Toronto — A Toronto media company is riding the wave of renewed interest in vinyl records by employing a new generation of vinyl record pressing technology.
Microforum Vinyl is currently putting its first two vinyl compression presses through startup phases and has four more of the presses on order from Viryl Technologies Corp., said Microforum President and co-owner Frank Stipo in a Jan. 18 phone interview.
Microforum, unlike many of its rivals, is pressing records with fully automated machinery. The two presses will be able to press about 8,000 records per day. Stipo said two more of the Warm Tone brand presses from Toronto-based Viryl will be installed in June and another two are slated to be running at Microforum by the end of the year.
Stipo said his company is also unusual because its vinyl formulation is unlike the compounds being pressed in older, manually operated record-making equipment.
“We don't use lead stabilizers,” Stipo said, indicating Microforum avoids lead because of its unpopularity and restrictions in consumer products. Older record presses have wide processing windows and require “forgiving” vinyl formulations that are often lead-based.
Microforum's equipment makes a vinyl “puck” or biscuit, which is automatically conveyed to the pressing stage where 2,000 pounds per square inch of pressure converts the puck into a flat record with grooves pressed into each side from stampers.
Microforum marketing and sales manager Aine Guiney says the whole process starts with a high resolution digital file of the desired music. The file has higher resolution than files used to make compact discs. The audio file directs the cutting of the music track in real time into two nitrocellulose layers, which are then electroplated to form two stampers, one for each side of the record. In the press, labels are next applied to each side.