Now that even your dog knows that CD’s are not cool – it’s become a lot more difficult being an artist who still likes the idea of releasing music in some kind of physical format. My band (Stærosaurus) has recently released an EP on 10 inch vinyl and a number of people (musicians) have since then been asking me how we did it and where it was made. So I figured I’d post it here and any one interested can read it. Please note that I am in no way an expert on making vinyls, but this is my experience with making the one I have made.
Mix and mastering:
When getting your record mastered let the engineer know that you are intending this to be pressed on vinyl. In a perfect world you should also consider this when mixing – we did not do that for our recent record, and it still worked out fine. At the place I had the Stærosaurus records cut there was an engineer who analysed the files to see if they would be alright for use on vinyl.
Getting it pressed:
Before I made the actual order to have the records press I spent some time (with help from my girlfriend) looking for different places to get vinyls pressed and got some quotes on prices. I quickly found out that it was pretty hard to compare prices of vinyl makers directly because there is a number of choices you have to make before you can start cutting.
#1: How many do you want?
Most of the companies I talked to had a minimum limit for the smallest number of records that they would cut. I was looking for 200 or 300 copies. So I was only looking for companies that could provide these quantities.
#2: What size do you want?
7, 10 or 12 inches. As I have made an EP I was looking for a format that could contain a total of 18 minutes of music. This, it turned out, fitted perfectly on a 10 inch record.
#3: Sleeve and jacket?
Not all companies are able to provide a printed cover for the vinyls – especially with quantities under 500. During my search for prices this confused me a number of times. Also because not all factories call the pieces of paper and cardboard that the records is wrapped in by the same names. Here’s a pic to explain the most common terms:
#4: Test print?
Another thing to consider is weather you want to get a test-print or not. I did that for my record. It cost some more money, but that way they sent me a copy of the record before they made the full batch and I could check the sound of the record – it did not include a test print of artwork.
How much? and who?
I was interested in making 200 or 300 copies of 10 or 12 inch records with coloured jackets and white paper sleeves. I ended up getting my records made at www.recordindustry.com. As you can tell from the enclosed document these guys were not the cheapest I could find, but since I wanted to have a test print and wanted to use a company that had a sound engineer that could check if my master was suited to be cut to vinyl, I ended up choosing this company. The production time was around one month from I uploaded the files to their FTP untill I had the records in my hand in my apartment. I am very happy with the record now that I have it. It sounds and looks great.
Here’s a list of all the companies I contacted. In the overview document you can see the details and approximate prices I got from the various companies. They were all very nice and replied quickly to my emails.
Breed Media – www.wearebreed.co.uk
Key Production – http://www.keyproduction.co.uk/Prices/vinylPrices.php
Pallas Group – http://www.pallas-group.de/vinyl-01.php
GZ – www.gzdm.cz
Handle with Care – www.handlewithcare.de
AGRM – www.agrm.com.uk