Audio Geography Studios

unique recording services

A unique recording studio focusing on audio mastering and short run record production. Lathe cut records.

Lathe Cut Records FAQ

Ordering Info (PDF)
Audio File Preparation (PDF)
Center Label Directions (PDF)
Playback Notes:
Lathe cut records are cut manually, meaning the drop of the cutting needle is done by hand. This means that auto-players will not always track the beginning grooves. I'd highly suggest manually placing the tonearm in the groove. For the same reason, my records are not guaranteed to work with jukeboxes, auto-return players, or turntables with cheap non-weighted arms.

How do these records sound?
LOFI: The records I make are mono, and 'embossed' onto plastic in real time. They are not the same as pressed vinyl records. There is an amount of surface noise on these records, similar to that of an old, dirty record. Each song has the opportunity to cut really well, or really poorly. I do what I can to optimize the system for each track, though some tracks come out better than others. Please note that these records are mono, and any intense stereo imaging will not translate well. Check the mono compatibility of your tracks before sending. I recommend requesting a test cut ($10 for lofi) of your material before making an order, especially if you've never heard a lathe cut record before.
HIFI: the HIFI cuts are near the quality of pressed records. They're stereo, extended frequency response, and comparatively low noise. Give a listen to the sample page, or request a HIFI test ($15) if you're interested.

My record sounds really quiet, what gives?
Volume on a physical record is determined by a number of factors. The short answer is, if your side is longer than 4-5 minutes (7in), I won't be able to cut it as loud. Similarly, bass heavy recordings, and those with heavy sibilant sounds restrict the headroom available to make a cut with minimal distortion. I always err on the side of quality cut vs loudness.

Why is the turnaround so long? I need my records next week!
As it says elsewhere on the site, these records are made one at a time, in real time. This is a one person operation, and I juggle a lot of things at once. Normal production time is about 8 weeks (check the announcement bar up top for current production time!) which compared to pressed records (4-6 months) is pretty quick. Even though you may be ordering a small batch from me, there are probably more than a few hundred records I have to cut before I get to yours. Please be patient and trust that the time frame we discuss is the best I can do. In that same regard, if you neglect to give me certain info, or your files aren't quite right, I will ask you to clarify so I can get the order done RIGHT rather than QUICK.
You can add RUSH to your order, which is a 3 week guaranteed production time, for a variable fee based on workload, starting at $35.

What file types do you accept?
Please send all files to my email via www.wetransfer.com or dropbox. For the safety of my computer, I will not accept files from any other sites. I prefer the highest possible quality MP3 files you can send, 320 kbps. WAV files are accepted, only in 16 bit/44.1 kHz sample rate. Any higher sample rates will be converted down to 44.1 anyway, so save some space and send the highest quality, smallest file you can. I can tell you that there is virtually no difference between a lathe cut from a WAV or 320 MP3 file. No FLAC files.

How long do they last?
These records should last as long as pressed records, I've played certain lathe cuts around 100 times with no degradation. That being said, they are no less susceptible to collecting dust, scratches and dings. Treat your records well!

Are the edges smooth?
Yes, they are smooth. For the round records, I cut them out myself on a CNC router. After cutting them out, I round the edges with a de-burring tool for plastic.

My record sounds heavily distorted, and barely intelligible, what's wrong?
Sometimes with lathe cut records, the playback needle isn't sitting right in the groove. If your record is sounding overly distorted, and it's impossible to make out any musical elements, give your playback needle a little nudge to sit down properly in the groove. This is a common occurrence, and there is nothing wrong with your record. Increased tracking weight normally helps with distortion problems as well, and the needle usually sits in the groove more readily.

Can you cut me a record on ______ material?
I have done some testing on alternative materials such as picnic plates, cd-rs, and laser discs. They don't sound as good as the plastic, but they do work. Please get in touch if you are considering using a different material, as my lathe setup will need to change. There will be an additional setup fee, and turnaround for custom jobs will be increased.

Do you ship internationally?
Yes! I'll ship orders anywhere. Please keep in mind that once your order leaves the US, there's not much I can do about the customs in your country. If you know your post office is on strike, or generally unreliable, let me know so we can send your order through a private shipper. Also, I won't know the cost of shipping until your order is packed up but I can do my best to estimate based on your order.

Can you cut noise music?
Yes, I can cut noise music. A lot of times I end up having to turn down the cut by a large margin, for the safety of my equipment. If you submit a very distorted or very noisy track, please know that I'll do my best to make it loud without risking my equipment. I'd suggest a test cut to make sure this will work for your particular track.

Do not bother contacting us to make your record if your music promotes senseless violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other related hatred. We will refuse your order. 

© Audio Geography 2012-17