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Author Topic: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.  (Read 8719 times)

JimK

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2011, 02:19:45 pm »

If possible, I'd also like to hear about what was necessary to achieve the best result.

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Jim Kissling

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2011, 03:04:35 pm »

I think I'll have a chance to look at it on Saturday. I know all the parties involved so I have to be careful...I'm happy to do it if I think it's appropriate.
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Paul Gold
Salt Mastering

concretecowboy71

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2011, 03:43:50 pm »

My name is Clint Holley and I am the cutting engineer that Tom is referencing in his post.

Tom fails to mention many key elements of the exchange that he is portraying here.

1)The email that he has posted was sent to the end client (not Tom) and was never intended for general consumption. 

The client is not very experienced with the vinyl medium and actually had a job last year that had a few issues. I was offering this opinion as a courtesy to let him know any potential obstacles this job might encounter.

The email was written for the client and I tried to explain in laguage that he would understand what I was hearing while cutting test samples that he requested.

I was attempting to open a dialog with him to allow him to make decisions that were best for him and his product.

Nowhere in the email do I make any other suggestion other than dropping the level.  I am letting him know that this record may very well be more quiet than the one he had done last year or other vinyl he might own in his collection, hence any references I made to "commercial volume".

2)Tom fails to tell anybody here about the five minute phone conversation we had where he called the test samples "awful" (I fully realized they had issues...that is why I sent them!) and gave me a short lecture about digital metering vs analog metering.  Never during the conversation did he ask or propose any solution to the issue at hand even though I told him I saw the vocals peaking 5 or more db above the average level.

3)I am familiar with the style of music.  I have made,collected,DJ'd,recorded and cut every style of American roots music starting over 25 years ago. In our phone conversation Tom called it "folk" music...which it is, but it is not "Cajun" music as Tom calls it in his post, it is Zydeco which is very different from cajun music.  Cajun music is based in the Freach speaking community of people who migrated to the delta from Acadia and focuses around the fiddle while Zydeco is based  on Creole culture and focuses on the accordian as the main instrument. Zydeco is one of the backbone music influences for rock and roll.

4)Tom makes a blind assumption that I only cut "Rock and Roll" when in fact my work has been contracted and approved for such clients as Tom Waits, Nick Lowe, Iggy and the Stooges, Dave Alvin, Greg Brown and more.  I have cut folk,noise,rock,electronic,spoken word,emo,screamo,metal,hardcore,grindcore,straight edge,bluegrass,newgrass,hillbilly and jazz to name a few.

5)My first and really only goal is to make sure my client is happy.  I like to roll my sleeves up, jump in and work.  I feel that great music is a collabaration of minds to come up with the best ideas that serve the music.

6)I would love to assume that every master that crosses my desk is vinyl ready, but I have learned never to trust any master without giving it a once over first.

All this being said, I am not trying to put down anybody's work.  I have had dialog with mastering engineers in New York, Nashville and LA and they usually seem open to having an intelligent conversation regarding music and what is best for their client.  Frankly I was bummed to find this posting using correspondence that was meant for my co-workers and client while no reasonable response was ever given to me. 

I am proud of my work, my work ethic and my ability to provide great customer service to my clients. Although I may be one of the younger guys around doing this, I am happy to say that I can call many others in the cutting community my mentors and friends and the help and information they have provided has been an invaluable resource along the way.

I just felt the need to tell my side of the story. I feel this thread is more about customer service than the music, because nobody else here has heard the music in question! 

I am happy to hear from other business owners how I might have handled the situation differently with the end client...beyond that, I will be in my office cutting more records or listening to some Clifton Chenier albums!

Thanks for listening.
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2011, 06:25:34 am »

I left the cutting engineer's name off the posting for a reason. I did not want to upset anyone. I only wanted some advice.

I do not want to get into a pissing contest.

The MP3 samples were "awful" and the producer and the mix engineer were upset to the point that they no longer wanted to continue the project with the cutting engineer. If the MP3s had not been sent to the producer to show him the "problems"  I don't think we would be having this discussion. The MP3s in and by themselves made it look like I had messed up the mastering which  I had not.  I still do not understand why the cutting engineer would send distorted MP3s to the producer when the project had no distortion in it and was designed to be a "flat transfer".

I posted these problems here because I wanted to get some good advice - which I got. This web board has the best of the best when it comes to mastering engineers with a lots of experience.

The phrase "commercial loudness" was used but never explained.

I was the mastering engineer on the project but was not contacted about any problems by the cutting engineer. A simple phone call to me would have been nice before the producer was sent an email, which I quoted in my original post,  and some distorted MP3s.  I had to learn about the the problems from the producer via email and later a phone call.

Not a great way to cement a good close working relationship and we are only 25 miles and a phone call apart.

There were similar problems with a project that was cut last year with this same cutting engineer. At that time I asked what I could do to make things easier for the cutting engineer and followed his suggestions. This is only my second vinyl mastering project and I am the first one to admit that I have not done any cutting since my intern days in Nashville years ago. I did all the research on the WWW including a great article from Steve Berson http://totalsonicmastering.com/vinyl.htm which I found to be very helpful and followed all of his suggestions.

We have simply decided to go with someone else. I know we will be pleased with the results.

Thanks!
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Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

Celebrating 25 years in business in 2020

JohnBaldwin

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2011, 03:10:02 pm »

Hello!

Long time listener, first time caller, or something like that.

I feel like it's important that I weigh in here to say that I've been working with Clint for some time now and he has never been anything other than helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, and a professional.

Every project I've sent Clint's way has come back flawlessly.  His cuts are as close to a "flat transfer" as I've heard after working with many lacquering engineers, and the mp3s he sends are very helpful in pointing out the issues in the masters I send him.

Sorry to hear about your trouble, Thomas, and maybe your experiences are different than mine.   I send out projects to vinyl weekly, and the best sounding and flattest cuts I've had have come from Clint.
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John Baldwin
johnbaldwinmastering.com
Nashville, TN

JTransition

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2011, 05:08:04 pm »

I have a few questions that once answered will give me a better understanding of this situation.
@ Concretecowboy
How long were the sides?
How loud (dbvu) was the test cut that freaked everyone out?
Was the mp3 a copy of the test cut?
What diameter was it cut at(approximate)?
what system are you using? just the head and amps please
Did you process the audio apart from the acceleration limiter?

Thanks
Jason
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Gold

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2011, 08:15:09 pm »

I had a chance to look at this. I've spoken to everyone and I think it's okay to post.

It's a live recording and the vocal level is uneven because the singer is moving around on the microphone. The vocal also sits on top of the mix most of the time.

Most of the time the vocal sits 3-4dB above the average level of the the music. On five or six occasions the vocal peaks 7-8dB above the music. It's a four sided record with the longest side being about 19:00.

My original guess about a crest factor problem didn't pan out. The crest factor was not a problem. I did however think the dynamic range was too large to get a good cut. If I set the level with the music averaging -5-7VU the vocal peaks would distort.  This of course is not a problem on a CD as distortion is the same at all reasonable levels. If the client wants to reserve the top 4dB for a few vocal peaks then that is an aesthetic decision. Setting the average disk level much lower than this would run into noise floor problems. It would be like cutting a 25 minute side.

I suggested that I address the few places where the vocal peaks far above the music. This way I could cut a good average level without having the peaks distort. I'll cut lacquers tomorrow. I tuned the Maselec MLA3 to catch just the vocal peaks. I don't think anyone will notice.

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Paul Gold
Salt Mastering

JTransition

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2011, 11:36:21 am »

Thanks Paul
But I hope you used good lacquers ;)

Jason
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Laarsų

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2011, 12:37:14 pm »

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
I left the cutting engineer's name off the posting for a reason.

Is the cutter actually an engineer?

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
...The MP3s in and by themselves made it look like I had messed up the mastering which  I had not.

They know that you did only the premastering.   Did they approve it before proceeding to mastering?

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
The phrase "commercial loudness" was used but never explained.

You described there being a peak at -5 dBFSD and an RMS of -12 dBFSD.    This would imply a 7 db crest factor.  It turns out that that would be _TV_ commercial loudness.   However, your information wants correction, since what turned out to be the case was an occasional 7 db forte  from the vocals.   The crest factor would be much larger.   Microdynamics, not macrodynamics or fortes.   Bad complaint, Tom.  Made us run to your defense when your premastering was, evidently, indefensible.   ???


Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
I was the mastering engineer...

Nope.  You were the premastering clerk.   If you don't have the parchment to back it up, you're not an engineer.  If you don't use a lathe, you're not mastering.  (And that's ok.   Own who you are.  Stop lying(, everyone).)

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
Not a great way to cement a good close working relationship and we are only 25 miles and a phone call apart.
Pot's black, too!


Laarsų
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Laars Oglethorpe, V
Space Camp CD Premastering
Pivot dub lab vinyl products and consulting

concretecowboy71

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2011, 02:33:10 pm »

@JTransition

All sides under 20 minutes.
Mp3 samples were recorded directly from a test lacquer.
The samples were cut twice.  First, music at around -4db on my VU meters with vocal peaks over +3db. Second sample was lowered about 2db overall.
Test were cut in about the first 1/3 diameter of a new lacquer.
System is a VMS70/SX74/VG74B amp rack.
No additional processing. Acceleration limiter engaged but set to 0.

I work with a pressing facility and our general policy is to not add additional processing unless some kind of conversation has been had with the client.  It was this communication that started this whole thread and was intended only for the client.  His contact info was the only info provided to me with the masters and job order.  That is why he was notified first.  After all, he is helping to pay my rent.

 



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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2011, 04:42:42 pm »

Is the cutter actually an engineer?

They know that you did only the premastering.   Did they approve it before proceeding to mastering?

You described there being a peak at -5 dBFSD and an RMS of -12 dBFSD.    This would imply a 7 db crest factor.  It turns out that that would be _TV_ commercial loudness.   However, your information wants correction, since what turned out to be the case was an occasional 7 db forte  from the vocals.   The crest factor would be much larger.   Microdynamics, not macrodynamics or fortes.   Bad complaint, Tom.  Made us run to your defense when your premastering was, evidently, indefensible.   ???


Nope.  You were the premastering clerk.   If you don't have the parchment to back it up, you're not an engineer.  If you don't use a lathe, you're not mastering.  (And that's ok.   Own who you are.  Stop lying(, everyone).)
 Pot's black, too!


Laarsų

Whatever you say....

Just as an aside

Laarsų

I do have a 4 year college degree in broadcasting.

I am a life time member of the AES and can officially use the letter M.A.E.S. after my signature

I can use the title "mastering engineer" as well as can anyone else on this board. You don't have to have a parchment degree to do so. If you want to belabor that point then everyone here who uses the term "mastering engineer" is basically lying unless they have a four year degree in some field of engineering. They should all call themselves "pre-mastering specialist" to be completly honest about what they do.

I understand the difference between pre mastering and mastering and I have cut records as an intern in Nashville years ago so I know something about the whole process. I have cut from 1/4" - 1/2" tape and from a PCM 1630 system with and without Dolby 360s encoding.

If you are going to attack me please get your facts correct before doing so. Thanks

Speaking of facts....I was interested in your background and training  as well but could not find your site on the WWW. Do you have a webpage? Just wondering???

I noticed from some earlier postings you called your company by a different name http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/29362/0/ why the change from mastering to pre mastering?
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Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

Celebrating 25 years in business in 2020

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2011, 05:13:27 pm »

I originally posted here because I knew I could get good answers from the mastering engineers who post here.

I did not use the cutting engineers name in any postings here. He got involved when he posted.

I really like Clint and the last project he cut was very well done AFTER I redid some problem areas that he suggested I fix. He was a big help on that project.

I want to learn about vinyl mastering and the best way to do it.

There is no one around this area that I can learn from. If I was in New York or Nashville there would be plenty of people to turn to. I have to do most of my "research" off the WWW or by asking questions on forums.

For what ever reason this project this year was different.  The producer was in a hurry, The MP3s sounded really bad. I called Clint and he kept talking about "commercial loudness" which he never explained. There was a definite lack of communication that was there, in a nice big way, on the first project.
,
I am sure we will use Clint in the future for other projects.

Somehow this one did not go as planned. I do not want to ruffle any feathers all I want is what is best for the producer and to get this project finished.

Thanks for all the suggestions and helpful comments. I have learned a lot.


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Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

Celebrating 25 years in business in 2020

JTransition

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2011, 05:53:26 pm »

@JTransition

All sides under 20 minutes.
Mp3 samples were recorded directly from a test lacquer.
The samples were cut twice.  First, music at around -4db on my VU meters with vocal peaks over +3db. Second sample was lowered about 2db overall.
Test were cut in about the first 1/3 diameter of a new lacquer.
System is a VMS70/SX74/VG74B amp rack.
No additional processing. Acceleration limiter engaged but set to 0.

I work with a pressing facility and our general policy is to not add additional processing unless some kind of conversation has been had with the client.  It was this communication that started this whole thread and was intended only for the client.  His contact info was the only info provided to me with the masters and job order.  That is why he was notified first.  After all, he is helping to pay my rent.
Thanks for clearing that up
Regards
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bblackwood

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2011, 06:22:21 pm »

Laarso, we're not going to have that debate over here, so drop it.
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

Laarsų

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Re: I need some help from the vinyl cutters.
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2011, 06:35:57 pm »

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
LARSO

Actually, you can type as loud as you like, it won't put the second letter, A, in my praenomen.
 
Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
I do have a 4 year college degree in broadcasting.

Too bad it wasn't in Chemistry, since you like to call yourself an engineer.  Can I call myself a fireman?  That would be kewl.

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
I am a life time member of the AES and can officially use the letter M.A.E.S. after my signature...

But this doesn't impact on the folly of calling yourself an engineer.  I realize you're not the only one.  But it's time for this self-bloating to stop.

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
I can use the title "mastering engineer" as well as can anyone else on this board. You don't have to have a parchment degree to do so. If you want to belabor that point then everyone here who uses the term "mastering engineer" is basically lying unless they have a four year degree in some field of engineering. They should all call themselves "pre-mastering specialist" to be completly honest about what they do.

I agree with your last two sentences.

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
I understand the difference between pre mastering and mastering and I have cut records as an intern in Nashville years ago so I know something about the whole process. I have cut from 1/4" - 1/2" tape and from a PCM 1630 system with and without Dolby 360s encoding.


You think I didn't read the thread?  I know from your posts that you, of all people, here, know better about the forensic significance of industry jargon. 

Quote from: Thomas W. Bethel
If you are going to attack me please get your facts correct before doing so. Thanks!

I did!


Laarsų
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Laars Oglethorpe, V
Space Camp CD Premastering
Pivot dub lab vinyl products and consulting
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