It’s not often I dedicate a specific piece to reviewing a particular service; such reviews are usually short, concise and reside on the dedicated Service Spotlight post. If you’ve missed that particular post, I’d urge you to check it out; it contains links to many online stores stocking both music and audio gear all hand-picked for their exceptional services.
One cut vinyl, however, are different. They’re not a music store, or a hi-fi dealer; they’re actually a UK-based one off vinyl pressing company, offering one off vinyl cuts, or regular order runs of up to 30 copies. I recently partook in a musical project, and wanted to have the resulting track pressed to vinyl to be given as commemorative gifts. Many of the major pressing plants require bulk orders of between 500 and 1000 copies, and thence I began my search for an affordable, one off pressing company.
The company I chose was, obviously, one cut vinyl. From their small UK-based independent pressing studio, they offer hand-manufactured vinyl cuts and custom-printed labels and packaging. A range of sleeves are available, including printed card sleeves and single and double-disc gatefolds. Printed inserts are also available for a very reasonable price. The customer service I received from the start was exceptional; and, following my initial enquiry, I was given a very reasonable quote which I excepted.
They offer a range of disks, including 7, 10 and 12” standard (1.5MM), 12” heavyweight (2MM), and 12” transparent (2MM) vinyl which was the option I selected. Unlike the traditional dub-plates offered by many one-off cutting services, OCV use high-quality 1.5 or 2MM vinyl as used in pressing plants. This vinyl is much harder, more durable and retains its playback quality just like a traditional vinyl. Each record is directly cut at either 33⅓ RPM (longer playtime) or 45 RPM (higher quality) on an individual basis using an enhanced VinylRecorder T560 cutting lathe, running on a legendary Technics SP10 turntable.
Basic mastering is included as standard to ensure your digital audio files are suitable for vinyl playback. An enhanced mastering service is also offered, whereby your audio files will be processed by a host of top-quality outboard gear and software. OCV provide a guide to preparing your mixes for best results in their extensive FAQ section.
OCV offer an artwork printing service, and offer a range of downloadable templates which can be edited and sent along with your music files when placing your order. If design isn’t your forte, you can send your image files and they’ll design the sleeve for you. I included a selection of images along with a design draft which was followed to the letter, and (where required) altered to fit the sleeve and to optimise the print quality. The finished product was flawless, and was exactly as per the proofs that were sent at my request before printing.
Let’s skip ahead to receipt of the finished product. My order came packaged in a premium record mailer, wrapped in a plastic protector. Upon opening the mailer, I was immediately struck by the attention to detail. Each record was supplied in a thick, heavy-gauge protective outer sleeve, each LP supplied in a poly-lined inner sleeve.
I dropped one of the records onto the turntable and cued the stylus to the inner groove; and the surprise grew. Despite the mix not having been specifically prepared with a vinyl cut in mind, the sound was exceptional. The quieter nature of a lathe cut vinyl perfectly suited the high output of my Rega cartridge, lending it a softer, more laid-back presentation in place of its usually brash, punchy nature. The noise floor was also perfectly acceptable; in fact not far from that of a traditional vinyl pressing.
In summary; I couldn’t be more impressed with one cut vinyl. Both the customer service and the product are exceptional. If you’re a DJ or an artist looking to produce a small run, or you’re looking to create a unique commemorative gift or a vinyl mixtape, this service is for you. You can check them out at OneCutVinyl.com