What is the difference in sound quality between vinyl and acetate?
We offer two types of dubplate here at the studio: acetates and vinyl. Acetates are the more traditional type of dubplate. Made of metal with a layer of lacquer on each side, they offer the same quality as the master lacquers used for all commercial releases. Vinyl dubs are a relatively new format. Made of plastic and built to last, they are a quick and cost-effective alternative to pressing small runs of vinyl.
Sound Quality - both types of dub are cut on the same lathe, so there is not a huge difference in sound quality - certainly not enough to ruin someone's day. Having said that, lacquer is a softer material so it has the potential to pick up more detail during the recording process. Generally speaking acetate dubs sound better than commercially-released pressed vinyl*, whereas vinyl dubs are on a par with pressed vinyl.
Durability - Vinyl dubs tend to last longer than acetates, but if cared for well, acetates can be played plenty of times without too much degradation.
Here are some more details about the difference between the two formats:
Technical Specifications (10 inch dubs)
10 inch Acetate Dubplate
10 inch Vinyl Dub Plate
|1.4 mm||1.9 mm|
|5-6 min @ 45rpm||5-6 minutes @ 45rpm|
* the plating and pressing process takes away some of the detail from a master lacquer cut, whereas acetate dub plates are not subject to this process, and can therefore be considered the very best quality possible.