I thought centering varied on every single pressing. Am I wrong? I've
watched the old videos and read how pressing was done and it seems that
they cut the hole after pressing the biscuit. Am I totally wrong on that?
Steven Smolian wrote:
> Many 78 tests were made from masters rather than stampers. The
> compounds used for tests were initailly quieter but usually oxidised
> badly. Some suviving tests were used for the wear test- being played
> 50 times, and are noisy as a consequence.
> However, they have much more presence. The two additional plates that
> gave us the stamper also took out some of the immediacy.
> I wonder if this might not have been the case with some LPs as well.
> Incidentally, aother reason for making test pressings was to check
> Steve Smolian
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Fine"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 5:47 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] LP pressing question
>> Well, I can say how test pressings were used at Mercury Living
>> Presence, cannot speak for others because I never heard the details
>> first-hand but I bet most other classical shops operated the same way.
>> Test pressings were a tool to make sure the master was correctly
>> plated and production parts were not carrying defects. Plus, since
>> RCA pressed the MLP records (superior plant, superior vinyl
>> compounds, Mercury plants never got up to snuff until Philips took
>> them over), this was a way to make sure the plant was doing exactly
>> what they said they would do.
>> Test pressings were distributed to the producer, the engineer and the
>> mastering guys. Everyone was encouraged to at least spot-check and
>> the producer listened to every test pressing all the way through,
>> comparing with notes made during the mastering session.
>> Now, the fact is that production LPs don't sound as good as the test
>> pressings, which is why I asked my original question -- what makes
>> the production LPs generally noisier and less punchy? I'm assuming
>> that the plants pulled out the "maker's mark compound" biscuits for
>> the test pressing and that production itself wore down the stampers
>> and mothers, and perhaps the simple act of being quickly sleeved
>> effects production vinyl.
>> Back in ye olde days, a test LP would arrive as a white-label affair,
>> identifiable only by the cutting marks, in a rice-paper-like sleeve
>> in a paper envelope. There was a separate test press for each side of
>> a production LP. The general way things worked at Mercury, a clerical
>> person would pencil in the catalog number on the white label and
>> distribute copies, including one for the files. When the QC listening
>> was done, it was done with a stop-watch so that times could be known
>> for problem, which were noted. Visual inspection was also done and
>> vinyl "zits" or clearly-visible groove problems were measured from
>> edge and noted. The rejection rate was somewhere south of 10% most of
>> the time.
>> The same care was taken with mono, because mono out-sold stereo even
>> with classical music until the mid-60's when retailers stopped
>> carrying both formats (see John Eargle's JAES article).
>> Stereo/Mono Disc Compatibility: A Survey of the Problems
>> Volume 17 Number 3 pp. 276-281; June 1969
>> The record industry is now phasing out the mono disc, and the subject
>> of compatibility has once again been raise as it was with the
>> introduction of the stereo disc ten years ago. Then, the problem
>> centered largely around stylus-groove relationships and
>> considerations of trackability; this time the problem is mainly
>> concerned with the way a pair of stereo channels combine to yield a
>> suitable mono channel.
>> Author: Eargle, J. M.
>> E-lib Location: (CD aes3) /jrnl6877/1969/6797.pdf
>> available at www.aes.org
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "phillip holmes"
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 1:24 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] LP pressing question
>>> I've been told by collectors and people that were in the business,
>>> that test pressings were pressed in very low numbers, IE, 100-200
>>> copies for the musicians, A&R people, producer, big wigs, and the
>>> like. Every test pressing I've seen had a plain white label with
>>> just the bare basics typed or handwritten, and I only have 2 major
>>> label test pressings and 3-4 "audiophile" test pressings. The
>>> jacket had a pasted on (typed or handwritten) note with just the
>>> basics--tracks and artist stuff. If anyone wants a picture, I'll
>>> send one. But it's impossible to confuse a white label promo with a
>>> test pressing. Obviously, the idea of the test pressing is to give
>>> fair warning about what's going to be on the record. It supposedly
>>> gave the musicians the opportunity to sign off on the final product,
>>> but this really was a micromanagement tool for the front office
>>> types. I can imagine some imbecile in management spitting his
>>> coffee all over the board room table while listening to Black
>>> Sabbath for the first time. "Fairies wear boots? What the hell is
>>> this crap? Who signed these bozos? I need to fire the A&R
>>>> Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Why do most test
>>>> pressings that I've heard sound better than a bought-in-store
>>>> version of the LP? Did the plants do something special for the test
>>>> pressing or use a "brewer's choice" biscuit compound or is it more
>>>> a random chance of having a further-down-the-production-run copy in
>>>> a store and thus worn stampers? Where I've been able to compare a
>>>> master laquer to a test pressing to a bought-in-store version of
>>>> the same cut/matrix/whatever, the test pressing usually sounds
>>>> pretty darn close to the first cut but the production disk sounds
>>>> inferior, usually lower s/n ratio and noisier surface. This was
>>>> less true in the one case I've been able to compare all 3 for a
>>>> modern LP reissue and I assume it's because a modern reissue that
>>>> appears at retail will be pressed with more care on better vinyl
>>>> and fewer copies will be made per stamper, but I might be wrong on
>>>> In some older examples, late 50's and early 60's, the retail
>>>> version vinyl seems to definitely be a different compound from the
>>>> test pressing, which more resembles modern, "softer"
>>>> quieter-playing compounds.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>> Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search that gives answers, not
>>>> web links.
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