A modern term for an item whose history dates to the earliest phonographs. A Dub Plate is a special pressing of a phonograph record used by DJs to play an exclusive mix or pre-release track. In the recording industry’s past, these were called “acetates” and were used to make test pressings of records. They’re made by spraying a metal disc with acetate, then cutting it with a lathe. Acetates have a short life span – 50 to 100 plays maximum and originally only circulated among the artists and record company executives.
The process assumed a new life in the late 1970s when reggae DJs began cutting their own rhythm tracks to mix and match on turntables, often while scratching and crossfading. The term “Dub Plate” comes from the “Dub” genre, characterized by extended instrumental versions of songs, often accompanied by an MC rapping. Although CDs and digital recording have technologically surpassed the Dub Plate, many turntable “purists” still prefer the direct connection to a real record with real grooves.