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Manufacturing Times for the production of Vinyl Records

Manufacturing Times for the production of Vinyl Records

Here at Well Tempered we work with the three best pressing plants in Europe to ensure that your records are pressed to schedule and cost, and also of optimum quality. The standard turnaround time from all three suppliers is seven weeks from receipt of lacquers – this is industry standard.

We hear that a lot of artists and labels elsewhere are getting frustrated with production times of up to twelve weeks. This should not be the case, there is simply no reason to wait this long for your product.

delayed record productionWe understand the need to make the process as quick and easy as possible, and our commitment to looking after the customer means that we have methods in place and capacity at pressing plants to ensure a very smooth and professional service.

If you’re waiting twelve weeks for your records then you should be asking yourself just how long can your business sustain this inefficient relationship.

Releasing a record should not be headache though sadly for many it’s simply too much of a hinderance to their release schedule. Here at Well Tempered we offer you cheaper prices and swifter production times than if you were to go to the manufacturer directly. Releasing a record should be an exciting physical representation of your creative output, and in no way be a chore.

Approving Test Pressings / Checking Test Presses

Approving Test Pressings / Checking Test Presses

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?

Test PressYears 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.

 

vinyl manufacturing plants are struggling to keep up with demand for records | We got you covered!

vinyl manufacturing plants are struggling to keep up with demand for records | We got you covered!

According to The Independent, Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records” In other words, the vinyl manufacturing industry is having serious difficulty keeping up with demand.

vinyl manufacturing processI’m not sure that the plant owners would agree with The Independent that the machinery they are using is old and creaky, but the message is sound – lead times are increasing, and this is kicking down the supply chain and hitting the labels. What used to be a four week wait for your record to be turned around can now be up to three months.

If YOU don’t fancy getting stuck with long manufacturing delays, speak to Well Tempered – we saw this coming and have capacity reserved at three major European pressing plants to ensure swift turnaround times.

Currently our lead times are 7 weeks from receipt of lacquers.

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) vs Lacquer. Which should you choose?

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) vs Lacquer. Which should you choose?

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) vs LacquerDMM (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.

Music Distribution Deal Terminated?

Music Distribution Deal Terminated?

music distribution deals

With so many music distribution deals available today, choosing the right partner can be a difficult task.

It is important not to jump into the first deal offered to you, but to take your time and make sure you have explored all options available to you. It is important that you ask the right questions to your potential new distributor, here are just some of the questions that you should be asking:

Vinyl Distribution:
What main territories do you cover?
Do you have exclusive partners in those territories, or do you sell directly to stores?
How much lead time do you need for a physical release?
How will you use the promotional material that I send to you?
Do you accept returns from stores?
When will I get paid for sales and how often will I be accounted to?
How much will you pay me per unit for a single / album?
Will you have a say over the music that I release?
What other labels do you represent that are similar to mine, and how have you helped them?
Do you offer fulfilment for my direct-to-consumer platform?
Do you have a sales team and label manager knowledgable in my genre of music?

Digital Distribution:
Do you use an aggregator, or do you deal with the main stores directly?
What stores do you deal with?
What are my chances of front page features, and what should I be doing to improve those chances?
What percentage to do take and are there any setup costs per release?
How much lead time do you need for a single / album?
How often will you account to me?
Do you offer real-time sales reports?
What are your views on streaming services, and which sites do you supply?
What Youtube services are on offer?

Distribution companies vary greatly in their choice of services on offer, so it’s important to distinguish between them and make sure their policies are right for you. If entering into a P&D deal, who will be pressing your records for you? Does the distributor deal directly with the plant, or go through a broker company? They may be dealing directly with the plant themselves, but if there’s only one supplier option then perhaps there are limitations to the specifications on offer. And how does that quality of their product compare with what you’re familiar with?

Well Tempered can help you make the right choices with the spectrum of music distribution deals.  Many years experience in the distribution sector have brought a wealth of knowledge to the services on offer here. If you need help and advice in choosing the right option for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

FVS EP – AnD – Samurai Horo

FVS EP – AnD – Samurai Horo

Samurai Horo 12"This is a great and very unique looking record.  The 78 sized centre label has been used for this 12″, which is substantially smaller than the standard 12″ label.  The lacquers had to be prepared extra carefully in order  to cater for the surface of the vinyl that isn’t normally visible.

The purple colour was mixed with a tiny percentage of white to create that wispy marbled effect.  It comes complete in a paper sleeve with a hand-stamped Japanese Kanji on the right hand side.

Press Release:
Esteemed Techno producers AnD join the Samurai Horo fold for the first release post ‘Scope’. The perfect fusion of experimental 170 bpm rooted music and techno, both ‘FVS’ and ‘GVA’ unveil new approaches and structures that perfectly execute the desired welding of genres that we have always hoped to achieve with the Samurai Horo label. ‘1AC’ adds a corrosive drone to the 12″ pushing further into abstract electronica.

Samurai Horo

Shackleton – Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs

Shackleton – Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs

Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs
Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs

Shackleton – Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs – Woe To The Septic Heart

For those who want to know the background, it is something like this. I bought an Italian drawbar organ module around two years ago. Apparently Italian organs from that period had a bad reputation but I was so happy with it that it appeared on most of the tracks I had been working on. I thought I had an album together and was supposed to get it mastered on the day after the mastering session for the Pinch and Shackleton release on Honest Jons (sometime towards the end of Summer 2011). I had also been working on a 12″ of more spacious music to go with that album as a limited vinyl 12″. By the time that I finished the music though, the tracks for that 12″ became so long for that I couldn’t contain them to two sides of a vinyl. This is what became Music For The Quiet Hour album.
– Shackleton

Very well presented LP and CD Boxset, released on Shackleton’s label ‘Woe To The Septic Heart’. The 2XCD version is packaged as follows:

2xCD inserted into 1-colour printed card wallets
Stitched 12-page printed booklet 120x120mm on 135gsm paper with Mat Lamination
CMYK Printed box with lift off lid: 129x129x15x15mm 650g duplex board covered with 100g chromo paper & mat lamination
Barcode sticker & Shrinkwrap

The LP Boxset as follows:

3×12″ 150g Black & cmyk printed centre labels
cmyk inner jacket printed on 350gsm grey back board
1xCD inserted in 1-colour printed card wallet
Stitched 12-page printed booklet 290x290mm on 135gsm paper with Mat Lamination
CMYK Printed box with lift off lid: 312x312x14mm 650g duplex board covered with 100g chromo paper & mat lamination
Barcode sticker & Shrinkwrap

Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs
Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs
Critical Music Presents : Underground Sonics

Critical Music Presents : Underground Sonics

CRIT6About Critical Music:
Conceived by D&B visionary Kasra back in 2002, in a front room in north London, the Critical Music name has since blossomed into one of the most successful independent record labels in the UK today. Grown from a simple idea driven by a commitment to putting out the best music the scene has to offer, it has now become one of the most well respected electronic dance music labels in the UK. With its ongoing label residency at London’s Fabric nightclub, branded events the world over, nurturing new talent and releasing some of the freshest breaks and beats from the likes of Enei, Foreign Concept, Emperor, Mefjus, Ivy Lab, Sam Binga, Break, Rockwell, Sabre, Stray, Calibre, and many more, it has gone on to build a loyal following around the world driven on by Kasra’s never ending quest to release quality underground bass music.
“One of the most forward-thinking labels out there..and Kasra one of drum & bass’ most canny A&R’s.” – DJ mag

Beautifully presented album on Critical Music, comprising of two double packs and a limited edition 10″

2×12″:
140g black vinyl
CMYK Centre Labels
1-Colour Printed Outer Jacket / 6mm spine on Hansaboard
Black Paper Inners
Plastic Outer Sleeve
Download Card with 1-Colour Print
1-Colour Sticker on Outside of Plastic Jacket

1×10″
100g white coloured vinyl
CMYK Centre Labels
Plastic Inner Sleeve
1-Colour Sticker on Outside of Sleeve


Press Release:

Kicking off 2014 in the most spectacular fashion, Critical Music enters its 12th year with its biggest artist compilation to date. Painstakingly put together by label boss Kasra over the past year ‘Underground Sonics’ is an exciting overview of modern day drum & bass showcasing the true dexterity of one of the most well regarded, independent electronic music labels in the UK today. Kasra has pulled out all the stops, sifting through his phone book to enlist the talents of some of
the biggest and most exciting producers in the game.
Noisia, Dub Phizix, Enei, Phace, Sam Binga and Kasra himself all make sterling contributions that make for an album of the best of Underground Sonic expression.

“It’s been a few years since our last fully fledged label compilation so I wanted to ensure this one was as vital as possible. For me this album truly encapsulates the essence of Critical, a balanced mix of all that’s exciting about this music – heads down lights out rollers, experimental side steps and some slightly more aggressive attention grabbers. This album is made up of tracks by the core Critical acts alongside a select group of label friends and for me is a snapshot of where the label is at now and where it is heading.” – Kasra

Think & Change (Limited Edition Boxset) – Nonplus Records

Think & Change (Limited Edition Boxset) – Nonplus Records

333Five-Piece 12″ vinyl LP, sleeved inside a Spot-Gloss heavy-card slipcase:

140g 12″ Vinyl
CMYK Centre Labels
Slipcase CMYK + Spot UV + Matt Laminate
1000 grs board, black inside,
3mm spine CMYK printed Outer Jackets, inserted to create vignette effect
Black Inners, 2 holes
Shrinkwrap with barcode sticker
Digital Download Card

 

R41795_588pxtumblr_mjnsqgUAbY1riagy2o1_1280 NONPLUSLP004