Definitive Audiophile pressings

Andy

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I figure this may be of use to audiophiles trying to figure out where their records are pressed.

Using pressing rings to figure out where a record is pressed:

So I ended up going down a bit of a rabbit hole a few weeks ago trying to figure out how to distinguish between Bowie "Blackstar" pressings at RTI vs MPO. Turns out MPO pressings have these very distinct triple concentric pressing rings around the spindle hole. Most MPO pressings anyway. Some exceptions exist apparently, but it seems to hold for "Blackstar".

I looked through my collection to corroborate and it seems like the Springsteen reissues have the distinct MPO pressing rings, for example.

This resource is fantastic if ever you want to go down that route:


Enter today...

I want to find out where my Spoon "Gimme Fiction" 10th anniversary reissue is pressed but there is no information anywhere and nothing obvious in the deadwax. So I turned to the pressing rings for clues.

This one:


Turns out it has a single 31.7 mm ring, so it seems to be from RTI. I then compared to other RTI pressings I own and the shape of the pressing ring and label holds. So I'm pretty confident it was pressed at RTI.

What a hobby!

That's really interesting

For the RTI pressings it's also quiet easy to tell from the dead wax. They have the following format.

xxxxx.x (x)

4-5 digits, followed by a decimal point: the number after the decimal point that indicates the side.
then, the number in parentheses Indicates the manufacturing process, a 2 means it was pressed direct from the lacquer or mother & 3 means that it was pressed from a normal stamper. (I don't know if they use a 1 for one steps, I should check).

so 12345.2 (2)

would indicate side 2 & that it was a direct pressing from the mother or lacquer.

The only thing to be careful about is if there are additional numbers etched, it could indicate that the lacquer was made at RTI but the vinyl pressed somewhere else.

edit - this is where the ring knowledge would come in really handy

I haven't watched this recently but found it quite interesting few years ago

 
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Turbo

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That's really interesting

For the RTI pressings it's also quiet easy to tell from the dead wax. They have the following format.

xxxxx.x (x)

4-5 digits, followed by a decimal point: the number after the decimal point that indicates the side.
then, the number in parentheses Indicates the manufacturing process, a 2 means it was pressed direct from the lacquer or mother & 3 means that it was pressed from a normal stamper. (I don't know if they use a 1 for one steps, I should check).

so 12345.2 (2)

would indicate side 2 & that it was a direct pressing from the mother or lacquer.

The only thing to be careful about is if there are additional numbers etched, it could indicate that the lacquer was made at RTI but the vinyl pressed somewhere else.

edit - this is where the ring knowledge would come in really handy

I haven't watched this recently but found it quite interesting few years ago


Neat, I didn't know this.

I noticed the numbering format, but I didn't know if there was any meaning or if the format was unique to RTI.

That's the format on the Spoon pressing I was interested in figuring out, so it lends more credence to my pressing ring sleuthing.
 

Andy

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Ordered February 1, arrived March 1 from JPC in Germany. Took a long time but well worth the wait because it sounds SOOO good, and in fine condition. Hooker 'N Heat, Pure Pleasure Records.

I looked at this a while ago & couldn't find it. I see it's back in stock, I'm definitely tempted.

I was looking what else to add in to the basket (the choices are endless), and noticed the Speakers Corner version of Nilson - Aerial Ballet. I don't know the album but noticed that the first track is missing (looking at cogs). Apparently the rights were sold to the Monkees after they used it in the film head, so it only appears on the first presses.

So, can you have a definitive audiophile pressing without the first track?
to make matters more complicated, there are a few Sundazed pressings available (with KG in the dead wax) that include the first track, but are in mono.

What is the definitive audiophile version of Nilson's Aerial ballet?
 

MikeH

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Ordered February 1, arrived March 1 from JPC in Germany. Took a long time but well worth the wait because it sounds SOOO good, and in fine condition. Hooker 'N Heat, Pure Pleasure Records.
Ooh good to know you got yours. I ordered I think around the same time as you from JPC and haven't gotten mine yet (ordered different albums but from JPC). I had a feeling it would take around a month though with everything going on. I'll keep an eye out on it...
 

Mather

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Ooh good to know you got yours. I ordered I think around the same time as you from JPC and haven't gotten mine yet (ordered different albums but from JPC). I had a feeling it would take around a month though with everything going on. I'll keep an eye out on it...
Odd, JPC won't ship to Canada. That's very strange.
 

Turbo

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That's really interesting

For the RTI pressings it's also quiet easy to tell from the dead wax. They have the following format.

xxxxx.x (x)

4-5 digits, followed by a decimal point: the number after the decimal point that indicates the side.
then, the number in parentheses Indicates the manufacturing process, a 2 means it was pressed direct from the lacquer or mother & 3 means that it was pressed from a normal stamper. (I don't know if they use a 1 for one steps, I should check).

so 12345.2 (2)

would indicate side 2 & that it was a direct pressing from the mother or lacquer.

The only thing to be careful about is if there are additional numbers etched, it could indicate that the lacquer was made at RTI but the vinyl pressed somewhere else.

edit - this is where the ring knowledge would come in really handy

I haven't watched this recently but found it quite interesting few years ago


So I'm spinning Pearl Jam "Live At Easy Street" for the monthly challenge.

I know it's a RTI pressing but I notice it has a (2). Another reason why this record sounds so damn good!
 

dhodo

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so 12345.2 (2)

would indicate side 2 & that it was a direct pressing from the mother or lacquer.
Sorry, this doesn't make sense to me. If by pressing directly from the lacquer you mean from the father (the plate made directly from the lacquer) then I believe that is what the one-step is, right?

You can't press from the mother. The mother is the inverse of the father as it is a plate created from it. It is just like a metal version of the lacquer (can be played). The mother is used to create another inverse (like the father), which is then used as the stamper in typical vinyl pressing.
 

MikeH

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Sorry, this doesn't make sense to me. If by pressing directly from the lacquer you mean from the father (the plate made directly from the lacquer) then I believe that is what the one-step is, right?

You can't press from the mother. The mother is the inverse of the father as it is a plate created from it. It is just like a metal version of the lacquer (can be played). The mother is used to create another inverse (like the father), which is then used as the stamper in typical vinyl pressing.
So the 2 or 3 means it's a 2 step or a 3 step process, not the 1 step.

Three Step:
Lacquer --> Father --> Mother --> Stamper --> Vinyl

Two Step:
Lacquer --> Father --> Stamper -->Vinyl

One Step:
Lacquer --> Convert --> Vinyl
 

Turbo

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Sorry, this doesn't make sense to me. If by pressing directly from the lacquer you mean from the father (the plate made directly from the lacquer) then I believe that is what the one-step is, right?

You can't press from the mother. The mother is the inverse of the father as it is a plate created from it. It is just like a metal version of the lacquer (can be played). The mother is used to create another inverse (like the father), which is then used as the stamper in typical vinyl pressing.

From the RTI description at Discogs:

(1), (2) and (3) indicate the matrix process used:
The 3-step process means that the master lacquer disc is used to make negative fathers, positive mothers, and finally stampers.
The 2-step means that the master lacquer disc is used to make a negative father, a mother and then convert the father into a stamper. This is used for small runs and in the case that extra stampers a required, the mother is used to produce those stampers.
The newer 1-step process (often found on MOFI UltraDisc One-Step records) means that the master lacquer disc is used to make a negative convert which is used to produce directly the vinyl (w/o using father, mother and stamper). The removal of two steps in plating process improves the sound quality.
 

dhodo

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So the 2 or 3 means it's a 2 step or a 3 step process, not the 1 step.

Three Step:
Lacquer --> Father --> Mother --> Stamper --> Vinyl

Two Step:
Lacquer --> Father --> Stamper -->Vinyl

One Step:
Lacquer --> Convert --> Vinyl
You can't plate a stamper directly from a father.

From the RTI description at Discogs:

(1), (2) and (3) indicate the matrix process used:
The 3-step process means that the master lacquer disc is used to make negative fathers, positive mothers, and finally stampers.
The 2-step means that the master lacquer disc is used to make a negative father, a mother and then convert the father into a stamper. This is used for small runs and in the case that extra stampers a required, the mother is used to produce those stampers.
The newer 1-step process (often found on MOFI UltraDisc One-Step records) means that the master lacquer disc is used to make a negative convert which is used to produce directly the vinyl (w/o using father, mother and stamper). The removal of two steps in plating process improves the sound quality.
This seems to say that the only difference between 2 and 1 is that you can't know if it is pressed directly from the father (which would effectively be the same as one-step, unless plating the mother from it degrades the father in some way) or from the stampers created from the backup mother they made in case they wanted more than the initial run, which is confusing. Not sure why they don't call the "convert" a father other than it not having "children"

Edit: or maybe it is just that they go ahead and do the "conversion to stamper" before making a mother. Not sure what that means or entails though.
 
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Joe Mac

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So the 2 or 3 means it's a 2 step or a 3 step process, not the 1 step.

Three Step:
Lacquer --> Father --> Mother --> Stamper --> Vinyl

Two Step:
Lacquer --> Father --> Stamper -->Vinyl

One Step:
Lacquer --> Convert --> Vinyl

From what I gather the one steps were the brainchild of the recently departed and missed mad scientist of audio gear Tim de Paravicini. He custom designed and built all the studio gear Mofi use to remaster both for vinyl and sacd and when they asked him “what next” a couple of years back that had been the pressing experiment that had been playing on his mind.
 

Joe Mac

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You can't make a stamper directly from a father.


This makes it sound like the only difference between 2 and 1 is that you can't know if it is pressed directly from the father or from the stampers created from the backup mother they made in case they wanted more than the initial run, which is confusing. Not sure why they don't call the "convert" a father other than it not having "children"

Edit:eek:r maybe it is just that they go ahead and do the "conversion to stamper" before making a mother. Not sure what that means or entails though.

Yep you’re right. A two step process cannot exist because the mother is a positive image and so can’t be used to press vinyl. You have to have an odd number of steps. Either the father becomes the stamper for the one steps or you make a mother from it to then make stampers for the normal process. I hope that no one uses a 5 step process!
 

dhodo

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Never though about it before, but I guess they are thinking about them in Adam & Eve, or some sort of hillbilly family if the father births the mother and then the mother births the children. :unsure:
 

MikeH

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You can't make a stamper directly from a father.


This makes it sound like the only difference between 2 and 1 is that you can't know if it is pressed from the stamper or from the backup mother they made in case they wanted more than the initial run, which is confusing. Not sure why they don't call the "convert" a father other than it not having "children"
They make the stamper from the father instead of from the mother though...this is what I can find out about it. It is still cutting out a step; It still seems confusing to me though.

The 2-step electroplating process involves the father being peeled
off the acetate and then itself being electroplated again to create
the “mother”, which is in effect, the negative of the father plate.
Typically, the mother plates are shelved for future use, and the
father is used for stamping.

3-step electroplating is just like 2-step electroplating, only the
“mother” — instead of being shelved — is electroplated to make more
stampers. 3-step electroplating is simply just another step to make
more parts. This is a good idea if you’re planning on making many
copies of your vinyl. One father can produce 10 mothers, and one
mother can produce 10 stampers. A single stamper can produce about
1000 records. If you do the math, you’ll figure out that the 2-step
process will yield about 11,000 records before a new lacquer needs to
be cut. The three step process can produce up to about 100,000 vinyl
records before you have to cut a new lacquer.


This details the One Step process which I am sure you have seen before. I'm guessing that you are right in that it's not called a Father because it's not made to have "children" so it's technically different.
image005.jpg
 

dhodo

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They make the convert from the father instead of from the mother though...this is what I can find out about it. It is still cutting out a step:

The 2-step electroplating process involves the father being peeled
off the acetate and then itself being electroplated again to create
the “mother”, which is in effect, the negative of the father plate.
Typically, the mother plates are shelved for future use, and the
father is used for stamping.

3-step electroplating is just like 2-step electroplating, only the
“mother” — instead of being shelved — is electroplated to make more
stampers. 3-step electroplating is simply just another step to make
more parts. This is a good idea if you’re planning on making many
copies of your vinyl. One father can produce 10 mothers, and one
mother can produce 10 stampers. A single stamper can produce about
1000 records. If you do the math, you’ll figure out that the 2-step
process will yield about 11,000 records before a new lacquer needs to
be cut. The three step process can produce up to about 100,000 vinyl
records before you have to cut a new lacquer.


This details the One Step process which I am sure you have seen before. I'm guessing that you are right in that it's not called a Father because it's not made to have "children" so it's technically different.
image005.jpg
Yeah, this seems to agree with what I said. For one-step they immediately convert the father (plate made directly from the lacquer) to a stamper and for (2) they plate a mother off it as a backup for the ability to make stampers later before they go back and convert the father to a stamper. At least that's what I was trying to convey, sorry for my lack of clarity.
 

MikeH

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Yeah, this seems to agree with what I said. For one-step they immediately convert the father (plate made directly from the lacquer) to a stamper and for (2) they plate a mother off it as a backup for the ability to make stampers later before they go back and convert the father to a stamper. At least that's what I was trying to convey, sorry for my lack of clarity.
And I get what you mean about it being weird that they may use the mother later, but that's when I think that number in the run out would change. So once they get past, say, 11,000 copies pressed, that number might change from a 2 to a 3 if they are using that same mastering.
 
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