Below are the recommended maximum playing times per side for vinyl records prepared at standard recording levels. Please be aware that these playing times are a guide only. The appropriate speed of your vinyl record will depend mostly on the nature of the audio and vinyl master. When the optimum vinyl cutting speed is uncertain, we can ask the cutting engineers to provide their professional opinion.
At 33 RPM:
At 45 RPM:
12" - 19.5 mins per side
12" - 14.5 mins per side
10" - 13.5 mins per side
10" - 10 mins per side
7" - Please read below
7" - 5 mins per side
It is not advised to cut 7" at 33 RPM as it can greatly increase the risk of distortion.
If you are ordering a 7" with sides over 5 minutes long, our advice is to leave the RPM open and let our cutting engineer recommend the best speed once the masters have been properly analysed. Sometimes 45 RPM is best even when the sides are longer than 5/6 mins. Sometimes the cutting engineers will recommend 45 RPM cuts for 12" sides around 15-16 minutes, depending on your audio.
The above are recommended guidelines and can be exceeded, but it is important to note that by pushing the limits it starts to become necessary to lower the overall volume and reduce higher frequencies to minimise the risk of distortion. Excessively low frequency content may also need to be reduced as they require more physical space on the record surface.
The effects that this may have on the sound of the cut differ greatly depending on the characteristics of the audio. If you intend to exceed the recommended lengths above, we will always highly recommend opting for test pressings. Our audio engineers are always happy to check out your masters during pre-production checks if requested.
Generally speaking, 12" records containing under 14 minutes of audio per side will be cut at 45 RPM, and anything above that would usually be cut at 33 RPM. However, vinyl cutting is more art than science, and a true cutting speed recommendation is not based on audio length alone, but also the characteristics of the supplied masters, among other factors.
Occasionally, situations are such that we cannot accurately tell whether the output audio will be best cut at 45 RPM or 33 RPM. In these instances, we will wait until the audio has been analysed by our cutting engineers before determining the RPM. Our engineers use advanced solutions to analyse the audio to determine this, plus they know their cutting machines inside out, so are best placed to give the most accurate advice.
To speed up production, we recommend producing two sets of label artwork for 33 RPM and 45 RPM. Once the cutting speed is confirmed, the other will be deleted.
We recommend that mastering for vinyl is at least considered before audio files are supplied to us for production. There are so many variable factors that make it difficult to unequivocally advise the best blanket approach - even unmastered audio often can be suitably cut to vinyl. Generally speaking, heavily limited/compressed audio, which is typically encountered in digital/CD masters, is far less suitable and should be avoided if possible. This is not to rule out digital masters either, many are dynamic and perfectly suitable for vinyl.
Ultimately, if you're looking to obtain the best possible audio quality and the optimum transfer to the vinyl format, we generally recommend looking into vinyl mastering. It might be that your audio files do not require much additional work, so we would always advise opting for a service that charges per hour as opposed to per track, or that will provide pre-analysis and a cost estimate for approval prior to any mastering taking place.
DMS provide an acclaimed Vinyl Mastering service, offering you access to highly experienced, industry-proven engineers at extremely competitive rates. Our in-house engineers will listen very carefully to your original mixes, take on board any notes and requests you provide and make the fine adjustments needed to transform your audio into a finished master optimised for the best possible transfer to the vinyl format. We guarantee our mastering 100%, if you're genuinely and justifiably unhappy, we won't charge you.
Please read about our Vinyl Mastering service and how it all works. For more information or to get the ball rolling, please feel free to get in touch with our team. Mastering for vinyl is charged at £50 ex. VAT (£60 inc. VAT) per hour.
Please supply your vinyl master as WAV or AIFF files, either one track for each side of the record, or as individual tracks. You may also provide us with lacquers from a mastering studio, please contact us for more information about this.
A track list detailing the name of each track and running time should be supplied with every master. Please double check that the master is free of any errors or defects as although we check every track carefully, we cannot be held responsible for errors caused by incorrectly edited files.
Please ensure all files are compressed to a .ZIP/.RAR folder prior to uploading.
You can forward digital files via WeTransfer or Dropbox (in a .ZIP or .RAR folder) or via your own FTP site. You can send physical formats (CD, DVD, Minidisc, DAT, USB Stick/ Flash Drive, or ¼" Tape) to DMS Ltd, The Pressing House, Faringdon Road, Plymouth, PL49ER.
We offer a full Vinyl Mastering service, so if you need any alterations to your tracks please contact us to discuss your requirements. Mastering for vinyl is charged at £50 ex. VAT (£60 inc. VAT) per hour.
We recommend you check your physical master all the way through before sending on to DMS, and that if you are supplying discs, they are free of defects such as scratches. In all instances it is recommended to supply DMS with a track list or PQ sheet detailing the name of each track, track lengths and side splits.
Please send all physical formats to DMS at:
The Pressing House
57 Faringdon Road
For information on how and where to send lacquers, please get in touch with our team.
When supplying your audio files digitally, you can either provide individual tracks (labelled with the correct running order and side splits), one track for each side of the record, or a DDP image file set.
When supplying your files electronically, please ensure you do so in an archived folder such as .RAR or .ZIP. If you are unsure how to do this, please contact us. We prefer that files are supplied to us via Wetransfer.com, Hightail.com, Dropbox.com or your own FTP site. These sites are generally free of advertising and ensure there are no delays imposed upon individual IP addresses. We have found that following these steps is best practice for transferring audio electronically.
Please ensure all files are compressed to a .ZIP/.RAR folder prior to uploading.
We advise against this, as MP3 is generally inferior quality. However, it is your project and if you are happy with the quality of your MP3 recordings, DMS are able to use them. Please be aware that we will encourage you to source or output your audio to a higher standard, but if MP3 is really all you have available then it is possible to supply this format.
The higher the bit rate of your MP3 the better the quality. We would advise 320kbps which is much better than 160kbps or 80kbps, which are much more highly compressed. In all instances it is recommended to supply DMS with a track list or PQ sheet detailing the name of each track, track lengths and all embedded metadata.
Please ensure all files are compressed to a .ZIP/.RAR folder prior to uploading.
We generally will not amend the length of the gaps between the tracks on your vinyl master, unless you specifically request that we do so. In certain circumstances we may need to amend the gap lengths, in these instances we will always inform you prior to production. If you would like to request that the gap lengths are edited, please ensure that it is outlined on the track list that you supply, or in writing to your account manager when audio files are transferred to us.
Please note that any requested gaps will be added after each track. When supplying single-side audio files, it is assumed that gaps are set as they should be.
We can include locked/endless grooves/loops prior to production. The loop length depends on the vinyl speed. The length of one revolution is 1.8 seconds for 33 1/3 RPM and 1.333 seconds for 45 RPM. You will need to know what speed the record is likely to be, so feel free to transfer us your audio and we will determine the appropriate cutting speed.
Ideally, the length of the audio supplied for the endless groove would be longer the times above. This will allow the cutting engineer to find the best place to link up the audio back into itself for a smooth loop. Best practise is to ensure there is a little leeway either side of the audio to be looped, and provide written instructions. If you request it, the cutting engineers are able to send an audio clip for approval, which will demonstrate how the endless groove will sound before it is actually cut.
Please note that this is a non-standard service that may produce a clicking noise at the point where the loop repeats. We cannot be held responsible for this effect, although we will do everything possible in advance to ensure that this does not happen.
"Quality is most important to me, I would like the best cut possible. I am willing to accept corrections of volume and frequency content according to the cutting engineers expert opinion."
A standard cut will always be our recommended option if you are at all unsure. We will still always aim to make the record sound as close to the master source as possible.
"Closeness to the supplied master is the most important factor to me and I would like a minimum of changes to be made, even if the record ends up quieter than most vinyl."
We tend to only advise a flat cut if you are 100% confident in the ability of your engineer to master specifically for vinyl, and their understanding of complex vinyl cutting procedures. By opting for a flat cut, you’re ultimately telling the cutting engineer not to adjust anything at all, short of where necessary to prevent damage to the cutting head.
Please be aware that if your audio is not mastered perfectly, it can restrict overall potential achievable volume and cause various types of distortion upon playback.
"Loudness is most important to me and reasonable distortion is acceptable."
If your master contains lots of high frequencies, they may need to be reduced in order to cut loud. Please get in touch if with our team with any queries regarding cutting type.
Cut type is very important. DMS can not be held liable for audio claims resulting from issues with the original master, especially where a flat or loud cut were requested.
Absolutely. Characters will be in CAPITAL LETTERS and must be standard letters, numbers and symbols only. There is a maximum of 60 characters per side, including any spaces.
The available Unicode symbols are as follows: " ' ` . , ? ! : ; ( ) [ ] > < = + - * / \ ~ @ # $ % ^ & §
Please contact your account manager to request lead-out groove engravings, and ensure that you have requested this on your completed DMS Vinyl Track List.
Test pressings are the first records pressed from newly created metalwork, and are used to evaluate the quality, volume levels and listen for any untoward pops, clicks or excessive hiss prior to mass production. We always recommend opting for test pressings for final checks and peace of mind before the main vinyl run is pressed.
At a minimum we will ship five test pressings to the address you supply. This is so that any artefacts that are discovered can be referenced to the other copies to help determine whether there is a serial issue or fault, or a more localised and often easily resolvable one. We do not recommend that test pressings are split up and sent to multiple companies, or to each member of the band, until after production has been approved to commence.
It is possible to order more than five test pressings, to a maximum of ten. Should you require more than this, please let us know in advance and we will make a special request.
Please note that test pressings will always be black heavyweight vinyl, despite the weight, colour or colour effect ordered for the main run. This is except for 10" vinyl, for which there is no heavy weight option. 10" test pressings will be 110g standard weight black vinyl.
Aside from classic black virgin vinyl, we offer a substantial array of solid and transparent coloured records, alongside more specialist colour vinyl such as neon records and glow in the dark colour vinyl. We also manufacture one of the world's largest ranges of vinyl colour effects, including half and half, splatters and two different types of marbling. Please take a look at the many options available, peruse our vinyl colour chart and vinyl colour effects chart, or check out our gallery for examples of previous works and inspiring colour effect ideas.
Please send us high quality PDF files with any imagery at 300dpi. To attain the highest quality print results and reduce any risk of your orders being delayed, please read through our Artwork Specifications. We recommend speaking to our graphics department before starting your designs, often a five-minute chat over the phone can give you all the information required to make your task much easier and your final files much sharper.
Print-ready art files can be emailed to your DMS contact or uploaded via WeTransfer, Filemail.com, Dropbox or your own FTP site. You may prefer to supply a data disc containing your artwork in the post, in which case please post to DMS Ltd, The Pressing House, Faringdon Road, Plymouth, PL4 9ER.
At DMS we are great believers in preparing your graphics to the highest quality before going to print. We have a full range of templates available for all vinyl products including labels, inner sleeves, outer sleeves, gatefolds and box sets. If you don't see what you are looking for, please contact us and we will send the relevant templates to you.
We also offer a full Graphic Design service at £40 per hour ex. VAT (£48 inc. VAT) if you require assistance with your artwork.
The standard and default finish on our printed products is a subtle Gloss Machine Varnish. This is a liquid gloss varnish layer that seals the ink and adds impact to your print as the coating reflects back the light, making colours appear richer and vivid. The finish is more of a soft sheen than a high gloss, think of a cereal box rather than a car magazine.
We also offer matt machine varnish, matt and gloss lamination, matt and gloss UV and reverse board (uncoated) finishes with a matt varnish. Please refer to our glossary for a more detailed explanation of the various print finish options available.
Unless specified, all of our printed parts are generally lithographically/offset printed. This is a four-colour print process of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black and is the industry standard method and colour model for large scale full colour commercial printing.
The four-colour print process 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.
For orders with smaller quantities we might produce digitally printed parts. This 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.
There are other printing processes available (silk screen printing, UV printing, metallic and neon Pantone inks), please check our glossary for more details on this.
DMS offer a comprehensive barcode service for all your media packaging needs. If you supply the number, we will generate and add the barcode to your packaging free of charge for you. Barcodes can usually be obtained via your distributor or record label. Alternatively, we can offer EAN-13 barcodes for a nominal fee. We are more than happy to advise on everything from generating your barcode image, incorporating it tastefully into your packaging design and ensuring the barcode complies with guidelines for optimum scanning results. Any barcode supplied by DMS must be accompanied by the wording “Manufactured by DMS Ltd.”
To ensure optimum scanning of the barcode we recommend all images to be vector and set to single black (k) only on a white background. Barcodes must be printed so that darker bars appear against a paler background. Scanners read using red light, so red bars should not be used.
We recommend that your barcodes are produced at 100% magnification (37.29mm wide by 25.91mm high), although this can be reduced to a minimum of 80% if required.It is advised that barcodes be located on the rear of the product in the bottom right-hand corner, but this is not mandatory.
We recommend the majority of images to be saved at 300dpi to ensure a good print resolution. Black and white line art should be saved at 800dpi, and bitmap images should be a minimum of 1200 dpi. When our in-house design team are processing your artwork, you will have digital jpeg proofs sent to you via email for approval. If the designer is concerned about the image quality of your artwork, then they will send you a screen shot of the images taken at print resolution.
We prefer templates to be left on the artwork, but please ensure that it is sitting beneath your artwork, not over the top of it. If you aren’t working directly into our templates, crop marks are helpful but please ensure they sit outside of the artwork (not overlapping). The easiest way to think of this is, if you see it, we will need to remove it or print it. Due to this, it is always best to remove any part of the template from the actual design areas of your submitted artwork. One of our design team will supply you with digital jpeg proofs via email for you to check over and approve, these will have the templates added for you to check the layout is as intended.
All artwork should be completed and saved in CMYK or PMS (spot colours) if applicable. If you need to use a colour profile, we advise the closest match to be 'U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2' however if you require an exact colour match then we would recommend getting a printed proof to ensure colour matching.
Your supplied artwork files are placed in a production queue prior to being checked by one of our designers. The time this takes can depend on the volume of orders we are currently experiencing, but we will send you proofs as soon as the artwork has been processed, along with any notes or issues raised by the design team. This is usually within 24-72 hours, so if you have not received your proofs in the time, please check your spam folder/filters as sometimes emails can be directed here in error. If you still haven’t received them, please contact your account manager.
Yes, we offer a few different options for printed proofs. The designer who processes your artwork may recommend you consider getting these or you may want to request them for artwork checking. There are additional costs and not added to your quote as standard so please contact us to discuss the prices. The options are
Laser Printed Proofs (these cannot be used for accurate colour matching. They do however give a good idea of how your final print will look in respect of image quality and colour).
Digitally Calibrated Printed Proofs (these are 95% colour accurate. They are provided on FOGRA approved paper and setup to mimic the lithographic press on standard card stocks with standard print finishes in terms of colour and quality).
Wet Proofs (these allow you to see a printed version of your product, exactly as the finished product will be however these are a costly option) but these come at a higher price due to the set-up costs required in order to produce these.
DMS will only press your vinyl records if you are the copyright owner and fill in a copyright declaration form, or you can supply a valid manufacturing licence from MCPS or other relevant licensing organisations that apply in other countries. We will not consider manufacturing any product that infringes the rights of other artists or copyright owners.
Please visit the PRS for Music website and the MCPS section within it to see the kinds of licences available and the cost of obtaining them. If you need any help or advice with your application it's best to give MCPS a call direct, they're always very friendly and can help to shed valuable light on an otherwise complicated process.
For more information on this, please feel free to give us a call or drop us a line.
Due to the nature of vinyl pressing, once goods are produced they are unusable by anyone other than the client that ordered them. For that reason we ask for payment in full prior to vinyl manufacturing commencing. Alternatively UK registered companies and government agencies may apply for a credit account. Credit is not available to individuals or first time customers.
Please do not make a payment until you are sent a formal invoice.
You may pay for your goods and services by the following methods:
By card over the telephone. Please note that credit cards and all non-UK registered cards incur a processing surcharge of 3%.
By BACS transfer. Your sales contact will provide you with our bank details and they can be found at the bottom of your invoice.
Via PayPal (surcharges do apply).
By cheque payable to DMS Ltd to the address above, also stated on your invoice.
For further details on payment options please get in touch or telephone +44 (0) 1752 201275.