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Welcome Licorice Pizza (LP) lovers! Setup guides and Vinyl FAQ.

Its not the pressing plants...

Most likely, the quality of the master tape has deteriorated. If you want pressings of old LPs that were mastered from analog stereo masters, there is a weakness. Each time the master tape is hung up on the playback deck and played back to cut another lacquer, the tape degrades slightly.

The use of the tape plus the age of the analog master makes for a master tape that becomes duller and loses the "reality" of the sound. If the master tape in question is digital, your have other issues. If the digital master was a copy of an analog master, the condition of the analog master when the digital copy was made is captured on the digital copy. Also, the digital master tape degrades over time too.

A digital tape can suffer from drop outs where the sound hits gaps. Tape playback is not perfect and the quality of the master tape is dependent on the type of tape used (some formulations age better than others) and how the tape is stored.

Many times a LP is cut from a copy of the original stereo master tape because the original master is not available to the mastering facility. Subsequent copies of a master tape sound duller too. Beatles master tapes are ones that are carefully guarded and it would seem that mastering by Abbey Road studios would indicate that they used the original master tapes.

I would check to see what they used in the mastering and then the LP can indicate what kind of condition the tape is in.

The original pressing of any LP is usually the best pressing available. There are exceptions so this is a guideline not a rule. If you can get to a used LP store and do some digging you can be rewarded. Before you go to the store, know what LPs you are looking for and do some research as to what the deadwax says on the original pressings.

Look for the oldest pressing of the LP you are looking for that is in good condition. Yes, I agree with you that the old scratchy sounding LPs have much better sound lying in the grooves. The trick is to find one in decent condition.

LPs can degrade over time but do not degrade the way tapes do. If a LP is taken care of and the playback gear is maintained well, the LP can last many lifetimes. Vinyl is a very resilient medium that last almost forever. If you find an original or something that was pressed from an original master tape many years ago, you will likely get rewarded with better sound.

Just remember that LP manufacturing is a business and the quality of the sound is not always an important factor in making another copy of the LP. Poor quality master tapes and amateur mastering can make for a lousy pressing. Finding a pressing that was made long ago can be a real ear opener.

Good luck finding a good quality original,

We don't shush around here!
Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof

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  • Its not the pressing plants... - EdAInWestOC 02:54:29 04/16/17 (0)


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