Due to the rising costs and complexities of international shipping, our current model for lathe cutting vinyl records has become unviable. We're thus taking a break until such time as the exchange rate, overseas shipping and other input costs stabilise. If you'd like to be notified of updates, you can drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you to all our loyal customers for supporting our little project over the past six years.
small batch lathe-cut vinyl
Contour Vinyl is a lathe cutting collective based in Johannesburg, South Africa. We hand cut 7" and 12" records for artists who would like to have their music on vinyl but do not need hundreds of copies. Lathe cutting is an artisanal process best suited to runs of between 1-50 units. Lathe cuts are perfect for up-and-coming musicians or established artists who would like to create collectible, limited edition releases.
Want to give away some signed singles at your next gig? Need 10 white labels of your latest track to give to DJs? Have an idea for a novel gift? Have a look at our quote generator and then get in touch to arrange a test cut.
We also run a small label specialising in alternative, experimental and forgotten music. You can see some of our releases here.
NB: In keeping with our values we do not cut records that contain racist, sexist, homophobic or similar material.
If you have a question that isn't answered here, please get in touch.
A lathe-cut sounds similar to a commercially pressed record. As we hand craft each record in real-time, however, they will all look and sound a tiny bit unique – you can expect a couple of crackles and some surface noise, and each runout groove sounds different. Vinyl also changes the character of the music, subtly in some cases and substantially in others. Please make sure you're happy with your test pressing before placing an order.
Everything under 300Hz must be mono. You cannot have any stereo bass effects. Use a de-esser on vocals. Cut off everything under 40Hz and above 12kHz. Not everything can be cut onto vinyl, even with good mastering. If you compose unusual/experimental/noise music, send us some sample tracks first and we'll advise you further.
First you email us to order a test cut. Upon receipt of payment we cut and post your test cut within seven days. If you're happy with the test cut, we charge a 50% deposit before commencing work with the balance payable on completion, before delivery. We will liaise with you about sound files, artwork, etc.
No. We only accept uploaded 44k 16 bit stereo WAV files, no exceptions. Please use WeTransfer to send us your files.
Yes. We will only process orders once customers are 100% happy with their test cut, no exceptions. We subtract the test cut cost from any subsequent order of 20+ units.
Under no circumstances will we cut material that you do not hold copyright on. Please do not ask us to bootleg other people's records.
We err on the side of quality and prefer clear, well-balanced cuts to +9dB club bangers. If you really, really need your record to live in the red, we will cut it for you but we will charge additional fees as high volume cutting increases wear and tear on our equipment.
We usually limit orders to 50 units as our focus is on small, limited edition runs. We are open to discussing this in special circumstances. For runs of several hundred or more, we would suggest commercially pressing your vinyl.
We specialise in the creation of singles and EPs. We will consider cutting full length albums but only in very small runs and at a higher cost per unit.
We are currently only able to provide black and transparent vinyl. If this changes in the near future, we'll let you know.
When you place an order we'll let you know roughly how long you can expect to wait. We try to get all orders posted within 2-4 weeks of receiving the original tracks, depending on our backlog. Test pressings are completed within 7 days.
Our standard shipping is Postnet to Postnet, which costs R100 per package (a package is 1-10 12"s or 1-20 7"s). If you would like to discuss alternative shipping arrangements, or collect from us, get in touch.
All records come with paper inners (plastic lined when we have stock) and clear plastic outers. We don't offer printed covers but can put you in touch with suitable printers for these.