Custom Lathe Cut Records

 What Are Lathe Cuts ?

Lathe Cutting is a process which utilizes a sharp sapphire cutting stylus to engrave or emboss sound grooves onto a disk. Lathe cut records are an alternative to pressing records with metal stampers made of nickel.


In lathe cutting, a moving voice coil is used to drive a stylus which cuts the sound waves into the revolving disk.  This method has long been used for producing lacquer masters, which are then used to make metal stampers for pressing.  Most of the machines used for this purpose were manufactured pre-1960. 


Since the 1980's many people have begun experimenting with these lathes to produce one-offs records, using materials such as picnic plates and plastic disks and X-Ray film.



Square piece of polycarbonate embossed on a record cutting lathe

Lathe Cutting

Lacquer cutting

LATHE CUT RECORDS & LACQUER CUTTING

Lacquer cutting service for the production of phonograph records. 

EMBOSSING PROCESS

 Embossing Plastic Vs. Lacquer Cutting

Stereo phonograph records - Only lacquers are stereo

 

A lacquer cut with a stereo cutter head will result in a stereo playback, embossing a polycarbonate disc with a stereo cutter head will result in a MONO play back and it will skip randomly when playing it back. 


My Lathe cuts have the same level as an LP,  the same as the N.A.B test record #  STR-151. But the average 45 rpm pressed record has a level of +4 db above the N.A.B standard level. Shortest turnaround time, and no minimum order! 


Lathe cut records are made from clear polycarbonate plastic and cut one at a time. They are made by cutting  into lacquer or embossing grooves into plastic, using a record cutting lathe. These lathes were normally used in the vinyl record manufacturing  process, to cut the lacquer/acetate master discs used to make the metal  stampers used by the pressing plants. Clear polycarbonate records start out as a square piece of plastic, then it is trimmed into a round disc after it's recorded.


I manufacture both record embossing /cutting styli and random sizes of disc records. Located in New York City, headed by record cutting engineer Rich Flores, known  for cutting The Misfits first 45 vinyl, "Cough Cool" in 1977 manufactured at The Romaba pressing plant.


You can have your record made from any audio source, digital music files, cassettes, even your vinyl collection. Specializing in embossed phonograph lathe cut records and Flexi discs / Sound sheets made of polycarbonate, Each disc recorded in real time for limited runs of 20 or less. I can cut lacquers or emboss reference discs, on the same Scully lathe, by just changing the sapphire stylus. Fast turn around times for a few copies, usually 1 to 2 days. For quantities of 20, about 1 week. I don't do last minute cutting, no in person pick-ups ! Our custom lathe cuts will not play on all record players. 

Flexies can be made of very thin polycarbonate film, or X-ray film

Square Flexi can be trimmed round after recording

HOW YOUR LATHE CUT RECORDS WILL SOUND

Actual play back of a lathe cut record Recorded DRY at room temperature, no oils, no lighter fluid Using  my sapphire embossing stylus. Afterwards this square record will be trimmed  into a round disc if needed. 

YOUR LATHE CUT SOUND QUALITY

 Lathe cut records are by no means, LO-FI 

A turntable with a worn out needle and dose not have a counter weighted tone arm, will not play properly. For best results try them on a good audiophile turntable and it should work fine.

 


Embossed phonograph lathe cut records


They don'y sound noisy, hollow than the quality on a cut record. Some copies may have  a few seconds of noise at random times, but generally 90% of them will sound fine. 10% may have some surface noise.


The grooves on a lathe cut phonograph record are embossed, not cut, they are not as deep. This does not affect audio or the sound quality, a turntable with a damaged or worn out playback stylus will tend to skate, and will not track properly. Be sure your tonearm has the  "ANTI- SKATING" adjusted  at the right setting.


Occasionally your playback stylus will land between the grooves, resulting in a strange, distorted playback. In this case, simply lift the tone arm, and drop it again in a slightly different position, or just gently nudge the stylus.

 

You will hear the needle pop into the groove, and the  audio will clear up. The audio on a lathe cut record can't be recorded in stereo, otherwise it will not emboss properly,


If recorded at a louder volume your turntable's needle will jump out of  the groove and it will skip. If recorded correctly clicks and pops and surface noise will not be noticeable with our sapphire recording stylus.


Embossed lathe cuts can't be BACK-TRACKED or DJ-SCRATCHED as in HIPHOP music, this is the characteristics of embossed lathe cut record, no matter who makes them. 

Lathe cut records

Embossed lathe cuts

How to De-Ess Vocals with the Waves Sibilance Plugin

  Grammy-winning mix engineer Dave Darlington shows how to remove  harsh  's' and 'sh' vocal sounds quickly and effectively, using the  Sibilance  vocal de-esser plugin  

Turntable Setup for Beginners

This explains a very important detail instruction in setting up your ANTI-SKATING adjustment that is crucial for playing embossed lathe cuts.

EMBOSSED RECORD PLAYBACK WITH VOCAL PROBLEMS

You can hear the problem with SIBILANT in the vocal track. That is the reason  you must have the track mastered for vinyl. I will not fix this. This disc afterwards will be trimmed round to the right diameter

LATHE CUT RECORDS - New York Lathe Cuts