Third Man Starts The Presses in Detroit February 25th!

Jack White's Third Man Records today announced the opening on February 25th of its new Detroit pressing plant in the heart of the city's historic Cass corridor neighborhood, down the block from the Shinola store.

To quote the (literal) press release: "The past year has been spent investing creative energy and passion into crafting a meticulously designed boutique vinyl record production facility with a unique customer experience, providing visual evidence to visitors of vinyl's beauty and importance. Third Man Pressing is an investment in Third Man Records' hometown, a neighborhood within a city both rich with musical history, creating a space that is as inspiring as it is prolific."

The press release continues:"As the first label to operate a fleet of brand new, environmentally efficient pressing machinery (from Newbuilt of Germany) within a purpose-built manufacturing infrastructure, Third Man Pressing minimizes water waste by using recycled water from the record curing process in the air conditioning system, thus creating the only fully climate-controlled pressing plant work environment in the world. Each pressing station is outfitted with a digital touch screen control for temperature, hydraulic compression, and extruder speed, equaling increased control for the highly trained staff as well as a superior product. The plant was engineered to not only be environmentally sustainable, but also community sensitive with its innovative noise reduction construction techniques."

Third Man Pressing Features (in addition to the best looking "press men"):

  • Operating eight of the first newly built presses built in 35 years, plus four extruders, and four hydraulic generators - all brand new
  • Presses can accommodate 12" LP's or 7" singles according to demand
  • Only fully climate-controlled pressing plant work environment in the world
  • All new, state-of-the-art pressing machinery and purpose-built manufacturing infrastructure
  • Closed-loop, chilled-water system that maximizes water sustainability
  • Environment design that inspires passion in record making, resulting in superior products
  • Four high-efficiency hydraulic systems isolated in a dedicated, contained room
  • Digital touch screen controls for temperature, hydraulic compression, and extrusion speed
  • Engineered sound containment for minimal external noise pollution
  • Built by audio and studio fabrication experts responsible for some of the most-lauded recording studios in the world
  • Capacity estimated at 5000 records per 8 hour shift, with a current cycle time of approximately 45 seconds per record
  • Competitive turnaround times
  • Mural by Cass Corridor artist Robert Sestok*

I got to see all of this when I visited Shinola back in November but it was not yet up and running. How cool is this:

"The inner workings of Third Man Pressing will be on display during Third Man Records Cass Corridor business hours from the storefront's open-to-the-public viewing platform 7 days a week, with employees always happy to answer questions about the process, and more in-depth tours available in the coming months for those interested. Third Man Records' mission has always centered around bringing the tangible, the unexpected, and the beautiful back into the business, and the team is beyond thrilled to share the facility, its exceptional product, and its significance with the city it calls home."

Third Man Pressing invites the public to join in the opening day festivities on February 25th. The Third Man Records Cass Corridor storefront will be buzzing with live music, new and exclusive merchandise (including a celebratory poster by Rob Jones), and, of course, the first commercially available records to be pressed in the plant. The limited edition releases available on opening day (in Detroit only) are as follows:

  • The White Stripes - The White Stripes
  • The Detroit duo's first release (originally recorded in the Cass Corridor), pressed on red vinyl with on-site screen printed jackets
  • The White Stripes - De Stijl
  • The second album from The White Stripes, pressed on red vinyl with on-site screen printed jackets
  • The Black Hole LP
  • Destroy All Monsters / Xanadu split 12" on black vinyl. Both records were originally released in limited numbers on Black Hole Records in 1979, and this is the first reissue for any of the material from either band.
  • Detroit Gospel Reissue Project: Our first third-party pressing and the first of a seven-record series featuring incredibly vital and largely forgotten music from dozens of Detroit artists, reissued proudly by noted archivist Mike McGonigal. A subscriber version (with handmade silkscreened jackets) and regular version of JOHNSON FAMILY SINGERS Don't Let the Devil Ride
  • Perhaps a few additional surprises...
"Third Man Pressing brings upwards of 50 new living wage jobs with benefits into Detroit (on top of the 20 jobs already created by the Willy's building Third Man Records location at large), and, in complement with Shinola's recent start of production of high-end turntables, marks the triumphant return of the once-thought-lost record industry to one of the country's great industrial AND musical cities.

And there you have it!

Rudy's picture

They certainly are optimistic to open up in the Cass Corridor. To most of us in the area of a certain age and older, those two words instilled terror in the hearts of even the toughest of men. That was a place you just did not go.

At any rate, I'm wishing them well! And thankful they were able to employ some of our locals. This area is still in economic shambles, so it's nice to see something new for a change.

Silver dot e's picture

You wouldn't believe how the area has changed. 3rd Man Records has been open for over a year in the same building that houses Shinola, who make watches and bicycles there (and I guess turntables, too, as of late). Great spot, rehabbed cool brick building. The store is a lot of fun. You can even cut your own record in a sound booth. Definitely worth visiting if you're ever in the area.....hardly a shambles these days.

Rudy's picture

Sounds like fun! I only suggest anyone going in that area not let their guard down. Things aren't as rosy across the border as the self-absorbed hipsters and neckbeards would have us think. It is still a dangerous city. My daughter is starting at CCS in August and I think some self-defense classes, pepper spray and a CCW are bare minimum down there...

nwdavis1's picture

I lived there from 2006-2015 and literally watched it change before my eyes.

Lincoln Matt's picture

You are woefully out of date in your thinking about Detroit. Sure it isn't the safest city in the world, but it has made amazing improvements - especially in the last 5 years. At 58 I am not a hipster but I have bicycled to most areas of the city and most of the haters would be amazed at the friendliness of the people of Detroit. I forget if it was TMR or Shinola who just posted a picture of the recently departed occupant of a big white mansion in Washington DC walking by the store last summer. And there weren't secret service agents forming a human shield - at least no closer than anywhere else.

I even had dinner last night at Slows BBQ and parked on the street in front of the famous abandoned train station and never had any doubts about my safety. No pepper spray or CCW either.

JMW's picture

The area is nothing like it was decades ago. I worked in the area from 2004-2006 and then again from 2011-2013. Very different each time and different when I visited recently.

tparker14's picture

Hopefully, their pressings will be much better than the noisy crap United in Nashville produces for Third Man. I recently received a copy of "Get Behind Me Satan" that is a sad excuse for a vinyl LP.

Kirby's picture

LOL!!! You stole my comment

Michael Fremer's picture
Now they can add you to their "enemies list" that I'm on.
tparker14's picture

Ah, but in United's case, they don't make enemies, they earn 'em.

Steelhead's picture

Wish them all the best and looking forward to Mr. Fremer checking out the product.

Just gotta bow down to Jack White, that kid sure can multi-task as well as making great music. Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn put out fantastic releases when he got them in the studio.

Spun the Dead Weather on vinyl recently and what a fun spin. That Alison Mosshart sure can rock and belt. Have all 3 on vinyl and cannot complain about pressing quality as my copies are tight.

You can have Detroit (hell NJ too while I am at) but looking forward to releases from 3rd man.

Anton D's picture

They had me right up until...."digital touch screen."

Analog touch screens would have been better.

Dorian Workman's picture

The type of touchscreen obviously has no bearing on the pressing quality.

my new username's picture

... about new presses being built. I remember reading about some plants buying old ones and refurbing them. We're these reported on before?

Michael Fremer's picture
Yes I'm sure i wrote about these, and the new ones coming from Canada and GZ's new ones too!
StonedBeatles1's picture

Not the hugest Jack White fan but I always loved his sonics. Both his playing as well as recording sonics.

As for the record plant. Looks absolutely lovely and much nicer than another new facility that I recently visited in Jersey.

Quality affordable pressings made from all analog sources coupled with real world priced turntables (that won't crap out after a year as my mid level Czeck Republic manufactured one has done) would be awfully nice. Is that too much to ask for?

WesHeadley's picture

The stuff I've bought from Third Man records is, in general, of consistently awful quality. Jack White's last LP of new material, which was a vinyl tour de force in many ways, was destroyed by a pitiful quality pressing-- made me never want to listen to it again- to this day. This new pressing plant sounds like an entirely different deal and I wish everyone success!

spivechild's picture

Trump take credit for creating jobs at TMR. I joke

Really hoping for the best. God knows we need more quality pressing plants and hopefully leave United in their sonic dust. Should we be concerned about what these pressing might cost us?! Only time will tell ....

JMW's picture

I wish them luck. Looks like a very serious, state of the art facility. I wonder how much non-TMR work they plan to take on? Also very curious about how the records will be. It seems even the best plants out there can't press a flat, centered, non-fill-less record these days when they start to take on too much work.

JR465's picture

I wish Jack White well on his new pressing plant. Plants that can press consistently quiet records are sorely needed based on my experiences with new LPs, and this looks like the real deal. I just got Mark Knopfler Tracker pressed by GZ and it leaves a lot to be desired. There is low level noise throughout, with one side being quite noisy.