Helpful guide of common terms and names relating to record pressing.
These are some common terms used in vinyl manufacturing. If you don’t see a term that you are looking for, please contact us and we’ll help you out (and maybe even add it to the list below).
4/4, 4/0, 1/1, 1/0 Print: These terms are reference to print projects. The first number represents the colors used and the second number represents the pages of print. 4 is referring to Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Kblack (or full color) and 1 is typically referencing K (black) but could also be a Pantone spot color. For example: 4/4 means full color both sides. 1/0 means black (or Pantone color) print on one side and the other side is completely blank.
Center Label: The paper circle in the middle of a pressed record. Center labels typically
contain name, song titles and/or logo of the project.
Electroplating: This is the process used to create Fathers, Mothers and Stampers.
The lacquer which contains the audio of your record is sprayed with a coating of silver
and then immersed into a bath of electrically charged nickel. This nickel is drawn to the
silver based lacquer which creates thin solid layer which is peeled off to become the
Father, Mother or Stamper.
Father: A Father (or Master Plate) is the first object created in electroplating. It is the
inverse or negative of a cut lacquer. Fathers create Mothers and Stampers
Stamper: This is a very thin circular shaped piece of nickel which contains the inverse
(or negative) of your record. It is coined and placed on a record pressing machine to
“stamp” or “press” your record. Stampers are created from Mothers. One stamper yields
approx 500-1000 records.
Inner sleeve: More commonly referred to as a “dust sleeve”. This is the first thing to
touch your record. Inner sleeves can be plastic or various colored paper (white, craft,
black or full color printed) which could also contain a thin protective inner layer of
plastic; known as a poly-lined sleeve.
Insert: An insert is typically an 11” x 11” piece of printed paper which contains images,
liner notes, song lyrics etc. This “insert” is inserted into the jacket of your record.
Jackets: Commonly referred to as a “covers”. Jackets are the outer most layer of
packaging and is is typically a 20pt. card stock with the title of the project printed on the
Lacquers: Cutting a lacquer is the first step in record production. Your audio is cut into
a blank lacquer by a machine called a lathe. Think of this step as the opposite of
listening to a record. Instead of hearing sound when you drop the needle to the grooves
of a record; the needle (or cutting stylus) is creating the grooves when dropped to the
blank lacquer. This lacquer is then sent to an electroplating facility which creates the
Stampers, which in turn creates your vinyl record.
Lathe: A lathe is a machine used to transfer your audio into grooves onto the face of a
Matrix Number: This is an identifying code which appears on the dead wax of an album
located between the lock groove and the center label. This number or code is etched
into the lacquer by hand and usually corresponds to the Catalog or reference code of
the project. A matrix number can be any symbol or identifying mark.
Mothers: The metal plate that is created from a Father (or Master Plate)— a Mother is
your record in metallic form and can be played on a turntable for referencing and sound
quality. A Mother is used to make Stampers.
Pock Marks: Sometimes called “dimples” or “stock marks”, these are very small visual
blemishes which look like tiny “hail stones” on the face of a record. Often times, these
are purely aesthetic and do not cause audio playback issues. We neurotically clean our
stampers and molds to avoid stock marks however, sometimes they are embedded into
the stamper and cannot be removed.
Polybag: Polybags are a protective outer cover for your records. They come in several
differently weights, styles and materials.
Poly-lined Inner Sleeve: An inner sleeve with a plastic liner glued to the inside. This
polylining protects the surface of the record.
Reference Lacquers: This is first example of your music in the form of a record.
Reference lacquers are used to confirm that your audio sounds the way you want it to
and is the best way to check your project prior to entering into the electroplating and test
pressing stages. Reference lacquers are very delicate and are heat sensitive. They are
much softer than standard vinyl and are only meant to be played a few times. Reference
lacquers degrade with each play and should never be played with a poor or damaged
Stampers: A metallic nickel inverse (or negative) of your record which is placed on a
record pressing machine to create your record.
Test Pressings: These are a sample of the actual pressed records for your project. All
test pressings have a New Orleans Record Press center label. When able, we also
provide you with examples of your records pressed with your center label. These test
pressings are sent to the client for approval prior to pressing the entire project.
UPC/Bar Code: A code which identifies your project. A barcode can be embedded into
the print of your jacket or can be a sticker applied to your project. This code can be
purchased in both forms from Norp.