everlasting dubplate

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by vinylcarvers, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. vinylcarvers

    vinylcarvers Guest

    hello to you all!

    we’ve been following the previous discussions about going to vinyl and want to say that we find this forum very informative and cool – thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    we’re based in london and are quite new to the cutting business – about 2 years

    our machine is a prototype, built by a friend of us
    this may seem strange but it’s actually working now :)

    so here’s some facts about the process:

    -the machine uses a diamond to cut into specially formulated pvc-blanks
    therefore the records last about as long as normal vinyls – and it’s possible to scratch with them
    -it uses a technics 1210 plus an additional motor to drive the platter
    -to reduce surface noise we have to heat up the records
    -we’re two people operating the machine as every process (still) has to be done by hand (e.g. lead in + out-grooves, no automatic groove speed, heater regulation of the stylus, motors on/off, …)

    it has also advantages compared to common cutters:
    -we can listen to the record during the cut (without ruining it) and make adjustments that are immediately audible (well at least with a delay of about ½ second)

    after ruining hundreds of blanks and dozends of needles we’re now at a stage where we’d like to get opinion from professionals

    has anybody experience with cutting directly to plastic discs?

    thank you
    cheers, tina and werner
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Don and Paul are the resident cutters around here and would be the ones to ask about this.
  3. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Wow, this is new territory for me...how do you heat the records? Am I correct : that there is no substrate? How deep does your cut go? What does it look like under a scope? Who makes your stylus? What kind of delay (preview/modulation) system do you use? What holds the disc to the Turntable? Is the machine variable pitch or fixed pitch?

    We too can listen to the cut as it proceeds, either before the cutterhead or right off the head , and make changes that are audible during the cut. The DMM lathe I use now also makes 12" Reference Coppers that are permanent: cut directly into metal.

    Sounds like your'e re-inventing the wheel, but I wish you the best in your endevours!
  4. vinylcarvers

    vinylcarvers Guest

    hello Don, thanks for your reply

    yes, it's all invented already
    but we've never seen a machine being so small
    apart from the vestax which never worked properly

    there's no substrate on the records
    it's a specially formulated plastic, also made by our friend

    we heat the platter with warm air before the cut

    we don't have any specific information on how deep the cut goes but we can vary the depth
    (we've adjusted it to traditional vinyl records by using a normal microscope which is mounted on the machine)
    visibility under the scope is very good cause we also have completely clear blanks

    we do a lot of scratch records which we cut very deep to ensure better tracking but this wears out the stylus quite quickly

    the stylus is as well made by our friend

    now he is working on automatic groove speed adjustment using a delay
    we will see how that goes
    we're used to do it manually during the cut by looking at the waveform on the computer screen

    the blank is fixed to the turntable via a screwable clamp at the centre spindle

    the machine runs at fixed speeds of 33 and 45

    wow, DMM sounds great
    we've heard that there's not many machines existing?
    how long does your diamond last? do the plates wear out when played on normal turntables?

    we're really keen to get an expert opinion
    would it be ok to send you one of our plates?
    so you could tell us what you think

    would help us to decide whether there's hope to get our investment back or to put the machine on ebay ;)
  5. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Well folks, it sounds like your'e cutting dubplates, all right! I admire the effort & expense it no-doubt took to get your ideas into some real form!

    As for DMM, yes it's true. There are very few machines in existance that opperate any more. In fact,I think Europadisk might be the only publicly operating lathe of this type working in the States. We make our own copper master & ref. blanks in house. The diamond stylus lasts for approximately 100 hours of cutting. The copper refs (and masters too) are essentially permanent. They do not wear out or deform at all under normal conditions. The copper Refs (our"dubplates") will last for a VERY long time (years). The groove we cut is about 4 mils deep at maximum depth.

    I'd be pleased to check out one of your discs. Please P.M. me & we will set up shipping info. Could you please post or send pictures too?
  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I wanna see pics too... I'm sure we'd all like to see some.
    Don, everyone's really happy with the 10" drum and bass cutting you did. thanks
  7. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback on the D&B cuts!! Those are fun.
  8. vinylcarvers

    vinylcarvers Guest

    yes, we do only dubplates
    because our plates are made of plastic they'd probably dissolve immediately at the metalwork stage
    they could come in handy for djs who use a lot of dubplates (less weight, durable)

    we've put some pictures on Sample - 1.6MB
    sorry for the low quality, will post better ones soon

    your diamond lasts 100 hours, that's pretty cool and it's cutting into metal!
    there must be differences in quality of diamonds then - we have to change ours every 20-30 hours
    but we can get them resharpened
    the whole idea of DMM sounds fantastic, we don't think there's a machine over here in the uk

    sent you a p.m. - thanks for doing this!
  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    that's crazy looking. looks like a technics TT on steroids.
  10. vinylcarvers

    vinylcarvers Guest

    hehe, it also behaves like this
  11. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    That's quite a project you have undertaken. Flo at Stratozoo was working on one of these. It was/is called the kingston dub plate cutter. I would love to hear something. If you would like more detailed feedback I can send you something to cut and then look/listen.

    I know there is a technician in the UK who works on many of the lathes there. I can find out his name. He would be a good person to chat with.

    How is the cutter head constucted? Does it use electronic feedback or viscous damping?

    What kind of drive amps do you use?

    What kind of levels in cm/second measurment units do you get?

    Have you measured frequency resopnse?

    What is the noisefloor with a heated record?

    Have you tried heating the stylus?

    Good luck with your project and long live vinyl!
  12. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    yeah, I did a search and there is a kingston dubplate cutter as well as a couple of others.
  13. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I was thinking of getting something like the kingston because I think it would be fun to cut some vinyl. Don't know how good it would sound, does look a little cheesey sitting on a 1200. there is another company called vinylcutter that makes something a little more complex and uses diamond instead of saphire. Or maybe you can use a diamond on the kingston? I know it's not a serious cutter and it is a lot of money for a toy but if it's good enough to get a respectable dubplate, then I might go for it. I know there are a couple of mods on the 1200 you have to do to increase the torque but they only involve adding a resister, easy enough. I'm not so sure about the general construction of the 1200 though. I would like to be able to use it as a gauge for when I'm mastering a project that I know is going to go to vinyl at some point and I want to see how it's going to translate and make changes based on how it's cutting so when I do send it out, i've made the proper changes. I've seen a few used Neumann cutters here and there but they are way to big for my settup and what i want to use it for, Not to mention how much time it's going to take me to keep it maintained.
  14. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member


    Sample - 1.6MB


  15. vinylcarvers

    vinylcarvers Guest

    Paul - that would be great, would love to hear your opinion!
    we'll send you a p.m. with our address so you could send us something

    we'd also like to get in contact with the technician you mentioned

    as we said, we haven't built this machine ourselves
    it's made by a friend of us, so he's the one who knows every single detail about it
    it took him many years of development to get there

    Michael - one of the links you've posted is actually our machine! http://www.vinylrecorder.com

    we've never heard a cut from a kingston but a vestax one
    it had no level/bass/hi end, probably the reasons why it never really hit the market

    we guess it's virtually impossible to build a machine which produces a good record at the touch of one button
    that's definitely a human task!

    it took us quite some time to get the quality right, and if you're keen to cut your own records we can only recommend to go for the machine we're using

    our friend made various improvements since we first saw it
    buying the machine would require a trip to germany for some technical introduction
    you're always welcome to have a look at our one if you are in london

    Paul - here's the answers to your questions (as far as we know them)

    we use normal power amplifiers, like you would use to drive studio monitors

    the head uses damping and our stylus is heated
    the temperature goes in conjunction with the temperature of the record and has to be adjusted manually (by ear)

    frequency response is quite linear (but of course not completely)
    we boost/cut certain frequencies when we do the mastering to compensate for this
    all in all it is possible to get very deep bass + sweet hi-end

    crazy, the CD is in the midst of it's dawn - but vinyl is alive and well! :c:
  16. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    I'll try to get his contact info soon.

    So if I understand correctly you use only one stereo pair of amplifiers. This implies that the head is mechanicaly damped with a viscous fluid, usually sillicone. Maybe he uses a newer material that is more viscous because watts are cheap these days.

    This is an old style cutter head construction like a Grampian/BBC head. You may be able to substitute one of these heads. They can be had for little money.

    How does the cutter head move across the blank?

    Is there a pitch motor?

    Is the pitch fixed? In other words, how long is the side you can cut?
  17. vinylcarvers

    vinylcarvers Guest

    thanks for the Grampian/BBC head tip, will do some research on that!
    we don't have more detailed information about our head, sorry

    the pitch is controlled manually with a pot and maximum time is about half an hour on a 12"
    our friend also offers automatic pitch control, the signal runs through a delay then
    but we're used to adjust it manually by looking at the waveform on the screen, much more fun!

    thanks for finding out the name of the technician
  18. Kinston Dub Cutter

    I've checked on several forum and found out the Kingston is better to use to cut than the one at Vinyl Recorder, at present i'm trying to find some vinyl blanks for cut on but not from Transco or Apollo, could anyone tell me where to get some from or coloured blanks.

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