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
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeremy Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:20 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Wax & Wane: the Tough Realities Behind Vinyl's Comeback
> Interesting article on the current state of vinyl production in the U.S.
> Jeremy Smith
> Special Collections and University Archives
> University of Massachusetts-Amherst
> 154 Hicks Way
> Amherst MA 01003
> project twitter: @WEB_Du_Bois