Work of art: Ortofon/Lyrec all-valve stereo cutting lathe

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by raferx, May 2, 2014.

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  1. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    This is a brilliant video and Sean Davies is just the bomb of analog cutting experts.

    U.K. based Electric Mastering's Sean Davies took two years of painstaking work – a true labour of love – and hand-assembled a vintage Ortofon/Lyrec all-tube vinyl mastering facility.

     
  2. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Awesome!
    -Bill
     
  3. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Yeah, it's pretty amazing that these craftsmen, hell – artists, are making a comeback in this digital day and age. I think it's just wonderful.
    The more all-tube lacquer cutters there are, the happier I am :)
     
    T'mershi Duween likes this.
  4. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Further on this topic, and the works being produced with said Lyrec/Ortofon lathe, here is an interview in The Guardian with Electric Recording Company owner Pete Hutchison who discusses the "digital con" and his $4,200 Mozart box sets:

    http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/may/25/pete-hutchison-interview-new-vinyl-recording

    I like his style.
    But he is quoted in the story as saying that his company is the only one in the world to offer all-tube stereo cutting abilities... which I don't think is accurate.
    Isn't Grundman cutting on an all-tube mono and stereo lathe?
    From Grundman's website:

    "Two cutting lathes are installed in this studio. The first is a high powered, solid state lathe fitted with a stereo Haeco cutter head and driven by our own proprietary amplifier system. The second has a stereo Westrex cutter head driven by a refurbished Haeco vacuum-tube amplifier. True mono cutter heads and amplifiers are also available. Both lathes were manufactured by Scully and are mounted on pneumatic isolation tables."
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
    JoelWat likes this.
  5. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I found another video with Sean Davies discussing the all-valve system at Electric Recording:

     
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  6. ROLO46

    ROLO46 Forum Resident

    Steam Engines are more fun and easier to line up than these valve monsters
     
    raferx likes this.
  7. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Ha! But tubes sound better don't they?
     
    EasterEverywhere likes this.
  8. JoelWat

    JoelWat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dubai, UAE
    In the video I believe I heard him say 'only company in the uk'.

    But whatever...fascinating story and thanks for posting.
     
  9. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I just won't ever pay $4,200 for any record, ever.
     
    Scott Wheeler and Pinknik like this.
  10. Burt

    Burt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kirkwood, MO
    Yeah, but someone else will, just because it's $4,200.
     
    Jim T likes this.
  11. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    Awesome +1

    jeff
     
  12. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Not in video, but in the Guardian print story.
     
  13. ROLO46

    ROLO46 Forum Resident

    Have you ever lined up a valve tape machine,let alone disc cutter amps and lathe servos?
    Valve amps sound good when maintained, however modern solid state sounds even better with none.
     
  14. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    No, I haven't lined up a valve tape machine, but I'd love to have access to one – I'm a vinyl guy and I find the mastering/cutting and plating process fascinating. it's truly an art form IMHO.
    And I meant tubes output a better sound than steam engines – sorry about the confusion.
    I'd like to add that I applaud any company's decision to invest in a traditional technology that relies more on an individual's (or group's) artistry, skill, knowledge and expertise than a technology that automates or removes a degree of human interaction from the creative production chain.
    I think it's safe to say there are fewer and fewer master artisans like Sean Davies in the world of audio; I'd rather see more. I would happily leave my career in journalism to work in the studio or mastering suite alongside the likes of Sean and help lift more beautiful music off the original master tapes and into the groove.
     
  15. EasterEverywhere

    EasterEverywhere Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque
    I might consider the Mozart a Paris if I had the money,but there are too many other rare classical records I don't have that I would buy first.I don't need the Johanna Martzy Bach Sonatas.I have UK original pressings I once scored at a flea market for $2.00.
     
  16. ROLO46

    ROLO46 Forum Resident

    It might have been once
    At EMI the trainee engineers went to the Library first,then Mastering,then the Studios as Tape Ops,then to the mixing desk
    Hardly master artisans when they came out of the Library.
    'Lifting music off the tapes and into the grooves' involved some horrible compromises then,hence EMI lack of bottom end in pop in the early 60s (compare the Shadows first album with the early Fabs!)
    I admire chaps who restore this kit and can operate it with style, but their vinyl prices are sheer madness or is it smugness?
     
  17. Leigh

    Leigh Tornado scientist

    So I was getting annoyed with the way the lighting kept changing in the video - I thought it was some effect they were going for. Then I noticed it was because there were what appear to be cars going right by the window. Think of those vibrations! And then I looked them up, they're about fifty feet away from a major highway (A40 in London). And train tracks as well! If someone is going to pay hundreds of bucks for boutique vinyl I sure as heck hope it doesn't have the imprint of semi trucks and freight trains rumbling by embedded within the grooves....
     
  18. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    Certainly not for a new record at list price.
     
  19. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

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    ---------------
    I like what he is doing except for the pricing and the small size of the runs. I think AP, MM, ORG, ORGM, Impex and other such labels have shown that you can do pretty much the same thing for a fraction of the price. But here is the deeper problem. Maybe you can't do the same thing with classical music of this type. I once suggested to Chad Kassem that he do one of his reissues series that focused on Ivan Moravec and the CS recordings from the 60s. He dismissed the idea on the spot saying ha just can't sell enough units to avoid taking a loss. I wasn't exactly suggesting he take on some obscure artist either. I think such a series would sell. But maybe I am wrong and Chad is right. And if so then maybe it is all but impossible for these labels to do anything other than the RCA,Mercury,Decca and EMI audiophile war horses in runs large enough to keep the costs down. Maybe with this kind of material the best option really is these extremely expensive extremely small issues. I hope not but I dunno. Ironically it was shortly after talking to Chad and hearing him dismiss classical music as a viable genre for audiophile reissues that he announced the RCA reissues. A catalog that really has been done to death.
     
    raferx likes this.
  20. Burt

    Burt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kirkwood, MO
    In North America at least, it's not hard to find a real tape machine-an Ampex 300, 350 or 440-and get it going, take it all apart and put it back together, etc. Cutting lacquers would be harder but you can find a lathe out there for about what some of the more ridiculous audiophile turntables go for and get a mono cutter head and amp chain going fairly cheaply.

    Getting anything WORTH cutting would be more challenging, but there is unexploited talent out there. There are always church choirs, barbershop outfits and so forth. Not to mention UP is still running 844 and if you know your way around a railyard you could mic it up...
     
    raferx likes this.
  21. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Thanks for that Burt... and ... LOL at the UP hit.
    :)
     
  22. Bolero

    Bolero Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario
    that is pretty amazing

    what if Jimmy Page took the LZ masters in there & used that place for the upcoming Zep reissues...I'm sure that would inject some $$ & also satisfy all the audiophiles out there who want the best vinyl reissues
     
    raferx likes this.
  23. raferx

    raferx Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I'd love to have the access (and the money) to a mastering facility like The Electric Recording Co. I'd start with (what I think) are some truly classic albums that I would love to see remastered (Hello Chad Kassem!) such as Murray Head Say it Ain't So, and John Stewart California Bloodlines to name just two. It's titles like these that I think a run of 2,500 ~ 5,000 would sell out. I'd pay $50 for each of titles in a heartbeat.
     
  24. Gardo

    Gardo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Valid arguments pro and con and otherwise aside, this really is a splendid video, a great document testifying to care and love for art.
     
    nm_west and raferx like this.
  25. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Nope

    Location:
    Tri-Cities, Tn.
     
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