Business & Industry

Jan 1, 2018

VINYL RETURNS TO DETROIT

After spending a whole year (2016) with the preparations, being the most relevant one the ordering of eight vinyl pressing Newbilt machines custom made in Germany and installed in Detroit, Third Man Pressing is celebrating its first anniversary commemorating the popularity of the vinyl revival, condensing on a single space a pressing factory and a record store open to the general public. 

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By NUNO AFONSO

Owned by Third Man Records, the vinyl plant is not limited to pressing its own records, it takes orders from other labels without prejudices of any sort both for the sake of reviving the format as well as recovering an historical area of Detroit, Cass Corridor, once upon a time one of the United States' most vibrant industrial zones, but that has been struggling for decades now with desertification, unemployment and abandonment.

Unlike conventional vinyl pressing plants, Third Man Pressing chose to use manually handed machines to produce its high quality and extended durability records creating 50 jobs on a production site of a city that, on better days, gave many musicians to the world.

The boutique concept brings that extra spark of curiosity that has attracted customers to visit the factory on the back of Third Man Records store and watch from a spot the whole pressing and finalization process of the record he wishes to purchase, in real time just in front of him. You take home more than a record, it symbolizes a whole experience, with guided tours inside the plant being also available.

The custom made German machines by Newbilt are environmentally efficient and the water used on the pressing process is recycled and reused on the air conditioning system, turning it into the first factory in the world fully acclimatized.

Each of the eight machines is equipped with a digital touch screen that monitors temperature, hydraulic compression and speed, allowing a larger control on behalf of the operators when compared with the competition's automated machines. The machines and the factory itself were also built with the most recent techniques of isolation and soundproofing, assuring the neighbourhood that its functioning does not produce any annoying or harmful noises.

The current capacity allows a pressing of 5,000 records per eight-hour shift, an average of a record pressed every 45 seconds, on average given that the records that fail quality control are destroyed to assure that only perfect condition copies make it to the commercial circuit. The production turnout is extremely competitive given that the machines, although manually operated, are actually state of the art created by the specialists of some of the world's most successful recording studios.

The aesthetic value has also not been overlook – the yellow, black and red colours that characterize the Third Man Records brand are easily noticeable on the whole decoration, from the floor up to the employees uniforms and, as an extra attractiveness factor, a mural by Robert Sestok was included, a local talent active since the 60's and an inescapable reference of Detroit's artistic vein.

We all remember the dead of vinyl, the rise of the CD and its subsequent near vanishing in favour of the download, which surprisingly caused the resurrection of vinyl on an ever-growing demand for something real and organic on a world that became more and more digital and virtual.

Initiatives like this by Jack White, founder of Third Man Records and of The White Stripes band, end up giving a fresh breed of air to something that already exists and demonstrates that it is always possible to innovate and go a step beyond our competition – there is always a new perspective, a new approach to an already existing concept, all we need is to take a chance!

Contacts * www.thirdmanpressing.com * tmporders@thirdmanrecords.com * Tel: 1 (313) 209-5206 *

Third Man Pressing, 441 West Canfield Street, Detroit, Michigan 48201

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