When you read an
explanation of how LPs are made, even a detailed, well-written one, you discover the
limitation of words when it comes to capturing such a multifaceted, technical process.
There are too many steps -- from master to stamper to finished LP -- to visualize exactly
what's happening. YouTube to the rescue. There you will find a ten-minute-long segment from How It's Made, a Discovery
Channel program that documents the manufacture of many different products. In this clip
you can see every part of LP production, from the lacquer coating the aluminum disc to the
heated vinyl oozing from between the stampers. Great stuff.
series of video clips on its website, German reissue label Speakers Corner goes a step
further, revealing some of the fine points of LP production for the audiophile market. It
is slow, methodical work -- the last clip shows LPs being individually inspected and then
re-sleeved -- and Speakers Corner has a lot of experience doing it. Since 1993, the label
has released 346 different titles. Of these, 246 are still in print, which means the
Speakers Corner LP catalog is one of the largest in existence today. The initial pressing
run for all new titles is 1200 copies, with reorders, which use new stampers, occurring on
a near-constant basis. Best-sellers exceed 10,000 copies pressed -- each inspected by
While digital music slowly abolishes the physical
format in favor of greater convenience, analog playback, the most inconvenient way of
playing recorded music, is thriving. Who would have predicted that for CD's 25th
birthday? Even if you're all digital, these video clips will make you yearn to spin a
record or two.