There’s a certain charm to vinyl records that can stand the test of time. Many listeners even prefer vinyl as their favorite way to consume music. Whether you’re a long-time vinyl fan or a young listener amazed at how music was recorded prior to digital technology, it’s intriguing to learn about the process of making a vinyl record. Learn more about how records are made below.
Records comprise a few different parts and materials. The final disc that you purchase at the store is polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which is naturally clear. Record makers use other additives to make the record standard black or another unique color variation for special pressings. Black is the most common color for records because black carbon strengthens the disc more than other additives.
The Record-Making Process
Record-making is a process that has remained largely the same over time. These are the steps that take your favorite songs from the recording studio to your home record player:
- Recording music: The band records the music in the studio using either analog or digital technology. A mixing and mastering engineer will optimize the sound levels for vinyl playback.
- Printing a master record: An engineer will place an aluminum master disc onto a machine and play the studio recording. The machine will carve the exact waveforms into the disc.
- Creating a stamper: The engineer will clean the master disk and spray it with liquid silver and tin chloride to prepare it for electroplating, which is the process of submerging the disc in a tank of dissolved nickel. Removing the disc creates the stamper, a reusable template.
- Pressing copies for sale: Creating the records that go to stores involves filling a hopper with PVC pellets and condensing them into a puck. The machine will hold the puck into place and use the stamper to create a replica of the master record. Excess material is trimmed away.
- Packaging and distribution: After pressing, the record is ready for manual inspection, shipping to stores and playing on your home system.
Find Records in Milwaukee
Several common types of records follow the same creation process, and you can find them all at Record Head in West Allis. While most records follow the same creation process, you’ll need to learn more about record sizes and speeds for the best listening experience. Record Head buys, sells and trades vinyl albums, so browse our music inventory to find your all-time favorites today. You can also shop our records online.