Zenith Records, which launched in the ’90s, is the country’s last surviving manufacturer of vinyl records. Based in Brunswick East, Melbourne, they carry out quality vinyl record pressing as well as lacquer cutting and galvanic plating all in-house.
Our Needle in the Hay vinyl comp wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for the legends at Zenith Records. As the only vinyl pressing facility in Australia, they’re fighting the good fight in a world that is falling back in love with the old format in a very big way.
Zenith Records are the only vinyl pressing facility in Australia, and they’re changing the way the world sees Australian vinyl.
Vinyl lover and co-owner of Zenith Records, Paul Rigby, and his team have been working hard to save the Australian record-manufacturing industry since they took over the factory. Their overarching goal has been to change misconceptions about the standard of Australian vinyl while addressing production issues.
The team at Zenith Records resurrected the plant, turning it into an important addition to the record market in the Southern Hemisphere. In an interview with Happy, Rigby spoke of taking over the company.“We pretty much took over the only operating vinyl rig in Australia,” he said.
“So the hard work was done in the 1990s when Corduroy put the backbone of the plant together when presses were being shipped to the scrap yard. We’ve overhauled the pre-existing equipment and added additional presses, boilers, and galvanics so that what we have produces world-class product.
The team at Zenith Records pride themselves on being completely Australian owned and operated, as well as being a fully-integrated operation. They’re able to complete the whole process of pressing records to vinyl in-house from start to finish, something that not all vinyl pressing plants can do.
“With the Zenith plant, we also inherited the “secrets of the grail”, the procedures involved for all steps of the process, from cutting to silvering and plating and press operation, which we have enhanced and modified to get the best out of each step. We’re also fortunate enough to have our own Neumann VMS70 cutting lathe that allows us to carry out all cutting in house, unlike many plants in the US who rely on third parties to do so.
While there are companies at present making new presses and plating equipment, there are no new cutting lathes being built which has meant that our lathe has almost doubled in value since we valued the plant four years ago.”
In 2013, they relocated to a new purpose-built premises in East Brunswick to expand their operation and to cater to the growing demand for vinyl records. They’re currently refurbishing additional presses and galvanics with the aim of commissioning additional capacity throughout 2019, as well as to help respond to faster turnarounds.
When getting music pressed to vinyl, many local labels and artists have taken advantage of the fact that they can speak to someone in Brunswick rather than await an email from the other side of the world. This convenience and level of customer service are an essential part of their business.
Being closer to home also means that artists can be more of a part of the vinyl pressing process, Rigby says that “customers will often want to attend cutting or take pics or videos of their jobs being pressed.”
Besides the Australian market, Zenith have also established connections amongst the global manufacturing community. “Being in Brunswick means that many of our Melbourne customers enjoy the convenience of our proximity, but we are supplying records Australia-wide as well as doing lots of exports to Malaysia, Chile, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada and the US.”
Zenith Records offer affordable vinyl pressing services and packages for both 7″ and 12″ vinyl, both black and coloured. They also have regular discount deals and various online resources to help you put your album together and send it through to them for pressing. You can check out all of their services and deals on their website.
The winners of the 2019 Needle In The Hay competition will have 250 x 12″ vinyl copies of their album or EP pressed to vinyl by Zenith Records with full-colour packaging.