"Ghosting" on vinyl? (Adjacent Groove Pre-echo)*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by metalbob, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. sgraham

    sgraham New Member

    "Print through" heard on CD has to be from something on the master tape.

    Pre- (and also post-) echo on vinyl comes from one groove wall deforming the one next to it, and is always one disk revolution away from the "real" signal. You can get it on records that were cut sloppily, as Steve said. But there can be other contributing factors. I have read that if the lacquer is not plated soon after cutting you can get some from the lacquer itself shifting a bit. I also observe that certain types of "pressings" (I am thinking of the Columbia polystyrene type here) can be more prone to it than others -- I have two otherwise identical-looking copies of a couple of singles, one on vinyl and the other on the polystyrene, and the polystyrene one has much more pre/post-echo. (Not all Polystyrenes do, but it seems you need to leave a little more space, or maybe cut a deeper groove or something. Probably Steve would know.)

    Also, if you play a record with a heavy pickup, you can actually make the groove echo much worse. I have observed this in a slightly insane experiment I did a couple of years ago, mounting an old BSR TC8S crystal cartridge in a Technics turntable and playing some throwaway records with it. I had two identical pressings, both new (radio station freebies of, you should pardon my opinion, garbage metal music). Pre-TC8S they sounded identical. After one single playing (I think it was at the specified tracking force of 7 grams) the one played with the TC8S had *much* more pre-echo.

    I first noticed the phenomenon myself back around 1965, on my first Parlophone mono copy of Rubber Soul. I heard echo after the end of Think For Yourself and then pre-echo before The Word. In those days I was using a BSR changer fitted with (yup!) the seemingly omnipresent (in Britain) TC8. Not a TC8S (stereo) but a TC8H (mono, high output), which was the least compliant, spec'd at 10 grams.
    McLover likes this.
  2. Pat

    Pat Forum Detective

    Tampa, FL
    Yes Steve,

    You got Book Of Love right on Vintage Music Volume 1/2! That's a VERY nice sounding version of that song (I'm sure it was crudely recorded too!).

    Regarding Groovy Kind Of Love, brain-fade on MY part...as I did know that it was just The Mindbenders by that time. Isn't that Eric Stewart (10cc) on lead there?

    Funny thing:
    When I saw Wayne Fontana recently (he STILL sounds pretty good,BTW) he performed Groovy Kind Of Love, although HE wasn't part of the group when that song came out. I guess you gotta play the hits, huh? Give the fans what they want!
    Hotdog likes this.
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Hee. Why not? :)
  4. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    United States
    Is this where that discussion of the CBS DiscComputer comes in? The computer automatically does the work for you?
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Well, no.

    It can't choose when to expand in the way I mean. It's already expanding and contracting the groove as the "preview" signal is telling it to.

    The extra bit of expansion is a hand delivered boost. (Finger delivered, actually). We were using it like crazy today working on the Wes Montgomery 45 we were cutting.....
    McLover likes this.
  6. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef

    columbia, sc
    It's atrociously bad on the CD of Toto IV. I took my first copy back, and the second was just the same. You can hear it on every cut. Does this mean the master tape was not used?
  7. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    I guess I'm a bit confused. I understand that you need to expand the groove for loud passages. But isn't that what the preview head is already doing? Why does there need to be an *extra* expansion?
  8. KBanya

    KBanya Active Member


    Wow...perfect example! I was just about to mention this one myself. I must have a dozen copies of this 45, because at the time I thought it was my turntable! I have the spoken intro. version on a 12" single though, and if memory serves me, it does not suffer from this "ghosting".

    Also, I have 3 different timings for this track spread among my 45's...what was with that?
  9. JoelDF

    JoelDF Senior Member

    Prairieville, LA
    Is yours a new pressing or something?

    I have one of the earlier CBS releases (pre Sony days), but one that has the "Now Made in the USA" on the extra white area on the back (where the UPC is printed).

    I just listened to it with the headphones and cranked it up to where the hiss is deafening - no print through anywhere, even in the quiter parts.

    Although, "It's A Feeling" has much more background hiss than any other song. It must have gone through several generations before going to the final master. I've read reviews that say the same thing about the SACD version.

  10. petzi

    petzi Forum Resident

    Direct Metal Mastering DMM is (was) the answer to these echoes. It eliminates them by cutting into a harder medium, hence the adjacent grooves cannot interfere with each other.
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Because there does.

    If it didn't, there would be no groove pre-echo on records, and there clearly is, when the computer is relied upon to do the job alone. The preview head and computer is not an emotional being, and it can't know where a double wallop is needed and where it is not, or else it would be double-walloping the start of each loud passage and the side of a record would only be 5 minutes long at most. The human operator is the one who has to make that decision. That means that the cutting engineer cannot be reading a book or taking a snooze during the cutting of a side. (Which was my only point at the beginning of this thread; the engineer has to pay attention, and know what to do and when).

    To answer your question, the computer can't do this part.
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  12. sgraham

    sgraham New Member

    The groove computer is intended to pack grooves as tightly as possible without colliding. It's not really concerned with pre-echo. I've never had the pleasure of cutting a record, but I would guess that dealing with pre-echo is a bit of an art, since there are too many variables to make a specification for how to avoid it (without reducing the playing time significantly).

    Although in the late 1960's/early 1970's Phillips might have tried. I remember seeing some of their classical LPs with sudden widely spaced grooves in seemingly random places... or maybe something was just broken.

    DMM is only a partial cure. It deals with the cutting end of things, but the vinyl itself can also contribute some pre-echo. And DMM has its own set of issues.
  13. petzi

    petzi Forum Resident

    Excuse me for nit-picking, but may I point out that the problem of crosstalk between grooves is only solved when the wider groove spacing is actually applied. When it is only applied in certain "strategic" moments, then the rest of the material will still be subject to these echoes; the artifacts will, however, not be as audible as during sudden changes in the volume of the program.
  14. tim_neely

    tim_neely Forum Hall Of Fame

    Central VA
    First, there are two different pressings of "Jersey Girl." Initial versions, which have a trail-off master number ending in "1x" where x is a letter early in the alphabet, contain a spoken introduction to the song that Bruce is about to play. Later versions, which have a trail-off master number ending in "2x" where x is a letter in the alphabet, have this intro deleted, and the record starts where the music starts.

    One of the different times on the record reflects the version with the spoken intro; one of them I think reflects the version without the spoken intro. The third one? Beats me! I haven't put all my copies of this 45 next to each other recently to compare them.

    If you have a 12-inch single, it's either an import, or it was the promo-only collection of Born in the U.S.A. B-sides that Columbia issued to radio stations in 1985. It's not on the commercial 12-inch single of "Cover Me." As Columbia pressed its 12-inch singles on vinyl, they tend to sound much better than their (mostly) styrene 45s.

    This same version of "Jersey Girl," without the spoken intro, is the last track on the Bruce Springsteen official live box set from 1986. For my own project, I was hoping to get a good copy of the "spoken intro" version, because I like to use odd versions of things I like where appropriate. (For example, I used a copy of "At the Hop" by Danny and the Juniors with the "count-in" intro off an original Singular 45, even though I have countless cleaner copies on both vinyl and CD.)
  15. Dugan

    Dugan Senior Member

    WoW. I didn't know there as a version wth an intro. Unfortunatly my copy is a 2G.
    The Springsteen track that this is really noticable on is the soft passages on the live version of Incident on 57th Street" which is the B side to Fire.
    The reason is that the track clocks in at 10:03 and is cut at 45 RPM!
  16. VU Master

    VU Master Senior Member

    With vinyl disks, you can determine whether you're hearing "print through" (a tape problem) or "pre echo" (a mastering and/or pressing problem) fairly easily. Watch the disk while listening. If the sound occurs 1 disk revolution in advance, it's probably pre-echo. If not, it can only be print through.

    If you are hearing it while listening to a CD, it's print through - unless a vinyl disk was used as the source material!
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Good point, David.

    See you at Breakfast with the boyz!
  18. ferric

    ferric Iron Dino In Memoriam

    What about glazed donuts? :D
  19. dbryant

    dbryant Forum Resident

    Cambridge MA
    The worst example I can remember is at the beginning of "Hymn 43" on the copy of Aqualung I had as a teenager. I never heard it the "right way" -- a clean start from a silent background -- until I grew up and got the DCC CD. Pretty startling! I'll bet I hadn't heard that record for 25 years, but I was still "programmed" to listen for that advance warning...
  20. SimplyOrange

    SimplyOrange Well-Known Member

    Always wondered what that "echo" on the beginning of a song was on some albums until I found out recently. I actually know little about how it happens (gotta read more on it).

    But I read somewhere that some consider it a negative aspect of music playback, like hiss I suppose. Has print through ever bothered you on analog recordings?

    Me personally, not really. Always thought it was interesting to hear the song before it started, so to speak. I've heard some bands even utilized it intentionally in their recordings.
  21. ROLO46

    ROLO46 Forum Resident

    Its annoying ,destroys climaxes sometimes, but mechanical recording has many imperfections and some bonuses.
    Thats life.
  22. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Confide In Me

    New Zealand
    Is this when you can hear the song faintly start in the background before it actually starts?
  23. SimplyOrange

    SimplyOrange Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I believe so.
  24. Mylene

    Mylene Senior Member

    Yer Blues and Helter Skelter are the worst examples.
  25. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

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