After the recording is done, the songs go to a mastering studio to create a master recording. Here, Andrew Mendelson, chief mastering engineer of Georgetown Masters in Nashville evaluates the mix. The music is optimized to sound its best on vinyl.
Next, grooves are cut into what's called a master lacquer disc. These grooves represent the sound of the recorded music. When a record player needle runs over these grooves, the needle moves up and down creating an electric current which when amplified and sent through a speaker, produces the music you're accustomed to hearing.
Before pressing multiple hundreds or even thousands of records, you want to make sure the record is perfect from both a physical and audio perspective. This first pressing is actually only a test pressing. The pressing company and artist listen to the record looking for problems that may have cropped up during the press.
When the record gets the all-clear, mass production can begin. Inspectors visually evaluate every record for physical flaws that could ruin the sound quality. If all looks well, the finished records will rest between cooling plates before being packaged.
Vinyl records are more than just a music medium. They're beautiful to look at and hold. The large-format packaging is also a great palette for artists, designers and/or photographers to create art for the band and project. Here's a limited-edition watermelon vinyl record held up to the light.