Check Our FAQ Section For Some Guidance
Frequently Asked Questions
On this page you will find a guide to the most common questions we receive. Please use this before contacting us or to help you make a decision before buying. Simply click on a question to view the answer.
What Do You Do?
We make one-off vinyl records, which don’t deteriorate – send us your music on CD, DAT, cassette or digital formats and we will put it onto a single piece of 7inch, 10inch or 12inch vinyl. We don’t do pressings in large quantities, only custom records.
How Do I Get The Best Out Of My Record?
The longer the music on the side, the quieter it has to be cut. Though we will always strive to make it as loud as possible, we suggest the following maximum playing times:
- 7”: up to 3-4mins
- 10”: up to 5-6mins
- 12”: up to 6-7mins
- EP: up to 17mins
- LP: up to 20mins
Please leave about 2dB headroom on your tracks. Don’t use any maximising plugins such as Waves L1 as we will make your tracks as loud as possible in the last stage of the mastering chain.
The loudness of your record has nothing to do with the digital level on your master file. It only depends on playing time and bass content.
If the meters are at maximum and show no real movement all the time, it’s impossible to do any mastering without lowering the level first – this will result in a loss of punch.
Try to avoid stereo bass and phase problems (see the corresponding questions below).
Please note – there is no difference in quality between small or large hole 7inch records.
What Plate Format Should I Choose?
It depends on the type and length of music. Here’s what we recommend:
- 7 inch: ideal for bands and pop, rock, punk, reggae, soul, radio tracks
- 10 inch: short dance tracks, reggae and dub
- 12 inch: dance music, hip hop
- 12 inch EP/LP: for album formats
Please note that a 12” will always sound better than a smaller plate, this is due to the higher groove speed at the outer grooves.
Try listening to any 12” record and compare the beginning of the plate with the end, there will be much more hi-end at the beginning.
For loud dance music with lot of bass or loud hi-hats we definitely recommend a 12” plate.
Scratch records are preferably cut on 12inch, though sometimes a 10inch will do the job as well.
What Are The Plates Made Of?
Our plates are made of a pvc-compound, so hard that you can play them as often as normal vinyl plates but soft enough to cut directly onto them as well. All of our records come in plain white cardboard sleeves and with plain white centre labels.
What's The Difference Between Your Plates and An Acetate Dubplate?
An acetate is an aluminium disc with a thin layer of soft laquer. The music is cut onto this laquer, using a sapphire. The playback stylus damages the laquer and the quality deteriorates with each play. You can’t scratch with acetates at all. We are using a diamond to cut directly into a harder material, therefore our dubs last like normal vinyls and scratching is no problem, either.
What Are The Maximum Playing Times?
Very good: 3 minutes
Ok: 4 minutes
Possible: 6 minutes
Very good: 5.30 minutes
Ok: 6.30 minutes
Possible: 8 minutes
Very good: 8 minutes
Ok: 12 minutes
Possible: 14 minutes (or 17mins for EP, 20 mins for LP formats)
How Should I Send My Tracks To You?
You can send your tracks in different ways:
- Digitally by using our dedicated Wetransfer page, a link to which will be sent to you after purchase. View instructions for sending your files digitally.
- Audio CD (44.1 kHz)
- CD-R using .wav or .aiff (44.1 or 96 kHz)
Please note that we currently cannot support audio cassette or minidisc as supplying formats.
Is There Any Difference I Quality Between The Plates You Deliver?
No, the sound quality is equally high on all type of plates.
Can I Have Different Tracks On Each Side?
Yes. You can one different track per side on 7″s, and multiple different tracks per side on 10″s and 12″s, bearing in mind the maximum recommended lengths above.
Why is it so important for mixes to be in phase and the bass being in mono?
Phasing is very important to cutting vinyl.
If the mix is in phase, the cutter stylus will move from left to right but if the mix is out of phase it causes the stylus to move up and down. Too much up and down movement will produce a groove that’s too shallow or interrupted. This will cause the playback needle to jump.
The bottom end, low frequencies, is especially very critical. If the bass is in stereo, the cutter stylus will leave the surface of the record and the plate will be unusable.
How do I know is my mix is out of phase?
Most software has a built in phase meter, use it to make sure you stay in the positive range.
Try listening to your tracks in mono and stereo, ideally there shouldn’t be a big difference. If there is – especially at the bottom end – you might have a problem.
If you switch between stereo and mono, kick/bass should stay in the center.
What does mastering mean?
Mastering is a way to improve the sound quality and do necessary corrections to a track.
We don’t just insert some digital plugins to master. Our experienced engineers use state of the art analogue equipment and full range monitoring to make your tracks sound great.
Mastering is included in all of our prices.
I want you to cut my existing dubplates and acetates, any tips for recording them?
Record them at a good level, but never too high. The level in your computer has nothing to do with the level of your future record.
Don’t use the eq of your mixer, leave it flat.
Always record them into stereo files, even if the tracks are in mono. This has to do with the vertical movement of the cutter stylus and helps us to get rid of clicks and pops more efficiently.
Don’t truncate the noise at the beginning and end of the track, leave about 1-2sec of hiss, crackles and pops.
Use an elliptical playback stylus. It will follow the grooves better than a spherical one – this will result in lower distortions (especially when recording tracks with loud vocals).
On highly abused acetates (the ones where you can see the metal coming through) it helps to spray them with water before/during recording. The stylus kind of ‘swims’ in the groove, recording less noise.
I can't use my LPs in the club as they pick up feedback, can you help?
Due to its length the recording level on an LP is very low, hence you need a lot of gain. On large sound systems this can cause the playback needle to pickup feedback.
The grooves are very shallow and dense, too and so the needle jumps quite easily.
The same tracks will be fine when recorded off and LP and back to another format. On shorter tracks, even a 7″ will solve the problem.
For recording an LP, please take a look at the previous question.
I'm into dance music and want to cut a record, will your plates be loud enough?
In 2003 we’ve spent about half a year cutting nothing but drum n bass and learned to cut as loud as possible. During this time, a couple of big name drum and bass DJs helped us to improve the quality of our records. We know that very loud cuts are vital especially if you’re playing in big clubs, where you can’t mess with the gains.
Is there anything I should take care of for an EP or LP?
Put the most important tracks first – every record sounds best at the beginning (outer grooves). The quieter tracks should be at the end of the record.
How do you know your plates will last?
The oldest existing plate is now about 11 years old and still gets played in clubs regularly. We’ve also tested a plate with a locked groove by mounting a counter on the platter of the deck. After thousands of plays, the quality deteriorated at the same degree as a normal vinyl. Many people scratched single sections of our plates for 15min or more without having any wear whatsoever.
How long have you been doing this for?
Vinyl Carvers was started in 2002.
Will your 7s play fine in a Jukebox?
Yes, our 7″ jukebox records behave very well in machines like Wurlitzer, NSM, Rock-Ola, Seeburg, AMI, Rowe and Chantal. We have small and large (American style) centre holes. Because our records are very solid, they don’t get warped in valve-operated machines which generate a lot of heat.
We will ensure that the mechanism of your machine will work correctly (i.e. it won’t cut off the music too early).
What's your turnaround time?
Currently turnaround is 7 working days. Below are our standard shipping times:
UK customers next day
EU customers 2-5 days
R.O.W customers 1 week
What payment methods do you accept?
Currently we accept Paypal as a payment gateway meaning you can also use standard cards to process a payment even if you do not have a Paypal account.
How much would it be for 100 or 1000 12inch records?
We don’t do high quantity pressings, only one-off vinyls. Every single record requires the same process – hence they don’t get much cheaper with quantity.
Our dubplate service is aimed at about 1-10 copies of a track – a great substitute for test pressings.
However if you are in need of runs of over 100 records please contact our sister company www.curvedpressings.com
What are the weights of your records?
Vinyl Carvers plate weights
7” = 60g
10” = 115g
12” ultralight clear = 85g [currently unavailable]
12” black + clear = 180g
Standard record weights
12” vinyl = 130-185g
12” acetate = 240g