Glossary of Terms
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 spine.
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 blank lacquer.
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.