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Author Topic: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer  (Read 15778 times)

spjessop

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2005, 08:16:56 am »

Congrats on the job.

I haven't had the privilege of hearing the Vinyl, but I bought the Deluxe edition on CD and would you believe it... The bonus DVD includes the acoustic album in 24/96! Both stereo and 5.1. It sounds wonderful on my modest DVD-A player, much better than the CD.
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Ronny

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2005, 01:09:02 pm »



Bored? Absolutely not, this is great stuff, Steve. I have some questions. Do you notice any difference in sonic quality by going at 45rpm over 33rpm, any change in the highs and lows like for example taping at 15 versus 30ips? Did BL, know when he mastered the vinyl songs that they would be ran at 45 instead of 33 and make allowances for this? Also, you touched base on tracking angles towards the inside of the disk, because 45's were typically smaller than LP's and the major difference being the outside of the LP between the two, does the stylus angle tend to distort on the outside of the LP, compared to the 45. IOW, is the angle a concern at both inside and outside of the large disk.

Seems to me that a tracking arm like a cd player would eliminate the stylus angle problem, I'm wondering why they haven't designed turntables with a cross member tone arm that remains perpendicular to the grooves, rather than one that arcs across the surface. Maybe they have, not sure, but wouldn't it be a better design?

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dcollins

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2005, 01:29:46 pm »

Ronny wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 10:09


Seems to me that a tracking arm like a cd player would eliminate the stylus angle problem, I'm wondering why they haven't designed turntables with a cross member tone arm that remains perpendicular to the grooves, rather than one that arcs across the surface. Maybe they have, not sure, but wouldn't it be a better design?




You're a day late and a Euro short!  Google "linear tracking."

It's the groove velocity that gets you, though.....

DC

barefoot

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2005, 02:09:48 pm »

TotalSonic wrote on Thu, 16 June 2005 16:40


most on this forum already know the following - but for those unfamiliar with the old skool:
In a vinyl record mastering chain two duplicate signals need to be sent to the lathe:
the first "preview" path gets sent to the lathe's lookahead pitch & depth computer which sets the height and of the cutter head and the spacing of the grooves dependent on the amplitudes and frequency of the sound,
and the second "mod" or "program" path - delayed by a half rotation's time (900 ms for 33-1/3 - 667ms for 45rpm) which goes from the cutting amps to the cutting head which etches the grooves into the copper.
Originally these two seperate paths were achieved by using a tape machine with 2 seperate playback heads and that had extra capstans so the tape could wind around the necessary length before reaching the 2nd playback head to achieve this delay. This was later replaced in most vinyl mastering facilities with digital delays. The problem though is that pretty much every hardware ddl out there (including the TC M2000 in our studio) is limited to 24bit/48kHz.

Enter SAWStudio. By using it as a tranport it's extremely easy to rout hi-res files at their full resolution to two seperate but identical outputs with one of the outputs appropriately delayed. Also critical to my choice was reliabilty - the copper blanks are very expensive to make so I had to go with an app that I knew was rock solid and wouldn't glitch out in the middle of cutting a side. SAW fits the bill!


Steve,

I don't completely understand the need for all this look-ahead delay complexity.   It seems that one could just have an algorithm that models the signal path and stylus behavior, crunches the entire wavefile and then spits out a completely optimized control file (lathe control tracks).   The audio signal and control signals would then run simultaneously.

I guess this delay system is necessary because the pitch computers are circa 1982?   Are they analog computers?

Thanks,
Thomas
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Ronny

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2005, 02:16:06 pm »

dcollins wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 13:29

Ronny wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 10:09


Seems to me that a tracking arm like a cd player would eliminate the stylus angle problem, I'm wondering why they haven't designed turntables with a cross member tone arm that remains perpendicular to the grooves, rather than one that arcs across the surface. Maybe they have, not sure, but wouldn't it be a better design?




You're a day late and a Euro short!  Google "linear tracking."

It's the groove velocity that gets you, though.....

DC



Wow, a bunch of them. Not real cheap either.

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TotalSonic

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2005, 04:08:06 pm »

barefoot wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 19:09



Steve,

I don't completely understand the need for all this look-ahead delay complexity.   It seems that one could just have an algorithm that models the signal path and stylus behavior, crunches the entire wavefile and then spits out a completely optimized control file (lathe control tracks).   The audio signal and control signals would then run simultaneously.

I guess this delay system is necessary because the pitch computers are circa 1982?   Are they analog computers?

Thanks,
Thomas



Hi Thomas -
Well there are indeed softwares out there similar to what you are thinking of here such as the Zuma system -  http://www.zumagroup.com/prod03.htm - however, unlike what you are detailing, our current system allows us to transfer directly from analog source without ever converting the signal to digital.  It also allows us a faster production work flow in that we can do a direct transfer from DAT or CD-R without having to take the time to record or rip the tracks to DAW and pre-analyze them as you are suggesting here - and we still can do direct transfer at full resolution from hires sources already loaded in the DAW as I detailed above.  So our little bit of "complexity" actually allows us a fairly simple system that is transparent once it is set up.

Also - the VMS-8x pitch/depth systems are truly excellent performers - not to jinx myself here  - but I simply haven't ever had a problem with overcuts or tests that mistrack.  

And hopefully not to toot my own horn too much here but I won a shoot out with against a very well known lacquer cutting engineer for the LP for the heavy-drone-rock band "Om."  Essentially: the side was a single continous song of 23 minutes and the band was disappointed that the tests they had cut from the lacquer masters were "quiet sounding" as they being a heavy-rock band of course wanted everything "loud".  The original cutting engineer advised them that they would need to split the side up and go to a double record set in order to get it any louder - but there budget didn't allow for this and they didn't want to break the continuity of the track.  Through a bit of re-eqing with the Medici to bring some mids forward, a small touch of the RML Labs Levelizer, and use of the VMS-84's land economy options I was able to get the side about 2-3dB louder than the original tests and they ended up having me cut the masters to DMM.

So basically in this case: if ain't broke, heck, if it works real good - don't "fix" it.

However - if you'd like to develop a "no latency" lathe controller system I'd be very very glad to demo it out for you!
Smile

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Best regards,
Steve Berson

TotalSonic

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2005, 04:25:02 pm »

Ronny wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 18:09



Bored? Absolutely not, this is great stuff, Steve. I have some questions. Do you notice any difference in sonic quality by going at 45rpm over 33rpm, any change in the highs and lows like for example taping at 15 versus 30ips?


To my ear there definitely is a little bit more extension of frequency response at both ends of the spectrum when you cut at 45rpm. High end also has a bit better definition and is cleaner.  When going for maximum level when cutting at 45 you also have a little more play before things start breaking up.  There also is less rumble in playback with a 45.  

Quote:


Did BL, know when he mastered the vinyl songs that they would be ran at 45 instead of 33 and make allowances for this?


The only allowances he made were for the lengths of the sides.  The longest side in this set was 14min. with most of the rest of them coming in between 9-12min.

Quote:


Also, you touched base on tracking angles towards the inside of the disk, because 45's were typically smaller than LP's


Just to clarify - these were all 12" records for this release. And a 7" isn't necessarily a "45" - you can cut 7" at 33-1/3rpm if you want to try and cram in more time - but it certainly doesn't sound that good.

Quote:


and the major difference being the outside of the LP between the two, does the stylus angle tend to distort on the outside of the LP, compared to the 45. IOW, is the angle a concern at both inside and outside of the large disk.


Nope - the outside of the disk is where things will always sound the best on the master.  In fact the master discs are 14" wide to allow both extra space for plating and to have a area to do test cuts.  These test cuts can sometimes be deceptive as they are often the best sounding you can do to vinyl disc.

The only thing that is problematic with the outside diameters of the disc are issues that come in plating - i.e. if the plater is not careful with the back sanding on the stamper excessive force can often create surface noise in the lead in area.  Also usually the outer diameters are more prone to scuffing (caused by the stamper knocking back onto the mother when being seperated or knocking back onto the vinyl when the molds open back up when pressed).

Quote:


Seems to me that a tracking arm like a cd player would eliminate the stylus angle problem, I'm wondering why they haven't designed turntables with a cross member tone arm that remains perpendicular to the grooves, rather than one that arcs across the surface. Maybe they have, not sure, but wouldn't it be a better design?



I'm not that big of a fan of the sound of linear tracking as it sometimes replaces one problem with another.  The big issue is that the diameter of the circle itself is getting smaller - so more angle to cover in the same amount of time no matter what the angle of the stylus is set against it.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Bob Boyd

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2005, 04:46:51 pm »

Steve, this discussion has been fantastic and I must admit you inspired me to order the records.  They came in a couple of days ago and I've been breaking in a new phono preamp listening to them.  How cool.  Great job man.  They sound really good.  I don't think I've ever owned a 12" that was 45rpm but it's great.  You should be pleased.  I had already picked up the CD and now I'm wishing I had the hi res PCM to compare to.

I think one of the best things is the fact that I find myself wanting to turn it up rather than down.  (Audioslave, anyone?)

Keep up the good work!
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TotalSonic

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2005, 04:54:59 pm »

Bob Boyd wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 21:46

Steve, this discussion has been fantastic and I must admit you inspired me to order the records.  They came in a couple of days ago and I've been breaking in a new phono preamp listening to them.  How cool.  Great job man.  They sound really good.  I don't think I've ever owned a 12" that was 45rpm but it's great.  You should be pleased.  I had already picked up the CD and now I'm wishing I had the hi res PCM to compare to.

I think one of the best things is the fact that I find myself wanting to turn it up rather than down.  (Audioslave, anyone?)

Keep up the good work!


Bob -
Thanks so much, great to get some good feedback on this from someone who can critically compare the CD to the vinyl.  

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Bob Boyd

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2005, 05:13:53 pm »

Just to be clear, BL's work on the CD sounds great too.  I really appreciate that he didn't fall into hyperlimiting.  It's competitive but it's not overcooked.
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TotalSonic

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2005, 05:39:48 pm »

Bob Boyd wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 22:13

Just to be clear, BL's work on the CD sounds great too.  I really appreciate that he didn't fall into hyperlimiting.  It's competitive but it's not overcooked.


Without a question Bob deserves most of the credit for this one - to steal a line from Tony Mantz I was really just a "glorified tape copy boy" on this one.

I think Bob did an amazing job on the spectrum for the premasters - they sound really well balance and definitely as you noted make you want to crank things up.

As far as dynamics - it seems to me he took different approaches  for the different albums.  I really really like the Acoustic sides as while things are really nicely present they're also incredibly dynamic with very preserved wav forms and with very little squashing applied.  Heck - these sides might even get Bob Katz applauding!

Based on the pre-master I received the Electric sides are definitely heavily limited and from the looks and sound of thing I think Bob used straight clipping rather than any digital limiter.  For the level based on the sound he got from this I think he probably made the best choice as it definitely is pretty darned hot without as many artifacts as it might otherwise have.
Personally I would have gone for more dynamic levels for the Electric sides if I had been left to my own judgement - but from my understanding the level chosen for the pre-master was based on the producer's request for it to be in the current "competitive" range.  It certainly is more dynamic than a lot of the heavy rock CD's being released these days though - the choruses all rise from the verses.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

barefoot

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2005, 06:16:11 pm »

TotalSonic wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 13:08

...our current system allows us to transfer directly from analog source without ever converting the signal to digital.  It also allows us a faster production work flow in that we can do a direct transfer from DAT or CD-R without having to take the time to record or rip the tracks to DAW and pre-analyze them as you are suggesting here....


Yeah, I can definitely see how that would speed things up.   All my musical tinkerings are in-the-box, so I sometimes forget that not everyone has a wavefile at hand. Wink

Quote:

...However - if you'd like to develop a "no latency" lathe controller system I'd be very very glad to demo it out for you!...


Well, seeing as how you're trying to "zipper" future grooves with past grooves, that could be quite challenging.   I haven't perfected that art of clairvoyance yet, electronically or otherwise. Very Happy

Cool stuff you're doing Steve.  Hope I get a chance to hear it!

Thomas
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Thomas Barefoot
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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2005, 06:50:31 pm »

Quote:

I haven't perfected that art of clairvoyance yet


This seems it is something you plan to accomplish one day. When you attain it, do let us know. Inquiring minds want to know.
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barefoot

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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2005, 07:32:58 pm »

Level wrote on Sat, 25 June 2005 15:50

This seems it is something you plan to accomplish one day. When you attain it, do let us know. Inquiring minds want to know.

I'll let you know as soon as I know… which could be before I actually know...?  Or would it be after I know but before it happens....  Confused
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Thomas Barefoot
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Re: Foo Fighters vinyl & the art of the flat transfer
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2005, 08:17:48 pm »

 Smile
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