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"33 1/312-1418-22
12” - DJ Volume Level4579
12” - DJ Volume Level33 1/3912
10"33 1/3915
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, 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. Also, if you’re gonna cut a 10” at 78 RPM, it’s best not to exceed 5 minutes per side.

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.

Our current minimum order is 500 units.

12″ records require 14″ lacquers or plates.

10″ records require 12″ or 14″ lacquers or plates.

7″ records require 10″ lacquers or plates.  7″s cut onto 12″ or 14″ lacquers will be charged the more expensive 12″ plating fee.

What you hear when playing your test pressings is what you’ll hear on the final pressed copies, so listen to them carefully upon arrival.

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
  • Catalog / Selection number is etched into lead-out groove correctly
  • The A/B side inscriptions in the run-out groove matches the side splits on your track listing
  • The songs are in the correct order and the visual markers are in the right place
  • If you requested a custom message inscription in the run-out groove, check that it is present
  • The rotation speed (RPM) is correct
  • Are there any loud pops, ticks or other annoying sound issues, if so:
    • Are they on ALL the copies? If they’re not, it’s ok (read more here if you don’t believe us).
    • Do you hear them on more than one record player?

All 12” test pressings are pressed on black vinyl with an average weight of 160 grams. Your final order will be pressed on the color and weight requested on your purchase order. 10” test pressings will also be pressed as a 12”.

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 sooth your soul: tests are made from a brand new fresh newborn stamper. The first 30ish records off a new stamper can be a little noisy. But here’s the thing- when we press records we toss the first 30ish records and eliminate that factor. Long story short, if you have one good test pressing out of 5, you are going to get clean production copies.

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:

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).

High-Melt Color Vinyl
High Melt PVC is made with a different melting point than standard black or color vinyl so it creates different effects than swirling together standard vinyl.  This vinyl is more expensive than standard vinyl but not as expensive than splatters and custom effect vinyl color. Smoke and blood spatter effect are great examples of what High Melt has to offer.

If the Swirl color effect doesn’t quite make you poop your pants with delight we offer a variety of splatter 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, 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 metallics. 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.

Furnace accepts high resolution 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 formats are .aiff or .wav

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 and send immediately after they are cut. Also label them. We only accept 14″ lacquers (even for 7″ and 10″ records.)

If you decide to move your pressing from another facility to Furnace, please send us your Father (Master) and Mother Plates. Do not send stamper plates though- we can’t use them.

This depends on the time of year, size, and complexity of your order.  Right now, lead times are running longer industry wide; so get in touch with us here for more information on our current turnaround.

7″ vinyl is pressed at 40 grams, 10″ is 100g and for 12″ vinyl we offer 140 gram standard and 180 gram heavyweight records.

Depends who you ask.


  • 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.
  • Our heavyweight 180g vinyl is pretty badass and we love it.

For a thorough explanation of the plating process, please visit our Vinyl 101: How to Make a Vinyl Record white paper.  In it, we cover the 3-Step plating process in depth.


3-Step plating is the preferred and highest quality method of plating a record.  The lacquer containing the grooves is sprayed with silver then dipped in an electroplating tank where a nickel negative (or Father/Master) plate is made.  That Father is put back into the tank where a positive (Mother) plate is made.  The Mother plate goes back into the tank to make negative (Stamper) plates that are the plates we affix to the press dies/moulds to press grooves into your record.  If a Stamper is worn out or breaks, the Mother is used to “give birth” to more Stampers.  If the Mother gets worn out or damaged, the Father can make another Mother.


There is also a slightly cheaper method referred to as 2-Step plating. Instead of making a Father then Mother and then Stampers, The lacquer is sprayed and makes a Stamper first.  From the Stamper, a Mother is made – there is no Father plate.  The plus side of this process is that it costs less.  The downside, if the Mother is ever damaged, you’ll have to recut your lacquer because there is no backup (Father) to make another Mother plate.  Also, because you are making a Mother from a thin Stamper instead of a thicker Father plate, the Mother is slightly inferior compared to the 3-Step process.


If you plan on pressing small quantities (<2000) and are on a budget, 2-Step plating  is a viable option.


If you plan on pressing larger quantities (>2000) and want the best possible audio quality, 3-Step plating is required.


A rule of thumb on plating: A Father can make up to 10 Mothers, a Mother can make up to 10 Stampers and Stampers can press up to 1,000 units of standard weight vinyl and 500 heavy-weight vinyl.


Furnace requires a Stampers for each color variant in a run.  We also need to make a Stampers for each re-order.



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 20 characters.

If you are supplying lacquers or plates made elsewhere, make sure the engineer does the etching. 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.

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.

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.

Unfortunately, vinyl record pressing is a heat and pressure sensitive process that paper and ink kind of hate.  As described in the FAQ above, paper and ink change color during the baking and pressing process.  The variability of that color change is not replicable, so matching the final label to the jacket or insert packaging is almost impossible.  The best way to avoid drastic color change is to setup your graphic files with a CMYK build. Even with your graphics setup as CMYK, you will experience some color shift.

If you tell us the label color scheme MUST match the jacket or you will be upset and consider the project an abject failure, we will kindly turn down your order as to not disappoint you with the physics and reality that is vinyl record pressing 😉

Your jacket design is done, it looks perfect but you have all these cool photos, lyrics and liner notes that you need to fit somewhere.  What to do?

Sure, you could go with a standard printed insert.  Totally respectable.

We think a printed inner-sleeve or inner-jacket is the way to go. Additional graphic space, the vinyl slips inside, two birds, one stone.

When you ditch the plain inner sleeve for a printed inner, you’ll have almost unlimited options when it comes to colors, finishes, textures, die-cuts, etc.

Furnace offers these in two flavors: printed inner-sleeves and printed inner-jackets.

Inner-sleeves are printed on either 100lb coated or 60lb uncoated offset paper. They get the job done for standard weight records.

Inner-jackets (sometimes referred to as disco-sleeves or disco-jackets) are printed on heavier,  12pt board stock. Nice and thick and recommended for heavyweight 180g records that tend to split the seams of standard paper inners.

Inner-Jackets are also used all by themselves as DJ single jackets. When spinning records, DJs don’t have time to take the record out of the jacket, then out of a sleeve.  They need a simple package that holds up to travel and lots of use and abuse.  DJ+Disco = Disco-Jacket.

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.

Don’t worry, we keep your masters (fathers) and/or mothers safe and protected at our plating facilities ready for your next repress.  They are stored free of charge for 5 years, reorder or not.  After that time, if there has been no activity, we can not guarantee further storage.


If you’ve forgotten about us (or your record) we won’t be offended; we do attempt to contact you prior to scrapping any parts.  At that time you’ll have the opportunity to ship the metal to you, or to have it kept stored for a fee, for future orders.


Note: should you have the metal returned, we will charge a pull / pack and ship fee to make sure it arrives safely for future use.  However, if it is damaged while you are storing it, we can not guarantee a recut would not be needed.

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).

Unfortunately, no.  On most days, we have unreleased albums on the presses that we are obligated to keep secret. Therefore, we do not offer tours to the general public.

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.

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.

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