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How vinyl records are made

Vinyl records are made through a multi-step process that involves several stages of production. Here is a general overview of how vinyl records are made:

1. **Mastering:**

   – The process begins with the recording of music in a studio.

   – Once the recording is complete, the audio engineer creates a master disc. This master disc is typically made of lacquer and contains the final audio that will be pressed onto the vinyl.

2. **Plating:**

   – The master disc is then used to create a metal stamper. The stamper is made by coating the master disc in a layer of metal (usually nickel) to create a negative impression of the audio.

   – This negative impression is used to produce a positive metal stamper. This stamper will be used to press the grooves into the vinyl during manufacturing.

3. **Vinyl Formulation:**

   – Vinyl records are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pellets. These pellets are melted and mixed with various additives to achieve the desired properties, such as flexibility and durability.

4. **Extrusion:**

   – The vinyl mixture is then extruded into the shape of a puck or biscuit, which is a thick, flat disc of vinyl. This is often referred to as a “biscuit” or “puck.”

5. **Label Printing:**

   – Meanwhile, the labels for the record (center labels with artwork and information) are printed.

6. **Center Label Application:**

   – The center labels are applied to the biscuit. Sometimes, this is done before the pressing begins, and in other cases, it’s done afterward.

7. **Molding/Pressing:**

   – The biscuit is placed between the two stampers (one for each side of the record) in a hydraulic press.

   – The stampers press the grooves into the vinyl and form the final shape of the record.

   – The record is cooled and solidified, and excess vinyl is trimmed off.

8. **Quality Control:**

   – The records then undergo a quality control process where they are inspected for any defects, such as warping or imperfections in the grooves.

9. **Packaging:**

   – The finished records are then packaged, often in cardboard sleeves with artwork and information about the album.

10. **Distribution:**

   – The records are then distributed to retailers or directly to consumers.

It’s worth noting that this is a simplified overview, and there can be variations in the process depending on the specific manufacturer and the desired quality of the final product. Additionally, some modern vinyl records are produced using different techniques, such as direct-to-disc recording, which skips the step of creating a master disc.