Releasing a digital music album is stressful enough. What more if you have them released in a physical format…especially if it’s a vinyl record!
Well, one thing is for sure: It won’t be too hard if you read this guide.
And oh. Here’s the one thing that can make everything so much easier. If it’s your first time to press vinyl, just order 100 units of vinyl records. A hundred units is a safe number even if it might be a little more expensive.
If this is your first time with vinyl record pressing, then follow our step by step guide for pressing 100 units of vinyl records:
EASY STEP BY STEP GUIDE IN PRESSING 100 UNITS OF VINYL RECORDS
#1 Look for a good pressing plant
This is the most crucial of all steps and of course, we recommend our vinyl pressing service!
But if you prefer to choose another one, make sure you find a pressing plant that is sure to provide products that are professionally made and of high quality. Anything that looks cheap for vinyl will be a waste of your dollars.
It can be a bit tricky but just remember that your vinyl records will be the ones to suffer if you half-ass this step.
If you don’t have a pressing plant in mind, you can ask for recommendations from other musicians or people you may know and trust. You can try searching the internet and checking reviews about them and their products. You can also navigate through their website, look through their online profile, past projects, and samples, and even try calling or contacting them.
If you’ve found the company you like most then you can either start or maybe even have finished preparing everything needed for your vinyl album’s production.
#2 Prepare your designs and artworks
Steps one, two, and three can all be interchanged, it all depends on you. If you think you already have enough help to have your designs and tracks prepared, then you can do that first and then find a good pressing plant.
But if this is your first time and you don’t really know how to go about it, then I suggest looking for a pressing plant first. They can be a great help to you when you have questions you want to ask, or you have a hard time with your designs and tracks.
So with this second step, you have to prepare the design you have in mind for your record and the artwork you want to have printed on your jackets and sleeves. You also have to prepare more files if you have inclusions you plan on having like lyric books, posters and such.
Be sure to have them saved in the appropriate file type specified by your chosen pressing plant and have your artworks saved in their highest quality possible.
#3 Prepare your tracks
During the recording of your tracks you have to avoid strongly pronouncing the f’s, t’s, and s’s. These sounds cause high sibilance which can lead the sound engineer to de-ess the entirety of your tracks. Another thing to keep in mind is to never over-compress your tracks which can cause distortions on the playback of your vinyl records.
You also have to remember to have your tracks mastered for vinyl. Masters for CDs or digital release is different and must not be used for vinyl pressing. Digital master of the tracks will not go well with a vinyl record, an analog format.
Track listing is also something you have to focus on when you plan on releasing on custom vinyl records. Bear in mind that vinyl records require contact with a needle to produce music, this means that the physical grooves will surely affect playback.
The inner grooves are the ones most susceptible to distortions so it would be best to avoid putting your heavy-information tracks at the end parts of each of the record’s sides. The most preferable place for these tracks are the outer grooves, while the inner ones are for the mellower ones.
#4 Carefully examine test pressing
After you send or upload everything your pressing plant needs for your custom vinyl pressing, you will have to wait for a little while until they notify you about your test pressing. Test pressings are the first pressings of any vinyl pressing project, and this serves as your last chance to check for anomalies or errors on the pressing.
This is another crucial step, because if you don’t carefully examine and listen to the test pressing you won’t have any more chance to say, “Oh no, I just noticed but there’s some surface noise here,” etc. Better keep your ears open.
After checking that everything’s good, you can then give your go signal. This will signify that there’s no problem with the test pressing/s and that you are approving the test pressing of your vinyl records.
#5 Be patient
Lastly, you have to wait and be patient. Most pressing plants would be very busy, most especially those good ones. Even if they’re not busy, it usually takes up to 8 weeks for any record to get pressed.
So just sit and relax. You might not even realize it and just find that two or three months have already passed and your records are already knocking at your doorstep.
Vinyl records are very much in trend right now, gaining more customers, are more accessible for indie musicians, and are easy to order and have.
There is nothing more that could be better than this and you must definitely give it a try, so contact UnifiedMFG or a pressing plant now. We’ll guide you every step of the way.
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.