Make the Band: So, who should press your vinyl?

If you're in a band here in Denver, you've likely gone through the motions of recording your own record at some point. Getting that thing cut to vinyl, however, is a completely different story. There isn't exactly an abundance of resources out there to advise you on who to turn to pressing the dang thing.

As such, we've compiled a list of companies that different labels and bands here in town have used and/or recommend (or don't recommend, as the case may be). As the clip above demonstrates, it's a multi-faceted process and one that takes careful consideration on the band's part.

The first step in getting your music onto vinyl is getting a lacquer made. To the end, Aardvaark Record Mastering is the one place in town that everyone recommends. Here, you'll get your mastering and plating done, which is the product you'll be sending off to the plants that actually make the records. Keep in mind, some plants can do this themselves, but supporting local will save you time and money, not to mention giving you peace of mind.

Now comes the fun part : Getting your record actually made. Dan Phelps from Ash from Sweat Records was helpful enough to send us a list of places his label, which is well-known for it's beautiful packaging and the care put into each pressing, have had experience with. Unfortunately, nobody here in town presses records; so be prepared to add a bit of shipping cost to whatever your original estimates are.

  • Erika Records: Erika records is the go-to for weird sizes; if you're looking for a 6-inch this is your best shot. It's a little pricier than the others, but high quality.
  • United Records: If you're in a band, chances are you've heard the name United Records before: It's cheap, unreliable and has terrible customer service -- but again, it's cheap.
  • Pirates Press: Great quality vinyl comes at a price, and this is it. These guys use direct metal mastering, a catch-phrase you've probably seen on records before (meaning expensive and awesome sounding). They also do picture discs, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Bill Smith Custom Records: Highly recommended by many bands and labels, these guys have a wide variety of colored vinyl, great customer service and good prices.

So, how much is it going to run you to get your music onto sweet, sweet vinyl? Well, that depends on how many copies you press, and what options you choose. Assuming you're going to press a reasonable number -- say, three hundred on black vinyl -- you'll be looking at a cost of around $600-$900 for the records. That doesn't include covers, of course, but there is an excellent resource of artists and designers here in Denver that would love to help you out with that.

It's no secret that the age of digital downloads is killing the CD, but vinyl is alive and well. In our eyes, it's a great investment for a band to make, especially when the packaging can match the beauty of the music.


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