Lenco sells vinyl record players in all shapes and sizes, for home and professional use; record players with a vintage look and feel, but also record players which are very now. But how are vinyl music records being made? In this blog post we give you an idea of what happens from the recording of an album until the time the finished vinyl record get its protective sleeve.
Step 1: Sending in music
Making a vinyl album all starts with “sending in music”, strangely enough this happens “digitally” most of the time, although a vinyl record is an analog format. The original metal-plated recording of a record is called “the master” or “direct metal”. This original record is a metal plate made out of stainless steel with a firm layer of copper; this record is being used to make a mold to start the eventual process of actually producing the record. It takes about one hour to turn a plate of copper into a master record on which music can be placed, but we are not done just yet…
Step 2: A mold is being made
The next step to take is all about making a mold for a record to be produced; making a mold is done in two distinct steps:
- The first step is that the “father disc” is being made. The copper master disc is submerged in a bath full of very small balls of nickel; these balls are being connected to the master disc by electrolytes. This process is a mix of physics at its best.
- The father disc goes into the same bath to produce a “mother disc”; the mother disc is the actual record that can be played, but it will not be used to play music, since the mother disc is used as a mold to produce all the copies of a vinyl record which need to be made. The mold is used in a pressing machine especially made to press vinyl records.
The mold is still rough, and needs to be tidied up before copies can be produced, so this mother disc gets centered, polished, and all flaws are being removed. In case this would not be done, a record would not be able to be played, and the music on the record would sound horrible.
Step 3: The actual records can get pressed
Now the actual record can get pressed! The way this is done is that when the record is actually getting pressed vinyl balls of 140 grams and 180 grams are being put underneath the mold, and thus under the record press. Obviously the balls of vinyl are being heated, so they melt, and they can form a record underneath the vinyl press. Pressing a record goes quite fast, after approximately 20 seconds a vinyl record is finished, and good to go. Vinyl can be used in various shapes and colors, which is great for all collectors of colored vinyl.
Step 4: Checking the vinyl records
The next step is “checking the vinyl records” of the first batch. Checking these first-pressed vinyl albums thoroughly is necessary to make the production of an actual record more streamlined and without any blockages. This does not mean that afterwards no checks are being executed, but after the first batch is successful, the following copies are being checked randomly during the production period. A mold of a vinyl record lasts for a maximum of 1,500 pressed records, and then a new mold is being made.
Step 5: Packaging and labelling
A vinyl album would not be the same without its packaging and labelling, most of the time this process happens by machines. The vinyl records go into thin, but firm paper sleeves, and after in a stronger carton sleeve with some cool cover art on it. Next the record package is being wrapped in plastic foil.