Vinyl Record-Making Machines

Written by owen wuerker
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Vinyl Record-Making Machines
Cutting your own records is still expensive, but it can be done. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The idea of being able press your own records has been little more than a dream for most musicians and audiophiles, since the equipment required for the procedure has traditionally been leagues beyond the price range of the average consumer. A number of companies have designed record-pressing equipment that are slowly approaching something close to affordable, though even the cheapest options are still a big investment.

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Vestax VRX-2000

Vestax offers the only all-inclusive vinyl pressing machine on the market (as of June 2011). The VRX-2000 allows you to record audio from any line level audio source directly onto a Vestax "Harmodisk," a blank record made from a new type of plastic said to last 90 times longer than your average record. Once recorded, you can instantly play the record back on any standard turntable. The VRX-2000 costs about £6,500.

VinylRecorder T560

The German company, Fritz and Ulrich Sourisseau, have developed a vinyl recording device that can fit over any standard DJ turntable, such as a Technics 1200 or 1210 MkII. The apparatus comes with all of the necessary equipment for record pressing: a heated stylus, an RIAA frequency-curve encoder, a miniature vacuum-cleaner, a lamp and a microscope are all included. The whole package costs about €3,200 (about US$4,600). What is notable about the T560 is that it makes it possible to record real vinyl records, which won't wear out quickly.

Vinylium Dubcutter

Many DJs and turntable artists have turned to dubplates, acetate records that are cheaper to produce but wear out after about 100 plays. One of the more popular dubplate recorders is the Dubcutter by Vinylium, a company from Switzerland. The Dubcutter mounts onto the tone arm of any standard Technics turntable and records audio directly onto acetate discs, which are immediately playable on any turntable. Vinylium also boasts superior sound quality because of its feedback controlled cutting head. The Dubcutter costs SF9,100 (about US$10,275).

Vintage Lathes

For those willing to invest more time into their record-pressing venture, older vinyl recording lathes might be an appealing option. Though these lathes are no longer being produced, you can still find and purchase them at online auction sites or at stores that specialise in vintage recording gear. Companies like Presto or Wilcox are particularly well-known for their lathes, some of which are even portable, and can be found for prices as low as £1,625.

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