7-inch vinyl records are the cutest of them all. You can have them the usual way (if you have a band) or as wedding giveaways or a gifts.
If you’re planning to have your very own vinyl record pressing, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll be talking about 7-inch vinyl records, vinyl pressing, and everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
7-INCH VINYL RECORDS
There are three main sizes for vinyl records and the 7-inch is the smallest out of the three.
It’s also the lightest with 45 to 70 grams in weight making it the easiest to carry during tours and gigs.
There has been a lot of hesitance from musicians due to the weight of these vinyl records. With 7-inch records, that burden is lessened. If you’re releasing an album, then this would not be the size for you.
Seven-inch vinyl records can run on two speeds, 45 rpm and 33⅓ rpm which has 9 minutes and 12 minutes, respectively, of overall optimal playing time.
This means that the size is best chosen when you’re releasing a single that may be accompanied by one or two b-sides.
With this size, you can choose to have a small or large center hole. There’s no other difference, really, just the overall look of the record.
VINYL PRESSING PROCESS
Knowing how your vinyl records are made is a great way to understand why the format is both revered and high-priced.
There are three main steps in the manufacturing of vinyl records and we’ll be introducing them to you.
#1. LACQUER CUTTING
After preparing the music on your side, you’ll have to pass the reins to your chosen pressing plants.
The first step they do is to cut your music onto the lacquer using a lathe.
A lathe is a machine with a sapphire tipped cutter that etches the long continuous groove onto the lacquer disc.
#2. CREATING STAMPER
Next is the creation of a metal stamper from the cut lacquer disc.
This step is done starting with the spraying of tin chloride and liquid silver on the lacquer.
The lacquer is then soaked into a nickel bath where the charge of silver attracts nickel. After some time the lacquer is removed and the metal stamper is detached from it.
#3. VINYL MANUFACTURING
Lastly, is the manufacturing of the vinyl record.
This is where the actual pressing of vinyl occurs. But before they go on to the final step, they first do a test press to check if there are no flaws in the metal stamper.
To start, the center label is slotted first, the vinyl puck, then last is another label. The metal stampers then press and sandwich the layer for more or less than a minute.
After that, the excess sides are cut to create that smooth edge of vinyl records and then they are packaged.
TIPS WHEN HAVING A VINYL PRESSING
Here are some important tips that you have to do before and during the vinyl pressing process.
These will surely help you have good records arriving on your doorstep.
1. Master your songs for vinyl
Digital masters are different and would not sound great on vinyl records when they are pressed on the format.
If you want to ensure great sound quality, make sure that you have your songs mastered for vinyl.
Look for an engineer that’s experienced in mastering songs for vinyl.
2. Rearrange your tracks per side from noisy to mellow
Since it’s a tactile format, the kind of music you put on them would affect how they will sound.
The inner grooves are more susceptible to distortion so having songs with heavy music information would not be a good choice.
So we suggest you put the noisier songs at the starting grooves and the mellower ones at the end part.
3. Thoroughly check the test press
The test pressings sent to you would be the last chance for you to check if there are any flaws with the mastering and cutting.
If you don’t check it thoroughly, then it will be your fault.
If you hear something, try another test press and check if the same sound is produced on the same spot, this will help you confirm that the stamper was flawed and was not a chance mistake during the pressing.
HOW TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR VINYL ALBUM
There are lots of ways you can customize your vinyl record album and we have them here on a list.
#1. VINYL JACKET
Vinyl jackets are the first things the audience would see and you can customize them in a lot of ways.
You can customize it through the design you would be printing on their surface. Whether you have a painting or a portrait of yourself on it, it’s all up to you.
There are also a lot of different types of vinyl jackets.
The most used are the gatefold and single jacket. Jackets can have spines and you can choose to have that. With gatefold jackets, you can have artwork for the inner side.
#2. INNER SLEEVE
Inner sleeves can be plain white, colored, or even printed, you choose.
Most artists, though, print their songs’ lyrics on them while some have additional artwork printed.
You can also choose to have those anti-static sleeves if you want to. It all depends on you.
#3. VINYL RECORD
Last is the vinyl record itself.
There are various ways you can customize this. The very basic one is color.
Black is the standard color of the format, but now you can have any color or even have a combination of these colors. You can also create some kind of patterns like a cross or just a splatter design.
The circular shape of the record can also be customized into anything you want, maybe a frog or a star, you name it.
There are also vinyl records with things inside them and images on the surface (picture discs).
You can also have a record that glows in the dark, or maybe one with etchings on them.
Now, what are you waiting for?
Go and start planning!
If you already have a plan, then let’s start the work.
Good luck with your pressing! We hoped this helped you in any way possible.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.