What is a Lathe Cut Record?

When we talk about lathe cut records most tend to think of a standard pressed vinyl record. In fact they are two vastly different things. To start the material is different. Pressed records are made from PVC, where late cuts are done on polycarbonate. Each disc is cut one at a time in real-time. So if the song is 10mins, the cut will take 10mins. The groove depth tends to be more shallow so if you have a Crosley or cheaper table, you may need to add a penny or two to the headshell.

Sound Quality

Lathe cut discs are cut in mono giving them a very unique and in your face sound with all the music coming straight at you. Cutting on poly gives the music a very vibey sound. Each song will come out different depending on the source material. Frequency response is roughly 100hz to about 9k depending an many factors. Surface noise is also more apparent on lathe cuts and they play back quieter than pressed records. I’m always working to mitigate and find an excellent balance though. Cuts tend to work best for punk, folk, acoustic, and other eclectic types of music.

Why Lathe Cut Records?

When pressing vinyl there are many costs that affect the expensive price point. First is the lacquer cutting/mastering, then the plating, then the overhead of the pressing plants to the materials themselves. You have to buy a lot of records to get a price that makes sense. With lathe cut records you can get smaller quantities like 10 or 20. This is much more affordable for most bands that want to test new songs, put out limited tracks, do exclusive live recordings or any other reason.

Please drop us a line if you have any questions or if you are looking to get some cuts as well!

Blank Polycarbonate Discs
Presto Cutter Head on Black Disc