How Vinyl Records Are Made
YouTube / wdtvlive42
Hey, want a 20-minute documentary from the '50s on how vinyl records are made? We've got one! Settle in for a soothing look at how record albums are (well, mostly were) made—starting with recording on tape, through mastering onto a lacquer master disc, electroplating, duplication, and shipping. It's a lot of work.
Sample line: "The end object is a planned illusion; the illusion, as you ultimately hear the music played back through your phonograph, that you have the best seat in the concert hall."
Pay attention around 3:30 for the discussion of dynamics—the ability to capture both loud and quiet passages with reasonable fidelity. And dig the floppy-haired conductor. It's also fun to hear what a big deal "stereophonic sound" was at the time.
Of course, that's not the only way to cut a record. Remember O Brother, Where Art Thou? It features an example of cutting a performance live to disc, with no tape or mastering process. Here's a clip showing that process, in extra low quality:
Further reading: Do Records Really Sound Warmer Than CDs? and the truly amazing Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" Has 2 Accordionists, 2 Drummers, 3 Bassists + 13 More Musicians.