United Record Pressing, LLC - Your One Stop Record Making Shop

Frequently Asked Questions

What is your standard turnaround time? Can I pay extra to have my order finished faster?
What exactly is "lacquer mastering?" Do you want my music on an audio CD or as data files?
How much music can I fit on a... (7" 10" 12")? What is a locked groove?
What's the difference between a Reference Lacquer and a test pressing? What are the matrix number, record number, and L-number?
What is the difference between 2-Step and 3-Step Plating? What's the difference between a sleeve and a jacket?
When licensing samples, what do I need to do? What is a master license?
What is a mechanical license? Ok, I'm in. What do I need to start?


What is your standard turnaround time?
Demand in vinyl records greatly influences production times and at the present time demand is high, so we're trying to give you a safe reasonable expectation of how long your order could take but our hope is to finish your order more quickly. Standard turnaround can be broken down in two parts. Once your order form, music, and deposit have been received it can take around 8 weeks for your test pressings to be shipped. Once you approve your tests and all of the components (jackets, inserts, stickers, etc.) have been received it typically takes another 8 weeks for your order to be completed. We must stress that this timeframe is not set in stone. Vinyl production is a delicate process with many steps. United Record Pressing is devoted to producing a quality product. This means that we will always take the time necessary to make sure that your record is produced to your specifications.

Can I pay extra to have my order finished faster?
United does not offer a ''rush'' option. As stated above, this is a delicate process. We understand and appreciate that our customers have their own deadlines they are working to meet. We will do everything we can to get your record to you on time, but we do ask that you allow four months to complete your order, understanding that timeframes given are always an estimation.

What exactly is "lacquer mastering?" I already had my record mastered.
Lacquer Mastering refers to taking your music (originally on CD, DAT, analog tape, etc.) and transferring it onto a lacquer. A lacquer is a soft, waxy version of a record that is used to create the metal stampers. These stampers are then used to make your records in the vinyl presses. United will master your lacquers to RIAA standards. The actual Mixing, EQ-ing, etc., should be done prior to sending your source music to us to press your records. The source you send to United should sound like you want the music to sound on vinyl, sequenced in order with the correct spacing between each song and a longer space between sides.

Do you want my music on an audio CD or as data files?
If United is cutting your lacquer, we require a hard copy of your music. This can be on CD or analog tape. Most of our customers deliver their music to us on a standard audio CD. If you prefer to send us higher bit rate files in a data format (burned to a CD), we will cut your lacquer using those files. There is an additional mastering charge when using data files or analog tape.

How much music can I fit on a... (7" 10" 12")?
Determining how much music can fit on a record is based in minutes and is not set in stone. We have our suggested maximums - what we know to be the range where you will generally have the best quality. These are as follows:

  33 RPM 45 RPM 78 RPM
7" 6 minutes 4.5 minutes
10" 12 minutes 9 minutes 4 minutes
12" 18 minutes 12 minutes

These recommended maximums become more crucial with bass heavy music, and you may want to lower the max per side if your music is very bass heavy. The volume of your record is directly linked to the total time of each side. When the side length of a 12'' record is less than 9 minutes, the loudness will be at the maximum for 33 1/3 rpm cuts. However, in most cases, you lose about one decibel in volume for each minute over 13 minutes per side. Loss of output volume is the most common issue, but pops, skips, and distortion/loss in the frequency extremes can also occur.

What is a locked groove? Do I need that to keep the needle off the label?
A locked groove is a continuous loop of music the length of one full rotation of the record. Locked grooves can be silent but are usually used to repeat about 1.5 seconds of music until you pick up the needle. This is not necessary to keep the needle from playing the label at the end of the side. When we cut your lacquer we always try to include a lockout groove which does exactly that. For best results (to avoid overlap/self-erasure) the audio should stay under 1.5 seconds at 33 1/3 RPM and 1.00 at 45 RPM.

What's the difference between a Reference Lacquer and a test pressing?
A reference lacquer is a sample disc that is created before lacquer mastering or plating. These are rarely ordered and only really necessary if a customer is not certain their music will sound right on vinyl or if they are not sure their music will fit on a single LP. On the other hand, test pressings are the standard and are something we highly recommend. A test pressing is a sample press of your record using the same metal parts and the same color vinyl that will be used in your actual order. These are made with a generic label and shipped in generic packaging. We internally check the tests then send them to you to approve. Once these are approved we will move forward with your vinyl order. Tests pressings are required if you record is being made using colored vinyl or if you sent in metal parts.

What are the matrix number, record number, and L-number?
The matrix number and record number are usually one and the same and selected by the customer. The record number can also be referred to as the catalog number. This is the letter/number combination used by labels/bands to identify their releases (i.e. ABC-123). The matrix number is the number etched into the record in the space between the grooves and the label. In most cases, this will be the same as the record number. Again, the selection of the matrix number is up to the customer. The ''L'' number, or job number, is the reference number assigned to your order by United. This is the number that all of your jobs information will be filed under, and it will identify your record in our system. The ''L'' refers to ''LP'' and will be the first letter if your record is a 12''. If your record is a 7'', your job will have a ''U'' number instead. If it is a 10'', it will have a ''T'' number. Think of the job number as your record's social security number. When you call in for information or to make a payment, it always speeds up the process if you have this number handy.

What is the difference between 2-Step and 3-Step Plating?
The main difference between two step and three step plating is that in the latter an extra set of parts is made that serves as a master of your recording. This extra set of parts becomes necessary when you are pressing your records in large quantities. For a standard weight record, two step plating will cover you up to about 6,000 records, and the three step plating process will produce up to 25,000 records. These numbers are cut in half for a 180 gram record.

What's the difference between a sleeve and a jacket?
Sleeves are the paper lining actually touching your records, while jackets are the outer cardboard covering. We have several options for sleeves and jackets. Our standard sleeve is white paper, die cut to show the center label. These are free with your order. Other options, including custom printed sleeves, are available. We also offer printing services for your jackets.

When licensing samples, what do I need to do?
As an example, if you sampled "Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley, you would need a master license from RCA as the owner of that specific recording and a mechanical license from Harry Fox Agency to pay the royalties to the publishing company. See below for further definition of the licensing terms.

What is a master license?
If you're putting someone else's recording on your record either as a sample or in it's entirety you need a master licence. This is obtained from the original owner of the actual recording that is being replicated (ie: record label, movie, television, etc). This license pays for the use of the exact replica of material owned by the record label, artist, production company, etc.

What is a mechanical license?
A mechanical licnense is needed when you are using either a cover song or are licensing someone else's song. This can usually be obtained through the Harry Fox Agency (www.harryfox.com). The mechanical license pays royalties to the writers/publishers of the material being used. If the material is not available through Harry Fox Agency then the publishing company would need to be contacted for this license.

Ok, I'm in. What do I need to start?
To get the ball rolling we just need your music, a deposit, your order forms and artwork.

Let us know if your question wasn't answered here and we'll answer it.





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Email:  
UNITED RECORD PRESSING
453 Chestnut Street • Nashville, Tennessee 37203
Phone: 615-259-9396 Toll Free: 866-407-3165 • Fax: 615-244-3734 • E-mail: united@urpressing.com