About Decca UK EMI Matrix and Mother Stampers

About Decca UK EMI Matrix and Mother Stampers

On this page we will explain how to decode the stampers on a UK early Decca vinyl.,Typically an original 1964 UK Rolling Stones (Debut) record for our example.


Rolling Stones Matrix About Decca UK EMI Matrix and Mother Stampers

The Matrix and The Mother Stampers:

There are three different markings on the run off grooves directly linked to the manufacturing process:

The Matrix:
The Mother:
The Stamper:


The Matrix:

This can be found at six oclock

In our example the Matrix on side one is typically ‘XARL-6271-2A’
The XARL prefix =mono The XZAL prefix=stereo

‘6271’ is a Decca file number for the master tape used for this side on the record. Usually side 2 has one number higher. which has ‘6272’ on side 2.

‘2’ This is the running number of the Master Lacquer made in the lathe machine from the Master Tape. The higher number, the later Master Lacquer is used.

‘A’ This is the letter identifying the engineer who created the Master Lacquer and supervised the whole process up to the stampers.

Below are the names behind all letters used by Decca.

A = Guy Fletcher
B = Ron Mason
C = Trevor Fl
D = Jack Law
E = Stan Goodall
F = Cyril Windebank
G = Ted Burkett
K = Tony Hawkins
L = George Bettyes
W = Harry Fisher 

The Mother

This can be found at 9 oclock to the matrix:
In our example the mother is “1” which would be the first mother used to make the stamper.

The Stamper

This can be identified at 3 oclock to the matrix in our example the stampers are ‘U I’

Understanding the stamper codes:

Decca used the word ‘BUCKINGHAM’ for numbering of the Stamper. The first Stamper to be made from the Mother has the letter B, the next one has U etc.


1=B 2=U 3=C 4=K 5=I 6=N 7=G 8=H 9=A M=0

So our stampers ‘U I’ would be 2=U and 5=I would make ours the #25th Stamper.

See our related article about UK EMI Stampers here.

How Do We Define a First Pressing Or Pressed Vinyl Record
How a vinyl record is made

3 thoughts on “About Decca UK EMI Matrix and Mother Stampers

  1. Certainly a ” 1;B” pressing should be very close to the original tape; remember that until the introduction of the Neumann SX68 cutterhead all Decca stereo records were cut at 1/2 speed. I well remember my late friend and colleague harry fisher had to cut the Solti Ring cycle at 1/2 see. i think that Wagner’s ring is bad enough at full speed; at half speed I’m sure it breaks every Geneva Convention!

    One additional mark on Decca Stereos is the letter “R” after the matrix number; this indicates that the cut was from a new version of the master tape, so that the new cut may not sound the same as the first issue. ( In the days of fully professional record companies a re-cut was always made by comparison with a copy of the side currently in the catalogue, so the customer would get the same quality as before. Nowadays almost nobody does this, just as nobody identifies the positives or stampers.

    Sean Davies

  2. Thnx’s for this use full info. However, making use of highres digital recording/sound registration say 96kHz and 24 bit depth, or even higher. It’s only logical during conversion part of the info needs to be discarded for space sake. So, what exactly gets lost and what stays on a well cut 12″ or LP record. Much obliged.

    1. Hello, sorry for the late reply. The bass frequency is normally lost in the conversion.The best audio quality for a vinyl record is generally from the earliest original pressings. I hope this helps? Regards, Jake.

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