Behind the Scenes

Turntable: Technics SL1200 MKII

Preamp: Rotel RQ-970BX (solid state), and 1953 GE UPX-003A mono (tube powered). The Rotel is used for records dating from the early 1970s on up while the GE is used for records produced in the 1960s and earlier.

Cartridge: Stanton 680 EL, and Pickering XV-15. The Stanton has a 0.7 mil elliptical stylus and is used on microgroove records. The Pickering is essentially the same as the Stanton except it is fitted with a D6827, 2.7 mil elliptical stylus for playing 78rpm or coarse groove records.

Cassette-Tape Player: Marantz PMD 430

Reel-to-Reel: Revox A77 MKIV (German)

Equalizer: ADC Sound Shaper

Soundcard/USB Interface: M-Audio Fast Track Pro

Software: Audacity, open source audio editing software

Notes on Processing: All vinyl records are cleaned with warm water, Dawn dish soap, and sometimes isopropyl alcohol. Shellac records are cleaned with warm water and Dawn soap only, as alcohol and similar solvents are caustic to shellac. A “Vinyl Stack” label protector is used in all cases to keep labels from getting wet.

A minimal amount of digital filtering and noise removal is applied in post production. Many of the audio tracks, especially from older recordings, contain clicks and hiss. Vintage formats such as vinyl and magnetic tape are inherently noisier than CDs. My goal is not to “purify” the sound but to preserve it as it is, and in the best light. This coincides with a growing trend in the industry to focus on preservation over restoration. The idea is that format weaknesses and signs of age are part of an objects true character. That said, it is important to note that one of the side effects of converting audio tracks to MP3 format is that higher frequencies are boosted, thus amplifying any “noise” in the recording.

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