dawn penn dubplate

A dubplate is an acetate disc — usually 12, 10, or 7 inches in diameter — used in mastering studios for quality control and test recordings before proceeding with the final master, and subsequent pressing of the record to be mass-produced on vinyl. The ‘dub’ in dubplate is an allusion to the plate’s use in ‘dubbing’ or ‘doubling’ the original version of a track. In music, dubbing is copying of audio recordings from one medium to another.

The name dubplate also refers to an exclusive, ‘one-off’ disc recording pioneered by reggae sound systems but also used by drum and bass and other dance music artists, DJs and sound systems. These dubplates will often be unreleased recordings (which may or may not end up being made available to the general public). They are often used as a market research tool to assess the probable sales of a song once it’s released, as they are far cheaper to produce than a pressed vinyl record. However, because they have a limited life-span they can only be used about fifty times.


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