Jamie's a mad scientist, so this still might not be crystal clear! ;)

The most valid test, I think, is as follows:

1. you'd have to use Plangent playback electronics throughout because I have yet to meet a 
completely "neutral" tape electronics. You want to take tape electronics design, use or non-use of 
transformers, etc, out of the equation.

2. the comparison would be an all-analog LP cut using the preview head (not a digital delay) and 
playback through Plangent's analog electronics, directly feeding the cutting chain. The mastering 
engineer should use no dynamics control and no EQ beyond RIAA pre-emphasis.

3. the same tape would be played on the same or similar transport (different transports move tape 
differently) through Plangent's electronics including the bias-recovery output (which goes to a 
separate digital track). The Plangent Process would then be performed on the digital transfer, 
removing wow and flutter (IM and FM distortion, according to Jamie's earlier posts).

4. an LP would then be cut, on the same lathe with the same mastering engineer, again using only 
RIAA pre-emphasis, from the Plangent Process digital file.

These LPs should then be taken to many audio shows and played together, let people decide. I do 
think they'd sound different, based on my experience with Plagent. I happen to like what Plangent 
does for music, especially orchestral music. To my ears, it stabilized instrument location, brings 
out details such as individual string players within a section and can clarify the space ("room 
tone") around instruments. It also greatly improves attack transients compared to older transfer 
chains (part of that is not having transformers in the signal chain, but I know from comparing raw 
transfer to processed files that there's even a faster attack and wave-rise after Plangent 
time-alignment). It would be interesting to see how the vinyl crowd reacts to this kind of 
comparison. I'd be surprised if most people can't hear there is a difference in the sound qualities. 
I'm curious as to which they would prefer. It may well end up 50-50 split like that "Sheherazade" 
comparison. I can never tell if there's a majority of people who prefer detail to "warmth," or 
vice-versa. It's a very polarizing issue among audio-centric people, and I suspect among music 
listeners. One important thing is that the vinyl would have to be cut to the same level, so playback 
can be fair. You'd need a non-timid cutter like Bernie Grundman, who knows how to let sharp 
transients go without causing skipping or distortion (when played back with a fast cartridge and 
good-headroom preamp). Based on the relative level and dynamics he gets on disks, I'd say Ryan Smith 
is non-timid also. Sean Magee at Abbey Road also knows how to cut dynamic, relatively loud discs. 
The temptation with modern, quiet vinyl is to let the computer set the average level low so peak 
dynamics don't stress any computer-controlled parameters. This is the old European way of cutting. 
It's fine, but more level can be fit onto great-sounding vinyl, and combined with super-quiet 
surfaces you net out better s/n (lower noise floor below average level, because the average level 
can be plenty "hot" and the vinyl surface noise can be much lower than the olden days) than was ever 
possible in the "golden age."

My "best of both worlds" proposal combines filling the demand for all-analog vinyl (whether or not 
it sounds "better" or "worse," there is a market for AAA and strong advocates for this format) and 
Plangent Process digital from one playback of a fragile tape. The benefits are: 1) a single playback 
of a fragile tape, meaning a single rewind or hand-wind with splice cleaning and repair; 2) shipping 
a valuable asset from the vault to only one location, and having it returned to the vault from one 
responsible party (this is a huge benefit to the record companies). 3) ending up with multi-use 
high-quality digital assets as well as the premium-niche AAA vinyl product.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "JAMES HOWARTH" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, March 07, 2015 2:20 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Another vinyl fad

>> I think, when he says "Digital Lacquer", he's talking about an LP mastered from a digital file 
>> that's been Plangent-treated.
>> Peace,
> Something we want to test, for sure..
> Doug Sax several years ago led a group at AES off a cliff by showing his Sheffield vinyl, and then 
> playing a Pantera box set selection as it was commercially mastered on CD —— from the CD… then 
> played his cut on vinyl and it roared. Being Doug it was a setup to make a point. He stepped to 
> the podium and informed the 300 or so impressed listeners that it was “sourced in a 192/24 
> straight from the Warner library”. When protests from the crowd ensued “You EQ’d it, and 
> compressed it! and made it special!!” and he says “No the kid that mixed it did a good job, .I 
> tried a few things and I couldn’t beat it so I cut it flat”.
> It was of course to prove a point, turning the argument into a pretzel.
> We know that the diminishment of the IM from the tape recording and playback is audible on vinyl, 
> and that the A/D D/A step is more neutral than the distortion caused by the FM/IM being repaired.
> They had the option on the recent Springsteen releases to cut from tape or from our/Ludwig’s files 
> and they decided to use ours. I hate to sound salesy — not the venue, but it is a technical fact 
> we’re trying to verify — it may finally be that digital techniques have improved to the point that 
> the vinyl can be improved by the digital step.
> Jh
> On Mar 7, 2015, at 12:35 AM, Paul Stamler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I think, when he says "Digital Lacquer", he's talking about an LP mastered from a digital file 
>> that's been Plangent-treated.
>> Peace,
>> Paul
>> On 3/6/2015 9:05 PM, Chris Goosman wrote:
>>> Perhaps he means lacquers that have been cut through a digital delay, as
>>> opposed to those that have been cut with analog decks with a preview head?
>>> Chris Goosman
>>> On Friday, March 6, 2015, Lou Judson<[log in to unmask]>  wrote:
>>>> “digital lacquer” ??? what the heck is that, sounds like a contradiction
>>>> in terms. Lacquer is analog and grooved. Digital is neither.
>>>> ???
>>>> On Mar 6, 2015, at 6:16 PM, Jamie Howarth<[log in to unmask]
>>>> <javascript:;>>  wrote:
>>>>> And then compare the digital lacquer to the one right off the tape and I
>>>> know which will win but it's heresy and nobody will believe it.