The World of Vinyl Record Pressing

Wheedle’s Groove!

If you like music, old records and the Puget Sound area, this is required viewing and listening.

I worked for Tony Gable for the last 20 years of his life. He recently came up for discussion and I recalled that he turned us on to this excellent documentary he helped create and was a part of, Wheedle’s Groove. My old space is also pictured in a couple spots.

A weird dude named Kenny is part of it, and I lived near the motorcycle gang, that’s all I’ll tell you!

Watch it to see the rest! You may have to hunt it down online!
But it’s worth it! Wheedle’s Groove!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuxdJNNlKZk

– Vinyl Restoration – Recording Old Vinyl to Digital for Restoration, Remastering, Recutting, and Reissue on Vinyl & Digital –

 

This is one of Lucky’s specialties. Having restored hundreds of “classics”, from award winning 60s, 70s Soul albums and 45’s to your local and international legendary punk and new wave acts, for official digital and vinyl release. These are the problems I see the most of from other studios.

1) Over brightening – Similarly to over-compression, many seem to think that if they add couple DB of treble, they’ve helped restore the audio. But more often making other subtleties of an older recording more obvious and the audio less vinyl friendly than it was in it’s natural state. You can hear this poor technique used as far back as “audio restoration” came about. My recommendation is to maintain the original EQ as much as possible, as that is the definition of restoration.

2) Out-of-phase playback stylus or cartridge – This issue is much more common than it should be. I dont know if the stereo-wide effect that an improperly installed cartridge, headshell or needle, is what attracts some studios to let these issues pass through. But this will immediately make your recording “vinyl unfriendly”, require much quieter cutting and more than likely distort on many turntables on playback, even cause phase issues on some TT’s. this can also be an intermittent issue, if your gear is loose or improperly installed.

3) Using the wrong tools to fix pops and clicks – More often than not. I hear studios using tools more similar to de-essers and noise cleaners to fix clicks and pops. There are special tools for clicks and pops, and hitting them with the wrong tools only creates more transients. Especially in the higher frequencies. A washed out, underwater sound, similar to those created by low resolution MP3. And the pops and clicks are merely muffled, not cleaned out entirely.

4) Flat out failing to locate and restore pops and clicks. – You have to listen to locate them all, often more than once. Sit down and listen, clean each one individually, do not blanket your tools across the entire program. And if you need visual tools to locate them all, use them. One of the many subtle differences between digital and analog playback is that analog is more accurate and revealing. If you are fixing with cheaper gear for some reason or another, they certainly may not come through your monitors. Visual monitors are available for a reason. Use them. If you don’t fix them all you’re going to confuse a lot of people down the process. And you’re going to get returns.

5) Limiting / Hard compression – It’s often really sad when all of the above is done pretty well, but for some reason they felt the need to crush the audio down to 5 DB before sending off for cutting, but it happens too often. Especially when you are restoring a 7″ at 33RPM. Fyi – You just ruined it. I’ve seen and heard the biggest names in the business make this mistake and continue to scratch their head, over and over, while they continue to beat their head against the wall. Unable to understand why their restoration sounds like a distorted doodoo, when playing back the new cut on vinyl, as it’s no longer vinyl friendly. Once again, like the Treble issue mentioned above…. Restoration is meant to maintain the original EQ and Compression, as much as possible, as that is the definition of restoration. Stick to those rules and you should be okay.

6) Other tips,
* Find the best copy.
* Use discogs or personal libraries if you have to.
Compare them.
* Choose a studio that can record your album back to digital through the same kind of amplifiers used to cut the record. Not some random fancy amp that will further alter the wave forms.
* Choose a studio who uses a 14″ tone arm to record the audio back and has high end and extremely flat Analog to Digital converters.
* Clean the record first!
Happy New Year and Best of luck! There is still tons of great re-issue potential out there! I can think of a few right off the top of my head!

— Dave @ Lucky

Currently Open Vinyl record pressing plants & brokers in the States & Canada

The First Vinyl Record:

The first vinyl record was invented by Emile Berliner in Germany in 1887. The vinyl record was also known as a gramophone record and consisted of zinc covered with a thin layer of wax. This method of recording sound would become the basis for the modern vinyl record. Berliner’s innovation was his use of the disc-based format that allowed sound recordings to be cut onto a groove that was cut into the disc. This was unlike cylinders that were used in earlier technologies that didn’t allow a lot of recordings to be made onto one record. Berliner would go on to partner with the United States company, Victor Talking Machine Company, which became the innovators behind the development of the record player, and the 78rpm vinyl record became the industry standard for many years. Vinyl records have become a staple in the music industry and have endured despite the emergence of digital music and streaming services.

Vinyl Pressing:

Record pressing is the process of taking a master recording and transferring it onto a physical medium such as a record. The pressing process begins with the selection of a master recording, which is then cut into a lacquer disc. This lacquer is then used to make a metal stamper, which is then used to form a record out of a plastic compound. The record is then inspected for any flaws or defects and is then packaged and shipped to the customer. The process of pressing records has changed significantly over the years, with the introduction of digital technology, the ability to produce larger runs of records, and the modernization of the vinyl pressing process.

The Mastering process is an important part of the music industry as it allows music to be recorded and distributed in physical formats such as vinyl, CDs, and cassettes. With the right tools and process, record pressing can be a cost-effective solution for independent artists and record labels to produce and distribute their music.