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Direct to disc recording refers to sound recording methods which bypass the use of magnetic recording tape, recording directly onto disc master; and record albums made using this process.

Professional analogue sound recording

In order to make the recording, musicians would typically play one fifteen minute "live" set in a recording studio per side of LP. It would be made without the use of multi-track recording, and without overdubs. The performance would have to be carefully engineered, and mixed live in stereophonic sound. During performance, the cutting head engages the master lacquer used for pressing LP records, and is not stopped until the entire side is complete.

A recording may be simultaneously recorded onto a two-track master tape for subsequent pressing in the traditional manner, and although such tapes were often made to preserve the recordings in case the direct to disc process failed, or discs became damaged before the final product could be produced, direct to disc albums were almost never re-issued as standard albums made from tape masters.


From the musicians' point of view, the advantages direct to disc recording are a greater immediacy and interaction among the players. Technically, it gives rise to a cleaner recording through the elimination of up to 4 generations of master tapes, overdubs, and mix downs from multi-tracked masters. Conversion of the signal into digital form and its reconversion into analogue may be avoided, although some modern disc cutting equipment makes this step mandatory.

The method also bypasses problems inherent in recording tape: tape hiss, wow and flutter, and limited dynamic range.


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