Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How To Make Good Analog Music Recordings

*some Tips from Moritz Illner*

Realizing that many independent artists and bands are more than just curious about the re-emerging possibility to offer something more than just a digital file. We thought it would be interesting to do an interview to get some vinyl manufacturing tips.

From our research and communications with several pressing plants, we have discovered that there is a substantial difference between services and costs across the offering table of vinyl manufacturers. But what we have worked out, is, that if given a few concerts, a supportive family, and active myspace page you can manage to sell between 200-300 records, you will be able to break-even on costs with a price per record as little as Euros 2-4 or USD 3-6.

So to learn more about the process of making vinyl records we contacted a vinyl record pressing plant in Germany and asked them a couple of questions. We found a dedicated and service minded team that taught us a lot about the process of producing vinyl records. Moritz Illner answered some of our questions about how to get one 's music out on vinyl.

Thomas: What is the history of Duophonic? Who is behind the company, and what is your position in the company?

Moritz: Duophonic was founded in 2002. We started as a reseller of CD-Pressings and did small runs on our own CD Duplicator. Me as the technical chief and David did all the controlling and project management. We both, David Jahnke and me were great Vinyl fans so we discovered a way to combine our hobby and our job. Step by step we bought more and more Studio equipment especially old vinyl- cutting rags...

Thomas: When did your start focusing on vinyl, and why?

Moritz: I was always fascinated of the miracle to conserve the stereo-sound information in a little groove. In the mid 90ties when I finished my sound engineer training, this was far more exotic then nowadays. But I always bought vinyl instead of CDs so the way a good record has to sound gets very familiar to me over the years. Then a few months after launching Duophonic we found the curious guy near our hometown how had constructed a vinyl recorder. We bought one machine and started doing small runs for Djs and Producers in the end of 2002 with our own vinyl cutting 'lathe.

Thomas: There are different ways of vinyl production, what are the main ways? And, what way of production does your company offer?

Moritz:You can cut records directly in vinyl as a one-off or small run production. This is only interesting for DJ or home use, not for sale, because its not cheap (round 40 euros at duophonic).

If you run a label or band and you want to sell your LPs or singles you have to press your records. Then you can choose two different ways of cutting your Master. DMM -cutting; there you cut the groove into a copper plate. The second is lacquer cutting, the groove is cut into a lacquer coated aluminium plate, and it 's the most popular way. The pressing process itself is nearly the same. Duophonic has a Neumann VMS 70 Lacquer cutting Lathe and we are very happy with its sound.

Thomas: Should artists use different cutting/pressing methods for different types of music (electronic, indie, rock, punk)? If so, why?

Moritz: The most records you can buy nowadays are lacquer cuts, because there are only a few DMM lathes left and the only advantage cutting into copper is the longer playing time. If you want to have loud records for example electronic 45er Maxis it 's better on lacquer, because DMM can't cut so deep. This is important because your playback stylus have to move very fast if the record is loud and therefore he needs a proper guidance. If you have a lot of stereo information in your music than you need a deep cut too. For example if you have massive panned guitars on a punk rock single.

The big advantage of Dmm cutting is the longer playing time per side. The maximum on our VMS 70 is 24- 25 min per side. With DMM you have up to 30 min. But a record with a playing time like a CD couldn't sound good anyway.

Thomas: How long would it take me to get 200 new pressed 12" records delivered to my home in Norway if I gave you an audiotape today?

Moritz: It takes around 14 working days. But I would advice to make 300 pieces because all the paperwork and the pressing get much cheaper then.

Thomas: There is little doubt about the current vinyl revival, which is occurring in the midst of an industry going through major structural changes. Have you seen development in the demand pattern for vinyl during recent years?

Moritz: Not having the big major customers, we're not affected by this "Madonna makes vinyl again" phenomenon. What we see the last years is much more diversity in genres and scenes the last years. All "electronic dance music" is decreasing because of mp3 DJ software. All other independent stuff is increasing especially 7inches (punk, garage, ect.) and Metal LPs, obscure small runs of everything between art and music..

The editions gone down, the average is around 300. But the packaging and the records itself becomes more individual and sumptuous. Things like engraving or double grooves on the record, or silkscreen printed covers are very hot at the moment. There are fewer labels but much more bands that want to sell their product on concerts and so on. They need more help getting a real professional finished product, so we as a company do a lot of consulting work depending artwork specification, sound mastering and so on. For Duophonic the change in music industry is not bad at all .

Thomas: Where do you see vinyl in 10 years? (Still going strong?)

Moritz: Hopefully! Don1t know, but as a niche product it will survive I think.

Thomas: What are your all-time top five records?

Moritz: Hard question, after typing 12, deleting 10, typing 13, deleting 3, typing 5, deleting 12. Here 's the list:

Die Goldenen Zitronen - Economy class - LP
Beck - Odelay - LP
Trio - Trio - LP
Fugazi - Self titled - EP
Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die - LP About the Author

Nylvi co-founder Thomas Stenumgaard writes about vinyl records and the future of the music industry. Nylvi is a new social marketplace for buying and selling vinyl records. For more information check out http://www.nylvi.com

Neil Young Releasing 1968 Show, Postponing Archives

Reprise Records has announced that Neil Young's "Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968" will be released on November 25.

The release is a compilation from two shows on November 9 and 10, 1968 at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the singer's first performances as a solo artist. Young was only 23 years old and had left the Buffalo Springfield six months earlier. The booking was not widely publicized as it was being used to determine how Young's music would go over with the audience when just performed by the singer and a lone guitar.

Along with the music, Young tells stories between the songs on everything from menial jobs he had in Toronto to the origins of some of the songs. Included are pieces from both his Buffalo Springfield days along with early solo compositions. Sound quality is said to be very good even though the performances were recorded on a small TEAC two-track recorder.

On the down side, Young has also announced that his long promised Archives, Volume 1 is being delayed until early next year. Much discussion has ensued over the distribution method for the multi-disc set with Young preferring Blu-Ray only while the record company opting for multiple-formats.

The track list for Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968

Emcee intro
On the Way Home
Songwriting rap
Mr. Soul
Recording rap
Expecting To Fly
The Last Trip To Tulsa
Bookstore rap
The Loner
"I used to" rap
Winterlong (excerpt) and Out of My Mind (intro)
Out of My Mind
If I Could Have Her Tonight
Classical Gas rap
Sugar Mountain (intro)
Sugar Mountain
I've Been Waiting for You
Songs rap
Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Tuning Rap & The Old Laughing Lady (intro)
The Old Laughing Lady
Broken Arrow

Classic Rock Videos

Elvis Presley- Jailhouse Rock

Album Cover Art

We are moving right along with the Gigwise.com look at the most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers as complied by their staff. Let's explore what they have at number 15:


15. Jane's Addiction: ‘Ritual de lo Habitual’ – Jane's Addiction's second studio album, was released on August 21, 1990 on Warner Brothers. It was the band's final album before their first break up in 1991. Singles from the album include "Been Caught Stealing" and "Stop!".

Two versions of the disc packaging were created: one cover featured artwork by singer Perry Farrell, related to the song "Three Days" and including male and female nudity; the other cover has been called the "clean cover", and features only black text on a white background, listing the band name, album name, and the text of the First Amendment (the "freedom of speech" amendment) of the U.S. Constitution (although it's inaccurately titled "Article 1" which is the section of the Constitution creating the legislative branch). The back cover of the "clean cover" also contains the text "Hitler's syphilis-ridden dreams almost came true. How could it happen? By taking control of the media. An entire country was led by a lunatic... We must protect our First Amendment, before sick dreams become law. Nobody made fun of Hitler??!" The "clean cover" was created so the CD could be distributed in stores such as Wal-Mart who refused to stock items with nudity on the front cover.



15. Marilyn Manson: 'Mechanical Animals' The controversial album cover has won critical acclaim and numerous awards. The infamous photo is the brainchild of long-time Manson photographer Joseph Cultice, of New York City. Contrary to popular internet rumours, the band leader, Manson, did not undergo any plastic surgery for this androgynous, alien look. The breasts are prosthetic, manufactured specially by George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic. Interestingly, Manson has stated in interviews that Johnny Depp is the current owner of these prosthetic breasts, while Manson himself owns Johnny's strawberry-blonde wig worn in the film Blow. Manson is in reality, naked, and covered head to toe in latex paint, provided by the same movie make-up company. His genitalia are covered by a thin cup of plastic to create the androgynous appearance of the alien figure he calls Omega. I have a feeling we'll see more from this character and from Manson.



15. Millie Jackson – ‘Back To The Shit’ We have seen this cover before on the Gigwise list. Why they chose to add it here I am not sure. But, I guess we all wanted to see a pop diva on the can trying to have a movement of sorts. Enough said.



15. The Rolling Stones: ‘Sticky Fingers’ I agree, this is a great cover. Sticky Fingers is an album by English rock band The Rolling Stones, released in April 1971. It is the band's first release on the band's newly-formed label, Rolling Stones Records, after having been contracted since 1963 with Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US. It is also Mick Taylor's first full-length appearance on a Rolling Stones album.

The artwork for Sticky Fingers - which features a working zipper that opened to reveal a man in cotton briefs (rubber stamped "THIS PHOTOGRAPH MAY NOT BE-ETC.") - was conceived by American pop artist Andy Warhol, photographed by Billy Name and designed by John Pasche. The cover features the lower torso of either Warhol assistant Jed Johnson or Joe Dallesandro in a pair of tight jeans. After retailers complained that the zipper was causing damage to the vinyl (from stacked shipments of the record), the zipper was "unzipped" slightly to the middle of the record, where damage would be minimized. The album features the first usage of the "Tongue and Lip Design" designed by John Pasche.

In 2003 the TV network VH1 named Sticky Fingers the "No.1 Greatest Album Cover" of all time. In 2003, Sticky Fingers was listed as number 63 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Founder of Record Store Day Appeals to the Beatles

Michael Kurtz, the founder of Record Store Day, has written an open letter to the Beatles about the upcoming release of the DVD All Together Now.

Kurtz is upset that, once again, a major artist is bypassing traditional outlets for exclusivity with a large retailer. Offending artists have included the Eagles, Journey, AC/DC and Guns 'N Roses.

“There was once a young band called The Beatles who were discovered by a record store owner by the name of Brian Epstein. We all know the history of how the boys changed the world. But less is known about how this record store owner believed in a young band and helped them when they needed it most.”

“It is a sad day for mom and pop record stores and Beatles fans who chose to shop with record stores. Where once Apple releases would be made available to all music stores, The Beatles legacy is now cheapened by your decision to select Best Buy as the exclusive retailer”.

Source: Undercover Music

This Date In Music History- October 14


Cliff Richard, England's answer to Elvis, ("Devil Woman") turns 68.

Robert Parker ("Barefootin'") is 78.

Birthday wishes to Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues.

Electronic pioneer Thomas Dolby ("She Blinded Me With Science") was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1958.

Born on this day in 1978, R&B singer Usher (his 2004 album “Confessions” sold over a million copies in the US in its first week of release, selling the greatest amount of records in one week for any R&B artist).

Happy Birthday to Dixie Chick Natalie Maines.


In 1955, Buddy Holly opened for Bill Haley & the Comets in Lubbock, Texas. Talent agent Eddie Crandell was in the audience and in the next few weeks arranged for Holly to record his first demo.

Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) was organized in 1939. BMI competed directly with ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers).

"Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley was released in 1957. It became his ninth US number one single and stayed on the Billboard chart for nineteen weeks. The film clip from the movie where he sang the song is considered by many historians to be the first Rock & Roll video.

This morning in 1963, the London papers were filled with coverage of the Beatles' performance the night before on the British variety show Sunday Night at the Palladium. More than 15 million people watched the show.

Although it was banned by some US radio stations for its suggestive lyrics, The Everly Brothers' "Wake Up Little Susie" reached the top of the Billboard singles chart in 1957. In the UK, it reached #2.

At London's All Saints Hall in 1966, Pink Floyd played their first set made up entirely of their psychedelic originals after a band decision to dump its R&B direction.

The Temptations released their definitive single "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" in 1972. The song became their fourth No. 1.

In 1977, legendary crooner Bing Crosby died at in Madrid from a heart attack (age 74). He was in Spain on a golfing trip.

The great American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein died at age 72 in 1990.

The soundtrack to the film "Casablanca" was released for the first time in 1997.

All four solo albums by the members of KISS broke through Billboard's Top 100 in 1978. Gene Simmons effort will prove to be the highest charting at #22, followed by Ace Frehley at #26, then Paul Stanley at #40 and Peter Criss at #43.

Freddy Fender, the Tex-Mex hit maker known for such '70s jukebox standards as "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights", died of complications from lung cancer in 2006.

In 1969, police in New Jersey issued a warrant for the arrest of Frank Sinatra in relation to his connections with the Mafia. Ya think?

In 1966, Grace Slick performed for the first time with Jefferson Airplane, at San Francisco's Fillmore (West).

In 1972, Michael Jackson's song "Ben", from the movie of the same name, reached number one on Billboard's Pop chart and #7 in the UK. It was the third hit in a year for the 13 year old singer.

In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared on "The Dick Cavett Show" on ABC to promote Lennon's new LP and film ("Imagine"), Yoko's book, two films and a fine arts show.

Bobbie Gentry started a two-week run at No.1 on the US album chart in 1967 with “Ode To Billie Joe.”