How to press vinyl records at home

Written by enrica jang
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How to press vinyl records at home
You don't have to be a DJ or a popular underground phenomenon to press your own album. (record image by Pefkos from Fotolia.com)

Vinyl albums remain popular with small, independent music companies and especially DJs. Retro demand for vinyl is also growing in popularity for music fans on larger scale. But you don't have to be a DJ or a popular underground phenomenon to press your own album, however. Send-out recording services can transform tracks you record electronically into vinyl records. But with the right equipment, it is possible to press a vinyl record at home.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Vinyl recorder and blank vinyl record plates
  • Recording equipment (min microphone and MP3 recorder)
  • Mixer with cue
  • Level meter
  • Headphones
  • Amp (min 250 watt, max 400 watt)
  • Hand vacuum cleaner

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Set up your recording equipment and vinyl recorder. Instructions for using this equipment will vary by machine, but more advanced sound equipment will require professional installation. Talk to the dealer about home studio set-up and recommended specifications.

  2. 2

    Record tracks for your album. Tracks are the individual songs or segments that make up your album. Depending on your level of expertise and the purpose of your album, you can use home studio mixing equipment and record a professional-grade album, but a simple microphone and MP3 recorder may be all you need.

  3. 3

    Check your tracks to correct for low bass and be sure that the track is compressed. According to James Graham, the blogger behind RetroThing.com, "source material has to be compressed to match the limited dynamic range of vinyl. Any really low frequency sounds (bass, kick drums) must be panned to the centre of your stereo mix or there's a good chance they'll cause the needle to skip. Use your level meter and mixer to correct for errant levels.

  4. 4

    Use the vinyl recorder to record and cut your album on blank vinyl plates. Directions will vary by machine, and the length of the album per side may be limited. Estimate 30 minutes per side, with cumulative track length of 15 minutes per side.

Tips and warnings

  • Vinyl recording equipment is specialised and therefore expensive. As of 2010, expect to pay upwards of £1,950 for just the vinyl recorder.

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