Cutting a vinyl record requires expensive equipment and years of experience. But what if you could create a functional record at home? Teenage Engineering’s PO-80 Record Factory promises to fulfill this desire for just $150.
The PO-80 Record Factory is a record player with an integrated vinyl cutting head. It comes with a set of blank 5-inch records, which are about the size of a CD (and quite a bit smaller than a 7-inch single). Each 5-inch record can hold about four minutes of audio on each side at 33RPM. For higher-quality 45RPM recordings, playback is reduced to about three minutes per side.
To cut records on this device, simply lay down a blank 5-inch record, plug in an audio source over 3.5mm cable, and activate the cutting head. You can buy additional blank records when you blow through the five that are included with this device, or order a replacement cutting head when yours wears out.
Now, the vinyl cutting head on this device is monophonic, so you can forget about stereo recordings. And because vinyl records require specific mastering techniques (reducing volume, bass, and sibilance prevents skipping), Teenage Engineering suggests running tracks through its Mastering Machine before cutting them on the Record Factory.
And in case you’re wondering, the records produced by this machine don’t sound amazing—you can hear samples on the Record Factory sales page. Teenage Engineering describes the audio quality as “lo-fi.” Unless you can find a very creative way to use the Record Factory, it’s really just a novelty (or a cool way to give someone a custom single).
Note that the Record Factory was developed with help from Yuri Suzuki, a Japanese designer who debuted a similar product back in 2020. But Teenage Engineering’s OP-80 will probably receive more attention than Suzuki’s original record-cutting device, especially among westerners.