Vinyl Albums: Making a Comeback

Vinyl Albums: Making a Comeback

Record-industry mastering has survived through several stages and is now enjoying something of a comeback. A few industry experts say that this is a lost art. While that may be true to some extent, thanks to digital technology, it is still possible to have analogue masters as the source of quality recorded music.

In the first years of the recording industry, the mastering process was mechanical. After the performer sang, the master was created on a lathe. The cutting head put grooves on a cylinder or disc made of soft metal or wax. With the invention the microphone, and the introduction of amplification, the process improved and changed slightly, though lathes were still used to cut grooves in vinyl discs.

Tapes and Direct to Disc

When recording companies began to use magnetic tape or record directly to discs, metal and vinyl masters almost became a thing of the past. But a few enterprising individuals have revived this process. They are offering state of the art mastering services, with results that benefit from the best methods of the past and the best current technology.

Using the finest equipment available, chosen for its quality by experienced sound engineers, companies are working in outstanding acoustic environments constructed to exacting specifications. With the experience gained from recording thousands of albums, these firms have re-established the science and art of vinyl mastering. With an interesting combination of analogueequalisation and digital control, technicians are producing excellent recordings in a very traditional way.

Vinyl Albums Making a Comeback

But there is one more element to the finished product that stands apart from equipment and the vinyl media. Recording specialists in the 21st century bring something to the industry that was present in some studios several decades ago. While pursuing the necessary gold and platinum standard in this field, these engineers and technicians display the passion for quality vinyl masters that many artists demand.

Vinyl Rediscovered

Thousands, even millions, of people in their 20s and 30s have rediscovered vinyl. After passing through their youth listening to music on compact discs or MP3 players, music lovers are finding that the sound of great music on vinyl is unlike anything they have heard in the digital era. This change in listening habits led to a major increase in record sales, with final figures doubling from year to year.

Even as recorded music became less expensive, thanks to digital technology, young listeners are paying two, three, even four times the price of a CD for vinyl albums from their favourite artists. In addition, music that was placed on vinyl in the 1950s and 1960s is finding a new audience. Turntable and speaker sales are on the increase as well.

What is the attraction? Some listeners find the sound to be ‘more full’ on vinyl. Others feel they are getting a complete experience, combining the listening with looking at album art and reading lyrics that were printed on album covers. Fortunately, these new aficionados have fellow enthusiasts in the mastering industry.

Categories: Music

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