The Good Old Days

Now this is what I like to see when I read the liner notes on a record:

This is a high fidelity recording. Steely Dan uses a specially constructed 24-channel tape recorder, a “State-of-the-Art” 36-input computerized-mixdown console, and some very expensive German microphones. Individual microphone equalization is frowned upon. The sound created by musicians and singers is reproduced as faithfully as possible, and special care is taken to preserve the band-width and transient response of each performance. Transfer from master tapes to master lacquers is done on a Neumann VMS 70 computerized lathe equipped with a variable pitch, variable depth helium cooled cutting head. The computer logic circuits of the VMS 70 widen and narrow the grooves on the disc in accordance with its own bizarre electronic mentation for reasons known only to its designers; this accounts for the lovely light and dark patterns that can be seen on the surface of the pressing. Vinylite compound is used. For best results observe the R.I.A.A. curve.

That’s from Katy Lied by Steely Dan – circa 1975.

Wouldn’t it be nice if that kind of attention to detail was the norm instead of the exception? Even more so in the day of the compressed digital recording.

(I picked up a second hand NZ pressing of this album at Real Groovy Auckland recently. Looks good but someone’s been playing it with a disco stylus at 5 grams because some of the tracks don’t sound so hot, although a session with the Spin Clean may help. Them’s the breaks when you buy second hand vinyl, sometimes you bite the bear, sometimes he bites you)

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