Cutting Vinyl Stampers: Direct Metal Mastering (DMM)

Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) is a method of cutting master stampers for vinyl record pressing. Instead of a three step process using lacquers, DMM cutting lathes engrave audio directly onto a copper-plated master disc. The one-step plating process is more reliable and efficient than two or three step lacquer mastering.


Advantages of DMM


  • Cost: With one-step mastering, there is no additional cost for lacquer cutting!


  • Efficiency: Production time is faster and there is no need to rush metalwork between lacquer cutting and pressing facilities. With fewer steps there is also less risk of error or damaged parts.


  • Accuracy: Transient response and stereo image are improved due to the hard surface material of the master disc.


  • Reduced noise & groove echo: Bypassing lacquer cutting reduces the risk of introducing noise during the additional processes. DMM also reduces the risk of interference between grooves, which causes “groove echo” in soft-cut lacquers.


  • Frequency response: Reduced surface noise and more precise analog conversion provide a broader overall frequency response. Treble frequencies are represented transparently, and bass is typically tight and well defined. DMM records can seem brighter than lacquer masters because of their more comprehensive frequency response.


For more information about how to prepare your audio master for vinyl, please see our Vinyl Pressing 101 FAQs.