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Talking Vinyl with Scott Hull

Posted on the 25 May 2016 by Hctf @hctf
Talking Vinyl with Scott Hull

Engineer Scott Hull knows how to make vinyl sound good. Brad Allen Williams sat down with him for aTapeOp interview. About the the difference between lacquer and DMM [direct metal mastering]:

Most of the records that we own were cut with a lacquer master. Lacquer is a paint type of material; it's put onto a disc and we etch the grooves into it using a sapphire stylus. It's somewhat soft — it has to be soft enough that we can cut it — but it's not really "wet." It's semi-hard. Direct metal mastering is the same types of grooves cut into a copper disc. As you can imagine, solid copper is a whole lot harder and more resistant to being cut than lacquer. The forces involved, and the tools involved, are different. You can't cut lacquer and copper on the same lathe. It's inappropriate to make blanket statements — and there are a few times when copper might be beneficial — but most peoples' reaction today is still really similar to what it was in the late '80s and early '90s when DMM first started. It doesn't feel quite as warm. Not only does it tend to exaggerate the high-end a little bit, but sometimes the low-end has to be rolled off, or is just mechanically rolled off a little bit. One of the advantages of DMM cutting is that you can skip one of the plating steps; you can go right to a stamper because you can plate the copper part multiple times. If you're doing relatively short runs, you may really find that DMM is going to give you a decent product at a better price because some of the setup costs are [less] expensive. But when it's about the sound quality, and when it's about making a high fidelity record that people really want to absorb themselves into, it's almost always lacquer.

» scotthullmastering.com


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