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In Jennifer Dawson’s opinion, the love of vinyl records is more than a fad, more than everything old is new again. And she should know, since she is the owner of Super Specific Vinyl, a company that offers “one-offs,” or mix tapes, for individual vinyl enthusiasts.


SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jennifer Dawson and David Freel, owners of Super Specific Vinyl and Vinyl On Demand respectively, cut, package and ship vinyl records from their basement studio in Oregon City. They would eventually like to expand their businesses to a brick-and-mortar location.To do this, she partnered with best friend David Freel, the owner of Vinyl On Demand, a company that offers short runs for bands who cannot afford all the up-front costs and wait times for pressing vinyl.

The surprising thing here is that Dawson and Freel run their business, cutting vinyl records on a lathe and shipping them all over the world from the basement of their home in Oregon City.

The vinyl effect

SUBMITTED PHOTO - David Freel and business partner Jennifer Dawson take a break from cutting and shipping vinyl records in their studio in Oregon City.Dawson’s background is in film production, and many years ago she tracked down Freel because she was a huge fan of his band, Swell, and wanted to use his songs in a film project she was developing for Disney.

They stayed in touch over the years, and in 2014 she visited him in Oregon City.

“I saw the lathe and learned he was cutting vinyl records directly for his fan base, and he had gotten really good at it,” she said. With no desire to return to Los Angeles, Dawson started brainstorming with Freel.

“I came up with the idea for Super Specific Vinyl while David got more serious about his idea to offer bands and labels a real short-run option, and he launched Vinyl On Demand alongside SSV. We use the same lathe, and David does all the cutting,” Dawson said.

“We can take a digital version of the record and put it on vinyl, so if someone has a warped copy or a super precious or very rare copy of a record, we can reproduce it on vinyl as a play copy or a duplication,” she said.

And as far as sound quality goes, Freel and Dawson have found “that what gets lost in a digital file can [be] and is restored in the analog version on vinyl. I am not technical, but [for] those who are and are real audiophiles who doubt this, [they] can get a demo and hear for themselves that harmonics get restored. David calls this the vinyl effect,” Dawson noted.

Proof is in the sound

With the availability of music on demand on the internet, why is vinyl so popular now?

“While Gen X lost vinyl to CDs, it never went away as far as real collectors and fans were concerned. The millennials have a very different and interesting relationship to vinyl, as a new or different way to collect and curate the music they love, by bands they discover in the endless and awesome sea of songs they can choose from via the internet,” Dawson said.

“Vinyl allows the love and listening of music to become an event, an isolated experience by way of the apparatus required: player set-up, speakers, record. It gives music a real-world quality again,” she said.

Customers are so pleased when they find the two companies, Dawson said, and since no two requests are exactly the same, every day at work is different.

“More often than not, the mix-tape vinyl is a gift for a birthday or anniversary or wedding, and I really enjoy being in on the surprise and hearing about the excitement when it’s received. We are small, so we can be very dedicated to every order, and that makes my work a real joy,” Dawson said.

And customers agree, giving the businesses five-star reviews.

“Many are so surprised at how good it sounds and express how much the quality exceeds their expectation. We do not demystify the process, so we can sell more vinyl, so the newcomer does have to have some faith before purchasing, but then they are all delighted,” Dawson said.

“People who think they know what lathe cut is are very skeptical and likely think that what we say about it could be all hyperbole. So we err on the side of saying very little and, of course, offer demos at cost for the doubters and outright disbelievers,” she added.

Legalities, expansion

For those who think that Dawson and Freel are violating copyright laws by offering mix tape/playlists on vinyl, that is not the case, Dawson said.

“There is no law that says we cannot duplicate a playlist on vinyl, just like a CD, and we ask our customers to make sure they are within the legal limit of copies per song they submit. We do not make more than one vinyl copy of a playlist and we explicitly state they are not for resale,” she said.

Dawson sells her product through her Etsy store, “because it is a terrific platform that adds credibility and stability to a new brand like SSV. I am new to Etsy, so have a lot to learn, but I really, really like how easy it is to use and how helpful it is to the running of a small business.”

She and Freel want to build their business, and stay in Oregon City, if possible.

“We are looking for lease options, since we plan to expand and add more lathes, because anyone who is paying attention can see by the number of record players being sold that vinyl sales are not likely to fade, but continue to grow,” she said.

“We have a very unique business plan that shows how we solve a very real problem in the supply and demand gap, so we are now looking for partnerships and/or investors to come on board,” Dawson said.

She added, “I want to open a brick-and-mortar retail lounge in downtown OC or in Gladstone, where people can pop in and order a mix-tape vinyl from us directly and in person. In the meantime we’re an online business running from a basement studio in our house in OC.”

For the love of vinyl

For more information about Vinyl On Demand, visit vinylondemand.com.

Basic prices include one custom, seven-inch record, for $25 to $31; and one custom, 12-inch record, for $40 to $53. There is no minimum order and records can be cut on black or clear vinyl.

For a complete price list, go to Superspecificvinyl.com and vinylondemand.com.

Visit Dawson’s ETSY shop at etsy.com/shop/vinylondemand.

A link to a video that explains the concept behind Super Specific Vinyl and Vinyl On Demand is available at youtube.com/watch?v=qXjUvAwjG9k.

Oregon City News and Clackamas Review readers will get 25 percent off any order, except demos, throughout summer 2016. Use coupon code “OCNEWS” on Etsy or contact Dawson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for short run or special custom orders.

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