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Reference Recordings LPs: The Reference Mastercuts Series
For many years, RR has been searching the world over for the best possible vinyl mastering, plating and pressing facilities so we could re-enter the LP market. We now have a production chain that will allow us to produce LPs to meet our high standards and satisfy our demanding customers, who have been waiting for these LPs for a long time!
Assembling the Team
Disc mastering is done at half-speed (see note further in this press release) to insure maximum accuracy. The lathe system has custom electronics by Nelson Pass. The simple signal path contains no compression, equalization or unnecessary circuitry. RR Chief Engineer and Technical Director, “Prof.” Keith Johnson consulted on the design of the system and helped with the rebuilding of the lathe and electronics, which is owned and operated by long-time mastering expert Paul Stubblebine. “Prof.” Johnson has pronounced it equal to the challenge of our master tapes!
Once we achieved successful results in disc mastering, we faced the difficult task of choosing the best plating and pressing facility to manufacture our discs. Fortunately, the new Quality Record Pressings plant in Salina, Kansas was coming on line, and we feel that waiting for this plant to open was well worth it. Chad Kassem assembled a crack team of experts to design and run his new plant, employing many unique techniques and features that clearly set QRP apart from all other pressing plants. We believe the 200-gram deluxe vinyl pressings from QRP are truly exceptional.
Multiple Configurations for New Reference Mastercuts
Depending on program lengths, some new releases will be cut at 45 rpm, some at 33-1/3 rpm. Some will be single discs, some double. All will feature deluxe gate-fold jackets crafted by Stoughton Printing An unusual feature of new RR masterings is what we call the "FDS finish”: the end of each side will have a 30-second band of silent grooves before the “pull-away.” No one today uses a record changer, and the silent grooves allow time to lift the arm before the always-somewhat-noisy tie-off. (Some 1950s vintage Capitol Full Dimensional Sound pressings sported this feature.) RR founder, J. Tamblyn (Tam) Henderson deserves special recognition for identifying the value of this unique production feature and reintroducing it with the new Mastercuts.
NOTE: Half-speed Mastering involves a capturing process in which the original recording master is played back at exactly half of the recorded speed. A sequenced cutting lathe is then timed at exactly half of the playback speed. This process allows twice as much time to carve a groove that accurately represents the sound on the master tape. Half-speed mastering allows for cleaner reproduction and also permits extended high frequency response, extending into the ultrasonic region.
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