We’ve all spent so many hours admiring and enjoying our record collections, but what about how they come into existence? 

Firstly, an analogue mastering engineer will master the tracks to optimise them for pressing into a record, and then use a lathe to cut the master or ‘mother’ disc.
This is carefully monitored to ensure the recording comes out ‘perfect,’ as this is the version that will end up being replicated across all copies. One of the main names in disc cutting lathes is Neumann, which you can see in action below.



The mother disc will then be used to mould a master stamp, which is made using liquid silver in an electroplating process. This fills the grooves completely and once hardened using a nickel solution, is strong enough to stamp hundreds of thousands of identical records.

Source

Pretty much all of these master records have been kept safely in archives, meaning we have a physical database of everything that has been pressed onto vinyl. A leader in this is United Records, see below to see a tour of their Processing Plant (and the vinyl-making process) by Reverb. 


These stamps will soon be attached to a vinyl pressing machine. Many of those in use today date from the height of vinyl production and have been lovingly restored to their former glory.

The records we have used since the sixties are made from polyvinyl chloride (hence, vinyl) which is melted down from pellets and shaped into something similar to a hockey puck, also known as a ‘biscuit’. This is placed in between the stamps and the labels are attached first, which helps to centralise the record and prevent warping.

Next, the silver stamps are attached to the machine, and a huge amount of pressure is used to form the records. 

Finally, they're visually inspected, slid into sleeves and prepared for dispatch across the world!