YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth
Friendly people making your event more memorable, one record at a time.
The YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth
We use retro recording gear from the 1940s to make moments and keep memories alive.
How It Works.
It's Like a Photo Booth -- But With Records!
Modern digital photography is all around us, making photo booths a mainstay at high-end events. The YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth is different.
Our recording booth gives your guests the experience of making a custom record, playing it back, and hearing their voices in a new way -- using retro equipment that has been defying planned obsolescence for 70+ years!
In the 1940s, record lathes ("record cutters") were one of the few ways to record sound. The warm, endearingly-fuzzy "radio announcer" sound quality of that era still stirs our hearts and gets our imaginations flowing. When you invite the YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth to your event, you provide your guests with a truly unique, accessible, fun, and memorable live recording experience that recreates these creative, retro vibes in a polished and contemporary setting.
A team of two fun and friendly Lathe Operators bring a restored Presto 6N record lathe (record cutter) to your event, along with a stack of plastic Flexi-Discs (thin plastic records, like you used to get a a prize in a magazine or cereal box).
Your guests will watch as their voices are turned into a durable keepsake before their eyes! We'll play the record back on a turntable so they'll get to see how a record is made from start-to-finish!
All records cut with the YouThere Vinyl Booth can be played back on any standard home record player as a "33."
What You Get
No-hassle Setup & Unlimited Discs
Because the YouThere Vinyl Booth is dedicated to bringing the very best to your event, we don't confuse you with complicated packages or unnecessary choices. Everything needed to have an amazing, memorable event is bundled into one price.
We book by the event, not by the hour, and can be available for up to 6 hours.
Two Lathe Operators will take care of all aspects of the Vinyl Recording Booth, including making sure that your guests have an amazing time! All we need is a set-up location with space for two tables and access to electricity.
We always bring enough flexidisc record blanks to cut two records per guest (and can bring more with advance notice at not extra charge!).
With prior notice, we can also color-coordinate the discs to your event! Check out the color choices below, and ask us what options are available when you book.
Door Prize, Guest Book, or Thank You
The YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth ads a memorable, interactive, accessible, fun, and multi-generational activity to your event!
Below are some ideas of how to use the YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth on your special day.
Retro Memory Machines Made New Again.
Presto 6N Record Cutter
A small, but heavy, piece of recording history
The Presto 6N record lathes (record cutters) that we use hold a special place in recording history. Introduced in 1941, the Presto 6N was a staple in serious recording studios and radio stations. Sun Studios, birthplace of the early and great recordings of Elvis and Johnny Cash, famously used a Presto 6N. The Presto company also made portable units, which were used by radio reporters to record concerts, interviews, and historical happenings, including Alan Lomax's famous field recordings for the Smithsonian. The Presto 6N records into low-fi mono sound, which means that recordings made on it will have a warm, nostalgic, "old time radio" sound and feel.
Custom Flexi-Disc Records
Fun, practical & timeless
We make our custom flexi-discs by hand before each event. After much experimentation, we've discovered that the bottoms of a particular variety of plastic picnic plate make for a ideal flexi-disc!
This material provides durability and ease of care at an event: these compact 8" records are lightweight, flexible, shatter-proof, and surprisingly durable.
Who are the YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth Operators?
We LOVE taking our portable record lathes out on the road to record special moments with all sorts of different people. We see cutting flexi disc records as a way of connecting people to sound, each other, and to the present moment.
Recording memories for people is what we DO, both for professional musicians AND for whoever else wants a taste of recording through the YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do you offer this service?
The YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth is based in the Hudson Valley, and works primarily in the greater NYC metro area.
Is your event outside of this area? No problem, we frequently travel for special events. Contact us to make special arrangements.
What are the discs made out of?
We hand cut each flexidisc and check it for quality before each event. Through lots of trial and error, we've discovered that plastic picnic plates with the rims carefully removed make the best, most durable, and most scratch resistant flexi-discs. Good news is that these kinds of plate come in many different colors, and hey, let's be serious, it's pretty darn cool to see a picnic plate transform from an eating surface into a playable record!
Can I play the record on my turntable at home?
Yes! Our flexi-discs play back the same as any standard 33 record.
Expert tip: If your turntable's platter/slipmat isn't smooth, it's often helpful to place the flexi-disc on top of a "normal" record while you play it back.
What color records can I get?
Can I customize my records?
Absolutely! We offer a large range of colors to choose from, and the labels we use on our flexi discs have several blanks for filling in information about the recording like the date, the location, and the 'performer's' name.
If you like, we can assist you in creating a specially designed record label at an small extra cost. We work with a truly great in-house design team who can provide us with a suitable label design. If you think this might be a good option for you, please contact us with the information and/or graphics you would like to see on your 4" record label. We can offer you initial advice regarding feasibility and cost, before creating the final design. Please be aware that this option requires several months of lead time.
Who are the lathe operators?
Sarah Beckham Hooff and Aaron Latos have over 30 years combined experience in performance, teaching, and group facilitation.They began combining forces in 2016 to form YouThere Studio, and their love of working with people to create fun memories on records quickly gave rise to the YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth. They have traveled independently and extensively to Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, and South America to work and perform. Both currently reside in the Hudson Valley, about an hour outside of NYC. You can find out more about them on their personal websites, www.SarahBeckhamHooff.com and www.Aaronlatos.com.
What else does YouThere do?
The YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth is a division of YouThere Studio, which focuses on making professional sound recordings using analog, single take, and retro recording gear. At the YouThere professional studio, operators Sarah Beckham Hooff & Aaron Latos make recordings for musicians in a way that emphasizes emotional connection over the possibility of editing in post.
However, the work we do with professional musicians isn't disconnected from the work we do with the YouThere Vinyl Recording Booth at all -- in both cases, it's about recording memories, making people feel at home creating something, and being present in the moment of someone's big, fun, and exciting day.
Where did you learn to do this?
We get asked this a lot. We've had a lot of help from very generous people who know a lot about record lathes, first of all. After that, however, we had to figure a lot of things out ourselves to be able to provide a quality single take experience in a live event setting. It's an ongoing discovery, and we're super happy to be doing what we do every day!