A term for a broad range of instantaneous records, including dubs, plates, acetates, vinyls, and laquers. Also known as "reference" records, because they are used to make sure a recording is good before a master is pressed. Acetates have a soft surface on top of an aluminum base. The grooves are "cut" into the soft surface. Masters are also made this way, but go through more steps.

Since the surface is soft, great care must be taken in handling an acetate. Acetates will play noise-free for about 10 plays and then degrades to the same quality as commercial vinyl records up to 100 plays. Approximately 1000 plays can be had, depending on other factors. The use of a lightweight arm is highly recommended.

Preparing music for an acetate requires the same considerations as a commercial release. Grooves need to be tighter if the song is too long. Grooves need to be spaced apart if lower frequencies (bass) is heavy, and phasing together (if it is a stereo recording).

Acetates are a great way to incorporate your own sounds, samples and songs into a DJ set. However, with the advent of pitch-shifting CD players and CD-Recordables, some people may shift away from acetates as the cost no longer compensates for that turntable factor.