This is a fair and unbiased One Cut Vinyl review, I am not associated with the company in any way and I’m receiving no benefits from them for producing this content.
Upon hearing that I’d received a turntable for Christmas my Dad was quick to say: “when I was a your age, I nearly cried on the day that CD’s became mainstream and affordable. No more clicks and pops, no more rigorous cleaning routines and an end to enormous storage solutions was finally in sight”.
He’s not wrong, Vinyl’s are annoying, clunky impossible to keep clean outside of a sterile environment and if there’s one thing my turntable (a Rega Planar 1 if you’re wondering) loves doing, it’s dragging a cat hair into a record groove with insane precision.
However, that doesn’t stop them from being simultaneously wonderful. In an age where streaming is fast becoming the defacto listening method. We’ve began to fall out of love with music and instead started treating it like a one night stand. Ask yourself; when the last time was that you listened to an album in its entirety from start to finish, without shuffling?
Granted the answer to that largely depends on your age and listening habits, but more and more people are spending their time listening to curated playlists, ordinarily constructed out of singles and chart topping hits.
Chasing our youth
Vinyl eradicates that and takes us back to the days where music was a luxury. Even back in say 1995 when I was 10 years old. I’d save pocket money for months to buy one album on cassette; it’d be played over and over on my Sony Walkman with gratiutous Mega Bass until it either got chewed up or wore out.
I miss those days and the resurgence of vinyl has brought them flooding back.
The great thing is, most major artists are publishing to vinyl and at a price range that prevents you from buying too many at once. “We want cheaper vinyl!” is a protest cry you’ll never hear slip from my lips, each purchase is a careful consideration and makes me appreciate it all the more. Once again I’m playing my albums end to end, over and over and with that comes the thrilling risk that the medium may break at any moment.
The caveat however, is that the cost of vinyl prohibits many artists from ever dreaming of releasing their music on it. For the most part this isn’t really a big deal for the majority of the fans or the artists, most people are content with streaming services, YouTube or CD’s. For some artists however, vinyl is the hallmark of success, it’s a weighty, tangible, high cost representation of music. Even though in 20 years time your album might be sold at a yard sale for peanuts. It will nevertheless still leave a heavy impression on the world. Somebody somewhere will pour over the cover art and get that shiver of wonder as the stylus hits the first groove.
So as it stands, only the big boys get to spin on the wheels of steel. However, all hope is not lost.
A few months ago I reached out to Daemon Hatfield to ask if he’d ever considered releasing any of his albums on vinyl. Although he’s best known for working at IGN (I can highly recommend the weekly GameScoop podcast) Daemon has created a plethora of albums and singles all of which are a creative mix of synth, trance, dance and game audio with a smidgen of euro-pop.
Black Cloud, released in 2015, is hands down my favourite album of all time (sorry ‘The Colour and the Shape’, you’ve been relegated). So I was keen to see if Daemon had ever thought of releasing on the format. At the time I wasn’t particulary “in the know” when it came to vinyl. (I’m still not if I’m honest, I’ve so much to learn). So it saddened me when I learned that he could only hope that one day he’d be able to do it. Citing cost as the limiting factor.
So, hell-bent on finding a solution. I began to start looking into a way to owning the album on Vinyl (with permission of course!).
The process wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Some companies could do pressings but wanted a fortune, some were reasonably priced but they heavily restricted the number of tracks you could have. However of all the companies I approached only one could provide me with the full package. A well made record, additional mastering services, excellent customer service, full sleeve printing and perhaps most importantly a reasonable price.
One Cut Vinyl to the rescue!
My specifications for the album were clear from the onset. I wanted a full 12″ record with all tracks included, a full cardboard sleeve (I wasn’t so bothered about gatefold but they can supply this if required) and a printed centre label.
Dan was on hand to help me and guide me through the process. He talked me through the various options and some of the caveats and was immediately forthcoming about how long the process would take. One Cut Vinyl take great care with their pressings. Therefore a turn around time of 4 to 6 weeks is common to ensure the finished article is the best it can be. Although this can be a hard pill to swallow in the days of Amazon Prime it’s worth the wait.
Although they position themselves purely as a service rather than a creative studio. They are prepared to go above and beyond when you come unstuck. Despite the provided artwork templates being precise and easy to work with. I had technical issues on my Mac which prevented me from providing everything they needed to get the artwork done. Doing the best I could and sending over some basic artwork; Dan knew exactly what I wanted after I explained it to him and set to work right away.
He was also incredibly patient with me when I embarrassingly forgot that a minute doesn’t consists of 100 seconds when adding up my total play time!
A work of art
After a few weeks the album finally turned up in the mail.
Incredible was the first word that sprang to mind.
Packaged with great care, it arrived in perfect condition and opening it was a great moment. It was exactly how I imagined it would be.
As seen in the pictures above. One Cut Vinyl did an absolutely superb job. The printing and finish is as good as (and in some cases exceeds) the quality of some of my commercially produced records.
So how does it sound? Well, I chose not to go for the enhanced mastering option. It was a risk I decided to take simply because I couldn’t stretch my budget any further. That said, it sounds absolutely fantastic. Although I’ve listened to this album a thousand times on my iPhone with headphones. It’s never sounded as good as it has on a record. There are nuances in the tracks I’d never noticed before until a stylus worked its way through it.
This doesn’t mean that enhanced mastering isn’t worth it. I think it purely depends on the kind of music you’re pressing. No need to fret over it however. Dan and his team will no doubt advise on the best course of action.
The record is clean and pop free too with a beautiful finish to it.
Absolutely, but it’s not for the faint hearted. It’s not a cheap process, all in I paid around £120 for this record. That may be a painful figure to look at. However this isn’t something I’m going to do over and over again. If you’re an aspiring artist who is looking to see your work in this special format, or create a few one off special editions. Or you’re a die-hard vinyl fanatic who just wants that one special piece then it’s definitely worth checking out.
To find out more information about One Cut Vinyl. You can visit their website here.