|Thanks to Stereophile for the great writeup!|
In 2005, when RR became aware of the vinyl resurgence, they searched throughout North America, Europe and Japan for optimal facilities for half-speed mastering and pressing. Nothing that met their stringent quality requirements and allowed for competitive pricing could be found. Instead, mastering engineer Paul Stubblebine agreed to take his lathe system out of storage, worked with Keith O. Johnson to get it up and running, and paired it with custom electronics by Nelson Pass. The mastering apparatus uses no compression or equalization, and minimizes obstacles in the signal path.
Then the RR team heard about a new source for 200-gram pressings, Chad Kassem's Quality Record Pressings (QRP) facility in Salina, Kansas, which was profiled by Micahel Fremer in the August issue of Stereophile. "The test pressings have been very, very good," says Martin.
"We expect to begin issuing two releases at a time as soon as we can," says Henderson. "Some will be 331/3rpm, others 45, depending upon the length of the program and what can fit on a single side. At this point, our plan is to master everything at half-speed because of the advantages of that technique." One special feature of all new RR vinyl, advocated by Henderson, is the "FDS" finish. At the end of each side, a 30-second band of silent grooves has been inserted to allow listeners to lift tonearms before the infernal noisy tie-off rudely interrupts their reverie. Previously featured on select 1950s vintage Capitol Full Dimension Sound pressings, RR's FDS finish is bound to receive special praise from audiophiles whose turntables are located on the other side of the room, and who hate rushing across the floor to try to head off the sonic assault.
Labels: LPs, Reference Recordings LPs, Stereophile, Stereophile Magazine