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Author Topic: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?  (Read 21778 times)

TotalSonic

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2008, 03:43:39 pm »

Jason Goz wrote on Wed, 26 March 2008 15:14

So do we all agree that DMM is shit for cutting dance music then? Laughing  


Now Jason - you're just trying to get a fight started aren't you?  Razz

At least this thread got me to pull out some sides that I cut that I hadn't listened to in a while.  Hey - gotta say - hip-hop sounds really nice on DMM - gotta love all those AV8 mash ups.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

jason goz

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2008, 12:54:30 pm »

Now that i know the Strictly Rhythm twelves were cut on DMM i am going to dig out some bits from the 90`s and have a listen.
Steve can you tell me why all of the US imports that i used to buy  in the from the 80`s onwards were cut at 33rpm.
Jason

prolearts

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2008, 09:30:12 pm »

I second that question. I have a pile of 80s hip hop 12" singles with one 4 to 6 minute track cut across about 2.5 inches of the disc at 33rpm. Talk about that pitch motor running! Why 33?

Paul? Anyone?...

J. Ward
Chicago Mastering Service
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TotalSonic

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2008, 09:51:24 pm »

prolearts wrote on Tue, 01 April 2008 21:30

I second that question. I have a pile of 80s hip hop 12" singles with one 4 to 6 minute track cut across about 2.5 inches of the disc at 33rpm. Talk about that pitch motor running! Why 33?

Paul? Anyone?...

J. Ward
Chicago Mastering Service



I cut a few 45rpm releases during my tenure at Europadisk -  David Morales' "How Would U Feel" 12" pre-mastered by Vlado Meller and the Foo Fighters' "In Your Honor" 4LP set pre-mastered by Bob Ludwig both come to mind - but for some reason all of the hip-hop releases I did were all at 33-1//3 even when the timing was so short that I'd advise the label that the cut would sound better at 45.  Guess for hip-hop DJ's they never expect to play a 45!  Most hip-hop 12"s that I cut were in the 10-14 minute a side range where you definitely get louder at 33-1/3 - so in most cases I think it mainly came down to trying to get more music for the same cash.   Seems a 45rpm played at 33-1/3 would make for an instant "skrew" mix though.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Gold

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2008, 10:55:28 pm »

Hip Hop is always at 33 1/3. I learned that the hard way. Oy. " Is that the other speed"-Irv Gotti.
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Paul Gold
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AndreasN

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2008, 02:30:09 am »

Hiphop dj's like to do tricks with the records. Scratching and beat juggling is harder and less expressive with 45 rpms. (a vid for those who wonder why the words 'scratching' and 'juggling' are used in the same sentence as 'record'. Smile )
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prolearts

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2008, 06:42:31 pm »

That is the explanation that makes perfect, perfect sense. Thank you!

J. Ward
Chicago Mastering Service
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JGreenslade

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2008, 04:48:41 pm »

Having come across a Macro lens that I hadn't seen for a couple of years (it seemed like one of those things I'd use everyday when I bought it...), I had to think of a fitting subject to try it out:

It's from a 1985 record btw - pretty loud, but just like the Powers / Grossman record that I mentioned at the beginning of the thread, it seems to 'touch' the line without exceeding it - about right for a club cut. It reminds me that loud cuts are definitely not a new invention, and why Herb remains the go-to guy for those with a dancefloor disposition. The vocals are super-clean, albeit fairly bright (well, wasn't everything in the eighties?).


Justin  index.php/fa/8413/0/
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jason goz

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2008, 09:00:00 am »

It was not just hip hop that i have at 33rpm
A lot of rnb and all the House stuff that came out of the US was cut at 33.I have not had the time to dig out some examples but i will when i get a min.
Jason

JGreenslade

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2008, 04:13:06 pm »

Speaking as someone who has what must be a few thousand US imports, going from the early eighties to today, I'd say that about 90% of them are at 33 - regardless of genre.

If we take the output from NSC in Detroit as an example (I have many twelves cut there), the records are mainly 33, but about 20% are 45 (this is electronica btw)

About 99% of my NY 'garage / house' is 33

99% of Chicago stuff is 33

I can appreciate that Hip Hop is cut @ 33 for a reason, but I too am curious as to why such a large volume of US-cut vinyl is 33...?? If the side doesn't exceed 8 minutes, why 33?


Justin
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Art of Vinyl

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2008, 08:38:43 am »

Um, not to put too fine a point on it, and being an EDP alum from the days when SB was still playing Nintendo, I can say that DMM blanks were sold to other mastering houses though, due to some complex political and competition issues, this wasn't an absolutely huge business for ED, though many, many coppers were sold to the Scientologists for their RLH preservation project. The image of the F/W imprint on this forum is in a lacquer. Herbie cut to lacquer in his own room, though Sterling and MD both did DMM, if I recollect correctly.

I believe that Steve is correct in saying that Herbie Jr. likely did the pre-mastering on the cut in question and that the side was likely cut to DMM by Don. David Brick also worked there for a very, very short time.

When we first got the lathe in, I think it was 1988 or 89, we cut (and I cut sides, too) two shifts, many for RCA and Musical Heritage and some sides for major labels, including Warner, including Madonna. It was great not having to worry about kissing grooves or chip-pickup. Sides were cut at reference levels or below, depending on the length of the program, no more, no less. Though Jim was certainly capable, my experience was that he wanted to have a production approach similar to that of Teldec mastering, meaning that a certain genre was mastered a certain way and that was it. If clients wanted something other than "flat" then they could sit in.

The indie music clients came later as the major labels weren't panning out. WEA, for instance, preferred lacquers because DMM-generated parts had no horns, making the resulting records difficult to press. Plus, plating copper parts was a different process than that of nickel mothers and the plating departments of Warner other major kept wrecking parts initially, delaying production and requiring new DMM mothers, adding again to production expense.

DMM was lovely for cutting long classical sides. Albeit at low levels (-6 or so with all bass summed below 120), we were able to cut sides as long as 35 minutes. And because there was a) no lacquer noise, b) no horns and c) one less step in the plating process, records pressed to DMM specs with dye-based vinyl were quiet (-77 dbm.) Darned CDs!

As for dance records, Don did indeed cut loud records. He really shouldn't have been able to, but he did - measurably so. The issue for the producers was that Don is a bit too much of an audiophile and a great technician and was resistant to using techniques that led to increased loudness perception and really didn't want to cut records so hot that they would not play. I agreed with him on that point - there's no reason to cut a record that the producer can't play with an in-compliant cartridge with a relatively huge DJ stylus that was built for durability and not for fine playback. So, any record could have been cut louder, but it would be dangerous from a business standpoint.

DMM sides will sound brighter with a proper stylus and will exhibit tracing distortion with complex HF content with a large "caliber" stylus. The cutting method is, in simple terms, very much more precise than lacquer, leading to less "color" and far better detail. There is no spring-back of the copper as with lacquer, nor is there shrinkage and pre and post echo is minimal and, in my opinion, inaudible. Thing is, many dance folks liked that lacquer coloration and wound up cutting loud, HF-limited and squished sides in England, to lacquer. DMM cuts a very precise groove with more dynamic range possible (because of the extremely  low noise floor) and better, more linear frequency response with all inputs equal.

Note on 33.3 versus 45 - with a longer time along the groove wall, the stylus has to struggle less to trace HF and there is less bounce for LF excursions. Many audiophile labels were doing this for that reason and 12 inch singles, especially for the indie Wave scene, could be cut at 45 or 33.

Personally, I was waiting to the DMM cassette. . . Oh, and, there was a project by TelDec to cut CD masters using the DMM process. It did work somewhat but was so different than the by-then widely accepted photoresist process, didn't really take off. Oh, well.
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Art Blavis
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TotalSonic

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2008, 07:21:17 pm »

Art -
Thanks so much for filling out some missing history!!  I knew you were cutting sides at many points in your career but didn't know that you had worked mastering at Europadisk prior to running Aligned Audio.  You were using a Scully when you were at Aligned?  Care to detail the history of Aligned and the other parts of your vinyl mastering career as well?  And relevant to the Herbie part of this thread - is there any truth to the stories that Herbie would put a black cloth over his console while he was cutting so that other engineers couldn't look at his settings?

Best regards,
Steve Berson

JGreenslade

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2008, 08:24:05 am »

Thanks for the illuminating post, Art Thumbs Up


Justin
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brett

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2008, 05:34:57 am »

I just wanted to chime in and say I have found this to be a really interesting thread. I have a couple thousand dance cuts from the 80's and 90's to around 2004. And I have to say, the loudest and best sounding cuts came at the end 2002-04. I am tempted to dig into them and see where they were mastered. Release Records comes to mind as one of my favorite labels. Another was Hooj Choons. I recall alot of 80's and 90's records having small low end, and no where near as loud as records that started comming out around 2000.  

like steve mentioned they probably started bypassing the early 16 bit digital stuff for higher end converters and digital processing prior to the analog chain and the lathe. but you guys lost me on the DMM and laquer comparison. I don't know what DMM is.
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TotalSonic

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Re: Did Herb Powers Jnr Cut DMMs @ Europadisk?
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2008, 03:41:14 pm »

brett wrote on Sun, 27 April 2008 05:34

I just wanted to chime in and say I have found this to be a really interesting thread. I have a couple thousand dance cuts from the 80's and 90's to around 2004. And I have to say, the loudest and best sounding cuts came at the end 2002-04. I am tempted to dig into them and see where they were mastered. Release Records comes to mind as one of my favorite labels. Another was Hooj Choons. I recall alot of 80's and 90's records having small low end, and no where near as loud as records that started comming out around 2000.  

like steve mentioned they probably started bypassing the early 16 bit digital stuff for higher end converters and digital processing prior to the analog chain and the lathe.


Using high end converters (instead of typical prior chains of just using the ADC/DAC on the hardware digital delay line to send the program to the cutter head) will generally not provide more low end - instead it will just provide subtly smoother, less edgy and less grainy, sound that is more accurate to the sound of the original source.

As far as digital processing - the more recent multitude of digital processing options do in fact allow for some possible process that might allow for improved results - but I have to note that in my direct experience it is more often possible to cut a louder punchier record from material that has in fact been less peak limited than what is commonly done these days for CD.

It's possible that some improvements in pitch/depth computers which allow higher levels at the same lengths played a factor.  A big factor also is that a sides level and bass content is directly tied to the length of the side - and I believe more producers these days are willing to invest in shorter sides in order to get greater level.


Quote:

 but you guys lost me on the DMM and laquer comparison. I don't know what DMM is.


DMM stands for "Direct Metal Mastering" and was the last refinement in vinyl record mastering technology issued by Neumann (in collaboration with Teldec and Toolex) in approximately 1982.  It consisted of the VMS-82 lathe, the SX-84 cutter head, and the SAL84 amplifier rack, along with associated plating technologies.  With DMM the lathe uses a diamond stylus to cut into a layer of copper plated over a steel substrate - as opposed to lacquer mastering which uses a heated sapphire stylus to cut into lacquer coated over an aluminium substrate.   A big advantage of DMM is that a nickel stamper can be plated directly from the Direct Metal Master (also known as a copper mother) - eliminating the need for 2 additional plating stages done for lacquer mastering (where it goes -> lacquer master (which is then coated with silver) -> nickel father -> nickel mother -> nickel stamper).

DMM was a commercial failure because it was introduced at the same time that CD was.  Afaik there were only around 20-some DMM lathes ever made.  Currently you can still get DMM mastering done at Abbey Road, The Exchange (both in England), Optimal (Germany), GZ (Czech Republic), and possibly a few other places in Europe.  Currently there is no place in North America that offers DMM mastering commercially (although the Scientologists use a DMM lathe in their California mastering facility to transcribe L Ron Hubbard's speeches onto metal discs which are placed into time capsules).

Best regards,
Steve Berson
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