Vinyl cutting is not only our passion, it is a huge obsession for us. While other mastering houses rent lathes or sub-contract vinyl cutting services, our custom-modified Neumann VMS80 cutting lathe sits right behind our main listening position in our studio.
The Neumann VMS80 lathe is a serious piece of engineering.It cuts a perfectly centred groove of ever-declining radius, moving the cutting head in three dimensions with absolute precision to reproduce the waveform of the music.
Since we took charge of it, our VMS80 has had some custom tweaks made to the cutting head by the undisputed ‘master of the cutting lathe’, Sean Davies.This made the high-frequency response even better, but without introducing distortion. Now we can cut 30-minute sides of vinyl at levels people wouldn’t have thought possible in the 1970s, but without hurting the music.
We get a real kick out of cutting when we know it fits, when the grooves aren’t kissing and when the music still sounds the best it can be. It’s a science, but it’s an art, too; we never get tired of it!
/ HALF-SPEED VINYL CUTTING /
Half speed cutting allows the lathe more time to cut the same groove thus using less energy, this in turn allows the head to work more efficiently with lower current that in turn produces less heat and allows the head to maintain linearity; coupled with the fact that the high frequencies have halved when cuttings means that the HF separation of channels is much better. The net result is that you have a cleaner top end, wider stereo and more solid low end, and on top of this the pitch computer works more efficiently allowing higher levels for longer durations…