Test pressing issues

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sinewave1kHz
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Test pressing issues

Post by sinewave1kHz » 15 Oct 2018 09:45

Dear group,
This is my first post here and I hope this is the right place to ask.

As a long time records consumer, I've found myself on the other side of the production chain, for the first time. My band is about to put out the first album in LP format. Recently, we got the test pressings and what we hear is not what we used to hear when we buy new records. The records sound crackly, especially on the places where the music is louder. Beside that, some of the test pressings have repeating pops which don't appear at the same spot on 5 tp's we have. One of the records is even skipping.
Is there anyone with more insight who can tell what might get wrong in the process?

I'll try to give some more information on production process of our record:
Length: 42mins, cca 21 min each side
Recording, mixing, cutting: AAA
We are not part of the loudness war, so yes, the record is a little bit on the quiet side, we tried to preserve as much dynamics.

Ps: I must say, the test pressings sound very nice, both the colour and dynamics are equal or even "better" than what we used to hear on master tape, so in that aspect, we are very satisfied. Those issues with pops and crackles is what we would like to solve.

Thank you for you insight!

bernard1
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by bernard1 » 15 Oct 2018 11:45

Did you ask the engineer who made the pressing ? I think it's the first person you should ask.

sinewave1kHz
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by sinewave1kHz » 15 Oct 2018 12:55

Yes, the letter is already sent, that's first logical step. But, I just wanted to hear the opinions from neutral parties while we are waiting for the answer. Thank you for participating!

bernard1
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by bernard1 » 15 Oct 2018 13:00

If you want more advice, post some samples, in wav, with both nice and crackling sounds.

Slavikcc
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by Slavikcc » 16 Oct 2018 23:25

Which pressing plant did you use to make the test pressings? The purpose of test pressings is to ensure that the initial run is without any problems. The skipping issue is problematic, but you'll have to ensure that it's not played through a low-end player and remove any dust and dirt from the grooves (though this may Help with the crackling and popping sounds as well).

sinewave1kHz
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by sinewave1kHz » 17 Oct 2018 06:36

Hi Slavikcc,
I feel that it is not a good time to mention names until the job is done, although, your question seems reasonable. We played the records on mid level gear (Denon, Pro-Ject, Revolver, old Lenco, etc)., and the turntables are set-up well. Do you think we should worry that much about the dust and dirt in brand new records?
I would like to post some wav examples, but can't see that feature on this forum.

E.Man
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by E.Man » 17 Oct 2018 09:03

Would you be happy buying a dirty crackle and pop record ?
Since you say the sonics are good I would put it down to the pressing process.
Tell them it's not good enough.

Pauw
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by Pauw » 17 Oct 2018 09:39

The job of mastering ,pressing can be done to an excellent degree and there are many examples out there to prove it....I am sure many members can cite examples and so can I....BUT the art of producing a good record is like many things a blend of Science, Art, skill and experience.....Now there are still quite a few teams/companies out there doing this job ......however this is an "ancient craft".....Many of the great people have retired, are sadly no more or don't do this any more. For fortune there are still some who do ...In addition there are some who are newer to this game and try hard but have not yet "won their spurs".....They know how to do this in theory etc but they have not served their apprenticeship quite as fully as they should. They can produce good records and do care but still have to get some grey hairs and as such what they think is good is OK ....but are real experienced expert craftsperson could still show them a trick or two and it may well be you have one of those.......It might be interesting to meet your team , chat with them and see who they are, what they believe and how experienced they are ...........there is another possibility....you have a company where the accountants rule and you get the priority of money to be made over audio.

Slavikcc
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by Slavikcc » 17 Oct 2018 13:21

sinewave1kHz wrote:
17 Oct 2018 06:36
Hi Slavikcc,
I feel that it is not a good time to mention names until the job is done, although, your question seems reasonable. We played the records on mid level gear (Denon, Pro-Ject, Revolver, old Lenco, etc)., and the turntables are set-up well. Do you think we should worry that much about the dust and dirt in brand new records?
I would like to post some wav examples, but can't see that feature on this forum.
Understood. Pressing plants are generally quite dirty, so you'll mainly find paper dust and dirt on records. This is especially true if the records are stored in paper/cardboard inner sleeves. The general best practice is to properly wet clean the new records to get rid of static and debris.

As for posting WAV files, you could upload them through a web file storage/sharing website and link them here. I can't think of a good one at the moment, however.

Tonybro
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by Tonybro » 17 Oct 2018 16:30

You could post to YouTube as a private file and post the link to it here...

H. callahan
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by H. callahan » 17 Oct 2018 17:44

sinewave1kHz wrote:
15 Oct 2018 09:45
.... The records sound crackly, especially on the places where the music is louder. Beside that, some of the test pressings have repeating pops which don't appear at the same spot on 5 tp's we have. One of the records is even skipping...
If a record is crackly at louder parts its usually the tt/cartridge not being able to track correct. Loud parts mean big modulation of the groove and these demand a good tt + cartridge. The tt must be able to deal with the vibrations occuring on loud passages and the cartridge needs to have high channel separation, good stylus etc. .
This always has been a dilemma in record production: If you don´t compress and try to get dynamics a lot of tts won´t be able to play the loud passages - if you want a record (nearly) everyone can play back on his system you have to limit dynamics.

The repeating pops are dirt. If it was a faliure of the stamper the pops would be on the same spot on every 5 records. The dirt may have gotten onto the record after it was pressed or the stamper wasn´t clean and the dirt was pressed into the groove or the vinyl had some dirt in it.
If the records are crackly all the time the quality of the vinyl may be the cause.

philbrown
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by philbrown » 18 Oct 2018 01:06

It's a test pressing. You tested it-played it. It failed. Note the problems and report them to the plant. I've rejected test pressings-not often, but i've done it. In one instance I stopped the release of a very important record.
Phil Brown
Last edited by philbrown on 18 Oct 2018 01:09, edited 1 time in total.

philbrown
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by philbrown » 18 Oct 2018 01:08

Oh, and when I say note them, run a watch so you can note a time when the defect occurs. The recurrent pop is one.
Phil Brown

sinewave1kHz
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by sinewave1kHz » 18 Oct 2018 20:11

Thank you all for your opinions! I am away from home at the moment, so I can't link the example wavs. I will do it on Monday.

sinewave1kHz
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Re: Test pressing issues

Post by sinewave1kHz » 30 Oct 2018 02:31

Hello again!

Finally, I have a link to short audio examples of our test pressing issues. In the meantime, we got the answer from pressing plant and they think that all our crackling issues are caused by... dust. What do you say?
Thank you for your time and opinions!
Here's the link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/j96f05utj5x8 ... oKuna?dl=0

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