DMM or Lacquer for your Custom Vinyl Pressing?
There are some who prefer lacquer, some who prefer DMM and many that really don’t mind. But either way, the process of cutting for any vinyl manufacturing company is a stage that has to be completed before a vinyl record goes to press. It’s the stage between you supplying your music master and the music actually being pressed on the vinyl record.
Direct Metal Mastering or DMM as it is known, was co-developed by Neumann and Teldec and differs from lacquer cutting because the lathe engraves the audio signal directly onto a hard metal copper-plated master disc rather than into a soft lacquer-coated aluminium disc.
The process of DMM cutting is perhaps more precise and has a better image edge definition under a microscope. It has a brighter and more defined top-end due to a higher frequency modulation in the groove caused by the vibration of the cutter head.
A lacquer cut is smooth, warmer and can be more pleasing to the ears. The sound of lacquer can be credited to the depth of the grooves on a lacquer, which can go deeper than DMM.
DMM is a cheaper process than lacquer cutting as it removes the need for one stage of the galvanic process (creating the plates that we press records from). For lacquer, the process is -
1. Cutting to lacquer.
2. Creating a copper master with a negative image of the lacquer (father).
3. Creating another copper plate with the positive image (mother).
4. Then creating ‘stampers’ with a negative image. These are used to press the
positive image into the final record.
The reason for what seems to be a long winded process, is that you can recreate stampers from the mother many times and the same with the mother from the father. If you skip this stage and the stamper is damaged, you would have to recut your record again. Since the DMM is cut directly onto copper, the first stage of galvanics is bypassed, resulting in cleaner processing with less surface noise and less chance of error during processing.
At Breathe Music we tend to choose DMM, the sound is full and bright and makes great vinyl pressings. DMM is also the most cost effective choice for many record labels and is available on all formats, 7” singles, 10” records, 12” vinyl, colour vinyl records and picture discs.
Get in touch now if you have a record you want to cut with Breathe Music Online