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Vinyl Records and analog remasters coming back?

I'm doing research on remastering to vinyl. As some of you know, I'm investing in analog gear and hybrid summing and now looking into digital to vinyl remastering as a fun side line. If you are doing this, I would love to hear from you. Here is an example of what I am talking about:
Vestax VRX 2000 Vinyl Recorder

Comments

dvdhawk Fri, 08/17/2012 - 14:54
You would have to spend a lot of time navigating the moors in the dark to get from the point of getting vinyl out of the grave to "Puttin' on the Ritz".

 

There's no doubt vinyl can sound great, but I don't see any scenario where it's the primary medium for music as it was up until the mid-80's. Yes, I know, all the cool kids are doing it - but I don't think they're taking any shortcuts in the manufacturing. I think we have one or two guys here with a bonafide lathe. I'd rather co-op with someone with the real McCoy (that knows how to use it) rather than re-invent the process.

The particular tool/toy you reference, seems aimed at the DJ market, as are the rest of the Vestax products. A good LP would far exceed the 12.5kHz specification, but not many other meaningful specs listed. The gadget in question looks like fun, but knowing your passion for audio fidelity, I think it's a shortcut I would avoid if in your shoes. Sides are limited to 15 minutes. $10 blank, $500 replacement stylus every 20 hours. One-offs would be expensive. Short-runs would be just as cost-prohibitive. It may be fun, but it doesn't look practical to me from a business POV.
Attached files

audiokid Fri, 08/17/2012 - 17:50
Thanks for chiming in, Dave. Great points.

I had someone wanting to advertise their vinyl services here a few months back. I usually don't advertise private services including most software products here ( with the exception of UAD) so I turned them down but later learned they are going to be marketing a new cutter this fall so that got me interested. I hope they chime in here and talk about that (I forget what it was called).

My wife and I were going through the numbers on this as a business and it doesn't seem like it would ever be profitable but we also thought it would be a cool service added to our hybrid studio. We were thinking it would be a cool introduction to recording for our oldest child. So its tempting to try something like this just for the hell of it. But quality is a big issue for me, thanks for pointing that out.

I do think some things that aren't necessarily profitable, can help open doors that just help the bigger picture, so its why I am interested this and so many parts to this frustrating passionate business we all so want to earn a living at. I can't stop thinking about how great the music business used to be. I have such a wonderful studio.

Kurt Foster Fri, 08/17/2012 - 20:06
Vinyl NEVER died. It went into hibernation. Cutting vinyl is a black art and much of the knowledge is now lost. I was fortunate enough to have Leo DeGar Kulka cut a couple of sides for me once and just being there in his studio at Sonic Arts in SF was a real learning experience. What a nice man he was.

Is the Vestax only capable of cutting "one offs" or will it produce discs that can be used to produce mother plates for production runs? It seems to me cutting one offs is a narrow market.

mberry593 Sat, 08/18/2012 - 08:51
I used to cut records on Scully lathes. They had fixed leadscrews. It looks like the device you are considering has the same limitation. This requires you to make a tradeoff between very short playing time or very limited level.

The big advances in lathes were first lookahead variable pitch and then computer calculated nesting grooves. Without those capabilities, you are serious limited in what you can do.

audiokid Wed, 08/29/2012 - 15:19
Making a Vinyl Record

Ah, Found the link to the company that originally got me thinking about all this . Not much info here other than their pricing. There is no infomation on what they are planning on marketing but though some would be interested in the website anyway.
[="http://www.tangibleformats.com/"]tangibleformats.com - Home[/]="http://www.tangible…"]tangibleformats.com - Home[/]

Check out the video's

[[url=http://="http://www.tangible…"]About - tangibleformats.com[/]="http://www.tangible…"]About - tangibleformats.com[/]

Some info on the business and process of making records:

kmetal Wed, 08/29/2012 - 21:48
i can't comment on the vinyl, i'm just interested in the happenings. As far as 'analog (tape) remastering' melodyne just came out w/ a new wow/flutter program that SOS mag quotes as 'artifact free'. for almost 4k it better be. anyway, besides that i've also read an article where a pro re-master dude uses adobe audition to reamaster original records from the 50's. wish i knew more but that's about all i can say for now.

audiokid Thu, 08/30/2012 - 11:47
Loudness war

We put all this energy into mastering great sounding music , then pretty much forced to get things as loud as possible for the BS loudness war.
All we have to do is keep things below squash ( like the old days) and turn the volume up on our amp. Its a no brainer. So how come we aren't doing it? Take out the amp and kill our sound.

You got to love this one:

audiokid Thu, 08/30/2012 - 15:54
kmetal, post: 392963 wrote: i can't comment on the vinyl, i'm just interested in the happenings. As far as 'analog (tape) remastering' melodyne just came out w/ a new wow/flutter program that SOS mag quotes as 'artifact free'. for almost 4k it better be. anyway, besides that i've also read an article where a pro re-master dude uses adobe audition to reamaster original records from the 50's. wish i knew more but that's about all i can say for now.

audiokid, post: 392965 wrote: Oooooh, very impressive! Check it out:

celemony_ :: Capstan
How much business do you think is out there for a Celemony Capstan restoration service?

The only time I've heard recordings wow or flutter really bad have been from the 2nd W War's " send your sweetheart a message" recordings. I also recall a few of my mothers CBC recordings that were made while she sang with the Metropolitan Opera but they weren't that bad either.

I used to have a vinyl to CD business in the late 90's/ early 2000's ,I did declicking and labelling. The most I received for a restoration transfer was $100. It would take a fair amount of business to make your money back on this.

mberry593 Sat, 09/01/2012 - 15:37
audiokid: Thanks for the Money For Nothing link. That is the best demonstration I have yet see of what we are losing.

.................continuing off topic on the Celemony Capstan discussion. That looks very, very interesting. I would certainly like to play with it. Let me make an observation on the subject of flutter. We had a large number of Ampex 350s & AG-350s. In 1969, we got 2 Ampex AG-440 machines. These machines had an extra idler wheel near the heads called a 'scrape flutter filter.' I was very curious about this and started to play with it. It was very easy to remove. I compared some audio with & without it. The difference was NOT subtle. Without it there was a gurgling sound especially on sustained piano notes. That gurgling sound was drastically diminished with the flutter filter. Once you hear something like this and are attuned to it, you can hear it on all sorts of things. I'm thinking that so many wonderful performances were recorded before these flutter filters became common place......perhaps this software could improve them. Capstan is too expensive for just an experiment & I really don't have the time to play with it right now but I am very interested in knowing if it can improve this type of flutter. If anyone here has used it, I would be grateful if you might share your experiences.

Thanks

kmetal Sun, 09/02/2012 - 21:55
you won;t find me buying capstan for 4k. for analog tape i use a tascam 424mk3, and a tascam 34(not 34b). (cheap grungy recorders) I spent some time doing some rudimentary set-up on the reel-2-reel, and remy very kindly talked to me over the phone to take it further before we do the 'real' recordings. I'll be very honest and say that any wow/flutter was not a problem/detriment to the recording. i posted a link of the test recording in the 'vintage' audio forum here a few months ago. And that was done on the belt driven, 34.

as far has how much business i think is out there, it ain't for staff engineers like me. i do believe capstan has a place, but it's for the people assigned to re-do yet another version of hendrix beatles era tapes. i don't know why they won't just leave that stuff alone, sure conversion is getting better, but geez, it's just like the movies, everything is a re-make, or additional part to an already made series. i mean George Lucas had 30 years to think of something better than a star wars pre-qual, look what happened. he used already outdated cgi (state of the fart), and it ruined a reputation of a trilogy that was otherwise 'classic'.

why don't they just make a nice good new tape machine instead of some pluggin, which is gonna see updates all the time? i dunno i just don't get it. i'm no 'purist' to any format, but the magic is in the performance and i think we all agree for the most part. I can ruin a performance by over-editing in the digital realm as easy as a tape machine fluctuates a bit.

i think that people are under the illusion that things like capstan can make it 'perfect' but i think you can't perfect perfection. also, like i told my mix-a-million times cousin dan, people take what they are given. there aren't many 'average listeners' that comments on EQ or 'over-editing' even loudness. Yes, it's our job to hear it, but the end result will be liked or not mainly based on the content. i mean it's like going out to eat and only going to restaurants that use a certain brand/type oven. variety is the spice of life, and besides quantized music, variations make specialty if you ask me, within reason of course. even in quantized music variety is key, just not timing fluctutactions.

i'll end my rant w/ a link [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.digido.c…"]Home[/]="http://www.digido.c…"]Home[/] to bob katz website cuz i think it's generally useful to anyone interested in mastering. man he wrote one heck of a book, i read it once and, will re-re-re-read it and still stuffs gonna be over my head, but i found it a great comprise of tech/hands on info.

-kyle

Kurt Foster Mon, 09/03/2012 - 13:33
What is the purpose of going to vinyl from digital? Other than putting out a product that DJs can use what benefit is there in doing this? I mean the damage is already done.

Going to vinyl from analog multi track / analog mixing and analog mastering makes enormous sense to me but going to vinyl from digital seems to me to be like putting lipstick on a pig.

audiokid Mon, 09/03/2012 - 16:07
Well, not everything in this business is based around excellence or whats the best way to do something. Cool to me is definitely not cool to a lot of people so I try not to get to emontional over a lot of things when it comes to business.
Example, Tattoos to me are the most ridiculous thing to do to your body, body piercing even worse. Clothing, music, colors etc follow trends. Vinyl to me sounds pretty bad compared to what I can do today in my studio. I don't think vinyl will ever sound as good as a digital capture but from a trend POV, its definitely very cool. Its not about sound quality.

On a side note, it is fun listening to old vinyl recording that were all done analog. But they sound pretty dated and noisy.

Kurt Foster Mon, 09/03/2012 - 16:27
From my POV vinyl done right , that is a good turntable, cartridge, phono pre amp and a well cared for record in vgc can sound superior to 44.1 / 24 bit digital. Perhaps not as much dynamic range but certainly wider frequency response and better sound stage. I find myself feeling much more satisfied after an all analog listening session in comparison to digital.

I must not be the only one who feels that way. I mentioned it once before but Jack Whites new record "Blunderbus" was recorded all analog on Ampex 1 inch 8 tracks (@ 7 & 1/2 IPS!) and mastered all analog with NO COMPRESSION and no digital processing.

It would be fun I admit to play around with cutting vinyl though, so I understand your interest in that. But to me the real cool thing is to keep everything analog.

audiokid Mon, 09/03/2012 - 17:25
There have been studies analog recordings hold peoples attention longer and are more memorable, not surprising. I posted a link to this info somewhere here months back (If I find it, I'll add it to this post).
I hear a zzzy quantization sound in the background with most mixes today. Whats astonishing to me is how come most people don't hear this, or it doesn't bother them I guess.
I don't hear this on vinyl, but tape will never be something I would go back too from an audio file POV. I get more irritated with today's mixes where I think I was much more satisfied years ago. Hybrid is so fun and to me, the best of both worlds.

My interest in vinyl has nothing to do with sound. It is strictly as a service and even more so, a fun topic and interesting at this point. I'm not surprised its growing.

What really gets me excited is the new interest in sound. What goes around, comes around.

The very last minutes of this video talks about what we are all chatting about here ( 1:17) :
The SSL Producer Panel with Byron Wong, Demo Castellon, Richard Chycki and Ian Terry

vinyl out selling CD's 3 to 1.
http://www.youtube.com/sslvideos

smoke

Kurt Foster Mon, 09/03/2012 - 17:55
I would venture that the mitigating factor in a resurgence of analog is the cost of tape. I think it was very short sighted of Ampex / BASF / Quantegy when they decided to stop making tape for professional use. That was probably the one thing that almost killed analog.

Perhaps if enough people get back into using large format analog multi tracks it will drive down the expense of tape. What with the cost of upgrades for computers, DAW software, converters and plug ins every two or so years, the cost of maintaining a 2" machine seems comparable.

Perhaps someday someone will begin to manufacture new machines as well. To me it's obvious that digital has done nothing to enhance the art of recording. Quite the opposite, it has been the downfall of a once thriving industry.

Try file sharing with analog.

kmetal Tue, 09/04/2012 - 00:42
great link to the panel i watched the whole thing, fascinating that a 'music store' even exists today. i question how the upcoming guys are gonna learn how to mix/master for vinyl, myself included. with hard drive space, and ram/processors so affordable, i think we can forgo lossy compression algorithms, and even move into 'as recorded' sample rates.

i complained to my boss/mentor about the $150 for an mrl reel, and he laughed saying he paid $600 15 years ago for a 24trk reel.

re-using tape may not be ideal, but it gets my band by. If half the bands i record paid for tape for the hours they spend eating drive space, it would cost more than they're overall budget.

the fact is digital is here to stay for a while. and it needs to get better! i mean cable tv companies are exclusively digital in America and thank someone it's at least 'hd'.

i file shared in analog. i just lived w/ the inevitable degradation of 'bootleg' cassettes. it was better to hear it sounding not good than to not rock out. so i think that is the same deal w/ the garbly digtal crap most people are spoon fed today. they just take it as is.

it's not our fault as soundguys or musicians, it's the 'man' that finds it financially acceptable. which is really why i liked what that dude said in the link about 'someone needs to talk to steve jobs about not selling mp3's', sure it's dated, but the idea i very much agree w/. i don't have huge problems w/ hybrid systems, or even all ITB, more because the cost of strictly analog is too rich for my blood, it's not like tape recording is convenient, and i have a choice to either work w/ what i'm offered or, not. i'm not gonna turn down a gig cuz of technology. the dudes who did the Beatles didn't, and they got famous.

there's certain ways to get certain sounds and thats it, i can't make a strat sound like a les paul, personally i'll keep audio cpu's as far away as i can but, if i want to, to work i have to stay proficient.

as far as micing and technique i don't blame digital i blame the un-informed. until i listen to blunderbus on my (direct drive) stanton dj turntable, or my dads stereo i can't say too much about if i even like the sound. FWIW, after a 3 yr tenure as sound tech for a nightclub, only 1 or 2, djs actually spin records, they almost always used a digital system called 'serato scratch'. every weekend. this system uses 'encoded' records to simulate analog, w/ the (ugh) downloaded mp3's. they played over the crest/jbl system there. common dj's would not be a market i'd target if i were considering a record cutter. the dudes who still use vinyl to spin very much impressed me, and i call them musicians as much as any other guitarist.

Kurt Foster Tue, 09/04/2012 - 04:50
Jack White isn't alone. There's other people going back to old school ways of making records. Gabriel Roth who produced Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings records on a 1 inch Ampex 440 8 track.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun08/articles/daptone.htm

That is some seriously cool stuff there!

I was discussing Digital with a close friend and Studio Owner years ago when the first records came out that were recorded digitally (McCartney's album Tug of War comes to mind) and he was saying what he didn't like about digital was it is like breaking a mirror and then piecing it back together.

Old farts like me will probably always grip and groan about all the "new fangled" ways of recording but I seriously believe there is still something missing in the present digital technology that analog captures albeit with added artifacts of surface and electrical noise, wow & flutter and generational loss.

All I know is it sure seemed like recording was a lot more fun back when everything wasn't a keystroke away. It was a blast to play an 8 track recording to someone with 9 part vocal stacks and have them wonder how in the hell you did it.

Davedog Tue, 09/04/2012 - 14:30
A lot of influential indie bands are releasing product on vinyl. Most of the bigger rooms still use tape for dynamic specific things as well as sources with intricate harmonic structure like a vocal for example. Back in the day when I had GREAT stereo gear, nothing sounded as full and complete as a quality vinyl reproduction. I didnt opt to return to this medium simply because at one point the vinyl was all recycled and the cuttings were down so many generations that parts were becoming inaudible in my favorite recording and records. So I was personally forced to enter the digital playback medium simply because of the lack of quality vinyl repros.

As far as workflow in a multitrack setting, the digital is far easier. Not as satisfying but easier. No machine to align or set for a particular formula of tape. No lossy artifacts from constant rewind and playback when tracking or dubbing. Editing is off the charts these days requiring no talent whatsoever or even a decent song written from front to back.Theres absolutely none of the thrill of finding that particular setting on a channel or a preamp with a certain mic that seems to just "jump off the tape". And being in pitch......who needs it!

Yep. I certainly dont miss the old days.

audiokid Tue, 09/04/2012 - 18:53
Love watching that video of Daptone Records Studio, Kurt! Thanks for sharing that one. They look like a really cool group of people.
They can keep all that archaic stuff though, I'll take my hybrid rig any day over that. But its the sound they are getting and it doesn't have anything to do with how clean it is. I can imagine the hiss, but a good hiss and no big deal for some genres of music. I sure like seeing analog resurfacing like this though. Bring it on I say.

audiokid Tue, 09/04/2012 - 19:47
and to add, I long for the day pop music actually has musicians and solo's again. I'm so sick of loops and the generic DAW sound. My oldest daughter and I were listening to a song from the 80's and when the guitar player ( a real person) took a lead break she said it sounded boring and was overkill in the song. I felt like strangling her.

Its so depressing our kids are being spoon fed this program all day long. Over and over it repeats. 30 songs running for 3 months. Who owns the radio stations?

I think I get your "just shoot me" humor in all this Kurt.

kmetal Sun, 09/09/2012 - 22:43
that Dap Tone vid is pretty cool and laid back. my question what is the worth on say 'the mass market' which is digital? sure the people who love the kind of sounds i prefer, use tape and listen to records, but, i just watched that vid on a garbly tube post, and would not have otherwise been able to experience it. I know jack white said in (electronic musician) he had two 'masters' made, one (as addressed by kurt) completely analog. one other for digital. i think that is a great (current) compromise.
Considering an average band. Would it be a common provision in mastering to have a digitized version of the master tape that's going to vinyl? Would it be a case where a mastering engineer digitizes a copy of the vinyl cut? What is the most appropriate way to present a vinyl version in the binary world? I know tech-meets-art, just throwing out ideas.

dave, i think the art of digital editing is what to leave the heck alone.

audiokid, if the 80's solos are as judged, maybe show some old school blues field recordings where it sounds like some dude pouring his heart out alone? rhythmic fluctuations and vocals anomalies intact. if that doesn't strike the soul, go see a rippin band live w/ skeptic?. I surely agree that alot of the 'flashy' stuff can get pretty redundant/boring, in guitar solos in general. i hear alot of 80's realm leads as like 'classical' compositions on the guitar, or a bunch of tricks.
Advertisement companies own the radio i think, but i dunno. They are also owning the internet more everyday.

audiokid Sat, 09/15/2012 - 21:05
I love this video. The best is about the speakers catching on fire but the interesting end to this related to sonic quality, time frame and the grooves

This is the best kept secret of the Thriller album.
I can't prove it but I hear it. Only Micheal, Quincy and whomever mixed it knows what really went on in that other mix room. I'm certain the grooves on the vinyl were an issue but I also think there was more to the sobbing than just that.
Starting at 8:00 is when they don't tell us that this album went from acoustic drums to Linn Drum and the rest is history. When this album was released, I also had a Linn Drum and was able to sync the Linn up to these tracks, tune the kick, snare, cabassa hi hats, crash to this album. Micheal was most likely sobbing because he wanted to use his Linn Drum/

Enjoy:

[GALLERY=media, 426]How To Make Sonic Sound, Quincy Jones, Recording Engineer Skills - YouTube by audiokid posted Mar 19, 2016 at 9:02 AM[/GALLERY]
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