really overengineered and built like tanks, especially Scully
lathes.New record presses are being
Kevin stated that when
remastering older material, his goal is to match the sound of the original,
rather than re-equalizing. Mastering for
playback on computers and phones basically isn’t done. The discs are made to create two audio
channels in one groove, with full frequency response. Cutter head is fairly accurate and
small. The larger playback needle can’t
track all the indentations in a groove, but if it were smaller, it would cut a
new track every time. A faster RPM disc
lets a playback system reproduce more accurately and sound better, while slower
discs put a lot of “data” in a short space, making it harder to track. High frequency energy is harder to track than
low frequency energy, hence the creation of the RIAA curve.
Does quality suffer
because of a linear cutting system versus the pivot arm in the playback
system? The tracking error will be
there, the trio said, although the better designed systems skew the geometry to
minimize detrimental high frequency loss and distortion. “When the curvature of the groove is greater
than the diameter of the playback stylus, you’ve got distortion and high
frequency loss,” said Kevin.
Independent artists are
keeping 7-inch 45 RPM vinyl alive as well.
There are additional challenges for 45s, in that the groove largely
starts where the 12” LP stops. The
playback geometry is even worse, although the higher RPM helps a bit. For LPs, a 20 minute side or less is
preferable. Bernie said it depends
somewhat on the type of music. Hip hop
really can’t go above 17 minutes, while classical can allow longer pieces.
Recordings in the past skimped
on bass response because the groove needed to produce it would cause needles to
skip.Computers now can cut the grooves
better, so the skipping problem is reduced andspace on the disc is preserved better.Punchy bass with a high frequency transient leading edge can potentially
throw the stylus out of the groove if the groove isn’t deep enough.
It was a great evening with three of the best and most experienced vinyl
mastering engineers in the business.The
AES-LA community wishes to thank them for their time and willingness to share
......Recap by Kevin Salger
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