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Vinyl Heads, Take Note

beagleman

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I understand entirely how the media is moving slower due to the reduced radius near the center! My point was that while that is true, it does not affect the audio passband with modern styli because the cutter can easily cut modulation at 20kHz no worries. It most definitely affects it with the older 1960s-and-before cartridges about which scholarly papers that still get linked today are written.
You say you understand, but your comment makes it sound as if you do not realize??

The issue of inner grooves is a cutting AND playback issue. You focus entirely on playback and try to paint a Rosy picture. The inner grooves are always compromised, during cutting also.
That is why the last song on most sides is always a ballad or quieter number. Most mastering engineers reduce the level a bit AND reduce the highs to get around this issue.

Any issue in playback, (such as inner groove distortion or roll off of highs) has a similar but opposite effect during cutting.
The grooves are packed tighter and tighter as there is far less "Real estate" to cut the "Groove" and consequently the radius is smaller and it becomes harder to cut AND playback towards the middle.

Part of the reason for 45 Rpm records with only a couple songs.
 

atmasphere

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You say you understand, but your comment makes it sound as if you do not realize??

The issue of inner grooves is a cutting AND playback issue. You focus entirely on playback and try to paint a Rosy picture. The inner grooves are always compromised, during cutting also.
That is why the last song on most sides is always a ballad or quieter number. Most mastering engineers reduce the level a bit AND reduce the highs to get around this issue.

Any issue in playback, (such as inner groove distortion or roll off of highs) has a similar but opposite effect during cutting.
The grooves are packed tighter and tighter as there is far less "Real estate" to cut the "Groove" and consequently the radius is smaller and it becomes harder to cut AND playback towards the middle.

Part of the reason for 45 Rpm records with only a couple songs.
You really need to work with this stuff in order to understand how it works.

You're trying tell someone that owned a mastering operation and mastered LPs and who has done measurements on the cutting operation to insure its working, how it doesn't do what the measurements have shown it does. I'm going with the measurements on this one rather than accept myth on its face.

FWIW there are plenty of LPs that have quite a lot of modulation in the inner grooves. Your idea of 'quieter numbers' being placed near the label is mythological- record companies going all the way back to 1958 when Westerex released their original stereo cutter head (3D) paid no attention to this idea. Get a copy of RCA's Living Stereo Pines of Rome and you'll see what I mean.

My system was a Scully Lathe with Westerex 3d cutter and 1700 electronics. When I did the measurements of high frequencies, I was taking a lathe cut on a lacquer and placing it on the shop turntable (older SL1200 with Grado Gold) and playing it. Lacquers are softer than vinyl so you can appreciate that when I was able to play back 25KHz in the lead-out groove area, that an actual LP made of much harder vinyl will do so as well.

When going into this I had much the same opinion as you. That opinion died in the face of reality- figuring out how to operate the lathe was a painful experience (stupid mistakes burned few cutter voice coils which is something all new mastering engineers experience...) so the lessons it taught are hard won.

The Westerex system was old (I refurbished them)- the electronics were built in 1970 and designed earlier; the head was designed ten years earlier than that! Whatever the source you have, its simply incorrect, either from being out of date (as in the case of early and cheap phono cartridges) or is simply misinformation. It is a fairly common myth.
 

beagleman

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You really need to work with this stuff in order to understand how it works.

You're trying tell someone that owned a mastering operation and mastered LPs and who has done measurements on the cutting operation to insure its working, how it doesn't do what the measurements have shown it does. I'm going with the measurements on this one rather than accept myth on its face.


FWIW there are plenty of LPs that have quite a lot of modulation in the inner grooves. Your idea of 'quieter numbers' being placed near the label is mythological- record companies going all the way back to 1958 when Westerex released their original stereo cutter head (3D) paid no attention to this idea. Get a copy of RCA's Living Stereo Pines of Rome and you'll see what I mean.

My system was a Scully Lathe with Westerex 3d cutter and 1700 electronics. When I did the measurements of high frequencies, I was taking a lathe cut on a lacquer and placing it on the shop turntable (older SL1200 with Grado Gold) and playing it. Lacquers are softer than vinyl so you can appreciate that when I was able to play back 25KHz in the lead-out groove area, that an actual LP made of much harder vinyl will do so as well.

When going into this I had much the same opinion as you. That opinion died in the face of reality- figuring out how to operate the lathe was a painful experience (stupid mistakes burned few cutter voice coils which is something all new mastering engineers experience...) so the lessons it taught are hard won.

The Westerex system was old (I refurbished them)- the electronics were built in 1970 and designed earlier; the head was designed ten years earlier than that! Whatever the source you have, its simply incorrect, either from being out of date (as in the case of early and cheap phono cartridges) or is simply misinformation. It is a fairly common myth.
So you are claiming the fidelity, distortion and everything sounds identical whether on the outermost groove or the most inner grooves?

You keep bringing up "Phono carts", but this is a built in limitation of vinyl, due to the diameter of the grooves getting smaller and smaller as we get closer to the center.
I DO agree some carts are less than optimal for tracking inner grooves, based on stylus shape and the tonearm angle obviously changing during playback, but we are talking about a physical limitation based on simply how records are made.

I have talked to a few mastering engineers and also found this limitation addressed on several posts on the internet.
The guys I talked to, said it is not a huge limitation, but it is well known the fidelity goes down a bit as we get close to the small diameter.
 

atmasphere

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So you are claiming the fidelity, distortion and everything sounds identical whether on the outermost groove or the most inner grooves?
Very nearly. I don't hear any difference on my system. But I have a Triplanar, which is one of the better tonearms made and certainly the most adjustable.

As a result I'm careful to not conflate personal anecdote with that of the media.

This
You keep bringing up "Phono carts", but this is a built in limitation of vinyl, due to the diameter of the grooves getting smaller and smaller as we get closer to the center.
- IMO, is where the problem is. I don't expect you've been following any of my posts, so I'll just say what I've said a lot: the limitation of the LP is far more on the playback side. Radial tracking arms introduce distortion and certain stylus types have limitations of their own. MM cartridges can ring and have electrical resonance that can cause brightness and distortion; LOMC cartridges have electrical resonance that inject RFI into phono sections also causing distortion, and so on. But the elephant in the room is setup, at which most of the population fails. These are not faults of the media as they are shortcomings in engineering; for example more work could be done with straight tracking arms and more work could be done to improve plug and play. I'm not holding my breath for either.
 

JP

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I grabbed what was at-hand just now to do these.



SAE 1000LT_47k 250pF_TRS-1005 L Outer.png


SAE 1000LT_47k 250pF_TRS-1005 L Inner.png
 

Newman

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You're trying tell someone that owned a mastering operation and mastered LPs and who has done measurements on the cutting operation to insure its working, how it doesn't do what the measurements have shown it does. I'm going with the measurements on this one rather than accept myth on its face.
Cool, let’s see the measurements - raw.
 

beagleman

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Very nearly. I don't hear any difference on my system. But I have a Triplanar, which is one of the better tonearms made and certainly the most adjustable.

As a result I'm careful to not conflate personal anecdote with that of the media.

This

- IMO, is where the problem is. I don't expect you've been following any of my posts, so I'll just say what I've said a lot: the limitation of the LP is far more on the playback side. Radial tracking arms introduce distortion and certain stylus types have limitations of their own. MM cartridges can ring and have electrical resonance that can cause brightness and distortion; LOMC cartridges have electrical resonance that inject RFI into phono sections also causing distortion, and so on. But the elephant in the room is setup, at which most of the population fails. These are not faults of the media as they are shortcomings in engineering; for example more work could be done with straight tracking arms and more work could be done to improve plug and play. I'm not holding my breath for either.
I have been reading all you say, but simply have heard others that are quite knowledgeable in mastering claims something a bit different.

Sorry If I came off as an arse, suffering from the flu and not my normal self

I know and agree about the part about carts and playback tone arms being a weakness, but still not sure about the inner pressings being the same fidelity as the outer.
 

Dgob

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From my personal listening experience, many records (the usual term for vinyl) surpass many streams in detail retrieval. Many records outperform CD's in detail retrieval. But many streams surpass many records in detail retrieval. Many CD's outperform records in detail retrieval. And the same goes for the relationship between CD's and streams.

What worries me is the dismissal and crusades against a proven musical format (namely records, streaming or CD's). This baffles me and frequently seems to have lost sight of the uniting factor: namely, the 'music'. There are various reasons to support this. For example, you can find specific instances where the actual whole recording is ONLY captured on the vinyl recording (take for example the extended but beautiful conclusion to Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Theme for the Eulipions"). No matter one's hearing abilities or prejudices, surely this indicates the importance of all of the media through which we secure our musical heritage.

My response has been to attempt to get the best equipment to reproduce all the noted formats. To this extent, I am happy to repeat my deep gratitude to Amir and ASR [along with some of the - more objectively driven suggestions from - other fora regarding vinyl playback].
 
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beagleman

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From my personal listening experience, many records (the usual term for vinyl) surpass many streams in detail retrieval. Many records outperform CD's in detail retrieval. But many streams surpass many records in detail retrieval. Many CD's outperform records in detail retrieval. And the same goes for the relationship between CD's and streams.

What worries me is the dismissal and crusades against a proven musical format (namely records, streaming or CD's). This baffles me and frequently seems to have lost sight of the uniting factor: namely, the 'music'. There are various reasons to support this. For example, you can find specific instances where the actual whole recording is ONLY captured on the vinyl recording (take for example the extended but beautiful conclusion to Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Theme for the Eulipions"). No matter one's hearing abilities or prejudices, surely this indicates the importance of all of the media through which we secure our musical heritage.

My response has been to attempt to get the best equipment to reproduce all the noted formats. To this extent, I am happy to repeat my deep gratitude to Amir and ASR [along with some of the other - more objectively driven - fora regarding vinyl playback].


I think all 3 of those formats at their best can sound fantastic for sure.
 

atmasphere

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Cool, let’s see the measurements - raw.
Here's what you are asking, just so you know. A mastering lathe like the one I had uses lacquers for the recording medium. Each lacquer costs these days about $45.00. So if you're going to set up for measurements like this the lacquer can't be used for a real project. To answer a random request on the internet...

The next variable to overcome is the acknowledgement of the role of the playback apparatus. Its lovely when measurements are posted like the ones above but right away if you know anything about the foibles of vinyl, questions arise like 'what arm was used, what cartridge, how did you manage cartridge loading, does your preamp have any issues with high frequency overload and how do you know that' and so on.

As a result I find most measurements whether good or bad to be suspect without extreme transparency.

You may have noted that earlier I stated having sold my lathe last spring when I was offered a good price out of the blue. Since Apollodisc burned to the ground about 4 years ago with no sign of rebuilding, it seemed a good time to get out https://www.apollomasters.com/

So we're in the arena of anecdote at this point since I no longer have access to my lathe.
 

Newman

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No worries, just that you said you have already done the measurements.
 

atmasphere

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No worries, just that you said you have already done the measurements.
Yes- I cut a 25KHz tone in the lead-out groove area and played it back on the SL1200 we used for testing recordings. It was equipped with a Grado Gold and was running into the phono input provided by the Tascam mixer console we used for recording (but not for mastering). On the 'scope a sine wave showed at the same level as a 10KHz cut so I have to assume it was alright. I cut the groove at 0.5mil which is about -6 db of what you might consider a common maximum for most tonearms.
 

JP

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I dug a little deeper on this. These are all relatively fresh styli. Test record is TRS-1007 where I used the innermost and outermost left channel tracks. For the "averaging" data set I averaged the amplitude from -500Hz to +500Hz of the frequency of interest. Bins are 100Hz so 11 data points per average.

Screen Shot 2022-12-25 at 12.35.07 PM 2.png
 
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