SH Spotlight Photos of my visit to RTI (Record Tech). How albums are manufactured...

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DoctorDave, Feb 20, 2005.

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  1. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    I had to be in LA last week for some business, and Steve & Kevin Gray were nice enough to carve out some time to get together for lunch and a tour of the RTI facility in Camarillo, which is about an hour northwest of Hollywood. The whole process of making LP's hasn't changed in decades, but it was fascinating to see the process, and the complexity involved. Steve gives a great tour! :righton:

    Attached is a group shot of the three of us. I'll have some additional pictures in subsequent posts.
     

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  2. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    Here's another shot of Steve and Kevin working in the mastering suite at RTI.
     

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  3. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    This is a shot taken inside the manufacturing area at RTI. In the foreground, you'll see one of the many album presses, and in the background, there are shelves holding all of the metal parts for various albums that have been manufactured by RTI
     

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  4. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    This is the "Quality Control" room at RTI, where visual inspections of randomly selected albums are done under a microscope. Notice the "Lacquer", "Master", "Mother" and "Stamper" samples hanging on the wall.
     

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  5. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    Location:
    ....
    Thanks for the photos, Dave! I hope I'm out in LA in the near future. :)
     
  6. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    This is another shot of an album pressing machine at RTI. It's a fascinating process to watch. A bin of virgin or ground up vinyl sits atop this machine. At the proper time, a portion of that vinyl is heated up and extruded onto a metal plate, and compressed into something resembling a large black bagel (without the hole). The album labels are then applied to both sides of this "bagel". That was the most suprising part to me......I always assumed the labels were put on last. The labled vinyl is then slid over to another area of the machine where the stampers (both sides) compress the vinyl into the shape of an album and press the grooves into both sides. A cutting device then circles the circumfrence of the album and trims off any excess vinyl. Finally, the finished album slides down a track onto a spindle with all the other albums. I didn't time it, but it seemed like the whole process took less than 1 minute per album.
     

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  7. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    More pressing machines....
     

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  8. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    Even more pressing machines! Notice some of the album covers on the wall in the background.
     

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  9. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    The assembly room where albums are HAND INSERTED in their sleeves.
     

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  10. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    Here's one of the machines that shrink-wraps the albums.
     

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  11. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    Oh yeah.....one last shot of Steve at the controls. By the way, this room sounds excellent!
     

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  12. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Nice - thanks Dave!
     
  13. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    Doc Dave: thanks!! :)
     
  14. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff

    Dave, thanks for the tour! I hope to visit RTI one day...

    Bob :)
     
  15. Joe Nino-Hernes

    Joe Nino-Hernes Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Me Too!
     
  16. Love the photos! You must be a tall dude, Steve is reportedly pretty tall but he doesn't exactly tower over you!

    I wonder about the kids running the pressing machines, and inserting records into the covers. Do they know they are doing important work, or that some of the vinyl they sleeve sells for $30? It's a warehouse, not a "clean room" either (not that I am knocking RTI - on the contrary, I am certain they make an excellent product), and here I am at home furiously scrubbing records before I play them!

    The guy checking the records with a stereoscope has a dream job (for me). I look at the grooves of records in my collection all the time (I'm nuts - so sue me!).

    The label goes on the vinyl biscuit BEFORE stamping? Makes sense but that caught me by surprise too. I saw an old film once where the biscuits were hand-inserted into the stamper. It was black and white news footage, pretty old. I can't remember whether the lady operator even wore gloves.

    Shame you couldn't make a quicktime movie of the stamper/trimmer in action! I need to fly out there with a video camera.
     
  17. MikeT

    MikeT Prior Forum Cretin and Current Impatient Creep

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Thanks for the pictures. By the way, what album was Steve mastering when you were in the mastering room?
     
  18. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    Thom,

    I'm just a hair under 6'4", and Steve seemed to be slightly taller than me. Super nice guy, by the way. Yes, the labels do go on the "biscuits" first (thanks for using that term....I couldn't remember what they had called them), and then the biscuit is compressed to create the album. Steve gave me a rejected biscuit that does have the label applied, but was not yet formed into a record.

    Everything that is being worked on at RTI is given an order number, and the only thing that the employees use to keep track of everything is that order number. I suppose it wouldn't be a problem for someone to look at the label and see what is bring pressed, but in general, I think they just work the numbers. Obviously, the ladies doing the inserting of the albums would know what they were working on, but the order number is still the king.

    Mike,

    They were mastering a Wes Montgomery track to a laquer disc at 45rpm. Steve and Kevin both made it look pretty easy, but they were very good about explaining exactly how the process worked for me. I learned a lot.
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Dave,

    Thanks for hanging with us at Record Tech. I'm glad I could show you how records are made. It's the exact same process (except for the automation) that has been in use since 1900 or so!

    By the way, Dave has a great radio voice. Pretty easy to tell he's been in the Radio industry for years and years! :)
     
  20. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    Location:
    ....
    Dave,
    Do you work at a station here in Columbus?
     
  21. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio
    Keith,

    I'm the General Sales Manager at WNCI.....been there 17 years......and in radio since 1968.

    Dave
     
  22. DoctorDave

    DoctorDave Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dublin, Ohio

    Steve,

    Getting an opportunity to meet you and Kevin, plus see the RTI plant was a highlight of the trip. Thanks for taking the time to hang with me and show me around. I really enjoyed it!

    Dave
     
  23. JorgeGvb

    JorgeGvb Senior Member

    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    Thanks for sharing your pics and your experience visting with Steve! :righton:
     
  24. Wes Montgomery at 45rpm?? My brain would have just melted to hear that in the mastering room!!!!! I have the older DCC Wes and it is purely wonderful.

    Someone here on the forum commented on the sad state of those Wes Montgomery tapes, but he'd heard the gawd-offel JVC versions and not Steve's take on the same material. So funny that Steve can get great results - sometimes (but not always) with ease - and the Japanese engineers manage to trash the same material after over-thinking it.

    I have a few records from over the years that are very well mastered, but the pressings are noisy. Still listen to them anyway. It really is in the mastering.

    Dave, you confirmed the tall suspicion (laughs). I'm only 5'9", youse guys tower over me.
     
  25. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain (EU)
    Thanks for your photos and explanation, Dave. I remember visiting a record plant here in Spain a long time ago and your images reminded me of some of what I saw.
     
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