Our goal at Diggers Factory is to offer you an entirely tailored production service: from 50 units to 500 or even 10,000 copies depending on your needs.
We also offer a broad panel of options to make your record unique and highly valuable for diggers and collectors. Choose your format (7, 10 or 12”), your grammage, your vinyl color, the sleeve type (regular, discobag, double or triple gatefold), the inner sleeve and the print finish. The list of options is almost infinite!
Besides, we take very much care in the manufacturing process of a record. Delivering top quality vinyl sound is essential for us.
The life of a vinyl record begins with a cutting lathe transcribing audio recordings onto a lacquer disc (an aluminium plate coated with a layer of nitrocellulose varnish). The obtained cut needs to be processed as quickly as possible to make sure the delicate lacquer layer is protected.
This process is quite long and consists in numerous steps leading to the stamper’s creation.
First, the lacquer is cleaned several times, before being coated with an electrically conductive silver skin. This step turns the layer lacquer into a cathode. Next is creating the “father”, a negative image of the grooved lacquer, also called the nickel master because it is obtained after being loaded into an electroplating bath of nickel sulfamate. This nickel master is then separated from the lacquer.
Following up is creating the positive image, the “mother”. The same process is used, an electroplating bath of nickel sulfamate which will turn the nickel master into a positive image of the original lacquer. The positive disc is then separated from the nickel master and carefully inspected with a microscope.
A third and last nickel bath will turn the “mother” into a “stamper”, a negative copy of the original lacquer which will eventually be used to press vinyl records.
First step consists in loading the labels and fixing the stampers to the moulds in the press. Steam or cold water can be injected under high pressure through these moulds to control the temperature during the vinyl pressing process. The main component of the record, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), is dropped into the silo of the pressing machine. This raw vinyl material is heated up to 140° and taken into the middle of the press. Record labels are introduced above and below, before a 100 ton press reunites the moulds containing the nickel stampers. A new record has come to life! Last step is cooling everything down and trimming the record to make it a perfect 7, 10 or 12” disc. Pressing a vinyl record is a long and delicate process, requiring a specific expertise and complex machines. Besides, the moulds lifetime is limited, and varies from a plant to another which implies a precise estimation of the vinyl quantity to produce. This is exactly what Diggers Factory allows to do thanks to the help of the community!
Over 100 copies, you can choose between a DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) cut and a lacquer cut, depending on your budget. The lacquer cut is the “original” cut; with a smooth, warm and pleasing sound on the ears. This is basically the genuine vinyl sound, but it’s also more expensive to produce. Also, there’s a risk of adding unwanted random noise to the recording due to dust particles (they can appear when spraying the silvering on the lacquer master). The DMM cut is slightly more precise, with a brighter and more defined top-end. It is easier and cheaper to produce since the cut is made straight into copper, avoiding the silvering spraying step on the lacquer master. But some people describe the DMM cut as too bright or too edgy. The choice between DMM and lacque is really up to your priorities and needs, you can simulate the price difference between the two solutions when you create a project on our dedicated page.
We work with numerous partners all around the world, carefully chosen for their record pressing expertise and experience over the last decades. Here’s a short list, just to name a few.
Founded in 1948 as Gramofonove Zavody, the company has been supplying vinyl records across the Eastern Bloc since 1951. Today, with over sixty years experience in the vinyl records production, GZ Media is the largest vinyl records manufacturer in the world. They offer top quality services both in vinyl pressing and packaging. The plant can produce 12”, 10” and 7” records. Cuttings are made on lacquer or with DMM technology.
Optimal Media is one of the leading vinyl producers worldwide. They master the art of cutting on lacquer as well as the DMM technology. Optimal Media delivers 7 inch records in 40 g, 10 inch in 100g and 12 inch in standard (140g) & heavy weight (180g).
Whether under its original name Southern Plastics, or the moniker United Record Pressing, LLC, this Nashville-based company has pressed nothing but vinyl since 1949. Early clients included Vee Jay Records and Motown. Prior to signing to Capitol, Vee Jay released the first Beatles 7" in America. With over 60 years experience in vinyl pressing, United Record can manufacture 7, 10 or 12” records with almost unlimited customizing options.