Our lathe cut records are handmade, limited edition records on polycarbonate (plexiglass) in a multitude of varieties. They are NOT a direct substitute for vinyl. These records are each 100% handmade and cut in real time. These records are intended as pieces of playable art.
Because of the high level of customization on each of these lathes, we are unable to accept most all returns. We highly encourage you to purchase one of our sample lathe cuts if you are unfamiliar with the fidelity. We will of course honor any returns regarding an error on our behalf, but cannot offer returns due to unrealistic expectations of the product. We cannot stress enough, these are NOT vinyl.
Lathe cuts will always have some degree of surface noise/pops/crackles, which tends to largely disappear once the music starts, especially for full, loud recordings. However, these lathe cuts are not audiophile records, or even comparable to standard pressed records. They will sound slightly different than the master, because the plastic reacts to certain frequencies differently. They are made from materials that were never intended to be records. Sound quality varies slightly from one record to the next, and some audio tracks translate better than others. There are many factors that determine the sound of the record; the material, the number of records that have been cut by the stylus, the climate, etc… But we drop-test them all and throw away any that are not up to standard. They are all totally listenable, but intended to be used more as playable art pieces. These lathes are not meant to be the way your track is regularly listened to.
While it is pretty rare, there are occasionally phasing problems when you combine a stereo signal into a mono signal. You can help minimize this possibility if you 1) mix your music with all pan settings straight up, or 2) combine the stereo signal yourself before you send the music in, and listen closely to make sure there are no weird issues. These issues could be disappearing instruments, weird warbling, etc...
Please do not slam the levels on your master. Sending a hotter master will NOT result in a louder record. We do some mock mastering on each audio file before cutting it to get the best possible sound out of our setup. We cut them as loud as we can without excessive distortion, but volume will be about 75% that of a modern record, due to the age of the machines and the hardness of the plastic.
Unfortunately, No. Our cutter heads are 70 years old and utilize a magnet that has, over the years, degraded a little. They were also made before the loudness war and were never intended to produce the kind of volume that modern stereo cutting heads made in the 70s and 80s were geared for. On top of that, the plastic that is used is harder than a lacquer that is used to master a pressed record, and the heads has to work much harder, resulting in less volume (about 75% that of a modern record). So, you will have to crank up your amplifier a few notches past where it usually sits.
These records do not always play well on all turntables, especially cheap turntables without a weighted tonearm. However, they have all been play tested to make sure that they track on a properly weighted record player. Lighter tonearm weight and neutral anti-skating works best. Sometimes the needle will get caught in between the grooves and sound awful. You can usually gently nudge the needle sideways into the bottom of the groove, which should fix the problem.
Inexpensive players with red cartridges/needles in particulars tend to have more problems than professional cartridges.
Absolutely not. These records are made out of hard polycarbonate plastic and will last as long as a pressed record. And your needle will not know the difference between this plastic or the PVC that pressed records are made of. The old adage that Lathe Cuts ruin your needle is a product of lacquer “dub plates” or “acetates”. Lacquers are extremely soft, and with repeated plays, the lacquer would wear off and build up on your playback needle. We DO NOT use lacquers and DO NOT have this problem. We listen to lathe cuts 12 hours a day in the studio, and rarely change out our playback styli.
We can usually get our lathes out between 2-3 weeks. Generally closer to the former than the latter, but it totally depends on how many jobs we have in line, how big they are, etc. However, our goal is always to keep our turnaround times low and get you your records quickly. If you are in a hurry, you can bump your job to the front of the queue for a $50 rush fee.