Engraving in single copy or limited edition
The single copy vinyl is a transfer of the audio master directly onto a virgin vinyl record by engraving it through a diamond point. The single copy or limited edition vinyl is a copy of the master and not a serial duplication of the master and will be ready for listening.
Compatibility, sound and wear are identical to a classic vinyl record.
Cutting of the acetate / lacquered disc
It involves the transfer of an audio master on an acetate / lacquered disk by a sapphire or ruby tip.
The recording of this record is the first process of producing an industrial-scale vinyl. The quality is very high, but undergoes a strong deterioration with each listening, given the delicacy and softness of the engraved material.
Difference between vinyl produced by printing (pressing) and engraved vinyl
The industrially duplicated vinyl in series is made by pressing and involves the realization of metal dies which are subsequently mounted on a press will duplicate the disks and then make them all the same.
The vinyl engraved by a process of pouring is a unique vinyl, made individually and handcrafted at a speed of 1x.
From the point of view of audio quality and wear, the engraved vinyl and the industrially produced vinyl in press are very similar.
There may be some differences in the depth of the grooves, in the background noise (however present in any vinyl).
Non-black vinyl, in some cases, may have a greater background noise.
How a vinyl is produced industrially
Below are the steps that are performed for the industrial production of vinyl records:
Engraving (transfer) of the audio master on the acetate / lacquer disc. Two incisions are used to engrave side a and side b. One for each side.
The lacquers are washed with chemicals and rinsed to remove dust and impurities and allow the silver to stick to the paint.
The acetate discs are silvered and inserted into the galvanic bath where a metallic patina is created which will then be the matrix (positive or negative).
The negative matrices or “printers”, after being drilled in the center, cut to size and checked, are then used to print. Positive matrices are used as a mother to realize other positive matrices and to carry out reprints in the case.
Meanwhile, the doilies are produced (label) that will go to the center of the vinyl. The labels are printed and dried in the oven. For this reason the printing colors may vary slightly.
The printers (side a and b) are placed in a press that injecting molten PVC between the two dies and pressing at high pressure and at high temperature give life to the disk. The doily will merge with the disc itself during the pressing phase.
The vinyl, still in the press, is first cooled and then trimmed to size.
After leaving the press, the vinyl is wrapped in the inner case and left to cool for about 24 hours.
To understand what we are talking about, visit the following links:
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Production_of_gramophone_records
Video: pt.1 http://youtu.be/xUGRRUecBik
Before pressing, it is possible to perform (on request) the test pressing. The test pressing is nothing more than a test print, produced in a few copies to verify that the product does not present production defects such as: needle jumps, excessive noise, etc. It is important to know that the pressing test is a printed vinyl and it is exactly the same as the ones that will be produced subsequently in series but may have some noise defects, this because the press itself enters the temperature regime after about ten minutes. Therefore, if there are defects it is necessary to ask the production and verify on the matrices if there are defects and if it is possible to solve them. If it is not possible to solve them, the entire production must be reinstated.
Mastering is a process that prepares the master audio to the medium on which it will be duplicated. The mastering provides more corrections on equalization, enhancement of the dynamics, control of possible counter-phases. A good record is not only the result of a good recording and a good mix but also a well done mastering. Never underestimate the mastering and rely on competent and experienced technicians. A bad mastering or a duplication of a mastering audio without mastering could be synonymous of a disk that does not sound good.
Before going to print always assure the quality of your master, listen to it on different systems and systems and, if you’re not sure, make an audio transfer on vinyl in single copy to have a probable test of what could be your master on vinyl.
How is a CD / DVD made?
Each CD / DVD is made up of 99% polycarbonate, with the top 1% containing all the information, the reflecting layer, lacquer and image. The reader projects a laser beam that reads the data, is reflected by the metal layer and goes back to the reader who interprets it.
DVDs have a much higher data density. Furthermore, a single side of a DVD can contain two layers of information that are read by the laser beam at two different frequencies. Finally, two-sided DVDs can be created to increase capacity.
How is a CD / DVD created?
1) The first phase of creating a CD is in a mold filled with molten polycarbonate. The data in digital format is printed at this point on the disk when the polycarbonate is still near the melting point.
2) The reflective layer is then applied. This layer serves to reflect the laser beam of the reader, so it is extremely important that it is intact. This layer can be of various colors (silver, blue, black, gold) or it can contain photosensitive layers, as in the case of recordable CDs.
3) A transparent lacquer is then applied to seal the reflective layer and prevent oxidation. This lacquer is very thin and does not offer much protection against scratches.
4) Finally, the image is printed on the outermost layer of the disk.
Industrial or digital?
The choice depends on many factors: urgency of your project, budget, quantity of supports, etc.
The advantages of industrial production are as follows:
1) hundreds of thousands of media in a few days.
2) compatibility of the supports obtained with all the readers on the market.
3) high quality printing resistant to both water and scratches.
The only disadvantage of industrial production that for a few copies start-up costs have a significant influence on the total cost of the project.
The advantages of digital production are:
1) hundreds of supports in a few hours.
2) productions starting from just 50 copies.
3) cancellation of costs of glass master and typographic films.
It is recommended up to a maximum of 200 copies.
What is the difference between a digital-mastered and an industrially-duplicated?
The duplicated media are those that have the mirror bottom (the same that are found in music stores or in newsstands attached to magazines) unlike the burned ones that have a background with shades of green / blue / silver.
The surface of the duplicated support is customized with silk-screen or offset printing that is more resistant to both water and scratches.
Regarding the functionality, with regard to ROM supports, there are no differences between burned and duplicated, while the CD Audio media (containing tracks .cda) duplicated by glass master have a higher audio fidelity.
The sound quality of an audio CD that is duplicated in digital compared to a duplicate Audio CD with glass master is comparable to the quality that exists between printing a digital graphic and printing industrial graphics, apparently they are very similar, but if you make a certain enlargement of the two prints can reveal differences that can be perceived by an expert eye, just as, if a certain magnification of the sound spectra of the two duplication techniques is made, differences can be detected that can be perceived by an expert ear.
What is the Glass Master?
The glass master is the mold from which optical media are replicated in industrial processes.
What is the difference between an audio CD and a CD ROM?
A CD (Compact Disc Read Only Memory) is analogous to an audio CD, with the difference that the first can contain not only sounds but also data.
What is the difference between white and silver background?
The print on the silver background differs from the print on the white background in two aspects:
1) On the white background the colors are “imprinted” on the non-transparent and totally reflecting surface and for this they are more bright and brighter. On the silver background the colors appear less vivid and may be slightly different compared to the original design, as the surface for transparent and reflective part in aluminum tends to absorb the colors.
2) If the graphic design contains parts of white color, these will turn out to be silver when they are transferred to the silver surface of the support. For this reason it is advisable to use the white background for prints containing objects (images, characters etc.) white.
What happens if the master exceeds 74 minutes?
Over 650Mb of support capacity means violating the limit recommended by Yellow Book. The burned CD does not contain only the files / folders that are included in the media. At the beginning and at the end of the CD some additional data are written: the table of contents, information on how the CD is written and where the session or disk ends.
What is the difference between silk-screen printing, offset and digital printing?
– Screen printing produces smoother and sharper images, highlighting a screen effect (perceptible to the touch) on the surface of the support.
– Offset printing, on the other hand, is used on long runs and is the best because it highlights the details; the surface is perfectly smooth to the touch.
– Digital printing is achieved using inkjet, laser or UV printers. Once printed, the support is treated with industrial machines that fix the colors by lacquer and UV lamps or by plasticizing. The advantage of this method is mainly not having to start an industrial process with consequent start-up costs and film development. Although the digital printing we performed has very high quality levels, for the type of process used, the offset printing type has higher quality levels.
Can I use a pantone color? (eg gold, phosphorescent colors, etc.)?
Yes, for offset printing, for precise reproduction and to preserve color uniformity, a pantone color can be used. Pantone colors are an internationally recognized standard and are faithfully reproduced thanks to a special code.
What are the colors 4/0, 4/1, 4/4?
Indicates the amount of colors used to print the apckaging. For example a Booklet 4/1 is printed in four colors in the two front fronts and with only one color in those on the back while a Booklet 4/4 is printed in four colors both in the front and in the back side, 4/0 is printed only on the front in four colors.
What are the abundances for?
The abundances on the printing parts are necessary to avoid that, when trimming the final print, the white background of the paper on the edges is highlighted. For this reason it is recommended to respect the graphic templates:
– to extend the sof of the graphic design up to the line of abundance;
– not to place the texts too close to the cutting lines and to respect the lines for the texts.
Why do not you use small writing?
A character that is too small tends to blend into the background and can compromise the quality of the finished graphic project.
What do the CMYK and RGB abbreviations mean?
The printing of colors and photographic images is given by the combination of primary colors with different brightness of the same.
The CMYK (C) cyan, (M) magenta, (Y) yellow, (K) black (four-color) standard is used above all in the printing and printing sector, while the RGB (R) red, (G) green, (B ) blue is used to represent colors on monitors and TV screens.