Phone: 02 9557 7440   |   Email: sales@classic-hifi.net   |   LOCATION:550 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042   |  CORE HOURS: 11am-6pm Tuesday - Sunday

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Vinyl

QUICK UPDATE

CHANGE OF BUSINESS HOURS DUE TO COVID19

Unfortunately due to Covid19 we have now come to the point where we are having to reduce our hours. We will not be opening Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for the foreseeable future. We will open Friday, Saturday & Sunday only 10am to 6pm.

Please check this website or social media pages for further updates re opening & closing times.

UP-COMING EVENTS, RECORD FAIRS OR SPECIAL OFFERS

 

If you’re aware of any other up-coming events that would interest our followers, let us know….

DIGGIN’SYDNEY IS LIVE AGAIN TBA !

A comprehensive guide to where all the vinyl shops are in Sydney – a must for the vinyl collector, whether new or used, singles or LPs.

The website launched on 20th April 2013 (www.digginsydney.com), TBA of new version for 2020, but we still have 2019 version available in store – participating Record Stores already have the handy guide maps – available free! You can also download the map & key from that site.

 


 

CLASSIC HIFI’s FAVOURITE RECORD STORES

The VintageRecord,31a Parramatta Rd, Annandale NSW Ph: 02 95504 667

Repressed Records, 356 King St, Newtown NSW Ph: 02 9557 6237

Egg Records, 3 Wilson St Newtown NSW 2042 Ph:02 9550 6056

Red Eye Records, 66 King St, Sydney, NSW Ph: 02 9233 8177

Utopia, 511 Kent St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9571 6662


1ST NEW RECORD PRESSING PLANT IN AUSTRALIA FOR OVER 30 YEARS

To open in early 2018…

Setting up operations in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Program Records have employed state-of-the-art WarmTone presses which are manufactured by Toronto based Viryl Technologies.

Using the first ever integrated machine software for the record pressing industry, ADAPT control software is said to provide powerful insight on machine performance and will allow Program Records to provide consistent high quality and a fast turnaround time.

WarmTone provides the fastest cycle time in the world, less waste, no manual intervention, modern reliability and real-time business analytics. We want to make great records, support the Australian music scene and have fun along the way.

Steve Lynch from Program Records told StereoNET:

Lynch’s background is in selling records. He said the new company will focus on supporting the local music scene backed by a data driven and highly efficient production facility.

All processes will be kept in-house thanks to the inclusion of a new plating and stamper making system along with experienced mastering and lacquer cutting on a mint Neumann lathe.

Lynch continued: We will be taking all sized orders and can handle any order, big or small. Initially we will offer 12” in 140 gram and 180 gram. We also plan to introduce 7” and 10“ formats later in 2018.

Program Records wants to make it easier for local artists to release their music on vinyl. They offer a full service which is as simple as providing your mastered audio files and artwork and they do the rest. They first cut a lacquer master and then make the metal stampers needed to go into the press. Once that’s done they send the artist test pressings and artwork proofs.

StereoNET looks forward to taking a first-hand look at the Program Records facilities nearer their completion.

NEW VINYL SECTION IN-STORE…NO! not new vinyl, but original releases: read-on

We are now importing from around the world, very hard to get, yet popular titles you won’t find readily available in Australia.

They won’t necessarily be audiophile recordings (which can be a bit boring) or be in mint condition, or be 1/2 speed masters, but they will be very rare here in Australia.

For example, we’ve already received in Kind of Blue (Miles Davis), Time Out (Dave Brubeck with the iconic ‘Take Five’), Wicked Game (Chris Isaak), Thriller (Michael Jackson), Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd, a stereo version, not Quadraphonic as most of them are!), Exodus (Bob Marley), Everybody Knows this is Nowhere  & American Stars ‘n Stripes (Neil Young with Crazy Horse), America, The Traveling Wilburys…….some of these titles seem common, but have you tried to find & purchase it lately?

And just in, individually shipped from overseas, all The Beatles titles (a couple of collectible mono versions), AC-DC, The Rolling Stones & Bob Dylan.

Take note though, we are importing them one at a time with all the associated costs so they won’t be cheap – prices start at $30 each.

KindofBlue TimeOut   wicked-game  DarkSide thriller-michael-jackson  Exodus  AbbeyRd  AfterMath  Amy Winehouse Rodrigeuz Daft Punk  ShotofLove more coming…


RECORD CLEANING…

Vital for a clear sound & reduces stylus wear & tracking damage to your precious records.

A very popular cleaning kit that sells very well, is here:http://classic-hifi.net/product/vinyl-record-cleaning-kit-3/

It includes a very useful Anti-static Brush – we came across this note included in a 1970’s brush kit which we thought we’d share with our audience…

 


HALF SPEED MASTERING: THE HOLY GRAIL OF VINYL

by Andrew Murphy

Miles Showell (shown above) began his career in 1984, learning the art of disc cutting and tape copying. He joined Abbey Road Studios in 2013 and, as an expert in half-speed mastering, has remastered many of the world’s biggest artists, including The Who, The Beatles, Disclosure, Queen, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones and, recently, Brian Eno.

When Showell wanted advice on getting half-speed vinyl mastering going again, he turned to Stan Ricker, the engineer who pretty much wrote the book on the craft. Ricker, for his part, was astounded that anyone would want to try it again.

Cutting a disc at half speed not only takes twice as long, but requires a new method of working, with highly modified equipment. But, essentially, the non-stressing of any component in the process means half-speed mastering is the most accurate way to cut a record.

And when we travelled to Abbey Road Studios to listen to Showell’s recent work, remastering four of Brian Eno’s solo records at half-speed, we understood it was all worth his efforts.

ON THE HALF-SPEED PROCESS…

“The Eno job is a good example, because I was given access to the original tapes – a couple of originals are missing, but mostly I had the masters. It’s getting increasingly difficult to get hold of original tapes now, because people are aware that continually playing old analogue tape is a bad idea because it starts to wear away.

“I have a fantastic Ampex tape machine, which just sounds gorgeous – I’ve got custom heads for it, which make it sound even better – so I was able to do a really nice transfer. I captured it at hi-res digital, 192-kHz/24-bit and, from there, did any repairs that needed doing. With clicks and extraneous noises, I had to do some de-essing to soften the ‘S’ sounds of the vocals to avoid sibilance on the pressings.

“When I did the transfer, I was only thinking of records: there’s no excessive limiting or extreme compression, which you might do for a CD release to make it sound loud. No need for that on records – full level digital is too loud to cut as is, anyway, so it’s completely pointless to add further compression and further limiting to only bring it down even more.

“The beauty of doing a high-resolution digital transfer is you can go in and micromanage the audio. One of these tapes had been played on a faulty machine that actually damaged it and left clicks all over it, so I went in and took out all the problems that had been created, which you couldn’t do cutting live from the tape. The only way you can fix that is digitally, and it’s next to invisible mending.”

ON THE SPECIAL EQUIPMENT…

“Once I was happy with the files, I started with the cuts. I have a recently restored and customised Neumann lathe in the room, which is absolutely beautiful – the best I’ve used – and I have a customised RIAA amplifier and filter.

“If you’re cutting everything at half speed, you’re playing the source at half speed and running the lathe at half speed, then the frequencies and the filter are in the wrong place: you need a special one to do half-speed cutting.

“When you’re doing a half-speed cut, you can’t hear what’s going down because it’s all slow and just sounds awful. So we insist that every client has an acetate. I’ll sit down and listen to it end-to-end on a domestic deck to make sure it sounds okay – there’s no point playing it on high-end turntable, or even on the lathe pickup, because it doesn’t represent the real world.

“From there it goes off to the client, and if they’re happy I’ll cut the masters. In this case, they got shipped off to the Optimal plant in Germany, probably one of the two very best plants in the world, so I was delighted when it went there. Six-to-eight weeks later I get test pressings back.”

ON SMOOTHING THE SHARP EDGES…

“You do all the prep work first. I’ll go through and spend hours just checking things; I have to de-ess before I cut at half speed because the limiters don’t work. They’re looking for two things: listening for a specific frequency band, which obviously is not there any more; and also any acceleration, sudden fast transients it thinks are a bit sharp.

“Because you’re going so slow it shouldn’t have any sharp edges. So any vocal you think might cause distortion with your sharp, bright ‘S’ sound, I’ll have to pre-treat that. But in a way it’s good, because I can use a specific digital tool which will allow me to just find the ‘S’.

“Anything around it – any bright guitar or snare-drum hit or tambourine – is totally untouched, I’m just working on the vocal that’s going to cause a problem.”

ON WORKING AT HALF-SPEED…

“Then it’s just a purely mechanical job to cut it at half speed, which is pretty dreadful to listen to when you’re in the room. I’ve had 12-hour days where it’s just non-stop and you walk out of here going stir crazy – but when you get the records back and they just sound so open and so fresh, it really was worth doing.

“All the hard work is done prior to the cut. Then I’m just checking that the lathe is working okay and the swarf, which is the waste product that’s being cut out of the disc, is going up the vacuum pipe alright and nothing looks untoward. Once I’ve finished, I can look under the microscope and check the groove is all fine.”

ON THE ULTIMATE FOR VINYL…

“The problem we had with some of the earlier ones, in the 70s, was people would be doing it live from tape, which sounds lovely but they have a bit of a roll-off on the bass end, from 30Hz downwards, which is just a factor of the machine.

“Obviously at half speed that suddenly becomes 60Hz, so you ended up with these really clean, bright records with not much bass. The advantage of my method is that we have all of the bass and all of the top end, and everything just sounds nicer. Because nothing’s getting pushed to its limits everything sounds so much more real.”

ON SCEPTICAL COLLEAGUES…

We heard Showell’s half-speed mastery on four of Brian Eno’s early solo records.

“A couple of very good recording engineers I work with have been sceptical, and asked, ‘Will I really hear a difference?’. Then I’ve given them an acetate and they’ve said, ‘It’s like playing the master tape, it doesn’t sound like a record any more’. It just has this extra kind of ethereal air that you don’t get doing it in real time.

“Ultimately, it’s the non-stressing of the system that makes half-speed sound better. It’s not the speed of the lathe going round, it’s the fact you’ve reduced the speed of the music by a factor of two.

“In the mechanical system we’re using, the 600W amplifiers aren’t being pushed so hard, the cutter head hasn’t got to cut some nasty, bright high-frequency stuff that gets hot and stressed out. That’s where the gain is.”

ON A BETTER CUTTING SPEED…

“Cutting at 45rpm is better, because you can cut louder, and the faster the playback speed the higher the quality. You’ve got more vinyl going past your stylus per second than you would at 33⅓rpm, so everything will sound cleaner.

“The only disadvantage is you’ve got to get out of your seat twice as often to turn it over or change the disc. But half-speed is by far the most accurate way to cut a recording. If you can do it as a double album at 45rpm, that’s pretty much the ultimate you can get with records, there’s nothing else to squeeze out of the system.”

ON CATERING FOR YOUR AUDIENCE…

“I usually test using the Technics LP-1200 I have in the room. It’s probably a bit more than mid-range, but we’re not talking a £50,000 esoteric thing – it’s got a fairly average £150 Audio Technica MM cartridge in. We deliberately haven’t gone for a reference pickup system because we wanted people with moderate to decent hi-fi to appreciate it and not to have any problems with tracking.

“If I had an amazing cartridge and the best arm and deck, I could cut far louder and not get any distortion, but that wouldn’t translate to enough people in the real world. To be viable, it needs to work for as many people as possible.”

ON THE QUALITY OF YOUR DECK…

“With any reasonable deck, you’ll be able to hear the difference in a half-speed cut, and obviously the better your playback system then the more you’ll be able to extract from the groove. When I was a kid, and I got into records 35 years ago, I got some of the early Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab pressings Stan Ricker cut.

“I didn’t have a great record deck in those days but it sounded better than normal records, and obviously as my system at home has improved, so has playback of those records. You don’t need the world’s most wonderful turntable to hear the difference, but obviously the better your system, the more you can recover.”

ON THE POTENTIAL OF HALF-SPEED…

“I’d love all records to be half-speed, but there aren’t enough engineers in the world to cut all the records we need anyway. We’re all snowed under with cutting, so if we did everything half-speed we’d need twice as many engineers and twice as many lathes.

“It’d be great if we could, but it’s just too much work. Also, it costs more money. It costs the client more than double, because of the extra time spent doing the acetate and everything else, so you can’t do it on a record that isn’t going to sell in big enough quantities.

“Ultimately, it’s a business, and the people issuing the record need to recoup their investment. There are a few other people doing half-speed mastering, but probably not as many as I do.”

For more on turntables read the Analog & Vinyl Forum.


 

RECORD GROOVES

This is what record grooves look like on your vinyl records  !!!

recordgroove_400x_sml

And the picture below is a closer look at the grooves of the picture above. There’s some dirt in there too!!

Vinyl Groove w dirt

 

THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE

FOR all the ritual, fun and nostalgic pleasure of vinyl, it should be remembered that the very technology that was expected to kill it – digital music files – has, in various ways, kept it alive and fuelled the latest surge of interest.The convenience of MP3 and MP4 files has come at a cost. The sound quality of a digital file – in comparison with both CDs and vinyl – is compromised because compressing the sound to enable it to fit on smaller and smaller files means “taking 90 per cent of the music and basically throwing it out”, as legendary engineer Bob Ludwig (who has mastered albums for everyone from Nirvana and Led Zeppelin to the Kronos Quartet and Mariah Carey) once said.While most consumers are happy enough with the result – most listen through cheap bud earplugs rather than semi-decent headphones, so quality sound is not a priority – a number are seeking something that provides the missing tones. Maybe even that semi-mystical “warmth” long attributed to vinyl.

GREAT ‘T’ SHIRT……How true !!

T shirt Vinyl kills

 

Modern Vinyl

January 12th 2010

MODERN VINYL DOESN’T SOUND AS GOOD AS ORIGINAL RECORDS!

We came across this article today in the UKs ‘Hi-Fi News’ about re-pressed vinyl using CDs as the source!!!!

HiFiNewsCdvinyl

Like they said, what’s the use – if you want an analogue sound, you buy records, and you’d expect analogue source (Tapes) which validates what we’ve suspected all along – new repressed records aren’t even close to the quality of the original LP releases. So there’s a very important reason to hunt down really good original recordings from the many used record shops around Newtown – our recommended friends are listed at the bottom of this Board.

Mind you, quality re-pressed records using analogue source are around, just look for an ‘analogue source’ sticker or certification on the rear of there cover;

Here’s an example:

IMGP2027

 

Zoom in on that pink sticker – “Analogue Limited Edition”

To drive the point home, finally a repress of  The Beatles original albums has been released – in mono no less, as it was intended by the artists. The source was the original tapes safely stored away in air conditioned vaults

beatles_mono_all

 

VINYL RESURGENCE

“Just for the record”

Adapted from a SMH article by Bernard Zuel

THEY will never compete with compact discs when it comes to pristine sound, or MP3s when it comes to convenience. They don’t hold photographs or feature films, and the bargain bins in Asian street markets are not exactly bulging with knock-offs illegally reproduced in secret sweatshops.

But figures released in the US showed that vinyl albums sales nearly doubled last year, with 1.88 million sold – up from just under 1 million in 2007. In Australia, unofficial figures show an increase of more than 50 per cent over the same period.

When U2 released their new album, No Line On The Horizon, they did so on vinyl, as well as CD. Last year Elvis Costello released his new album on vinyl alone for its first few weeks on sale, before releasing a CD version, and Radiohead offered a $100 vinyl option of its album In Rainbows – which fans could otherwise download for whatever price they chose. It sold more than 100,000 copies.

At the other end of the age market, the White Stripes sold 12,000 copies of its 2007 album Icky Thump in the US, and Metallica sold all 5000 of the $150 vinyl boxed set of 2008’s Death Magnetic album.

At the even more cost-conscious level – the local independent scene – Sydney band Cog released two albums on vinyl. The Drones, previous winners of the Australian Music Prize, recently did well with a picture sleeve, 12-inch vinyl mini-album, and teen favourites the Grates are one of scores of Australian bands to make their albums simultaneously available on CD and vinyl.

Still, the clearest indication that there is money to be made from vinyl is that the world’s largest record company, Universal Music, has embarked on a massive vinyl album release.

While rival EMI has released vinyl versions of 15 to 20 major acts, such as Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys and Coldplay, and Sony Music has a program of about 30 back-catalogue vinyl releases for artists such as Bruce Springsteen (all only available through imported copies in Australia), Universal, using the little-discussed 60th anniversary of the long-playing vinyl record as its hook, is releasing 76 remastered-for-vinyl albums for worldwide distribution.

The so-called Back to Black program has classic albums from the 1960s and ’70s (from James Brown, Velvet Underground – with peelable banana sticker – and John Coltrane to Thin Lizzy, Stevie Wonder and Abba), big-selling ’80s albums (by the likes of U2, Def Leppard and the Police) and some contemporary albums by artists with many fans who were born after the emergence of the compact disc (Amy Winehouse, Bjork and Ryan Adams).

What you get are the albums in their original sleeves, often including gatefold covers, the record made of 180-gram vinyl (new, rather than recycled plastic and considerably thicker than standard), so the sound is improved, and an access code to download all those tracks as MP3 files.

Liam Dennis, Universal’s back catalogue product manager, says vinyl is not only being bought by ageing collectors or audiophiles who have argued for 25 years that only vinyl sounds right.

“Three distinct people buy these records,” Dennis says. “Firstly, an older generation who may have purchased the album in the era of its original release, wanting to revisit the album in the warmth of vinyl, who may also be new to digital downloads.

“Secondly, a younger generation for whom CD or even digital downloads are the norm. Their childhood experience of vinyl may have been limited to their parents’ copy of Hot August Night – my personal experience – but they are now wanting the retro cool factor of vinyl. It’s not just the music but also the touchy-feely physical product.

“Thirdly, completist fans who want everything released by a particular artist.”

Buoyed by the sales of these vinyl re-issues, Universal, like many of the big companies, has increased the volume of vinyl offered in conjunction with new CD albums by acts such as Guns N’ Roses, the Presets, the Cure and Snow Patrol.

Two years ago vinyl was 10 per cent of sales for Neville Sergent, owner of Mojo Music in York Street, which specialises in music from the 1940s to the 1970s. These days that is up to 20 per cent. Of his customers, about one in four is under 30 and has grown up with CDs and now downloads.

Why are they buying vinyl?

“There’s not one answer,” Sergent says. “The obvious one is it has a hip factor, whatever that means. It’s bigger, it engages you, it does have a warmer sound [but also] it’s a retro thing, like people riding scooters or wearing Levi’s.

“Then there’s a lot that are either in bands or hang out with people in bands or their fathers are into that music. And the compressed sound of phones and iPods [see box below], it makes vinyl stand out more.”

What Sergent describes as the way vinyl engages music fans is a crucial element in the experience for John Encarnacao, a lecturer in music at the University of Western Sydney, as well as a musician and voracious vinyl buyer, both of new and old music. Playing vinyl is about more than just putting some music on.

“I like the ritual of playing records and I guess the ritual is really about dedicating oneself to listening to music,” Encarnacao says. “The convenience of CDs has been talked about since they came out and MP3s are even more convenient but to me they allow people to do something else while they’re listening. Generally speaking, people don’t pay as much attention to music now.

“I use the word ritual and that may sound fetishistic but vinyl seems more respectful of the music as a medium in every way. The presentation of it is more respectful, in terms of being bigger, and in terms of the way you play it.”

Cog’s Flynn Gower couldn’t agree more as he anticipates the response to his band’s coming vinyl releases. “Album artwork played a massive part in the romanticism of rock’n’roll. When someone talks about a great album you immediately conjure up images of the cover art. There is just something warm and reassuring about vinyl. When someone picks up an old record they do so with respect, kindness and reverence. Like it’s a work of art or an ancient treasure from an archaeological dig.”

Record Store

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PLEASE NOTE OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SALE

  • Our stock has been selectively acquired by Classic HiFi, tested extensively & serviced where necessary.
  • All stock are genuinely original, used, quality components from decades past and are offered for sale as inspected by you – you cannot expect them to be in new condition.
  • All our products carry our 3 month warranty, but coverage does not extend to mis-use, in-appropriate connections, or consumables such as amplifier facia globes, valve tubes and turntable styli or belts.
  • You are encouraged to audition in-store, as exchanges are only agreed to within the first 2 weeks after purchase for major faults undetected by our servicing regime. If repair cannot be completed within a reasonable time a refund is available on production of our Tax Invoice issued to you at the time purchase.
  • We encourage you to attend to your own installations as we assist in-store with set-up advice.
  • If you require shipping, you understand that whilst we do our best to pack, and that we cannot be held responsible for items damaged in-transit.
  • A minimum deposit of 20% is required to reserve stock for you, and the maximum term for payment in full is 3 months. After 3 months, uncollected goods will be returned to stock and deposit funds will be held as a store credit for 12 months.
  • Any order cancellations prior to delivery or collection, incur a 20% fee, levied against the gross price.