White label promo cutting

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LitHum05, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. LitHum05

    LitHum05 Disco es Cultura Thread Starter

    I’ve noticed that a lot of my white label promo records sound especially bright. I thought this was a coincidence, but have seen the same happen time and again. Even Columbia six-eye pressings sound shrill. Were these things cut brighter for radio stations? Do the first pressings sound more balanced? I know it may be tough to assess without a sample. How about the “Death Wish” soundtrack, by Herbie Hancock? I always though people sought out promos because they sounded even better than first pressings, not just for the label fetish. Anyone know?:help:
     
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  2. Audiobro

    Audiobro Member

    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    Good question! I have not found that first pressings sound the best, it's more where they are pressed. I always thought that it was collectors that looked for "white labels", I had never considered they might be a better pressing. I sure hope someone here knows.
     
  3. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    I’m glad to hear someone else mention this. Quite a few of my WLPs are really bright as well - sometimes disappointingly so. Many of my early pressings of a title I ffound surprisingly better than my promos.
     
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  4. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    The stampers used to make white label promos are -- in most cases -- the very same stampers used to make commercial copies. The only sound differences might be in presence or detail because the promos are early in the production runs, but they are not going to sound that different.
     
  5. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    Some will also suggest the time of day it was pressed! The warmer and longer running the pressers were,
    the better the vinyl press as opposed to the cold machines in the morning at the start of production.
     
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  6. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    Some of mine do though. I know it’s odd but I have found a few WLPs (mainly on Warner) that don’t sound as good as my first commercial pressings. Weird, I know.
     
  7. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Well the whole 'hot stamper' thing would still be at play. I've also had a few WLPs that are bested by a standard copy with the same matrix, but usually they showed some play wear.
     
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  8. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    Yeah it’s funny what a crap shoot records can be . I’ve had some records with absolutely identical deadwax info that sound markedly different. One can have magic and the other just kinda lays there. Curious.
     
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  9. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I have many WLPs in my collection such as Fleetwood Mac's Then Play On and Alice Cooper's Love It To Death. The ones I have do sound better than stock copies. I haven't found them to sound brighter than stock copies.

    Scott
     
  10. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    I never understood the fascination with the white label promos. The ones that I had the chance to compare do not sound any better than the regular early pressings.
    As a matter of fact most of the ones that I have sound worse cause they have been played to death and been mishandled by all these DJs.
     
  11. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    If you are talking white labels then they might not be promo copies, but test pressings, if they are TPs there's always the chance that they are rejected cuts that shouldn't have got into the market.
     
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  12. LitHum05

    LitHum05 Disco es Cultura Thread Starter

    Good point, but then why would these be out there at all? Why would they go to “promote” the album if they are imperfect? I know about the variations in pressing qualities. I thought maybe the brightness had to do with a sound signature better suited to promotional networks of one kind or another. And that those LPs were later tamed in commercial releases. First off, am I even correct that there is a difference between WLP and first presses? And if so, what is the cause behind it? Most of my WLP are Columbia and Arista. It’s shocking when the goodness of a six-eye Columbia LP is replaced by strident harshness. I had a Mike Curb soundtrack for a teen pic from the early sixties. I also scored some classical six-eye LPs thinking these were major scores. But to the goodwill they went!:rant:
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  13. showtaper

    showtaper Concert Hoarding Bastard

    Test pressings and white label promos have different labels. I have hundreds of each and the only ones that have sounded different to the official release have different matrix info and were likely cut with different EQ settings. Obviously, your experience may be different.
     
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  14. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    No, there are white label promos, promos with a label design on a white background, test presses with a label design on a white background that generally say test pressing and white labels with no text or design on them which can be test pressings, promos, or both, the term white label is generally used to refer to the latter.
     
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  15. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    When it comes to not paying royalties on "promo" copies labels have been creative in their approaches and rarely consistent, you can have test pressings, factory samples, white label promos, labeled promos, stamped promos, radio station copies, DJ labeled promos, stickered promos, acetates and unique promotional packs, some labels such as Virgin and Island used multiples of the above for the same titles, so you can pick up a white label, a factory sample and labeled promo of the same title if so inclined.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  16. showtaper

    showtaper Concert Hoarding Bastard

    I've never received a "white label promo" that had no printing to identify itself as such. Every test pressing I've received has had "Test Pressing" or blank labels. White label promos are pressed at the beginning of a run of albums destined for shipment to retailers. As I only received U.S. promos and test pressings, your experience in the UK may differ.
     
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  17. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    For the last 25 or 30 years most independent, particularly dance orientated, labels in the UK have used completely white labels, either pressed as part of the TP run or pressed separately as promos, European plants will give you quotes for how many additional TPs you may need as promos, some labels even sell these before the proper release to generate extra income, during the same period larger labels mostly switched to stickers to indicate promotional copies. Going back further UK promos could be anything from a custom label design, a custom TP design, a completely white label or a stickered copy, sleeves could also vary, to some extent there was a hierarchy of who was getting sent the promo, industry, press, radio, club, so a magazine reviewer might get a labeled test press with a proof sleeve and press kit while someone else might get a white label in a plain sleeve.
     
  18. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Here's a few sixties promos showing different approaches:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  19. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 He’s hip! He’s cool! He’s Member!

    Location:
    Ohio
    In many cases additional detail feels bright. If the the WLP is the first off the stamper of the first pressing, it should by definition have more detail than the LP's pressed at the end of the stampers life. Given all of this, a WLP should have more detail and sound brighter compared to regular copy. There is no guarantee that the WLP label wasn't put on for the last 500 off the stamper. Common sense would suggest that not be the case but common sense doesn't always win the day in a manufacturing environment.

    Anything is possible and there is no one way things were done the same way for every company or every pressing plant within a company. Sometimes a WPL is just a label variant but I've certainly never heard of special or different stamper being used for a promo copy.
     
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  20. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    As a USA example I have stock and white label Presswell copies of Sticky Fingers and cannot say the promo sounds any better.

    I have about 25 vintage Japanese white label promo's and where they sound better is where they have simply had little play and been looked after!
     
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  21. As someone who seeks out WLP's, the real lure is an assurance that the stampers were fresh, providing most detail. Generally speaking WLP's have the same matrices as 1st pressings.
     
  22. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 He’s hip! He’s cool! He’s Member!

    Location:
    Ohio
    More of a possibility than an assurance.
     
  23. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Most Japanese vinyl in general is treated in the same manner!
     
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  24. ggergm

    ggergm you can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I've had good luck in general with WLP records. Many were sent to radio DJs who rarely played them because they were given so many titles. If you were a DJ on a station in a major market, you got your own promo, as well as the station getting copies for on-air use. Same thing could be true if you were management at a major record store. In both cases, those WLP titles were later dumped onto the used market with little or no play.

    Otherwise, as has been said upthread, WLP can sound different, and usually better, because they were most often made at the beginning of a record's run, when both the master tape and the stampers were new.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
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  25. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Re: Columbia 6 eye being bright, it is the Columbia house style. Also, on the air, consider they didn't play these on Fine Lines, Shibatas, MicroLines, MicroRidges. StereoHedrons, Quadrahedrons, and their ilk, and their gear is detailed enough, but not obnoxiously forensic.

    Such wasn't available when these records were new. On the high end these records got played with Shure M3D, with GE VR22, Pickering, Fairchilds and comparable. With conical styli. And those cartridges didn't go much beyond 18 Kilohertz response. And tracking angles then were different as this was pre 15 degree standard (now 20 degrees nominal).

    Those who can easily change cartridges and styli to what is better for vintage records, can get better sound out of them, with less artifacts. Consider a Shure M 44-7 for their playback, that is the closest you can get to period playback done better, which works in far more arms, tracks at reasonable forces, and easier to find. Also the Stanton 500 is another good choice.

    Promo copies were intended for promotional purposes. Meaning AM and FM radio, TV use, record store play, etc. Meaning on the high end used on broadcast station equipment, where flat and accurate matters, where durable and reliable matters, and where 20-20,000 hertz response is plenty fine, and where equipment is maintained regularly in the day by engineers. Use what the professional uses for cartridges and styli options for best playback.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
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