Vinyl FAQ

It seems like an easy question to answer but this is vinyl and nothing is easy and that’s why you love it. Don’t forget about compression and equalization, but here’s a good rule of thumb for how much music you can fit on each side of a record:

FormatRPM (Speed)For Optimal Sound
Quality (minutes)
Max Timing* (minutes)
12"45912-15
12"33 1/312-1418-22
12” - DJ Volume Level4579
12” - DJ Volume Level33 1/3912
10"45711.5
10"33 1/3915
7"453.56
7"33 1/358

* longer times will result in a drop in EQ level and sound quality

Notes: There is some debate over the proper timing per side but this is our FAQ and these are the timings we like the best. For every minute cut over the recommended optimal length, an angel loses its wings and you will hear a drop in sound levels and quality. This gets worse as you get near the maximum timing length. If you have an extra long playing record, consider not cheaping out and spread your release over two records- it’ll sound better. There may an extra mastering charge for cutting extra long masters (duh). Also, if you’re gonna cut a 10” at 78 RPM, it’s best not to exceed 5 minutes per side.

Size does matter. 14” is where it’s at. All lacquers need to be 14″ lacquers. Even if you are pressing 7″ or 10″ records, the lacquers still need to be 14″ in diameter. If you are providing Mothers or Copper DMM plates, these should also be plated or cut to 14″.We don’t make the rules, but these are them. If you don’t follow the rules, and send something not 14” it will cost money and time.

What you hear when playing your test pressings is what you’ll hear on the final pressed copies so you probably should listen to them.

When you receive your test pressings, we’ll send you a handy checklist and this is what it’ll ask you to check:

  • Sound quality
  • Are the songs in the right order?
  • Are the side splits correct (i.e. is the first song on side B correct)?
  • Are there any loud pops, clicks or other annoying sound issues and if so:
    • are they on ALL the copies? If they’re not, it’s ok (read more below if you don’t believe us)
    • do you hear them on more than one record player?
  • Are the deadwax etchings correct (catalog number, side indicator and any requested custom message etching)?
    If you ordered a heavy weight 180g 12”, is the test pressing the correct weight?

Note: if your order is for color vinyl, your test pressings will be pressed on black vinyl.

After listening to your test pressings, head over to our Test Pressing Approval Form to submit your feedback.

If you find a copy that has an issue that does not appear on another copy in your batch, don’t freak out. It’s fine. If you’re still freaking out, here are some technical words to calm you down: tests are made from a brand new fresh newborn stamper. How exciting. But the first 30ish records off a new stamper can be a little noisy because science. But here’s the thing- when we press records we toss the first 30ish records and eliminate that factor. We don’t do this with tests because it would cost too much and you’re not made of money. Long story short, if you have one good test pressing out of 5, you are going to get clean production copies. Now stop freaking out for real.

Check out this video on how to listen to evaluate your test pressings.

After listening to your test pressings, head over to our Test Pressing Approval Form to submit your feedback.

Yes, a bit. Black vinyl will always sound the best. When you add additives to the small batches that make up color vinyl, it can have a higher noise floor. But it’s going to look really cool and it’ll still sound as good as it can, because we only press records that sound good.

Check out all our color vinyl options.

Yes we can. We can do just about anything. Here are some of our offerings:

Swirl
We make this by mixing two or more colors of PVC into the hoppers. This makes a swirly combo of colors that looks awesome and varies from record to record so each of your customers will receive a one of a kind look. If you want them to all be identical, order black.

The swirl technique works great on 12” and 10” records but, unfortunately, not on the 7″ presses. The 7” will just take red and white and make pink.  This is because of the design of the extruder screw on those presses (nerd engineering speak).

Color in Color, Splatter, Half and Half, Tri-Color, etc.
If the Swirl color effect doesn’t quite make you poop your pants with delight we offer a variety of color configurations sure to bring a smile to even the most surly record collector. These effects are achieved by hand making each vinyl puck and then manually placing it into one of our Semi-Automatic (mostly manual) pressing machines. This is a slow and laborious process so you’ll pay a premium for these records but the final results are pretty freakin’ rad.

Check out all the unique vinyl effects we offer and get ready to have your mind blown.

Doing color mixtures and achieving specific color effects is not an exact process and it’s not supposed to be. If you want consistency and perfection, go with black or a single color vinyl. But if you want something different and you’re ready to loosen the OCD reigns a bit, this stuff is super cool. Some colors inherently mix better than others. We just won’t know until we’ve put it on the press and produced the records which is part of the fun.

When pressing color vinyl, you should expect a little swirl from whatever color was used on the previous run. This will linger for the first 50-100 records until flushed out. We think this is pretty cool (most people do) but to produce colored vinyl (without remnant speckles or swirls), you can pay more to clean the extruder between pressings.

Metallic Vinyl Colors
To achieve these colors there are metallic flakes added to the compound. These metallic flakes can settle in the extrusion process and cause a wavy pattern in the pressed record. Cool, right? If you don’t like cool metal wavy patterns, don’t order this. We can’t control exactly what it will look like but we’re excited to see how it turns out every time.

Still a yes. Read the previous FAQ for a more in depth explanation. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Because we know what you want – you don’t want to pick between good, cheap and fast. You want vinyl that sounds great and looks amazing, you don’t want to pay a fortune and you want it in your hand when you need it. And that’s what we’re committed to deliver.

Learn more about us.

Whatever kind you want. Furnace can accept a formatted audio CD-R, uploaded digital files, cut lacquers or mother plates. If you send digital audio, the preferred method is Stereo 48k/24-bit files, It’s best to send two files, one for side A and one for side B. The files should have all the spacing already built in the way you’d like the record to play. The best file format are .aiff or .wav
If you decide to send a CD-R, burn each side on a separate disc.

If you send a CD-R or digital files, we can cut to traditional lacquers or use DMM (direct to metal mastering.) On most cuts, our preference is lacquer (we think it sounds richer and warmer) but this is your record so if you’d prefer DMM, let us know when you submit your order.

If you’re supplying lacquers, someone probably told you by now that they degrade fast and are very fragile. It’s all true. So please pack them up well (the one time we’ll be pro-styrofoam, use a styro-pack) and sent immediately after they are cut. Also label them.

Maybe you made the wise decision to move your pressing from another facility to Furnace and you have Mother Plates or DMM Copper Plates. That’s fine too and you’ll be happy you did it. Don’t send master/father or stamper plates though- we can’t use them. Again, make sure these are packed well. Put them in a protective sleeve. Sometimes metal work is stored in cardboard jackets- don’t send them in those because they’re super scratchy.

This isn’t one of those things you can answer in the FAQ so you have to call us on the phone like someone from the olden times. Or email us – once we know what you want and when you need it we’ll do our best to make it happen.

Easy one: 7″ vinyl is pressed at 40 grams, 10″ is 100g and for 12″ vinyl we offer 150 gram standard and 180 gram heavyweight records.

Depends who you ask.

Facts:

  • The stampers/plates used for 180g records are the same as regular weight records.
  • The groove depths are the same.
  • On most turntables and for most recordings, they should sound identical.
  • The extra mass of an 180g records keeps it from making any micro movements while the stylus is thrashing back and forth in the grooves during playback. The audible effect is more apparent on fancier systems but it’s always true.
  • Our heavyweight 180g vinyl is pretty badass and we love it.

Conclusion:
180g records have a huge following among serious vinyl buyers and we love them because they are the opposite of the crap vinyl people were pedalling in the olden times. You can read various message boards as to why people feel either way on this issue if you’re into that sort of thing.

Sure!

If Furnace is cutting your record, make sure to add any special message or details you’d like us to etch onto your order form. We always etch your catalog # / release number, the side of the record and our internal part number. If you want us to etch a shout-out to your fans or a message to your lover(s), we can do that too. The only limit is your imagination. And 40 characters.

If you are supplying lacquers or plates made elsewhere, make sure the engineer does all that because that’s the right way to do it. But if you need Furnace to add a custom etching to your supplied parts, we can do it but if we scratch it up by mistake, not our fault. Or more technically speaking: please understand that we cannot be held responsible for any damage or mistakes made while etching on supplied parts.

If you don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, look at the inner grooves of a record – the space in between the playable grooves and the label is referred to as the deadwax. We can make words there!

Of course. Some things we have etched: a frog smoking a cigar, a rock star signature, a weird hay making machine, the word “VINYL”. What’s next?! Send us full resolution graphics (should be one color line art – not grayscale or full color, ie – no dots) and we can make one side a non-playable piece of art.

A locked groove locks the needle in place. There’s one on every record at the end of the side to prevent your stylus/needle from surfing onto the center label at the end of a side.

But wait, there’s more. You can also add a locked groove at the end of a song for fun. For example, it can be used to hide bonus tracks by requiring the listener to pick up the stylus and manually advance it to the next track. Make em work for it.

It sounds like a fever dream about your ex but in this context an endless audio loop plays a piece of music over and over again until the user picks up the needle. Generally, an endless loop is approximately 1 to 2 seconds (not that endless). Most engineers will do their best to get it perfectly dialed in, but there may be a slight click as the end of the loop meets up with the start of the loop. Proceed at your own risk. While we take every precaution to make a clean transition, it can sometimes take a few tries to nail it just right since there is no way to QC the loop (meaning play it) without ruining the lacquer cut.

The most popular example of this effect can be found at the end of “A Day in the Life” on Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” where a loop of someone (surely while high on LSD) utters the phrase “never could see any other way.” over and over in an endless loop. Good times.

Indeed you can. Most people think that what they are seeing between songs is a silent groove when, in fact, these are just grooves spaced further apart. During the lacquer cutting process, the mastering engineer uses the track timing or PQ sheet you provide and tells the lathe to add groove spacing at the end of each track.  It spreads out the groove and that’s what you are seeing when you look at the surface of your record.  The grooves of the song are close together and the space between each song is further apart.  An extreme version of this can be seen on the innermost part of the record called the deadwax.

The best and worst part about pressing vinyl records is you can’t just push a button and make a perfect record pop out. And we aim to only ship out perfect records. So we always press more than you ordered. For example, if you place an order for 500 records, we will actually press around 550 and then scrap any that we deem unworthy of you. Since we’re good at pressing records, this usually means you get more than you ordered (bonus!) Sometimes you get less than you ordered though and it can be up to 10% in either direction.

If you require the shipped amount to be NO LESS than a certain quantity, place your order for 10% more than said target because math. Just note that the +/- 10% figure is then based on the increased order quantity.

Overs for all printed matter (jackets, inserts, printed inners, etc) works the same way.

If you end up with less records than you ordered, we credit you back the difference. If you end up with more than you ordered, you pay for them. This is industry standard and also common sense.

This can get confusing so let’s break it all down:

Traditional “mastering” services that are performed after you track and mix your recording is done to fine tune, EQ and prepare masters for the various means of distributing your music (compact disc, digital sales, streaming services and pressing on vinyl.) If your mastering studio is familiar with preparing vinyl masters, they will conform your audio to the required RIAA curve and make any other tweaks to ensure your recording is optimized for vinyl playback.

Unless you ask us to perform the traditional services detailed above, the mastering that Furnace will perform is optimizing your audio file for vinyl and then “cutting” your music onto a lacquer or DMM plate. We are not altering your audio mix or messing with the EQ. We’re just making sure that the needle doesn’t jump out of the groove when a big bass note comes roaring through. It’s science…

When designing center labels for vinyl records, color selection is important in a different way than normal. Hang on, we’re going to explain. Labels for vinyl records are heated in an oven (Hansel & Gretel style) prior to being put onto the record press to extract all of the moisture from the paper. Why? To reduce the unsightly cracking and bubbling of the label where they are hit with extreme heat and pressure during the pressing process. Pre baking if you will.

Back to colors: PMS spot colors have a tendency to discolor during this baking process. In our testing, we’ve discovered that CMYK inks stay more true-to-color than PMS inks. Some tech talk: this is especially true with spot colors with a transparent white content of 50% or higher. Even PMS colors with a lower “Trans. Wt.” will sometimes have shifts in appearance.

So, when choosing label colors be aware that using the same PMS color on the jacket and the label may result in a difference in color, and cannot be matched.

First, this: If you’re supplying lacquers, someone probably told you by now that they degrade fast and are very fragile. It’s all true. So please pack them up well (the one time we’ll be pro-styrofoam, use a styro-pack) and sent immediately after they are cut.

Also label them like this:

  1. Catalog Number
  2. Customer name (record label, management, broker name, etc.)
  3. Number of sides

If the lacquers get to us without this info, we won’t know what they are and that will waste time and the lacquers could degrade. Both bad.

Use trackable shipments (like FedEx, UPS, DHL, or TNT) and ship directly to the plating facility. We use a couple, so make sure you get all the right details from your account rep prior to shipping.

Our minimum order is 300 units. Lifehack: If you want to order 300, ask us to also send an estimate for 500. With setup costs and print price breaks the way they are, sometimes it’s not much more expensive to order 500 than it it is 300.

Here’s a handy glossary that explains the terminology for the various print and packaging types used in the vinyl world.

Sleeve: this is the protective thing that we put the vinyl record into. Most of the time, this is made of plain paper or printed paper (printed inner sleeve) but it can also be a paper sleeve lined with a protective HDPE material (poly-lined sleeve), a clear HDPE bag or a number of combinations on the theme. We want you to use a HDPE or poly-lined sleeve because they’re nice to your records and if you treat records right, records will treat you right. We don’t like paper sleeves because they can scratch and scuff the record and transfer paper fibers into the groove of your records – #bad. If it has to be a printed paper sleeve, the best idea is to use an HDPE sleeve and treat the printed sleeve as an insert. Your fans can decide which they prefer to store the record in once they buy it. If they read this FAQ (and who wouldn’t) or if they know what’s good, it won’t be the paper one. Tradition doesn’t mean it’s good so lets rethink the paper sleeve, shall we?

Disco / Euro Jacket: Used primarily for 7” and 12” singles, this is similar to a (regular) Jacket but doesn’t have a side spine and the record goes directly inside without a protective sleeve. You don’t need a spine at the disco. These are usually printed on lighter weight paperboard than a jacket and can also be used as a Printed Inner Jacket instead of a sleeve.

Jacket: this is the outer packaging that all the cool stuff (records, inserts, locks of your lead singer’s hair) get packaged inside of. A jacket can be a single pocket jobber or a multi pocket (two, three, FOUR?) gatefold style guy. We refer to anything that has a pocket and a side spine as a jacket. Jackets are usually made of thick paperboard material. Most jackets are printed directly onto the board but if you are looking to spend some extra cash to get that old-school look, Case-Wrapped jackets are printed onto a paper wrap and then glued to a paperboard shell. This is the way jackets were made in the olden times and what you will see on those classic bebop records from the 50s and 60s. We can do it all.

Printed Insert: Anything printed onto paper that is going inside your jacket is called a printed insert. This could be a 12” x 12” lyric sheet (also referred to as liner notes), a multi-paged booklet or a folded insert or poster or the flyers from your shows you’ve collected since 1994 that you want us to put in the records. All inserts meant to fit inside a record jacket have to be (or folded down to be) slightly smaller than the pocket opening. So, for a 7”, inserts should be 7” or less and for a 12”, 12” or less. It’s math. If you are making a thick booklet or are having a large poster folded down to size, the extra girth may require you to make the finished size smaller so everything fits inside the pocket. For extra girthy (there’s that word again) inserts, you may also need to order a jacket with a wider spine than standard. Whatever your girth (again) needs, we have you covered.

We feel your pain.  Unfortunately, those turntables are made from the cheapest parts possible in order to sell at that impossibly low price point.  These turntables tend to skip because:

  • they don’t have an Anti-Skate mechanism to ensure that the needle is centered in the groove and to prevent it from being pulled into the center or back towards the outer ring of the record. Without this important feature, the needle is free to pull or push onto the sidewalls of the record groove causing  unwanted wear and tear of your records, poor sound playback and skipping as it swings to and fro.  A quality turntable with Anti-Skate keeps the needle centered in the groove as it surfs through your music.
  • the speakers are built into the unit and the sound can vibrate the platter causing the needle to jump out of the groove and skip, especially as the bass is loud and thumpy.
  • the platter is undersized. Most turntables have a platter that is the size of the record so it will support the outer circumference.  Without a full sized platter, the outer ring of the record will bend and flex and exaggerate any slight warps a record may have, causing skips and other sound quality issues.
  • The motor that turns the platter is cheap and thus varies the speed of the record causing continuous tones to sound like they are modulating up and down – this may not cause skips but it sure makes the music sound terrible.
  • Many of these cheap turntables use a heavyweight ceramic cartridge with a tracking force of about 4.5 grams (this is how much weight the needle needs to effectively track the record groove.)  Most standard moving magnet cartridges require a tracking force of between .75-1.5g.  Cheap turntables that require 3-4 times the tracking force will wear the hell out of your record grooves.

To recap: these turntables are garbage and Furnace, like all other pressing plants, will not accept any defective vinyl claims due to being played on low quality turntables.  Thanks for your understanding.

It’s whatever you prefer. We don’t judge. If you got this far in our FAQ you can call it/us anything you want. We just like that you’re pressing vinyl(s).

What vinyl nerd wouldn’t want to see behind the scenes of a record being pressed? We get it, and we’re working on it! There are a few things that we have to do before we can have people walking around in the plant while everything is cranking. Stay tuned to our social media, once the opportunity is there, we’ll let you know!

We love that you love Furny and want to support Furnace around town. As of right now we don’t have merch for sale, but that’s about to change! Keep an eye out on our social media. As soon as it becomes available, we’ll have a link to our online shop for all your swag needs. In the meantime, you can read more about Furny here.

Furnace is just a manufacturer and not a reseller of vinyl. If you’re itching to buy something we’ve pressed, please visit your local record store. If you need help finding a local shop, check out the Vinyl District’s handy Record Store Locator App.

Custom Quote

Do you have a special project that doesn’t fit into one of our packages? Head on over to our custom quote tool and give us the lowdown on your next masterpiece.

CLICK HERE

Frequently Asked Questions

Need Something Else?
Home

One of our team members would love to chat with you about how we can best help you!