How Vinyl Records Are Made at Third Man Pressing

Wired visited Third Man Pressing in Detroit to learn more about the work that goes into making a vinyl record. Various engineers share the process of cutting, stamping, pressing, and labeling.

They also talked about the materials they use and the different colors available, although, as one engineer stated, “nothing really sounds as good as black”.

We press any color you can imagine. All kinds of customs, splits, and eclipses, and all kinds of new concentrates inside of color bases, but nothing really sounds as good as black. The different colors of PVC melt at different temperatures. We need to set the machines to specific temperatures, depending on the color.

The environmentally-responsible plant is an integral part of Jack White‘s Third Man Records and the Detroit neighborhood where it stands.

Third Man Pressing is an investment in Third Man Records’ hometown, a neighborhood within a city both rich with musical history, creating a space that is as inspiring as it is prolific. As the first label to operate a fleet of brand new, environmentally efficient pressing machinery within a purpose-built manufacturing infrastructure, Third Man Pressing minimizes water waste by using recycled water from the record curing process in the air conditioning system, thus creating the only fully climate-controlled pressing plant work environment in the world.

Adam Savage had previously visited the plant when it first opened in 2017

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.