Vinyl is still making a comeback, and is the most popular physical media once again, beating out tapes and CDs decades after being replaced by them. The allure of analog audio fidelity is one reason. Another is the large artwork on the album covers. For many reasons, vinyl seems to create passionate collectors the world over – including those who funnel that passion into actually creating the vinyl itself!
Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki has teamed up with magazine publisher Gakken to develop a DIY record cutting machine to make lo-fi, personal vinyl at home. While it isn't as convenient (nor as high quality) as getting a custom record made for you from a professional lathe operator like Freestyle Vinyl, it's still a pretty nifty tool for vinyl record fanatics. Here's everything you need to know about the vinyl record cutter!
The construction of the device, which can playback and cut 5-inch vinyl records, takes roughly one hour. Users have the option of 33 RPM or 45 RPM and can input audio via USB or from anything they can plug a 3.5mm auxiliary cable into. Therefore, a recent flagship phone is not recommended unless the user has the necessary adapter. The 33 RPM option will offer about four minutes of audio on each side, while the 45 RPM option will offer about three.
The device's interface was created at Suzuki's studio, and the actual manufacturing was handled by publisher Gakken. The device was initially sold in conjunction with its Adult Science Magazine Series under the name "Toy Record Maker." It arrived with a print magazine that described the design process and the operation of the vinyl cutting.
Seven years have passed since Suzuki and Gakken first discussed how to create and disseminate easily accessible and inexpensive DIY musical instruments. We're not sure how they ended up producing an "assemble-at-home record cutter," but we're not mad about it.
Customer reviews on Amazon Japan suggest the process is very hit and miss, and urge others looking to purchase this to get the version with the extra blanks to allow for some trial and error. This is obviously not the way to go if you want to produce records that are of commercial-grade or if you want to have control over the aesthetics of the record itself. Getting a custom made picture disc would be the way to go in that case. However, if you're searching for a special present for a friend or relative who enjoys crate-digging, this might be a cool choice. Even if music isn't your thing, you can always record a voice message for any special occasion or as a fancy season's greeting.
While a ~$150 lo-fi vinyl record cutter is a neat toy, we ultimately prefer our records to be high quality listening experiences. In that vein, we recommend going with Freestyle Vinyl’s excellent custom record service. To date, we’ve cut over 30,000 records for our customers. With our easy-to-use platform, you can simply input the tracks into our system, and we’ll master, cut, and create a vinyl record with your playlist. Our 12” vinyl records even allow you to fit up to 22 minutes of music on each side.All that’s left to do afterwards is kick back, relax, and await the arrival of your one-of-a-kind record!