Although most of you are still thinking about your Christmas and early 2015 schedule, it is wise to start planning your Record Store Day – RSD2015 release for 2015. For those of you not planning on releasing a record for RSD2015 you should bare in mind that manufacturing times during this period become longer.
Record Store Day 2015 will take place on April 18th and finished product will need to be with your distributor ideally last week in March. To ensure this date is met the pressing plants will need lacquers no later than 23rd January. With this in mind you should really think about getting the mastering session booked in.
Traditionally the months of February through to May become affected so this needs to be taken into account when planning releases in this period. To ensure release dates are met during this very busy time please speak to us as soon as possible.
Here at Well Tempered we always advise on checking your test pressings thoroughly before the finished run of artwork copies is pressed.
When Approving Test Pressings you are approving the work that the cutting engineer has done, and also the galvanic process at the plant. But what exactly are you checking for?
Years ago an acetate would be cut by the engineer at the time of mastering, so the artist would be able to check the test press against this. However nowadays it is not financially viable for everyone to do this, so for most artists and record labels a test pressing is the first time that they are able to hear how the mastering engineers work sounds on the vinyl format.
Firstly it is important that you listen to a test press on a turntable that is set up correctly with a clean needle, otherwise you might be hearing faults in your setup rather than what is actually on the recording. The galvanic process from lacquer to test press is a complicated procedure and test pressings are your one opportunity to check this. Your test presses are made from the same stampers as the final run, so will sound exactly the same. More information on this process can be found here
It is important to check that there are no skips or locked grooves in the record, these problems can occur at both mastering stage and during processing. Skips occur more often towards the middle of the record, so make sure you listen to each side from start to finish.
Surface noise can be a problem created during processing. This can be continuous throughout the record or sometimes a short noise sounding like a pop or click – this should not be confused with distortion, as distortion is created during mastering & cutting. If your music is bass-heavy then the cutting engineer could be cutting deeper grooves in the lacquer, making this harder to separate at the plant. The processes used in order to deal with deeper grooves differs from plant to plant but will usually result in a higher chance of surface noise.
Test Pressings pass through a quality control department at the pressing plant and often skips will be detected and resolved prior to them being sent to the customer. Often when listening to a test press the customer will be so focused on listening for skips and pops, and also to the mastering that they will forget to check for the simplest of mistakes. Are the a & b sides labelled correctly? Is the correct catalogue number etched into the runout groove? Is the running order correct?
If you do detect a problem then it is important that you relay your issues as clearly as possible, with time references. Well Tempered have many years experience in resolving problems at test pressing stage and will always make sure that the source of the problem is identified and rectified as quickly as possible.
Next up on Exit Records is Fracture – Loving Touch EP | manufactured by well Tempered.
The EP centres around ‘Loving Touch’, officially using Ralphi Rosario and Xavier Gold’s early Chicago classic ‘You Used To Hold Me’. Ralphi loves the track and you will too. It updates the production taking the track to 160bpm, adding some footwork hats and bass but not forgetting Fracture’s roots and forsaking the breaks. This drops! Loving Touch has already had loads of club play and since Rockwell sneaked it on to his BBC Radio One show we have been inundated with requests for it.
The rest of the Fracture – Loving Touch EP is by no means filler and sees Fracture at his creative best, blurring lines between 2014 rave music. Werk It was rhythmically conceived in a dream and realised with simplicity the next morning. A favourite of Machinedrum it’s bubbles along with a stripped back carnival vibe, vocal instructions to “go down! / come up!” and clattering soca percussion. One for Notting Hill.
Grippin’ Grain is a collaboration with Sam Binga and was written at his studio in Bristol with a steaming hangover. Somehow they pulled it together and delivered a minimal 808 laden piece that never seems to let the tension drop from the first beat to the last. Slammed through an analogue desk adds enough grit and distortion to perhaps reflect the effects of the previous night
Fracture rounds off the EP with Overload and concludes a theme of breakbeats and bass stabs across the project. With block pary Hip Hop human beatbox and UK sound system samples, we find ourselves plunged thousands of feet under the atlantic ocean in a frantic international soundclash.
To preview the tracks or buy your copy visit the Exit Records store here
DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) became popular during the 80’s but was soon less favourable as more cutting engineers went back to lacquer.
DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) was co-developed by Neumann and Teldec, and in stead of engraving the groove into a soft metal lacquer-coated aluminum disc, a DMM lathe engraves the audio signal directly onto a hard metal copper-plated master disc.
The difference between a DMM cut and a lacquer cut is that the DMM is more precise, with sharper transients and better image “edge definition,” while the lacquer cut is smoother, warmer and more pleasing on the ears.
DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) cuts always appeared to have a brighter and more defined top-end. Upon early inspection of DMM discs, this appeared to be due to a higher frequency modulation in the groove, caused by an ultra-sonic carrier tone. However there is no carrier tone on DMM cuts and the modulation is simply caused by the vibration of the cutter head.
Many critics often describe a DMM cut as too bright or too ‘edgy’. Often the reason for playing a vinyl record is to have the warm and analogue sound that is often not present in a DMM cut.
DMM did though eliminate the problem of pre-echo sometimes audible on a lacquer. Pre-echo is caused by the cutting stylus unintentionally transferring some of audio signal into the previous groove wall, causing a faint audio signal, a pre-echo.
Another argument for the use of DMM is that it removes the need for one stage of the galvanic process. Since the DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) is cut onto copper the first stage of electroplating is bypassed, resulting in cleaner processing with less surface noise and less chance of error during processing.
Although the warmer sound of lacquer could arguably be put down to the cuts not sounding as bright as DMM, the fuller sound of lacquer could be credited to the depth of the grooves on a lacquer. Lacquers can be cut much much deeper than DMM which is essential for music with a prominent low-end signal. As well as giving the fuller sound, a deeper groove is needed to avoid jumps and skips on a turntable. And even though DMM has much brighter more defined frequency response in the top end, this certainly isn’t the case with the bass frequencies, evident in most of today’s electronic music.
It is often thought by many that a record pressed onto Heavyweight 180g Vinyl produces a better sounding product. This is certainly not the case.
Some think that a Heavyweight 180g Vinyl 12″ for example would have a lower noise floor than a standard 140g, it doesn’t. Others think that a 180g 12″ has deeper grooves than a standard weight 12″, this is simply not true.
Whether you have your record pressed on standard weight vinyl or heavyweight, the pressing will use the same vinyl compound. It is the quality of the compound that determines the noise level in the pressing. The depth of the grooves will be determined at mastering stage by the cutting engineer, and the plant have no control over this during the galvanic processing.
So why do people prefer heavier vinyl? Perhaps simply because it feels better, it’s a weightier product and feels more substantial.
Heavyweight 180g Vinyl can reduce the amount of wow and flutter audible on a record, the larger mass enables the platter to move at a more continuous speed. However on low end turntable the added weight can cause extra pressure and friction on the platter.
Heavier weight vinyl records are less prone to warping which has always been my reason to press to 180g. More care is needed during the manufacturing process to press onto the heavier weight, the records take longer to cool, and often the pressing plants only have a limited amount of machines setup to cope with this weight, so often pressing times can be a little longer.
There are two requests I often receive when a Heavyweight 180g Vinyl 12″ pressing is always recommend, firstly when no centre labels are required. Due to the way the record is pressed, the centre labels are responsible for the record keeping it’s shape and not dishing. A heavy weight 12″ pressing would greatly reduce the chances of warping or dishing. Similarly, a laser etched record which often only require one centre label on the a side. It is always advisable to press onto 180g for the same reasons.
If you have any queries regarding vinyl weight or would like prices for a heavy weight vinyl product please do not hesitate to contact us here: