Lacquers & Masters

The key to a successful pressing.

There are three steps required to get a record pressing underway: the first one is getting the audio source from you, secondly we create a lacquer master, and third we create a metal stamper…

The lacquer master

What is a lacquer master? It’s an acetate-coated aluminum disc measuring 14 inches in diameter (larger than the finished product) that contains all of the grooves that represent the final mastered sound of your recording. The exact same grooves that will end up on each and every record we press for you. After we receive the audio source, we master it through a series of EQs for “standard normalization” (specifically for the purposes of creating the lacquer master) to RIAA standards.

Creating a lacquer master is a one-time process and wouldn’t happen again in the event of a reorder.

The metal stamper

The metal stamper is exactly what you think it is. It’s also referred to as the “galvanic process” if you want to get fancy. Putting a lacquer master into a vinyl press is kind of like putting a cold grilled cheese sandwich under the wheel of an F-150, so instead we take it and spray it with silver nitrate. The nitrate fills all of the grooves in the lacquer master. Then we submerge the disc into a nickel sulphamate electrolyte solution and allow nickel to deposit through a chemical process onto the disc plate. This takes about an hour and a half and when it’s done we carefully separate a perfect metal negative from your lacquer master. This… is your metal stamper.

This mold is what ultimately gets used to make your test pressings and eventually the entire run of your vinyl records. The metal stamper is also a one-time charge and is not required in the event of a reorder.

On that note, we archive all of our lacquer masters and metal stampers like fine bottles of wine.  Meaning that in the event of a reorder, you just have to contact us and let us know how many additional records you want. Simple as that.