FAQ Share
1.How much time can I get on one side?
 To answer this question it is important to understand one of the fundamental principles of vinyl recordings. Recording time and volume levels are inversely proportional. The louder the audio, the shorter the available recording time. So, if you wanted 25 minutes (the maximum) on one side, the audio must be cut at lower levels in order to fit it all in.

The reverse is also true. Cutting at very high levels will consume a lot of the available recording space very quickly and will result in a shorter side. For instance, a DJ style record cut at very high levels will only be about 9 minutes per side.

Intensity of the audio is not the only factor, however. Music that is bass heavy or heavily compressed and driven will also burn through space on a side. As will music that is a continuous stream with no breaks or lulls.

In the end, every cut is different. We will always spend the time to work with your audio to insure that all the factors are correct. Volume, length of time, depth of cut and lines per inch. We take care of the details and insure a one for one transfer of your music to vinyl with the highest levels possible.

2.What if I have a question that you haven't answered here?
 Please feel free to send us an email! We are always here to help you through the process of making records. It is a lot to learn if this is your first record. We understand. And, we want to make this process as easy as possible. For technical questions email Todd Mariana. For sales questions email Brian Gardner.

3.Does Deep Grooves Mastering cut true stereo records?
 Yes, we have a high quality stereo record cutting lathe. We do not sell mono cuts. We cut on a fully restored Neumann VMS70.

4.What is the difference between 33 and 45 RPM?
 RPM's are to vinyl as kbps is to MP3. An MP3 encoded at a higher kbps rating will sound better than one encoded at a lower kbps. That is because there is literally more sound information per second with the higher kbps MP3. The same is true for vinyl and RPM's. The higher the RPM's the more vinyl per second that passes under the tonearm, resulting in a higher accuracy of reproduction of the sound waves recorded to the disc.

If you want your tracks to be of the highest quality, request that your vinyl be cut at 45 RPM. However, the downside is that you have less time per side at 45. So, that is why a lot of producers will put out records with three tracks. A single track at 45 on one side and two tracks at 33 on the flip side. This allows for the most volume and best fidelity for that one cut you want to shine more than any other.

5.Do you charge extra for an express turnaround?
 This is really on a case by case basis. Typically a nominal additional fee will be added for express turnarounds. Special exceptions can be made for regular customers.

6.Can I have a tour of Deep Grooves Mastering?
 Unfortunately, we are currently unable to accommodate visitors to Deep Grooves. Your tracks must be submitted to us via the Internet or regular mail. We will ship your lacquer cuts or pressed vinyl records to you via FedEx, UPS or USPS.

7.What is your turnaround time?
 Turnaround times vary due to our schedule and workload. The clock doesn't start until we receive payment. Master lacquers ship within 2 weeks. Plating and pressing takes 4 to 6 months due to the enormous demand for vinyl currently. We do not guarantee any timeframes. Unexpected delays can and will happen. Please account for this when placing an order.

8.What is a Lacquer and is it the same as an Acetate?
 Acetate is simply another name for a Lacquer. Lacquers come in two grades: Reference and Master. Reference Dubs (a.k.a. Dub Plates or Dubs) are used to check a cut prior to plating and pressing. They are also used as one-off records by DJ's, Producers and bands. They are an excellent tool and also make fantastic promotional items and gifts. Master Lacquers are of a higher quality and are used only for plating and pressing. Master Lacquers are never played after they are cut. Thus the need for Reference Dubs in the vinyl mastering process.

A Lacquer is a disc of aluminum coated with a layer of celluloid material. When applied to the disc, the celluloid is suspended in a Lacquer solution thus the name. The Lacquer dries to form a solid mirror surface on which audio can be transcribed in the form of grooves.

9.What is the difference between a lacquer and a vinyl record?
 A lacquer looks very similar to a pressed record. But, they are heavier than pressed records and do not bend like vinyl does. They also have a distinct smell which is the lacquer coating itself. They can be chipped if dropped on their edge very hard. Otherwise, they have the appearance of pressed vinyl. A dub will come to you with center label stickers that you can write the name of your tracks on. Or, you can have us create printed labels for you with your own custom design. Dubs are not guaranteed to be perfect and may have some imperfections especially along the outer edge.

10.Do I need to treat a lacquer differently than vinyl?
 Yes. You don't want to bend them or drop them on their edges. Excessive mistreatment can chip away the celluloid coating and should be avoided. Also, you do not want to put any dissolving solutions like acetone on the lacquer as it will dissolve and remove the surface.

Lacquers are very flammable! Do not under any circumstances expose a lacquer to open flame or sparks. It will combust!

A lacquer can give you up to 300 clear plays when treated correctly. Using needles made for scratching will wear the grooves in more quickly. Adding weight to your tonearm will also wear in the grooves more quickly.

11.How many plays can I get from a lacquer?
 300 if treated gently. Fewer the more your abuse it. Do not use scratching styli for playback. Do not weigh down your tonearm.

12.Will backtracking/scratching/cueing a lacquer wear in a lacquer?
 Yes, you will start to hear static or background noise the more you backtrack. Lacquers are not made to be scratched. DJ's will notice the first beat of the record will start to sound bad after queuing it a number of times. This is normal. The rest of the side will sound fine.

If you want to use your dub for scratching/turntablism or you generally want a more durable dub with a longer life we highly recommend a plastic dub instead of lacquer. Plastic dubs have the same lifespan as pressed vinyl, can be scratched or cue'd without degradation of the grooves and are far less fragile in general. The sacrifice with plastic is background noise. Lacquer dubs are crystal clear with little to no background noise. Plastic dubs have a minor amount of background noise (the same as pressed vinyl).

13.Can you cut and send masters to the plant of my choosing?
 Yes, of course. There is no problem here. Although a lot of plants do use MasterCraft for plating these days. That is where most of our Masters are sent for plating.

If we are shipping to a facility outside the continental U.S.A. please account for an extra 2 to 3 weeks required for your parcel to be shipped and moved through customs. You may also be required to pay a small customs fee. Additionally, we may need to charge an additional shipping fee.

14.How do I submit tracks to Deep Grooves Mastering?
 Please use one of the free file transfer services like SendSpace.com or MegaUpload.com. We do not have a public FTP server. We do not accept email attachment in excess of 10 MB.

15.Can I send Deep Grooves Mastering a multi-track tape master?
 No, at this time we do not have a tape playback unit and therefore can't accept multi-track tape masters.

16.Can I submit an MP3?
 Well, yes. But, for pressed runs we strongly advise against it. High bitrate MP3's are ok for cutting reference dubs. But, certainly not ok for cutting master lacquers going out for plating and pressing.

17.Can I get my stamper plates back after a pressed run?
 Yes, your stamper plates are held at the pressing plant for a year or two depending on the plant. After that they are recycled. At any time you can request your plates be shipped to you. You would of course have to pay for the shipping.

18.What is a test pressing?
 After your master lacquers are cut they are sent out for plating. Once the nickel plates have been formed from the master lacquers they are sent to the pressing plant. You have the option to either allow the plant to press out the full order. Or, you can have them load the plates into a press and only stamp out a few copies. Those copies are referred to as a test pressings. Once you have listened to and ok'd the test pressing the plant will reload the plates and stamp out the full number of copies for your order.

A test pressing is highly recommended. This allows you to insure the quality of the original cut and subsequently formed stamper plates. If there were any issues you would have an opportunity to address them prior to pressing. Without a test pressing you get whatever comes out of the press.

If you are on a tight schedule or a tight budget then you may decide not to have a test pressing. Otherwise we suggest that you hear a test copy before you commit to a full order. If there was a physical defect or mistake in the cut then you will not have to pay for new masters and plates. However, any other reason for creating new masters or plates would require you to pay another cutting fee.

19.Can you scribe something into the dead space of the lead out groove?
 Yes we can. This can be whatever message you would like. Typically, there is a Matrix Number scribed in this area for all master lacquers.

20.What is a matrix number?
 It is an identifying code of some sort. This is different for every cutting room. Deep Grooves Mastering will scribe a DGM-xxx number on every Master Lacquer we cut. This identifies the cut in our records. It also identifies the lacquers as they are plated and pressed. The resulting pressed vinyl will have the scribed matrix number as well. We can also scribe whatever sort of release number/code or message you would like next to our matrix number.

21.What is the smallest quantity you can press?
 100 copies is the smallest pressed vinyl run we are able to provide. This applies to repressings as well.

22.Do you start cutting before payment is made?
 No. We require at least a 50% deposit before we start any cut. And, we require payment in full before sending out any master lacquers or pressed vinyl.

23.What is the difference between one and two step plating?
 One step plating is a process where stamper plates are made directly from master lacqures. Only one plate can ever be made. So, if there is a problem forming the plate, a new lacquer will need to be cut. Also, if the stamper plate is used to make in excess of 1,000 copies it will wear out and will become unusable. So, if you are interested in a large pressing or a number of repressings you may consider two step plating. It is more expensive, but it is a process wherein a Mother disc is made from which many stamper plates and in fact other mothers can be spawned from. Thereby eliminating the need to cut an additional master lacquer for repressings or larger quantities.

24.Do you sell blank lacquer discs?
 No, we do not sell stock of lacquers. However, you can purchase recording blanks from Apollo Masters http://www.apollomasters.com. Or, you can find old new stock on eBay. Sometimes you can find entire boxes. You can almost always find individual blanks on eBay.

25.Is the shipping quoted in your online quote generator always correct?
 No. Since we do not know where we would be shipping to, we can't quote a specific price online. Also, this varies with pressed runs based on the total weight and/or total number of copies. The online Quote system displays the basic shipping amount. Shipping to the West Coast is can be add an additional $40 to the total price.

26.How do I get a quote or place an order?
 You can feel free to use our online Quote and Order Placement system by Clicking Here. Or, you can contact us via our sales representative Brian Gardner.

27.What forms of payment do you accept?
 We accept Cash, Certified Checks, Money Orders and PayPal payments. PayPal payments should be sent to todd@deepgroovesmastering.com. Checks and Money Orders should be made out to Deep Grooves Mastering and mailed to:

Deep Grooves Mastering
P.O. Box ???? I will get a new one soon.

28.Do you charge extra for PayPal payments?
 Yes, you need to add an extra 3% of the total order to any payment made via PayPal.

29.Can you ship pressed records or master lacquers internationally?
 Yes, we can ship to any country that accepts parcels from the United States of America.

You must pay all shipping fees including a Customs fee. We can determine the shipping fee. You must inquire about the Customs fee with your local post office.

We require one half payment to start an order and payment in full prior to shipping. We only accept PayPal payments for International orders.

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