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FAQ

What is a dubplate?

A dub plate is a one-off record. A dub is different to a regular vinyl record because instead of being pressed using a stamper, its cut real-time on a lathe. The lathe spins a blank disc, and the cutting head plays the audio and scores the groove in a spiral across the dub. There are two types: vinyl dubs and acetates, and they come in a range of sizes and layouts. See here for more info.

How do I upload my files?

You can upload tracks here, and send a track list along with the files. If you have very large files, or a large number of files, you can also send files to us via wetransfer.com or dropbox.com. If you want to send files using another 3rd-party service, please avoid megafantasticspamupload.com and other sites that use popups, countdowns, and download limits.

How much will shipping cost?

The cart calculates the shipping cost based on the weight and destination of the order. You can see how much it will cost prior to payment by placing and order and selecting the shipping method.

I am having problems with my account activation.

Your activation email may be in your junk folder, please check. If its not there, we are sorry! Please let us know and we will activate the account manually.

How do I ask you a question?

Good question! Here is the form if you want to add a question to the FAQ. Alternatively, if its a specific question about your order, see the contact page.

Do you do free demos?

Sorry no, we can't offer free demos. The idea of free demos is something that newbie mastering engineers sometimes use to drum up trade, and newbie producers sometimes use when they are not sure who to go to. We think the right thing to do is pay your mastering engineer for his or her time, and then try to resolve any problems as they arise.

Why is my order on hold?

We need to receive the order, payment, and files before we can book the order into our diary. If you have done this, and your order is still on hold, please contact us.

Can I cut any tracks I like?

If it makes a sound we can cut it! But if you are unsure about the legality of cutting a track, please check with the original vendor. Different vendors have different policies regarding fair use, so we cannot comment on individual cases.

How many tracks can I fit on a dubplate?

There is no real limit to the number of tracks a plate can hold. The default number for a single is 2 (one track per side), and you can order an EP or LP if you want more.

How long will shipping take?

Shipping takes one day or more for UK addresses, 3-4 days for Europe, and 5-6 for outside Europe.

Help I can't get in to my account!

Just contact us and we will sort it out.

Why have I not had a reply from you?

We try to answer all correspondence as quickly as possible, starting with questions not already answered on the site. If you have an urgent query relating to an order, you need some general information not covered on the site, or you just want to talk to someone, please see the contact page.

Do my tracks need to be mastered before cutting?

Normally most tracks need a little tweaking to sound their best on wax, but we provide this service for free as part of the dub plate cutting. There is only a charge for mastering where a digital copy of the mastered audio is required.

Can I collect my order in person?

Yes. Just select that option when ordering and let us know when would be a good time to pass by. See the contact page for the address.

Do you convert files from minidisc and tape cassette onto Dubplate?

We usually use digital files such as wavs, mp3s or audio CDs to cut dubs. If you have the audio on minidisc or cassette, it will need to be transferred to a computer first, and then sent to the studio.

Do you discounts for large orders?

Yes we do small discounts for order of more than one dub, please see each item for details. If you have a budget in mind for a large order, please let us know and we will see what we can do.

How to check if my files have uploaded properly

Once you have uploaded your tracks, you can get access to them by contacting us and asking for an invite to the folder on dropbox.com.

How to purchase and use vouchers?

You can purchase vouchers online (in multiples of £5), and then either send them to us to redeem them, or enter the coupon code written on the voucher when you place an order online and the amount will be discounted from the order you are placing.

How can I pay?

You can pay online with PayPal (including by card), but if you want to pay via bank transfer, please let us know and we can send over an invoice.

When are tracks needed by?

We normally only book an order into the diary once we have received the payment and the audio. In cases where the audio is not ready, we can hold the slot for you, but we need to get the audio the day before the cutting date so we have time to prep up. If you think there will be a delay with the audio, let us know as soon as possible, so we can discuss the options.

Do you sell blank discs?

Sorry but due to tight supply restrictions we are only allowed to sell dubs once they have been recorded.

What is your turnaround time?

Turnaround is usually about a week, but for current turnaround times, or urgent orders, please contact us.

Can you master my track for me before it is cut?

Normally most tracks need a little tweaking to sound their best on wax, but we provide this service for free as part of the dub plate cutting. There is only a charge for mastering where a digital copy of the mastered audio is required.

How do I clean my dubplates?

Vinyl dub plates can be cleaned using regular record cleaner. Acetates cannot be cleaned with standard record cleaner, please seek expert advice for acetate dub restoration.

I have created a track myself can you offer me any advice on how to improve it to give the best possible cut?

Yes we can, but we only offer this service as part of the full digital mastering option. We cannot offer advice unless it is part of an ongoing project we are working on for you.

What is the thickness of the vinyl dubplates?

Dubs vary in size, weight, and thickness. See here for a full comparison of all the various dubs we stock.

 

Can I cut tracks from YouTube/iTunes?

If it makes a sound we can cut it! But if you are unsure about the legality of cutting a track, please check with the original vendor. Different vendors have different policies regarding fair use, so we cannot comment on individual cases.

Do you do flexi discs?

The vinyl dubs we cut are slightly flexible, and some people confuse them with flexi discs, but in fact flexi discs are much thinner (more like paper). Our dubs are over a mm thick, but they do yield to pressure, and will normally return to their flat state afterwards.

Do I need permission use a track by another artist?

If it makes a sound we can cut it! But if you are unsure about the legality of cutting a track, please check with the original vendor. Different vendors have different policies regarding fair use, so we cannot comment on individual cases.

How long do vinyl and acetate dub plates last?

Vinyl dubs last about as long as regular pressed vinyl, and if cared for properly acetates can last just as long. However acetates can wear down quickly if played with too much tracking force, or with a very abrasive stylus (its a good idea to test how abrasive your stylus is by playing the lead out spiral several times. If you notice the surface noise increasing, its best to use a different stylus).

Is there an optimum quality that you would like the files in?

We can cut anything that makes a sound, but for dubplates we recommend 44.1khz, 16bit files or higher. Mp3s and other lossy formats are fine, but they should be avoided where possible.

What is the difference in sound quality between vinyl and acetate?

There is not a great deal of difference between vinyl dubs and acetates, but generally speaking acetates tend to pick up more detail. For a full comparison, see this guide: vinyl dubs and acetates

Limiters

Its best not to limit tracks before sending them to the studio. If tracks have already been limited, that's fine, but to get the most from the mastering process, limiting is best left til the very end.

Is sound quality better on a 12" or a 10"?

The sound quality is the same on both formats, but the wider the circumference of the groove, the better the resolution of the recording. This means that there is a slight reduction in sound quality towards the end of any disc. Most of the time, this is not noticeable, but because 12 inches are wider, they have more space to record before reaching the center of the disc, and so (for a while at least) they will sound better than a 10 inch.

Also, because there is more space, its often possible to cut the same track louder on a 12 inch than on a 10 inch. Having said that, provided the tracks aren't over 6 or 7 minutes, its possible to get really nice, loud recordings on ten inch too!

Bit rate

Bit rates of 16 or 24 are fine, but 32bit is probably best avoided.

Do 7" dubs come with big or small holes?

We are able to stock both large hole and small hole 7" acetates and vinyl dubs, but supplies sometimes run out, so please ask before ordering if you don't see the format you want on the site.

Can I cut different RPMs on each side of a dubplate?

The cart does not permit this option, but if you have special requirements please let us know.

Compression

By all means use compression to get the sound you are looking for prior to mastering, but there is no need to compress for loudness at this stage.

Does RPM affect the length of music you can fit on a dubplate?

Yes it does. 33rpm allows for the longest recording times, followed by 45rpm and 78rpm. For a full description of track times, see here.

How does this work?

The reason its possible to record for longer at 33rpm is that the slower the disc rotates, the longer each revolution takes. For example, if a disc is rotating at 33rpm, each revolution takes exactly 1.8 seconds. So if there are say 500 grooves, the recording would be 15 minutes long. If the disc is turning at 45rpm, each revolution takes 1 and a 3rd seconds, and so the same 500 grooves would hold just over 11 minutes of audio.

And there's more...

The loudness of the recording can limit the number of grooves that can be cut onto a disc. If the recording is very loud, the grooves must be spaced further apart, and so less grooves will fit on a disc. Generally speaking, 45 singles are cut louder than 33rpm LPs, so this is another reason why 33rpm discs tend to hold more audio.

What are LPs and what length of music do they hold?

LPs are long playing records than run at 33rpm. Typically they hold around 5 tracks per side, or about 20 minutes of recording time.

Headroom

There is no need to leave any particular headroom when submitting files for cutting or mastering, but limiters and heavy compressors should be avoided. By this we mean that the peaks may reach 0dBFS (or just below) but they are best left unlimited.

What is provided with each dubplate?

Each dub comes with a set of labels (peel and stick if required) and card sleeve. Acetate dubs also have a poly-lined paper inner sleeve. All dubs are sent in a stiff card mailer to protect them during transit.

What file size will fit on a dubplate?

File sizes have no bearing on what will fit onto a dub plate. What matters is the total recording time per side. For a rough guide to track times, see here.

Do the labels have a Dubstudio logo?

Labels are blank and white. They are self-adhesive (peel and stick) so using them is optional.

What file type should I use?

If it makes a sound we can cut it to dub, but always seek the best quality audio you can. For digital mastering, 16 or 24 bit audio is best, but it must be no lower than 44.1khz. For full details about files and audio, see here.

How much do dubplates cost?

Dub plates vary in price, for a rough breakdown of prices, see here, or check each dub for full details.

What if my track is just over the time limit?

The recommended track times are a rough guideline, so a few seconds here or there won't make a great deal of difference.

Do you print labels?

We provide A4 sheets of 6 labels for those wishing to print their own, but we do not provide a printing service here at the studio.

What length of track can I put on a dubplate?

It depends on the size and speed of the dubplate, for full details, see here.

Do you supply labels?

Yes, labels are available to buy online on A4 sheets with six labels per sheet. There are large labels suitable for 12 or 10 inch discs and small labels also suited to 10 inch discs, or regular seven inches. We also supply large-hole labels, for seven inch discs with the center cut out (dinked).

Do prices include vat?

Dub Studio is not VAT registered, which means we do not have to apply VAT to our products or services. This helps us to keep prices down, which is especially good news for other non-VAT registered clients!