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Genuine vinyl records

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  • Genuine vinyl records

    The automation thread was getting pretty far off-topic so I decided to start this one for genuine (g) vinyl records.
    Back in the day, the record companies gave all us DJs free copies of everything they released. The album covers had a small hole punched in the top corner, which indicated that it was a promotional copy and therefore was not supposed to be re-sold. Supposedly. But there sure were a lot of record stores who loved to buy them. (g)
    These promo copies were far cleaner than what was sold in the retail stores. As I recall, each master disc was used to make about 100,000 records before they threw it out and used a new master disc. And the promo copies we got were always from the first few runs of a master, hence the extra quality.
    Even better were promo copies from British labels, as they used their masters for only half as many copies as the Americans did. Exceptionally high production values.
    Frequently, there were also some nice little, um, er, well, "bonuses" inside the albums we got. But of course all of that is illegal now. (Anybody remember Mike Curb's instigation of all the 'payola' scandals?)
    And of course some (many) of the free promo records we all got were not ones we wanted to keep. We'd take a pair of pliers and bust off the vinyl around the center label, and use those as coasters for our drinks.
    My favorite personal coaster was the label from "Pat Boone and the First Nashville Jesus Band".

    Any of you other 'old-timers' got vinyl stories to share? Don't be afraid to show your age!
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    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

  • #2
    Re: Genuine vinyl records

    LikaNui, interesting. Mahalo for sharing.
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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    • #3
      Re: Genuine vinyl records


      Through the early years of CDs, when I was building a massive classical music collection and reading "Gramophone" vinyl fanatics wrote the magazine regularly asserting that LPs sounded better than CDs. My first instinct was to assume that they simply preferred the sonic picture they were used to.

      But then I began to buy CD reissues of beloved LPs and, truly, the original vinyl seemed to sound richer. How could this be if digital reproduction was "better"? I put the question to a friend who was the head of engineering for the Mutual Broadcasting System when I worked there.

      "Digital reproduction is more perfect," he said. "Analog reproduction sounds better. There is no contradiction here. Analog reproduction is better than reality because it rolls off some of the irritating highs and opens up some of the rounder tones. That's why CD listeners get 'ear fatigue' faster."

      After hearing that I began to notice that it didn't just apply to classical music. I much prefer the original vinyl version of Santana's recording of the Tito Puente tune "Oyo Como Va," and I still miss my long-gone vinyl recording of the original Jacques Loussier Trio's "Play Bach IV" album.

      On a separate vinyl-related topic, is there is anyone on the board used to be able to name a tune from hearing the first second or two being cued up?

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      • #4
        Re: Genuine vinyl records

        Originally posted by Howard Dicus

        "Digital reproduction is more perfect," he said. "Analog reproduction sounds better. There is no contradiction here. Analog reproduction is better than reality because it rolls off some of the irritating highs and opens up some of the rounder tones. That's why CD listeners get 'ear fatigue' faster."

        After hearing that I began to notice that it didn't just apply to classical music. I much prefer the original vinyl version of Santana's recording of the Tito Puente tune "Oyo Como Va," and I still miss my long-gone vinyl recording of the original Jacques Loussier Trio's "Play Bach IV" album.

        On a separate vinyl-related topic, is there is anyone on the board used to be able to name a tune from hearing the first second or two being cued up?
        I started replacing vinyl with CD copies of albums before I got a replacement turntable. I haven't yet tried to listen to, say, Carole King's Tapestry sequentially, but I guess I should, just to see if I can detect a difference.

        As to the question, I can certainly do that with a lot of Beatles songs and quite a few Dylan songs. The first chord of "A Hard Day's Night" and the bass liine from "Day Tripper" are immediately recognizable. Is that what you had in mind?
        http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/

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        • #5
          Re: Genuine vinyl records

          Originally posted by Howard Dicus
          On a separate vinyl-related topic, is there is anyone on the board used to be able to name a tune from hearing the first second or two being cued up?
          Sure, for many of the 'classic' songs, and I imagine almost anyone who's been in the biz for a while can do that. Or, should be able to do that!
          Somewhat related, we used to slightly speed up or slow down the turntable for a given song and had an in-house contest among the jocks to see who would notice the difference and call it in.
          We also regularly competed to see who'd do the tightest and smoothest segues. We had a female DJ who kept several notebooks of info on thousands of songs -- what key they were in, the tempo, intro and exit, etc. She could make a four-hour shift sound like it was one long song, or weave the tracks up and down the scales and all sorts of other 'magic' without your realizing what she was up to.
          Good fun strolling down memory lane...
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          That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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          • #6
            Re: Genuine vinyl records

            One of the problems with digital recordings of analog vinyl albums was that early in it's days, most audio engineers weren't familiar with the recording parameters of digital. Back then to get a full-bodied analog recording, you had to use an A-weighting in setting your "Average" db reading. In other words you had to set your recording vu reading so it never went over 0db or in the red. With digital recordings you had to set your record levels to peak so the thresholds had to be in the red.

            When analog audio engineers tried to remaster their original analog tapes to digital, they made two mistakes, one was to set the digital record levels too low resulting in an attenuated digital copy (dynamic range was too low resulting in a muddy translation) and the other was to enhance those muddy recordings by using parametric equalization resulting in piercing highs and even more muddy midrange.


            That's why my Boston cd's sounded like crap. But we've come a long way and have learned to adjust for more accuracy in digital sound reproduction increasing the dynamic range of the final mix.

            Believe it or not those warmer midtones found in those older tube amps better known as thermionic valves got that way because of the way the plate voltages across those valves biased themselves. Because heat was involved, it was harder to differentiate between the nuances of the analog signal so those amps simply stayed biased open longer. If you were to use a spectrum analyzer and read an analog signal coming out of a tube amp you would see greater distortion along the midrange where the tubes' valves were limited in it's ability to bias themselves to the corresponding input signal.

            Basically you wouldn't get an accurate amplification but a harmonized signal instead hence warmer mid tones.

            Sampling rates have gotten much better but those warmer tones of analog also came with a loss of dynamic range as well. A typical vinyl record had a dynamic range of about 65 to 80db compared to a CD at closer to 90db. This higher dynamic range allowed for a greater signal to noise ratio. With less noise to mask a recording's weaknesses CD's by virtue of it's accuracy unmasked it's own recording weaknesses.

            But it's not soley the digital recording that has audiophiles rearing their analog heads, it's the support. Back in the late 70's and on up to the early 80's there was an emphasis on fantastic THD stats. Total Harmonic Distortion was a measure of how clean the amplifier's final output was with no input. Back then a good amp had a rating of 0.1% THD. That was for the typical midpriced stereo. A really good one would have a rating of 0.01% or as in the Southwest Technical's Tigersauris 001 whose numerical name denoted an astounding 0.001% THD. At full volume with no audio input, this amplifier didn't utter any hiss at all.

            Now even with some of today's popular surround amps from the makers of Bose, Technics or Sony THD stats hover over 1% hardly Hi-Fi by even ancient standards. Couple that with CD's whose dynamic range can unmask the deficiencies of today's audio gear, it's no wonder Digital Sound is so weak.

            I tied my cd player to an early 70's model Marantz Intergrated Amplifier (no tuner) and was astounded at the better sound quality than when it was hooked up to my Technics 5.1 channel DTS surround amp.

            If you want to hear great sound out of your worn out vinyl records, one trick I learned was to buy a CD-4 record stylus that used a Shibata diamond cut tip. This chisel tip rode deeper in the grooves of special records encoded with SQ-Matrixed 4-channel lathing. Most of the turntable needles were elliptical and rode midway to about 80% of the record's groove. That area is undoubtely worn down by now but the lower 50% of the groove is virtually virgin vinyl encased in dust.

            Using a good Discwasher D4 (if you can find them possibly on Ebay) clean out those deep pockets of dust and find a good Shibata cut CD-4 cartridge. You'll be hearing your records as if they were brand new cuz it's playing on virgin grooves.
            Last edited by craigwatanabe; May 4, 2005, 03:51 PM.
            Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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            • #7
              Re: Genuine vinyl records

              In the middle 1970s we called it "pitch enhancement." The idea was that if you played 45 rpm records at 47 rpm or even more, they would sound "brighter." But our station was small and cheap and we did it by putting tape around the capstan, which sometimes fell off in mid-record. Tee-hee.

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              • #8
                Re: Genuine vinyl records

                They totally did that at the old KKUA-AM back in the late 70s, though the songs were recorded onto cart that way, compressed, as it were, to sound brighter AND enable the station to squeeze in more music.

                I know this because I was one of Uncle Mikey's (Michael W. Perry's) go-fers at the time ... and I know the way some of y'all's minds work -- but no, the "casting couch" was never a part of my radio career.

                I do long for the days of you-fly-I-buy burgers and specifically ordered "crisp fries" at the Meat Bun at 1470 Kapiolani Blvd. Still, Greasy Steve Ozark is doing okay for himself, I gather, as caterer to the stars and buddy to the legendary Shep Gordon and Uncle Tom Moffatt.
                **************************************
                I know a lot less than what there is to be known.

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                • #9
                  Re: Genuine vinyl records

                  Uncle Mickey:

                  1/3 then 7/9 then */#

                  Press those two telephone keypad keys at the same time in succession (1 and 3 together (repeat twice) then 7 and 9 together then * and # together.

                  What you get is the Uncle Mickey stinger on KKUA.

                  Anyway remember phasing two records playing the identical song to eliminate swearing in a swish sound?

                  Those were the days...I really miss broadcasting by the seat of your pants. Somehow the magic just isn't there anymore.
                  Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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