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Category: Bass Music

What causes pre-echo / groove-echo?

What causes pre-echo / groove-echo?

Pre-echo on a record is somewhat of a phenomenon, it is not commonly known what causes a faint audio signal on a record slightly before the main recording.

It is often the result of excessive groove swing and depth changes on the lacquer from stereo width in the bass frequencies.  This is one of the reasons as to why bass frequencies are mono’d on a vinyl record.

ElectronMicroscopeImageOfDirtyVinylRecordGroove
So what actually is pre-echo or ‘groove-echo’? It is a result of the transmission of sound from one record groove to the next.  It is caused during cutting, but can also be made a lot worse during the processing of the lacquers.  A decent lathe will cut a groove that just touches the previous rotation, whereas some of the later lathes actually nestled part of the groove into the previous one.  The cutting engineer would have to use the ‘add land’ button to create more space between the groove artificially.

The acetate or lacquer is pretty much a living thing, and how it electroplates is a result of how well cured it is.  This is determined by the amount of oils used, how long it was cured, and how long it was given to acclimatise at the cutting room.

Once the lacquers are used on a lathe then the pre-echo starts to build up, the first 24-hours are crucial so it’s important to get the lacquers into the electroplating bath as quickly as possible.

It is often thought that the cutting engineer could only be responsible for groove-echo, though galvanic process does have a big part to play, and it’s often this procedure that causes the biggest problem.  To reduce the possibility of this, the plating process needs to be very slow and cold to reduce any effects that could be evident on the lacquer.  Rushing the plating process during busy periods at a pressing or having the bath too hot can result in greatly exaggerating problems evident on the lacquers.

As a vinyl producer trying to get the best possible product out the door the best thing you can do is have the Cutting Engineer post out your lacquers immediately, and make whichever plant you are using aware that they are on the way and you have your order actually in place.

 

 

Record Store Day 2015 – RSD2015

Record Store Day 2015 – RSD2015

recordstoreday2012Although most of you are still thinking about your Christmas and early 2015 schedule, it is wise to start planning your Record Store Day – RSD2015 release for 2015.  For those of you not planning on releasing a record for RSD2015 you should bare in mind that manufacturing times during this period become  longer.

Record Store Day 2015 will take place on April 18th and finished product will need to be with your distributor ideally last week in March.   To ensure this date is met the pressing plants will need lacquers no later than 23rd January.  With this in mind you should really think about getting the mastering session booked in.

Traditionally the months of February through to May become affected so this needs to be taken into account when planning releases in this period.  To ensure release dates are met during this very busy time please speak to us as soon as possible.

Manufacturing Times for the production of Vinyl Records

Manufacturing Times for the production of Vinyl Records

Here at Well Tempered we work with the three best pressing plants in Europe to ensure that your records are pressed to schedule and cost, and also of optimum quality. The standard turnaround time from all three suppliers is seven weeks from receipt of lacquers – this is industry standard.

We hear that a lot of artists and labels elsewhere are getting frustrated with production times of up to twelve weeks. This should not be the case, there is simply no reason to wait this long for your product.

delayed record productionWe understand the need to make the process as quick and easy as possible, and our commitment to looking after the customer means that we have methods in place and capacity at pressing plants to ensure a very smooth and professional service.

If you’re waiting twelve weeks for your records then you should be asking yourself just how long can your business sustain this inefficient relationship.

Releasing a record should not be headache though sadly for many it’s simply too much of a hinderance to their release schedule. Here at Well Tempered we offer you cheaper prices and swifter production times than if you were to go to the manufacturer directly. Releasing a record should be an exciting physical representation of your creative output, and in no way be a chore.

Self Distribution – A Good Idea?

Self Distribution – A Good Idea?

Those of you not familiar with the traditional music distribution model of the physical format might at some point consider it a good idea to attempt self distribution.

Many labels see growth in their direct-to-consumer sales month on month, hear about store closures, and wonder whether or not distribution could be done themselves. The thought of an extra £1 per unit on every sale is an attractive one, and the idea of being self sufficient in this day and age is certainly something that many people strive towards.

This gives you more money per unit and in turn a more sustainable self-sufficient business model.

Though what are the common problems that record labels face when attempting self distribution?

The first point to understand is just how far and wide your records are distributed.  As well as in UK, major territories for record sales have been for a long time USA, Japan, & Germany. Whilst it may be not logistically impossible to get your new releases into some of the stores in your own continent, many people would find it incredibly tricky if not impossible to get decent coverage in countries on the other side of the world.  For the sake of £1 per copy, many record labels are shrinking their global reach and supplying to a much smaller customer base.

One of the main problems being the freight charges.  Most distributors will ship healthy orders across the world to stores on a weekly basis, selling a range of music and formats to shops.  It would be uneconomical for most stores abroad to buy from a record label directly and have to pay additional shipping charges.  Many stores abroad would have a minimum order quantity of up to one hundred units, just to make the shipping cost economical. Whilst this could be hard with some smaller distribution companies it would seem impossible dealing with record labels directly.

self distribution of vinyl recordsThe export market has always been a lot larger than most independent record labels will realise.  The healthy representation in other countries has always been such a huge factor in growing the profile of a brand and building a decent live event network.  Often record stores are run by a passionate collective of artists and music lovers that are also involved in live events and other areas of the music industry.

Though many believe that the sales lost through the distribution channels will be made up from the same customers buying the releases through their direct-to-consumer platform.  It’s true that some of them might be.  However, many of the stores rely on regular customers, people that come into their store on a weekly basis or trawl through their new releases online.  Whether your release is there or not, they spend their weekly budget on the records in stock, pay one shipping charge and return the next week.  Many record buyers would think twice about buying one single record from an additional outlet, when they can buy 90% of their records from one store.

The idea of gaining an extra 25% profit through self distribution is definitely something that would entice a lot of labels, though would self distribution equate to 75% of distribution sales needed to generate the same profit from a release? No probably not.  Ask yourself are hours spent packing boxes, raising invoices, chasing overdue payments really worth it? I would have to say definitely not.  Not to mention matching the hours spent by the distribution company promoting the product, and scheduling releases, pricing them up, and would you really be able to find out where most of these potential sales are?

From a store’s point of view, they do not want to spend hours dealing with labels directly. They often find self distribution a turn off. The only incentive for them would be a cheaper price, which would surely eliminate the main reason for self distribution.  Shipping charges would be greater from a label without huge freight discounts from courier companies. Stores have to set up additional supplier records for one label and suddenly the work-load increases for both parties on a large scale.

One of the biggest changes for record labels over the past 10 years is collecting monies from many more revenue streams than before; streaming sites, Youtube, Shazam, internet radio. Less people are buying music than ever before, though vinyl is the only format not in decline while CD sales and downloads plummet year on year.   The need for the physical release is now becoming more and more important for promotional purposes and building the brand and profile. So surely this is best managed by someone that can push the product as far and wide as possible.

Fracture – Loving Touch EP – Exit Records (exit049)

Fracture – Loving Touch EP – Exit Records (exit049)

Next up on Exit Records is Fracture – Loving Touch EP | manufactured by well Tempered.

The EP centres around ‘Loving Touch’, officially using Ralphi Rosario and Xavier Gold’s early Chicago classic ‘You Used To Hold Me’. Ralphi loves the track and you will too. It updates the production taking the track to 160bpm, adding some footwork hats and bass but not forgetting Fracture’s roots and forsaking the breaks. This drops! Loving Touch has already had loads of club play and since Rockwell sneaked it on to his BBC Radio One show we have been inundated with requests for it.

Exit Records - Loving TouchThe rest of the Fracture – Loving Touch EP is by no means filler and sees Fracture at his creative best, blurring lines between 2014 rave music. Werk It was rhythmically conceived in a dream and realised with simplicity the next morning. A favourite of Machinedrum it’s bubbles along with a stripped back carnival vibe, vocal instructions to “go down! / come up!” and clattering soca percussion. One for Notting Hill.

 

Grippin’ Grain is a collaboration with Sam Binga and was written at his studio in Bristol with a steaming hangover. Somehow they pulled it together and delivered a minimal 808 laden piece that never seems to let the tension drop from the first beat to the last. Slammed through an analogue desk adds enough grit and distortion to perhaps reflect the effects of the previous night

Fracture rounds off the EP with Overload and concludes a theme of breakbeats and bass stabs across the project. With block pary Hip Hop human beatbox and UK sound system samples, we find ourselves plunged thousands of feet under the atlantic ocean in a frantic international soundclash.

To preview the tracks or buy your copy visit the Exit Records store here

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) vs Lacquer. Which should you choose?

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) vs Lacquer. Which should you choose?

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) vs LacquerDMM (Direct Metal Mastering) became popular during the 80’s but was soon less favourable as more cutting engineers went back to lacquer.

 

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) was co-developed by Neumann and Teldec, and in stead of engraving the groove into a soft metal lacquer-coated aluminum disc, a DMM lathe engraves the audio signal directly onto a hard metal copper-plated master disc.

The difference between a DMM cut and a lacquer cut is that the DMM is more precise, with sharper transients and better image “edge definition,” while the lacquer cut is smoother, warmer and more pleasing on the ears.

DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) cuts always appeared to have a brighter and more defined top-end. Upon early inspection of DMM discs, this appeared to be due to a higher frequency modulation in the groove, caused by an ultra-sonic carrier tone. However there is no carrier tone on DMM cuts and the modulation is simply caused by the vibration of the cutter head.

Many critics often describe a DMM cut as too bright or too ‘edgy’. Often the reason for playing a vinyl record is to have the warm and analogue sound that is often not present in a DMM cut.

DMM did though eliminate the problem of pre-echo sometimes audible on a lacquer. Pre-echo is caused by the cutting stylus unintentionally transferring some of audio signal into the previous groove wall, causing a faint audio signal, a pre-echo.

Another argument for the use of DMM is that it removes the need for one stage of the galvanic process. Since the DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) is cut onto copper the first stage of electroplating is bypassed, resulting in cleaner processing with less surface noise and less chance of error during processing.

Although the warmer sound of lacquer could arguably be put down to the cuts not sounding as bright as DMM, the fuller sound of lacquer could be credited to the depth of the grooves on a lacquer. Lacquers can be cut much much deeper than DMM which is essential for music with a prominent low-end signal. As well as giving the fuller sound, a deeper groove is needed to avoid jumps and skips on a turntable. And even though DMM has much brighter more defined frequency response in the top end, this certainly isn’t the case with the bass frequencies, evident in most of today’s electronic music.

Thelem – Haunted Harmonics EP – Artikal Music (artkl013)

Thelem – Haunted Harmonics EP – Artikal Music (artkl013)

THELEM-ARTKL013

Another great release on Artikal Music, vinyl manufacturing handled by Well Tempered. Thelem – Haunted Harmonics EP

Release Date: 28th April 2014

Fresh off his stunning Petrichor / Grainform single, Thelem returns to Artikal, delivering his most substantial release thus far. The ‘Haunted Harmonics’ EP splits itself between the grime-influenced ‘Haunted Harmonics’ and cyber-badman riddim of ‘Shottaz’ while stepping up the tempo to 170bpm with ‘Forces of Nature”s agenda of agitation and the clinically paranoid ‘Obsessions’.

Haunted Harmonics unfolds like a demented Eski beat with squashed rudebwoy synths grafted to the rhythmic frame as a neon melodic line gets refracted into various shapes and permutations. A hip-hop indebted bass line carries all the micro-level details, till it all dissipates into a sound-collage of field recordings from various places, but most prominently a pre-recorded telephone message.

The Babylon crumbling war drums of Forces of Nature open with snippets of a Rastafari portent regarding the sinners of the world before augmented with tastefully spliced amen breaks and dark-side swipes.

Blooming from delicately creeping pads and punctuated by rudebwoy threats, Shottaz explodes into a bio-mechanical steppa geared with hyper-surreal sound design, creating a constantly shifting mechanism of soundsystem destruction. Trapist percussion keeps things clipped and serious.

Obsessions is a heads down roller possessing the shark-eyed mission to add a little bit of paranoia to the dance. Scuttling percussion flick and glimmer over reinforced moaning caustic synths and hard as nails swerving subs.