Inside one of the last vinyl record makers in the US


macrumors G4
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
I accidentally my whole location.
'Vinyl Rules!' at Nashville's United Record Pressing

A banner hanging in United Record Pressing's shipping room gives a peek at what the Nashville company hopes for its future:

''Vinyl Rules! Pure analog, anti-digital revolution.''

Today's youth, with their compact discs and MP3 players, may know little of their lower-tech predecessors unless their baby boomer parents pulled the black discs from a dusty bin somewhere and spun them on a turntable.

For United Record, phonograph records certainly haven't faded into extinction. It presses thousands of them each day and has seen business grow in the face of the digital recording age.

Cris Ashworth, United Record's owner, knows, however, that vinyl probably won't dominate the way it did before cassettes and compact discs took hold, or usurp the growing use of digital downloads from the Internet.

''But there's a market there,'' he said.

Since 1999, when he bought the operation on Chestnut Street near Greer Stadium, Ashworth has increased United Record's revenues from $1.4 million to $4 million by expanding the business to include the pressing of 12-inch, 33.3-rpm records. The number of employees has increased from 10 to 40.

Vinyl sales plummeted in the 1980s. After bottoming out, demand has been steady for LPs — slang for 12-inch, ''long playing'' albums — over the past decade. Last year, 2.3 million LPs were shipped to U.S. markets, an increase of 3.7% over the 2.2 million shipped in 2000, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. That's a drop in the bucket compared with the 882 million CDs shipped.

Wow, I'm probably one of the few people with a working record player and actual records. There is definately something appealing about pure analog sound.


macrumors newbie
Jul 19, 2002

I have a turntable and about 600 records, tied through my mac.. I used to spend all of my disposable income on records at the tender age of 16.. I dont listen to them much anymore, but they bring me much joy.


macrumors 68030
Aug 4, 2002
Madison, Wi
I have a turntable and several vinyls, there is no room right now on my entertainment bench for the turntable but I can't part with it, I love my vinyl and will hopefully find a place for it soon.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2002
I'm sorry to say this but. Every vinyl record made for the last ten or so years has gone through a digital process before pressing.

I found out this fact when learning about manufacturing processses in my professionnal studio practice lecture which is part of my Music Systems engineering course.

I can't remember the specifics but just before the copper or bronze plate is made, signal is converted to digital, then back again, I'm not sure why but it happens. Perhaps someone could research this. All I know is there are very few pure analogue recordings out there except the oldies of course... But they are probably scratched and bent! Bring on DVD audio and SACD. This is what I want in order to hear good music!

Another interesting fact about vinyl is the poor quality of the stereo image. If you look at the way the needle picks up stereo sound, there is not much seperation, whereas digital sources have completey seperate channels.

anway, just my 2 cents. I can't really remember any details on this, and I'm not that bothered either so don't be too harsh with the flaming. :D



macrumors newbie
Jul 16, 2002
I'm sorry to tell all the previous posters that VINYL IS ALIVE and selling like crazy and you guys don't know what you are talking about.

DJs around the world still use vinyl as their preferred medium, and I have been to United in Tennessee, firsthand, for the documentary I have been
assembling to pursuade investors over the age of 30 of the huge market.

I went to dinner with a very prominent businessman/politician over the last summer (he is 35), and his onlly question about my company's business plan was: "I thought vinyl died in the 80's....Who buys vinyl records?"

If Soundscan picked up US/UK/world vinyl sales, everyone would be completely amazed...

Watch television, and you will see 1 out of 10 ads with a DJ spinning vinyl records. Every club I go to has DJs spinning records.

I make vinyl records, buy vinyl records, sell vinyl records.

If you want to see some early footage from the documentary, I will be posting some at


macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2002
Of course everyone buys vinyl, I'm a DJ for crying out loud, I buy drum n bass and Hip hop on vinyl all the time.

What I am saying is that the people who listen to music on vinyl for its warmth are slightly mis informed when it comes to its supposed pure analogue origins,....

DJs around the world still use vinyl as their preferred medium.
Of course they do, CD mixing is pants, and who can scratch a CD as well as DJ Shadow or DJ Qbert can on vinyl? But, this is not the issue, I mean come on, how many dance tracks have you heard that were not produced digitally on a computer with possibly no analogue recording involved.

I'm not for one moment suggesting that vinyl is dead, vinyl is great, But for listening to music on a decent stereo system, the stereo seperation of vinyl is far inferior to digital sources.

I doubt not its popularity and commercial value for its investors due to certain factors, BUT, "analogue warmth" whcih (does exist in a pure analogue source recorded/played back on high quality tape in a studio), but not from in a vinyl record bought at your local shop. It is most likely a digital recording converted back to analogue. Even if it is claimed to be purely analoguely recorded it will go through a digital process in most manufacturing circumstances.

I am going from information from my lecturer who has worked in studios, producing and engineering, for 40 years, including abbey road! (He also engineered the original "video killed the radio star" by the buggles, one hit wonder) :p