WHY GO WITH SAMO?
Our position as a broker, maintaining a large amount of units cut, processed and pressed, means we enjoy valuable privileged relationships with our suppliers. We use these to provide cheaper prices and a greater allowance on timeframe concerns for our clients. In addition, and most importantly, as a broker we focus on being the most available, courteous, knowledgeable and accommodating reps in the industry. We can give you as much individual attention as your project needs, while most plants are not usually equipped to be of such service.
1) How do I compare a SAMO media quote with a competitor?
#1: BOTTOM LINE: Make sure to double-check all possible set up costs from competitors. Our quotes do not contain any set ups for colour or lower quantities, while other plants or brokers might.
#2: CURRENCY: When shopping around, it's important to note that our prices are in Canadian dollars (unless you have specifically asked for USD). Make sure that if you are Canadian, you are comparing the actual costs including any exchange rate fees you may have to incur.
#3: FREIGHT: Considering that a start-to-finish 7", 10" or 12" project in Canada is not currently possible, freight costs are a reality of purchasing vinyl in this country. We make it far more bearable by shipping skids every Friday, dividing the freight costs amongst every completed project for the week, resulting in as much as 20-30% of what you would pay if you shipped vinyl across the border on your own. Plus, you never have to deal with the border and all of that paperwork ever again! Let us do that for you, and save extra money there.
How it works is, all finished projects for the week are organized together, palletized and stretch-wrapped. These skids are trucked over the weekend, and arrive at our office the following Monday/Tuesday. This is the safest, cheapest and quickest way of shipping by ground. Of course, if you need your project mid or late week, please ask us and we'll do our best to accommodate.
1) What is lacquer master cutting?
This is the process in which grooves are cut by a cutting stylus onto an acetate coated aluminum disc. This is the first step in the process of putting your music on vinyl.
In terms of the way the audio is handled, if you're providing digital files, our primary concern is to transfer the information from digital to analog with as much consistency as possible. Factors such as program length per side, and frequencies that translate differently from CD to vinyl like excessive high/low frequencies in the material, are also considered while striving for the best fidelity and volume during playback.
Please note that we are not "mastering" the material or making aesthetic decisions along the way. This service is also offered for an additional rate - please get in touch with us (firstname.lastname@example.org
), or contact your rep, for more details.
2) What do I need to provide to get the lacquering process started?
Here is a quick reference list of the pieces and information we need to begin:
Your analog or digital master copy/source
If you are providing digital files on CD, please burn them as individual tracks, as you would with any CD master, and not one track per side. If you would rather upload to our FTP, please ensure that your folder is compressed. Any folders that aren't compressed will be rejected, as we won't be able to check for potential corruption in the upload or download process. For more information on what analog sources are conducive to our process, please email or call us.
This is your 'project identifier' and could literally be anything you like. For example, if SAMO were to make our first vinyl record, we might call it SAMO001. We can't proceed with lacquer master cutting until we have it because this catalogue, or "matrix" number, will be scribed on to the lacquer and will be used to identify it once it gets to the electro-plating stage.
Unless this is a one-sided record, we'll need to know which tracks go on side A and side B (as well as C and D, if it's a double album).
3) What is the ideal time per side for my 7"/10"/12"?
The relationship between your program length and fidelity of the result is intimate. The less time you have per side, the wider your grooves are, resulting in greater clarity, less distortion, and optimal dB levels. Here are a few recommended time per side scenarios given the medium's most common RPMs:
7" 45 RPM - 3-4 minutes
12" 33 RPM - 12-14 minutes
10" RPM - 9-10 minutes
For other suggestions and scenarios, please contact us and we'll happy to provide our input.
4) What is electroplating?
This is the second stage in vinyl record production. Your lacquer masters are too malleable to affix to a vinyl press mould and withstand the intense pressure and temperature that occurs during manufacturing. Because of this, we need to create metal "stampers" from your lacquers.
To do this, the lacquers are first meticulously cleaned and then sprayed with silver nitrate, making them "electro-conductive". Once finished, they are placed in a tank of nickel solution, which causes the silvered lacquer to bind with the metal and create a removable solid plate. When this plate is separated from the lacquer it looks like a reverse image of the original - as in, the grooves are now ridges instead of being inward. This metal plate goes back into the tank, and gets plated again so that we again produce a "positive" with the grooves back on the inside. This positive is called a "mother". It is from this mother that we can make multiple copies of a new negative, using the same process, which are referred to as a stampers. It is with these stampers that we can press records.
For small runs (300 and under), we can use the initial negative plate as the stamper, bypassing mother creation but it is not recommended. While cheaper, this process, called "1-step plating", can be risky. If a stamper cracks during production, and the lacquer is unable to go back in the tank due to wear and tear from electro-plating, new lacquer masters will have to be produced and the client will be billed.
If a stamper cracks and a mother has been produced (referred to as "2-step plating"), you will not be charged for replacement stampers. This is true for up to 10,000 units.
5) What does the over/under run note found on my quotation mean?
This is industry standard for vinyl pressing; it is possible to have up to 10% extra or less of the ordered number of records come off the press. This is done for quality control purposes. 10% more than the desired number are pressed and then the entire lot is examined for spoilage, so that we end up with the closest number of perfect units to the amount ordered.
For example, if you order 500 and 10% extra (550) come off the press passing quality control measures, this is what you are billed for.
6) How long does vinyl production take?
Our turn-time for new vinyl orders is approximately 4-6 weeks, with the clock stopping at art and test press approval. Vinyl production is very intensive and consists of a lot more steps than CD manufacturing, so while we can't guarantee any time frame, we are very successful at hitting realistic release or tour dates. Please let us know well in advance, if possible.
1) Where do I find templates?
Our templates can be found here
. Please only use our templates; for anything you can't find, please contact us and we'll set you up right away.
2) I have a question about templates/formats/technical details...
Please consult our art guide here
. It's important for all designers submitting art to SAMO to go through the check list found at the bottom of the PDF. If you have a question not covered by the guide, please contact us