Quality Record Pressings Expands to Ten Presses by Year's End, More When Demand Warrants (Corrected Story)
I'm in Salina, Kansas this weekend M.C.-ing the Blue Heaven Studios' Masters 15th Annual Blues Masters at the Crossroads concerts.
Last night's show, before a packed house, was memorable, as were the acoustics in the converted church aided by a deft sound reinforcement mix.
Today, Saturday, Acoustic Sounds' record operation was open to the public as was the QRP record pressing plant across the street.
The big news was that the pressing plant will go from six presses—four SMTs and two hand-operated Fine Builts—to a total of ten presses operating, with the addition of two additional SMTs and two Swedish Alpha Toolexes similar to the ones PALLAS uses in Germany.
This expansion requires the addition of a very costly new boiler that's about to be delivered and a new water cooling system shown in the picture with plant general manager and record press expert Mark Huggett.
All of the new presses have been retro-fitted with temperature sensors embedded in the dies so that pressings can be both temperature controlled (the new way) and time controlled (the old way).
While I was there I asked Mark about eccentrically pressed records. He told me that side "B" is almost never pressed off-center because it is the bottom stamper and has a center locating pin through it. Obviously the top stamper cannot also have one so it must be very carefully locked in place.
The bottom stamper can produce eccentric records, he told me, if the stamper slips or moves in the tool but QC is supposed to prevent that from happening.
QRP has additional presses in mothballs and plans to acquire even more. Should demand warrant it, or should I say when demand warrants it, a wall will be broken down and room will be made for however many additional presses are needed, since the plant was designed for expansion.
It was fun going back almost two years later and seeing growth at a new record pressing plant that seemed like such an unlikely occurrence in the first place! It was also satisfying to see that the vinyl resurgence has created more than a dozen well-paying jobs for both industry veterans and young people alike, in a weak, but growing economy.
Please visit the photo gallery section for more plant photos!