How Records Are Made | The Occasional Podcast

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Vinyl pressings are a complicated thing to create. It is a much more intricate process compared the simplicity of the digital copy that has come to dominate the market (although digital resolution and streaming have their own unique set of variables as well). In this episode of The Occasional Podcast, Dave McNair helps us decode the steps from the source tape (or digital master) to the final pressed vinyl record.

As it turns out, the process involves much more than just pressing the “go” button. With records there are many more physical limitations to take into consideration, but I think we can all agree the growing tread for more vinyl isn’t mere trick of the mind. There are certain things that happen during the process that require more attention, and that simple idea can indeed lead to better sound. Now whether that is just a lucky byproduct or by focused intent, we may never know. But the rewards are certainly welcome in a world that is increasingly bite size, digitized and squeezed into the personalized experience.

The Occasional Podcast is opening the doors on Season 6 with last week’s conversation of A Guide To Tube Amplifiers plus our season opener What Is Accuracy and Why Audiophiles Love Jazz? but don’t miss last season’s finale TOP’s Best Of Season 5 Awards Plus A Visit to Van Halen’s 5150 Studios or our revisited interview with the late legendary recording engineer Al Schmitt, and the interview with digital audio designer Mike Moffat from the season 5 opener. Also available for download is last season’s interviews with Heinz Lichtenegger, president of Pro-Ject. You can also check out Budgeting – From Entry Level To High EndGetting Started With Vinyl Playback, The Occasional Beginner’s Guide To Digital Audio. Season three had interviews with such audio legends as Jeff JosephBill Dudleston, Nelson Pass and even Rob Watts.

If you would like more from engineer Dave McNair, you can hear also him exploring all things Mastering and explaining The Loudness Wars, and if you haven’t checked out our beginners guide to reel-to-reel playback, it’s definitely worth a listen.

You can stream the newest episode How Records Are Made direct from the embed below or subscribe to The Occasional Podcast on your favorite podcast platform including iTunesAndroidGoogle, Deezer, SpotifyiHeartRadio and more.

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About Brian Hunter 117 Articles
Brian Hunter is the host of The Occasional Podcast by Part-Time Audiophile and the founder of


  1. With respect to mixing-to-tape: Ying Tan’s 2016 recording of Vanessa Fernandez second album, “When the Levee Breaks” (GRV1088-45) was mixed to tape.
    The discipline continues, albeit on a smaller scale.

    • Indeed. I have a one or two clients that still send tape and I love to work from that format. But from my vantage point it’s about the same ratio to digital as film camera users to digital camera users – maybe even less.

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