How much music can I fit on my record?
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. * longer times will result in a drop in EQ level and sound quality
12" @ 45rpm: Optimal Sound: 9 minutes *Max Timing: 12-15 minutes
12" @ 33 1/3: rpm: Optimal Sound: 12-14 minutes Max Timing: 18-22 minutes
12" DJ Volume 45rpm: Optimal Sound: 7 minutes Max Timing: 9 minutes
12" DJ Volume 33rpm: Optimal Sound: 9 minutes Max Timing: 12 minutes
10" @ 45rpm: Optimal Sound: 7 minutes Max Timing: 11.5 minutes
10" @ 33 1/3: rpm: Optimal Sound: 9 minutes Max Timing: 15 minutes
7" @ 45rpm: Optimal Sound: 3.5 minutes Max Timing: 6 minutes
7" @ 33 1/3: rpm: Optimal Sound: 5 minutes Max Timing: 8 minutes
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.
Why is there a 10% overage possibility on my final bill?
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.
What is your minimum order size?
Our minimum order size for new orders is 500 units. On reorders, our minimum order size is 300 units. All print items have a minimum order size of 500 units.
I'm going to be sending in lacquers. What size should they be and where should I send them?
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″.
When shipping lacquers, make sure to send via Overnight Priority so the package spends as little time in the elements as possible.
Ship all lacquers to:
PALLAS GmbH / Furnace MFG
Attn: Nadine Scheland - Furnace MFG / <<Your Catalog #>>
Auf dem Esch 8
Ph: 49 5441 977-209
What are test pressings and why do I need to listen to and approve them before you will press my records?
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:
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.
I received my test pressings. One of the copies has some noise but the others do not. Should I be concerned?
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.
Does pressing on color vinyl affect the sound quality?
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.
What colors do you offer and can you do those crazy color effects I see all over Instagram?
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 as splatters and custom effect vinyl color. Smoke and blood spatter effect are great examples of what High Melt has to offer.
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.
What kind of audio masters do you accept?
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’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. 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. 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.
What weight records do you offer?
7″ vinyl is pressed at 40 grams, 10″ is 100g and for 12″ vinyl we offer 140 gram standard and 180 gram heavyweight records.
Does a 180g 12" sound better than a standard weight record?
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.
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.
Can you etch a message into the inner groove / deadwax of my record?
If Pallas-USA 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 Pallas 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!
Can you etch an image onto one side of my record?
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.
What is a locked groove?
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.
What is an endless audio loop?
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.
My record does not have any silence between tracks. Can I still have visual song markers on my record?
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.
I've already had my recording mixed and mastered. Why are you charging me again for your mastering process?
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…
What are galvanics, plating and stampers?
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.
Pallas requires a Stampers for each color variant in a run. We also need to make a Stampers for each re-order.
Can I use Pantone spot colors on my center labels?
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.
Can you match the center labels on my records to the jacket art?
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.
What's the difference between a printed inner sleeve and a printed inner jacket?
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.