Who is Phat City?
We have been at the forefront of Cd, DVD and vinyl record pressing since 1996. Over 20 years of unparalleled knowledge and experience has helped us deliver outstanding quality product to record labels and independent artists time and time again.
To work at our highest level to produce the best products we can for our clients. To do this every time no matter how large or small the order.
Lacquer and Stampers
Once we have your pre-mastered audio in a suitable format for vinyl manufacturing, we’re ready to cut the lacquers. Lacquers are actually made out of an aluminum plate that is coated with lacquer. Your audio is physically cut into the surface in real-time to produce a “master” image which will be used later in a process called “electroplating” to create the actual stampers used to stamp your final records.
Once your lacquers are cut (one lacquer is required for each side), the lacquers are used to produce the stampers through a process called “electroplating”. These final stampers are what we use on our presses to mold your finished record.
Once the stampers are ready, it is recommended to order the optional test pressings. We offer test pressings for a nominal extra fee so you can be sure you are pleased with the final results before incurring the expense of the final pressing. You may choose to skip the test pressing.
Full Colour Jackets
A jacket is a single glued cardboard pocket that your record slips into for safe storage. We will print full-colour cardboard jackets with your artwork. We also offer gatefold jacket printing, which offers a premium packaging choice for your vinyl release. Our 12″ jackets are printed on 20 point board stock while our gatefolds are printed on 18 point board stock. Jacket and gatefold orders are printed in CMYK (4 colour process). We offer several styles and templates to choose from. Visit our templates section for the different options.
- U.V. High Gloss Coating
- Matte Finish Coating
- PMS printing
We can print your inserts in our fully-equipped in-house print shop. We offer a range of different inserts, folders and booklet templates to choose from.
We also offers a range of inner sleeve options, including plain white paper sleeves, plain black paper sleeves, poly-lined white of black inner sleeves, and even custom-printed inner sleeves (with or without a centre hole cut).
You can also include a download card or a download label with your vinyl project.
- Choice of download card or a download label to be applied to the inner sleeve.
- Minimum order of only 100 download cards or labels
- Our Vinyl + Download packages include a sticker (to be applied outside of shrinkwrap)
Pre-mastering for Vinyl
Pre-mastering is the process of getting your audio ready for the vinyl lacquer cutting stage. If your audio is already mastered for vinyl, you will not require pre-mastering services.
What is required for submitting an acceptable vinyl premaster?
Source Audio Files:
- 24 bit 96kHz WAV or AIFF format file is the vinyl pre-master standard. Other file resolutions are acceptable, down to CD quality audio, 16 bit 44.1kHz
- File resolution should be the highest available, but should not be converted up to a higher resolution.
- MP3 audio is not a suitable source for vinyl production.
- The source audio files should be provided as a single WAV or AIFF format file for each side, with track spacing as it is intended to appear on the record and with an accompanying PQ sheet, indicating track IDs
A Note About High Frequencies:
The lacquer cutting system (the next step in vinyl manufacturing) is capable of putting very high peak levels on the record, but only ideal playback systems in optimal conditions will be able to play the sound back without distortion. Since we need the record to be playable on all types of equipment, it’s necessary to limit the High Frequency information. It’s recommended to provide a vinyl premaster that already has a balance of high frequency suitable for vinyl production.
A Note About Low Frequencies:
Excessive level in the very low bass can cause the record to skip. Excessive stereo information in the bass appears as vertical movement in the groove, so it’s sometimes necessary to remove the stereo component of the music as well as any out of phase information in the very low frequency range. The cutting system is equipped to correct minor issues with the bass however, more severe problems will result in a record that can’t be cut or that sounds very different from the source audio files provided. It’s recommended to provide a vinyl premaster that already has low frequency level and stereo content that is suitable for vinyl production.
As a general rule, the longer a side is, the quieter the record will be. Our general guideline for maximum side length is 20 minutes for a 12″ 33 rpm record and 14 minutes for a 12″ 45 rpm record. However, it’s the bass content in the music that takes up the physical space on the disc, so it’s sometimes possible to have a longer side without compromising the level or audio quality. Not all masters benefit significantly from shorter sides. As well, some styles of music are more ideally suited to a higher playback level, in which case shorter side lengths (15-18 minutes at 33 rpm, 9-12 minutes at 45 rpm) are recommended.
We cut your record at the maximum level possible within the confines of the vinyl medium. The factors determining the level are a combination of the HF and LF issues explained above, and the running time. The longer side of the record determines the level for all sides, unless otherwise specified.
Reference Acetates or “Dub Plates”:
Any time that there is a question about whether or not your record complies with these guidelines, there is the option to cut a reference acetate first. An acetate is a disc that is cut just like the master record and can be played a few times to hear what your records will sound like. It can save the extra time and the expense of additional test pressings if you’re unsure. Please contact your Account Manager for details.