Sony to start manufacturing vinyl records after 30 years and its possible significance

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Written by Edward Vinatea.-

30 years after closing vinyl manufacturing in favor of producing CDs, Sony announced via France Press that is re-opening its vinyl manufacturing plant to cater to record labels and the increasing demand on vinyl records. sony-plant

Locally, they will press vinyls for classic and popular Japanese songs. Sony’s announcement is not a big surprise by any stretch of the imagination;  record sales have been experiencing steady growth these last few years:

BPI a British industry group found that in 2016 vinyl sales approached previous 1991 levels.  Sales in the UK have gone as high as 53% with a total of 3.2 million units sold.

BuzzAngle Music reported that vinyl record sales in the USA for the first 6 months of 2016 were 17% higher than the first 6 months of 2015. Not only that, but vinyl sales will reach the $800-900 million mark and will most likely surpass the $1 billion figure in the foreseeable future.

Could this be a signal to major labels to revive the format? Whether these encouraging figures are going to motivate them or not, one thing appears to be clear, loudness levels will have to be reconsidered, not by demand, but necessity.

There will hopefully be a need for less louder or hyper-compressed masters than in the past since transferring loud masters to vinyl are at best tricky and at worst really poor sounding. Yes, I think very few people can argue that Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” sounds so much better in the vinyl version that all artists should follow upon that path.

Lastly, if telling an artist that a loud vinyl record won’t sound as good, maybe the cost of making 2 separate masters {one louder for both CD and digital downloads and one for vinyl} would be compelling enough reason as it should be an extra cost to produce two separate master versions.

We are still a long way before artists and labels start thinking about the wisdom of releasing more dynamic, lower volume level music productions {40 million vinyl records sold in 2016 is still nowhere near the 1 billion mark in 1981} but the apparent resurgence of vinyl may actually be the determining factor to put an end to the loudness war.

I am not suggesting going back to pre-1981 volume levels, but I believe that at -12 dB ~ -10 dB LUFS one can create a master {for the most popular music styles} that could be used for both digital and vinyl purposes without significant loss of DR value.


Download BuzzAngle Music 2016 Report

Have an opinion? We’d love to hear you!

Edward Vinatea
Mixing – Mastering Engineer
Website: EV Sonic Lab

Edward Vinatea is a mixing and mastering engineer who has worked with artists of the likes of Cindy Blackman Santana, John Davidson, The Shirelles, Geri King and many more.




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