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ARSCLIST  August 2014

ARSCLIST August 2014

Subject:

Re: Wax & Wane: the Tough Realities Behind Vinyl's Comeback

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 5 Aug 2014 07:05:35 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (76 lines)

Hi Duane:

No idea. I assume United is buying mothballed presses from some former plant. Apparently, not so 
many old vinyl presses got scrapped. I'm guessing that at least half of what existed circa 1980 
still exists in one form or another. I would think, if you owned a plant like United or even Chad's 
or RTI, you need a lot of spare parts, so there must be many parts donors out there. Something like 
Ampex 300 tape machines -- not that many restored to front-line every-day usability, but lots of 
parts donors still out there. I don't know any of this for a fact.

Just sayin' ... someone with a bit of journalist in them (ie report just facts, verify facts, etc) 
could do an interesting little piece for ARSC Journal about the current state of vinyl. Who are the 
players? What equipment are they using? Why are things like colored discs able to be made better 
nowadays (remember how horrible picture discs sounded back in the day?)? How does a typical plant 
work nowadays, and could an old-timer contrast that with vinyl mass-media heyday workflows? What do 
the plant owners think about vinyl as an artifact vs a high-fidelity medium (I bet Chad Kassem would 
answer this very differently from the guys at United)? Do the press owners see a plateau to the 
vinyl trend (fad or continual upward trend?)? If anyone gets interested in the topic, I have a 
few-years-old list of all the vinyl plants I could verify were operating at the time (circa 2012). I 
would definitely read this article if it were well-reported, but I do not have time to do this kind 
of thing for no pay.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "H D Goldman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:50 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Wax & Wane: the Tough Realities Behind Vinyl's Comeback


> Hi Tom,
>
> Being familiar with the effort it took Chad to locate the presses he has, where are these "new" 
> units coming from?
>
> Regards,
>
> Duane Goldman
>
> H D Goldman Lagniappe Chemicals Ltd.
> PO Box 37066 St. Louis, MO 63141 USA
> v/f 314 205 1388 [log in to unmask]
>
> On Aug 4, 2014, at 7:44 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Three observations, both one man's opinions ...
>>
>> 1. If United goes through on their plan to add 16 presses, others would be foolish to expand for 
>> the time being. My bet is, 16 new presses at a high-output place like United will be enough 
>> capacity for now. The article also neglected to mention Chad Kassem's state of the art new 
>> pressing facility in Kansas. I think Chad custom-build enough presses to do at least what Gotta 
>> Groove does per day.
>>
>> 2. Chad told me that it's tricky, but colored vinyl can now be done so it doesn't sound any worse 
>> than black vinyl. I have to say that the Record Store Day colored vinyl release of Velvet 
>> Underground "Loaded" didn't sound any worse than the CD from which it was mastered.
>>
>> 3. The article does a good job enumerating the "art" aspects of pressing records. Ambient 
>> humidity, press temperature, the consistency of the water heating system, etc, all play major 
>> roles in quality. Also, operator care with pressing cycles, centering of labels, etc. The article 
>> did not touch on what is needed to MASTER a good LP record. Too many new-issue vinyl releases are 
>> made from toothpaste-compressed masters the same as the CD and/or download releases. These sound 
>> particularly bad on vinyl because of the nature of mechanical mastering and playback. It's also 
>> odd that the Cleveland place is doing so much work for ambient and minimalist artists. Those 
>> genres benefit the most from digital technology -- super-quiet backgrounds behind the subtle 
>> soundscapes. I suspect the vinyl releases are driven by artifact-hunting and general hipsterism.
>>
>> One other thing -- the article failed to mention that there are at least two large-scale pressing 
>> plants in Europe. The biggest one, in Germany, has been block-booked by UMG twice in recent years 
>> for the massive production cycles associated with Beatles box sets. I suspect this has a bearing 
>> on the long lead times at US plants.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>
> 

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