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We appreciate that sometimes we use terms that can be unfamiliar from the outside. In order to make sure we're all on the same page, here is an extensive list of terms and a brief description of what they mean.

What is Audio Mastering?

Audio mastering is the final step of audio post-production, balancing the sonic elements of the stereo mix and optimising playback across all systems and media formats.

Mastering was traditionally an analogue process requiring specific studio equipment, nowadays there are also many digital solutions available. We offer full CD and vinyl mastering services.

What does BIEM mean?

BIEM is the international organisation representing mechanical rights societies. Mechanical rights societies exist in most countries. In the UK for example your organisations would be MCPS/PRS/PPL. They license the reproduction of songs (including musical, literary and dramatic works). Their members are composers, authors and publishers and their clients are record companies and other users of recorded music. Every time a CD, audio cassette or LP containing protected musical works is made, the producers require a license from the owner of the works and they must pay royalties for each copy they manufacture and sell. Please see our homepage links for more information on these services.

What is a Catalogue Number

The catalogue number is used as standard within the music industry to track and identify orders. CD and record manufacturers, labels, retailers and distributors use them to give every release a unique identifying code.

What is CD Duplication?

CD duplication is the process of recording the CD content into a reflective layer on a CD-R, using a laser drive. This service provides a great quality and cost effective solution to the demand for small CD runs and/or a fast turnaround.

What is CD Replication?

CD replication is a lengthier process than CD duplication and involves physically creating discs by injecting polycarbonate granules into a mould cavity that is compacted with a metal stamper containing a negative image of the disc data. CD Replication is the way to go for orders over 500 units.

What is CD Text?

CD text stores additional data such as Artist, Album and Track Names which will display on the majority of newer hi-fis and car stereos.

What is Cellophane-wrap

Cellophane wrap is a stretchable plastic film that holds a package tightly together when wrapped. Also see shrink-wrap.

What does CMYK mean?

CMYK combines four separate colour plates - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – this is the industry standard method and colour model for full colour offset printing. CMYK printing is also referred to as four colour process.

Explain 4/0, 1/0, 4/1, 4/4?

This relates to the number of colour plates required to print to each side of the stock. For example, 4/1 would print full colour CMYK; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black), on the front with Black only (K) on the rear.

What is Digital Printing?

Digital printing is the method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media using laser or inkjet printers, allowing for short turnaround times and printing of variable data sets.

What are Discobags?

Disco bags are card sleeves that require no inner sleeve to protect the record. These can be printed or unprinted, and can feature none, one or two label holes as desired.

What is DMM (Direct Metal Mastering)?

DMM is a comparatively new vinyl cutting method. Instead of engraving the groove into a soft metal lacquer-coated aluminium disc, a DMM lathe engraves the audio signal directly onto a hard metal copper-plated master disc, bypassing the first stage of electroplating and resulting in cleaner processing with less surface noise and less chance of error during processing.

Who are DMS?

Disc Manufacturing Services; the friendliest team around - producing quality discs, vinyl records and custom printed packaging for happy clients worldwide since the turn of the century.

What are Download Cards?

Download cards are printed cards with unique download codes allowing you to physically sell your digital release, or feature a free or bonus download as part of your vinyl package.

What is Embossing / Debossing

Embossing and debossing are two techniques used to raise ink from or stamp ink to the print surface respectively.

What is an ESD?

Estimated shipping date. This is when your order will leave the plant. We will be in touch at this point to provide a firm delivery date.

What are Gatefold Sleeves?

Popular since the mid-60s, gatefold sleeves are a folded cover providing a means of including artwork, liner notes, and/or song lyrics which would otherwise not fit on a standard record cover. These are also perfect for double LPs, as a record can insert into either side of the sleeve.

What is Glassmaster?

A glass master, also referred to as a 'stamper' is used to punch all of the data pits into a CD or DVD during the process of replication. The reason it's called a glass master is because the information is copied onto a special chemical coating on a circular block of glass.

What is Gloss Lamination?

A thin polypropylene film is heat-fused to the printed surface forming a layer of protective coating while also improving its sturdiness and water resistance. Gloss lamination is more reflective than a gloss varnish, making it particularly perfect for bringing out the vibrancy of colours.

What does Gloss Machine Varnish mean?

Gloss machine Varnish is our default option for printed parts. A liquid gloss varnish layer seals the ink and adds impact to your print as the coating reflects back the light, making colours appear richer and more vivid.

What is Gloss UV?

Glow UV is an eco-friendly option. Ultraviolet-cured coatings are applied over the printed surface and dried by exposure to UV light. Due to the normally high solids content of UV coating, the surface of the cured film can be extremely reflective and glossy, deepening and enriching the ink colours.

Graphic Design

The process of visual communication and problem-solving using typography, photography and illustration. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages to appeal to certain tastes or trends.

What does GSM mean?

An acronym for grams per square metre. An industry standardised measurement of paper and card quality. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the stock.

What is Hot-foiling?

This is the process in which metallic foil is bonded to the print surface using heat and pressure, often with striking results. Gold and silver are the most popular foils, but there are many other shades and effects too, including glitter and pearlescent.

ID Ring, Special Text

This relates to the underside of replicated CDs and has unique identifiers to recognise aspects of the CDs production. This is also an area where you can include a personalised message, website, logo and or catalogue number.


This is the physical action of packing one part of a product to another.

What does ISRC mean?

The International Standard Recording Code system is the international system for the identification of recorded music and music videos. Each ISRC is a unique identifier that can be permanently encoded into a recording or music video.

What is a Lacquer?

A soft acetate-coated aluminium disc that contains all of the grooves that represent the final mastered sound of your recording. The exact same grooves that will end up on each and every record that is pressed.

Lead Time (Turnaround)

The time between the initiation and completion of the production process. Lead times can vary as production demand fluctuates, so serve only as a rough guide. For current lead times please give us a call or drop us an email.

Matt Lamination

A thin polypropylene film is heat-fused to the printed surface forming a layer of protective coating while also improving its sturdiness and water resistance. Matt lamination also improves the tactile feel of the printed surface, lending it a smooth finish.

Matt Anti-scratch Lamination

Especially useful and highly recommended for applying a matt finish to darker coloured sleeves where scuffs and scratches would otherwise tend to show.

Matt Machine Varnish

A matt varnish gives the printed surfaces a non-glossy, smooth look. Darker colours can look more subdued in comparison to a gloss varnish due to the reduced amount of reflected light, but used correctly matt finishes can really hone that subtle, classy look.

Matt UV

Another eco-friendly option, ultraviolet-cured coatings are applied over the printed surface and dried by exposure to UV light. Matt printing enhances artwork contrast and provides a more subdued colour set.

What is Metallisation?

Polycarbonate discs are completely transparent after the moulding process. In order for the microscopic pits to be read, a mirrored aluminium layer is ionised to the active surface of the disc. Silver is the standard for all replicated discs, but it is also possible to use gold metallisation or even have coloured poly-carbonate discs. Please contact us for more information.

What does Moiré mean?

Each of the colour screens are set at a different angle and printed as microscopic dots, known as halftone printing. The alignment of these dots can cause interference patterns when two patterns of similar wavelength overlap. Our design team always keep a keen eye out for potential moiré risks within your artwork and will warn you if they identify a potential risk.

What is Offset (Litho) Printing?

A method of mass-production printing in which the images on metal plates are transferred (offset) to rubber blankets or rollers and then to the print media.

What is an Outer Sleeve (Jacket)?

An outer sleeve is a single pocket sleeve constructed from a single piece of folded card and comprising a front and back panel, it is also possible to include the addition of a spine. These sleeves can also come with a variety of die-cut holes if you wish to expose the product within.

Pantone Colours / PMS (Spot Colours)

Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a standardised colour reproduction system, recognised globally as an industry printing standard for accurate colour reproduction. Pantone colours are printed as a single solid layer, as opposite to multiple CMYK plates, thus providing a more exact colour match and a more crisp and accurate edge.

What are Paper Inners?

The protective record sleeve that the majority of vinyl records are inserted to after pressing. White or black paper inners are most popular, although there are a variety of options and finishes for printed inners too, as well as poly-lined options.

What does Polycarbonate mean?

A group of thermoplastic polymers used in the manufacture of compact discs due to their durable and optically transparent qualities.

What are Raster Images?

Raster graphics, also called bitmap graphics, a type of digital image that uses rectangular pixels arranged in a grid formation to represent an image. Because the format can support a wide range of colours and depict subtle graduated tones, it is well-suited for displaying continuous-tone images such as photographs or shaded drawings, along with other detailed images. Raster graphics typically have larger file sizes than their vector counterparts.

What does Reverse Board mean?

Printing to the reverse (uncoated) side of the board. The texture of the card fibre often lends a raw and rustic feel. Due to its uncoated nature, colours in general are more muted as more ink is absorbed into the printable media.

What is Shrink-wrap?

As opposed to Cellophane, shrink-wrapping is applied loosely around a product and shrinks tightly when heat is applied.

What is a Sleeve Insert?

Often a single sheet that fits into the outer sleeve, inserts are a great way of including extra information, such as lyrics or additional images, without compromising the sleeve design.

Spot Gloss UV

Sometimes a varnish isn't applied to the entire surface but only used to make certain elements stand out. This is called a spot gloss varnish.


Generally recommended, especially for albums, LPs or if you'd like to print the band name and release title on the side of the sleeve.

Split Spines

We always recommend shipping orders with shrink-wrap or with the vinyl outside of the printed sleeves, both packed into a poly overbag as this helps reduce the risk of damage in transit due to the movement of the vinyl within the sleeve.

Templates (Guides)

A guide detailing the dimensions, fold and cut lines required for each printed part.

What are Test Pressings (TPs)

The first records pressed from the metalwork are used to evaluate the quality, volume levels and listen for any untoward pops, clicks or excessive hiss before mass record production begins.

Art Paper

A variety of paper grades manufactured especially for offset lithography printing. Standard art paper is coated and then has either a gloss or matt finish applied to protect the inks.

Uncoated Paper

A variety of paper grades manufactured especially for offset lithography printing with a rough textured feel, similar to copy paper.

What is Vinyl Pressing

A pre-heated vinyl 'puck' is closed between two nickel stampers, which are negative impressions of a master disc, under a pressure of about 150 tonnes. The process of compression moulding forces the hot vinyl wax to fill the grooves in the stampers, and take the form of the finished record.

What is a Vinyl Overbag?

A clear poly or PVC plastic bag that helps to protect the record sleeve from scratches, moisture and some UV damage. Overbags are often favoured over shrink-wrap for vinyl packaging as they are reusable and can even be screen printed.

What are Vector Graphics?

Vector-based images are comprised of paths, which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. These paths are essentially mathematical shapes that can be scaled to a larger size and not lose any image quality. This makes vector graphics ideal for logos and text, which can be small enough to appear on a business card or increased to billboard size without pixelation.

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