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CBS Pressing Plant, Aston Clinton

Profile:

UK record pressing and tape duplication plant in Buckinghamshire, run by CBS United Kingdom Ltd. from September 1964 until end of January 1991.
Prior to the CBS take-over, the plant was Levy's, Pressing Plant, Aston Clinton, part of the Levy brothers music empire, which included Levy's Sound Studios.
Until 1964, CBS UK pressings were done under a distribution agreement with Philips Records Ltd. between 1962 and Sep 1964. It was also known as Oriole Pressing Plant.
The plant relocated from Aston Clinton to nearby Aylesbury in 1980. Construction began in March 1978 and the official opening was on 20 June 1980.
The new press room then had 40 automatic Hamilton presses for LP production, and 20 SMT and MAP presses for singles.
The plant also included the printing of covers and labels.
The last record pressed in January 1991 was Motörhead's 1916. The plant was then converted into a video duplication plant and all CBS records were subsequently pressed by CBS in Haarlem, The Netherlands.

How to identify vinyl pressed by CBS UK:
Runouts:
Between ca. 1970 and 1976, the runout information was fully stamped.
The runouts have identifiers at 12 o’clock, at 3 o’clock and at 9 o’clock.

The matrix is found at 12 o'clock, horizontally - rather than following the circumference of the runout, as found on Philips/Phonogram pressings. The matrix includes the cat. no. (e.g. CBS·S2329), the side identifier (A, B, etc.) and the cut / father number (1, 2, etc., where 1 appears as I). The individual parts can be separated either by dots, or hyphens or blanks, except the side identifiers and cut numbers which are not separated (e.g. A1, A2).

At three o'clock there are usually one or two numbers; very faintly stamped / barely legible. They stand for the stampers. Because every number is punched separately, 25 may appear as 2 5.

At 9 o’clock there is usually a letter, also very faintly stamped. This is a mother indicator and should not be used as Pressing Plant ID (PPID). The most common letter is appearing either as sideways Λ (broken A) or as ∴ (3 dots in a pyramid), but is in fact an A. On high volume releases there may be other "shallow" letters such as B, C, D, etc., appearing as [ (a broken circle for B or C) or [) (two brackets for D). Please do not add the symbols into the Runout fields but use the letters they stand for (e.g. use A instead of Λ).

Around 1977, the stamped matrix was replaced by a hand-etched legend but the layout remained the same, i.e. at 12, 3 and 9 o'clock, respectively. Again, the individual parts can either be separated by dots, or hyphens or blanks, including the side identifier and cut/father number (e.g. A-1, B-1).

CBS UK contract pressing matrices may vary and be hand-etched on a radial curve (still, the matrix is usually at 12 o'clock).

Pressing rings:
CBS Aston Clinton 12”/LP pressings have a double-dip “label design” with two pressing rings:
a) a 32 mm diameter inner ring with 2 different shapes, a single line (see label image A) or two concentric lines (see label image B); the two variants can be found in various combinations on both sides of the same record;
b) a 63 mm diameter outer ring, marking the gently raised outer part of the label area, about half way between the smaller ring and the label edge (see images).

Important notes:
- Identical pressing rings can be found on pressings from WEA West Drayton (until 1983) and MVS Record Pressing (since 1983).
- Similar pressing rings (33+63 mm) can be found on pressings from Carlton Productions (IRL), Damont, and Lyntone, but there usually are specific identifiers for them.
- ‘Made in England’ is usually found on the labels and can help to not confuse with Dutch CBS pressings (using the same ring configuration).

7” centres:
CBS UK normally pressed 7"s with solid centres or 4 prong centres. However, they did experiment with dinked centres (and spiders) between March and May 1976 but had to give it up due to negative dealer feedback. It is unknown to what extent, and for which releases dinked singles were manufactured by CBS, but it has to be considered very limited only.

Parent Label:CBS United Kingdom Ltd.
Contact Info:

Since June 1980:
Rabans Lane
Aylesbury,
Buckinghamshire HP19 8TS
England
[obsolete]

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