How To: Checking Test Pressings

How To: Checking Test Pressings

An important part of getting great vinyl  is checking your test pressings. Here's some info about how to go about it.


Test pressings provide artists the opportunity to listen to the quality of the records, flag any sound issues and ensure that their records are going to be pressed to a high quality standard. 

We’ve outlined some of the top things you should know when you listen to your test pressings. 

1. Listen to your test pressings as a set

When we send out test pressings we send them in a set of 4. This is so the records ca be listened to one after the other. If you do hear an issue on one of the records such as a skip, excessive crackle etc. It’s important to check if it also occurs in the same place on all of the other records. This tells us that there is something wrong with the pressing process that needs to be addressed. If you only hear small issues on one or two of the records, this is likely an anomaly such as dust, static or issues arising from handling.

2. Turntable set up

To ensure you are able to accurately listen and check the test pressing you are going to want to make sure that your turntable is set up correctly. Things to check include making sure the tone arm is calibrated properly and is balanced, the stylus needle is clean, and that it is set to play at the RPM that your record has been pressed in.

3. Visual checks

Although listening and checking the sound quality of the test pressings is important, visually checking the records is a crucial part of the process also. Similarly to when listening to the records, you will want to carefully check both sides of each record to ensure there are no scratches, bends or other anomalies, if there is, ensure then that it doesn’t appear in the same place on all of the other test pressings.

4. What to listen for

All vinyl records contain a small amount of surface noise, it’s one of the quirks that audiences have fallen in love with! The soft crackle as the needle hits the surface of the record is both nostalgic and defining of vinyl records iconic sound. Considering this, it can sometimes be difficult to dictate when listening to your test pressings what’s normal and what’s something to be flagging with us as the manufacturers.

The main thing to be wary of and to listen for is excessive or loud surface noise such as skips, crackles, pops, and or ticks. Surface noises like this can be continuous through the record, or isolated to a short abrupt noise sounding like a pop or a click. Generally these are only a concern if they are appearing in the same place across all test pressings. If you hear something that you feel is out of the ordinary, make a note of the side, track number and timing of the issues and check it isn’t appearing in the same section on all of the other test pressings.