mastering and options - is this common?

I have noticed that most places are now fully booked so nothing will be back for Xmas. What is the typical lead time? (I'm guessing that Covid affects this)

My gut reaction is that she is into full LP territory time-wise. I'd also worry about how the mixes should be mastered - I'm guessing that some basic stuff like limiting and low end control would be needed. And no whacky extreme low end stereo effects. (or am I being old-fashioned here - has vinyl mastering come on these days?)

Basically, I realise that I know almost nothing and am asking the brain trust hereabouts for help / advice ...

Muchos grassy ass :D
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:22 pm

I'd be very wary of putting anything on vinyl that hasn't been professionally mastered specifically for vinyl, by someone who knows what they're doing.
That will inevitably come with a cost.
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:50 pm

I tend to agree with Drew on this one, especially as unlike most modern 'on-line' mastering, you won't get a few revisions, as the end result of the first attempt is already a chunk of vinyl.


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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:56 pm

I can recommend Star-Delta Mastering, down near Exeter. Unattended mastering of a 12-inch four-track vinyl EP is £245. No idea what a one-off pressing would cost!

http://www.stardeltamastering.com/pricingterms-conditions/
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:42 am

Linking to one of my favourite YouTube videos of all time, The Amen Break, not only because it's a fascinating and superbly well put together verbal documentary but also because the audio for the video is recorded as a one-off vinyl-like 'acetate test pressing', aka 'dub-plate'.

This may or may not form the basis of a modern 'one-off' but it's worth mentioning that such presses have a limited lifespan (of about 50 plays) compared to a normal record, as explained in the second link above.
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby Dave B » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:58 am

Good points chaps, duly noted, but this isn't a pro thing - it's more a case of someone starting out and wanting to document their first attempts. It's interesting that the girl in question is (just) a teenager and has identified vinyl as a permanent medium to use to record (sic) her progress..

Anyway, when some of the madness subsides we will have a proper coffee and natter about this and see how serious she is.

Cheers
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby James Perrett » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:14 am

Most of these places seem to use one of the budget cutters like the Vinylium or similar that attach to a turntable. You're not going to end up with the same quality as you'd get with a Neumann lathe.

There appear to be different types of disc - the acetate is usually softer with a more limited lifespan while PVC discs last longer. However, the acetate will sound better when new. There are also polycarbonate discs.

As far as mastering is concerned, I'd talk to whoever was likely to be doing the cutting as they know the capabilities of their system better than anyone. The people Hugh linked to look like a proper mastering place which will produce masters that are intended for pressing. However, I noticed that they offer one off acetates for an additional £50 on top of the normal mastering cost. A professional mastering studio would normally only provide acetates as they would need to reconfigure their lathe to produce PVC discs - and that's assuming that their lathe can be set up for PVC.
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:15 am

This thread is interesting to me because for right or wrong, wise or not, I intend to create a vinyl pressing of the album I'm working on, though I do have to do some research into the mastering aspects of it.
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby zenguitar » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:15 am

Just give her the Good News: Bad News routine....

Bad news... It's expensive to record vinyl and it is worn out after 50 plays.

Good News... We can make an exact digital recording of the first, perfect, play of your vinyl to preserve it for posterity,

Andy :beamup:
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby al_diablo » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:59 am

There is a place near me that offer vinyl mastering and dub plate cutting to vinyl, not acetate. I was keen to try them (I still play a lot of vinyl) but havent done so yet

Theoretically a well cut vinyl dub should last as long as a pressed record.

Their prices aren't crazy, particularly if you pay for a 7 or 10 inch. LPs are a bit more.

https://www.byrons-yard-vinyl-record-cutting.com/shop

Also Eddy - I bought a copy of Amen Brother the other week. Nice to own such a historic record.
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby Zukan » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:32 am

I always fancied one of those vinyl pressing thingies that you could use at home, but they invariably cost more than 4 years with Melania...
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby Dave B » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:48 am

al_diablo - thanks for the link. That is a lovely, informative site that has a fair amount of explaining which has been handy. It's also confirmed some things that I thought were right about mastering and educated me on others - that they want 3-6db of headroom with no hard limiting is actually fairly reassuring. Also interesting to know that both lows and highs need to be carefully controlled (they specifically mention de-essing to control sibilance).

Great stuff. Ta very much
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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby ef37a » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:26 pm

"Daft I call it" when you can store pristine versions on so many other "perfect" mediums.

I mean. who has decent record players these days? (well I do..IF I can be arsed to hook it all up!)

But, EP? Better I would have thought to make a 45rpm 12 incher and get the best of a bad medium.

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Re: One-off Vinyl

Postby ken long » Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:53 am

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