Vinyl records now in crisis: Apollo Transco Mastering lacquer plant is a total loss*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by SoCalWJS, Feb 6, 2020.

  1. MielR

    MielR THIS SPACE FOR RENT

    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Wikipedia:
    "Direct metal mastering requires a radically different cutting angle than traditional (lacquer) cutting, almost 0 degrees. However the playback cartridges will always have the standard playback angle of 15–22.5°. Thus, the DMM process includes electronic audio processing so the records can be played with a standard cartridge despite having been cut at a substantially different angle. This electronic processing might account for the supposedly different high frequency "signature sound" of DMM records."

    So, is this "electronic audio processing" a type of equalization, like the RIAA curve? (Do DMMs even use the RIAA curve?)
     
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Just thought of another one. Does anyone know who cuts the DMM plates for RPM in Denmark? I'm not sure if they are done in house or by someone else. Regardless, their records do tend to be noisy. Possibly that is due to the fact they use a certain amount of regrind and are up front about it.
     
  3. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    DMMs must comply to the RIAA curve because the records are to be played back through the same phono stages that we all use for our traditionally cut records.

    my understanding of the electronic processing involved (really not an expert, so somebody PLEASE correct me if I am mixing things up) is that there is an ultra-high frequency tone injected into the signal, to aid in cutting the groove in the hard copper plate. The high frequencies in the audible band become easier to cut into the hard copper surface. One could argue that this tone has an audible effect on the program signal even though the tone itself is beyond the audible spectrum.


    It’s a tell-tale sign of DMM. It’s present in the entire cut, even the lead-in and lead-out grooves, and it’s pretty easy to see even with the naked eye. The grooves just don’t look the same. I’d be interested in seeing a “silent” DMM groove under the scope.
     
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  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Just listen to the lead in groove on your DMM cut record, put your finger on the platter slowing it way down and you should be able to hear the high freg. tone quite easily.
     
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  5. MielR

    MielR THIS SPACE FOR RENT

    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Wow, this is all very interesting. I wonder if I have any of these discs? I'll have to see if there's a master list of pressings somewhere.
     
  6. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    That should do it, I recall very easily hearing the similar high frequency on a CD-4 quad disc by playing back at 16RPM. One should also theoretically be able to see the tone on the spectrogram of a hi-res needledrop
     
  7. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    The vast majority of DMM these days isn’t marked as such, but if you’ve been buying any new records, odds are you have one.

    GZ is basically the biggest pressing plant in the world at this point, so they handle a lot of projects for both the majors and indies. And most of their output is cut in-house on their DMM lathes.
    I’ve pressed with them before, but sent over metal parts after having lacquers cut at Sterling Sound and plated here in the states. Not the common workflow for sure, and likely won’t even be a feasible one at this point…
     
  8. MielR

    MielR THIS SPACE FOR RENT

    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    I don't buy any new vinyl, so if I have one, it would be old.
     
  9. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    near Tampa, FL
    Saw Mr. Framer today on Florida Audio Show. He seems to be pretty devastated. He said that there is some information about industry "backup stash" 6 month worth of laquers, but does not know if it is true.
     
  10. Terrible news. What was the cause of that fire?
     
  11. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    They started becoming more common in the mid-80’s, some big albums were cut DMM, like the original release of Graceland. I’m sure there’s a list of notable titles somewhere around here
     
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  12. Dougthesnail

    Dougthesnail The Big Gabagool

    Location:
    Winnipeg
    A facility like this should have had Chemical fire suppression like an expanding foam. They would also have proper extinguishers if everything is up to code.
     
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  13. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    I’ve followed analog photography very closely for years and I have no knowledge of any photographic manufacturing plants reopening successfully.

    The closest thing to that is Film Feriana in Italy, which was sold as 3M film here. Over the past five + years they’ve attempted to modernize their dormant factory for small scale but sustainable production. With Kickstarter money they aimed to have color slide film in production within a couple of years. They just recently announced that it won’t ever happen. They were able to produce an old B&W emulsion from the 1960s, but after millions of dollars and countless hours of work the project is basically a failure.

    Sorry to be so negative (pun not intended), but ramping up production of incredibly complex Industrial Age technology today is basically impossible.

    Oh, which reminded me of the Impossible Project that brought back old Polaroid film. It’s brutally LoFi and nothing like the original even after several years. They seem on the verge of failure too.

    dan c
     
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  14. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Def Leppard's Hysteria I believe, along with most of the hour plus albums of that era.
     
  15. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    near Tampa, FL
    I am sure there is cost and economics of scale involved. I am sure someone can make good film now -but who will buy it for $300 a roll?
    Here it was and will be very low volume process, and even if new costs will be much higher product will still be demand. With film photography cost of actual film is a major expense. With record production, unless it is very limited pressing, cost of lacquer is not important. If it is $250 vs $25 per disc it will add only a small amount to cost of for example 5,000 records pressing.
    Today I am a glass half-full guy! :pineapple:
     
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  16. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    I’ve also got dozens of DMM LPs in my collection, classical and pop/rock, and some sound superb, others OK and some lousy. I think it can be used to make great sounding LPs and never quite understood the demonization of it.
    dan c
     
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  17. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    I wonder if dogs can hear it when played at normal speed. The dog whistle effect.

     
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  18. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

  19. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

  20. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    near Tampa, FL
    My dog does not change his behaviour when DMM records are playing, I can assure you.
     
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  21. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    near Tampa, FL
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  22. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Not exactly applicable. Kodak already had an operational manufacturing facility up and running, their decision to start mixing and coating a new (old) emulsion was more reliant on whether or not there would be a market to buy the film.


    It’s going to be near impossible for someone to build a new lacquer manufacturing facility, as much as it would be near impossible for a newcomer to the photo industry to just start making film, with no prior infrastructure or equipment.
     
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  23. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

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  24. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    Maybe Neil Young can assist.
     
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  25. Radagast

    Radagast Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Keep in mind that when the likes of Kodak and Polaroid were developing these things, they had a lot of brilliant people working for many years. Just because it existed once, doesn't mean it can be re-animated by fewer people, with less brilliance, time, and money.
     
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